Homeless orator orates to nobody

January 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One evening we heard the sounds of a loud conversation creeping into our apartment from the streets below. We didn’t really think about it, but after about an hour I got up to check out the group of people inconsiderately talking so loudly. Imagine my surprise when it turned out it was this crazy woman — who’d been going for at least an hour before I saw her. There was not a single person other person within sight for whose benefit she could have been speaking, and there was no pedestrian traffic either. After about thirty more minutes she went to a nearby garage, pulled down her pants, and had a good poop right there in front of our whole building. Seriously.

This is why I’m glad that we can walk the dogs in the tea garden instead of having to go down to the street late at night.

(Our area is really very charming — she is an anomaly!)


New food: Daifuku

January 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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At Uwajimaya this evening, Blake and I picked out some enticing-looking mochi-themed desserts from a big refrigerated case that was filled with them. There seem to be many kinds of mochi-looking things in the store, and many of them have really different names. I’m not sure if they’re all mochi or if they’re something else, but they at least look like mochi. (For those who don’t know, here’s the Wikipedia page on mochi.)

Blake picked the one in the back -- red bean -- and I picked the pineapple and macadamia nut ones in the front.

I decided to try the pineapple first. You can see that it's not very big. (That's a nickel next to it.)

See, the label clearly calls is "daifuku," but it sure looks like mochi to me.

Ahh, here we go:

Daifukumochi (大福餅?), or Daifuku (大福?) (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans. Daifuku comes in many varieties. The most common is white-, pale green-, or pale pink-colored mochi filled with anko. These come in two sizes, one approximately the diameter of a half-dollar coin, the other palm-sized. Some versions contain whole pieces of fruit, mixtures of fruit and anko, or crushed melon paste. Nearly all daifuku are covered in a fine layer of corn or taro starch to keep them from sticking to each other, or to the fingers. Some are covered with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder. Though mochitsuki is the traditional method of making mochi and daifuku, they can also be cooked in the microwave.

It's all squishy.

Actually, the inside looks pretty squishy too. And smells very pineappley.

Yum. Or something.

Actually, it was only okay. I took a nice big bite and thought, “Hm, this is good but kind of strange.” Then, as I chewed it some more I amended that to, “Actually yeah, this is really strange.” And when it came time to cut a second bite, I couldn’t quite muster up the enthusiasm. And, in fact, two hours later it’s still sitting on the counter on this plate looking exactly as it does in the background of this photo. So not really my favorite thing ever.

Now it was Blake’s turn:

History has shown me that red bean (called "azuki" in Japanese) isn't my favorite flavor. It looks like it's filled with chopped up dead bugs. =(

His expression says it all.

Sarah: Is it good?

Blake: No.

Ah, well, you win some, you lose some.


Guess what I got at Uwajimaya – Part 2: The dramatic conclusion

January 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Well! The time has finally come. I opened up the mystery box. (If you’d like more background, see part 1.)

Out of the box

The top half was heavy.

Probably because it's filled with little mochis.

Everything that came out of the box. There's one little piece of double-stick tape in the front -- I wonder which two things need to be adhered together?

The mystery item - back

Here are the instructions from the back of the box.

Some detail. I think it's a crane and, um, some big circle things?

Some more detail

The instructions clearly show this paper thing being attached so it hangs out of the box. The question, then, is whether the writing here says "This side in the box" or whether the writing says, "Good luck!" or "Happy new year!" and this end goes outside the box. (I elected to put it inside since the writing isn't in the diagram.)

I guess this is right?

I'm not sure why there's a hole in the bottom. I originally thought it was to retrieve the mochi as it falls out of the top, but (a) there's no place for it to fall through and (b) it's too small for the mochi to pass through.

Ahh, the adhesive is for the fake orange. Of course.

The fan had its own piece of adhesive. Just about done.


According to the Wikipeda page, we leave this up until January 14 when eat the mochi inside with some soup. (We will probably not do that since we’ll be in Colorado on January 14, but you get the idea.) The end!


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