Friday, September 27, 2013
The bottle says: "Cafe Deli", "Fire Flavored Latte Menu", "Sunny Orange Latte", "A marriage of flavor and quality espresso - a delectable latte you'll truly enjoy", which is an impressive amount of English to write without errors (here in Japan).
We had a big meeting and I had to stay late (until 4 a.m.) the day before and arrive early (8 a.m.) to hold my presentation (the first presentation of the day) to some important politicians that may or may not fund our research next year. After the whole meeting was over (19:00) there was an "after party" with nice food (that you had to pay for yourself at a fairly expensive price, but still), though!
|Blueberry grapefruit black vinegar drink|
On the English menu we got, there was something called "avacad". In Japanese, an "o" at the end of a word is often silent, but missing both the "o"s in avocado is impressive. They also had fairly creative spelling of some other words, like "chocorate".
|Tofu and raw egg salad|
|Sanma sashimi (it is now sanma season, as can be guessed by the Japanese name, 秋刀魚, which is written with "autumn katana fish".|
|Potato salad and ham, inside a shredded potato wrapping|
|Hatahata ("sailfin sandfish"?) with miso|
|Strawberries run through a mixer|
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I found and bought a deck of "I love Hokkaido" playing cards yesterday. They had Hokkaido dialect expressions printed on each card (and the clubs had a map of Hokkaido instead of the normal club mark). I showed these to some of my Hokkaido born friends, and they became very excited. They were fascinated by some words being dialectal (that they thought were "standard" Japanese), said that some expressions were not used by anyone they know, and laughed about some expressions that they use a lot.
I also got a bag full of hiragana playing card. A magician friend had just come back from Hakodate, where he apparently bought every deck of hiragana cards he found, just to give them to me. This is great, since I have not seen these in the shops in Sapporo lately, and I use up a lot of these decks when doing magic.
|The Japanese image of Scandinavia apparently includes a lot of owls.|
A few years ago when my Swedish friends were in Sapporo, we visited a place called Tapio. They were there a few weeks ago again, and yesterday we dropped by all three of us again. They wondered if the staff would recognize them from a few weeks ago. When we entered, one guy came up and said very loudly: "Ah! Jonas!"... I know him from another place he used to work, though I did not know that he know works at Tapio. He did however also remember the other two.
|It is necessary to enjoy oneself over a delicious cake and delicious sake. And, happiness must visit you.|
I bought a pack of beer chocolate. They smelled a lot of beer, and tasted a bit like beer. Not disgusting, but very good. I have tried the beer caramels before, and they taste like I imagine eating yeast would taste like.
Yesterday I went out for Jingisu kan with my Swedish friends. This is a Sapporo specialty, which is basically barbecued lamb in garlic sauce. You grill your meat and vegetables yourself on an iron plate shaped vaguely like a Mongolian helmet (hence the name, which is Japanese for Genghis Khan).
|Frying lamb and vegetables on a helmet shaped thing|
He was impressed that we could speak Japanese and asked why. I said that I live in Japan, and he was even more surprised that we came to this restaurant (mainly catering to tourists) despite living in Sapporo.
|Not so sour sauer kraut|
|They kindly provide you with a stylish apron to wear when slobbing around with the food.|
|They also provide you with plastic bags to put any clothes you do not want to smell of barbecued lamb in.|
Our student cafeteria had a week where they served "toruko raisu", which is how you would write "Turkish rice" in Japanese. This is a dish from Nagasaki in southern Japan, which consists of Japanese pork "katsu" (from "cutlet", meaning deep fried meat), Japanese curry on rice, and spaghetti, all served on one plate.
This is an interesting dish in that it is called "Turkish rice" but has nothing to do with Turkey. There is no Turkish food similar to this, as far as I have been able to check with my Turkish friends.
The naming actually ended up as Turkish rice by chance. It started out as "tricolor rice" or something along those lines, indicating three colors (three types of food) like in for instance the French flag. This is "torikoro" in Japanese, and since any word that is more than two or three syllables tends to be truncated to just the head of the word in Japanese, this was cut down to "toriko". This sounds like "toruko" (the "u" is mostly silent, and the "i" can be silent too), which also is an actual foreign word used in Japan, so people ended up thinking this is what the dish is called. At least according to my Japanese sources, this is how the very much not Turkish dish ended up being called Turkish rice in Japan.
|A rainy but not very hilly part near Sweden Hills|
Outside Sapporo there is a place called Sweden Hills, because you are only allowed to put up Swedish looking houses there. I went there with two Swedish friends and we got a lot of Japanese food from our Japanese friends who live there. We also got to see some Swedish culture.
|There is a huge "Dalahäst", made in Sweden and shipped to Japan, in a park on top of the Sweden Hills hill.|
|Swedish looking houses in Japan|
|They had had a "surströmming" party the day before we got there (so we were lucky in avoiding that!).|
|The Sweden Hills cultural center has a small library of Swedish books, including the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.|
|The library also includes exciting books like the 1976 edition of the Swedish labor laws...|
|Japanese "nabe", very nice food|
|Bread and stuff to put on bread|
We also went to another place looking for cake, but there are few places with cake that are open late enough in the evening. We ended up in a place with pancakes, which we figured was close enough.They turned out to serve huge pancakes with mountains of whipped cream, which was a little bit more to eat than we needed, but it was good.
|Meat and potatoes|
|Lamb and chicken skewers, with onions and rice|