Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
YOU WERE WRONG.
You found Natto.
A sticky bean paste that looks like it has Rabies, Natto, you are told, is a Japanese delight. This morning, your good friend Juerg decided it was time for a revelation. Juerg, that crazy guy from Switzerland, actually likes Natto, and has it quite often for breakfast, if today's 1:30pm breakfast is anything to go by. You can't help the shiver that runs down your spine.
Immediately you discover it is difficult to separate, as if it has its own sinister adgenda. It clings to your utensils, forming sticky tendrils not unlike mozzarella cheese... except that it is ENTIRELY unlike mozzarella cheese.
You knew it would be bad, unlike anything you had tried before. You thought about running away, but didn't want to be a coward. Nothing prepared you for this. You immediately gag as it tastes of sour, savoury vomit; an explosion of despair in your mouth. You violently start chewing, eyes watering as Juerg looks on in a sort of bewildered amusement. Why won't it go down? You start to swallow anyway, desperately reaching for something, anything to take the taste away...
Your violent reactions amuse your friends, who laugh at your misfortune as your eyes continue to water and your stomach continues to heave. In the background, you see some sort of marriage special on TV, but all you can focus on is the Natto. You praise yourself again and again at remembering to pour yourself a glass of apple juice, and you are still chewing as you start to drink. One drink is not enough, not nearly. You gulp the juice and force the Natto down, imagining it stabbing your stomache as it tried to massacre your taste buds. You drink again, but the taste lingers in your mouth, and another drink still does not erase it. You resolve to start eating well, as this incident has shown you how easily crushed your tastebuds are.
And if anyone should invite you to try Natto again, you already know just the response...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
After deciding last minute not to go to Pure (we were very disappointed with ourselves but it was the right call) we woke up the next morning with reluctance. Our first stop was the atms, to finally get cash out. We'd gotten a nasty shock on Sat when they were completely dead and we had about $3 in money and no Japanese place takes non-Japanese cards. Pretty annoying, if you ask me, and don't get me started on their stupid bikes! Anyway... We caught the train Miho's station but it was HOT! In no way were we looking forward to wearing Yukata outside in the heat.
We got there about 12:20 and Miho did our nails for us! It was a very intricate process, including removing my old bright green nail polish, several coats of... I don't know what, the top coat and then sparkly shiz! Mine are a kind of sparkly salmon pink with gold flecks and pinky-orange and green jewel things. Sarah had bright pink with black and gold flowers on hers. Then Saros and I attempted to paint our toe nails prettily with varying success- Saros had very little success and I had none. While this was happening, we were watching Fox Crime (with some great catch phrases- "Fox... Mysterious".... "Fox.... Crazy") and NCIS was quite thrilling! xx Gibbs! We also showed Miho Sarah's stop motion project (on my FB videos) and almost cried when we realised Tik Tok had disappeared from my videos. WHY GEORGELOCATION, WHY?! But, it was not her fault.
Miho's mum made us Yakusoba noodles for lunch, which were quite delicious, and we put our Yukata on. By the time we were actually ready to leave, it was 6:30. When I say ready to leave, I really mean "knowing we had to leave but quite happy just to stay anywhere with air conditioning". At least it had cooled down a little by that stage!
We wandered around seeing various side stalls of food- chips, biscuits, steak on a stick, octopus tentacles on a stick, manta ray? on a stick, Yakusoba noodles, shaved ice stalls, and all manner of cheap and nasty light up crap like you'd see at the show. No girls, those light up Minnie mouse bows do not look awesome in your hair, they look STUPID!
^^ Mmmm, look at all that sea animal on a stick goodness!!^^
^^ BEAN PASTE TUB!^^
We watched the fireworks from Miho's bf Yu's house (His real name is Yukato or Yurako or something, so Yu-san works for me)and it was quite different from here- the fireworks went on for an hour and a half with breaks in between. They'd do a burst of fireworks about every five minutes, which was kind of weird. Miho and Yu made us strawberry flavoured shaved ice, which was cool- they put condensed milk on top which gives it a flavour not unlike an unnerving strawberry milkshake.
^^ Us with Miho ^^
On our way back, Chizuko took us to Mos Burger, a place we were intruiged but a little afraid of. It was then we had our first J Cheeseburger! (It took a little explaining to get just cheese, meat an ketchup but we got there). This, unlike the pizza situation, was a double win; we liked the burger, but we didn't like it so much that we would go to Mos Burger every day! And, after staring longingly at the Furido Potato stalls (chips), I got my wish!
