Okay, family, as requested (by Lacey): this week's email will be photos of everything I ate this week! Lots and lots of pictures, so only Mum is getting this email, but enjoy! Some food is very Japanese-y, other food is just me cooking at home, but I thought it'd be fun to get a look at a typical week in Long Shimai's mouth! That sentence should have sounded better...
1. A typical breakfast for me (i.e. I eat it almost every day) is cinnamon toast on white bread! I know, it has the nutritional value of cardboard, but my other options are corn flakes and rice, so...But yeah, there's some yogurt with yuzu (a variety of lemony fruit) jam and I always eat breakfast while reading Jesus the Christ. Hopefully I'll finish for a second time while I'm still in Japan!
2. You can't find good Mexican food anywhere in Japan so sometimes I make it! For lunch we had quesedillas with leftover rice, peppers, and cheese inside, plus salad for looks.
3. I do all the cooking here in Kichijoji H.Q. While I cook during lunchtime, Grosland Shimai usually surfs lds.org and reads me highlights.
4. This photo isn't all that interesting, but it's a cardboard tube of drinkable orange juice and it is TINY. Most things in Japan are either comically small or ridiculously big. Not many in-between sizes for some reason.
5. On Wednesday nights instead of going to the apartment for dinner, we usually buy bentos from the Seiyu (Wal-Mart) across from the church and eat before Eikaiwa. This week I chose some sort of noodle stir fry dish plus dango. Dango is balls of gooey rice dough with, in this case, teriyaki sauce, anko (red bean paste), and strawberry anko.
6. I LOVE making eggplant parmesean in Japan because1) eggplants are plentiful and cheap 2) members give us tons of spaghetti and sauce 3) our toaster oven is much faster than a normal oven. Plus it helps Grosland Shimai get her veggies down!
7. This photo is awful because our kitchen light is broken right now, but we took leftover curry and mixed it with soba (noodles) for a quick dinner.
8. Another thing the members give us plenty of is hotcake mix! I rarely make pancakes because I want to use time in the morning to write in my journal, but every now and then the both of us crave pancakes.
9. Something the Japanese do that we don't really do in America is use separate dishes for each food item instead of piling it all on a plate. So: white rice, spicy veggie stir fry, and leftover macaroni salad we got from a member.
10. Another pretty typical Long Shimai lunch: vegetable soup (recipe: throw in all the random veggies we have in the fridge), white rice, and green salad.
11. This was a Sunday afternoon lunch. We came back to the apartment after church absolutely starving but with no food, and it involved me trying to improvise potato koroke (fried veggie balls) out of mashed potato mix. They turned out...not good, but we smothered them in okonamiyaki sauce (sort of ketchupy) and they tasted okay. Plus: the ever faithful cup-o-noodle!
12. Sunday dinner was also typical of every missionary in Japan: curry rice. All it really takes is potatoes and carrots and onions, and it's delicious.
13. This morning's breakfast was mochi! Mochi (gooey globs made from glutenous rice with the texture of gum and not much taste) is best fresh, but we also get a lot of the dry kind that comes in blocks. You boil it in water and usually eat it with soy sauce, but I like to add honey and butter so it tastes like a scone. According to Nihonjin, this is an abomination. I didn't like mochi when I first came to Japan, but it's growing on me.
14-15. Our ward mission leader took us and the elders out to yaki-niku (literally: grilled meat). Yes, your favourite college kid vegetarian went to an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant. It wasn't bad, at least until I watched a COW TONGUE get cooked in front of me and then ATE IT. I squealed and made a scene, of course, but then was informed that it was actually the second round of cow tongue and they just hadn't told me the first time. Typical. But anyway, what makes it a fun part of Japanese culture is that you cook everything yourself on a grill in the middle of the table.
16. Today we went to the park with our friend Yu-chan, and she made us bentos! We ate ongiri (rice balls), garlic chicken (in the foil), pumpkin, spicey noodles, and potato salad.
That's all I have time for this week, but keep an eye out next week for plenty of photos of the famous Japanese CHERRY BLOSSOMS!
I love you all, family! You're the best!