Archive for the ‘Cultural experiences’ Category

Language Mishaps

November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

These are the same ones as in my November newsletter, but just for anyone who doesn’t get/read my newsletter, I know this is everyone’s favorite section anyway…

If you would like to get my newsletter, send me an email and I’ll definitely add you!  ❤

I told my English students how I had hurt my ankle while in the US, but they have a hard time hearing the difference between “A” and “U” and thought I had injured my “uncle.” How violent! 😛

I always get tsumaru (packed or clogged) and tsumazuku (to stumble) mixed up and then tell people my nose stumbles due to allergies.

Four years and counting and I STILL can’t get tadaima (I’m home) and okaeri (welcome home) straight.  I keep walking in the front door and announcing to my roommate(s) “Welcome home!”

I helped interpret a workshop on “Faith and Science” for a Japanese conference in September (Japanese to English). It all went smoothly until the closing prayer (probably the easiest part) when I began by praying to “Our Fatherly heaven.”

I got the word for canal (unga) wrong and told a friend my parents’ neighborhood have lots of people who live “lying face down” (enga).

Another friend’s mishap! 😀  A colleague was telling me about the prayer night they had at church where they prayed for world issues like kiga (hunger), sensou (war), and ninjin hanbai (carrots-for-sale…??). She meant to say jinshin baibai (human trafficking).


Hiroshima-fu(style) Okonomiyaki!

May 12, 2013 1 comment

There are all kinds of okonomiyaki, but the most common type from Osaka is a savory sorta-pancake with pork, cabbage, and other fillings.  Kind of similar to Korean jeon or Chinese scallion pancakes but with a higher veggie to batter ratio.  At a restaurant they bring all the ingredients in a bowl which you mix and then dump the contents onto the teppan (hot plate).  For some reason, the bowl they give you to mix it in is always barely enough to fit even the ingredients, much less mix them all together, so it takes some technique.  Here, we just got our waiter to do it for us.


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Categories: Cultural experiences, Food

Flu shot

February 4, 2013 1 comment

Something for all you med students…

With the flu going nuts in the US, upcoming travel, and my recent history of getting sick at the drop of a hat, a few weeks ago I gave into my mom’s hounding and went to get a flu shot.  What with a doctor for a mom, living in the dorms, and then working in a hospital, I’ve generally made it a habit to get my flu shot every year, but there seems to be rather less fuss about it in Japan.

Anyway, the point I’m writing this post (because I’m guessing most of you had no interest in the above) was that flu shots are very different in Japan.  Should this not come as a surprise?

Rather than getting the shot up high closer to my shoulder, I got my shot down at the bottom of my upper arm just above my elbow.

And it gets massive itchy!

The next day I developed a 2-inch circle of red, feverish, itchy skin with my shot at the middle.  I started freaking out, wondering if the doctor had done something weird and I had gotten infected (already had that once in the last year).  Or maybe my body was incompatible with something that’s in Japanese flu shots and not US ones.

But when I asked about it at church the next day, everyone said it was normal!  They said just about everyone got the hot, red, itchy skin to various degrees, some people it covers half their upper arm.

On the other hand (or arm? heh heh), in the US I was always pretty sore for a day, but there was none of that this time.

OK, so I’m guessing some of you have been snoring for a while now.  But I’d be interested to know why there are differences.  Is vaccine production really that different here?  Anybody else have international flu shot experiences?

Flowing noodles

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

More commonly (or really, exclusively) known as Nagashi Somen.

Sam & Sharon’s visit was serendipitously the same weekend we did nagashi somen at church.

You can look up more about this tradition here, but basically you take long sticks of bamboo sliced in half, hollowed, and then set up sort of like a mini water slide.  Cold running water is poured into one end and then small “packets” (for lack of a better word) of somen (skinny Asian wheat noodles) are “flowed” down the slide to be caught with chopsticks by people along the way.

It’s actually not easy.  You tend to get somen and water everywhere and a lot of somen ends up in the basket at the end which catches the extras.

Somen is a popular summer food in Japan, but this was the first time I (and of course Sam & Sharon) had done it with the bamboo slides.  Tons of fun!  And delicious too.  You dip the noodles in a cold broth and then top it with cucumbers, ham, sliced egg, green onions, and mushrooms.  Perfect for a hot summer day!

I never really realized how many dishes are noodle-based in Japan but during their trip we also had udon, tsukemen, yakisoba, okonomiyaki (this usually doesn’t have noodles, but in Hiroshima it does).  We didn’t even have ramen, since the girls were going to get some during their day in Osaka.

Visitors + an epic battle with banana pudding

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

*Please note that posting order likely has little (if anything) to do with the chronological order in which the posted events happen.

*I discovered this post buried in my Drafts box, wilting away and totally unpublished.  Oops!  Better 6 months later than never…??  🙂

Last week (*edit – actually last summer but whatever) I had an awesome visit from two friends from the US, Samantha & Sharon.  Fantastic.  Blessing.  Fun.  Awesomeawesomeawesome.  I love visitors.  Lots of good food.  And the best was the popcorn praying we did at night before falling asleep.  But first, my battle with banana pudding!


Samantha, Me, Sharon at Koyo Chapel

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Learning about true peace…

August 7, 2012 2 comments

Yesterday (August 6) was the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima.  Looking at the city now, you would never know it once lay in total ruins – buildings gone, the land covered in ashes, and the rivers clogged with bodies…

But I’ve learned in my year here that the city still remembers.  People still remember.  The desire for peace becomes almost tangible during this time of year, for there are still those who can recall the horror.  After visiting the Peace Park Museum (about the bombing) last week and going to the ceremony Monday evening, it’s hard to imagine there was any light that day.

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But today, I had the most amazing conversation with an incredible little old lady who did find light.

Meiko Kurihara is a member of Kabe Chapel and a 3rd genereation Christian, which is extremely rare in Japan.  She is also a survivor of the atomic bombing.  At about 4km outside of the blast radius Meiko-san escaped any immediate serious injuries, but otherwise essentially experienced everything first hand.

Meiko-san described to me how she went into the city to search for her father and was completely overwhelmed by the destruction around her, totally lost and alone.  It was then she prayed to God for help.  She told me how God miraculously gave her the strength and courage to walk through a city filled with dead and dying and even led her to a friend, shelter, and food.

I think anyone who went through an experience like that would find reason to feel anger and betrayal towards God, hatred and resentment to America.  But Meiko-san had none of that.  She told me, “God loves peace.  And He hates war.  It wasn’t God who bombed Hiroshima.  God saved me and then he helped me.  I’m so thankful to Him for that.”

I video recorded my time with Meiko-san and am gonna work on translating and subtitling it.  Hopefully it’ll be ready for me to show during my time in the States, so I’ll keep y’all posted.

Malaysia Day 2

May 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Little late, but better than never, neh?

My second day I did more traveling around Kuala Lumpur by myself until meeting with a few more people from our church in Hiroshima.

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