Homemade Japanese styled Pizza

Celebrating my imminent departure from Japan with some homemade Japanese styled pizza! Yay! Because nowhere in America is corn going to be a topping option…

  
::Ingredients::

1 pre-made pizza bread

Mixed cheese, shredded

1 small green bell pepper

Corn

Fresh mozzarella

Favorite spaghetti sauce of choice, mine is a tomato and basil mix that can be found in most Kaldi Farms Stores across Japan

Optional: favorite meat, drizzle of Sriracha, etc.

::DIRECTIONS::

1. Preheat your oven to 210C and preheat for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile spread a layer of tomato sauce and olive oil across the pizza bread. Top with mixed cheese.

3. If your veg is not pre-sliced now is the time to do it. Scatter the green bell pepper, followed by chunks of fresh mozzarella, and finally the corn.

4. At the same temperature set your pizza to bake for the next ten minutes. 

5. Enjoy!

An Exercise In Not Lying To Myself And Not Editing

Heading off to Tokyo in a couple of hours via night bus – the sudden realization that I’ve become less and less prepared for trips the older I get. Last minute clothes shoved into a backpack, barely remembering to keep passport in hand, and perhaps the keys are in my coat pocket; somehow this feels more like living than before, irresponsible but alive… Question mark.

Lately, I have no desire to continue scheduling my life into hour-long slots any more. Being continuously trapped within four walls will do that to you, I guess. Or maybe this listlessness is a new development in nervousness. Big changes came last week in our district for our educational system, in addition to word on the street being that a new JET will be hired in Gonohe. Excitement. New things. Horizons expanding. Worlds colliding. Exclamation mark.

Sometimes people are so alive, it’s easy to forget that we’re all here on borrowed time. I think, maybe, it’s all just starting to settle into place. I think less about America as the country to which I will eventually return and more as the country from which I came. But I don’t know where I’m going next. When I first arrived I didn’t seriously consider that I would stay abroad forever. This was always supposed to be A Temporary Thing. I expect this opinion to change in three seconds/ day/weeks/months/years. Humanity is a beautiful complication, I’m not even going to pretend to understand half of what I’ve just written but the coffee was particularly strong this morning and the Word Document conveniently opened. Semi-colon.

lepetitprince

 

Yuki Matsuri Predeparture

TO DO
1. Laundry
2. Wash dishes
3. Pay bills
4. Take out money for a couple days of adventuring
5. Shut off water
6. Submit D&D character bio to GM
7. Pack clothes
8. Charge all electronic devices
9. Passport!
10. Coffee

Too much to do and not enough time but half the fun is in the undertaking! Just one more day and three more classes. Then I’m off for another adventure in Sapporo. What is this life?! Never in a million years did I see myself doing something like this on a regular basis. If it’s a dream, no one wake me. If I’m in the matrix, leave me behind and don’t come back for me.

Still, it’s been a rather stressful two weeks. A minor car accident on an icy road just last week, a snow writing challenge that needs to be finished before D&D eats up my every other weekend, D&D bio that had to be written and submitted ages ago, phonics lesson plans and prepping, and potentially snowboarding trip over Valentine’s Day weekend.

And somewhere between all that I forgot about ballet and kendo. Whoops… T.T The fault, however, lies not in my stars but in myself for being an underling.

To Be Continued…

poa_sign

It has only been seven – now quickly going on eight – months into this new year and our family has yet to have a quiet moment. On top of unresolved issues that have built up, a few major family illnesses and a death have occurred in the past two weeks alone. I’m taking a four day hiatus to finish packing and resolving what I can before departure. This blogger is hanging up the will be back sign until then. In the meantime, please enjoy Bach’s Chaconne from Partita No. 2 as played by Hilary Hahn.

