Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mid-Week Food Spam!

Other than thinking of how excited I am about going home for a visit in 2.5 weeks, I've been reading a health book and trying out lots of good, healthy, recipes! It's been fun (albeit expensive to be buying so many more veggies than I was before), and I think it's totally worth the extra effort some of these take. Most of them don't take any more time than my usual lazy food, and they are so much more delicious!! That, and making the salmon one yesterday opened my eyes to the fact that my oven/microwave has a "grill" function which I assume is the same as broiling.

Ham, cheese, and chive omelet with tea and vegetable juice for breakfast.
Nabe lunch. I got the idea from the morning show I watch, "Mocco's Kitchen." Has eggplant, orange pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, garlic, wakame and chicken broth in it. Nabe-ed over a flame for 10 min and seasoned~
Broiled salmon with fried onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. Love salmon <3
Yesterday, I cut squares out for the quilt I'm planning on making. Thus far, I have 30 squares each of 3 types of fabric. I need one more color and then I can start stitching it and putting on the back, etc. I'm excited to finally have a quilt again! I left this adorable one my friend made for me in High School back in the US. It had a huge strawberry on it and said いちご in hiragana underneath. I don't wanna do anything that fancy, but I'm excited anyway. Other than that, I went over to Nat-chan's house round 7:30 and watched Burlesque with her. Great movie! I liked that a lot better than Chicago and actually, I don't usually like musical movies but this one made it much more natural (not too hard with the premise). おすすめ!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Please Don't Stop the Music~

Busy weekend! Friday night was a "group birthday party" on the west side. Including me, there were 6 other birthday people (August and early September birthdays) celebrating. We all piled into someones house, BBQ'd and chatted. Saturday, we caravan-ed out to Shimanto for fireworks (some honestly AMAZING fireworks), drinking and a clubbing event that was packed full of people! Good 3AM night and an amazing breakfast the next day. :) Some how a house of 13 people didn't feel that full the next morning as we all lazed around sipping juice and eating an amazing egg scramble on english muffins. Most other people stayed in Shimanto for a beer float but the four of us who came together decided to hit an onsen and then get back early. I also stopped at Hard Off on the way and got myself a birthday present~ (new film camera, only 6000 yen!!). Tiring but fun weekend to end August with. Here we come, school year!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lemony Goodness

This week's baked good is brought to you by the blog, "Xai Eats A Lot." I have never made lemon bars before (or for that matter, ANYTHING that involves that many lemons and zest) and it was really easy! My oven, being a Japanese oven, bakes a little unevenly so one side of the bars were a bit firmer, and the other side were more gooey.... but I don't think that hurt them in any way (the gooey side was FANTASTIC) and I will know better next time! I think that the recipe for the lemony topping is fantastic and a nice blend of tart and sweet~ Can't wait to show these things off tonight at the combo birthday party I'm going to (5 or so people's b-days being combined into one party kinda thing)! Here is the recipe:

Lemon Bars
(shortbread crust)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. cream butter, sugar and salt until fluffy.
3. when it get’s paler that the butter’s original color, add flour and mix just until  it’s combined.
4. press the dough in a 9 x 13 inch parchment-lined or buttered and floured baking pan. make sure you cover the whole baking dish with the dough. bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. let it cool and set aside. do not turn off the oven, you’ll be returning that pan back into it with the lemon filling.
(lemon topping)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp flour
1. whisk sugar and eggs until pale and thick.
2. stir in lemon juice and zest, and add flour until combined.
3. pour this mixture over the cooled shortbread crust. bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the lemon filling is set.
4. let it cool and cut in squares. just a note when cutting, make sure you wipe the knife clean with a damp towel everytime you slice the bars so that you’ll have clean cuts.
Looking forward to a busy weekend! Tonight is the combo birthday party in Sakawa, tomorrow will be fireworks and a dance party in Nakamura, and Sunday there is a possible beer float (depending on how I feel/weather) to attend on the Shimanto river. Nice way to spend the last weekend before school starts, I must say. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Live it up~

Phew... This weekend felt a lot longer than two days!

Friday, a few of us went over to E's for drinks and food. We all made and brought over some food and De- brought over some new sake that her company just started selling last week (I think it's one of my new favorites). E's friend from Okinawa was visiting Kochi so it was fun to chat with him (his English is amazing). On Saturday, Matto picked me up and we drove over to Nangoku to take the N2 practice test that our teacher had set up for us. 4 hours of sitting in a cold gymnasium and taking that horrid test... not my ideal for a Saturday afternoon.

That night, I went to a konpa that I helped set-up. The funniest part was that, one of the girls I had originally invited out got sick all of a sudden and had to cancel on me, leaving the numbers lopsided with 3 girls and 4 guys. I told my contact Saturday morning about this, but SOMEHOW ended up getting to ask this new girl in our Japanese class if she wanted to come along! She said yes, even though I'd literally met her 4 days prior, and told her where to meet us in the city. Unfortunately, one of the guys ended up being hung-over and dropped out last minute, BUT we all got to know Sao because of the date so that was a much bigger win than going out with the guys. I say this, because of the three guys left, one was married, and the other two just.... awkwardly didn't say much until after dinner, when we went to a bar called "Boston Cafe" and then to "One Love" to dance. Because married-guy was the only one talking, De- and Sao took over the conversation and it seemed more like a girls outing with some guys observing us, haha. Dancing was a lot more fun, though, because married-guy apparently took ballroom dancing lessons and was spinning us around the floor all night. Anyway, despite the awkward start, the night was a lot of fun and I'm really glad to have a new friend that lives decently close.

