Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mid-October Peekings

You have probably been wondering: Kelly, what are you eating these days?  To visually answer this question, I pulled a few things out of my fridge for you.  I have been cooking a lot more for myself (as compared to the month of August and beginning of September when I ate out every single night), but to be honest I rarely cook Japanese food because I eat it for every other meal and my attempts at Japanese cooking fall so short of what is available.  

This is one of my new favorite ingredients for when I do take a stab at cooking Japanese food.  It called miyoga and is the flower bud of a ginger plant.  You slice it thin and put it on top of tofu with some soy sauce and its delicious! The flavor is more subtle than the ginger root but still has a little punch to it.
Elementary school kids wait for their bus.
Easy rider, Kagoshima style.
This is amai miso, sweet miso and its my new favorite flavor.  It isn't salty like the miso paste you use to make soup with, so you can spread it on slices of cucumber or tofu and eat it straight up.  
A local miso paste.  I am trying to learn more about the different kinds of miso, where and how they are made and how this changes the taste.  So far, just stabbing in the dark, trying whatever has the most attractive packaging.
Japanese yogurt.  So far, yogurt in Japan is a mixed bag of decent and funny interpretations of yogurt.  A lot of the "plain" yogurt I have bought comes with a packet of sugar to mix into it and they are really into aloe yogurt (sweet yogurt with chunks of sweet aloe plant) which I never would have thought to mix together.  Personally, the richer, the more full cream you can give me in yogurt form the better, so so far the only thing that comes close to that is called "Borgaria" (Japanese interpretation of Bulgaria) yogurt.
Ginger-cucumber pickles.  Mmmm.  Very satisfied with the pickle options here.  I could live off the multitude of deliciously pickled items.
And mushrooms!  So many kinds of mushrooms and so cheap!
I recently sent off a whole mountain of small packages, so watch out - one may be coming your way!
I have gotten very accustomed to the amazing availability and incredibly quality of pre-prepared foods.  I was never so much a fan of food on the go at home, but here I can buy incredibly fresh sushi for quite cheap just five minutes out my door.  What will I do when I don't live in Japan?
Nashi, Asian pears. Crunchy, juicy, cheaper than most of the rest of the fruit available here (I suppose fruit is really expensive here because most of it gets shipped in from somewhere).
Hey, I have to keep my hippy cred up somehow.  Delicious on toast with butter and honey.
I finally found unfiltered apple juice which will soon lend itself to some spiced apple and brandy fall delight.  Also, my favorite plum jam from Italy, brought to me by Philip.
The math teacher who I sit next to at one of my schools.  His wife makes him these amazing lunches every day.

My job is solely "team teaching," meaning that I am paired with a Japanese Teacher of English and we work together to teach the class.  Mostly, this means that I provide the comedic relief and tidbits of information about American life, pronunciation, idioms, and slang.   This is one of my teachers who I call Renaissance man because he has mastered a kind of origami where you make something like 50 cranes out of one sheet of paper, comes to and from school on his bike and arrives early to practice the recorder, rode his bike from NY to CA, and has and incredible knowledge of almost anything I ask him.
My favorite Japanese teacher, who on occasion gives me tea ceremony lessons. 
Another one of the teachers who I work with, who I found out had a love for animals and have since spent hours telling stories about my dachshund to.
Students in the library.  I try to hang out in the library when I am not teaching classes because the librarian and I are bff and also because it gives me the chance to interact with the students when they aren't worrying about how their "real" teacher is going to react to them.  The other day a group of boys in the library remembered that they knew the word "vagina" and started yelling it and turning it into a song and hopping around "vaaaaaginaaaah vagInUUUUhh!"  As their teacher I was supposed to not find it funny and tell them to stop, but as me, I couldn't stop laughing at them.
They are always on the phone. ALWAYS.  Especially in class.
My librarian friend.  We give each other small presents and show each other interior design blogs that we follow.
The teacher who sits next to me during his daily nap.  I have so much admiration for people who can nap like this and not constantly have their head dipping/neck snapping.  He looks like he is deep in mediation (and maybe he is?).  It's really funny when students come by and want to talk to him and look at me for help in waking him and I just shrug.
Most of my students LOVE having a camera pointed at them.  This is a little frustrating if I try in any way to get something candid.

What hams! Every day after lunch the students have various cleaning duties they have to do.  Instead of hiring janitors, Japanese schools get the kids to pitch in, which is s pretty good way to cut costs and I suppose ideally give the kids a sense of appreciation for the school... but it also means that the school is never super clean (maybe it's just my schools since they are both pretty lax).

For some reason a good majority of city buildings seem to be horrendously ugly and strange.  I have no idea why or how such a huge departure from the beautiful traditional Japanese architecture came about, but every day I am in awe of how ugly a lot of the buildings are here.
The girls love a picture too.  This is taken right after school when the girls are all starting to roll their skirts up once they are away from the teachers.  The girl in the middle left has her skirt at about the height that most girls want them to be at, while the uniform dictates that their skirts should be below the knee.  Its really funny to watch them rolling their skirts up and I couldn't care less about school dress code...

There seems to be little regard for a pretty skyline.  Sometimes I try to blur my eyes so and pretend I am in San Francisco, but the power lines here have such a different feel.
What? This building is so strange!  Castle/lego/a Swiss barn for the smurfs?
A street on the way to one of my schools.  
Pretty typical looking buildings, not too distinct, not too offensive, just sort of murky.


Rachel S said...

oh man, I remember the skirt rolling that took place at my grammar school. It was extra naughty, because in order to pull off the roll, you also had to have your shirt untucked-- double whammy! Naturally, I never bothered. I new my status as junior high dork couldn't be remedied by showing MORE unshaved leg. Anyway, could go for some aloe yogurt right about now... I am OBSESSED with your blog!

kelly-inkagoshima said...

Haha, thanks Rachel! You know I am posting only for you!