Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Oh my god! Let's all freak out because of a well-named flu! I came to work today to find half the school had been quarantined at home because of THE SWINE FLU. Part of me was thinking, Jesus, half these kids are probably having a great time at home right now. And part of me felt bad because they might die. Just kidding.

Speaking of death, today one of the teachers casually mentioned the following:

" You know science teacher? [pointing to her vacant desk]. Bad news. She die yesterday. Heart was bad." I was then handed a cheaply photocopied memo with a few sentences announcing her death. Granted, the woman was quite bitchy and not so popular, but it seemed a somewhat tragic homage to her life. I had only spoken to her once or twice (music and science teachers don't share classes) but I was kind of shocked.

But onto lighter matters, such as the food. It was really good, one of my favorites today: "nikujaga." Mention this word to pretty much any Japanese person and their face lights up with memories of standing next to their grandmother in the kitchen on a crisp autumn night, the rustle of maple leaves outside the window, and so on. It's simply a meat and potato stew. But one of those beautiful pillars of Japanese home cooking, a harmony of sweet and salty (mirin and soy sauce), tender potatoes in a rich pork gravy, carrots and peas providing a colorful backdrop...

And here we are:

[clockwise from rice]

- "seashore"(!) rice (iso gohan ご飯)
- meat and potato stew (niku jaga じゃが)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- boiled vegetables (yude yasai ゆで野菜)
- Japanese pear (nashi なし)

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