Fullerton Arboretum

Located in the upper North corner of Orange County, the city of Fullerton is best known for the following: a convenient 15 minute distance from Disneyland by car, Troy High School, Republicans, and the eponymous California State University off of Nutwood Avenue. Hordes of commuters and international students arrive each year to pursue higher education for an increasingly competitive job market, their options limited by geography and cost for the most part. It ranks as one of the best Business Administration degree granting institutions but the disparity in inter-departmental expenditure is more than obvious. Humanities and Arts will languish in the ages old archaic system of favoritism while the Business and Engineering colleges are garnished with grants and money willed by famous and/or rich alumni. This hierarchical system is seen around the world and not unique to Cal State Fullerton. It’s sadly bigoted and geared towards pumping out businessmen and professors – the socially acceptable and “successful” of our demographics – professions which most have neither the inclination nor the will to follow for personal reasons.

In the midst of this ages long war, the botanical gardens (otherwise known as the Arboretum) on campus grounds flourish through patron donations, which enables them to provide free entry to the community and not just its students. The grounds are breathtaking, lush, and full of surprises if you step off the beaten tracks. Its main gem and attraction is a Bodhi Tree presented to the university by the Dalai Lama in 2000. Many a person has rested their weary feet at its roots and shaded themselves from the oppressive California sun beneath its verdant foliage. Though not my personal favorite, the Bodhi Tree is nonetheless of great importance and something of a claim to fame for the school.

Summertime sees the ducklings born in the spring transformed into full grown adults as well as a host of seasonal flowers blooming bright and tall, the return of a well-loved crane to its ponds, and a host of children that visit the children’s corner on the grounds. My favorite flowers are sunflowers and seeing them at the entrance made me so excited to discover what else had grown since last I had been there in June. The best part, though, was seeing my mom go absolutely nuts over the Arboretum’s plant collection. As an amateur botanist with years of experience in home gardening and transplanting, she’s also a bit of an enthusiast on rare plants, making the Arboretum her own heaven on earth since each section is divided into geographical regions.

Parking at the Arboretum is also free but very limited. And as previously mentioned it is quite a family friendly destination: it hosts a children’s area complete with play stations, the Nikkei Japanese Heritage Museum, and a greenhouse with plants sold according to seasonal availability. I recommend this Southern California trip to anyone who wants to tour a university campus and escape into the greenery, too.

arboretum_map

Although accessible by the 91 or 57 freeways, be aware that most of the 91 carpool lanes have been turned into toll roads by greedy-politician-back-hand deals with equally (if not more so) greedy-and-soulless businessmen. If this sounds a tad bit bitter, please keep in mind that Californians have a special love-hate affair with their freeways. We have pretty steep taxes already and it’s a slap in the face to find out that some of the heaviest traffic carrying freeways (which are already in need of lane expansions to accommodate the heavy influx of commuters) are now charging for being used.

But I digress. More information on the Arboretum and events can be found by clicking here.

sunflowers

My favorite flowers in all the world: they’re so big and bright and happy 😀 They always put a smile on my face!

Impromptu Op. 1 No. 1: The Hair Dresser’s Fantasie in E-flat Major

It was just one of those things that sort of happened: gathered around the table chatting about the proverbial life and taxes when out of the clear, wide, open blue…

“So did you really want a haircut?” Roberto asked, eyeing my frizzled mess with a discerning look. Earlier in our conversation my mother had remarked that I was unhappy with the current state of folic affairs – I hadn’t gotten a decent trim in, well, seven months and since my hair is deceptively thick it was long overdue for a touch up. I could tell his thoughts were going at a mile a minute; he knew exactly what he wanted to do.

“Um, yeah!” I still don’t know what compelled me but I’m very glad that I did. Was it a pre-midlife crisis building up? Was it the fact that at 22 the most adventurous thing I had ever done to my hair was bob it (albeit from a sober hair dresser). “Just surprise me!”

There was no time to take back a decision made on one and a half shots of spiced rum (shocking, I know. Light weights unite!). And that’s when both Roberto and Eddie got up at the same time, the two slightly tipsier than I was, but still in control of motor functions. “Oh my God, let’s do it.”

