The E commons at West Apartment, a student residence at State University of New York, Stony Brook, was packed with students lining up for a special event of the evening. The conference room, where all tables are rearranged and placed at the end of the room for a mini buffet, was filled with a faint scent of freshness and sourness.
At eight sharp, the signing-up counter was finally open for entries. Students filled in their name, grabbed a plate and a pair of chopsticks, and started to pick up pieces of sushi from trays filled with a variety of these colorful oriental delicacies.
“Sushi 102” was held by Resident Assistants. It all started off with three friends enjoying their visit to a Japanese restaurant not far away from the campus on regular basis. “We ate every two weeks in Sushi Palace,” said Stanley Jiang, one of the Resident Assistants responsible for hosting the night, “We want to express our love of sushi to everyone.”
In addition to dedication to the passion towards these rice rolls, Joe Verado, who is also a Resident Assistant and organizer of the event, said that the evening event created an opportunity for residents to come together and meet each other at a relaxing atmosphere. “It’s a good program to those who stay at their apartments alone at nights,” Joe said. West Apartments of the university accommodates a great number of student exchanges and International students, who are away from home and new to the community. According to the record of residents signing up for this event, a majority of them fall into these categories.
Sachiko Tsutsumi, an exchange student from Japan, considered this activity an interesting experience of tasting the cuisine from her home country in America. “This is totally a different thing from (those of) my country,” said Tsutsumi. For instance, the seaweed is usually rolled at the outside surrounding the roll in Japan, and in America it is the other way around. After tasting a few pieces of sushi, she mentioned that the flavor and stuffing are different and probably catered to America eating style. “Even the name is simple in the United State,” she said, who later explained that there are specific names for sushi rolls with different stuffing (like kappazushi for rolls with cucumber in it). Her explanation of the differences created a whole new dimension to this event – a cultural learning experience.
Last year, Sushi 101 was organized and it was very popular among residence from the West Apartments. This has become a huge motivation for the group of RAs to host the event for the second year.
Shortly twenty minutes after the register counter was opened, all the sushi rolls are taken and all the seats are taken. However, there were still a few dozens of people queuing outside the venue waiting to get in. “Where is my sushi?” shouted the resident who came in front of the counter and saw that all the sushi were already gone. The popularity of this event was unexpectedly well that the venue could not hold all the people who had been waiting in the line. The hosts were surprised of how this ended and replied that a bigger venue and more sushi will be served for “Sushi 103”.