Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 23rd and 24th

We didn't do any exploring this Saturday. I wanted to try out the 10:30am yoga class, had Japanese homework and we both spoke on Sunday and needed to finish up our talks. It was also nice not to go anywhere.

We did decide we were going to make a more advanced grocery list and go grocery shopping. This may sound silly but grocery shopping is very daunting. This is why we eat out so much and buy bentos (the preprepared dishes like seaweed salad or tonkatsu or sushi) so often. We searched the internet for easy Japanese meals, came up with three (we have a little tiny refrigerator so shopping for perishable items for more than three days at a time is tough because we just don't have room). Craig carefully wrote out the kanji we would need and headed to the store. We decided to buy stuff to make a noodle and veggie stir fry, maguro (raw tuna) and avocado rice bowls, and okonomiyaki (the pancake-style dish I posted a picture of a while ago). We wanted to get a specific sauce for the stir fry and had to ask a grocery store employ where it was - we were standing in front of it. We also couldn't find the maguro and asked a woman stocking the fish section and we were standing right in front of that too. We discovered you could by okonomiyaki mix and managed to find that on our own. Unfortunately the directions were all in Japanese, there wasn't even little pictures to guide us in knowing what needed to be add. Okonomiyaki has a flour batter that you mix shredded cabbage into and then top with whatever you want. We bought the sauce for it and was going to add some store bought fried squid, bonito (type of dried fish) flakes and chopped green onions. Looking at the mix, we were trying to figure out if we needed to add eggs. Craig knows the kanji for egg and didn't see it but we were surprised that it didn't need any so he asked "this use eggs?" to another grocery store employee. The answer was long but he thought she said no. This is foreshadowing.

Saturday night we made the rice bowls. They were really easy and rather tasty. We marinated the sliced raw tuna in soy sauce and wasabi for half an hour and then scooped brown rice into each of our bowls, layered the tuna with pieces of fresh avocado and were supposed to garnish with sesame seeds and shiso leaves (shiso is a common garnish, like parsley but it tastes nothing like parsley, I don't know how to describe their flavor except it is strong and that's why you just garnish with them). We forgot the garnish until after we were done eating - typical.

I don't think I've mentioned that we've managed to get a video rental card. It is so easy to feel hugely accomplished here. We managed to fill out a form with our name, address, and telephone number, and they were willing to trust us with a movie and we were high as kites over our success. I was actually only at ease once we started the film. We have to find films that have the original English sound track and, even if Craig claims that's what it says, I don't breathe a sigh of relief until I hear English. So we got to enjoy a home cooked meal and a movie on Saturday night.

Our talks went well on Sunday. I told Craig I was concerned with offending people. This isn't because I thought what I was saying was offensive, but, if I did manage to offend someone, it would be like offending a huge percentage of the people you see in a week since my circle is so tiny. I thought talking in front of a full ward of people is daunting but I think it is worse when there are only 20 people out there because you can more clearly see and hear everyone's responses. People laughed when they were supposes to and nodded their heads in agreement at other times, which was encouraging. There are 10 adult women in our branch and I discovered four of them are also adult converts. I don't know about the others, I'll have to ask. The funny thing is two of the four are from America and I assumed they would have come from Mormon families.

After church we skyped Craig's parents (shout out to Chuck and Welda and Dustin!) and I took a brief nap. During that time Craig decided to decipher the okonomiyaki directions. Turns out there are two different kanji for eggs and the woman must have been telling us yes. I made the stir fry instead. As most of you know Craig is usually the cook because he is better at it but he was engrossed in a Dialogue article and I was hungry, so I took the initiative. Here is a picture of the finished product. I am rather proud and the sauce was quite good. It was sort of like worcestershire.

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