Jessie provided the kit: hair oil, mister, shears and… well all those other instruments from the picture above – didn’t quite catch their names. My previous hairdo was really, really outdated plus it was getting too long/monotonous for me even to care about doing much with it. Now I can’t wait to start playing with it again! Roberto you are absolutely fabulous. Anytime, any day, you just say the word and I’ll be your translator, guide, and host in Japan. Lots of love and gratitude XoxO ❤ And for anyone interested: Check out Roberto’s work at the  ULTA in Eastvale, California!

Artistry has always run strongly on my mother’s side but while previous generations have chosen professions in the more conventional music/art-related fields, it seems as if these young bloods have taken a shine to hair and cosmetology. Eddie only has to wait for his license to clear. My sister will be starting her courses just as soon as she graduates from high school. And, of course, Jessie. Best of luck in your exams on Tuesday, Jessica! With all of your hard work and enthusiasm, you will soon also be a wonderful hair dresser like Roberto and cousin Eddie.

Thanks for all of these beautiful memories 😀 And now time for a real impromptu in E-flat Major.

 

Preparing for an Overseas Adventure

Alright so you have booked the flight, packed your bags, and… now what? Exhilarating as travel can be, it’s also quite a pain to plan. Unless you’re the type to wing it (completely) then this post is not for you! For the rest of us who enjoy some measure of security and order, the following is a glorified check-list-tips-and-tricks hybrid post for the inexperienced traveler. Sometimes you learn the hard way but why suffer when you can let others do the suffering for you, eh? I prefer the good old vicarious method and so hopefully this can be useful to someone who is wondering what steps to take next on their adventure planning.

It’s a starter list of suggestions based on my own previous experience as a study abroad student but is quite adaptable to the months long backpacker. It should be enough to get your mind off and imagining about other possible matters you might have to settle before leaving your home country. Also, as cliche as the meme might be, the good old ’10 COMMANDMENTS OF TRAVEL’ comes in handy too 😉 Even if you are not a Type A, there will be times on your journeys – at some seemingly innocuous place – where you will come across an old fashion “WTH JUST HAPPENED?!” moment. Read through the commandments, brandish them on your heart, and depart knowing that you will not come back the same person who left through the front door. The travel gods have spoken; now onwards ho, my brave pioneers!

Ahem. Although the checklist was created by myself, the 10 Commandments for Travelers was taken from a colleague (Study Abroad Adviser Extraordinaire) at my former uni but even she can’t remember who gave it to her or who created it. Sadness. ‘Tis a mystery for the ages; the wit and candor of said author is first rate but doomed to be lost to obscurity. (I have modified it slightly, mostly in regards to gender) Click and enjoy!~

   the 10 commandments of travel

::TRAVEL QUOTES SOUP FOR THE SOUL::

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
-T. S. Eliot

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
-Matsuo Basho

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
-Buddha

“One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”
-Hypatia

And, of course, what trip would be complete without an epic playlist? With an endless supply of travel themed songs all set, you’ve got an epic-conquest-of-the-world worthy soundtrack to back you up. Solo road trips can be pretty monotonous in dead silence, which for me means drowsiness. Co-pilots are great for bickering, laughing, arguing, and discussing the finer points of philosophy/the meaning of life/university debt/unemployment/hashing out that last failed relationship/The Future… as well as for making sure that you keep sharp and on your toes. But as we all know, apart from pumping your body full of caffeine, it is actually quite hard to fall asleep to your favorite head bashing tune (Beethoven’s 5th anyone?). Plus, who doesn’t like creeping out the driver on the lane next to you with some oh so soothing renditions of heavy metal music-swaying while belting out your favorite lyrics? Normal, it’s over-rated. Anyway, here are some travel themed songs we all know and love. In the spirit of travel, they are compiled in an ever growing Spotify playlist.

Well, it’s less than a week until Departure Day… still so much packing left to do and not enough time. But if uni has taught me anything worthwhile, it is that I perform at well enough under pressure to function. Gah. Creative juices, where are you when I need you?! Curses!

