Miso and Chopsticks [Part 1]

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“This is sakidzuke… appetizer.”

With ‘itadakimasu‘ as the signal, the waiters started serving the dishes.

…jellied fish? grilled eggplant with sweet miso paste? Japanese rolled… omelet?

Dishes similar to Japanese cuisine Emma had never seen before in this world were placed on the table.

(T/N:Jellied fish, grilled eggplant with sweet miso paste, Japanese rolled omelet)

“People use this to eat in Imperial Japan.
Please try it if you’d like.”

What the waiter put on the table after a brief introduction was… chopsticks.

Robert, who was holding one chopstick on each hand, talked to the Imperial Prince.

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Unlike his rude manner when facing Emma, he had a proper behavior appropriate for a formal occasion.

He was born in a Duke family, so he was accustomed to this.

“Imperial Prince Tasuku, how should I use this?”

“This is called ‘chopsticks.’ You hold both in one hand and use it to clip food.”

The Imperial Prince began to explain with a smile while demonstrating it to Robert and the people at the same table who had never used chopsticks.

“Uh-oh… This is hard, isn’t it.”

“Ah, please take a look at my fingers.
Use it like this instead of squeezing them hard.”

“Is it like this, Imperial Prince?”

It’s not good to cross your chopsticks like this.
Hold it like a pen…”

This was a cultural exchange, I see.

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The Imperial Prince kindly taught Robert, Beatrix, and Prince Edward, who had never used chopsticks.

“Ah! Lady Emma is very good at using chopsticks.”

When the Imperial Prince turned to look at Emma, who didn’t ask anything, in concern, she was just about to bite into the rolled omelet between her chopsticks.
The way she held chopsticks was strictly taught by Yoriko.

“Lady Emma! That’s amazing.
Have you used chopsticks before?”

“Emma is so skillful.”

Arthur and the Prince were surprised at Emma’s use of chopsticks and praised her.
On the other hand, Emma had just put a piece of the rolled omelet in her mouth heartily and couldn’t reply immediately.
The timing was too bad.

She chewed and swallowed the rolled egg hurriedly, then answered with a smile as if nothing happened.

I have used it a little before.”

It might have been better if she had pretended to learn how to use chopsticks like everyone else, but she couldn’t hold herself back at the sight of Japanese food she hadn’t had for a long time and ended up bringing the food to her mouth.

The rolled omelet that tasted like kombu dashi soup… Even though I want to eat while savoring it more.

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Besides, it seems like Grandmother will scold me about how butting in others’ conversation is unseemly if I join in there.
Nobles are troublesome.

(T/N: Kombu dashi: Japanese soup stock made from kelp (kombu seaweed))

“Imperial Prince Tasuku, the sauce that glazes this eggplant has an incredible taste.
It’s a flavor I have never tasted before.”

Finding it unpleasant if Emma stood out alone, Beatrix expressed her thoughts on the dish.

It seemed she had temporarily given up on the chopsticks and used a fork and a knife to eat.

“Ah, that is ‘miso.‘ Um… ‘fermented soya…?‘ …’koji mold…?‘ I’m sorry, I couldn’t describe it well because I don’t know the words, but it’s a commonly used seasoning in our country.”

The Imperial Prince was confused on how to explain miso.

Given that Imperial Japan had just begun diplomatic relations with the Kingdom as His Majesty said, the Prince might not have enough time to study the language after his study abroad was decided.
The Imperial Prince apologized that he still didn’t know many complicated words.

“Miso? It sounds unusual, doesn’t it.
It has a rich and delicious taste.”

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“It’s a flavor I have never had before, but it certainly is delicious.
It seems to be an ingredient our kingdom doesn’t have.”

Arthur and the Prince seemed interested in the grilled eggplant with sweet miso paste after eating it.

The Imperial Prince smiled frustratedly.

Ah, I recognize that smile…

Emma suddenly recalled a memory of her past life.
Emma, or rather Minato, had also experienced it before.

The well-off unmarried Minato often traveled alone.
Her favorite destination was Kyoto.
For some reason, whenever she went there, there was a high chance that foreigners would ask her for directions.

Being called with an ‘excuse me~‘ when going to a sightseeing spot even though she never heard any English in her daily life.
Is this the fate of all people with a 100% Japanese face?

Her English grades weren’t bad when she was a student, but it became much more difficult when it came to speaking.

She just wanted to say, “Go straight, there’ll be a shrine on your right, then the station can be seen right away after crossing,” but because she panicked, the English she had learned for so many years was just stuck on her brain.
She knew what she wanted to say yet couldn’t communicate it.
Emma knew that frustrating feeling very well.

The smile I made at that time, is it the same as Prince’s smile right now?

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