Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Japan: Recycling Trash

Although I've been telling everyone about recycling trash in Japan, I cannot convey the extent of it. I have stumbled upon a great article written up in the New York times for your reading pleasure. It pretty much summarizes how anal it can be. We have 6 trash bins in our tiny apartment kitchen alone, but I'd rather recycle. When I come back to the US, it is reverse culture shock and I am absolutely disgusted with how much garbage we dump all together!

Now that we are used to separating the trash, I find it difficult to throw the plastics in with the burnables.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force

I actually first saw these commercials on Anderson Cooper 360 and finally found them on You Tube. These are REAL Offical commercials for recruiting for Japan's Maritime Self Defense forces. ENJOY!!!
This one is the original commercial...

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force 2006 CM

Here is the updated 2006 (even better) version...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Australia: Honeymoon - Sydney

Australia: Honeymoon - Noosa

Australia: Honeymoon - Adelaide

Australia: Honeymoon - Blue Mountains

Lance and I went on an amazing Honeymoon to AUSTRALIA!!!! We were there for 2 weeks and hit 3 different regions: Sydney, Adelaide and Noosa.

The first 3 days we traveled to the Blue Mountains. It is about 2 hours West of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are so named for the Eucalyptus trees that grow wildly in the area. On the way we stopped at FeatherDale Park and got to meet kangaroos, koalas, wombats and other Australian wildlife. Is it just me or do alot of native Australian animals just look like big rodents? Also the birds that live in the wild are amazing there!

While in the Blue Mountains, we visited the Three Sisters rock formation. This is...

Scenic World...

Jenolan Caves.


I'm sorry I suck...I will be posting our Australia entries this week! (We went for our honeymoon over Xmas and New Year's). All I have to say is Australia ROCKS! We loved it mate. No worries.

Next week Lance and I are going to China. Be sure to keep an eye out :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Japan: Hiroshima - Dedicated to Ali & Iddya

Proudly present Round 1 of Photo Booth Fun!

(note: we do not know the Japanese guy in these pictures...he works at the arcade)

Can't get enough...Round 2 of Photo Booth Fun!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Japan: Funny - You know you're Japanese when...

Scary we are beginning to understand some of these...does this mean we are turning Japanese?

You know you're Japanese when...

1. You bow your head every few seconds when you speak.
2. Every compliment ever paid to you you've responded with "Oh no, that's not true...".
3. You know what natto is and you either hate it or you love it.
4. You know why the words Rice and Meal mean the same thing.
5. You imitate the nasally voice of the train conductor and everyone laughs.
6. You are/have been addicted to the song "Tsunami" by Southern All Stars.
7. You know that shoyu never, ever goes on rice.
8. You've "accidentally" poured shoyu or some other sauce on your rice. "Accidentally" of course.
9. Your blood type is A.
10. You grew up watching Anpanman or Ultraman.
11. You know that it's really "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi".
12. You watch American movies with Japanese in them and you think they're speaking Chinese.
13. You apologize profusely for no reason.
14. You know what the rabbits are doing up there on the moon.
15. You know what Shuriken are NOT because of an anime or manga.
16. At some point, you watched "Hotaru no Haka" and cried.
17. "Tonari no Totoro" was your "Little Mermaid".
18. You know that frogs say, "gero gero", not "ribbit". And pigs go "boo" "boo"
19. The quote, "boys be ambitious" is familiar to you.
20. You've bought nice clothing for cheaper than 5 dollars.
21. You can finish this sentence:"Sora wo jiyuu ni tobitai na!Hai! _____________!!!!"

My additions:
22. You say "hai" even when you are in another country.
23. You separate your trash when you are in another country
24. For Americans, you stop turning your windshield wipers on when you make a turn
25. Conversely, you stop turning your blinker on when it rains
26. You are very proud of earning your Japanese driver's license
27. Uncle Ben's rice is unacceptable
28. You enjoy Japanese TV
29. Japanese people no longer say "DAME, DAME!!!!" to you

Japan: Funny - How to fold a shirt the Japanese way

Check it out...Lance tried over and over again. It is tough. Leave it up to the Japanese to find a perfect way to do it.

Japan: Funny - Gaijin Invasion

Great music video, especially funny to those who have ever been, lived or know about Japan!

Japan: Funny - How to use a Japanese Mouse

Check out a Japanese mouse...
ps. especially funny if you move your mouse around really fast. You can also push down on your mouse button.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Japan: Hiroshima - Sushi! Sush! Sushi!

Yokoso to the Mosley Sushi Party! Lance and I hosted a dinner party at our house featuring...make your own sushi. It was tons of fun making and eating the different creations everyone made. Plus we didnt' have to cook. BUT prepping took a long time - so many dishes and ingredients.

Pic: Therese, Elmar and Martin

Ingredients included maki-su (bamboo mats), wasabi, mayonnaise, cream cheese, soy sauce, smoked salmon, spicy tuna, crab, shrimp tempura, terriyaki beef, avocado, green onions, cucumber, lettuce, shrimp, rice, nori and whatever else I can't remember! Check it out...

