Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This is the face of honesty. Last week right in the middle of downtown Himeji I lost my wallet - cash, credit cards, licences, the lot. I reported it without much hope. Yesterday, after a very welcome phone-call, I went to collect it from the police, who gave me the name and address of the kind finder, a factory-worker. Last night after work I went to meet, thank and reward this considerate man. Thankyou, Sakamoto-san.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Today we were invited by the local community to participate in Rice Cake Festival. Glutinous rice was soaked overnight and cooked. Then it was pounded by the kine (mallet) in a wooden mortar (usu).
Experienced hands divided the rice, now a kind of chewy purée...
It was formed into balls...
After sitting at the altar, sweet beans were added....
Oishi des! Delicious!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Kendama (cup and ball) has been a popular Japanese children's game for at least two centuries. Today we were treated to a brilliant demonstration by kids from the Himeji Branch of the Japan Kendama Association at a local community meeting to welcome Australian exchange teachers. We were also given a kanji calligraphy lesson and beautiful welcome gifts. Thank you to the Shinzaike community for your warm welcome.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Just add water...
First day At Joyo Elementary. The kids are happy & friendly, the teachers welcoming. I'm offered a snack which I sample. It's extremely crunchy. To great hilarity in the staff office it's explained to me that today is Kobe memorial and earthquake/fire/disaster drill and this is an emergency ration. Later I add the recommended boiling water and wait 20 minutes. It's a delicious mixed rice, spice and vegetables.
Much better with water.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Long before Victor Wootton there was Jaco Pastorius...
I like selecting my iPod music each morning before my ride. It's like choosing the soundtrack for the movie in post-production (except that it's real time and real life.) Lately I've been reacquainting myself with Joni Mitchell's Mingus album. I still have the original vinyl album I bought back in Adelaide around 1980. It's quite surreal weaving in and out of Himeji traffic and pedestrians, or travelling between the Senba River and the Himeji-jo moat while grooving to The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines.
Last week the strangest thing happened. I was going away from the eki on the Otamae Rd and heading towards the castle listening to Jaco Pastorius' amazing fretless bass on A Chair In the Sky when Wayne Shorter's plaintive moan on soprano comes in on the right channel. Although I've heard it countless times, it took me by surprise. I quickly glanced right and there was this naked black man playing a sax. For a second I thought he was joining in.
Who is this naked black man? Wakarimasen...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
My Friday banquet was accompanied by copious amounts of Asahi beer and sake. Some of us then kicked on at a local karaoke bar with Johnnie Walker (no relation) lubricating proceedings. Yamaguchi-sensei (seen here) refrained as designated driver. Everyone took their turn at a song & some had remarkably good voices. Yours truly gave uninhibited renditions of I can't get no satisfaction, Bridge over troubled water and YMCA. It gets a little hazy after this point.
Part of the sumptuous meal given to me by my Sanyo co-workers at Zenya restaurant on Friday night. Golden-eye Bream, ika (squid) and what looked like a mini shovel-nosed version of South Australian flounder. Not sashimi this time, it was grilled by us at the table. Oishi (delicious.)