I eat so much until people call me Dr. Fish Fish.

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Pay Later"

Heee... no school for today. It is Greenery Day (Midori no Hi, 緑の日) in Japan. A unique public holiday in Japan. As its name suggests, it is a day to commune with nature, to be thankful for blessings, and to foster an abundant spirit. So, on TV shows today, non-stop programmes about nature. Even the weather today is splendidly nice. Like an early summer.

Don't you just like the scent of green?

A Short Episode on Bus

Ok, too lazy to do a long post today. Going off soon to do my groceries shopping. ^_^ Wanted to write about an incident on a bus few weeks ago, here it is.

Among the days I went to take my driving test, there was one morning I took a bus with only "big money" in my wallet. I only had one 5000yen and one 10000yen with me, which I only realised when reached the bus station. I didn't have time to get small change, and went on the bus. For the ticket, I need to pay 220yen.

I went to the front, asked the driver to exchange 5 1000yen for me.

"Ah~ sorry miss, I don't have that much now." He looked at my 5000yen.

"But, I have no small change at all now." I told him.

"How much small change do you have now?" He then asked me.

"Not even a 10yen." Really don't know what should I do at the moment.

After he took time to think for a short while, "Will you be taking bus again later on?"

"Yes." I replied.

"Well miss, please pay to that bus then." Now that was an unexpected solution from him.

"I can? Is it really ok?"

"Yes." He didn't even give me a second reminding for that.

"Thank you so much." I thanked him once more before I get down the bus.


After exam, I took my bus back to the train station.

Before getting off, "I need to pay double. I haven't paid my previous fare with another bus." I told the bus driver.

And so, I dropped 440yen into the paying machine.

"Arigatou gozaimashita!" He said, I nodded and get down.

Ah~ it was a good feeling to clear my debt. Kekeke...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Welcome Party 2005 (Apr 27)

Yesterday evening, our lab had a welcome party for new comers into our lab starting the 2005 Fiscal Year.

The new comers were for free. But the old staffs including students, had to pay quite an amount of money. Students were required to pay 3000yen per person.

This was the izakaya (居酒屋) that we went, called Shioriya (栞屋).

It is a norm for Japanese izakaya to prepare a few small plates for each person, which usually are ceramics. The white double decker container were filled with 2 types of appetizer.

Before starting to eat, it is a must to have a Kanpai (乾杯) (session, which is always followed after a shorrt speech by my professor.

I had a glass of non-alcoholic cocktail, named as Cinderella. Kekeke... good name for a drink that actually a mixture of orange juice, pineapple juice and a wedged lemon.

I was so starved by the time we started our real eating time. The appertizer turned to be cold Harusame (春雨,bean-starch vermicelli) that mixed with vinegar and other seasoning. Yap, a good starter to increase my appetite. As for the Kamo (鴨, wild duck), I gave to my junior that was seating opposite me.

The 1st plate of the main dishes are a plated of sashimi of assorted seafoods. Not my type of food. I was seating in between 2 sensei (am I lucky or what?). One sensei on my right keep attempting me to try the sashimi, he said they were very good. But he will never understand, as a vegetarian, those raw things will never be able to evoke my single urge to try them.

Kekeke... in the end, he gave up.

Ah~ but this, was something very irresistible for fish fish. I just love this egg cake. It was very good, quite thick until I need to open my mouth big big to put them in. The texture was very fluffy, juicy and the taste was not salty. Heee... sensei didn't eat this, he offered his portion to me.

This was a bowl of tofu vege salad with korean spicy sauce as dressing. However, the sauce was not spicy at all, sweet I should call it. One thing I don't like bout the salad in this izekaya, they love to used raw white radish stripes and white radish sprouts, which never been my interest.

Luckily, the next dish was something I am fond of. Sweet corn. As the name, SWEET~

A very small plate of tempura for 4 people. Heee... except the prawn and sweet potato, the other three let me had all the others on this plate, cause half of the dishes of the night, were "inedible" by me. :P

Hmm... the tempura in this shop was just so so, nothing to brat about. Too oily indeed.

