Friday, December 24, 2010

24.

I'm "officially" 24 now. I was born at 2:15 p.m. in Korea. Japan and Korea are in the same time zone and it's after 2:15, so I really can't be telling people I'm 23 anymore. A bit sad really as this marks the beginning of my mid-twenties, though mother insists I started the mid-twenties at 23. I'm not too concerned though, I fixed a good portion of what was wrong or broken in the past few months and feel good about how I'm living. When I turned 23 I felt despair and confusion when the clock struck midnight, but 24 feels hopeful and happy.

Tonight me, my suitcase, carry-on bag, and a big bag full of Christmas presents will go to Fukuoka City and meet up with Walter. We will eat cake and enjoy being together for クリスマス in Japan. My first Japanese Christmas. And then on Sunday morning I'm off to Germany. Europe still feels magical despite the fact that this will be my 7th trip there. I just can't help myself.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the morning.


Right after it rains, everything is just right. From my walk to work this morning.

I've renamed my blog "Little Satans." The Krampus shtick got tired. The name will be inane forever.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Top Five: German Food


#1: TORTENBUFFET. I don't even need to say more. Cake buffets are the best invention of all time.



#2: Käsespätzle. Cheesy egg noodles topped with fried onions in a big bowl. Just a big bowl of carbs and fat that will probably give you bad breath. I'm already waiting in line drooling into my drool cup.




#3: Nordsee. The only other fast food I get this excited about is In-N-Out Burger in California/Arizona/Nevada. Nordsee sell fish, shrimp and other seafood in sandwich, patty, filet and recently sushi form. I'm a fan.



#4: Flammkuchen. From what I've read and seen it's similar to a thin pizza and can be topped with anything. I can't wait to actually taste one!


#5: Currywurst. It's really just a crappy hot dog with curry powder and ketchup on a paper plate, but it represents so much more. Currywurst is the iconic sausage that stands for Berlin, and Berlin is where magic happens.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back to life after being dead.



Here it is, a song that lifts my spirits to the point where I grow little horns right out of my skull. It's like I woke up from a coma and suddenly remembered who I am. I cannot translate my feelings into words so please accept my terms unconditionally: everything is right in the world. The little part of my brain reserved for psychedelic drug experiences, eating delicious forbidden food and rocking the heck out has been stimulated. I believe this is "spiritual."

Yes I know Mercyful Fate did it first, but Ghost and their unabashed return to the roots of black metal (which is somehow "psychedelic" or "doom" in this confusing modern world of classification...?) are such a welcome breath of fresh air. I haven't gotten really excited about metal in months, but "Opus Eponymous" is an album that's going straight to loop on my playlist.


"Ritual" is probably my personal favorite due to the blissful simplicity of the keyboard and vocal harmonies present during the chorus and flawless guitar work throughout. There's no extraneous wanking anywhere - proof that "badass" can exist without the inclusion of 64th notes. I'm a huge fan of the spoken passages in goofy demonic voice too. If you can't appreciate cheesy soliloquies about sacrificing virgins and goat lords, get the fuck out of the hall.

I have thought about my fascination and relationship with metal, Satan, Satanism, evil and hellfire imagery. I do not actually believe any of it is real yet I do genuinely find it titillating and thrilling to imagine the situations painted on cautionary medieval murals, where naked and lost souls fall into the fiery pits only to be tortured by grotesque looking demons with two dicks each. I have considered the possibility that it is a disingenuous or ironic fascination, but it's really not and it never will be. If you don't get it, you probably won't.

Hail Satan!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top 5: Japanese Food


広島お好み焼き: Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki. Like a cabbage/pork/egg latke sitting on top of fried udon or soba noodles. Best with copious amounts of sauce and mayonnaise. Bonito flakes wave in the wind. It's never not unsettling watching them move; are they waving hello or contorting in pain?



すき焼き: Sukiyaki. A delicious assortment of beef, tofu, and vegetables that is cooked in a hot pot in a delicious sweet and salty sauce. Wintry food, ideal for entertaining guests as you can make a lot at once. All major food groups except chocolate are covered here.




エビチリ: Chili shrimp. There's an obvious Chinese influence here. Usually at restaurants the sauce is very sweet and not really spicy at all, which is the giveaway that those silly delicate-tongued Japanese have neutered an imported entree (you should taste their "kimuchi" bullshit).



豚丼: Butadon, aka sliced pork on rice. Simple and easy to make. My school cafeteria makes a KILLER butadon that is worth dreaming about and possibly dying for. I'd probably be properly thin if I didn't insist on eating butadon every Wednesday.



なす田楽: Nasu Dengaku/Baked Eggplant with Miso. The most delectable of gourmet dishes. It's just an eggplant with miso paste in it, yet it has somehow achieved food perfection. You can't get this glorious treat from a crappy vending machine restaurant.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The sights and sounds of Tagawa






Sights: Odd furniture here and there, more flower boxes than in the whole of Paris, rice paddies, cats with and without tails, and cheeky vegetable patches.

Sounds: Stillness, cars, countryside quiet, the eardrum-raping revving of 50cc scooter engines, and the eerie sound of fighter jets circling overhead.

I took these on my walk home from work today. The clouds cooperated nicely.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Capitalism


Japan isn't the place to be if you've made a bet with a friend to see who can find more "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season" bumper stickers on cars. Christianity, while legal and tolerated, is not a big deal here - though Nagasaki does have its fair share of Catholics around. I think one teacher out of all the staff at my school is a Christian, and she's a Nagasaki-born Catholic who doesn't seem particularly pious.