🙂

How to Pack for Long-Term Travel Part II

 

all-packed

therecapIn the last post we discussed the theory behind packing and some common sense steps (Research, Inventory, Weeding) for cutting back on how much you’ll take. Now we’ll get to the nit and grit on different methods of packing, how much you’ll actually need to take abroad (no more and no less, trust me), and I’ll try to get into as much detail as I possibly can in regards to Japanese culture.

So let’s get to it! Let’s talk packing essential number 1: Le Suitcase! 🙂

suitcasesA suitcase is a suitcase is a suitcase, right? Well, depends on the kind of travel you’re going to take up… and for long-term travel, especially when living for extended periods of time (years) in a foreign country. A suitcase should only be purchased if it stands up to the L.E.D.D.  test:

Is the suitcase (while empty):
LIGHT?
EASY to transport/store?
DURABLE?
And, do the DIMENSIONS fit the flight allowance?

After doing some preliminary research, I found that most airlines offer 62 inches (L + W + H) with 50 lb dimension and weight limit for all checked baggage on international flights. Domestic flights may vary but we won’t worry about those just yet.  And so this is where you really want to take advantage of lightweight luggage: when you’ve only got 50 pounds, you have to make them stretch the extra mile. Remember, even though we’ve already done our clothes research and inventory, weeding in a large part correlates to the baggage allowance and also on personal choice. What goes for the ultra-minimalist will not be enough for the pack rat traveler. It’s all about striking a balance in packing, which we’ll go over in the next section. So this brings us to types of luggage and knowing how to invest in a nice set that will last you out for as long as your passport is valid (generally about 10 years worth). Brand name luggage sets can run in the hundreds so knowing where to look will bring down the price to an average of $150 versus department store price of $300 upwards. Generally, there are two types on the market these days: polyester/nylon (soft) and polycarbonate/plastic (hard) shelled suitcases, although I’ve heard of leather and canvas material being used as well.

polyester_bothPros: Cheaper, weigh less when frames are made of aluminum or fiberglass. Those with thicker weave patterns make for more durable soft shells. Expandable.

Cons: Not as durable so do not store fragile items or electronics in these cases. Wheels do not rotate (compare model to the left and the polycarbonate down below). Check for quality of stitching before purchasing. Only one packing compartment = less space. Needs to be cleaned more often because fabric case will trap odors and particles more than a hard shell case.

polycarbonate Pros: Polycarbonate is more durable and weighs as much or less than soft shell suitcases, have rotating wheels, and two packing compartments: main on the right, secondary to the left.

Cons: Scratches and water stains will show more readily. When cleaning a polycarbonate, drying the case right away is essential to maintaining its aesthetics. Check that if comes with a zipper for expanding space between the main and secondary packing compartments.

In summation: essentially it comes down to what you prefer in a case and for me, having used both extensively, the polycarbonates win hands down every time. I was able to find an amazing set of two in a beautiful dark navy blue at Costco. They’ve been taken to Japan and Mexico, roughly handled, shoved, and rolled. Still, they look and function as well as if I had bought them yesterday (even though they have their share of minor scratches).

theminimalist

  • 1 set formal business attire (as in the works) – MEN: the suit, neckties, dress socks, business shoes. WOMEN: skirt or pants suit with business jacket, pantyhose, dress shoes.
  • 3-4 sets of business casual for work (or if you’re really confident about your mix and match skills, just 3 will suffice) – button up blouses/slacks or skirts.
  • 3 sets of casual, daily wear (upgrade to 4-5 sets if you know you won’t be able to find your size readily abroad)
  • 1 sweater for autumn
  • A week’s worth of undergarments (underwear/bras/socks)
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 extra pair of shoes (preferably comfortable running shoes; walking can be brutal if you are not used to mass transport and being without a car longer than a day)
  • Travel size toiletries (trust me, you don’t need anymore)
  • TAKE TWO STICKS OF YOUR FAVORITE ANTIPERSPIRANTS. That should last you the year and one really humid summer.
  • Electronics as necessary (laptop, camera, tablet/Kindle)

