For our Taste of Japan event we tapped into local talents, creating a delicious
menu. A local rancher donated his space for the event, and we were able to
purchase all dishes and decorations through a wholesaler in Sacramento. We
recruited seventy-five volunteers to serve an anticipated fifty guests--over
half of the volunteers were children. We set up programs ahead of time to teach
the children a few basic Japanese phrases and Japanese etiquette. We had a
rehearsal dinner for the kids prior to the dinner so that they would be
familiar with the food and therefore able to serve our guests with confidence.
A pamphlet was prepared for guests describing each item on the menu, how to eat
it, and how to serve their tablemates sake in an appropriate manner. We had a
boutique of Japanese hanten and yukata (both summer wear) where any guests
wishing to purchase authentic clothing to wear for the event could do so.
While dessert was being served, all dishes were washed and offered for sale as
the last songs were sung. In the end, we were able to sell off the dishes and
props at their retail price. We also received enough additional donations from
grateful guests to more than cover all of the original wholesale
outlay--doubling our profit.
The volunteers learned new skills, one of our senior members was able to be a
singing sensation for a night, and we all had a grand time!