Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Universe

Today really didn't make much sense.

For starters it was Sunday and I had to go to school. That felt so weird. I'm still not even sure what the purpose of the day was. After lunch people came and watched the three different grades. It was a mixture of teachers from different schools in the Ino area and I think some parents. The science, Japanese, and math teachers had to teach lessons while people infiltrated the classrooms left and right. Talk about people breathing down your neck in the midst of a lesson. I wonder if the teachers were nervous. Yet, I doubt the people watching actually cared that much.

After this part of the day the people broke off into two different groups. I went with one to the library where the social studies teacher proceeded to blaze through a power point about teaching philosophy or something to the random lot of educators at the school today. People looked like they were riveted. A lady followed up with some extenuating jargon that made no sense either. I'm sure as she talked dry plaster chunks were falling out of her mouth. I felt pretty sleepy as it was and my mind was already shutting down from Japanese shock.

I should have mentioned that we had to bring our lunches today. Well, actually, you can come to school and order a bento (lunch) that magically comes from an establishment I'm not aware of but I don't give in so easily. The 550 yen leaves me feeling sour so I just skip that and bring my own. I totally forgot until a few minutes before I left this morning so I had to make something very quickly. My best friend in any food emergency is cabbage and carrots. Easily chopped and prepared. To make things even better I picked up some avocados last week for about 100 yen a piece and have been using these with my meals. I took half the avocado and then sliced it into strips to place on top of my salad. Avocado adds a superb smooth texture with a hint of oil. Not to mention the taste is equally nice. I think I'll try to eat more avocados and experiment with them in my cooking. I think avocado can be paired with an array of foods. For example...

Avocado Eggs

Back to the day now. After the boring presentations everyone moved to the gymnasium building across the main grounds of the middle school. From here things went from a confusing day to down right vexing and perplexing. There was a speaker from the Japanese space and aeronautical organization. Now if you want to figure out how classroom observations, random education presentations, and then a lecture from some dude who deals with the cosmos fits together be my guest but you won't ever figure it out. We learned all kinds of mesmerizing facts like how we can pay 200,000 dollars to ride a special space craft into subspace and experience zero gravity for 4 minutes until plummeting back to earth. We also learned about the unfathomable depth of space which I was pondering last weekend as I tried to fall asleep in my car. This lecture must have been fate then. Honestly, I stopped listening to the lecture after the first video he showed because my brain had shut down from the previous power point I watched. At about 1 hour and 15 minutes into the lecture we had hit about slide 50 and the principal gave him a note letting him know he needed to finish up. I think what makes the day even more incoherent is that he didn't even make it to the part of his presentation that was a message for the students, parents, and visitors. So all that space and cosmos nonsense he laborious conveyed to us was almost all in vain. He quickly flashed through some slides and then wrapped up his thoughts. A few minutes later as someone was saying thank you he forwarded his power point to slide, get this, 105 and said, "I totally super prepared for this presentation. Wow!" He pulled up the "final message" or point of the entire lecture but didn't even talk about it. We were supposed to do that ourselves. If that wasn't enough to top off my super exciting day, they had a short Q&A session. The first question was, "Do you think there are aliens?" Beside the fact we learned about potential space colonies on the moon and mars and concrete tangible information, this question missed the point of the lecture entirely. The presenter chuckled a little as if to deaden the reality of the question being asked. As with most of my days, upon reflection things are much more interesting than they appeared at first glance. This day was just odd and it ends that way except for the following.

Vegetable Pumpkin Curry

I got a Japanese pumpkin from the tea lady at school because she brought in extras from her garden. So instead of using potatoes in my curry I substituted the kabocha which when cooked is sweet and delicious. I simmered the pumpkin in mirin and soy sauce and then fried it with carrots and onion. Then I added water, red wine, and mirin to let the veggies boil and get softer. I also threw in some sliced red chili peppers for extra spicy flavor. The end result was a very nice curry with flavorful pumpkin. I have plenty for lunch tomorrow. I didn't take a picture of the end product because things get hidden in the thickness of the curry. I froze the extra pumpkin chunks and will use them later on. Life really isn't so bad.

Thank goodness I continue my weekend tomorrow with a day off. But that earth oven that I want to build is driving me crazy. I even had a dream about it because I've thought about it so much. If you don't know about my earth oven aspirations I'll explain soon.

It's really a shame we didn't see the other half of that guy's presentation today. It was actually kind of interesting. Yet, sleepiness and foreign language processing don't win wars.


Anonymous said...

I like hearing about your days in Japan. I would like to eat some of the stuff you make.

yoko said...

私、かぼちゃカレー好き!!japanese pumpkin美味しい!!Much much better than American one! haha.
I made かぼちゃコロッケlast night.

blaine said...

Thanks for the comment Yoko!

Make コロッケ for me please! Let me know how it is and talk to me soon.


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