Monthly Archives: August 2011

What a cute name for a coat

I tried making curry rice this morning without the rice, which is perhaps evidence of how desperate my mental condition has become in this terrible “mushi atsui” (Japanese for humidity, literal translation “insect heat”). I got the bright idea to use “shirataki noodles,” which are a kind of “noodle” “made” by cutting a food that nobody in America has ever heard of called konyakku into strips. The first time I ate it I asked an English teacher what the hell it was and they told me in English it is called “devil’s tongue” which is almost less useful than literally knowing nothing. It’s made through a mysterious process that creates a bizarre, chewy jelly that they feed children in schools here so they don’t have to actually feed them food, which is way more expensive than questionable-origin chewy gel. A neat thing about shirataki noodles is that they contain no carbohydrates, sugar, or any sort of food energy at all. Eating them is like eating nothing, except it goes inside you, even though there is always nothing inside of you too, so it is kind of just replacing Void Area with Filled Area, for a time at least, until your body itself works back to Void Area. I ate the noodles with the curry, anyway, and it was slightly better than eating curry with nothing, which is to say that I will not be doing it again. To make up for my transgressions I hogged down a curry bread bun thing from the convenience store and a totally self-indulgent Piece of Bread with Mayonnaise and Chicken on it; any willpower I may have been exerting was ultimately for nothing and I’d have been better off with the rice.

But why willpower? Why any mention of what “food actually contains?” Soft, dear reader: newly armed with Knowledge, I have decided as a matter of personal challenge to specifically attempt to “not eat a lot of sugars, carbohydrates, and refined oils.” I like all of those things, don’t get me wrong! I am pretty much just seeing if I can do it. It has the bonus side-effect of making Jessy think that I care about her diet and consciously plan healthy meals while I crank out chow for us every evening, which is one more mental superiority I can lord over her after she decides to divorce me for Joey Lawrence from the Blossom TV show. “Remember how I cooked such healthy food for you? Whoa”

Anyway, I’ve all but totally stopped drinking soda and sugary beverages in favor of huge bottles of green tea, specifically “iyemon cha” which is Japanese for “iyemon tea” ahahah no really. Iyemon doesn’t mean anything I don’t think, but it is the brand name of a kind of green tea I have taken a liking to, because it is light in taste and does not smell like rotten feet covered in old beans. I have pretty much been drinking it and milk exclusively, though Japanese milk is so fucking terrible compared to delicious Pennsylvania milk that I have to squirt a blast of Hershey’s syrup in there and pop some icecubes in it before it becomes really delicious, which has 24 grams of carbs in two tablespoons and kind of defeats the whole not eating a lot of sugar thing but who gives a shit, I’m not gonna beat myself up over it.

One benefit of not drinking soda though is that my crippling, devastating heartburn hasn’t made much of an appearance on the local stage lately, which has allowed me to consume more delicious beer without suffering the perpetual unholy punishment of esophageal destruction, an unending ever-death.

The point of all this is that part of choosing the noodles was because my rice cooker, the little bitch, I think realized that we didn’t need him as much anymore, so he started to get all angry and overheat and never shut off and now any time I even plug him into the outlet he trips the entire breaker and kills all the electricity to the kitchen. I can make rice in a pot just fine but it is not the same. It does not incorporate “fuzzy logic” or “induction heating” when I cook it in a pot, and I prefer buzzwords when it comes to rice.

– “One night when she’s doing a rowdy move while having water poured on her, Violet’s dad Bill decides to pay her a visit at work and gets angry at her. Then Bill gets in a massive car accident.” –Coyote Ugly
– “Fishbone, a wino, complains that he has no friends and quickly discovers he has many when a vagrant steals his wallet and is later killed in a car accident. Everyone assumes Fishbone is the one that was killed and they hold a wake with a magnificent turnout, which Fishbone witnesses, dressed in drag as a mourner at the wake.” — Good Times, Season 5, Episode 11
– “In ‘The Final Judgement of Beavis,’ after Beavis knocks himself out by crashing into a wall of the house (imitating a maneuver by Robocop on television), Butt-Head revives him by dumping a bucket of cold water on him. Butt-head loves nachos and will do all most anything for them.” –entry for Butt-head, section “Relationship with Beavis”
– “Katie again attempts to talk to Stifler, who again brushes her off. She bets Stifler that if she wins at poker he has to apologise to her and run naked in the snow. Stifler loses and is forced to apologise and go outside naked, where he is raped by a moose.” –American Pie: The Book of Love

After a prolonged, exceedingly dull summer break during which I have continued going to work but not actually had any classes to teach, I find myself now faced with the reality of beginning classes again this coming Monday. Having not been a teacher for over two months I once again find myself in a familiarly unfamiliar situation, asking myself the nervous question “DO I REMEMBER HOW TO TEACH???” The answer, of course, is yes, though it’s quite easy to forget how things go after so long being a cantankerous pull on the prefectural government’s budget.

The good thing about this fall semester beginning soon is that the word “fall” is included in it and that means the goddamned heat will soon be coming to a close, signalling the prelude to the beginning of the exclusively seven or eight months when it is actually fun to live in this part of Japan.

Speaking of the fun parts of living in Japan, I’ve taken it upon myself to undertake the truly useless tasks of doing something geeky! What a shock. This time my quest is to assemble a collection of every game that Nintendo published for their Famicom Disk System add-on, a Japan-only floppy-disk drive that was available starting in 1986. I also want to collect them all “complete,” which means with their original plastic cases, manuals, and all that shit. There are 43 total, of which I am missing 18. Of the 18, six will be prohibitively expensive; of the six, two are so expensive that to even think of obtaining them would be laughably insane. I have not yet decided what I’ll do about adding those six to my collection. Current thought is I will cut out pieces of cardboard in the approximate shapes of the missing games and tape pictures of Alex Trebek to all of them, his glazed, emotionless eyes peering at me from the Other Realm forever.

– The poster for the Chicken Tatsuta sandwich at McDonald’s, which has a tiny white circle slapped on it with text inside that says “come back!” as though it is some sort of emotional plea to the Chicken Tatsuta sandwich, oh god please come back! but no they mean like it is the “comeback” of the Chicken Tatsuta sandwich, which let’s be honest nobody was fucking asking for
– Fresh lettuce, which was goddamned 298 yen a head last night, which if you wanna make it sound more expensive by factoring in the current exchange rate is the equivalent of $3.91, which is way too much to pay for lettuce sweet juicy lord
– Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who mentioned during a speech that he was “not stylish,” that his “looks were not a selling point,” and that he is “a loach,” which this sentence about the Japanese loach describes quite entertainingly: “[loaches] like to dig and burrow into the substrate, often burying themselves.”
– Korean pop music
– Japanese pop music trying to be like Korean pop music
– A famous Japanese hammer thrower won a hammer throw competition the other night and the announcer just about cried all over how manly he was, the announcer was a man, I thought the announcer was gonna take off his jockey shorts and swing them over his head and throw them at the hammer throw guy good god man get a hold of yourself this is your job

Do you know about omurice? Japanese people call it “western food,” which is what you might think it is until you are told what it is and have over two seconds to process it. First they fry rice in a mixture of ketchup and chicken bits and call it “chicken rice,” then they fry a thin layer of egg like an omelet, and then they wrap the big wad of “chicken rice” inside the omelet and cover it with more ketchup. “No,” I tell them, “that is Japanese food.” “Ah ha ha ha,” they say back. “That is impossible.”