Saturday, October 8, 2016

Patriotism and Fermented Fish

We went to Ho Chi Minh city, where there were patriotic chants and traditional costumes.
The chanters were only mildly more happy than this bride and groom during their photography session.
We went to the market to get some fermented fish stuff.
I think it's cheaper if you buy it in bulk, and prevents anyone from coming near your luggage.
I don't yet know which of the 10 types of dried shrimps I'd want to buy, nor whether they have much nutritional value.
This stall uses a CNN screenshot of President Obama and Anthony Bourdain in far away Hanoi, to entice foolish tourists.
Foolish tourists are usually less enticed by the animal guts. Barry was upset that my picture of the brains (top right) was not in focused. But we were dodging flying pig parts.
You know, just updating my Facebook status, with some intestines and livers. Some of the sellers had their feet on the table too...
The sign behind these dried sea cucumbers mentions that the same place also sells purses, bird's nest, and embroidery, so that's convenient.
Prettiest thing at the market? Blue crabs!

Overall, Vietnam has developed noticeably in recent years, and the traffic is increasingly orderly!
There are still a few infrastructure challenges.
It's still fun to see what can be carried on bikes. I believe these are urine sample jars!
I got a Vietnamese pedicure. These are supposed to be lanterns and flowers, but look at bit like pumpkins on my stubby toes.
We also found a spot to play wall video games.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Don't Touch my Porch

We went shopping at For Your Just.
The corn bags were pretty good.
You can get a t-shirt to go with your mood: rebellious,
Funning you,
Or, trying too hard to be happier than you really are (which is a very common Engrish theme!)
I bought this one, which says: "Without haste, but without rest", which is how to jump into a pocket.
I think it will help me to be slick and successful.
I frown upon any insight given to me by Rapunzel, given her situation.
But I think it's likely hard to look away from the aliens' three eyes.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Off the Coast of Soy Sauce

In Japan they are perhaps a bit too focused on gender...
But in the ryokan, the footwear is unisex and narrow.
Now let's talk about food.
This is one of the best menus we've every seen. We had Firefly squid off the coast of soysauce, since that must be local. We paired that with Weren't green soybeans (what were they?) and Chan's the tainted green onions.
To "Finish the dish", we considered fried bird, but instead went with Unfried spring roll with spicy codroe child stick and just a few potatoes tend to bioom.
The results of our ordering were fabulous!
Who doesn't like a tasty bioom like this!
After that, perhaps you need a tissue. This tissue seems to need you even more!
To help you cope with leaving Japan, the airport has a cute robot. I wish I could say it did something more than repeat the same thing in English, Korean and Chinese.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Valley of the Dolls

If you follow the map to a place far, far away,
You will find a town where the people are a little different than usual.
They are life-sized dolls!
This is Nagoro, Shikoku, Japan, the Town of the Dolls! (Not really a valley, but valley sounds scarier).
The residents welcomed us immediately, although some of them were a bit green in the face.
It's all very sad. The town's hydro electric plant used to drive jobs and a population. But with Japan's aging, and the fact that this place is 1.5hrs mountain driving from a grocery store, the population has been slowing leaving or dying.
So the local artisan reincarnated the residents as "scarecrows", as they're called in Japanese. So, you know, dolls of dead people!
They do useful jobs, like tending to the overgrown fields.
Barry made a few friends.
This is the bus stop, where we saw an actual human (not shown), which made me shriek inappropriately.
Each doll has a unique facial expression, as they go about their business.
I tried to be helpful. In the background is another actual human driving an police car, making sure the dolls are behaving.
Like in any community, there are some shifty characters.
The dolls have taken over the community centre, where kids are putting on a play, and there is either First Aid training or some kind of injury.
In another house, there is a doll wedding. This was my first Japanese wedding!
For doll families, life goes on, very slowly.
When I die, I too hope to be commemorated as a doll!
Imagine how star struck I was when we got to make the master dollmaker! Sadly, she could not answer my numerous questions, since I haven't learnt enough Japanese.