On the train home, we had to get off a few stops early. For some reason at night, most of the trains have some sort of "get off" message and everyone has to leave and get on the next train instead. We were lucky the first time that the guard found us and told us to get off, and ever since then we watch carefully when people get off. Unfortunately, luck was not on one Japanese man's side, as everyone got off but he was asleep and no one woke him. On the platform, everyone we kind of just staring and wondering what to do, but the problem was solved when the (almost)empty train took off. Every one on the platform just had this "oh...this is awkward... what will happen to him... should I have woken him up? Hmmm" expression on their faces.
When we got back to JF, we were greeted with great (drunk) enthusiasm, a whole group was drinking and we were keen to make up for Saturday's sobriety! We hightailed it down to Life, which was conveniently still open at 12am or so, bought some cocktails and got back to JF. We tried to teach everyone Cal Kings (no easy feat considering not everyone knows English and we don't know Japanese) but finally settled on Game of Goon (obviously without the Goon). Oche was pretty drunk and kept stuffing it up (no idea how long they'd been drinking before us) and Arthur, a guy we formerly thought was incredicreepy (incredibly creepy), was actually French and didn't speak Japanese. This was a problem for him, as our assigned numbers were Japanese (I was Juichi, Ju, Que, and Hachi) and he found himself drinking quite a bit. Everyone ganged up on Oche who was ridiculously, drunkenly inept and got caught out almost every time.
^^ Nice girl, White shirt man (who left the next day), Oche, Shoe, (O-san and Arthur out of sight) Juerg, Toyohiko ^^
Finally, the party broke up (not after we helped make Arthur pretty!) and we headed up to the roof. Oche had disappeared to go to bed half an hour earlier but made a surprise reappearance on the roof for our dance party. Sez played some music and with the exception of SuperCoolRainbowHairGuy, everyone was dancing! We obtained Jeurg and Oche's promises to help us in our secret J-Project, which should be way exciting.
^^ Juerg and Arthur...^^
Wonder how Arthur is feeling today? ;)
Shouts out to Kim: I assume you were meaning I looked like an ADORABLE spaz and we're trying to avoid pizza! Georgia: for your reasonably prompt assurance on Tik Tok, and hello, comment us! Kim again: You're awesome, what can I say? Also Ange and KIM AGAIN! You're a machine Kim, a love machine who is making up for the fact that NO ONE ELSE LOVES US! FEEL THE GUILT (and comment)!
Carlos, out! *picture me standing in a heroic pose on the top of the roof, shouting that*
I've been getting lots of Deja Vu all over the place, which is weird.
P.P.S. If you want to post anything to us, please address to (and include the Japanese symbols/the image below):
Room 109 C V and S L
4-7-16 KIRE -NISHI HIRANO-KU OSAKA-SHI OSAKA
We have a J Phone that can email people but the address looks like a virus:
You can email us at this address and it will come through as a message on our phone, alternately, we can send an sms to your emails! Love it!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
First, we’d like to start by saying – Kirilly and Beno, you lost your bet. It has now been over a week and Carly and I haven’t killed each other...yet. Which means...you owe us something...we don’t know what yet...but something.
So Japanese Coco-Pops almost taste the same as ours! (Yay!) Although, they are weirdly shaped; probably about half the size of corn flakes ! Luckily, they’re still just like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy! We’ve sadly already gone through a half a jar of vegemite, so anyone got some spare in the cupboard, feel free to dispatch immediately!
Today we met a few of Miho’s friends. There was Mei-san and her boyfriend Howard-chan and another one...called...something...that we forget. We all met at her sub-station and walked to her house, which is on the 10th floor, and the view from her house is absolutely amazing! (Check out the photos!)
As a surprise, Chizuko-san shouted us dinner which was pizza! Haha! Now, I know you’re all wondering what we ordered, ok not really, so we made them order us a cheese pizza as the only other options were very creepy! (The pizza they got had oysters still in their shells, octopus and prawns...which I’m sure was delightful for those that love seafood... *shudder* Miho and her friends were excited to try our ‘weird’ style of pizza. Oh, and get this, so one large pizza from Dominos here will set you back around $50 Australian. It is a real treat to eat pizza here, and considering it was free...EVEN BETTER! As we probably won’t eat it again until we get back to Aus, or maybe in Italy on our contiki ;-P Traditional Styles! So when the pizza finally arrived, the smell of seafood was overwhelming, and quite...off putting. Then, when we opened our box, I could see the disappointment in Carlos’ eyes. The cheese pizza looked like an oversized brown omelette almost with a crust (even though it was actually cheese). There was a VERY thin layer of both cheese and sauce, and really, all it tasted like was plain dough with a slight tomato and TINNNY bit of cheese hint. So one thing is for sure, Japan, your pizza’s SUCK! Luckily Miho also got some potato wedges and tots, and there were at least nice.
