Wednesday, August 31, 2011

海で泳いで (Swimming in the Ocean)

I went swimming in the Pacific Ocean this summer.  It was vast, salty and absolutely delightful.

This was a particularly wondrous experience for it was my first time ever swimming in an ocean.  It's true.  I grew up next to the biggest lake in the world which looks similar to an ocean...but is, of course, fresh water, doesn't have a tide, different wild life, etc.

So when we were invited by a friend to a beach party, we jumped at the chance.  It was worth getting up super early on a Saturday, riding a train for three hours (one way!) and getting sunburned.  (A word about Japanese sunscreen: It doesn't work.  Even after multiple applications, there was still lots of burnination. Sigh.)

Floating around in the ocean leisurely for hours was pure delight...except for that part when I suddenly had a hand full of jellyfish. (It was just a little one and I only touched the top part.  Still, it was shocking to suddenly feel a jellyfish!) 

We were there when the tide came in.  It came in waaaaay faster then I expected it would, which resulted in wet towels and flip-flops running away with the water. 

Watching the tide come in.
The beach to which we went was in Mie Ken (三重県) which is several hours from where we live in Saitama Ken.  (Ken is the Japanese word for "prefecture.") 

I wish we lived closer to the ocean...but then I consider the mountains outside my window.  And the significant lack of tsunami warnings...

No.  I am perfectly content with my residence.  But I will be visiting the ocean again.  Soon, if I can at all help it.

 ps. I cut off around eleven inches of my hair last month. I LOVE it! :)
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 Summer came.

Summer went.

Here we are again.  Standing at the threshold of new school term.  Am I ready to go back to teaching?  No, not really.  I spent almost all of my summer break either studying Japanese or teaching English.  Which, in it's own way, was fun.

...and it wasn't all work.  There was the beach.  There were new friends made.  There were summer festivals. 

Sunburn.  Yakitori.  Watermelon.  Relaxing.

Summer was fun.

More detailed posts to come...
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

People-This is Real Ramen

It's been awhile.  Sorry about that.  Karl and I are in the midst of a two week intensive Japanese course and are out of town. 

August is our "summer break."  It is proving to be very busy, however.  I will be taking part in some English camps starting next week so it'll be a while yet before I get back to semi regular blogging.

That being said, lets get on to...ramen.


I loved ramen as a kid.  I love ramen now.  But the difference is now I know what real ramen is.  And it is de-licious.  None of this dried noodle, sustenance of poor college students, business.  I am talking about honest-to-goodness Japanese ramen.  From a tiny ramen shop.  In the middle of Japan.

This is usagi ramen.  (rabbit ramen) Thick, fresh noodles.  Bamboo shoots.  Nori sheets.  Soft boiled egg.  Slices of rabbit meat.

The little shop is in a tiny little modest building.  But it one of those places.  Locals line up out the door at lunch time.  There is almost always a wait.

And it is so worth it.

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