A quite unique dish for the nite. It was a plate of yuba (foo chuk) and raw squid salad with plum sauce dressing. >_< src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v320/kuishinbo_meow/Apr%202005/Shiori11resizeovocadoprawn.jpg">

One of my favorite dish. Avocado and prawn salad, which has blended with mayonaise sauce. Very nicely done. The avocado was very melty in my mouth. Heee... a very high calories food, but who cares for once a long while. (But I did regret the next day. Ah~ I've been putting on weight this month. Dou shiyo~ -_-")

Duh~ another plate of caloric killer. But couldn't be resisted by fish fish. Fried potato wedges. It looked like normal potato wedges, but once bite one it, the taste told me all the differences. The out layer was fried until a very crispy soft coating, with powdery sweet texture being wrapped inside. Sensei and me just couldn't control ourselves, put keep picking them up.

Kushiage (串揚げ, deep fried sticks) plate 1. A combination of 5 stick of vege and meat. I ate the egg plant and asparagus. Taste ok only.

Kushiage plate 2. 5 sticks of meat. Yap, Japanese love to have kushiage when go to an izakaya, cause it is like a good tit-bit for them to go with the cold and !"yummy" beer.

Frequently, you will see scene like this :

A big jug of beer, with a plate of freshly fried kushiage. A guy is doing a big sip on his beer, then one go gulp the kushiage stick.

"Ah~~~ Bi-ru saikou!! Kore, umai~"

Then, tilts his head a little.

It was almost to the end of the food lining up. This plate of sweet and sour chicken...

...came as the same time with this Tai's (鯛, sea-bream) head cooked with soysauce. Once again, sensei was persuading me to try the fish. I don't want, but to make him feel a bit satisfy, I try to dip a bit of the sauce into my tongue. Gosh~~ so regret I did that. The fishy taste of the sauce nearly made me vomit. Heee... but then, that somehow did make my sensei guilty too, for keep pushing me to do something impossible.

Well, he was complaining the fish was over-cooked. Too salty.

It was supposed to be the end of the menu. But I specially requested this Deep Fried Sweet Potato Stick with honey butter sauce for dipping. Heee... it was a special menu for me, considering many things one that nite I couldn't eat.

This was truly good, as usual... that I had 3 big sticks of them. I am not a fan of sweet potato, but I would say, this is an exception.

Heee... sensei asked me why I don't take tempura sweet potato, and yet love this. I told him because the way the food is prepared is different. And therefore, the texture and the taste of the foods, even from same basic ingredient, will be having a big gap within them.

As a conclusion, my sensei say, "You willful gal, hmm... only eat the best."

"No ler~ sensei, I only eat things that suit my tastebud. ;) "

Oh, I am bloated. And a light entertainment would definitely something very welcome at that moment.

Heee... the junior seating opposite me decided to show a little magic trick.

First, he asked a lady sensei to pick a card from mixed pile of cards which he didn't know at all.

Then, after jumbled up the cards, he showed this Heart 4 to be the card that sensei chose.

"Ha!! You are wrong" We said, thinking that his magic trick has failed.

"Oh~ not this one?"

Then he continued, "It is number 4, so why not we go to card number 4 from the top of the pile then?"

So, the number 4 card was laid out on top like in the picture.

"Now sensei, I believe this is the right card? Please open..." He gave an instruction to sensei.

Wow~ indeed, it turned up to be a Diamond J.

Cool huh~ I just love magic. ^_^

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Letter of No-Return

Dear daddy,

Thank you for helping to do shopping for this week. Next week, you will be able to have a good rest. Please, before you go out to work this morning, do greet me. :)

Dear little brother,

I've prepared the breakfast for you. Must eat it, ok? Remember to be a good boy. I promise you I'll bring as much souvenir back for you. :)

This... was a simple note from a 20's young lady to her family before she left her house for her first time travelling away from Japan. Her mother has past away long time ago, and she, has been replacing her mother in taking care of her family. The overseas travelling, has been something she has been dreaming of.

Little did she know, it was indeed a journey of no return. She took the JR Fukuchiyama line that derailed on 25 April, 9.18am on way to the airport. She was one of the the many victims that sacrificed in the accident. The worst train accident in the history of Japan.

I couldn't help myself but feel a strong sadness inside me. She was not the only one... there were many gone with her. It is really hard to imagine how big shock it is for those who involved.

This morning, the news in the TV reported the number has been increased to 91 victims, with another 450++ passengers injured. They believed the victims will rise up to more than 100 people.

Mum even called me yesterday night to ask about the incident. Surprisingly to know this morning, the incident was very near to the station to Yuriko's house, the Itami station. I've been there a few times by using this line.

Wordless to see the incident. Here is a series of detailed reports in Japanese. For English report, please click here.

Below are a few pictures that I took from here.