Friday night is the Pre-Summer Festival, which is only tiny compared to what Sunday’s is going to be like.
We walked down to the end of Miho’s street around 7pm to find everyone gathering around a shrine that was set up for a special ceremony. There were lanterns everywhere and sideshows and food stalls much cooler than the Adelaide showgrounds.
One game that looked really good, was a Goldfish catching game, where you get a rice paper net that slowly dissolves, so you have to catch as many live fish in a bowl as possible before it does, and however many fish you catch, you get a special prize!
Another cool game was ‘Catch a Pooh’ haha which was similar to the goldfish game.
Lastly, this is a Japanese take on a 'Barbeque' haha...
Once the ceremony began, we went to the shrine and watched the drummers on large floats get pulled up steep ramps while everyone cheered and clapped and chanted. At the entrance of the Shrine, the ramp was quite steep, and as the floats got larger, a few didn’t make it up on the first go, so they would pretend to try and get it up again, then let it fall back down.
At first Carly and I started laughing that they had already failed twice, before Miho told us it was superstitious to allow the floats to get up the ramp on an even number, so they only tried hard on odd numbers. Sure enough, two floats ended up taking 3 turns before they were able to get into the shrine.
On the way back to Miho’s, we came across giant ass worms as big as our feet (see the photo!) that just crawl out of the gardens and were all around the base of the apartments Miho lives at. Once we got back up to Miho’s house, Chizuko brought out our Yukata’s (Summer Kimonos) to try on.
Mine was one of Miho’s and Carly’s was from Yoshida-san. Mei-san had no idea who Yoshida-san was that we kept talking about, which we turned into a huge joke that went on for about half an hour explaining who the mysterious Yoshida-san was. We explained her as sometimes being fat with pillows stuffed around her, but sometimes she is skinny. Sometimes, she is short, but sometimes she arrives on stilts. She wears plain clothes, which sometimes covers her face. Other times, she has a beard, or a moustache. Sometimes she speaks like a man, sometimes like a mouse. One thing, however, is for sure. No one knows who Yoshida-san is.
And, just where in Japan is Yoshida-san? Well, we’ll be seeing her on Sunday.
Friday, July 23, 2010
So better start with yesterday...
We did a whole lot of awesome nothing. We slept in til lunchtime, then did a lot of planning for Tokyo. Beno - you better be thankful! haha. There are so many awesome things we want we've had to cram into 1 week, but I think the schedule Carlos has planned is pretty sweet! A few things we have planned are - Tokyo Disneyworld, Akahibara Electronics Shopping District, Harajuku, Hiroshima, Lake Ashi Pirate Ship Cruise, Hakone RopeWay Mountain Climb/Shrines etc, Tokyo Ice Bar and the Alice In Wonderland Cafe...there were a few more things, but it's on the Carlito's laptop, and I ain't getting up off the bed! I have to say, I was impressed with the level of detail we (mostly Carlos) went into with the planning. We have each day set out with budgets and times - Hiroshima is going to be a killer! It's a 5 hour trip there...and back. We plan to leave at 7am...and hopefully return by 10pm - but there is no way we are coming to Japan and not getting one of our famous bomb shelter photos...no matter how offensive it may be to the locals (we'll make it quick and hopefully they won't realise what we're doing anyway).
So for dinner, we decided to be fair, and share the lovely (horrible) bowl of left over chicken/veg and noodle thing we made, before finishing off our left over spaghetti sauce. It really is a pity we didn't like it, it looked so Masterchef, and yet tasted a bit shit mingerish. (haha had to put it in for you Kim!) Unfortunately, there were no good shows on the TV in the kitchen (not that we can understand them half the time anyway) so once again we found ourselves on the roof. Only this time, I brought my camera, and Carly and I slid under the fenced off section of the roof so we could take some proper photos. The view is pretty amazing, and will update the blog with photos tomorrow, once I've edited them.
Now onto today...(which was a lot more exciting than Thursday, let me tell you!)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
So we tried the bean paste bun. It's like a Berliner...
...only instead of delicious jam, it's filled with undelicious beans.
Eating it was a little like an adventure.
Or, like eating something you think will be funny and disgusting.
Ironically, as you can see, eating the bean paste cake thing was both funny, and disgusting.
For us, it was more disgusting than funny.
If you think this looks like somewhat tasteless beans mushed into a fine, gooey texture that is alarming as it glugs its way down your throat, then you'd be right.
Like soft, horrible sand in a deceptively nice donut casing.
