July 22, 2009

(Originally Published 06/09/2007)

That was probably the worst meal I’ve ever eaten.  I decided to come back to the seminar house for lunch and cook for myself for the first time here in Japan.  I’ve been eating food here before but it’s all been simple stuff like toast or fruit.  Anyway, I made some rice in the rice cooker.  It took over an hour!  Oof!  Good thing I didn’t have to be anywhere.  Turns out the rice I bought is some sort of strange “specialty” rice.  It’s golden.  Unlike white rice, this has quite a lot of flavor in it and it’s also got small crunchy things in it.  I’m not sure I enjoy the flavor but I bought 2kg of it so I’ll have to learn how to use it.More...But anyway, I thought I’d add some things to it because who wants to eat just plain rice?  So, I added some mushrooms.  Mushrooms are really cheap in Japan but I have no idea what kind of mushrooms these are that I bought.  Maybe they taste better if you cook them in some sort of sauce but eaten raw they don’t really taste all that great.  On top of that, I got some tempura at the grocery store and I didn’t know what “hamo tempura” was but it looked pretty good and I was hoping it was some sort of vegetable.  Well, it’s not.  It’s conger eel.  Conger?  What kind of crazy name is that?  Anyway, it’s interesting but not great.  Again, maybe it would be better if I warmed it up.  I also had some mugicha (Barley Tea) which was actually a lot better than I expected!  It came in a really cool can with a picture of a geisha dressed up in green and red kimonos with a pink umbrella and lots of kanji written in fire on the mountains behind her.  It’s really cool!  Also, I had a carrot while I was waiting for my rice to cook.  Carrots here are short and fat.  Really fat.  Well, I accidentally froze this carrot the other day because I didn’t realize which part of the refrigerator was the freezer and a carrot that has been frozen and then thawed has a very strange texture.  All the water had drained to the center of the carrot and the outside was brittle while the inside was mushy.  Yeah, so anyway, that was my lunch.  It was kind of depressing really.  One thing I miss is understanding what it is I am cooking and how best to eat it to enjoy the flavor.  It’s also really quiet here at the seminar house right now.  Everybody must be at school.  I hope I’m not missing something important!  The best part of my meal was that I used my collapsible backpack chopsticks that Tim gave me for my birthday last year.  Man, they’re so cool!

I had to leave the computer lab earlier because there were a couple of girls sitting next to me talking really loud about their boy problems and about how envious they were of this other girl.  It was really annoying and they were so loud about everything so I couldn’t concentrate on my work.  I imagine the boy they were talking about doesn’t think about this other girl nearly as much as they do.  Ugh.

So anyway, I guess I’m feeling a little homesick (and stomache sick) right now.  It will be nice to go out with my friends this evening for food, drink, and song!  Thanks to everyone who’s written to me.  Your comments and stories make me feel good.

Oh!  By the way, I heard there was an earthquake here last night.  Hmm, I must have slept right through it.


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