A picture after the derailment. Taken at 25 April, 10.05am Japan time.

The driver of this train was a 23 yo young man, who was reported had been on the job for only 11 months, overshot a station stop in June last year by 100 meters.

On Monday, JR West initially announced that at Itami Station, the train's last stop before crashing, the driver overran the stop mark by about 8 meters and had to back up before the passengers could be let off. But the company corrected that figure Tuesday and said he overshot the mark by 40 meters.

The driver, who previously has received 2 penalties for his duty's mitakes, has asked the train's conductor, to under-report the overrun distance.

This shows a drawing of the incident.

There were 7 cars for the train. 5 cars were derailed, carrying 580 passengers at that moment.

The first two cars plowed into the first-floor parking garage of a nine-story apartment building. 1st car couldn't be seen in this figure as it was under the 2nd car inside the building parking compartment.

A large group of rescue team has been formed immediately to act as fast. However, the rescue work has been a hard task, as no burner is allowed due to worry of explosion that may caused by leaking car gasoline.

Rescue work has been operated non-stop even until middle of night. Picture was taken at 4.00am, 26 April 2005.

I send my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. It was a hard-to-believe incident for me, especially in a country like Japan.

A Went Nowhere Sunday (Apr 24)

It was a very quiet Sunday for fish fish. I looked into my freezer, thinking of making a nice food for myself.

Got some Thai rice from the Ghana Cooking Class. Ah ha!! Why not making a simple yet yummy Malaysian fried rice?

In Japan, I can't get any long bean, so I replaced that with some long bean-like vege, which I forgot the name. Anyone got any idea which vege I'm talking about? :P

I also used Japanese bamboo shoot and egg. After the rice and everything have been stir fried until a golden brown colour with spicy sauce, I add in some fried shallot and garlic chips that brought from Malaysia.

Oo la la~ My fish fish brand Fried Rice. It was sooo good that I finished it so fast. Regardless of minima oil volume that I used, the spicy sauce oil gave a very good degree of the oiliness to the rice.

I'm loving it!

I decided to be a good gal at my lab. I actually like to work on Saturday and Sunday, quiet and spacious. Weekdays are sometimes to noisy... and not enough space to do my research when a few people doing work at the same time.

Nobody to Pak Toh with, so go to work lor~ :P

On the way, there were some strange costume young ladies walking over in front of me. Hmm... seem like they were having somekind of praying event.

Instead of using my normal tea shops routine to the school, I chose to strolled along the Uji river. All the sakura blossoms has gone.

All you can see is very nice fresh green leaves with naked reddish flower stems. In another couple of months, small sour cherries will fruit on these trees.

Hohoho!!! My tanpopo is showing beautiful white cotton balls of fluffy seeds here and there. A pleasure sight with their yellow flowers.

Once the wind blows, these small feathery white angels will fly like a skillful parachuter before they decided to land on the ground to 落地生根. And the life cycle will go on and on again... As simple as that for them.

I was attracted by this scene. Some sentimental soul put tsubaki beside a drinking tap. Heee... nice though~

But the next day when I past thru it again, the flowers were gone. Ah well~

This is called cyclamen. Whenever I see this flower, it reminded me of a Japanese guy I've met few years ago. Well, I don't even remember his look nor his name... what made me keep remembering him is because this flower.

Kekeke... he was a PhD student specialized in doing research about cyclamen. I met him in a Foreigner Students Welcome Party. Somehow we talked. Then it reached the part where I started asking him about his field...

OMG!!! I triggered the wrong bullet. Cause that made him started to talk like a long life machine gun bout this flower for not less than 1hr. -_-" My Japanese was terrible that time... but I wouldn't think it is a good idea to splash cold water on him when he was in such excited condition. What did I do? Listened lor~ Good gal huh~ But I think I learnt 2 things, this flower is called cyclamen because of the shape of the petal and the flower is said to be poisonous in some way.

That's all I remembered about his teaching. :P

I pass through this spooky buidling everyday. See all the climbing plants all around the house? If you think this is scary enough, wait till you see when autumn comes. The leaves turned 3 times of the size now, with crimson scariness... Now, that is spoooooky~~~

Btw, what the hell is this building?

Ha!!! It's a gynecology clinic!!! >_<

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ghana Cooking Class (Apr 22)

Last Friday, Mirian and I went to attend a Monthly Cooking Class that held by the Agricultural Foreign Student Centre in my school. It was my 1st time, and was Mirian 2nd time. That day, it was an African style - Ghana Foods. Well, here is a link for some of the Ghana recipes.