Then we played cards in the kitchen which grew to be an event- we taught others the memory game including Ayumi, SuperCoolRainbowHairMan (he has bleached blonde hair with wicked patches of blue, green, yellow pink and purple), and Fumio. Then another girl- YouthOrganisationMexico girl (who is actually Japanese) got me to help her with her English for a job application of some sort. It was just like being back at school. It was kind of good, but I kept getting distracted by the tv and the card game next to me.
^^ Fumio and SuperCoolRainbowHairGuy^^
The TV in Japan has some fascinating shows- usually we have only the vaguest idea of what is actually going on but there seems to be this show where they just show the contestants really really weird stuff. For example, one of the videos they showed the contestants (who always gasp and look surprised/horrified/gleeful) was a man and a black Labrador competing to see who could lap up a bowl of water faster. It may not surprise you to know that the dog won. Another was a dish that was some kind of rice, a disgusting looking meat and/or mushroom sauce, then literally a tower of cabbage on top akin to Marge Simpson’s hair. Then there was the giant fish shaped pancake (probably had some sort of mystery contents like bean paste), the quite tall man doing the limbo under about a 10-20cm line and the super sweeper.
These were the only ones I actually got a photo of in time. Then we continued playing cards- Nicolas showed us two card games, a complex one that went on for ages (SuperCoolRainbowHairMan, Sarah and Fumio did okay, I was out first and Nicolas second. I really, really sucked at it and Fumio eventually won). Then there was another game similar to snap, I thought I was heaps cool, but it turned out the only reason I won was because I had a key attached to the hair tie on my wrist. The key kept smacking the table and distracting Nicolas- when I took it off, I lost big time to everyone in sight. We played a while then retired and watched some Glee- it took a while to get to sleep because some jerkasses kept talking.
We slept in pretty late as a result this morning- then got up and made some delicious vegemite sandwiches for breakfast. Now I have something VITALLY IMPORTANT to ask you all. How do you make your vegemite sandwich? Saros and I disagree. My way is to butter (margarine) one piece of bread and vegemite the other. Then stick them together, and cut into happy triangles. Sarah, the infidel, butters both pieces of bread, spreads vegemite OVER the butter (which works with varying degrees of success) and then eat the two slices separately. What say you- which way to you go?
Anyhow we then went on a magical journey to Life, our supermarket, or hypermarche as the French say. Life is always fun and bewildering- lots of things to choose from, most things, we probably don’t like. I say probably, because half the time we’re not 100% sure what we’re actually buying. We got some sort of satay sauce today (hopefully), and are attempting chicken and veggies with noddles. Unsure of how this will work. We also got ice creams, which unlike my fears of accidentally buying beef flavoured ice cream, were actually chocolate and delicious. We also got what we think is a red been paste bun. We figured we might as well give in and try it. Saros has also been the voice of Anti-fun: “We can’t live on chips Carly, no we can’t have vegemite sandwiches every meal of every day, no Carly, you can’t fly…” and so on. For the record, I actually enjoy the vegemite sandwiches more than the chips.
In the mean time, I’ve been being frustrated with the poor policy and replies of the Secular Party of Australia- I agree with every policy except their policy of banning religious dress in schools because putting it bluntly, it just won’t work. Unfortunately, the leader of the Secular Party is a shit minger with weak excuses and has very much disappointed me. I’m also devastated to realise we are missing the Palais’ first birthday! You can’t go back to those missed years- they grow up so fast… *sob*.
Aside from that, our Birthday greetings to LAURA COWLEY, whom we miss very much, and J HOOP’S cocktail partay tonight! If there was money on the bar, I’d be exceptionally sorry to miss it- if there wasn’t money on the bar, I’m stingy enough that I’d just miss the people! (C’mon, those drinks are hot but expensive!) Also shouts out to BEN WIGGINS and JHOOP again (on fire today J!) who commented, because we miss you, and love your comments. To my family, you are being shown up by my friends, and for your own honour, should hurry up and get an account to comment with! Still on the look out for presents (we’ve got some ideas and some cute bags to put the presents IN when we get them) so keep sucking up, xoxo Carly
P.S. Oh, also, there was an earth quake, but it was pretty small. We were half asleep and didn’t quite realise what was happening until it was over. Then we just went back to sleep.
P.P.S. Stuff up time! I had this great idea when we got our phone- you get to choose the last 4 digits of your phone number, and I remembered the IT crowd (0118 999 88888 9119 725…3) Only, I didn’t quite remember it right, and we accidentally picked 729…3. We realised immediately after, but our number had been finalised. We felt very much like giddy goats! “You? Why you are nothing but an old man in a tent, sitting in rags, playing hoopaloo with the wind!”