Saturday, October 31, 2009

Woohoo!

No question about it...it is definitely snowing now! I was out running to the store somewhere around 9:00 to get some dinner. None of this was happening at that point.

My plan was to stay up until midnight to get started on my NaNoWriMo project. I was about 279
words in when I decided to go check and see if there was any snow. I kind of doubted that there would be any snow.

The first thing I saw (from the entryway of the building) was what
appeared to be a heap of something on a white car. Imagine my surprise to see a layer of white on everything! I was hoping to see a few more snowflakes - I had no hope of accumulation, no matter how slight. And yet, it is everywhere! It's sooooooooo pretty! I don't know if it will still be around in the morning or not, but it sure is nice now!

Oh, and I made a pot of wassail on my heater! Everyone says not to use your oven to heat the house, but no one says anything about using your heater to cook! Soooooo, I had a nice pot there just kind of hanging out all afternoon and evening!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Let it snow!

OK...I'm pretty sure SNOW IS COMING! We are actually supposed to have flurries around midnight tonight and tomorrow night!

...wait a minute...I cannot write about SNOW without something hot to drink...

All right, I'm ready to go now. I have a nice hot mug of green stuff and some nice
blogging music. No, it's not a jig...that would be clogging music! Here is my green stuff! It's actually a green tea latte an
d is pretty delicious.

Hey, the song is on that my roommate played for me when I found out my family was moving to Mississippi! It's actually called "Liz on Top of the World." :-) That was a good day! In some ways, it's hard to believe that was two whole years ago! On the oth
er hand, a few things have happened in all of our lives since then! I am really looking forward to my visit home in less than two months! I am looking forward to hugs, burritos, and being in the same time zone! Yea! And...dare I hope...fabulous weather??????? It's
77
degrees at home right now...yum!

Howeverrrrrrrrr, we do have some snow coming! And this is new, and therefore quite exciting to me! Here are some pictures of my Missis
sippi snowfall in early 2008:

No, it was really exciting! Actually, I do have to say that one year - maybe Christmas of 2004 - my brother and I braved copious amounts of snow and ice to battle our way home for Christmas! We made it home on Christmas Day! We had to postpone our celebration for a few d
ays though, until we could battle our way through more snow and ice to a town a few hours away to rescue our foster brother and bring him home. That was another interesting day. I am actually pretty glad that I don't have to drive in snow and ice here. It can be kind of difficult, because you never
know what's ahead. when my brother and I were driving home, I remember that both lanes of the interstate would be clear for ages. Just as I decided it was safe to pass whatever old pokeypants we were following and swung into the left lane, bam! That lane would be solid ice/snow/whatever. This happened multiple times! And I remember hitting a big chunk of ice (or a hole) when we were on the rescue mission and being very concerned about the underside of my car!

While I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of snow, do you want to see some pictures? I will try to get them into this post, but Blogger is soooooooo difficult when it comes to getting pictures where you want them. Mine are always stuck at the top of my post and it is impossible to drag them all the way down the post. Aaaaagh! Maybe there is a trick I don't
know about...??

I think there were some questions about my heater. Let me see if I can "enlighten" you. I
took this first picture so you could get an idea of the scale of the heater in relation to other things. It's about the size of my hand. No, seriously, I was trying to see if I could take a shot with the timer from a certain shelf and this was the test version. I don't really know why my left hand is in the shot. I don't think my right hand (the one taking the picture) knew what my left hand was doing. It's either trying to help, or it's slightly publicity hungry.


The timer shot worked pretty well. In case you are wondering, I am NOT touching the stovepipe-looking thing. I have made that mistake a few times and am not planning to make it any more! The pot on top the stove if full of water to keep the house from getting too dry. I've actually turned my pot of water into a bit of a stew. I threw some cinnamon, an orange peel, and an old rosehip and hibiscus teabag in. It smelled really good for a while, but I've had to keep adding water, so now it's a little diluted. I may need to refresh the cinnamon.

Well, it's 11:37 now, so I am going to go out on a quick snow check. I think I saw some flakes earlier when I went to grab some dinner and then again when I went to the store. I'm about 93% sure, anyway. I'll be right back...

...I'm back. Nothing yet...just some really cold wind. Hmmm, what else can I write about? I think I will take a little break and read for a while.

This article probably explains why I do not really like the masks everyone is wearing now!

The wind is really loud tonight. I'm reeeeeally getting tired now - I may have to just be content with the possible snow sighting earlier this evening...zzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welcome!

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to...Umbrella Number 7! If stocks have been rising for umbrella manufacturers over the past few months, it is probably due to me. Unfortunately, when one walks everywhere, an umbrella is essential. Imagine not having a roof on your car. It'd be nice on pretty days, but it sure would be a pill to drive to work in a monsoon.

Here is a brief umbrella history (it's been a slow day);

Umbrella #1 was a nice black umbrella I bought in Tokyo. I think it has been the most expensive of the umbrella bunch so far. I left it in someone's car.

Umbrella #2 was a cheap umbrella, but it was cute and pink. The Wakkanai wind blasted it apart the first day I used it.

