Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas in Bali

We decided to fly South for the Winter. First, we had an 8-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan so the National Palace Museum was our one and only stop. We learned that the Chinese invented porcelain and saw many artifacts that were literally thousands of years old. The museum was interesting, but the cab ride back to the airport was awesome. Best cab driver ever!

We arrived in Bali, Indonesia a little after 2 AM and took a cab to our hotel. We had to wake up the staff to get into our room. When I woke up the next morning this was the view from our back window.

It was so warm...with the sound and view of the ocean in the distance!

On Monday we took a private tour with Nyoman Grago of Bali Traditional Tours. Amazing tour! One of our first stops was an elementary school. We spoke English with the students and gave some high-fives.

We then went to a small coffee farm and got to see the whole process. The ginseng coffee and lemon tea were our favorites, but the most interesting was the kopi luwak. The Asian Palm Civet, like a cat mixed with a raccoon, supposedly eats only the best coffee beans. It then poops out the beans, which are cleaned and lightly roasted. Very expensive coffee!

Tanah Lot is a temple built off the coast. There is also a great market on the grounds.

We stopped for lunch at a local place where the three of us ate for around $7. This is my plate which includes chicken sate covered in peanut sauce, fried rice and cucumber.

Our last stop was Ulu Watu. We put on sarongs and removed our sunglasses (to avoid attacks from monkeys). There was also a fire dance based on a story from Hinduism. The dance included no dialogue or music, but rather the chants of 75 half-naked men.

Our last day we took a private tour of the Northern part of Bali. In the background you can see the cascading rice fields which are very popular on the island. We also visited a variety of markets featuring food, silver and wood-carvings.

The last thing we saw in Bali, besides terrible traffic, was this waterfall at Gitgit.

Finally, this is outside our hotel which is one of the tallest buildings in Bali. Apparently, there is a law stating that buildings must not be taller than a coconut tree.

It was nice to get away but it is truly great to be back in Japan. Traveling to other Asian countries has made us appreciate this one so much more. ありがとうございました!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Case of the Missing Clementine

Rice with “fall” vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, chestnuts), milk and fried saury. The green side includes spinach, mushrooms and a few other vegetables. On the menu it also listed a mikan (clementine), but it failed to make it to my lunch. しょうがない。

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wakame of the Month

Pork curry and rice with kaisou salad, which features several different types of seaweed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Salad is...Fine

Cocoa bread which must refer to the color and not the taste. A very small portion of macaroni gratin and minestrone soup. Finally we have `genki salad`. Genki means happy, enthusiastic, or fine so I`m not sure what that`s all about.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here Comes Santa-san!

So much has happened since our last real post, but we don`t have many pictures. Also, we were informed that we cannot have pictures of students in which you can see their faces. We apologize in advance.

Last month we had our Thanksgiving on a Saturday because we had to work the following Thursday. It was a great time of fellowship and lots of food.

This is just the dessert table. We brought vegetables and 8 boxes of mac and cheese.

Then, while still in November, we had our AET Christmas Party. We played dirty Santa (with dinners), decorated cookies and Allen impersonated Jesus.

We also went caroling at Mito Station. We don`t have any pictures, which is fortunate because we were in pajamas.

This last week we had our EBC (English Bible Class) Christmas Party where you could eat cookies, play games and sit on Santa`s lap.

Some people were more excited than others.

Each group did a skit. This is group 2 decorating Jason like a Christmas tree.

Seeing who can make the biggest Santa by stuffing suits with balloons (26 in fact).

A limbo contest. How low can you go Chip?

Emily and Chelsea, the party planners.

We have a potluck this Sunday and next week we are heading to Bali!

Very Nutritious, But They Smell Like Death

A piece of saury (type of fish) filleted, boned, dipped in a sweet soy sauce and broiled. There is also a seaweed and tofu miso soup. The fish is accompanied by an array of vegetables including spinach, carrots and mung beans. If you look closely you can see tiny bits of tuna as well.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mayo in Salad?

Beaten egg soup with udon noodles. The salad has pickled burdock, imitation crab and other veggies slathered in mayonnaise. Yogurt for dessert.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Choose Your Own Toppings

Kenchin soup (‘kenchin’ refers to any cooking with chopped ingredients that include bean curd), milk, rice, sanshoku (three toppings for the rice: egg, fish, and spinach).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Roots Roots Roots!

This is a type of fried chicken with sesame seeds next to the taproot of young burdock plants mixed with carrots and spinach. There’s also rice and a miso soup with tofu and vegetables, including taro root.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Marron = Kuri = Chestnut

I`ve heard two different words for chestnut here including marron (which is French) and Kuri (which is Japanese). It was very difficult to explain the word in English especially since it starts with a body part.

Chestnut Okowa, which is basically sticky rice with vegetables and chestnuts. Next to the vegetables with sesame seeds we have grilled egg with scallops (cooked inside). Very interesting. And for dessert, grape jell-o.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Taste of China

This is mostly Chinese-type food including dumplings, a salad, and egg soup. When translated, it’s “a little hot” egg soup, which is referring to the level of spiciness.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Japanese Hot Dog?

