Oh geez, I haven't written anything in here in a while. Let's see what interesting things I've been doing the past few days...
Friday was Dutch Food Night, which meant that Louki and Kim made all the Americans Dutch food in repayment for American Food Night. Apparently you can have pancakes for dinner in the Netherlands? SO DELICIOUS. Also, Dutch pancakes are really thin (more like crepes*) and not particularly sweet at all. And sometimes they have cheese inside, like pancake quesadillas! MMMMM. And sometimes you cover them in caramel and powdered sugar and roll them up and eat them like burritos. P.S. We are totally adults.
On Sunday we went on a big adventure over to Nagoya Station to visit Sweets Paradise, which is an all-you-can-eat sweets and pasta. Unfortunately, when we signed up slightly before 1 p.m., our slot was for 4:20...and nobody wanted to eat lunch, so we just sort of snacked and tried not to feel hungry. But in the meantime we went on an adventure and I FOUND A TIGER AND BUNNY KEYCHAIN. It was a mystery box, which meant that I had no idea what I was getting until after I bought it, which is why I now have Yuri Petrov** hanging from my wallet. Not who I would have chosen (okay, so I totally would have gone for Saito if I had a choice, because I am totally okay with having an overweight balding nerd hanging from my wallet), but he's a pretty interesting character (and also the character who my favorite episode revolves around), so it's all cool.
Anyway, after that we finally went to Sweets Paradise. You basically have 70 minutes to eat, which means that you attempt to eat as much as possible as quickly as possible. I have to say, I liked the real food better than the sweets (they had THE BEST fried potatoes), mostly because I am realizing that I am just not super into Japanese cakes. Part of the problem is that Japanese cakes seem to consist mostly of air--especially chocolate cakes--so eating a chocolate cake gives me the same amount of chocolate as eating, say, a single square of chocolate from a chocolate bar. If I wanted to eat a single square of chocolate, I would...wait, what am I saying? When would I EVER want to eat a single square of chocolate? Sheesh.
Also, Sweets Paradise appears to be a popular date spot, because, as one of the other girls pointed out, what could possibly more romantic than watching your date stuff his/her face?
So, overall, an interesting experience, but not likely to repeat it, simply because I am not into Japanese cake enough for it to be cost-effective.
Anyway, after that we went to the onsen because we are all about onsens and also it's cheap SO YOU CAN'T STOP US. And I tried a sauna for the first time ever, and have decided that I am not particularly into saunas. They have two saunas there, and the steam one made me feel like I was suffocating, and the dry one made me feel like I was suffocating...just more slowly than the steam one. I would be willing to try Finnish sauna'ing, though. YEAH, I KNOW I'M CRAZY, but it sounds better than suffocating.
Monday was the farmer's market at Kawahara Shrine, and a bunch of the girls from the dorm wanted to know where to get cheap vegetables, so we trooped over there. I got kinkan, because it's not an addiction and I can stop any time I want. The guy at the fruit stand gave me extra, which was nice of him, so I got something like 60 kinkan for 300 yen. (He also give some of the other girls a "gaijin discount.")
Anyway, I had omiyage from Izumo for Itou-san, so I dropped by the shrine office to see if she was in. She wasn't, but one of the women called her up...and next thing we knew all of us had been invited inside for a chat and some tea, which turned into an expedition into the honden (second group of gaijin ever in the honden? yeah) and Storytime About the Shrine and Its Kami. As it turns out, two of the kami enshrined at Kawahara are the kami born from Izanami's urine and faeces when she was dying from giving birth to the fire kami. (Itou-san: Yeah, kids think it's very funny. "They're the poop and pee kami!") The more you know!
...and then Itou-san took us out to lunch and a couple of the girls attempted to convince her to let them pay for themselves but she would have none of it.
...also, somewhere in the course of lunch Itou-san totally made a joke about Kim and Louki being lesbian lovers because they were the only members of the group who didn't have boyfriends. FIRST TIME I have ever heard anyone joke about homosexuality in Japan. It was...weirdly refreshing, given how incredibly uncomfortable it seems to make pretty much everyone else.
So, anyway, what was supposed to be a short trip took up a huge chunk of the morning and afternoon, and Itou-san has been voted the nicest lady ever. This coming from the girls who were terrified when they were invited inside the shrine office, because they didn't know how to talk to priests.
Monday night was the dorm's Valentine's Day potluck. The boys were supposed to make real food while the girls were supposed to make desserts and sweets. I was thinking about rebelling and making real food ('cause we have so few boys in the dorm, and also because I CAN), but then Hi-chan told me that our microwave can be used as an oven???? Why didn't anyone think to tell me this before? Anyway, I decided to make a chocolate decadence cake instead (Louki and Hi-chan helped), which was a hit and made Kim attempt to convince me to make another one. (First she told me it was her birthday and then she said actually it wasn't and I said it was going to be my brother's birthday very soon, and she said, "You should make a cake for your brother and then send him pictures of us eating it!" What do you think, bro?) There was also this AMAZING pasta dish which I really want to learn how to make. I am going to have to track down the guy who made it and ask for the recipe.
Today was Valentine's Day, and I avoided all the Valentine's Day-related things, because if you think Valentine's Day makes single people feel like garbage in the States, you should really not come to Japan. I'm not really into making anyone feel like garbage, especially not people who don't buy Ghana chocolate. There are literally advertisements saying, "If you really love him, you'll buy him Ghana chocolate." Um, WHAT. What if my hypothetical he is allergic to chocolate? What if he doesn't like chocolate? What if I don't feel like giving him Ghana and want to give him Meiji instead? Sheesh. And, yes, I know it's an advertising ploy, but seriously, it rubs me the wrong way.
Bah, heteronormativity and chocophilinormativity.*** Bah.
I feel like such a Brown student.
*SURVEY: Do you say "crape" (rhyming with "scrape") or "crep" (rhyming with "step")? Merriam-Webster says the first pronunciation is correct, but I'm meeting a surprising number of people who go for the second...
**If you haven't seen the anime, DO NOT LOOK HIM UP, 'cause SPOILERS. He looks like this, though.
***Totally made this word up, but everybody should use it. All the time. That's so chocophilinormative! Let's make this a THING.