Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

As you can see from the is snowing! It is "big" snow for this part of Japan. Last night my honey tried to get order pizza delivery but they said no. The problem here is that they don't have snow removal trucks or sand/salt trucks etc so it can be dangerous. When you walk down the street there is this strange "thump thump thump" noise as cars drive around with chains on their tires. I never saw chains on tires where I grew up in Canada....I'm not even sure you can use them. But here they are a must. And don't forget ....we have no central heat!!! The bathroom is freezing but it will be perfect for my hot hot bath tonight!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sticker Giveaway!

We are having a sticker giveaway....check out my other blog here for more information! Good between Sunday, January 18th and Wednesday, January 21st 2009 while supplies last!

A deal on dinner because of the strong yen!

I know everyone is aware of the economic problems going on... you can't help but notice as it is constantly talked about. Many people are complaining about the U.S. dollar being stronger than their currency but that is sooo not our problem. The yen is kicking the crap out of the dollar!! I normally wouldn't really care except our businesses are in U.S. dollars and I have to say I really REALLY hate it. But it was the darndest thing-we got a discount on our steak dinner because of the strong yen. The sign at this place says that because it costs less to import the meat, they are giving a deal on the meals!

I was happy for the discount but man I would pay full price in a heart beat if the yen would just go back to being weak!!

Edit-I should have mentioned that the black dish is sizzling hot and the steak cooks on the plate in front of you. It spits and sizzles so there is the protective paper around it to keep you from getting sprayed with fat! I don't eat it raw!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Eggnog was a hit!

I know what you are thinking....eggnog!! You might want to say something like...."hey lady....Christmas is over!". So the story goes like this.....Ever since I got here (10 years ago!) every December I have talked about eggnog and how much I missed it. I wished that my mom could send me eggnog (no....I can't make eggnog) but that was impossible.....until 2007. My mom discovered that the President's Choice company started packaging it in such a way that it didn't need to be refrigerated so she sent me a bottle in December 2007 to try. It was great! (if you have never tried any President's choice products....try them...they are fab!!). So, in November I asked my mom to ship me a case....12 -1 liter bottles via seamail. It took longer than normal so I only got it on Sunday. So all this week, I have been letting students (ok...only my favorite students) taste it. They LOVE it! The 2 girls above each got a bottle as a late Christmas present. These girls....what can I say....I LOVE them. They love trying new things and
after I gave them their bottles they were hugging them, caressing them, telling me the shape was cute and was thrilled that not only was there English on the bottle but French too! They were so cute that I just had to post this picture and story!

Monday, January 12, 2009

If you want the action of smoking without actually smoking...this is for you!

All I can say is.....only in Japan!!

In case you didn't know Japan is a country filled with smokers! And no wonder given that a pack of smokes is about $3.35!! The government is trying to get people to quit and I guess this company thought this little gadget could help ease the cravings....or at least help with the oral fix.

It looks like a cigarette but it isn't!
It has "smoke" and the end is filled with LED lights so it looks like it's lit!

It is filled with vitamins like vitamin c and supplements like CoQ10!

There are a few "flavors" and vitamin combinations to choose from. This is how you fill/refill your "cigarette".

And most importantly there are many stylish ones to choose from!

Oh and it costs about $130! Like I said....only in Japan!! ^__^

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My new blog!

I decided to start a new blog called Products From Japan With Love. Here is my first blog post from that explains why I started it.

Why I started this blog.
I decided to start another blog.....this one is purely for talking about products. On my other blog, I talk about living in Japan and it just doesn't feel right to start blogging about products so I thought I should start this one.

Besides showcasing our products, we will be putting up pictures of cute products that people can request. Sometimes, I see a product but I'm really not sure if it would sell so I usually don't buy it. But I figure if someone does like it after seeing the picture here, they can ask to have it ordered.

We also will sometimes be giving codes for discounts on our products. You would just put the code in the "message to seller" section and I will refund you whatever percentage or amount that I listed on the blog. (end of blog post)

So, I have started another blog! We have so many products on our etsy shop that I'm sure people miss things so I can share some of my favorite items or give discount codes for items we want to clear out etc. Also, sometimes there are cute stories surrounding a product and we don't always put that in the description so with this blog, I can share it all!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

UGH!!! Japanese Food Companies!