If you're a secular "Kristen Kringle" type (please refer to this book
for details), Japan will please you in ways not even America can. Should you find yourself out shopping any time between October 31 and January 1, you'll find the malls, shopping centers, plazas, department stores and restaurants flamboyantly decked out with "illumination" lights and decor displays (see image) and special promotions and sales. Your ears will sing and dance to myriad variations of the Wham! classic "Last Christmas" as well as .midi covers of "Good King Wenceslas" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," and if you're quite lucky you may be treated to a dainty, tinkle-y music box rearrangement of Mariah Carey's Christmas album. KFC's Christmas roast chicken dinners have become a hallowed and wildly popular tradition, and you can order a "Christmas cake" from any convenience store or bakery. I'm still not clear how a Christmas cake differs from a regular cake, but seeing as I'm spending my first Christmas (and my birthday, Christmas Eve) in Japan in just two weeks' time, I'll be sure to let you know. I'll be doing it the proper way - spending the day in bed with a lover, moaning and groaning in pain from too much cake.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

scrambled think-eggs

I'm almost satisfied with my appearance. Almost. I still have gross shitty crooked teeth and a flopping gut, stretch marks and shit that jiggles some places, but I can almost overlook those. I was trying on boots at Uniqlo Shoes yesterday and I couldn't get most of the zippers halfway over my calves, but instead of getting discouraged I just felt like a major badass because my legs are so muscular. Seriously, if I flex and slap my thighs, nothing jiggles. There is space between them. It is a victorious state to be in.

I talk about weight loss and running and blah blah food food food exercise a lot, but it's only so I can catch up. I feel like people who have always been thin and in shape simply don't have to worry about it. For those of us late to the party aka former fat people, it's truly a gigantic lifestyle change that warrants laughter, tears, and a shifting identity. Some days you get bitter, tantrum-like notions of nostalgia and overromanticization of a less healthy past. It's just like culture shock and fatigue when you extend your stay in a given new locale beyond a month or two weeks' vacation honeymoon. Just like I am sometimes convinced I actually miss pasty, obese, ignorant retards aka the cream of the American crop, some days I feel like the world is a dog and I am a chew toy, and why the FUCK don't I get to eat plates of rice with lunch like my 45 kg colleagues?


This morning I weighed myself and I was heavier than yesterday despite eating less yesterday than I did the day before. But I'm going to quit using scales as the tell-all. A scale is after all just a measuring device that does not take into account that the miso soup was oversalted at Yayoiken. A scale can't tell that I'm getting JACKED (okay, not actually) because I want my shoulders and back to look awesome in my backless, mostly frontless New Year's Eve dress. The scale also does not take into account that I've come a fairly long way, beating nicotine addiction and a very strong conviction that I will never be able to run for longer than five minutes.

I know what I'm doing works and that if I keep it up, I'll be healthy, progressively able to lift heavier things, and my endurance and heart will be optimally functional. Maybe I'll even live to be old and hot. I hope when I'm fifty I can have an affair with a hot nineteen-year-old. Now that's a goal worth working towards.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sushi


I prefer Westernized (some would call them "abortions") versions of sushi to the traditional Japanesey kind. Give me a Philadelphia roll - salmon and cream cheese - over sea urchin or raw squid any day. The more deep fried crap, dairy and mayonnaise, the better. A lot of people think sushi is health food, but it's really not when you break it down (Sashimi, the immaculate pure protein, is excepted from this rule). Maki (roll) or nigiri (sitting on top of rice) sushi is really just a little carb bomb that you soak in pure sodium, and since they're bite-sized it's plenty easy to eat them by the truckload. With that in mind, we should strive to make sushi as decadent and fattening as humanly possible.

At my old Vassar haunt, Sushi Village
in Poughkeepsie NY, they had this one memorable sushi roll that my then-boyfriend Mike really loved. He was a cross country runner so he could eat whatever the heck he wanted. This roll was called the "Poughkeepsie Roll" and if I recall correctly it consisted of salmon, jalapeno pepper, fried onion straws, BBQ sauce, and cheese, all slapped on top of a sizeable hunk of rice. The Poughkeepsie Roll was $12.00 or something and each piece (there were six pieces) took at least 2-3 bites to wolf down. Even highly experienced binge eaters such as myself and Mike could hardly handle its rich greasy goodness. That's what sushi should be all about.

Another pointless anecdote...I recall fondly speaking with a Korean exchange student who visited Japan about conveyor belt sushi. The Koreans weren't big on Japanese food because of its relative lack of zazz as compared to Korean cuisine; however teenage boys will be teenage boys, and they got a little competitive when they went to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Osaka. Apparently the winner ate 25 plates (2 pieces per plate - 50 pieces of sushi). That's the spirit, fellas.

What am I trying to say? Well, for one thing I've arranged to meet a friend in Karlsruhe during my Germany trip for the near-sole purpose of chowing down on beautiful Westernized inside-out sushi rolls, hopefully containing cream cheese. I am irrationally excited about it - people ask "why would you go to Germany to eat Japanese food?" - but honestly the only German food that holds any interest is spaetzle and currywurst. Speaking to the "bigger" picture, I'm quite excited to move back home. Ironically, the "Japanese" food is often better there.