Ship winter clothes in a box if you can’t find anything in your size abroad. Otherwise purchase on site as the locals will always have the best winter clothes for their type of winter weather. The ULTRA-minimalist will cut this list down to half 😉 Pajamas? Who needs pajamas? Clothes? Pshaw, I’ll just wash this every day. Satirical dramatization, of course 😉 The people responsible for posting this article have been sacked (just kidding). If you follow these guidelines you will only use one polycarbonate suitcase.

howtopackasuitcaseTime and again, the world seems to be divided, perpetually, into two field camps: Them v.s. Us, Allies v.s. Axis, Lannisters v.s. Starks, Team Edward v.s. Team Jacob, coffee lovers v.s. tea lovers… and so the story goes. Packing has it’s own version and the two main camps stand as charged:

Rollers v.s. Folders

Now before you get your knickers into a figurative twist (corny pun intended… literally), keep in mind that both methods should be used. Not all fabric types can withstand the strains of tight rolling, but that being said, you should be rolling more than folding. The reason being that: rolling saves you more space than folding.

TIPS: Make sure that while rolling, you do so as tightly as possible to minimize bulk. For business suits/formal wear: FOLD, DO NOT ROLL. For jeans, you want to start from the legs up after folding lengthwise down. Blouses and clothes made of more fragile material should just be folded. Make sure to line suitcase with your rolled clothing as best as possible to maximize packing space. Heavier items should be packed closer to the wheels for balance. Just use general common sense physics when in doubt 😉

::SHIRTS::

rolling_1 rolling_2 rolling_3

::BLOUSES::

Basically the same fold one finds in department stores. To protect fragile clothing, separate each layer with plastic. Not necessary but can be done to minimize wrinkles.

blouse_a blouse_b

::JEANS::

jeans_a jeans_b jeans_c

Et voila! Packing a suitcase and maximizing on space has never been easier. It just takes some practice and lots of creativity to fit everything into one piece.

As for Japanese office culture: they are much more formal than their American counterparts. No casual days at work and everyone has a place on the status ladder that depends on a variety of factors such as their age, where they graduated from, and how long they have worked for that one company. Your office mates will more often than not be like second family and in some cases you will find yourself going out for drinks with them to maintain good rapport and colleague solidarity than you will be spending time at home… there were nights when my first host family’s dad would stumble in at one in the morning. As a foreigner finding your niche is important and might be difficult. I’ll find out more about this once I begin working in Japan but from my experiences as a student at my host university, it was so hard to fit in as ‘one of them’ instead of as the somewhat cool foreigner friend (a.k.a “other”).

How to Pack for Long-Term Travel Part I

suitcase_packing

introductionIt takes many types of people to make the world go round but to some extent or other we are all travelers by nature: curious, adaptable, resourceful, and of course survivors. Our species has spread and evolved across every continent and settled in as varied a geographic setting as any that can be found on planet Earth.

But these days we travel more so for business or pleasure than for outright survival, still travelers we remain: from the casual weekend family visit and the cross country road trip to the international months-long backpacking affair and the long-term immigration settling. Unlike our medieval ancestors who were more likely to be born, raised, and die in the village/town/city of their birth, current generations are uprooting more frequently than ever before in history. Mainly for economic reasons (ironically, I cannot find a job in the country that prides itself on perpetuating the ideal of the American Dream even with a degree), which make experimentation with international unions quite popular because they facilitate this kind of uprooting for the citizens of participating such as in the case of the European Union. As such you are most likely reading this article because you are contemplating making such a move yourself and don’t know where to start. Welcome!