And now, a bunch of pictures from Yosakoi.

At the Aki Yosakoi festival: Energizer Bunny, me, Hiro, De- and Nat-chan.

One of the teams that had really fun costumes.


Love this girls expression

Juri dancing <3

One of the dancing areas had a street that people paraded down

It was such a beautiful day to go see the dancing! So glad I took the day off for it. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

1600km to Nagasaki and back

Chinese Temple at Temple Row in Nagasaki City

Same Chinese Temple

Another temple on Temple Row

Gunkan Jima

The ruins of Gunkan Jima

Obon parade.

Each family creates a "boat" to honor their deceased relatives.

Everyone parades down the street with their boats, banging gongs and blowing up fire crackers.

The night was rainy and cool so the smoke from the fire crackers gave everything an eerie glow.

Truly a wonderful celebration to be able to witness.

Glover Garden, where all the foreign houses remain.

Glover Garden is located on the side of a mountain so you can get a nice view of the harbor from there.
After three days, I think I've finally recovered from my trip to Nagasaki (two days of 14 hours of straight driving... plus days in between PACKED with walking around Nagasaki city and it's steep steep hills). The above pictures were taken with my 300 Yen film camera (I think I've finally gotten the hang of how to use the old-school focus on the lense) and I think they came out kind of fun :)

Friday was spent driving. Saturday, me and Liz went to Gunkan Jima with her friends and then looked at the temples on temple row. I've wanted to go to Gunkan Jima since mountain sensei told me about it (and his love for ruins) last school year. The island has been people-less since the 80's and is completely broken down and overgrown. An interesting view into a post-apocalyptic world, even on a man-made island!

Sunday we went to Glover Garden where all the old western-style houses remain from the 1800's. They were gorgeous and made me kind of nostalgic for home, haha. Then at night we went to see the last installment of Harry Potter (GREAT ending I thought, even though I never read all the books) and had dinner at the most AMAZING Italian place. REAL cheese on the pizza and REAL ceasar salad dressing!!! Monday was spent at the Nagasaki Peace Museum learning up on the bombings and seeing the Peace Park. Then Monday night, we went to the Obon festival. Apparently obon is celebrated differently in Nagasaki. Everyone builds boats for their family members and parade down the street to the harbor. Once at the habor, the boats are loaded on a barge and then floated out to sea. I think they may also be burned.... but I'm not sure. Anyway, the night was cool and because it was raining, the gongs and smoke from the fire crackers was super cool and eerie. I couldn't look away from it all, the weather was extremely appropriate for the type of ceremony/celebration that was going on.

The whole trip was a lot of fun, and it was nice seeing Liz again (it had been over a year). I also got to indulge in my latest dorky endeavor: collecting all of the "ご当地" "gotochi" postcards. I got 6 prefecture's cards from this trip!!! I also probably wasted a lot of time running around trying to find large post offices in each prefecture... but oh well. It was my VACATION.

More updates on Yosakoi later (since I went the Thursday before Nagasaki and have lots of fun pictures~).

Can't forget Nagasaki's famous food, カステラ〜 sooo yummy <3

Friday, August 12, 2011



Went to see Yosakoi yesterday and today I'm off on a 12 hour road trip to Nagasaki to see a high school friend!! Here I go~

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some film photos

Hiro's shoes at the beach

Nat-chan, master rock skipper

Temple in Inokuchi

Bridge over Akigawa

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Big City Tokyo VS Big River Run

The last week and a half have been AMAZING (if you don't count the going to work part, of course). The show in Tokyo was spectacular (although a little long... if they had cut out like 2/3 bands it would have been perfect), and I was sooo happy to finally see Your Pest Band and Pear of the West Live! It was even more spectacular going to see friends from work/school and going shopping in Koenji and Shimokitazawa~ I've never wanted to live in a place so badly.... IT'S SO COOL! <3 There are tons of used clothing shops, CD/record shops, and live houses! I'd be broke 100% of the time I lived there, but I'd be the happiest poor foreign girl ever. :)

Then, in response to the above posted picture, on Sunday I got to go to a river run with Nat-chan and the gang. We had to build our own rafts and float them down the Ioki river. The run was a blast (and not to mention thrillingly dangerous at certain parts) and then we had a self-contained nomikai for 5 hours after the run. I got some sun burn on my shoulders and back (which feels like someone is cutting off my skin with a dull knife when I put a shirt on..) but it was totally worth it to spend the day with my awesome Aki-city friends. <3

Fellow punks at Shinjuku Jam

Spalding singing in "WHAT-A-NIGHT'S"
<3<3<3 my Aki friends~