This is not exactly what I expected when I read frankfurter on the menu, but here it is slathered with tomato sauce. Some students, and myself, put it in the bread roll and made a hot dog. There is a green salad and “fall” stew in which sweet potatoes are a main ingredient. Mmmmm...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegetable Soup

Beginning with the classic milk and rice, we also have boiled saury next to a wafuu salad. Next there`s a very seasonally appropriate vegetable soup and apple jelly for dessert.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pork and Beans

One of the most American dishes I’ve had during school lunch is this one, pork and beans. At least there are some veggies in this version.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is Halloween?


***There were pictures of our students in this post that the district required us to remove. That said, it may be a little choppy now.***

Halloween is not widely celebrated in Japan, but has gained some popularity in recent years. It is barely in our curriculum, however, we feel it is a very important part of American culture. So we had an entire week of Halloween...

While I wore only one costume, Staci felt it necessary to change costumes everyday.

First she was a witch with ridiculously heavy purple eyelashes.

Minnie Mouse and a black cat.

Sadly, pictures of the ladybug, princess and cat costumes were never taken.

While Staci`s students were making masks, my students were making...not masks. Rather they were cutting out shapes and taping them to their faces.


One of my favorites.

That Friday we had an observation at Hamada Elementary where Heather is the AET. The students were all dressed up in costumes and went trick-or-treating for...stamps. No candy involved.

Reviewing the English phrases before we start.

Trick or treat. Who are you? The best answer was from a 1st grader who answered this question with “I`m death!“

That night we went to a Halloween party at the church.

All business.

Staci as Mario and Elise who went GAGA.

Too Soon for Leftovers

I just realized that I had this same exact meal just a few days prior. See below.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Saury, That's Saury

The nice slab of fish is ‘saury’ which is a type of fish found in the Pacific Ocean. It is next to an edamame salad with a plentiful helping of seaweed. The translation for the soup came out to be ‘fall miso soup’ which does not give you much information about its contents.
Vegetables + Miso + end of summer = fall miso soup.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Soup...mmmm

Pumpkin soup, which might be my favorite soup, is the crown jewel of this lunch. There is also bread (which was the size of Texas toast) and strawberry jam. The broccoli is next to something that I assumed was chicken. I was wrong. It’s actually egg. Not sure why they made it in that shape.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Heavy Meal

A very basic meat and vegetable curry which can be found in many restaurants here in Japan. The soup is filled with vegetables, shrimp balls and harusame noodles. They are slightly thinner than spaghetti noodles and are completely translucent.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Native American Yakisoba?

This is a very interesting meal. First, you have pita bread, which when you pronounce using Katakana transforms you into Captain Hook (pita pan). Yakisoba is a popular dish in Japan but this is specifically Indian (インデイアん) yakisoba which translated means Native American yakisoba. Very strange. A delicious tuna salad and finish it off with a lemon yogurt.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Potato or Potato?

Here we have salt-grilled salmon with a spinach salad. Also, those are not potatoes in the soup. They are from a very large radish called a daikon (
だいこん). They are very cheap and used in many stews and soups.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I will pretty much eat any kind of tempura and this squid tempura is no exception. It is paired with a ginger salad and a vegetable and bacon soup (みそしる).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When you wish upon a star

A couple of weeks ago my Thursday school (meaning I visit there once a week) told me if it was not raining next week then I should wear a suit so we could take a faculty picture.

The next week it was not raining so I wore the suit. I arrive to find that the schedule has been changed. We are still taking the picture at 8:30 and at 9:00 we are going to get potatoes...

I don’t understand...

Tokyo Disney

We bypassed the store and dug them out with gloved hands. I thought my first Japanese field trip might be to a park or store or museum. Maybe we would drive instead of walk and I always imagined less manure. I mean, some manure, just... less.

Last weekend we piled 7 people into 2 cars and drove down to Tokyo for Chelsea’s birthday. It was a sluggish 4-hour trip that was mostly bumper-to-bumper, but then we made it to Disney Sea.

Tokyo Disney

Chelsea, Staci, and Emily

Just went through Italy and on our way to the center of the earth.

Tokyo Disney

Under the sea.

Tokyo Disney

Port, Chelsea, Emily and Staci

On the train heading to the Ginza district for the ICEBAR.

Tokyo Disney

Everything was made of ice!

Tokyo Disney

Chelsea, Emily, Staci, Daniel, Luke, Cole and Port

One last picture before the hypothermia sets in...


Then it was back to Disney Sea.

Tokyo Disney We just had to have some ears.

Tokyo Disney

The park is closing...Some of us take the news better than others.

Tokyo Disney

Cole, Luke, Emily, Chelsea, Staci, Port and Daniel

Next stop...Disneyland!