Umbrella #3 was a clear plastic umbrella. It too, was blown apart in the wind the first time I opened it.

Umbrella #4 was a clear plastic umbrella that looked like everyone else's umbrella and disappeared. It never even made it to Wakkanai. I bought it in Ebetsu, and in Ebetsu I assume it still is.

Umbrella #5 was another clear plastic umbrella (Seicomart special - stronger than #3) that I left somewhere.

Umbrella #6 was another cute pink one that I now can't find. I'm sure it's here somewhere...

And, Umbrella #7 is the clear plastic Seicomart kind. It's the kind I buy when I'm caught in the rain and there is a Seicomart nearby. I hope it has a nice long life in my home.

Hmmm...12 weeks and 7 umbrellas. If I can make this umbrella last to week 14, I will be averaging 1 umbrella every two weeks.

Have I really only been here 12 weeks?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good times!

My official welcome party was this evening, and it was a lot of fun! As usual, I was confused about half the time, but it was a wonderful evening. We started with volleyball - fortunately or unfortunately, my knee was well enough to allow me to play. Of course, my style of playing volleyball is not exactly high-impact. Some people did epic dives and slides for the ball that looked incredibly painful. This is my strategy: If a ball comes, get out of the way. It's pretty simple, and we did win a match, so I'm not complaining. I think it was the first time in my life to win a volleyball match...or be on a team that won. Believe it or not, I actually hit the ball a few times! And most of my serves were good!

It really brought back memories of being a camper at Kamp Kanakomo however many years ago. Come to think of it, that was about half my lifetime ago...eeek! Anyway, at Kanakomo, campers major in one sport, minor in 2, and then have some electives. One year, volleyball was one of my electives. Naturally, dance was my major both years! Anyway, I will never forget being in a game against one of the guys' teams. We were (as is usually the case with my volleyball teams) losing, and our counselor started pulling out all the stops. She promised us popsicles if we won (or maybe it was even if we hit the ball...things were really not going well). At one point, she stuck the whole team on the court. We still lost.

After the games, we went to an izikaya (I can't spell that word, but come to think of it, most of you probably can't either... ;-) and ate tons of delicious food. I even ate an octopus ball that was pretty good. I doubt I'll be making them at home anytime soon, though. We played a game where I had to answer tons of random questions. I did get the one about the prime minister of Japan correct...BWAHAHAHA! Even better, I got the one about the head of our office correct! It would have been really embarrassing to get that one wrong. It was kind of sad really, I worked so hard to memorize the PM before my JET interview in Nashville (naturally, they didn't bother to ask me that) and then Japan changed their ruling party...sigh. After the quiz, I had to do a speech. It was very short. Then, we ate more food,and it was time to go home. I wish we could have parties every Monday! It's a nice way to start the week. ;-)

Anyhoo, I suppose I should start drifting towards bed. Perhaps I will curl up under my mountain of blankets with a cookie or two,a cup of tea made with water from my new tea kettle, and some Jane Austen. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things that make me giggle, part 1

Yes, I know that I am easily amused. However, the following things added a little sparkle to my life, and I hope you like them, too!

Look in the front of the boat...Captain Gull!



Isn't this the cutest packaging ever! I bought it, AND IT WAS FILLED WITH BEANS! I thought that was a nasty trick. So far, it's Beans 15, Me 0



Surely I am not the only one who sees 2 problems with this tag!




Don't you just want to buy this doughnut! I think this was my first encounter with funny packaging in Japan. I didn't buy it.




Cooking in Japan

I don't usually cook here in Japan. I often enjoyed cooking in America, but it's just not something I do much of here. My kitchen is small and not well-stocked. If I have an opportunity to eat with a friend, I will take it anytime! Plus, it's just more fun to eat out!

Today, however, I decided to get back on the old cooking bandwagon (at least for lunches). I went through one of the cookbooks I brought with me and found a few recipes I could make here (anything with tortillas is out...this saddens me). I picked up the ingredients for Chickpea Curry and am going to try to make it tonight after church. I also found almost all the ingredients for Wassail (woohoo). I just can't find whole cloves. It's really funny to shop in Japan, because in some ways the process feels upside down. Ingredients that were difficult to find at home are plentiful here, and vice versa. I do have to say that cabbage was plentiful today. One could purchase a giant bag of six cabbages. Why anyone would want six large cabbages, I know not, but there they were.

OK, I have my cooking music on and I'm ready!

...nine songs later... Here it is! OK, so it's not a culinary masterpiece. As Bert says in the movie Mary Poppins, "Still better then a finger in the eye, ain't they?"

Also, I would like to report that I believe I have figured out the mischievous rice cooker at last! Look out, world!

Another thing I am super excited about is my new tea kettle. It is kind of similar to the one I had back home. I think my new one is slightly larger, though. Of course, my kitchen is much smaller, so maybe it just looks bigger in proportion to the kitchen. Who knows!

Well, I need to go see what I can do about cleaning this apartment. If I am successful, I will have had a very domestic day - cleaning, laundering, and cooking! Aaand going to the coffee shop, studying some Japanese, shopping, and going to church. It's been a pretty busy day!

Wish me luck with the cleaning (I need it)!