As a child, I always liked to help my mother in the kitchen. I often baked cakes, cookies and bread for my family. However, what I initially chose as my career was to be a Japanese teacher. Until recently I worked in India, New Zealand and Malaysia. Wherever I go for work or vacation, I like to go to cooking classes. Sometimes I learn from my local friends or their mothers. And going to a local supermarket or wet market is one of my favorite things to do in the countries I visit.
As a Japanese language teacher, I sometimes introduced Japanese cooking to my students. In New Zealand, I frequently visited many schools to support Japanese teachers by sharing teaching ideas and materials. I also motivated students to study Japanese by conducting classes myself and by giving them an insight into Japanese culture. A popular request we got from these schools was to teach Japanese cooking. Now and again I would drive to those schools with two big suitcases full of cooking tools and ingredients to teach my students Japanese cooking.
I also conducted a workshop for local teachers on how to make decorative sushi in a Japanese language environment. During this workshop, the teachers had a chance to speak and practice their Japanese and also share the ideas for their classes or problems they experienced in their schools. It was a very interesting and enjoyable experience for me to meet and communicate in this way. I found that cooking made people feel relaxed and helped them to open up.
I gradually got more interested in teaching cooking and after I left New Zealand, I went to a Sushi School in Tokyo. After finishing the course, I was given the opportunity to teach both the Japanese language and Japanese cooking on a regular basis in Malaysia. It was perfect for me. During my stay there, I conducted Japanese cooking as well as baking classes. Sometimes I conducted team-building workshops and cooking demonstrations. As Malaysia is a Muslim country, I adjusted the recipes to make them pork- and alcohol-free. Although it was a little challenge in the beginning as many of the basic Japanese ingredients contain alcohol (e.g. soy sauce and Mirin), I was able to adapt them so that many locals were able to attend my classes.
When living abroad, I sometimes found it difficult at the local grocery stores, there are ingredients & products I was unfamiliar with or didn’t know how to use. I always wished someone could help guide me with this. After the cooking class, I will take you to supermarket (optional, morning class only) and show you what we used in the class.
My passion is to introduce easy and tasty Japanese food to people from all over the world.
After my class, you will hopefully feel confident to cook Japanese food for your loved ones at home.
If you would also like to practice your Japanese or learn some basics for your trip, let me know and we can enjoy learning Japanese cooking and the Japanese language together!
I was born and raised in Iwate prefecture in the northern part of Japan. I completed a bakery course at Tsuji Culinary Institute and sushi training at the Tokyo Sushi Academy. I also obtained certification as a decorative sushi instructor by the JSIA (Japan Sushi Instructors Association).
In Malaysia, I taught Japanese cooking classes for both locals and Japanese people. I conducted regular Japanese cooking classes for individuals, parties, and for corporate events and gave cooking demonstrations at Japanese cultural events as well .
I hold a B.A. in Japanese literature and an M.A. in linguistic studies. I taught Japanese at a university in India, as well as several elementary and secondary schools in New Zealand. During this stay, I also held many cooking classes for students and was often invited by other schools to give Japanese cooking classes.
I started Nariko's Kitchen in May 2019 and I am proud to say I have had over 500 guests joining my classes and nominated for best activities and tours in Japan 2020 by Tripadvisor.