Yukkuri Countdown JAPAN
Friday, April 29, 2005
 Hot and Sweaty!

Just got done running. Today was suddenly very very hot. This morning I had wanted to take a walk in the nice warm sun after breakfast but when the left pocket told me the temperature I realized it felt too warm. 31 degrees Celsius high.

Breakfast was orange and cranberry scones and three cheese garlic spinach omelette. The scones were made from mix sent from my mom. They were pretty easy to make (add butter, egg, milk) and yummy. I made the omelette extra cheesy, using up the last bits of a couple bags of cheese (I don't know what kind because in Japan they're often just labeled natural cheese) and I'm going crazy with garlic lately because I recently bought some for the first time(!) to finally learn how to cook with it. Sad? I was happy with my omelette! I found out the left pocket doesn't fancy orange flavored scones; he liked the spinach though!

After two years I still am really disappointed with the weakness of Japanese washing machines. They don't get it done! I can't wait to get rid of the clothes I've overworn and never gotten fully clean while here!

Fruit smoothies, Mexican food, healthy sandwiches. If these were as easily attainable here as in California, I would be happier where I am. There are these fruit and vegetable juice stands in the stations and malls but all you get is a little dixie cup of juice for something like 300yen. When will Mexican food become popular with Japanese people?? As for sandwiches, there are some tasty looking ones at the fancy bakeries and bagels are showing up where the vegetable juice places already are but I'm waiting for Subway to get more agressive and not just sit back in a few locations in Tokyo, etc.

Dinner time!
 
Thursday, April 28, 2005
 Golden Week
What to do for Golden Week? Enjoy Japan. See new things.

Surprisingly, I heard that not many students will absent from school on the two days between all the days off. This year Golden Week falls in such a way that Fri-Sat-Sun and Tues-Wed-Thurs are consecutive holidays. I'm taking Monday and Friday off too.

It bugs me when the voices of teachers who are standing around talking suddenly turn into whispering and then laughing.

Off to make lesson plan.. Today I finished doing my self-introduction for the 15th and 16th time this term. I found out that I'll see all the students three more times. Three more 15-minute lessons. What to do with my time?

Actually, add visit-school and I did my self-introduction 21 times this term. Despite my efforts (including visual aides) to explain what I am, unfortunately I think less than one-third of the students understand how I can look like a typical Japanese person and have a seemingly typical Japanese name but claim to be American. Well, I try, and I get through to a few people.

Off to make lesson plan...
 
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
 Eye Talk


I saw this stuff called Eye Talk in a drug store a few weeks ago and it took me awhile to figure it out. Can you blame me? It's just a little bottle accompanied by a little pointy stick and no picture on the box except for a close-up of an eye. Seeing an illustration on a competing brand's box, I realized what it was for. Call me old fashioned but I couldn't believe they make this stuff. I thought it was pretty clever at the time and even had an urge to buy some as a novelty.

After seeing this video I'm grossed out though.
 
Monday, April 18, 2005
 P


3/31 Geylang

Haig Rd. Market & Cooked Food Centre


The food centre had mostly C ratings but we were hungry and thought any place in Geylang would have good food.


S$2.50 Nasi Lemak. After I order, a guy leaning on the stall says, "Chicken!" and smiles and I nod and repeat, "Chicken!" thinking, Yeah, that's chicken in the pic uh huh and... When the left pocket sees our plate he says, "Where's the fish?" They had plenty of fish in the stall. What's up, is this another rip off or is it my fault for not getting the guy's question?


Honeydew Juice S$1.00 This was good! YUMYUM!

in the market across the street...


I used to eat haw flakes when I was little, the coinlike ones that come in rolls.


So much haw. What is haw??

At the incredibly deserted Malay Village...


A very very very very scary wedding hall. Everything else was closed. Lots of cool cats around, though.

at a small corner food centre on Geylang...




"Traditional Laksa" S$2.00 YUMYUMYUM! Spicy and milky and so tasty but not enough prawn.


I realized what this place had too late. The last Loh Mai Kai was gone, so I went for the char siu one. The lady who worked here was very nice, even when I didn't know what anything was.


Lim Kee Fan Choy S$1.20 YUMYUMYUM! You can see the bit of egg white on the edge.

along the East Coast, at Long Beach MAIN Seafood Restaurant...


Ridiculous! This is one of those wet wipe napkins if you can't tell.


YUMYUM salted fresh roasted peanuts


2 famous Chilli Crabs (plus some extra legs!) This crab was S$34/100g.


One of the pieces I ate! I didn't eat much so I watched the left pocket single-pocketedly suck everything out of all the rest of the crab!!


I loved the sauce...thick and sweet with flowery egg in it, and a reason to eat these YUMYUMYUM!! fried and steamed breads, S$.60 each.

 
 I like nothing. I don't like nothing.

