Tonight I ate yakiniku with staff and students from Kurokawa school. It was so much fun! For those of you that don’t know, yakiniku is like a mixture of barbeque and fondue…at least in my mind. At your table is a small grill and you cook your own meats and vegetables on the grill and share everything with your table. It’s really fun and delicious, but it has the downside of campfire-like smoke in your face. But we ordered and then proceeded to eat some crazy, crazy things tonight. No joke. I ate raw liver, cow tongue, stomach/intestines, and arteries. The tongue was actually really good. It was just a thin slice, like salami and you wrapped it in an onion salad mixture. The stomach/intestines were interesting, I couldn’t quite place the taste, but it was good. The artery felt like I was chewing gum. It seriously would not break down. And the liver, well, I could’ve done without it; it was nothing special.

But overall, it was a really fun time! And we also celebrated my and another girl’s birthdays with a cute cake! Then on the walk back to the station the son of one of my students talked to me for ten minutes in Japanese about samurai in the Edo period. At first he was talking so fast, that my coworker told him to slow down because Rachael couldn’t understand. So then he proceeded to repeat everything that he had said, but enunciating very clearly as if that would help me understand samurai vocabulary. But man oh man can that boy talk. He was so cute! And when there was something he really wanted me to understand, he would either ask for a translation or show me with actions what he was trying to say. And although I had no clue as to most of what he was talking about, it was pretty interesting. I just really enjoyed his enthusiasm to talk to me. So cute!


Thailand Pics

Long-awaited but here’s the first batch. I’ll add captions later. Hope you enjoy what was probably my favorite part of Thailand! 🙂

The Rainy Season?

It has been raining pretty much nonstop here since Thursday. And we’re talking major thunderstorm, heavy rain. One day of rain is absolutely no problem. I mean, it really is nice when it rains every once in a while, and those nighttime thunderstorms are cool, if not a little scary. But three days straight of dreary weather is just not anyone’s idea of a good time, especially when it’s still super humid and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow as well.

But I guess that since the actual rainy season was rather short this year, Japanese weather’s gotta make up for those days somewhere, and why not the end of August. No one’s getting rained out of their vacation at least.

Back in the Saddle

Well, after what seems like an eternity, Jen and I have internet again! So, the blog will be updated, phone calls will be made, and I will feel once again like an active part of the modern age.

Here’s the backstory, since I moved in, and long before…actually since Jen moved in, we’ve been using the internet completely illegally. Basically, we’ve just been borrowing it from some unknown source who didn’t have the common sense to safeguard their wireless connection with a simple password. Well, about three or four days before we left for Thailand, we discovered the source of our stolen internet- our next-door neighbors, who moved out the same exact day that we lost our signal completely. So, for the past few weeks, we’ve been in the process of getting our own, fully-paid internet provider, and today the man finally came to install our network! So, life is good again, and we are now paying for our internet, but there will be no more worries of fading signals or slow connections.

But, I have a lot to update about, so keep checking back. I’ll tell you all about Thailand, life without the internet, and some other random stories that I’ve accumulated in the past few weeks.

Zucchini is a Clever Vegetable

I tell you what, I really do believe that zucchini is the cleverest vegetable out there. And here’s why. At first, zucchini seems so cool and versatile. I mean, it’s like a mix of a cucumber and a squash, so there are all these endless possibilities of what you can do with zucchini. You get a few from a friend who has a garden. It works its way into your heart and palette, so the next year, you think, I’m gonna plant a few zucchini in my own garden. And lo and behold, your zucchini plant takes over your entire life! As you all know, zucchini yields about 100 vegetables per plant. I’m not joking here. My grandparents’ neighbors have zucchini and we used to eat it with practically every meal because they kept giving us zucchini because they had too much.

Suddenly, you really have to process through zucchini’s endless possibilities because you have so stinkin much of it that you have to find some way to get rid of it all. Slowly, zucchini starts creeping its way into every single meal. Breakfast- zucchini bread and zucchini muffins; Lunch- zucchini fries with your soup and sandwich; Dinner- zucchini casserole or zucchini stew. Not that I’m complaining because I love all of those dishes, but really, zucchini gets itself into all kinds of crazy relationships with other foods.

My grandma is an ace with zucchini. She has about a hundred working zucchini recipes, no joke. I know this because not only have I eaten at least 50 of these recipes myself, but I’ve organized her recipe drawer and have seen with my own eyes all of these recipes. Currently, my grandma is busy making tons of zucchini dishes, not excluding zucchini chocolate cake and zucchini chocolate chip cookies, to stock up for the winter, because after a while, you forget how sick of it you were, and you find yourself missing its presence in your life.

When you live in the Midwest, zucchini is your best friend, but if you move outside those boundaries, zucchini doesn’t quite have the same flourishing power I think. So, Las Vegas is a relatively low zucchini zone I think. Here in Japan, zucchini is still in that new and exciting stage. The Japanese haven’t yet realized the major productive capability of zucchini yet. They still only use zucchini as a vegetable. They haven’t realized that Midwest mentality when faced with zucchini yet: “You planted two zucchini this year?? WHAT!! Are you kidding me? Who can we possibly pawn the zucchini off on? No one’s gonna want that much of it! Better pull out the zucchini cookbook.” The Japanese are still thinking, “Wow! This is such a great vegetable! It tastes good in so many dishes.”

Just give it some time Japan. You will realize that zucchini is an infestation that you will never rid yourself of! Much like Japanese beetles, the more you pick, the more they come back. Zucchini is indeed a very clever vegetable for its seductive powers and then pure staying power.

Some Help at Tajimi Station

Just in case you can’t figure out where you’re going in the miniscule train station bathrooms, here’s some help provided by some random train worker. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

And why is the men’s room significantly larger than the women’s?? It takes men half the time to use the facilities as it does women!

Strictly for Erik

I saw these posters, immediately thought of you and snapped a few shots. Sorry the quality’s not better, but I can only do so much with my camera phone. Also, sorry that they’re sideways.