Friday, February 27, 2009

The Incredible Edible Egg

Eggs tend to come in containers or 6 or 10, never a dozen.

And 10 is as many as our fridge can hold. I find the refrigerator egg tray interesting, because eggs are always sold at room temperature, yet it is assumed that you'll refrigerate them when you get home...?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Science Friday

Recently M and I went to the Nagoya City Science Museum (second choice after learning the Robot Museum had closed over a year ago - dang guide book), and I was pretty pumped, as I generally love science and hands-on museums.

The tickets had QR codes on them, which were scanned to get in. QR codes are all over the place here, on packaging, on signs, in advertisements, etc etc. They can be read by most Japanese mobile phones and direct you to a web site. So presumably I could scan our tickets with my phone and check out the museum's web site.

Unfortunately, although there was an English floor guide, there was very very little English on any of the displays. I did enjoy watching M make smoke signals, but overall this wasn't a destination I'd recommend.

Monday, February 23, 2009


So you're saying I'm not supposed to stand in the toilet?! Duly noted.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stovetop Cooking Sunday Brunch Edition

Bloody Marys, crispy potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits. Mmmmmmm. (M's plate had a couple eggs on it too.) Delicious start to the day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Woo Hoo!

I found thick plain yogurt. Oh happy day!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Luxury Fruit

The basement of most department stores contains a grocery store, and we enjoy walking around them to take in all of the unique items being sold. Fruit can be considered a gift here - it is often elaborately packaged and can get quite expensive. Each of these melons was about $40 USD (the price tag you see is for the item below), but I've seen them as high as $150 USD.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vending Machines 4

M spotted this vending machine during a recent trip to Kyoto - need any batteries?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vending Machines 3

This is a first for me. I've seen beer in a vending machine before, but entire bottles of wine and sake?! It truly is a liquor shop vending machine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Adventures of Monty

I've noticed a lot of homeless cats here. Just out of our windows we see four different ones that periodically pop up on A's garage to watch what's going on in the neighborhood (or maybe just what the birds in the nearby tree are doing). It always breaks my heart to see homeless animals, but there is one cat in particular that I'd like to scoop up and take home with us. We first saw Montgomery (as M dubbed her) a few months ago during an evening run. Monty popped out of some bushes, was extremely friendly, and followed us for a block or so before she took off into the night.

We see her every now and then when we're out running, and the other night she was trying to get to a plastic bag that was tossed into a dense bush. M fished it out, realized that it had discarded food in it, and set it down by Monty. She immediately picked up the bag in her mouth

and was off and running for her "home" in the bushes near this interesting residence.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vending Machines 2

It is much less common to see vending machines with food items in them, likely because it is considered impolite to eat while walking. Ice cream seems to be an acceptable exception to this rule though, so every so often you'll notice a vending machine filled with frozen treats.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Got Tea?

Being thirsty here is an easy problem to fix, as there are beverage vending machines all over the place - even in the middle of residential areas.

You can say hello to Tommy, and then choose a cold or hot beverage (designated by the blue or red price). There is always a good selection of tea and coffee, and sometimes soup...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Drying Times

In the heat of summer I really didn't miss having a clothes dryer. I would hang a load of laundry outside, and it would dry in a matter of hours. Now that it is colder though, it seems as though laundry always takes 2 days to dry outside. So when we really need something to dry faster (say for example the only set of sheets we have for our bed...) we have to get creative and spread items out under the living room heating unit.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Small Miracles

I am a big animal lover, and am especially fond of birds. So recently when we heard a loud thud by our porch, and I looked out to see a tiny beautiful moss-colored bird lying motionless on our patio, I was instantly reduced to a weeping puddle. M quickly stepped outside and found that the bird was still alive. We gently moved it to a sheltered spot, tucked in a pile of rags. After some recovery time we were ecstatic to see it first move its head, then begin to chirp again, and finally fly away.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Setsubun Mantoro

On Tuesday A and I went to Nara to the Kasuga Grand Shrine to see the shrine's 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns lit up for Setsubun which marks the transition from winter to spring. It was a really lovely sight to see, and as the lanterns are only lit three days a year, I felt really lucky to see them all glowing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Comedic Afternoon

Last weekend we went with A to a Rakugo performance (done in English) in Toyota City. Rakugo is like comedic storytelling with a punch line. There is one performer at a time on stage, and they speak for two or more characters during the monologue - few props are used, so each character is distinguished by slight changes in tone and pitch, and by which direction the performer's face is tilted. This is a simplified version of the dialogue from the first performance.

After the actor performed, the audience had to try it too, speaking in unison. Next, two "volunteers" from the audience were pulled onstage to try performing the story. After hearing it so many times in a row, I'm pretty sure I could perform it from memory.

Rakugo is more than 300 years old, so a number of the stories come from that time period, but since we were hearing an English performance, simpler stories were used that could translate well and still have a funny ending.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Nerds XLIII

Since we couldn't watch the Super Bowl, we settled for the next best thing - highlights. When M got home last night, we watched 10 minutes of game highlights, and then almost all of the commercials on YouTube. I think my favorites (in no particular order) were:

- Pepsi Pepsuber (I think really I just miss SNL, we used to be able to watch clips of it when we first moved here, but now NBC has decided that clips aren't available in "our area")
- GE scarecrow
- GE wind energy
- Pedigree

Did I miss any?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

School Bags

Our local department store has quite a display of randoseru - traditional Japanese backpacks. They are given to a child entering their first year of school, and are built to last, with a price tag that reflects the quality and workmanship. The red one on the top row in the middle was about $700 USD. While they aren't all that expensive, a new leather randoseru will probably set you back at least $300 USD.

Generally girls carry red bags and boys carry black, although you will occasionally see some variation - most often pink and blue.