The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 11 December 2006

Food + photos @ mid-year conference

A few weeks ago, the ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers - my job type as a JET participant) had our mid-year conference in Shikamachi. The workshops and conference-related stuff were quite boring, but the food was quite good (considering the venue had to cater to more than 120 people), and I had quite a lot of fun outside of the confines of the conference.

(This is ignoring the fact that I had only 4 hours sleep that night partly due to the fact that one of my room-mates came into the room drunk at 2:30am, whose leg I had to avoid at 4am which came flying towards my head shortly as she rolled off her futon in her drunken sleep and onto my futon. I could not wake her up nor move her so I had to content with trying to sleep the next two hours on half a futon which was already uncomfortable to begin with. By 6am when I finally gave up trying to have a good sleep, she was completely off her futon and was taking up majority of my futon. She missed breakfast and was still sleeping at 9am. And to add salt to the injury - she had TWO layers of futon compared to me having only one. Yes, other than being absolutely exhausted the following day due to lack of rest, I had fun).

The food

Yakiniku teishoku for lunch on the first day. Grilled beef with rice - the meat had lots of fat on it):

Enkai (party) dinner that night - the food was so yummy! Fish, sashimi, chawan mushi (steamed egg custard) etc...:

Japanese breakfast the following morning - tsukemono (pickled veges), salmon, miso soup, tofu, some salad etc... I must admit, although it was yummy, it was a bit on the heavy and salty side for breakfast:

Katsu-kare for lunch on the second day - Japanese and gaijin alike love tonkatsu (deep fried pork 'cutlets') and kare-raisu (Japanese curry on rice - not spicy, more like a sweet stew). So of course, combining the two into one (unhealthy) meal is bound to be popular. I'm not big on deep fried stuff, and I think that calling a stew a type of curry ought to be against the law. Nevertheless, it was surprisingly enjoyable:

Cultural experience with taiko drumming

I have a fascination with taiko drumming. It's popular with men, women and children alike. And that night, I had the chance to watch a performance and to also participate in an hour-long lesson on taiko drumming. It was awesome fun! And such a good workout too!


The venue had beautiful grounds. The weather during the conference was likewise beautiful (it had been gloomy and rainy all week) - too good to be indoors all day long. There was a lake nearby, and since we had a couple of hours to kill before the first session began on the second morning, Kim and I decided to take a nice walk around. We even encountered a snake (more than 1.5m long) - as I whipped out my camera, Kim asked if I wanted her to pick up the snake (!!!). Crazy girl..

And then, much to my delight, we stumbled across a playground. It was huge and I had so much fun! We bumped into our two other room-mates (who said that the other room-mate (the one responsible for my lack of sleep) was still asleep) and Cyndi took the following set of photos. There was this huge pyramid where you can play various things like abseiling and go on the flying fox. No one wanted to do the flying fox so I jumped on. When they saw how much fun I had with it, they all had a try and did not regret it. What a sight we must have been - four adults in business clothing playing like kids in a playground. We had so much fun that we were very reluctant to go back indoors for more boring stuff..

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