Sunday, May 7


I learned a new and probably useless word today: kaya. According to my online dictionary it means "Japanese nutmeg tree." I learned this from my landlord and his wife, with whom I had dinner this evening. They gave me a small container of sugar-coated roasted nuts from the many kaya trees around the property. Cool!

Dinner was hardly painful at all, as the entire meal, including this morning's invitation, was facilitated by "Sensei", a university engineering professor in Osaka who is a friend of theirs. This was accomplished via several phone calls to the poor man who was probably trying to enjoy his own dinner! At any rate he was very pleasant and helpful, his English was great, and my hosts were most gracious and helpful.

The fact that they invited me made me very happy because a.) I had nothing to do today, so it gave me some purpose b.) I've wanted to speak with them and get to know them. Sometimes I see S-san outside in the garden and I'd like to go out and say hello, but the idea of getting myself into a conversation I can't navigate is very daunting. So now we know each other, they are very nice, very approachable, and very generous. Dinner was immense - the table was all laid out with several dishes including:

1.) miso soup
2.) mushrooms with shredded carrots in a soy sauce (I ate it, Mom, are you happy? Probably not, since I never ate them for you! If it makes you feel better I had to go to my Happy Place while eating them so as not to gag.)
3.) some sort of sweet-potato-type tuber (ha ha, tuber, wink wink Tootler) - delicious - with pulpo (octopus)
4.) a bowl of rice
5.) lettuce and tomatoes
6.) maguro sashimi
7.) thinly sliced pork fried with ginger, de-lish (she gave me three pieces of which I ate one, S-san got two and she took one for herself)
8.) another set of smaller, thinly-sliced pork which we ate with a creamy sauce.

All of the vegetables are from their own garden!

To make matters more difficult, the beverage of choice was Kirin biiru which filled up my tummy unmercifully.

After that there were these giant ichigo (the fruit, not the Bleach character) - strawberries - which contrary to appearances (they were relatively light in color, creating the illusion of not being quite ripe) were absolutely sweetalicious.

For the record, (Chris) no one said "itadakimasu." Perhaps it was because I was there and no matter how much Japanese I tried to speak to them they never thought I would understand and went to the phone or the dictionary for everything. Who knows. Maybe they just don't say it at their house.

At any rate, an enjoyable time was had by all. Tanoshikatta desu. And when I left, Mrs. S-san loaded me up not just with the sugar-coated roasted nutmegs they had given me, but also with the three breads and a couple sweets that they also had lying around. So nice!

So, at the end of my Golden Week I am very much looking forward to heading back to school tomorrow. While I have tried to enjoy being bored as my mother always reminds me to do, I am tired of being lonely. Today's persistent rain (it finally just stopped now that it's dark and I have a full belly = no running) was the final straw. Ready for human interaction.


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