Toy Making Class! おもちゃランドを作ろう

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So today at my crazy tiny elementary school, I was invited to attend ‘toy making class’ with my favourite 3年生 (third grade). I’ve done this once before a couple months ago when we make aki 秋 (autumn) themed toys out of the seasonal fair (think acorns and leaves), however today’s subject was rika 理解 (science class) and since the children were learning about じしゃく (magnets) their toys were themed accordingly.

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Here are a couple of the meccha kawaii games and toys they put together, the ones above were all filled with magnets which could be manipulated by other magnets on sticks (in this case the cat chases the giant mouse)

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This guy was a lil race track, the kid made a dozen of these little cars to choose from and gave them all crazy names like ロケットカー(rocket car), スズメバチカー (wasp car) and 宇宙カー (space car), unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of it but he later made a giant paper toilet so store them in XD

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The photo above features a paper fishing game, a couple of the girls made lil fishing rods out of hashi 箸 (chopsticks) with magnets tied at the end of a piece of string, the various sea fauna had paper-clips to attract them!

20130226-午後030217.jpgAt lunch time they set up a spare room with all the games and had a little carnival for the students in the other year levels to come play. Needless to say today was a good day!

かわいいいいいいいいいいいい!!!!

JET Program 2013-2014 Recontracting!

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As of today it’s all official, I have past the recontracting interview, received all the paperwork and I will be here in Kobe for at least another 16 month (though to be honest probably a lot longer)!!! Here in Kobe it’s not such a big deal to stay here a long time, all you gotta pretty much do is be good at your job and an integral part of the JET community.
It seems insane that almost a year has passed since I arrived here in Japan and I have come a long long way!

Also I’ma take this opportunity to apologize for the reduced postings this year, I have recently begun taking my 日本語 study a lot more seriously which has been chewing up a lot of the free time I was previously putting towards this blog, alongside that its winter, unless you guys are interested in my tales of playing ps3 n eating nabe not that much has been going on. That said hang tight, nihonomnom is in no way dead! A dream of spring is coming!

I leave you with a picture I drew whilst bored at my desk, takoichigodaifuku たこ苺大福 the smallfolk of the imaginary kingdom of Takotopia. A grand realm which exists only in the confines of my head XD

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Kyuushoku Will Be The Death Of Me (Literally)

So yesterday I sat down for kyuushoku 給食 (school lunch) at one of my shougakko 小学校 (elementary schools), only to be once again I was presented with the regular run of the mill horrors that they deem appropriate to feed to children.

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Milk, bread, fruit and a mystery dish. Luckily I was able to give away everything but the mystery soup to the students around me but admitted defeat and began to eat the stew.
As I was chewing I thought to myself, ‘huh this chicken sure has a strange taste and flavour’ several seconds later as my esophagus began to contract it dawned on me that maybe this wasn’t chicken…… I was in anaphylactic shock!

Stumbling to the teacher I pulled out my dictionary clumsily typing in the word for what I though I was eating, hotate 帆立 (scallops) which I am frightfully allergic to!

Not realizing my impending doom, ignorance sensei smiled and nodded as I asked if this was what I was eating.
Suddenly it dawned on me, if I didn’t get some adrenalin in me in the next 10 minutes I was probably going to die!!

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Running from the classroom I headed to the nurses office in what I remember as a blur and tried to find the words to ask her to call an ambulance.

Next thing I know paramedics have me on a stretcher and a mask rushing me to a nearby hospital! Luckily my kocho-sensei 校長先生 (school principal) came alongside me, but as she speaks no English it was really only for moral support.

Rushing through tragic 5 minutes later they had me in an emergency room, no one was communicating with me, the world was spinning around in a haze, I was in panic, lost in my own mind.
Suddenly there was a catheter in my arm pumping me full of god knows what, I remember the doctor injecting 5 or 6 additional solutions into it.
Then they pulled down my pants and shoved a needle in my thigh!

Adrenalin pumped through my veins, seconds passed, i came back from planet crazy, the world made sense again, I couldn’t think before as I wasn’t breathing! I managed to find the words to ask what had happened, the doctor told me I could have died and to lie down and relax.

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I closed my eyes and woke up some time later, I reached for my phone, there were dozens of messages from my worried family and friends! Whatever they had pumped me full of was making me hella drowsy, but the adrenalin was making it seem like my heart was running 100miles and hour, I was shaking, I couldn’t make sense of what had happened.

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I’m really lucky to have some really amazing friends here in Kobe as before I knew it 3 of my closest Kobpanions (I’m a master of puns) were there at my bedside, all having left work immediately and jumped in cabs when they heard I was in trouble!

So it seems my valentines present was the gift of life, living to see tomorrow sure beats the giri choco I got XD

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Here was a lil thank you card I drew them in gratitude for their support ❤
Barbie, Richy, Sandy lurvessssss yew!

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

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So let me set the scene for you, JTE taps me on the shoulder as I’m sitting at my desk today.

JTE: Daniel do you know the word sa-bi-shii???
Tako: (Reluctantly) ……yes
{hands me a cookie}
JTE: I make cookie for my son because I think he looks like you. No girl give him present.
Tako: errrrrrr thankyou.
JTE: Please next year get girlfriend or I make you more cookie, 頑張って!

(−_−;)FML

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Valentines day is not a pleasant holiday for singles anywhere in the world, but its particularity enduring with the Japanese brand of the holiday.

