Dienstag, 20. März 2007

leaving akiyoshidai

i'm leaving the residency today. i am overwhelmed by the generosity of this place. yesterday we all climbed up the mountain for a pick-nick. i had my first beer here under the sun and got my nose red. on the way down we digged bambus sprouts from the wild boar's spoils. so indeed, the spring has arrived. today is the spring equinox and it is a holiday -one of the only ones-in japan.
now i start the 10-day sightseeing tour in japan with my man. it's gonna be very tightly scheduled adventure but luckily there is the shinkansen bullet train system to take me and joerg go comfortably from place to place with the speed of an arrow. i will blog if there is a chance.

Montag, 12. März 2007

experimental breakfast

i insist on having breakfast here allthough it seems that for the japanese it's the least important meal of the day. i think traditionally it's miso soup, fish and pickles but nowadays they either eat the left overs from previous evening, take a bite on some plastic-like sweet bun or skip it alltogether. but i can't start my day like that! and i cannot eat just crackers for breakfast. they dry me up...
the difficulty is to find here the ingredients which belong to the solid finno-germanic breakfast culture. the thing they call bread here is the worst example of an american influenced jewy and chemically preserved toast. with cheese it's little bit better because the hokkaido prefecture has cows and therefore produces camembert which is actually quite tasty. that's the only cheese i find in the countryside shop. so, i have been improvising in the mornings: today i had three "mochis" (a sticky rice cake which grows when grilled) with soy sauce and grass from the forest. yesterday i had plain rice with umeboshi and sesam seeds. the day before yesterday i ate the left over spagetti soaked in olive oil and garnished with spinach, raisins and the hokkaido-cheese. sometimes i even cook a kind of my own style miso soup (without the fish broth) and eat it with soba noodles which i adore. and all these variations are combined with espresso coffee. i brought my own espresso machine (the very traditional aluminium one) with me. it took me over a month though to find out the one and only electric cooking plate which doesn't refuse to heat the alu pot! this means that before i have the breakfast in front of me, i have been running up and down the stairs between my room and the common kitchen with the alu-friendly plate.

Sonntag, 4. März 2007

niko niko maa maa

i have finally presented all the finippon-go songs to the local audience. in the last week the songs, tanuki-stories and the movement nicely became a real performance called niko niko maa maa. themes around the animals, fishes, seaweed and umeboshi-pickles mixed with emotional songs about aurora borealis, happiness and the place of the heart. i was surprised how responding the japanese public was. but on the other hand i had the whole group of the iki iki-ladies sitting in the first rows and shining towards me! i think the highlight for the audience was the scene in which i announced my love for the umeboshi-plums. people were laughing but told afterwards that they were afraid to laugh too much...in case it would disturb me. i feel very happy and fulfilled now. let's see if there is some more future for the niko niko maa maa in this country, or elsewhere for that matter.
my residency here continues some two weeks still. today a local television has been following in my footsteps. probably the umeboshi-thing has made me famous, because they insisted on filming me in the local super market in front of the various umeboshi packages. they don't stop wondering how an alien person (that is how a foreigner is literally called here) can so much fancy this sour pickle! oh, and then we visited again the restaurant-lady with her fulfilled tanuki. she was happy to present her precious stuffed figure again and tell the story how her dog had hunted this tanuki for hours 25 years ago. and it took 1 1/2 days to fulfill the dead animal. and i got to touch this tanuki's balls again.