Sunday Dinners: The importance of community - By Ariel Roper

The stressors of the weekday grind can leave us ravenously hungry for the weekend-sharing quality time with those close to us, a delicious thought.

Recently, one event that I have been craving to be a part of is the MTM Sunday Diners. The people who join these events and the atmosphere created makes for a community that I look forward to being a part of.
Something I hunger for during the week.

My appetite was satiated at the most recent Sunday dinner, Filipino Night.
It was a proper three course meal of an experience. Let me tell you about what MTM cooked up as an appetizer, main dish, and dessert for their Sunday dinner.

The appetizer: preparation for the event

It was almost mechanical, but in the most human way. Anya, Atsuko and I rolling lumpia in an assembly line, where as one person laid layers of lumpia dough on long metallic trays, the next precisely spread filling on each square sheet, passing them off to comforting hands, which tucked each batch tightly, preparing it for the frying ahead.

“This reminds me of home” , Anya said, as she laid each piece of lumpia dough in organized rows of three,

“Making lumpia is a very family-oriented thing. It takes so much effort, so we all gather together to make it.”

“I don't really have many opportunities to make it on my own”

I felt similarly, remembering winter holidays with my family where we would spend Christmas Eve making tamales to be enjoyed on Christmas day- a task that naturally pulls people together for a common goal- communing over delicious food.

Living abroad is a beautiful experience, one that is made more so by building community. Sharing food has always been a way for me to find good company, to learn about others, and encounter nostalgic and novel nuances. Learning about Filipino culture and food was the most delicious start to this MTM event.

The main dish: Reese Lansangan

Not 10 minutes walk from Oshiage station, “Oshiage, Art Atelier”, a cute 2nd story cafe, overlooks the twinkling tower of Tokyo Skytree. More than Music has done a wonderful job to make this space feel like a home away from home. A home that always has good company, good food, and good music.
Up a flight of stairs and past a beautiful wooden door, a cozy community space can be found. Within the café walls, conversations and laughter bounce between the clinking of plates and bottles. The humming of a crowd in wait, fills the room with energy. Footsteps approached a stage set against two towering windows, twinkling lights illuminating the microphone, instrument and speakers. An unseen energy pulled people to the stage in the wake of these steps. The crowd pulsed in anticipation as guitar strings were plucked and tuned. With the city lights at her back, Reese serenaded an audience in awe.

Reese is a poet and musician whose music leaves the spirit of listeners feeling nourished. As she sang her heartfelt melodies, onlookers swayed back and forth to the strums of her guitar and sang gently in unison as her heart unfolded on stage. Fond memories were created that night for everyone experiencing Reeses music and fond memories were remembered by Reese, of the times she would sing together with her father.
From the age of two she has been making music, her and her father sharing treasured time together singing in musical unison. As she grew, she began writing her own poems and set them to music when she began highschool. Since 2016 she has been streaming her music for everyone to enjoy.
You go, girl!

As always, the music selection for the night's festivities was carefully curated by the head of More than Music, Justin Sachs. Reese Lansangan was the perfect match for the Sunday Dinners Filipino night.

The dessert: a treasured memory

Being a part of the MTM Sunday Dinners has been a fulfilling experience for me.
It has really helped satisfy a passion of mine- bringing people together over good food and good music. The people who join MTM events, and the atmosphere that's created makes for a community that I look forward to being a part of.

I hope to see you at the next Sunday Dinner.

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  • The descriptions in this article jumped off the screen and into my imagination. Feeling transported into the scene filled with wafts of delishous scents emanating from the food and sounds of community, made me wonder if I truly was a recluse.
    Because I started to mentally add this to my bucket list. But then again maybe I’m just a foodie. Either way, I owe thanks, to the writer for the free experience through words. So thank you.

  • Getting together making new friends and acquaintances is a good way to destress and refresh. Sharing delicious food, and beautiful music.
    Great article Ariel.
    Thank you for sharing.