We had to go all the way from Uji to the main campus.

This was 2 rows of new green gingko tree in front of the Faculty of the Agriculture.

I've never noticed that gingko leaves not only attractive in autumn with its golden large leaves, but the green smal leaves also equally beautiful.

When we reached the place, quite a number of people were already there. However, most of them didn't do anything, including the 2 of us. :P

The three chefs for the day is shown in this picture. They were preparing Ghana Cuisine. My fren was telling me that the 3 of them are staying in the same house.

It was supposed to be a cooking class, but it turned up that nothing was pre-ready to teach us. So, we could only try to stand aside and did our own observation.

The man that was standing is the main chef for the evening. Adai from Ghana (Hope I have his name spelt correct).

They were preparing 2 dishes at the same time. First, was this Ghana soup.

A closer look of the ready Ghana soup. Heee... does it looks like our chicken curry? This is in fact a very special soup. The main ingredient for making the soup is Peanut Butter!! A big whole bottle of peanut butter was melted before added into a very huge pot of chicken soup. Then assorted veges were added, with a new try by adding Japanese seaweed. o_O Then, spicy sauce that made from bonito was added for the soup spiciness.

Well, the spicy sauce was Very Spicy for a lot of people that attended. This picture was showing some of their expressions after tasting the sauce. But for a get-used-to-spicy-food Malaysian like fish fish, it was just medium standard. ;)

The 2nd dish is called Bean Stew.

A ready pot of nicely cooked bean stew. The main ingredients for the bean stew were precooked bean and canned tuna. To add up a spiciness, typical cooking way of a Ghana food, the spicy sause was once again added.

Then, the bean stew was served with either long grain rice....

...or with Gari. A form of instant staple food in Ghana that made from cassava.

Hehe... and for a vegetarian (that's me, fish fish), they kindly prepared a ginger version of bean stew, instead of using the spicy sauce.

I love the bean stew. I tried some from the normal version, and my conclusion was I stil like this vegetarian version more. The strong smell of the bonito from the normal bean stew was kind of disturbing for my tastebud.

However, this Bean Stew will be a great dish for other people. The bean was cooked until very soft, absorbed the savoury taste of the tuna, and went very well with the plan rice. Or a slightly salty Gari. I've been eating a lot of cassava in Malaysia, but never in this kind of form. It was indeed a new type of experience for me. The Gari was kind of filling, so it made one easily get full.

This was a bowl of Ghana soup with nicely boiled chicken.

Kekeke... I get the soup only with a lot of vege.

Mmmm~~~ the peanut soup was a surprise for me. It was very good, though a bit oily. The buttery peanut soup blended very well with ginger, tomato paste and spicy sauce. All the vege were very soft, very surprised the addition of the Seaweed was actually a good decision. Healthy and yummy!!

Meet our chef of the evening - Adai from Ghana. He was explaining each dish to us. However, most of them are Japanese, and many of them showed a confusing face with the explanation.

Nvm, eating is the most important for that moment. ^o^

Meet the students, that didn't help much for the cooking, including the one that taking this picture. *shame shame*

Adai is a great cook. That is for sure. In fact, while we - students were enjoying his cooking...

In a very short time, he prepared FuFu for us. Another staple food in Ghana, as a replacement for rice. It usually uses potato starch and wheat flour to make FuFu, but the evening, he was using mashed potato powder and corn starch as a replacement. The ratio of potato powder to corn starch was 3:1.

This is how you eat the FuFu. Eat with the peanut soup. In fact, the normal way of eating it was using hands, like our Malay friends style. But, none did that on the evening except Adai himself. Kekeke... not an easy task to eat with hands if you are not used to that.

The FuFu tasted like a baby food, but with stronger stickiness. Another new taste for fish fish.

Guess what?

In less than 10 min, he prepared a great dessert for us. Peanut cookies!! Man~ it was one of the most delicious peanut biscuit I've ever eaten, and yet very easy to make. I must try to make one myself next time. Warning : You must have strong teeth in order to enjoy this dessert. It was very chrunchy, not too sweet and the saltiness was great... but hard texture due to the caramelized sugar that made the coarsed peanut powder to be able to form into pieces.

For only 500yen, that was definitely a very worthy authentic home-cooked Ghana Foods. We enjoyed the foods very much.

Thank you so much for the great Eating Session.

Gochisosama deshita!! ^o^