Hey, guys, sorry this is so late but this past week was really lame. It was a four day weekend and I had big plans to go to Toba and see the aquarium and Dolphin Island where they have dolphin shows and go cruising around the islands at sunset and all that jazz. Well, I got sick. Friday I had to leave school early and I was stuck in bed for three days straight. Could be worse. I could have had swine flu. It was just a nasty cold.
But I learned my lesson. I should have gone to the doctor on Saturday. Because I just kept getting worse and worse until I gave in Monday morning and called Pastor Toshi. He and his wife took me to the local clinic and we waited two and a half hours to see the doctor. When he finally saw us, he did a swab test that lasted thirty seconds, then fifteen minutes later told me I didn't have the flu. Thanks. But seriously, he did give me this really strong Chinese herbal stuff. It tasted awful and I had to take it every three hours, but when I woke up the next morning I felt great. I decided I'd better not go anywhere, though, because I tend to jump the gun and I have to be really healthy for school tomorrow. I still had the sniffles and a headache.
Around 10:00 I got so board of lying in bed that I finally couldn't take it anymore. I got up and cleaned the apartment. The whole apartment. It took me all day. I get obsessive compulsive sometimes, and this was definitely one of those times. I scrubbed the floors and walls, cleaned behind the fridge, scrubbed the stains out all the stuff I've been too lazy (or rather busy) to wash, did the mountain of dishes and all the laundry. It was a long day. But everything's clean. Everything.
I'm about to go over to Junco's (one of my adult students) house for a "gyoza" or Chinese dumpling-making party. I probably should have declined. I'm still sick. But I neeeed to talk to somebody, I've been shut up in my apartment, alone, for four days! Besides, I'd have to cook something for myself anyway, might as well learn to make something new. Anyway, I should have pictures of at least that up in a few hours when I get back.
OK, here are the pictures I promised!
This is gyoza. It's really easy to make. You buy the wrapping at the store, stuff it with minced pork and onion and really anything else you want, then add water around the edges, and crinkle them like that and close it up. Then you fry them in canola oil for ten minutes and presto! You're done. No need to turn them or anything.
This is a very interesting ceramic plate Junco had. The brown swirls are actually cinnamon that was baked into the plate on purpose when it was originally fired (created). She got it in Turkey. You place the fresh bread on top and it obsorbs the cinnamon from the plate!
And this is simply a beautiful river/mountain landscape picture I took while I was in Ise for the English camp a few weeks ago.
Junco gave me plug for my kutatsu table, which is just about the most awesome thing the Japanese ever invented. Kutatsu are small, low-to-the-ground tables that have built in heaters. You put a blanket over them, plug in the plug, stick your legs under the blanket, and your legs and feet and lap stay warm! And thus, the rest of you! And there's no need to heat the rest of the house! (Of course, the Japanese don't have central heating or cooling.) Brilliant energy saver. Why don't these catch on in America?
Prayer requests for this week: I'm still sick. It won't go away! Pray that all the students and teachers stay healthy, because they've already had to shut down a couple of classes for having too many sick kids. Other than that, it's just bitterly cold, and the school isn't heated and there's no kutatsu tables. There are a few homeless people living in tents in the parks around Mie. It must be miserable for them. I don't know what I can do to help; I rarely actually see one of them, just the tent, and usually then they're sleeping. I did talk to one, but of course he didn't speak English and he seemed...not right in the head, so he couldn't understand my Japanese. Japan has such an effective job security system in place, I suspect all the homeless people are all mentally handicapped in some way. At least, that's what I've been told. They don't seem for want of food or warm clothes, though, which is a good thing.
Until next time, keep reading and keep praying,