- - - 1/30/2010 - - -

Apple Pie

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:21 am

My friend got a new apartment, and I was invited over to help test out the new oven. Although it is still a small Japanese oven, it is just big enough for… … a pie! I helped my friend, who is also a pastry chef and baker, make an apple pie the way I remember it from home. We didnt have a cool apple peeler or all the spices, but then end product was still very delicious.

- - - 1/16/2010 - - -

Problems at Work

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:32 pm

Although I started working at my company since August of last year, I am still having problems with my boss, my contract, the Japanese work mentality, and getting paid. I knew from when I went into my interview, and saw how small the company was and the various fields the company was involved in, that it would either be a good chance or a bad experience. Unfortunately so far, it is turning out to be the latter. Still, I am learning a lot about myself, business, and what to do, and not to do in the future. On the lighter side, I was able to get my visa renewed, which was quite a pressing matter at the time. Anyway, I had a fairly productive meeting with my boss but will still have to wait till the end of the month to see if I finally get paid or end up fired…

- - - 1/2/2010 - - -

Osechi Ryori - New Years Food

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:51 am

Another Japanese new year tradition is to make new years food, or Osechi. Each dish has a special meaning for the new year and is usually prepared beforehand so no cooking is required on new years day. Since I was having a Japanese new year I also decided to make Osechi.

Clockwise from top right- Kamaboko, Imo-Kinton, Kuro-Mame, Namasu, Onishime, Matsumaetuske, Datemaki

Noppe Soup - a Niigata version of Ozoni

- - - 1/1/2010 - - -

The First Sunrise of the New Year

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:18 am

Japanese new year traditions are very different then American. There are no big countdown parties, no drinking, and no fireworks. Many Japanese do stay up late, but to be the first to visit and pray at a temple for the new year. Another interesting tradition is to watch the first sunrise of the new year. This year, my friend and I decided have a Japanese new year and watch the first sunrise… but from atop a mountain.
Mt. Fuji being out of the question, the next choice was Oyama. Fairly close and a nice 1, 252 meters high, it also has a famous temple where many people come to pray for the new year. This year also falls on a full moon so even without a flashlight the hike up would be very nice. Once at the top we just had to wait about 2 hours before the sun came up. Although I knew it would be cold, and packed accordingly, the top of a mountain is not a fun place to be in the middle of winter at night. The time was spent looking at the amazing night view of the city while shivering uncontrollably, thus no pictures of the beautiful night view.
However, as the sun started to come up it was time to finally bring in the new year.

Getting lighter…

Still very cold!

There was one single cloud blocking the sun for a while (>_< )

Watching the start of a new year, with lots of other Japanese people.

Playing music at the top of the mountain.

Getting our new years fortune. I got 大吉 !

I got to pound mochi at the temple, another interesting new years tradition.

Eating the mochi I just made.