Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ping pong rallies on!

lucky us we found ping pong and a snail in the eki (train station) bento! --love jeff---

today we were in nikko for a bit, walking around muddy ancient pine trees and looking at snowy mountains... it was so empty and run down but had a nice quiet feeling to it.
also kae and paul took us to play takkyuu (table tennis, or ping pong is the chinese name, says wikipedia) in takadanobaba near waseda univ. it was a super authentic sports hall followed by super authentic ramen. kae is obsessed. paul's neighborhood is pretty fun.
kae and paul also recommended climbing mt takao, so we tried. I only lasted about 2 km uphill (steep! so steep!) even though jeff would have gone to the top. oops.
the ekiben is from osaka station... these special bento are so expensive but I feel like I won't ever eat them again! this one was especially good... i even ate the snail... but it just tasted like a snail...

p.s. we just ate fugu nabe (stew style hotpot with blowfish) with kae's parents... yes, the same fish from the simpsons

Sunday, January 25, 2009

trouble in paradise

We are back in Tokyo today.
Last week we were in the Hakata area and the Beppu area visiting my family-- relaxing, walking around, trying to improve my Japanese. We went to the ramen stadium, learned how to cook gobo, walked along the Beppu Bay, got in a boiling hot onsen (hot spring), and sat in on a calligraphy class. Jeff was able to meditate in both temples-- everyone was impressed that he could sit for so long. (I can only last about 5 minutes.) My family has been extremely hospitable and receptive to our last-minute plans. We've experienced many new sights and smells, including new green tatami mats, boiled-egg sulfur baths, and life-changing udon in Osaka's underground city.
We went to see 2 of the Jigoku onsen (the colored boiling hot spring tourist attractions), but ended up going to an old wooden sento-style (neighborhood bathhouse) place patronized by local grandmas and grandpas. I had no idea what to do because I couldn't see anything-- but it was a good experience (and only 100 yen).
But there is trouble in paradise-- on Saturday, upon being picked up at a countryside train station in the Kansai area, we immediately knew that the first farm was not a good place for us to be. It was obvious that what we were looking for (learning, sustainability, cultural exchange) was not present at this place-- actually, it wasn't even a farm, just a country house with chickens, and the hosts were off site most of the time. We decided to leave, and now we're back at Kae's apt in Tokyo trying to regroup and find a plan B. (misa)

(jeff) in other news after meditating in the hakata temple i felt amazing- as i came to realize in my own way the teaching of using no way as way- so i danced around on tatami mats-

here are some pictures to soften the blow-

Friday, January 23, 2009


que so misa is in the bath and i am sipping tea- we made it to our first wwoof destination- misa is nervous... we shall see hopeful it is ok for her!

Monday, January 19, 2009

dango tango

misa and i are so full of food- i have foresaken my girlish figure for the tempting flavors of japanese sweets and other goodies I cant help myself! give me more AN! (jeff)

the last couple days have been action packed-- we walked around ginza and had fancy meals with kae`s family, went to shinkiba pier and saw fake volcanoes, went back to tsukiji market and saw real whale meat, got on the bullet train and traveled 1100plus kilometers to fukuoka, watched more sumo tournaments on TV (go morning blue dragon! haha)....

this morning my cousin shoko drove us and her co worker to a little village called akizuki, which is famous for natural dyes, especially sakura (cherry blossoms). it has been sunny but very cold-- akizuki is in a valley between tall mountains. we had amazing soba and japanese sweets, and were able to visit a textile factory and a dyeing factory. 

jeff climbed into a hollow tree and rejuvenated himself at a shinto shrine... the mountains are so desolate. the cherry tree festival is the town`s major tourist attraction, so there won:t be many people there until march.

also we are paying more attention to the vending machine culture-- you can buy pretty much anything-- cigarettes, beer, tea, stew, sandwiches... but in akizuki they have a `daily egg machine`-- 300 yen for a dozen fresh eggs!

nihon no inaka wa kirei desu ne-


Friday, January 16, 2009


Yesterday and this morning we went to the fish market in Tsukiji- it was like an Ernst Haeckel print and a planet earth show all in one. We saw whale and fatty tuna and squid floating in black ink and little fish in a little plastic tank spitting water at us. It was quite surreal. Kae's house is just around the corner from the market so I might have to go everyday and eat sushi with my new best friends the fish mongers on their washing machine tractors. One even said I look like a fisherman- maybe in another life. Kae has been our auntie taking us to all these fancy places filling us up with Strawberry shortcake and sushi and beer- 
Now I am having a discussion with Kae's dad about being poor and rich- he told misa that I am her treasure so she is rich! Lucky her!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

we are here

after a long flight we are finally here! we are staying with the band members of uramichi (jeffs friends) while we are in the tokyo area. I got up super early this morning (and bothered jeff until he woke up)... have been trying to figure out the japanese keyboard with no apostrophes...
we are heading into the city now to have lunch with kae. hooray! hopefully she can help us get a good rental cell phone too.


im going back to sleep-im full of natto!

Monday, January 12, 2009

photobooth test

testing testing!  one fish two fish red fish blue fish.  can you hear me now? 

new adventure, new blog

tomorrow we are leaving for japan.
we will be working on organic farms, learning how to spin wool, and chasing geese ghosts (misa likes to scare them if she can).
we have lots of peanut butter to economize on food-- but will probably hunt down the occasional kitsune udon.
you'll be able to follow us on this photo blog (we made it just for you!)

we'll miss all our bes fwenz and hope to see you all soon

cuddle wuddle woogly goo

misa + jeff
(bunny 1, bunny 2)