Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick food update

I don't have a picture, but I can add raw chicken to the list of relatively strange foods I've eaten. In some places here you can even eat it as sashimi/sushi, but my friends and I ate it marinated and wrapped in lettuce at a restaurant last night. Japan is big into "course" meals, where everything is set before you get there and they just bring the appropriate amount for the number of people.

Apparently raw chicken is safe to eat if it's incredibly fresh (Kyushu is famous-ish for it's yakitori, skewered grilled chicken, so I figure there are a lot of chickens in the neighborhood to eat at a moment's notice?). It wasn't chewy as I was expecting it to be. The marinade was very yummy (though the lettuce wraps were too wet, ew), but I don't think I would choose to eat it again.

I did like the raw cow liver sashimi I had a few weeks ago... more so than the grilled liver.

What food adventure is next??

Monday, April 5, 2010

My soul slumbers in Kyoto

This may also be referred to as "What is probably Emily's longest post to date." It can't be helped. It involves Kyoto, which will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Ohhhh there just aren't the words. It was the best year.After 10 miserable hours of non-sleep on the night bus, we rolled into town and of course, the first thing I see is Japan's Most Iconic Pagoda (Toji). Ohayo gozaimasu, Toji!
Definitely one of my top 2 favorite reflective buildings (along with Time Warner, though Fukuoka Tower and the Kyushu National Museum are tied for 3rd)
Over the river and into the hills, to host fam's house we go! Hello, my beautiful city, I've missed you so.
I took the old bike (a lot rustier than when I used it) out for a spin that first afternoon, and the sakura were blooming in the south up until Gojo Avenue. After that, they weren't really blooming along the river, but randomly in all kinds of places.
Nice! You can't beat the pink shidarezakura that hang over the river. No sirree.
When I got there, it was raining. Then it stopped. Then it rained when I went out. Here I am at Shijo Ave. in the rain.
Looking towards Gion and the Higashiyama, still raining.
But look over yonder! (It's still raining)
Holy crap, now that is PINK. You go, girl.
And then the heavens smiled down.
I think I should get an award for this photo. Still heading north to Kyoto University, along the old everyday route.
Approaching Kyoto U. and Yoshida Shrine. Do you SEE the color of the SKY??
You're not the most beautiful campus ever (in fact, far from it) but I still love you!
The J-Pod! Our tiny 2-room sustainable cedar building. It was only used by KCJS for 3 years (KCJS was in Okazaki near the zoo for 17 years, and now it will be at Doshisha probably foreverrr), and I was smack in the middle of those 2. Mysterious, life.
Oh, nostalgia.
Even the crappy empty lot behind it looks good against that sky. Oh, Kyoto, you break my heart.
... And then it rained again. Hailed, to be more precise. Here is the absolutely hideous student union and the super-cheap cafeteria where I ate many a lunch with my classmates.
A most adorable cafe, and look who's chilling underneath! (Staying out of the rain, UGH)
Oh look, it stopped raining.
Aaaah, Kyoto!!!
The delta where the Kamogawa splits. This is the best place to watch the fires on the mountains in August, so I'm told. I am SO GOING this year, miserable heat and humidity be damned.
Entrance to Shimogamo Shrine, one of the few Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Sites I hadn't yet been too.
The orange and the blue. How gggorgeous.
It's a shrine.
A shrine and the sky.
Daimonjiyama!!!!!!!!! I think this mountain is the symbol of my year abroad. I love it.
Ohhhhhhhh, Kyoto.
Isn't this kind of redundant?
Bamboo shoots are just coming into season! They look creepy, like they have gills, when you cut them open. But are pretty tasty!
The sakura were blooming along Kiyamachi-dori, which is the seedy-ish part of Kyoto (where we spent a lot of time as students, of course).
Obligatory passing-by shot of Ponto-cho, one of the geisha districts.
Hi, my name is Kyoto, and I'm GORGEOUS.
Unspeakably so.
MY ROOM! They let me stay in my old room since I was the first of the host students to stay. They finally took the funeral photos of all the ancestors down. Whatever, I totally got used to chilling with the ancestors every night.
The view from my room! How nostalgic!
Ok there's a roof in the way, but there's a temple in the distance! And the hills! Ohhh!
The host fam and their 3 host daughters. I was first. I will gloat about it until the day I die.
Kiyomizudera light-up with Kyoto U. friends (aka many blurry pictures to come)
The mmmoon, I mmmean.
ALIEN INVASION OF KYOTO! As you can tell, the Kiyomizudera sakura light-up FAILS EPICALLY because it turns the white flowers the same colors as the maple leaf light up in the fall. Which is unbelievably stunning, btw.
It's just kind of artistic and cool, ok?
The reflecting pool, ooh.
It was still nice though. Kiyomizudera is Kiyomizudera.
Sakura blooming in the Imperial Palace Park.
The super duper pink ones are actually peach blossoms, which follow right after the sakura.
Yesssss. Think pink!
Imperial Palace Park, with Daimonjiyama!!!! peeking from the background.
Kyoto also has some truly fabulous pine trees. Well, Japan in general has kick-ass pine trees. Look how green it is. The colors here are just AMAZING. I think it's because the weather is so nuts.
Hi, I'm sakura, and everyone loves me!
I only bloom for one week out of the year! Do you feel the transience of life? DO YOU?
Bees. In late March? It's Kyoto. No explanation necessary.
A cute sakura tree.
With unusual but beautiful flowers!
This picture represents the gloom in my soul at having to leave Kyoto once more. I will be back soon, I promise, my beloved.
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