Sunday, February 26, 2006
Monday, February 20, 2006
Sunday, February 19, 2006
A very serious AJ at the recent 'Osaka Festival' in Melbourne. I sent the yukata pattern to his Mum. She whipped it up in a flash and a bit of help from a Japanese friend.Milla being very 'unJapanese' in her pink yukata. Look at that puku (tummy)!
To read more about these two ratbags, my god children. Look here...
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Michael : Hello, this is Michael. Can I speak to Saramandora?
Saramandora : Speaking.
Michael : Oh!! Hi Saramandora. How are you?
Saramandora : Um... I'm sad.
Michael : What's the matter?
Saramandora : Awww, my heart is broken.
Michael : Oh, too bad. By the way, will you come to a movie with me tonight?
Saramandora : Oh, um, oh, um, ok, yes.
Michael : Oh, really? Let's go tonight. I will pick you up at 11.
Saramandora : Oh, thank you. See you then.
Michael : Wait...
Saramandora : Yes?
Michael : Um. Um. Um. Um. Ah. Um, I love you.
Saramandora : Um, um, I love you too.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Person 1 : Brought in origami paper and showed me how to make a new crane. I had asked her to show me a particular trick she knows. She is really into crafty things. We share some interests in this area...
Person 2 : Is having a new house built. He gave an update on the progress...
Person 3 : Told us how her friends use her email box as a counselling service...
Person 4 : Brought in photos to show her two passions/hobbies. Life painting and ballroom dancing. She talked for quite a while and everyone had questions for her. Her large oil paintings take upward of 6 months to complete. She once sketched a nude lady the size of a sumo wrestler.
Person 5 : I love this guy. He retired about a year ago and does lots of interesting things. He recently visited his daughter in South Africa. Whilst there he got hemorrhoids. He has spent the last two classes decribing his condition in English. Both interesting and amusing. He was operated on less than a week ago. Another member inquired about his pain. He replied, 'Not so much pain. Just a little when poo.' So funny. Thanks for the information. (This was the funny topic)...
Person 6 : This is the guy I admire. I am not sure of his age. Maybe he is about 70. He brought in an article about a recent marathon he participated in. He ran the full marathon. This alone impressed me as it was 10km. He then went on to tell us about his pregnant daughter - his first grandchild. He seemed so excited but then went on to tell us how she is due to give birth on the day he is entered in a special marathon. This is the part I really admire. The marathon goes from one of the main Japanese islands to another. The length? 100km. Seriously, 100km! He went on to explain that he has done the marathon before and completed it in 40 hours. There is no sleeping and almost no stopping. He mostly runs and occasionally walks. Toilet stops are anywhere along the way with only small breaks to eat. The completion cut off is 60 hours so he is doing pretty well. He also told us that the world record for that distance was 6 hours (I think). Just to recap... He is around 70 years old and will run a non-stop 100km marathon in May. AMAZING!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
Sunday, February 12, 2006
The main reason for this post is to trial adding videos to my blog. I hope this works and I hope you enjoy the movie clip!
Friday, February 10, 2006
I HAD THE BEST TIME. It turns out (as with many Japanese), that most of them had passable English and with a mixture of both native languages we got by. The boys were hilarious and lots of fun. They had me laughing so hard I almost cried. They were behaving in my kind of 'normal'. There was no behaviour that they had to conform to. Just relax and have fun. Anything goes style...
Oh. I forgot to say...
I ATE THIS!!! Sea cucumber - raw!
Not so much I can say about the flavour. I didn't like the texture though. It was like trying to chew through a huge rubber band. It went down and stayed down and I can check it off my list of things tried. I will not have it again though!
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Monday, February 06, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Several things happen in accordance with this special day...
Whole families make a pilgrimage to their local shrine. Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and kids. They take with them, the new years wreaths and decorations. They hand these over and proceed to pray for good luck and happiness for the following year. They then make a donation to the shrine and receive goods and or mame maki.
(Geisha photo from BBC news)
Mame Maki. At home that night, Setsubun festivities continue with mame maki. Mame maki is a bean-throwing ceremony. Firstly people of the household toss roasted soybeans at one member of the family who is dressed as an oni. The oni is a representation of a demon or things that are bad. During the throwing, everyone chants, "Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi". This means "Demon (bad luck) out. Good luck in." After throwing, each family member collects beans from the clean tatami floor and eats the amount that corresponds with their age for good luck. I feel sorry for the grandparents who are over 90. The beans are hard and dry! Next, windows and doors open and family members toss beans outside, chanting again. Some children participate in this bean-throwing ceremony at kinder or primary school. I have seen them on TV, terrified of the big scary monster, tears streaming down their faces but they continue to throw beans. Very, very cute.
The mask on the left is the scary oni. I guess the beautiful lady on the right, represents happiness and good luck. They were bought at a local supermarket as a set for mame maki. Can you see the bags of beans underneath?This is an advertisement at the supermarket for traditional Setsubun fare. One food that is popular is an entire roll of makizushi. I was told that eating this sushi for Setsubun originated in Osaka. The tradition goes that each person gets a whole roll. You should stand facing a prosperous direction for good luck and consume the entire thing with out talking. Sounds easy but they are remarkably huge!!
Also at this time of year, many people eat whale. Throughout the year you can purchase whale but right now it is everywhere. It is supposed to be expensive but as the photos show, it is decidedly cheap. 698 yen is about $9 for 100 grams. Not bad for endangered meat!
A lot of the meat is really dark. It actually looks a lot like beef.
You may not want to know what this is... Here goes. It's blubber. The black lines are skin. I asked a Japanese friend how this part of the whale is eaten. She said you boil it and then season it with soy sauce. Delicious - I think not!