This article will be focusing on travel packing for upwards of a year or more but is easily applicable to the semester study abroad student stint. It’s broken down into three easy steps that will cover the initial essentials of packing and how to choose what you will be taking abroad with you.

resesarchPut those research skills to good use, my lovelies. Find out everything you can about your destination: geography, geology, and the highest/lowest/average recorded temperature are all great places to start. Become a fluent converter of Celsius (also known as Centigrade in some countries) and Fahrenheit. You may even want to look up humidity levels because dry heat and humid heat are two different situations entirely. Trust me. As a native Californian I thought I could handle heat, after all the running joke in this state is that California has only two seasons: summer… and not summer. That is until I found myself in Tokyo’s muggy, typhoon mess and between swimming in my own sticky sweat vs weather that was twenty to thirty degrees hotter but drier, I choose the latter any day. So… prepare yourself! Even when you think you’ve got something, turns out the differences might surprise you, too.

For those going to countries with significantly colder weather: although you may feel like investing in TWO suitcases just to accommodate all of your winter regalia, first stop and investigate what options, if any, your new home country will have for you. Sometimes it’s cheaper to purchase it on location than it would be to pay charges for extra check-in baggage. In the event that your new home country will not be able to carry your size (Japan, if you’re a taller/larger/wider American female such as myself – woefully a comfortable medium in USA sizing is an extra large over there) just buy the jackets/boots here and have them shipped in a box. This will save you packing headaches down the road and can be a nice care package from and to yourself 😉

inventorySo what’s in the closet? Once you’ve established what kind of climate you will be up against, the next step is to take stock of what you already own, what will work, what won’t, and what you’ll need. This is the part where people start tearing out their hair. When you’ve settled down somewhere for a comfortable amount of time and have a space of your own that you think of as permanent, you tend to settle down and accumulate stuff. And fast. This goes for furniture and living utensils as well as clothes. Rarely, if ever, do people take a mass inventory of their life’s accumulation for the sole purpose of tossing it out. Be honest, when was the last time you went about doing this?

However, this is also an amazing opportunity to donate all of your unwanted items: thrift shops, women’s shelters, religious organizations, and the Salvation Army will always welcome your used and well-loved items. If tight on cash yourself, you could always opt for the other route, which  is to sell your items as “vintage” on Etsy or eBay, but try donating what you can first to those in greater need than your own.

Start a list, draw it out, sticky notes… whatever helps you get organized.

weedingResearch. Check. Inventory. Check. Now comes the fun (or not so fun, depending on how indecisive you are)! Time to choose what to keep and what to give away/sell 😀 Below you will find an infographic from this neat website which is geared towards simplifying your closet weeding and it gives you a point of reference for what you can keep and what should get thrown out. Generally speaking, I love the flow chart style and it works if you promise not to make special allowances for a single item of clothing. Okay, well, maybe you can give yourself up to three passes but only those three >.>

Once you can mentally take a picture of everything you’ve got and everything you will most likely need to take, this will make it easier to purchase the appropriate type and amount suitcases for your trip. My rule of thumb is pack for a week and a half. Do your laundry more often and accumulate clothes over there as needed. It is astounding how little you need to actually survive. Most suitcases can’t carry much more without going over the weight limit so check with your airline and weigh as necessary.

closetweeding

 

And those are the first three steps to packing for long-term travel 😀 Next we’ll cover choosing suitcases and the lost art of packing them!

Till the next post!

My New Life…

gonohemachi

…is starting this July ❤ I will be living further north than I have ever lived before and teaching English in a small coastal town called Gonohemachi in Aomori Prefecture on Honshu Island (the main island of Japan). It’s everything I hoped for and wanted: to be so far removed from my previous haunts in Tokyo, a new place to explore, and lots of snow for winter 🙂 And the best part? It’s a stone’s throw from a national park!!! I’m going to be having a blast geologizing my way though rocks, rocks, and more rocks!

