Tuesday, April 20, 2010

JET Calendar 2011

Every year, the JET program publishes a calendar with photographs from JETs all over Japan. I am sorting through the photos I have taken over the last eight months, and here are some I have come across which I might submit. I also plan to go out and take a few more photos before the July deadline.
The orientation on this one is not right for the calendar, but I am gonna fiddle with it.

I know that there will probably be hundreds of submissions, and there are only 12 months in a year, but it doesn't hurt to try. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mozuku Seaweed Harvesting (and My New Pet Turtle)

Before I get to the real subject of my blog, I just have to tell you: my pet turtle is SO entertaining. I bought him about two weeks ago from a military couple about to move away. I shouldn't really say "bought," actually, since he and his home came free.

I've been calling him "Dinner" and I think it will stick. It makes me giggle. Sort of a drawn-out, maniacal giggle... but still.

I really enjoy Dinner's dinner time. He gets insanely excited when he sees his food container and starts swimming frantically back and forth, following his meal.

You'd think I starved him!

I used to dread weekdays when I had no evening plans and had to come home to a quiet, empty apartment. Somehow, this little creature's presence makes it much more bearable, if not even enjoyable. I didn't know turtles had so much personality! Currently he is struggling up onto his little rock perch. He sits there when I work on the computer or read and just watches me.

Curious lil fella.

Alright, back to the point. This past Saturday, I harvested mozuku seaweed. Mozuku is a stringy seaweed grown mainly here in Okinawa, but loved throughout Japan. My sweet neighbor, Taeko-san, invited me to accompany her and her friend to pick seaweed!!

First order of business, however, was lunch. In honor of the seaweed occasion, we hit up the local soba restaurant.

They specialize in mozuku products, and this is the mozuku set. The soba noodles are made with mozuku and you put more mozuku on top, the rice is cooked with mozuku, and the two outside small dishes are mozuku vinegar salad and mozuku jello. Pretty much amazing.

Then we headed down to Mibaru beach to join the crowds for the main event: seaweed picking. Those little dots you see out there are people. I was, once again, kicking myself for leaving my real camera behind, but you get the gist. This tide is lowest this time of year, so we could easily walk way out from the beach and get our hands on that delicious gooey goodness.

I picked so much seaweed! It was surprisingly easy. You just grab a chunk and it comes right up. Sometimes it would be wrapped around a piece of coral or something, but a good flick of the wrist and it was free for the taking.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with it. I know it looks delicious *ahem* but it's not the tastiest thing just straight out of the ocean. Usually I see it at restaurants in the vinegar-salad form so I will attempt that. What else can I do with a big juicy, slimy wad of this mess?

Friday, April 16, 2010



Two hours and 40 bucks later: I feel SO much better!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miss a Wedding, Get a Hat!

The wind has been howling every night this week. If I leave the door cracked even slightly, it rattles my sliding wood doors and wakes me periodically through the night. If I leave the door closed, the humidity slowly descends like a giant, suffocating pillow of death. That combined with the nightly (small) earthquakes has left me with huge, dark circles under my eyes. So, although I am aching to blog and am full of stories and observations to share, I am going to call it an early night. 10 p.m. and I am all tucked in.

I will share one little anecdote with you. One of my fellow teachers recently invited me to his wedding party and though I originally RSVPd "Yes," I had to back out when I decided I would rather spend the weekend soaking up sunshine on an outer island. Feeling bad, I gifted the customary ichiman yen (about 100 dollars) and swallowed my guilt.

That was about a month ago, and today I received a gift back from him. Apparently guests receive wedding souvenirs and mine was this dandy white serving plate.

Makes me feel even guiltier for bailing on the ceremony, but I don't really know this teacher so I am trying to suck it up. Regardless of all that, the plate's pretty! It makes a nice hat.

p.s. Thanks to Sarra, I've been studying Asian poses. They are pro.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A student asked, "Why do Seattle people love coffee so much?"

I thought about it for awhile and responded, "Because the sun rarely shines there, so we replace it with caffeine. Coffee is a sun substitute, I guess."

This week I've really needed some light in my life, but, for some reason, the sun is playing coy with me.
Luckily, I have a place to borrow a little sunshine.