Friday, June 17, 2011

Fruit in Japan

Last Saturday, we took the missionaries and went with our friend Takuya to pick strawberries. A local strawberry farmer was trying to get rid of all of his leftover strawberries--it is no longer strawberry season. Strawberry season is generally in winter, around the time everyone is making their Christmas strawberry shortcakes. The winter strawberry season means that all of the strawberries are grown in greenhouses. We still had a lot of fun picking the strawberries and learned quite a few lessons about fruit in Japan, such as:

1.) Strawberries must be refrigerated immediately. We picked 2 huge boxes and 2 hours later, they were rotting. They are so delicate!

2.) Pieces of fruit should not touch each other, excepting grapes. When you buy strawberries in the store here, they are in a plastic package laid out in little rows and are not touching the other strawberries in the package. Cherries are in the store now, and the cherries come from America. But first, the cherries are weeded out--only the darkest and firmest cherries make it to the shelves. And of course, the cherries do not touch each other. All of this hand selecting makes fruit expensive here. 12 cherries is about $2.

3.) If someone has an excessive of fruit, you will become the receiver of that excess of fruit, such as strawberries. We learned this lesson last time, when bags of mikans would be left on our door. Right now, it is biwa (loquats). We have been given biwa almost every day this week. If only my kids would eat them! I think they are really yummy.

4.) If you are transporting fruit to church--let's say a tray of strawberries you had hand selected and arranged for an hour late Saturday night to give to the members the next day--probably not a good idea to put the tray of fruit on top of the car while you are buckling your kids in. I learned this the hard way when we heard a big clunk as my beautiful pan flew from our roof while driving off. It rained the rest of the day, so the only evidence of my strawberry disaster was our flattened metal pan, found in the parking lot of the library.

5.) Randomness in the fruit world here. Pineapples, lemons, and honeydews--all imported from the U.S.--are cheaper than when we'd buy them in Logan. Medium size watermelons are still $20. Apples are pretty much around a dollar a piece. Interesting.

Good times though! We were able to keep enough strawberries to stock up in our freezer to make smoothies with my birthday blender. Hooray!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Goings on...

Nothing too new here--We got a new couch that is American-sized! And a dehumidifier that sucks the moisture from the air. It gets so humid here that the dehumidifier will get full of water in a few hours. We got these lovely items from a thrift store that had a 50% off sale, so we are excited.
Here's what's up with:

Fox: I'm not sure many of you know this, but Fox teaches 11 preschool classes a week. He was sick last week, so I got to teach for him for a few days. Lucky! He has a fun job with the cutest students! I would have never ever ever imagined Fox as a preschool teacher, but he loves it and does a great job with it. A lot of his free time is spent making flashcards and drawing educational posters for his preschoolers. Right now, he is working on a wall mural in our school, and everyone is thrilled with his artistic abilities.

Cash: is busy being a fun 4 year old. School is wiping him out, and he often lays his head down on his desk near the end of the day around 2. This makes his teachers think he is sick, so he has learned to tell them that he is well, just sleepy in Japanese. He is very big on imaginative play, which I love. The other day, I asked him why he was going to the bathroom for the third time in an hour, and he said, "There is an alien inside my body controlling my pee-pee buttons." Heehee.

Coco: I am still figuring this girl out! She is so much fun and a sweetheart, but still insists on everything scary. She has all of her Scooby Doo books memorized. We watched Tangled and kept pointing out the princess in it to encourage some girliness. The next day, she wanted to play Tangled and would only pretend she was the war horse, Maximus. Oy. She picks up on a lot of random Japanese words and will yell them out while she goes to sleep. This girl is either talking, singing, or screaming from the time she wakes up until she falls asleep. Still taking great naps, though! She can't wait to go to school and often puts on Cash's stuff and waits by the door:


Amy: I am doing great! I have picked up a few more classes, so I am teaching 7 a week. In strange contrast to Fox, I love my adult classes the most. My students are so interesting and eager to learn. I just started working on an afghan with my birthday present: yarn! I have had a few hard and isolated days (we are really in a small area, so I haven't been able to socialize a ton) and some homesickness lately (oh, cheddar cheese and tortillas--why aren't you in Japan?) but nothing too bad. I am learning a ton everyday but unfortunately not too much helpful Japanese--more like local slang!

Still having issues with pictures--some day soon I will figure this out!