Sunday, May 30, 2010

I just made gluten free, low(er) carb bread!

So, under "my favorite blogs" on my blog, there is "Elana's Pantry". I put it there a while back because it looked cool but I never really checked it out until today and OMG....I wanted to make so many of the recipes but I figured I wouldn't have the ingredients on hand....after all I live in Japan where you basically can't find gluten free products. BUT I realized I had everything on hand to make her "gluten free simple bread" so I made it. You will have to forgive the pictures as we took them at night but you can at least see what it turned out like. It is very very good!! It is too small to make regular sandwiches with but I made mini open faced egg salad sandwiches and they were amazing! And so simple to make without a million hard to find ingredients. And because the main ingredient is almond flour it is pretty low in carbs! Oh yeah - don't use Bob's Red Mill almond flour as it is too coarse-she has links to the almond flour she recommends.
I can't wait to toast this and eat it with bacon and eggs in the morning!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Strange new Japanese flavors of American Favorites

"Baobab" is the latest flavor from Pepsi here in Japan. The taste is supposed to be similar to the baobab fruit from Africa which of course....most Japanese have never tasted. I'm sure this has everything to do with the world cup which will be starting soon. It is supposed to be "refreshing". Hubby and I bought a bottle so I could report to you all. The isn't cola...much lighter and a bit spicy....almost a bit gingery and not as sweet as cola. Does it taste like the baobab fruit? Not a clue as I have never tasted it but it was pretty good and I would drink it again.

"Ume" or pickled plums is one of the new flavors for bubblicious. Pickled plums are quite sour and so is this but while it isn't my favorite flavor of isn't bad!
We also bought "matcha" (powered green tea) "caramel" corn (no caramel on these but you get the idea ...sweet corn snacks) today and I think my hubby like the ume gum better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If you are hungry and in Hokkaido....

If you are hungry and in Hokkaido it looks like it might be possible to just pick asparagus from the road! This asparagus sure wanted to see the sun! I can't believe that no one else noticed it before it got this big!!

In other news, it has been getting quite warm which of course means summer (or hell, as I like to call it) is coming. People are already complaining about the temperature which today is supposed to hit 30 degrees Celsius. But I keep telling people to enjoy it as this is nothing compared to what is coming!! And of course before the sweltering temperatures come, "tsuyu" or rainy season has to start which should happen next month. This is the season that can cause a lot of problems like mold growing on leather etc. I best stop blogging about it before I get too depressed!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A very sad story.

My student told me about this the other day and I was shocked. Before I explain what happened I should explain about the health care system a bit. In Japan, everyone has health insurance either through your company or you pay yourself (if you are self employed or have a part time job etc). Even if it is through a company, it comes out of your pay. The amount you pay is tied to how much money you make. If you are sick and go to a doctor you pay only 30% of the doctor's fee out of pocket-the rest is covered by your health insurance. to the story.

A man tried to kill himself (don't know how) but was rescued. He was taken to a hospital and they hooked him up to machines and then stated that he was brain dead. In Japan, there is no "pulling the plug" even if every doctor agrees that the person is brain dead and will never wake up. Also, if you try to kill yourself but fail and need medical attention you have no health insurance. Even though you paid it your whole life you lose it at that point. So, this man is brain dead and hooked up to machines that cost at least $1,000 per day (I swear my student told me $10,000 a day but I have to check with her again but it almost makes little difference as both are beyond the ability of most people to pay). He has a wife and 2 small kids. They have no way to pay this for even 1 month never mind till he dies a "natural" death. At some point the man's mother decides she can't watch her son's family go through this and goes to the hospital and kills him with a kitchen knife. She, of course, is arrested. She told the judge that she knew this is what her son would have wanted-he never would have wanted his family to suffer like this. She will go to jail for 3 years. I'm sure the sentence is light given the circumstances but still.....I can't even imagine being in that situation. I was shocked to learn that there is no way to "pull the plug" and let the person die naturally. I was told that "the heart is still beating" so you can't "pull the plug" (of course the heart is beating because the machine is doing it!). Apparently the government might take a look at this and make some changes. I was told that there are many many brain dead people in Japan and many families with no option of letting them go.

And since I am writing about this I thought I would share another probably little known fact about Japan (unless I already wrote about this) and suicide. If your husband (or wife or under age child) kills themselves by jumping in front of a train, you have to pay for the clean up and pay the train company compensation for lost time etc. Sadly, jumping in front of trains is pretty common here. I can't imagine having to deal with losing my husband and then getting a bill!

I really hope they make a change in the law so that other families don't go through what the family went through.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We have opened a new store!

As you can see in the upper right corner of this blog, we have a new picture that will take you to our newest store. This, as the store name suggests, is all about Japanese craft supplies. This year we made some new business goals and one of them was to start this store. We are just starting to list products now but we have lots of plans for this store so stay tuned and check back often!

It's a trap to make you pay more! Unbelievable!

This must fall under the "only in Japan" category!!

So....I was watching baseball on TV the other day (ok....I was eating dinner while my honey was watching baseball on TV) on a local channel. I asked if it was going to be over soon. He said no. Just as he said that the channel that was showing the baseball game changed the program. I was confused and said that it must be over because wasn't on the channel any more. My honey laughed at me and then took the remote control and turned on our "sky perfect" TV (we have a dish) and after a few seconds found the station that was showing the game. I was very confused and asked what was going on. He said that the game is only shown for 3 hours on local TV so he had to switch. So I checked the channel on "sky perfect" and sure only started to air the game after the local TV stopped airing it. So....basically you can't watch a full game on any 1 station!!! And, if you don't pay for "sky perfect" or some other satellite TV company, you can never watch the end of a game! I can't even imagine that happening in North America! I mean....can you imagine during a football game...just as a touchdown is happening the TV station stops airing it and you have to fiddle around and change stations?!


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