Saturday, May 21, 2016

To The Park!

Saturday's my day off.  Coming from retirement to the Guest Home this time hasn't seemed much like work because my old list of responsibilities is shared with others. However, During the week I am aware of meeting the expectations of those I work with in being certain places at certain times and of course taking responsibility for those tasks that are mine. So Saturdays I really make a conscious effort to be "off duty."

Today at the suggestion of several friends I decided not to waste the beautiful sunny breezy weather and to visit Osu-Bosai Park. This is in my old neighborhood. When I had my own apartment some years ago, I knew this to be a place to go to if there was a severe earthquake.  There are places designated around our town that are not overhung by buildings where people should gather to be out of the danger of things falling on them. To make use of the space without compromising the purpose there are some simple structures and areas made for sports, nature and information.  There is also a rose garden.  I saw one plaque near the entrance path that said something about Roseheim, Germany which I know to be one of Ichikawa City's Sister cities.

The blooms were just past their prime but the colors were still stunning.

There is also a Water Feature in the park. This wee waterfall becomes a stream that runs a little way along with the "stone" bed and rocks placed decoratively along the "banks".  I remember a young man who on a visit to Auntie Georgia's Big House was taken to this park to play in the month of January. He thought the water looked mighty inviting and decide to take a little wade.  He found it a bit chilly I'm told.

Returning to the Guest Home I took one last rose shot.  This is a Queen Elizabeth Rose that was presented to the OMF Guest Home on the occasion of the dedication of the buildings by retired OMFer, Isabel Bowman in 1999.

I took a lot more pictures with my regular camera (these I took with my tablet because I could "get" them to post them here).  There is a little hope that I might be able to get my pictures from my camera to my tablet. I posted previously that I hadn't been able to upload successfully because of the limitations of the computer I'm using in the office.  If I can find an OTG cable that will fit my Kindle fifth generation, I could attach the cable from my camera to it. I just haven't been able to locate the exact piece of stuff to fit.  Still working on it though!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cooking For Those Who Appreciate Food

This week we are hosting a training here at JHQ. Since it is our Mission's training and our colleagues attending, some meals are provided.  Of course someone has to cook the meals. This time Rowena and I are sharing the responsibility.  Today was my turn.

I prepared some raw vegetables and dip for the fresh part of the meal and roast chicken for the protein. There was also Japanese rice and some cake.  The meal was colorful and attractive to my eye, so I took a couple photos:

As I mentioned, there was also rice - two rice cookers full.

So, when you cook for those who appreciate food, you have to expect results like the photo below. The rice is not shown in this photo either, but there were a couple of servings left.

Not all of the cake was eaten immediately, but I did notice that some folks chose to get theirs first - you know the adage, "Life is uncertain, eat your dessert first."

I've been informed by my fan that everyone is happy to see that I'm blogging again.  When I questioned who the everyone might be exactly, I was told that it was all the people and cats that matter.

Now, to cook myself something to eat.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Twas the Night Before...

(jan JAAAAAA)  Project Timothy 4.  Yeah, I don't know exactly what it is either.  But I think it's an OMF Leadership Training.  I do know that for this week things will be hotting up here at Auntie Georgia's Big House. Lots of people around, seminar sessions and meals being prepared and eaten. Afterward a general clean-up and set-up for other guests who will be arriving for the weekend and next week.

So right now I'm waiting up for two of our guests who will arrive later tonight. 

Tonight's dinner for me was a Japanese comfort food. It's called Niku Jyaga (meat and potatoes).  It is Onion, Carrot, and Potato simmered in a combination of equal parts Water, Soy Sauce, Sake and Mirin. Thin sliced beef or other meat is spread on top to cook. It's served with rice and in my case a bit of green salad.

It doesn't have to be served on an "Animals of Australia" cloth, but it does seem to make it even more interesting don't you think?

In light of the fact that it will be a busy week it would be great if those of you who pray for me and especially for this trip to Japan would pray for a well organized week where I will be changing hats a bit. I'll be cooking a couple of meals and generally answering requests for PT4 while doing my regular jobs of taking reservations and keeping the accounts straight. Pray for strength and health and general calmness in the busyness.

Take care and let me know what you're up to.  There's a "comments" section below.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Day Off!

Saturday is my day off here.  With Rowena's help I really do get to take off if I choose, or stay in bed all day.

Today I got on the train and rode out a few stops to Tsudanuma.  I've likely written about this town before.  Actually the station is in Narashino City of which Tsudanuma is a part.  The mental tie to this town is that I remember it as where I was the first time I knew, I had a Divine Appointment to meet someone.