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To those uninitiated, in Japan it is only the women who give the gifts on this day however which fall into one of three categories:
Giri choco 義理チョコ (lit. obligatory chocolate).
Honmei choco 本命チョコ (chocolate given to a man out of genuine sentiment).
Tomo choco 友チョコ (chocolate given to a woman’s female friends).

Oh but don’t start thinking this is all a sexist one sides affair, oh no!
In the 80s department stores ‘created’ a new holiday one month after V day which they named ‘White Day’. The purpose of which was to give men who received gifts on Valentines the opportunity to reciprocate the sentiment(Read: sell more chocolate), which they must do at 3 times the amount they received!

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Meccha Cute Kyuushoku Roster めっちゃかわいい給食の時間割

When visiting my Shougakko 小学校(elementary schools) I am forced to consume whatever horrors the cafeteria ladies decide to dish up to the children that day as part of Kyuushoku 給食 (school lunch) a practice that anyone who knows me would be aware I detest with a passion.

One of my favorite sannensei 三年生 (third grade) classes has the cutest roaster for which details which student must do what job in serving lunch on any given day, I had to shares them ^_^

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Steve is a ‘Gay Man’

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Just had the most hilarious engrish conversation ever with one I my teachers!!

English Teacher 1: I think your friend Steve is a gay man.
Tako: Waaaaaaa! no no no you can’t say that!!!!!
English Teacher 1: But I think many people who like anime are also gaymans…….
Tako: Ohhhhhhhh you mean ‘gamer’, ‘gay man’ means 同性愛.
~English Teacher1 looks embarrassed~
English Teacher 2: This is a kind of trap!

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Mochi Diaries: Chapter 12 – Ichigo Daifuku苺大福

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I come bearing grand mochi news for you my loyal readers (minions).
My Mochi Diaries articles from the February issue onward will be now featured monthly in the Hyogo Times (A Hyogo AJET publication). Throughout the corse of this year I intend to continue publishing the Mochi Diaries simultaneously in both the Hyogo Times and here on Nihonomnom so fear not, it’s certainly not going anywhere.

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You can find the following article featured on the Hyogo Times website through the link below.
http://www.hyogoajet.net/hyogotimes/2013/02/04/new-feature-mochi-diaries-ichigo-daifuku苺大福/

Or if you would prefer to read it as part of the February 2013 issue of the Hyogo Times the PDF can be found here.
http://www.hyogoajet.net/hyogotimes/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/HT_feb13pdf.pdf

Come with us now on a journey through time and space……. and mochi!

I bid you welcome to Chapter 12 of ‘The Mochi Diaries – Ichigo Daifuku 苺大福’ and invite you to join me as I indulge in my infatuation with exploring the world of the sticky delicious Japanese sweets known as mochi!!! ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

But Daniel, you ask, what exactly are these sweet squishy balls of happiness????

Well, to tell it to you short and sweet, mochi (餅) are a popular type of Japanese rice cake that can be eaten as either a sweet or savoury dish.

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Myself being a gentleman who has made mochi following the traditional process, I can attest to the fact that this is by no means a task for the fainthearted, requiring the stamina and upper body strength to work up a mochi sized hunger in any man. I imagine many of you may have also been fortunate enough to participate in a mochitsukui no hi (持ち搗きの日; mochi pounding day) over the New Year’s period alongside members of your local community.

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So how is it all done? In a nutshell mochigome(餅米; boiled sticky rice) is placed into a concave stone container and beaten with a large wooden mallet until it forms a sticky white ball of dough. From here there are a plethora of paths our mochi can take. If heading down the traditional route, it will be moulded into balls, before receiving the ever common filing of anko (餡こ; sweet red bean paste).

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Anyhow, enough about the process and more about today’s review! Without further due I present to you ichigo daifuku(苺大福)!

Now I live near a large train station, the type that sports a large gourmet food hall in the depths of its basement. Every now and then I like to take a walk through these labyrinths lined with pricey bentos, simply to steal a peak at what fancy seasonal produce is on offer. However the stalls that I always find myself gawking at are the mochiya (餅屋), frequently receiving odd looks from the staff as I drool over the intricately crafted mochi through the glass. Recently I decided to indulge in a couple of these deliciously squishy 210円 a piece delicacies, and befitting the season, ichigo daifuku was the obvious choice!

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The origin of these particular sweets is a little hazy with dozens of stores across Japan claiming to have been the creators of this winter/spring time treat. All that can be agreed upon that they emerged on the market some time during the 1980s and become an instant hit. How could it not have been, blending all the deliciousness of fresh ripe strawberries and the soft sweet delicacy of mocha? It’s certainly a win in my books.

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Let’s take a step back, however, and deconstruct the ichigo daifuku. These days they come in a wide variety of flavours with popular varieties swapping out the anko surrounding the strawberry with chocolate or cream to appeal to the modern Japanese palate. The one I present to you today is the traditional koshian ichigo daifuku; a crisp strawberry at its centre, coated in a thick sweet layer of koshian (漉し餡; bean paste) and held together by an outer layer of fresh chewy mochi.

So how does it taste?? In a word AMAZING! The selling point on this mochi for me is definitely the superbness of its texture. Somehow the slight crunch of the strawberry perfectly complements the pillowy firmness of the surrounding mochi, while the anko in between forms the perfect creamy bridge between what one would think to be clashing textures.

It was love at first bite! 4.5/5

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 11 – Kagami Mochi 鏡餅

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 13 – Mitsuringo 蜜りんご (Honey Apple) Namayatsuhashi 生八つ橋

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