Friday, November 9, 2007

Making Dango At Hamagawa Elementary School

One of the many reasons we decided to leave half of our crap in storage and come out to this island is to have experiences like we did yesterday. Asako (seen here next to Mia on the left) is a teacher at Hamagawa Elementary, down the road from where we live. We met her through Michelle & Scott - (Scott was my dive buddy -the one who made Chief in the Navy recently). She emailed me last month to tell me about the cooking class they were going to hold at 3:15 yesterday afternoon that some Marines and friends attend to help the children learn & practice English. I jumped at the chance. (Side note - she also attended UCSD for a year a while back and lived in Claremont, so she asked if everyone was ok during the fires too - she is so sweet!)

She sent me a sheet with the recipe for Dango, a sweet gummy little ball of happiness that is very popular here. (the Three Brothers Dango, a song and video was so popular here it was a best-selling CD! Video is here, lyrics are translated here.)

ANYway- also on the sheet were the words and phrases the kids were to practice. "What is your name?" "What do you like to do?" (hobbies) "Where are you from?" etc. And we all practice and we all cooked and we all had fun with it. The kids were adorable, and LOVED Mia to death every time she talked and shared in the fun. (Kawaii=cute in Japanese - we hear that a lot. But be careful - "kowaii"=scary! haha)

Here are a few of the best shots besides the total class picture with the other American helpers up top.

One of the instructions was to add water to the rice flour until it was "earlobe consistency". I thought that was funny. The kids just thought it was gooey and FUN!

Then we rolled them into small balls. Well, most couldn't resist the GIANT dango - like the giant cookie that doesn't bake!
Have you noticed it's rather difficult to get pictures of kids here without them giving you the "peace" sign? Mia caught on fast, as you can see.

Then you boil them (at a stove in the counter that was the perfect height for Mia) and after a few minutes you take them out and put them into cold water.
Then roll them in soybean flour/sugar.
Then use that toothpick to skewer and EAT! Mia wasn't too sure....
But afterward she said she liked them. She also washed dishes in the sink of the same low counter. She could've been there all night washing and having fun. She didn't want to leave. I told her she can wash dishes at home as much as she'd like.

The rest of the photos can be found here. Oishii desu!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thursday thru Sunday

Ok, been a few days again - already!

First of all, I'm happy to report, that after a layaway mishap we found the one and only Weber Spirit 210 on the island and I put it together this week. Finally - I can grill my dinners! Back to steak and seafood - I couldn't be happier. (Thanks, Mom - that cover finally was put to use!)

Thursday I met a few moms at a children's center not too far from home - it was fantastic! Big park area with roller slide and zip lines...

Here's Parker enjoying the zip lines - Mia (who quickly developed a Parker crush) in the background.
Parker's little brother, William. Yes - I swam in the pools of those blue eyes and lived to show you the photo....
Eli rollin' right at me!
Parker taking on the slide on his belly.
Oh goodness... and then there's Yukari. Her folks will definitely need to keep this girl under lock & key!
So since it was gloomy out, we thought the backup plan would be that the center also has an indoor part; complete with a room for toddlers & babies, a big library with some chairs and tables (even if the books were in Japanese, Mia & Parker were fine with it!) and a gymnasium. This is where the kids tried to work that hula hoop:
Really fun morning!

Friday night we went to Banyan Tree (an on-base restaurant) to have pizza. On the recommendation of a Jersey dude from Asbury Park who Craig works with and said that's the best pizza here. Well, it was ok - I'd eat it, but it's not what I'd run for if I was craving pizza. Frankly, I guess I'd just keep on craving pizza because I haven't found anything great yet. I AM hopeful - the Neatherys have a favorite place that we'll definitely try - and it might be the only place I'll go for pizza from then on.

Saturday Mia played in a soccer game and had lots of fun.
And then we headed up north for a drive. We found ourselves on Camp Schwab - the northernmost military installation here - and they had cottages at Oura Wan Beach. These were taken at the beach below the cottages. As you can see - gloomy cloudy day - WINDY too, but it was so nice that it was not hot! Here are a few gems - the rest can be found here.

Can you tell by this smile that she's slightly tired of cheesing for the camera? Not surprising.

Saturday night we went to Somchai again - this time I worked a picture of my green-lip mussels...
Oh my goodness. Everything else came to the table and was dug into so quickly I couldn't take pictures. Besides, I couldn't be bothered to turn on the camera when it smelled and tasted so fantastic! I'm drooling again just looking at this picture.

Anywho, that's the haps. Chargers lost - pathetically - to the Vikings, and now I'm watching THE game - Indi vs. the Pats - GO INDI! (However, let the record show that I do think Brady is one of the best looking football players ever.)