(A bit more than) The week in one post

When I left you a few weeks ago, I signed off with “…I’m meeting Tyler, a friend who I have known since we were at Narita, for lunch. This evening it’s kata practise and running, before an early night…”. Of course, things didn’t work out quite like that. We did meet for lunch, and were joined by Kim, she of the failed Tsumago walk fame. We had some tasty food and went for a walk behind Nagoya station, not going anywhere in particular, just enjoying the sunshine. We came across this bizarre shop front:

We stopped at a park which had loads of stray cats, including a really small kitten with a horrible eye infection. So horrible, in fact, that its eyes were stuck together and it couldn’t see at all. It would run after peoples footsteps, and miaow until they passed. Very sad. Even sadder was the fact that there wasn’t really anything we could do for it – not speaking Japanese ruled out finding a vet, and I couldn’t find anything that appeared to be a rescue centre online. I suspect it won’t survive for very long :(

After the park we headed back, and decided to go up one of the towers by Nagoya station to check out the sunset. They were all occupied by swanky restaurants, but we went in one and had a beer, much to the amusement (and derision) of the posh Japanese maitre d’. The view was incredible, despite the fact I couldn’t quite manage to capture it on film:

This is Tyler and Kim:

Then it was off for a nice big Chinese dinner and a few beers before heading home. A good Sunday, all in all.

Last week I was at the smaller school, and it was a good one with regards to teaching. We covered directions, which the kids found easier than I thought they would do – always a joy when that happens! Nothing eventful happened, bar the dramatic changes to Paddy.

Sunday was the first Japanese class of the new term. Seems like a nice bunch of students – loads of Filipinos, a few Africans, a few Vietnamese, one German and one American, plus an Indonesian guy who I sit opposite. Now I know the town where my brother in law hails from, I can make conversation (plus see if he knows of any Indo restaurants around here!).

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were public holidays, and whilst I did nothing major, I did undertake fairly extensive flat cleaning and quite a bit of cooking. I made chawan mushi, a savoury egg custard with shitake mushrooms and scallops in. Yukiko gave me the recipe before I left Tokyo.

Tasted great and really authentic, but I’m not sure why it has bubbles on the top. My guess is one of two things – either the steaming temperature was too high, or I didn’t strain the egg/stock mixture through a sieve, which you are apparently supposed to do. Further attempts required.

I also made kinpira vegetables:

They were delicious and impressed the teachers when I brought them in to school yesterday for my pre-karate din-dins.

I’ve been doing some pre-winter flat renovation – scrubbing the floors in preparation for buying a rug, cleaning the bathroom, toilet etc. I’ve also acquired quite a lot of stuff now, so used my creative and technical skills to make this:

It’s a shelving unit constructed from boxes and gaffa tape purchased from the 100yen store. Surprisingly sturdy and, covered with a scarf from Cambodia, not bad looking at all!

The poster above the shelves is from an exhibition put on by a Japanese photographer. He has lots of shots of places we visited, which was cool and made me wish I was back there again! Near to the gallery was a great stationary (-ery?) shop and I got some pretty note paper and a new pen, and spent the rest of the day writing long-awaited letters to friends and family, including three people whose weddings I’ve missed since being here. Very satisfying to write letters instead of quick notes via Facebook and email. I have another round to send at some point soon, so don’t stress it if you think you’re due something!

The last big event for the holiday was meeting up with Jacob and having lunch at Moku Boku, the buffet restaurant which readers with a superior memory will recall I’ve visited twice before. This time I took photos, and will do a separate post with them and a little run-down of all the food!

For now, however, I better get back to my desk since I want to leave bang-on 4pm today so shouldn’t really spend my time slacking off behind a screen.

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