Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A new Post! Ruth cooks in Japan!

New post. wow.

Well, this is just a random post to break the ice that's been growing thicker over the past... 6 months.

Japanese cooking. As you might expect, it's easier to cook Japanese food in Japan than it is to cook my mom's food. I have realized that a lot of the stuff I'm used to--maybe chili or Mexican food or baked anything or something else--is either impossible to cook here (for example for lack of an oven...) or very expensive (for example the through-the-roof cost of the taco party my friend had not too long ago).

So, when in Rome... cook some Italian food maybe. When you decide to move to Japan, learn to cook Japanese food while you're there. Or else survive off of cup-a-ramen the whole time. That was pretty much my first couple of weeks... ok maybe month. My co-worker said I was going to turn into a noodle but, it didnt happen, I just became, plump.

Anyway, tonight, I'm eating fried shijimi rice and tamagoyaki ^_^

Fried Shijimi Rice.... this means rice cooked in my friend the rice cooker mixed with shijimi, which is a tiny shellfish, and then stir-fried.. using a seasoning packet. ^_^ Easy right? I'm eating shijimi a lot lately in attempt to consume more iron.... because my body is showing signs of it's absence. >_<

Tamagoyaki.... tamago is egg. Yaki means.. cooked somehow.. in this case fried. Put them together and.. yeah fried eggs. But not the traditional American scrambled eggs. You may have had a bit of tamagoyaki before as sushi. The eggs are mixed with some Japanese seasonings (namely soy sauce, dashi--fish stock, mirin) and sugar, and fried and rolled. It's really easy. Most of Japanese food it. It's nice that it's possible to make delicious food and not be my mom. ^_^ rolling the egg just right is a little hard for me right now though :\ I suppose I'll be able to get the hang of it one day...

Here's the recipe for tamagoyaki my friend wrote out for me in simple Japanese:

....I'll post it in English later! Now to go cook dinner! :D

The photo is from Himeji Castle-- in the west of Japan. It's so beautiful. It's a world heritage site and was somehow spared the air raids of WWII, so it's one of the oldest (maybe the oldest?) castle in Japan. So glad it made it. It's awesome. I went to see it with some students on a one-day bus trip recently. ^_^

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Haunts and Fire

Almost five months now! Feels like 10 years and only a week at the same time! It seems impossible that my sister was actually here in Nishio... I don't know what I would do if someone from back home came here again... might cause a rip in the time-space continuim.

So now that almost five months have past, I've really begun settling in. I still haven't bought a trash can, or replaced my cardboard-box laundry basket, but those are uh... next on the list. :) The initial newness and nerves and all that of moving to Japan are gone now. I've begun to think of this place as my neighborhood with my own frequent haunts.
I guess our frequent haunts are
- Shubakamana--the Indian restaurant just down the street from MEC (mm mm!biggest and best nan ever!);
- C-dome--short for Carnival dome... it looks like a giant metallic bubble and its the place we karaoke at the most;
- Medisite--bookstore/video and music rental shop close to home.. bookstores are good.. when Rachel was here, we found that somehow bookstores were still so so comfortable, even though we were in a completely strange place;
- Home Expo--sort of a Wal-mart of home goods and simular stuff where I can buy a new cooking pot and a bike tire repair kit;
- Nishio station!--I love that place, complete with trains that take me anywhere AND back to my home again, and my favorite ¥100 store on the third floor (like a dollar store..) :);
- the tennis courts by Mount Yatsuomote and the Yahagi River--we go here every Monday and play tennis.. it looks nice even in the middle of winter :);
- Kappazushi!--great cheap sushi, and when you order something special they send it to you on a little shinkansen train :);
- Itsumo--shopping center complete with my grocery store and the best takoyaki (yummy balls of.... well, breaded octopus I guess.. just had some today! yum!) around here and a good clothes store and sports depot.. which I really like to go to for some reason.. the name means everyday or always, if your curious;
- the Nishio historical park--this has the rebuilt Nishio castle lookout tower, castle gate, little museum, a couple of shrines.. a couple of other buildings and a garden... nice to chill in;
- and the Nishio Rose Garden! complete with foot bath! nothing like going in the middle of winter to soak your toes in a nice hot outdoor bath in the middle of a rose garden, where roses bloom all winter somehow.
Yeah, those are the places I go the most. I still haven't found a proper place to people watch or anything. Just the mall in Okazaki, about 30 minutes away by train. I don't go there so often.

Lately, I've been meeting a lot of foreigners in Nishio and the area. There's some cool people around here! :) It's sort of fun when we all get together, and all our different accents are flying in a hundred different directions :) very cool. Two students from England.. fresh out of high school.. are spending 6 months here volunteering in health care; they leave next week :( so tonight we are having a big karaoke farewell (at C-dome!). I think it'll be fun :) Everybody will be there :) I went to Tokyo Disneyland a couple of weeks ago with a couple of friends here! So much fun!

Well, sorry if this is a boring post. I just need to start posting again :/ :)

The picture is from the Fire Festival (or himatsuri 火祭) in a nearby town called Hazu, right beside the sea. We went with a couple of friends who live there. They build two HUGE bonfires, with a tree in the middle of each, which are holy. Two teams race to climb up ladders, into the fire to pull out their team's tree. One team from the east side of town, the other from the west, and if the west (i think) wins, then that means there will be a bad harvest, and if the east side wins, it will all be ok.... i think the east side won. The guys douse themselves with water and wear clothes made from the banners of last years festival, which are white and covered in blue/black writing... so they look like calico cats! that's what they call them, the neko, which means cats. So cool!

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