Another great reason to visit there is the big craft store called Yuzawaya. They have stores all over the Tokyo area, and this one is the most convenient to me.  They were having the most humongous sale that it didn't take long for me to go into sensory overload. Percentages off and special pricing, all written in Japanese of course. Lots of red signs. I took some photos with my camera and maybe some day I'll be able to load them somewhere usable.

I went to the third floor where there is a very nice Daiso, 100 yen shop.  Got some things and took mental notes to come back before I head for the States.

I also visited the building across the street which is a kind of small shopping mall. By then I was tired and after checking if the rest rooms were still as nice as before, I headed back to Ichikawa.

Above is a photo of today's drink of choice - Calpis Water.  Another mildly flavored beverage. Not carbonated. The drinks I choose here are usually light and refreshing.  Not overloaded with sugar or strong flavor.  I'll have to look for another favorite, Momo Water next.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Today's Lunch

Had to go to the store a bit earlier today because I needed to stock the kitchens in preparation for a short term team arriving this evening from Canada.  So I decided to pick up some lunch as well.  I opted for a traditional quick meal.  These triangles are Onigiri.  I was in Japan several times before I learned that Japanese people often call these Musube, from the word that means "to wrap". These consist of a filling wrapped in seasoned rice in turn wrapped in a piece of nori.

Today I chose my two favorites: Ume and Tuna Mayo. Ume boshi are pickled plums. Tuna Mayo is what Americans would call Tuna Salad. They are wrapped in an ingenious Japanese manner to preserve the crispiness of the nori. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here's a link to one of many YouTube videos describing the proper way to unwrap this food.

The soft drink is Aquarius. It's a Japanese Sports Drink, but don't think "Gatorade".  This is a mildly citrus flavored drink purported to contain all kinds of beneficial minerals and aminos. I've always considered it to be pleasant. I have felt rather dry the last day or two, despite drinking water and tea and coffee, so I thought this might be good.

At the grocery store I also picked up some overripe bananas on the special rack reserved for cut price-beginning to be past their usefulness, produce items. Reduced price of course.  I'm almost ready to try a new recipe for banana bread for next week's guests who will be participating in special leadership training. If it turns out well I may just remember to post a picture. Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Doing Cyber Acrobatics

Well the method is not pretty, but I figured out a way to take photos with my Kindle Fire which upload to "the Cloud". Then I can share them to Facebook from there and from FB I can download to Dropbox (a different Cloud) And from Dropbox I can upload to here.  The issue I'm skirting is that I am using a computer here that does not have a program installed that will process photo files.  So since it is not my computer but just the one in my office I don't want to bog it down with extra programs.  I got permission to install Dropbox so that I can continue to work on Japan Harvest magazine, so it's the only bit of storage that's mine.

If anyone else understands what I'm saying and can provide a less convoluted solution I'm taking suggestions.

So, the photo you can see here is of tonight's dinner at my house - Ramen. Note that I did not make it from dry noodles in a Styrofoam cup, but from fresh noodles I bought at my local supermarket.  This kit contained three servings of noodles and three packets of soup concentrate.  I added some leftover chicken and some vegetables along with a boiled egg which you can see is somewhere between "hard' and "soft" boiled and seems to be the norm here.  So much yummier that you poor folk who are stuck with Cup Noodle or other brands of petrified dried noodles.

Oh, almost forgot to tell you about the chopsticks (O Hashi). Note the grooves at the pointier end. These are for eating noodles.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No New Pics Again! (But some old ones :))

For one thing I haven't gotten used to having to carry a camera instead of just using my phone for pictures. Another thing is that today when I'm thinking of it, it's mostly raining and quite dreary. Cold too while we're at it. I don't feel like tromping about in the rain to take pictures that probably won't turn out because the light's bad.

Life goes on here at the Guest Home. Dear friends from the old days and not so old days, the Taylors were here for almost a week getting acclimated to the time zone before going off to visit and serve in some of our churches to the north.

Golden Week starts tomorrow and carries on to Monday and next Friday which are all holidays and days off for our Japanese Staff.  So some things go to a low simmer for a bit.  The week of the eighth we have a good sized training happening here so full house and some cooking as well.  The summer holiday season is fast approaching and also the time of year for teams to be coming from various other countries for short term assignments.

My replacements are on schedule to be here the first of July so things are ticking along as to plan.

These are photos from a trip to Kyoto several years ago around this time of year.

Hopefully I will get motivated to photograph something in the next few days. Watch this space!