Pic: Nuria, David (hiding behind Nuria), Jules, O-town, Noi, Iddya

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Japan: Hiroshima - Skiing

Skiing is great in Japan. Since there are mountains everywhere it is easy to get to a ski lodge. The one we went to was less than a 1.5 hr. drive away from Hiroshima. It was a ski resort and onsen in one. So afterwards we got to soak our sore muscles in the Hot Springs!

It was my 2nd time skiing in my life and we had alot of FUN! The snow was soft and the sun was out. People assume it is too expensive here but I dont' find it to be that much more than the U.S. Ski equipment rental was about $33 (boots, skis and poles). And a 6 hr. lift ticket is $35.

My friend, Jules and I

Japan: Hiroshima - Kimono Dressing

Konichiwa Minna-san!

This entry is about my experience wearing a kimono. I attended a cultural kimono dressing class. Japanese women had volunteered to bring kimonos and dress us properly in one. Then we took pics and went to eat lunch in our kimonos. Let's just say that this is the best diet ever because not only can you not eat, you also cannot breath. Seriously.

There are many, many, many pieces to a kimono. First an undergown - like a kimono but it's cotton and is an underwear. Then the many bindings that are tied around you, ropes made of cloth. These are tied very tightly and you have to suck in. Then the Kimono itself. After is the obi - the middle silk and embroidered sash, this is tied beautifully in the back. The obi has many ties and a flat towel or cardboard piece folded inside the obi. This is so you have No curves. A beautiful kimono is one where the woman has straight sides and no breasts. I've explained this all in the simplest steps, but it took 3 women to dress me, and agonize over little folds and details.

The kimonos are amazingly beautiful, however once on, your circulation is cut off from right under your boobs, to below your waistline. You are forced into perfect posture. You cannot slouch nor sit without being upright. This would be the equivalent to the Western corset.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Japan: Hiroshima - Bento Box

January's Japanese Cooking Class topic was O-Bento Boxes! Bento Boxes are everywhere in Japan - Seven-Eleven, convenient stores, grocery stores... For those unfamiliar, a Bento box is a typical lunch that consists of little portions of different foods nicely arranged in a lunchbox. Japanese women usually get up at 5am and start making Bento boxes for their husbands and children's lunch to take to work & school. Many women do this til their child goes to college. And we thought peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were a pain....

A proper Bento box will include 5 different colors. Color scheme is very important. Here are examples:
White - rice
Black - Sesame seeds, laver porphyras pp
Yellow - Egg, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoe, corn, pickeled daikon radish
Red - Shrimp, carrot, tomato, apple, strawberry
Green - Cucumber, greens, parsley, asaparagus, green pepper

Here is my O-Bento I made. Unfortunately it does not look pretty, I was hungry and just threw it all in and did not arrange it...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Japan: Hiroshima - Medical Japanism

This entry is dedicated to the many "Japanisms" that we discover while living here. One of those weird cultural differences that dumbfounds me.

The following info. is from "The Wall Street Journal Asia," Article entitled "Japan's Cancer Refugees Speak Up." This article leaves me speechless because I can't even begin to understand it. In Japan it is custom never to question your doctor, manager, teacher or anyone with authority. That said, it is no suprise that even thru the late 1990s, the concept of a 2nd medical opinion was unknown. "Today, Japanese people are borrowing the English words and getting a "sekando opinon."

Cancer is Japan's No. 1 cause of death and here, they do not ever tell the patient they have the disease. The patient is left in the dark and they never question their doctor. Family members usually know the true diagonis, but does not burden the patient about it. Unlike the U.S. where the patient is in control of their decisions about their health care. The internet has broken down patients' isolation from information about their disease and foreign treatments. Now Japanese citizens are demanding for more - they want Amercian style care and drugs for cancer.

Japanese government currently guarantees that everyone has health insurance coverage and pays most of the bills. Japan only spends half the money other Western countries do on cancer treament and research . The Health Bureau at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says "With a huge national debt and corporations worried about higher taxes, Japan can't afford to throw money into treaments and training that offer little hope of significantly extending life spans." Patients are now speaking up about their restriction in choices.

I don't get it!?!? How can you not tell someone they have cancer and have their whole family lie to them? In my opinion, the idea of not acknowledging a disease and making it taboo only hurts them.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Japan: Hiroshima - O Christmas Tree

Got a Japanese Christmas tree this year - Love it! You're thinking how is this different? Get ready for this: It is a POP-UP Christmas tree SET.

Set meaning it comes with all the ornaments, ribbon, and lights pre-attached and wired to the tree. You cant' take it on or off so it cuts decorating time to zilch.

Pop-up meaning it is literally just that. The tree folds flat and you pick it up from the top and hang it on the stand. It's hilarious, see pics for illustration!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Japan: Hiroshima - Sushi rolling

Finally tried my hand at sushi rolling, only to find out I STINK! I took a Japanese cooking class where we made California rolls. It was delicious, but you have to make the sushi rice just right - the amount of rice vinegar that is mixed into the rice is definitely what gives it the best taste. I've had sushi where they don't put rice vinegar in and it is too plain and blah without.

