We’re spending about 10 days in the Kansai region of Japan. We have been having a hard time deciding what we should do and what we should leave for next time because there is so much to do in this part of Japan! We have had a pretty packed itinerary since arriving from Tokyo, and we have a little more to squeeze into our last few days here before we move on to Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately!
When I left you last time, we were on our way to meet a friend Atsushi for a dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay. Here’s what we did in Tokyo since then:
Friday June 8 due to my misguided estimation about how long it would take to reach our pre-determined meeting place with Atsushi, we missed the shuttle bus from the station to the pier, and nearly missed the boat launch too! Thankfully Atsushi called the company to let them know we were still coming, and we jumped in a cab (something not reccommended except for occasions like this as the cabs are very expensive here). Thankfully we got in just in time to get on the boat. It was a fantastic expereience – all you can eat monjayaki and okanomyaki (oishii – delicious!) and all you can drink beer! Yum! The cruise was intended for Japanese people, so Atsushi was our very own translator and tour guide. It was fun to learn how to cook the dishes, and to see Odiaba and the rest of the Tokyo skyline all lit up too. What a great way to wrap up a week!
Today is our third full day in Tokyo, and we’ve just checked in to our second hotel. We have had some exciting days with lots of walking, sightseeing and good food! Tonight we meet up with a friend for a dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay, and until then we thought we’d put our feet up, upload photos,and check in with the rest of the world.
To summarize the last few days:
I have a couple big announcements today. The first is that I have wrapped up my M.Sc degree! I will miss being a student in the Ziegler/Morrill lab, but after waiting for feedback from the examiners and making the requested minor revisions I am certainly excited to know my degree will be sent to me soon.
The second is that on Monday we are beginning a long awaited extended holiday in Asia. We are beginning with a flight to Tokyo and a rail journey through Japan, followed by a high speed ferry to South Korea. After that we will visit China and some time in Taiwan rounds out the last of our plans. I will be using this space to document our journey, so look forward to more frequent updates!
With my thesis in examination, and Mike finished work, we decided to pack up our home in St. John’s and head back to Ontario to visit with family and friends we haven’t seen in over a year (we decided not to go home for Christmas).
Mike is always experimenting with his (now not-so) new dSLR, and we decided to attempt a timelapse video of our three day drive from St. John’s back to the GTA. It turned out pretty great, so without further ado:
Mike and I have been to two International-themed potlucks since the New Year. I am always relieved when the concept is “choose a cuisine and make something” rather than bringing a dish from your own culture’s cuisine. Mike and I love to cook dishes from other cultures, and made baked char siu bao (chinese BBQ pork buns) from scratch, and the Edmonds-take on schnitzel (pork and chicken, with breading seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian spice mix) for the most recent potlucks we’ve attended. However, when the request is “a Canadian dinner”, what does one cook?
Last May, for instance, while I was visiting the Geophysical Laboratory, the boarding house where I was staying had an approximately weekly group dinner where the cook made something from their homeland. After lots of deliberation I settled on an iron-chef style meal themed around maple syrup. After all, I find non-Canadians rather surprised at the volumes in which we consume the stuff!
I made baked salmon with a maple syrup glaze served with green beans and a mix of white and wild rice on the side, and maple tarts topped with raspberries for dessert. I briefly considered maple carrots as a side dish (my favourite vegetable as a kid), but decided it might be maple-overload for those unfamiliar with maple syrup applied to foods other than pancakes. The meal was a hit, if I do say so myself! Everyone was surprised I used maple syrup to make savory food, but enjoyed the salmon, and requested instructions on making the maple custard in the tart. But enough patting myself on the back. I wonder, what other dishes might be a good choice for the next time I find myself representing my country? And do people from other places have this trouble too?
Well, winter has finally arrived here in St. John’s. We had a snow day two Fridays ago, and Mike and I took advantage of that by going snowshoeing with some friends around Pippy Park and in the Three Pond Barrens. It was a lot of fun – the new snowshoes are much easier to walk in than the big wood and catgut ones (although that might just be because I used to use my mom’s pair when I was little)!
It tends to rain quite a bit in the winter here, which means even big snowfalls might not last. However, this week I think it is safe to say winter is here to stay for a while. Tuesday we had whiteout conditions in the city, and MUN closed in the afternoon. Today, we had another fair-sized snowfall. The pile at the end of our driveway is starting to look pretty big! I’m excited to get back out on the trails this weekend. The only question is: snowshoes or skis?
Mike occasionally gets tickets to see the IceCaps from work. We were lucky enough to get to go tonight. The game-winning goal came with 42 seconds remaining in the 3rd, for a 3-2 win against the Manchester Monarchs. The crowd went wild! Seats on the end have their advantages – it happened right in front of us! They’re currently first in their division, and seeded first in the conference. Good job b’ys. You’re doing St. John’s proud.