While living here I discovered that "fake sugar" (sorbitol, nutrasweet etc) were one of the main reasons for my heart palpitations. I started getting them when I was about 19 and I never knew what caused it but I finally made the connection here after I drank diet coke and my heart went racing an hour or so later. I stayed away for a few days and no heart palpitations. I tested myself by drinking some diet drink and bam...heart palpitations so...I stopped eating/drinking everything "diet" which was pretty easy in Japan since diet foods weren't/aren't as numerous as in the States. I stay away from all gum and diet drinks and I cook most of my own food since I stay away from gluten and dairy. So I thought I was safe....WRONG!!!!!!

Lately my heart has been palpitating again. I woke up last night with it beating wildly. Thankfully I learned a long time ago how to put it back into normal rhythm but I knew something was wrong. I thought about it. We have been eating a ton of kimchee lately. At the store we had checked it for gluten and soy sauce (all Japanese soy sauce has wheat in it and I learned how to read those words) and it was fine but this morning I handed him the container and asked him to read the ingredients aloud. So he read...blah, blah, blah, blah, sorbitol, blah....what!!!! There is sorbitol in the kimchee?!!! Apparently Japanese companies are just putting it in wherever they want to and it isn't being touted as diet food so I didn't even think to read for that. So I now have new things to check for on all packaging!!!! I'm sad too because that kimchee was soooo delicious!! Well....I'm off to the supermarket to find another brand!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Akemashitae omedetou gozaimasu!!! Happy New year everyone! I haven't posted in a while so this will be a long post!

I go back to work tomorrow after a 2 week break! Hmmm....not sure how I feel about that but I really can't complain since I like my job, my boss and my students!

On January 2nd, my in-laws came over to celebrate. New Year's holiday is the most important in Japan. Most have January 1st, 2nd and 3rd off-banks, post offices, schools etc are closed. So, because I can't cook traditional "osechi" (Japanese New Year's food), we had sushi delivered and bought "osechi" from the supermarket plus I made a few non Japanese appetizers. Traditionally in Japan, the last 3 days of December are spent cleaning the house (like spring cleaning) and cooking so that from the 1st -4th the women don't have to do much. This first picture has some kind of sweet chestnut dish (creamy looking little blobs in the upper left corner), black beans, dried fish and sea weed on the bottom and to the right is a dish of beer snacks like cheese, and dried squid.

This next picture shows both the sushi and the colorful plate behind it has "tamago yaki" (the yellow food) which is like a rolled slightly sweet scrambled egg. The pink and the white things are called "kamaboko" and are made from fish paste. The really cool thing about these pink and white ones is that they have pictures in the center of the food...see the pics below.

This one is supposed to be ume....plum blossoms on a branch. It is a little hard to see.

This one is a pine tree!!

This one is bamboo!!

This is a better picture of the can see we had a lot of sushi!!!

This is our tatami room...I was standing in the corner to take this isn't really good but you can get an idea. Of course, we sat on the floor to eat!

I totally meant to post this next story about the post office before the end of the year but didn't get a chance to so I will now.

My post office

I went to my little post office on December 30th for the last time in 2008. I took some pics because I thought they might be interesting. This is my little post office! Japan, the post office is also kind of like a can have a savings account, pay bills etc. So, in fact, this little post office only has 1 line for the actual mailing of packages....the other 3 are for banking! I make a lot of people wait most days!
At New Year's they are very nice (actually they are great all year!) because they put out stamps for people to make their own new year's post cards right at the post office. You can buy the postcards and then instead of writing a message, they can just stamp it on. The messages are pretty much the same...happy new year. This is not a time for writing notes. They decorate for the holiday as well....these are traditional Japanese New Year decorations made from bamboo.
This is a special box just for the "nengajyo" or Japanese postcards. If you put them in here by the 30th, they will delivered on January 1st. Yep....postal workers have to deliver these special postcards all over Japan on the 1st. I got some...I should take pics of them...will do that later.
Oh and we went to the supermarket on December was a zoo!!!! Everyone was shopping for "osechi" and gifts and sake! The supermarkets were also decorated for New year's!
I wish you all nothing but the best for 2009!!!


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