Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 7 June 1st

I'm trying my first cup of Kombu or Kombucha, a seaweed tea. We'd read about it before we got here and, since tea is so prevalent, thought we better find an alternative to green tea. Craig had written out the kanji for it so we could find it at the store but the thing he wrote was no where on the container, but it had Kombucha in English on it. I figured out where the instructions were and peiced together “spoon 1” something “cup.” The tea is in a tin with a little scoop so I figured that something meant scoop even though it didn't look like scoop when I looked it up. I wasted a good 20min trying to figure out steeping time before Wikipedia told me the seaweed is edible and the stuff in the container just dissolved when I poured hot water over it. Wikipedia also described the taste as umami, the savory-type taste. It is also very high in iodine; after the nuclear power plant accident a lot of people pointed out that the Japanese diet is high in iodine so exposure to radioactive iodine wouldn't be as awful. I think it tasted pretty much like what one would expect seaweed tea to taste like, I like seaweed so I'm OK with that.

I spent about an hour planning my trip to the Hyogo International Plaza where there are free Japanese lessons. They don't really name streets here. For example, our address tells you we're in Kobe, then that we are in Nada ward (Kobe has 9 wards), then we are in Rokkodai-cho (a subsection of Nada), and finally we live in building 9 in Rokkodai-cho. There are no streets in our address. On maps major expressways are numbered but that's it. I basically used landmarks like train stations and the appliance store that we're familiar with and started walking. It took about 2hrs but the way home was much faster because I could take a more direct route. Turns out the next series of classes don't start until July 2nd and they are in high demand so they recommended I show up early to sign up.

We are on the cusp of rainy season and it was cloudy all morning and started to rain about an hour into my trek. I seriously need to get some fun galoshes.

Had more bento boxes for dinner. Price wise I don't think they can be beat and I think they're fairly healthy but, once again, not really sure what we ate. There were these pickled pepper things, a bean salad – they sort of looked like kidney beans but didn't taste like them, battered and fried pieces of “tako” squid and we each had a cup o' soup style noodle dish. I was super hungry after all my walking around so didn't even think of taking a picture until we were done. I think I can get used to Craig lugging pre-prepared food up that hill each night.

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