Here are pics of my attempts. Notice the insides were squished out of my first roll, otherwise I made them too fat.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Japan: Hiroshima - Halloween

Halloween in Japan? Definitely not that popular, but foreign stores do sell Halloween candy and decor. As well as Tokyu Hands store and a few other Japanese stores. Trick-or-Treating is not widespread.

American friends of ours threw their annual Halloween party at their apartment. It was the first Halloween party our Australian friends, Japanese friends, and British friends have ever been to. Below are pics of Lance and I - I decided to forgo the "sexy" or "scary" costumes this year and go for something ridiculous. These are Japanese costumes sold here.

Say hello to Eggplant and Mushroom

Japan: Hiroshima - Japanese spin on fast food faves

Pics of popular fast food dishes Japanese style!
Hello Kitty Birthday Cake
McDonald's Shrimp Burger

Shrimp Sub from Subway

Keep checking -I plan to post more pics as I come across them....


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Japan: Hiroshima - The Beautiful Water

Sake - referred to as "the beautiful water" and what better place to do sake tasting than at the SAKE FESTIVAL!!! This an annual event held in October, where all the sake breweries all over Japan come together in the city of Saijo. Lucky for us, Saijo is a short train ride away from Hiroshima.

The Sake Festival is a 2-day event, drawing tons of people to wander thru streets of food vendors, sake houses, and finally drinking yourself into an oblivion in the main tent. Sightings of passed out Japanese men were plenty (my friend almost sat down on someone's head who was passed out on a bench). Not drinking sake much in the past, I find it's a bit like wine tasting. There are many kinds of sake ranging from dry -sweet. As well as cloudy - clear. Some are grainy and gross, the exceptional ones are nicely balanced and have a range of flavors. Course after 4 or 5 cups, it all tastes the same... Sake cups are teeny tiny and the sake can be served warm or cold. At the festival, there were over 200 breweries represented and were divided into the region it is from. Each was given a number, course we just picked blindly and guessed any number to try.

Me, my sidekick Iddya and Sake barrels .......................fresh tofu....................................Inside Main Tent.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Japan: Hiroshima - Drag Queens and Transvestites

Yes. Yes. There are Drag-queens in Hiroshima! If you know Hiroshima, it is very suprising since it's a little more traditional than other cities like Tokyo. But as a resident, you soon find out Japan is actually a perverse society of closet sex freaks.

It was 5,000 yen (about $40-$45) a person to reserve a seat and have all you can drink and see the show. I went with a bunch of girlfriends and we had a great time! The girls sit behind the bar and serve you drinks, lights your cigarette, and make conversation with you...kinda like a hostess bar. Later during the night the show starts and unlike some drag queen shows I've seen in the U.S., they don't sing, just dance and some strip. Most of them have real breasts and one went the Full Monty - took everything off. Yes, she was fixed in both places. Amazing, really! Check out my pics (sorry, can't post anything indecent...wouldn't want my site classified as porn):

Was once a man (on the right)...................................Hot bod, Cher look alike..................What the bar looks like

Saturday, August 19, 2006

US: California - I Do!

So I've neglected by blog for 4 months...but for good reason. Lance and I had our wedding ceremony on August 19, 2006 in Calfornia! It was held at a beautiful winery, with perfect weather, and the love of family and friends.

I spent a year planning the wedding, most of it from Japan. (*FYI - a wedding coordinator is a must if you are doing a long distance wedding, or if you don't want to kill yourself) Here is our wedding website: http://www.erinandlance.weddingwindow.com/ -what I threw myself into, and so neglected this site.

I know what you're thinking - hey weren't we already married? duh. We were already engaged and had a civil ceremony before moving to Japan. So this was our "traditional" ceremony with friends and family. It was even more special since we hadn't seen anyone in a year since we left the country.

We arrived a week before the wedding to do some fun things, as well as last minute wedding details. This included wine tasing in Sonoma Valley,going to Six Flags, running around getting "beauty stuff" done (Girls, you know what that entails), and taking care of wedding stuff like making favors and guest hotel boxes. We also go to see dentists and doctors while we are in the U.S. because it's so damn hard to find ones we can communicate with here. Needless to say it was a busy week, but completely paid off.

And just as important, we eat tons of food when we are in the U.S. My tfavorite places to go: Target, Costco, Taco Bell, Fuddruckers, Arby's, In-and-Out Burger, and Publix.

It was overwhelming and unbelievable that so many of our friends and family traveled just for us. We enjoyed the day immensely. Everything was very special and I will never forget it. One of my favorite highlights was seeing both our parents dancing. They were happy and enjoying themselves. I have never seen my Dad dance. So now I"m going to post it on my blog and show the world:

P.S. We have decided to go to Australia for our honeymoon in December - January, over New Year's. Stay tuned for blogs on Sydney, Adelaide and the Gold Coast of Australia!!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Africa - Ngorongoro Crater

Interestingly, the nights were very very cold. The lodge would light a fire in the fireplace in the evenings.