Monday, December 21, 2009

IRON CHEF: Instant Ramen

1. Watch the movie Tampopo.. Seriously, you will love it.
2. Throw away that disgusting flavor packet. Use Miso, or if you can find dashi powder (should say hon-dashi or ほんだし、本だし) I think they actually might have it at rosauers, mix soy sauce and hon-dashi in your ramen to taste.. you only need a LITTLE of both.
there are other kinds, like Shio ramen (salt flavor) that is just dashi powder.. be sure and read the outside so you don't put WAYYY too much dashi in your broth
3. TOPPINGS! This is what really separates restaurant ramen from what most poor college students make. Chaa-Shuu ramen is really popular here, the closest thing you can find is the BBQ pork slices, safeway's are nice and fatty, and they usually cut them nice and thick. Green onions, frozen corn (best when microwaved a little first to defrost them, with butter and garlic for deluxe), a beaten egg (put it in while the pot is still on the stove if you dont like raw egg), canned bamboo shoots, kamaboko (the closest english description is fish cake.. basically Hot Dog-like texture but made from ground up, pressed fish.. they have it in the freezer at sunrise) get some of that chinese Hot Chili Oil, put a little splash in your ramen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy times in Cold Tsuruta

Originally uploaded by flashywordz
Almost 2 feet of snow has fallen already! I asked my driver Kamata-san how many centimeters of snow falls each year, and he replied "No, no, not centimeters.. Meters." I'm tempted to copy Temira and get a pair of cross-country skis.
The kids have been lots of fun, I am finally going to the same class for the second time. I teach at all the elementary schools and all the kindergarten/Pre-K, so I have many different classes of children.
All the other English Teachers will be gone after tomorrow, so I will have to make more Japanese friends. I hear the only proper bar in town is closing after the year ends, so I will have to sing lots of karaoke.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here are some pictures I took on my nightly walk, these are all from last night:

More pictures (and full-size) available at my flickr page

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Being One

I thought I'd post something different, some fun mental stimulation. I will periodically be updating my blog with quotations from the Zhuangzi, an esoteric Daoist text from the 3rd century. If you have ever listened to Alan Watts, these ideas may be familiar.. I might also post some quotations from the Bodhicaryavatara, the Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, written by Shantideva in the 7th Century; a Bodhisattva is one whose mind has the ability to transcend their body into Nirvana, but consciously chooses not to, instead utilizing their boundless compassion to delay the final transcendence until ALL living beings have become enlightened.
I am using the free, online, translation available at
and for the Bodhicaryatavatara

When Yang Zi was on his way to the state of Song, he spent a night in a local inn. The inn keeper had two concubines, one beautiful and one ugly. The ugly one was highly valued while the beautiful one was treated like dirt. When Yang Zi asked him why this was so, the young male servant at the inn replied:
"The beautiful one sees herself as beautiful but we don't pay attention to her beauty. The ugly one sees herself as ugly but we don't pay attention to her ugliness."
Yang Zi said:
"Remember this, my disciples: Behave in a virtuous manner, but get rid of any idea that you're behaving virtuously - then where could you go that you wouldn't be loved"
Now some quotes from the Bodhi

Anger destroys all the good conduct, such as generosity and worshipping the Sugatas, which has been acquired over thousands of eons.

It is better that I die today, than have a long, corrupt life. For even after living a long time, I shall have the suffering of death.
One person wakes up after enjoying a hundred years of pleasure in sleep, and another person wakes up after being happy for a moment.
Does happiness return to either once they have awakened? It is the same at the moment of death for one who lives a long time and for one who lives a short time.

Those who wish to protect their practice should zealously guard the mind. The practice cannot be protected without guarding the unsteady mind.
Untamed, mad elephants do not inflict as much harm in this world as does the unleashed elephant of the mind in the Avichi Hell and the like.
But if the elephant of the mind is completely restrained by the rope of mindfulness, then all perils vanish and complete well-being is obtained.

Hello from Tsuruta!

Hi everyone! I still don't have internet at home so I haven't updated my blog, I figure I should post at least one update a month, if not more!
I work in the Town Hall and also teach English to the Elementary Schoolers around the area. I have only been here for about a week so I am still trying to figure things out, but it's been great so far. The kids are so cute and full of energy, and I guess it's been a LONG time since anyone who spoke Japanese came from Hood River; there is a CIR from the JET program (run by the Ministry of Education) here, and all JET CIRs have to speak Japanese, but all you need for the sister city exchange is a college degree; you actually need a 4-year degree for ANY work visa to Japan. I am so glad to have found a job in my major!
Life is good here, things are very slow in Tsuruta this time of year, but Hood River is very similar. The weather is similar to HR as well, cloudy and rainy, and we are also close to a large mountain, but Mt Iwaki is only about half the height of Mount Hood. All the kids here are so cute, they are really excited to have a new teacher. The other day there was a little girl who was jumping up and down and waving at me throughout the entire class

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Here are some pictures! I put them up on Facebook, but you can see them without joining. If you DO have Facebook, please add me!
Japan pictures!