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.