First day behind an udon counter


hanamaru udon apron logo Let me tell you, for sure I was excited and nervous this morning, because of my first day of my chosen apprenticeship. My goal is to get more hands on training for my favorite Japanese food: Udon. I am truly lucky that not only could I get a part-time job, but at the same time at my preferred store close to home. Actually I am now a new part-time worker at the major udon chain in Japan: Hanamaru-Udon. To make matters even better: I am trained by a true veteran, who has worked for years at 19 sites of Hanamaru-Udon.
Although my first day included only 3 hours of training it was much more challenging and tiring than I expected. Why? I did not expect that already on my first day I could stand in front of customers, but much more I expected to get my first training in the back. No, today I survived the first round of rush hour, when I am told that usually more than one hundred people are ordering their udon sets. To make matters even more intense, some of the customers have multiple orders. I wish I knew how many toppings, dashi or other additions I have supplemented to wonderful udon sold, but my brain went absolutely blank at the end. For sure today was a wonderful experience and I feel deeply indebted to my trainer for the patience and truly advanced skills in teaching. I cannot imagine how much I have learned today. For me it seems not a few hours have passed today, but days.
As a side note, I was happy to see the smiles of the local customers, who recognized me as a foreign newbie, plus I think I was easily forgiven for the slower than usual speed. On the good side, I could help several foreign customers, who did not speak Japanese. I never, ever had expected so many foreigners already coming to this udon shop. Hopefully with my presence we can increase the number of foreign udon fans.
Lets see what new challenges tomorrow will bring.

An immensely tired, but happy
Sibylle Ito

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