It's bad enough when one answer catches on and each member of the class recites it as their own answer. It's just a downer when the things that catch on are "I don't like studying" and "I don't like English". With the classes today it was "I like nothing. I don't like nothing". This round of second years at visit school look and behave better than the ones I had to teach when I first came to Japan but they still don't wanna be agreeable. I spend most of my time trying to think of little ways to lure the zombies toward participating.


This term at base school I will have maybe the most packed team teaching schedule than any I've ever had; why now that I am on the last leg of this job and am no longer ambitious about what I'm doing. Just have fun and make it easy on everyone involved, forget improving their English! That should be how it always is. What's the point anyway when third years are learning "It is ~ that ~" in their reading class but they can't say something like "Excuse me" in English.

Last night the left pocket and I went running for the first time in ages. Only 28 minutes but that was enough. Not many people run around the streets in Japan. They look at you like you're weird.

After running we had chili and cornbread for dinner. Two types of chili and two types of cornbread, now that I think about it. Not only that but both types of chili were 99% fat free while some of the cornbread had lard in it. Instant food is strange!
 
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 A


3/30 along the river

First, Clarke Quay (pronounced like "key")...






The left pocket tried Yong Bak Kut Teh. S$6.60 isn't what they charge locals, is it?


Sensitive Plant! (mouseover)












This makes me think of the movie Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Spirited Away.

At Boat Quay...



At Marina Square...


Iced Milo! Had to try it. It was good! YUMYUM!


Mee Rebus from a Nasi Lemak & Popiah place. It was interesting. Kinda nutty and fishy and spicy. There was some newspaper discount going on so I guess the nice lady gave it to me. S$2.50 (U.P. S$3) Does U.P. stand for Usual Price?


Meanwhile the left pocket went a couple counters down for BBQ Delights satay, 10 for S$5.

Later, at Millenia Walk... Silk Road Noodle Bar


Shenyang Panfried Snowflake Dumpling, S$6.50
I only ordered this and it took awhile to come. When it did, the server said they made it "golden brown" and if I didn't like it they could do it again! Maybe it was the way it described it or maybe it really wasn't so bad so I said it was fine and ate it! It was smaller than I'd imagined so I went for another order...


Handmade noodle in Beijing-style bean sauce, or zha jiang mian S$6 (mouseover)









The noodles I had at Silk Road restaurant were very thin and non-uniform in size but these at the noodle bar were thick and all the same size. Are they really handmade? Actually I liked the thicker noodles better! YUMYUM! Halfway through eating this I looked down and realized I was getting sauce splots all over my clothes!!




Can you see the Merlion??
 
Thursday, April 14, 2005
 G


3/29 Chinatown


first the view from the lousy YWCA


coming out of the MRT station


durians














Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice S$2 YUMYUM!
This place is on Smith Street. First we looked through the food center across from it but went for the more spacious, cool, fresh-aired shop. The chicken rice came with a biggish bowl of soup we shared...woulda been nice if they gave each of us a bowl.






a youth troupe put on a pretty interesting show for the public



Sago Lane...


When the Chinese-speaking store clerk couldn't understand the romanized Chinese in my notes, a very friendly local stopped to help explain to me (in Japanese, before asking where we were from) what each dumpling was. He said he was soon going to Osaka to see the sakura. Hope he had a nice trip!


These mini mooncakes were too oily.


Wife's Biscuit, which has winter melon inside (the friendly Japanese-speaking guy's favorite). I liked how it was chewy inside.

The next three are from one of the other pastry shops on Sago, Leung Sang Hong Kong Pastry Shop, where most if not everything is S$.60 and there were yellow crates in front.


My precious dan tat, egg tart! YUMYUMYUM!


The left pocket tried a roasted chicken bun, S$.60. It was warm and "like a really good charsiu bao" YUMYUMYUM!


He also tried a chicken curry pie, S$.60 which he liked too.

Tanjong Pagar Road... Fair Price is a nice [priced] market and we saw some interesting local foods inside too.






sooo cheap!!


The tall building behind the sign is the Amara Hotel, inside which lies Silk Road Restaurant.


Automatic pickles which end up S$2 on the bill. Yummy though!


Handmade Sichuan Beef Noodles, S$8. YUM! Very tasty though the beef was more impressive in the other beef noodles I had! Melty noodles. The left pocket had Handmade Noodles with Seafood, S$10


Sago Lane or one of the other streets lighted up at night.






We never got to THE Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney while we were around Orchard Road, so when we came across this one on Amoy Street I wanted to try.


lime juice, S$1.20 YUM!


Unknowingly we each ordered one piece of kaya toast (S$.70) and they showed up frighteningly tiny on the already small plates! Two crumbly bites with a lot of butter. I was disappointed but determined to try kaya toast again.

 
Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!

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Location: Tokyo/Saitama, Japan

Life is short so I eat fast, lest it get cold or disappear. I'm currently teaching English in Japan for two years. I was born and raised in California, and will be returning there in Summer 2005. I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about seven years but decided to let it go during second year in Japan!


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