And like the geek that I am, my research on this general area will be presented below for anyone who cares to know more about social, historical, and geographical information on the Touhoku region and Aomori Prefecture.

towadako

As previously stated, Aomori Prefecture is located in the northernmost geographical region known as Touhoku in Honshu Island. Due to it’s unique geology (mainly the north-south Ou Mountains, a chain that separate eastern and western halves of the prefecture), the area is known for its natural beauty and it’s climate where temperatures range anywhere from extremes of -7.8 degrees Celsius in the winter to 34.0 degrees Celsius in the summer – or to convert into Fahrenheit that would be anywhere from 17.96 to 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit (APTINET). The median recorded temperature seems to average 10.1 degrees Celsius or 50.18 degrees Fahrenheit (APTINET). It’s ideal for growing apples, yams, and garlic all of which happen to be the region’s main agricultural output (Umai Aomori). Lake Towada itself is a caldera, the crater remains of an active volcano. Pyroclastic flows in the area have shown that the blasts from this caldera have gone as far north as Aomori City at the very tip of the island and its last explosion occured approximately 13,000 years ago (Japan: The Official Guide). Compared to Yellowstone National Park (the whole thing is one gigantic caldera and still active as evidenced by its geysers and natural springs), Towada-ko’s eruption would be dangerous but unimpressive in its magnitude. Although maybe I shouldn’t just yet be saying that because anything lethal enough to kill should be considered impressive.

jomonpottery1jomonpottery2

There seem to be a number of Jomon villages reconstructed from archaeological remains that are open to the public for sightseeing. I’m particularly fond of this time period (lasting roughly from 4,500 BCE to 250 BCE) because it is the earliest Japanese civilizations that can be traced through time and for me the rawer the civilization the more interesting. History and mythology blend. Bone records reveal the facial features of the people to get an idea of what they looked like (quite different from what you would think to be Japanese features) and from their trash and pottery remains we have information on their diet and the aesthetics of the time (Jomon Japan). The meaning of Jomon itself comes from the kanji or Chinese characters for “cord” and “making”, referencing the beautiful rope-like decorations on their flame rimmed pots (Hane, Pg. 10-11).

Although it is decidedly less populous than my previous home in Tokyo (honestly can it get more packed than that gem of a city?), I’m excited to have new hiking trails to discover and to learn the Aomori dialect, which is about as rustic and as country as one can get 😀 Less people, less shoving into trains, and less distractions means more communing with nature, more fresh air, and more adventure. What more could a girl possibly want? ❤ I can’t believe just how lucky I am to be placed in the nation’s main regional producer of apples! Apples! My favorite fruit in the whole wide world. The national park is the gem of the package though. Seriously. I am crying tears of joy. The Jomon villages, too, make for awesome sprinkles on the cupcake. Looks like lady Luck just did me a solid and decided to start going my way for once! 😉

 

Jomon village

Jomon village \O/

 

WORKS CITED

APTINET Aomori Prefectural Government. Aomori Sightseeing Guide, 2010. Web. 15 June 2014.

Hane, Mikiso. “The Early Years: Japanese Pre-History”. Premodern Japan: A Historical Survey. Colorado: Westview Press, 1991. Print.

Japan-Guide. Tohoku Travel Guide, 1996. Web. 15 June 2014.

Japan National Tourism Organization. Japan: The Official Guide. Web. 15 June 2014.

Jomon Japan. Jomon Archaelogoical Sites. Web. 15 June 2014.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prehistory: Jomon Culture, 2000. Web. 15 June 2014.

Umai Aomori. Main Agricultural Products of AOMORI, 2005. 16 June 2014.

 

Note: For those of you who viewed this post on 16 June 2014, you may have been experiencing some technical difficulties… aka, me updating the heck out of this post because I had not realized that I’d accidentally set it to publish automatically on this day at midnight. Sorry about that! Really, I am. Here I was clicking update thinking, “This won’t publish until the 18th anyway, let me go in for one more revision!” Alas, will I never learn? Possibly not, I’m a pen and paper kind of gal and technology hisses at me with a vengeance 😉 But the article is completed and ready for viewing. Further revisions (of which there will be none planned, but should the need arise in the event of a major gaffe) will be listed down here along with dates and times. Thanks!