Sunday, August 31, 2008

Variety is the spice of life...

...and because of spices, I have variety!

Callie, the ALT who lived in this apartment before me, left several different herbs and spices in the kitchen. So I can put oregano or rosemary or basil on grilled chicken or fish or whatever. I have garlic to put on my noodles or bread or meat. Oh, the possiblities! I could spice up some foods with chili pepper if I so desire (but I don't really desire).

There are also several unidentified Japanese spices sitting on my countertop, so I can experiment. But I will use them sparingly until they are identified. Too bad I don't like black pepper because I have a whole lot of that!

I eat the majority of meals in my apartment. I've discovered that the frozen pizzas here are quite delicious; I had a fantastic shrimp and corn pizza the other day. I like to fix things that are also pretty easy -- like grilled meat, steamed vegetables, spaghetti and sandwiches. Below is a picture of tonight's dinner -- my rice, corn and eggs concoction. It doesn't contain any herbs or spices, but there's a lot of soy sauce in there!

Ok, I admit that the chopsticks are just for show. :) When I'm in my apartment, you'd better believe I use silverware!

I will occasionally eat dinner out, such as last night when I went to a sushi bar with Liz, Sean and Oliver -- a new ALT in Kuji. (So I'm not the newest ALT anymore!) Sitting at the sushi bar, watching the different types of sushi go around on a conveyor belt, was a neat experience. I've been wanting to go to one since I arrived in Japan. I didn't take a picture of it because #1 I didn't have my camera. (That's the main reason.) And #2 I don't want to seem like a tourist. After all, I'm a resident now. :)

Besides eating in and eating out (at a restaurant), I will sometimes have lunch at school. At Misaki Junior High School on Friday, I had the choice of going home for a late lunch or eating the school lunch with the students. The teacher suggested that I would probably want to bring my own lunch from now on, like Callie used to do. Hmmm...suspicious, indeed. But for the first time, I could try the school lunch. So I tried it.

The main dish was tofu/ground beef? maybe?/who knows what else was is that? soup. That's mysterious, I thought. One of the side dishes was a cucumber and seaweed mixture. That's unique. And very green. And also not good. The soup and seaweed was served with a bowl of white rice. That's standard. It also came with what I thought were onion rings, but turned out to be fried rings of squid. That's tricky! There was also a thimble-sized portion of what they called "jelly," which they said was my dessert. That's funny! My idea of dessert is a hot fudge sundae. Oh well, at least the half-bite of jelly was tasty!

So I think I'll be bringing white chocolate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch when I go to Misaki. :)
I now have four jars of it that have been mailed to me, haha!

A view from where I was sitting of what it's like to eat lunch with the students.

You'll notice that they eat lunch in the classroom, unlike in America where there is a school cafeteria. The teacher brings in big pots and conatiners of food to the room, the students line up, and a few of the students serve the line. They don't have a choice about what they eat. Even the teachers eat the same lunch as the students.

Yesterday after the church service, I stayed for a church luncheon. I ate tuna and potato salad (yes, together!) sandwiches, pumpkin soup and soybeans. Of course they also served tea, which I always turn down. Maybe I'll learn to like tea by living in Japan? I thought the lunch was delicious! I really like the soybeans here, and I often eat them as a snack.

And today for lunch, I ate at Osani Elementary School with a fifth grade class. The menu was some sort of tofu soup (different from the one on Friday), bread, pears, an unidentifiable fried thing and mashed pumpkin with peas, carrots and onion in it. It may not sound appetizing, but I thought the pumpkin stuff was amazing! The teacher said there was lots left and I could help myself to some more, so I did.

They look like little surgeons (love the outfit!), but they're actually just getting ready to serve lunch. So sanitary!

The little surgeons in action! You've probably already noticed that throwing up the "peace sign" is quite normal.
A close-up of the meal -- those are pears in the sack. And I just noticed the kid with his hand dangling in the container of bread. Hey, that's not sanitary!

I think I ate too much of the pumpkin stuff since my stomach kind of hurt afterwards, which wasn't good because I played volleyball this afternoon! (Yeah, you read that correctly, haha.) All of the middle school classes in Kuji were cancelled for the afternoon so the teachers from the different schools could have a volleyball tournament! I went just to watch, but instead I ended up joining the Board of Education team. I tried explaining that, "Trust me, you really don't want me on your team. I'll just cheer," but my teammates didn't understand English and seemed to really want me to join them. So I gave in and played (wearing dress pants, oh well), and it was a lot of fun!

Hooray for the Board of Education volleyball team! Peace out. :)

One of the teachers at Okamawe Junior High School who I met the other day, came up to me after the first game and said, "Your playing is charming." I couldn't stifle a laugh! Maybe she thinks the word charming means "ridiculously embarrassing?" Because there is absolutely nothing charming about the way I play volleyball! In fact, whenever I joined the Board of Education team, we lost. And when I sat out and watched, we won. Coincidence? I think not!

I'll end this long blog post now by wishing everyone in America a happy Labor Day today. Celebrate for me by eating a variety of picnic foods, ok? :)

***This post is dedicated to my dad, who has a fondness for food as I do and is always interested in what I'm eating!***


Anonymous said...

I am glad that you like the food becasue it sure does sound interesting!
I am proud of you for stepping up and joining the volleyball game, even if you did lose when you were playing lol! Well maybe by the time I get there you will be a pro a volleyball! LOL
TTYL Love you!

Amanda said...

Hearing about the food in Japan makes me sick! You know me though, very close minded about food.

You are too funny, you know that!? I both love and miss you!