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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mantas in Engrish Hats

It has come to my attention that some people don't love Engrish hats, so here is a Manta ray! Now let's ponder where all of these hats come from. Is "Blowing" a lesser-known borough?
Look at the water glisten around this Manta. If you send the pictures to an NGO website, they identify it for you by the dotted pattern!
Did someone say glisten?
Here is me trying to develop an intimate manta friendship. Actually, it's just to show the relative size.
It's not easy to take good pictures in the depths.
Barry over-exerted himself diving around mantas with his GoPro.
My slogan for GoPro: an inferior camera which attaches to stuff to take videos no one wants to see.
Barry's slogan for GoPro:
And, well, I could think of anything Manta-related for this one. In fact, I couldn't think of how to incorporate a neutre hat into my life at all!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stuffed Bananas and Taco Rice

It was Taco Rice and Banana Stuffing day at Mark and Joe's, a big event! It starts with the humble pouring of soju.
Taco Rice, a Japanese-American food from Okinawa, is exactly what it sounds like, and is delicious!
I was worried Barry was doing it wrong, but actually it's traditional Eurasian food, so no problem.
We were very thankful to Mark and Joe for hosting us!
Mark got us a Japanese banana stuffer for Christmas, as shown. Naively, we hadn't realized that bananas could, or should be stuffed. After reading the instructions in Japanese, we followed the simple, and messy, steps.
First, put chocolate or other stuffing into the specific applicator, and use the end-nubbin to remove the banana stem and top.
Then, extrude the banana middle. We figured Barry was meant to eat those.
Finally, refill hole with chocolate goo.
While this was a marvel of Japanese Engineering, Mark wondered if there was maybe an easier way...