Friday’s Letters 04/10

2013-09-28 08.05.43_mr1380348378760_mh1380658481241Dear Dirndl, you were just 30 euros on Ebay but you have managed to make it through 2 Oktoberfests. It was 30 euros well spent.

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Dear Karstadt, you have a British theme going on right now and for that I salute you. I feel London so much now I have Walkers crisps in my belly.

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Dear cronut, you were delicious. But you made me feel sick when I ate two. [POST ON THIS TO COME!]

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Dear Jade Chinese restaurant, sometimes, on a Sunday, all girls want to do is eat your delicious cheap food and slowly get drunk on your wine. You provide this great service and that makes me happy.

LINKIES!

Vagenda blog has a great post about all those stupid lists telling 20 somethings what to do. I’m getting a little tired of them myself.

This guy is a racist, sexist idiot and he has a face that does not please my eyes. Be sure to check out the comments for IRL screenshots of the crap he sent people on OK Cupid.

As someone who likes to travel a lot, this article on how airlines decide prices was pretty interesting to me. I’m not sure how I can use this to get nice cheap deals though…

Blogger Amanda had some pretty crappy racism this week in South Korea. I’ve never experienced anything that bad in Japan, but I’m not sure what I’d do if that happened to me.

If you’re in Frankfurt tomorrow (Saturday), there’s a cool event happening at a shop opening. Check it out!

And to finish, my friend Ben made a lovely music video and I love it. I hope you love it too.

HELLO FROM BERLIN!

It was my birthday yesterday and so I wanted to go to Berlin for a long weekend. Prepare for lots of Berlin related posts in the next week!

Awesome things to do in Japan – EAT!


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When exploring the world, I think one of the things that gets people excited the most is food. Well, maybe that’s just me. Boyfriend and I are going to Turkey soon and the first thing we arranged was to go on a food tour in Istanbul. It’s very important to us!

But when I was in Japan, I had so many interesting and rare food opportunities, so I thought I’d share some of them with you. I spent ages on my computer searching for lots of photos I’d taken of food from Japan and it was so much fun reliving the memories. I guess it’s a good thing I am obsessed with taking photos of food!!

The photo above was taken in Kobe. I’m sure many of you know that Kobe is famous for it’s beef. Japanese people have a very different view on what makes good meat – they much prefer it if there are ribbons of fat going though as they say it makes the meat sweeter. They are really shocked when westerners go to Japan and cut off the fat on their steak, or turn down meat that has a high fat content.

Kobe beef has fat running through it and this makes it EXPENSIVE. I went to Kobe with my colleagues from the junior high school (like a school trip…but for teachers haha) and in the planned itinerary we went to this really expensive Kobe beef restaurant. The lunch alone was 7000yen – around 50 euros. I was ok with this price as I was doing well for money but there was a catch – I had a stinking cold and couldn’t taste a thing. Luckily, at the table where the man was preparing our food, there was a small mountain of wasabi mustard. I decided to take a mouthful of wasabi that opened up my nose, then crammed in a bit of the beef, which I could only taste for a few seconds before my nose closed up again. I was SO sad.

Luckily I lived near to Matsusaka which has very similar beef and so I could try something similar again, but I was just sad that I couldn’t taste my 7000yen lunch!!

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When I was studying in Nagoya, I didn’t make so many friends with the Japanese students at the uni. My closest friends were actually the Korean exchange students. They were all very warm and welcoming, they spoke very good Japanese so I didn’t miss out linguistically, and they were just very open and wonderful people. One of the closest friends I made there was a girl named “Arumu”. I’ve visited her in Seoul twice now and I am planning on going again next year.

When we were studying together, Arumu had a part time job in a Japanese restaurant. But this wasn’t just any restaurant; it was a Nagoyan speciality eel restaurant. I would go and visit her and she’d show me how to eat it (the meal shown above). First, you eat half of the food in the top left bowl. It’s basically rice with grilled eel and sauce. Then, once you’ve eaten half, you pour green tea from the tea pot into the rice and eel and eat the rest with a spoon. It’s SUPER yummy.

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Towards the end of my working life in Japan, the city invited me to speak at a formal event with some government officials. Basically, they wanted to know how to make Japan/my area more appealing to foreigners and I was chosen to speak about the kinds of problems we face on a day to day basis there. I have no idea why such high up government officials were interested in our little city but anyway. It was a huge deal.

After the event, there was a buffet for us all. It was the most lavish buffet I have ever seen; they really went to town. I hovered over the plate in the photo above. I knew that I didn’t like the things in the shells (sazae) because they get really bitter if you eat the tip and I never know how much to bite off to avoid hitting that point. So I stuck to the yellow meat to the left.

I put two or so pieces on my plate then turned away from the table to eat a bite of one. I came face to face with the minister for tourism. He asked me if I knew what it was that I was eating. I replied that it was pretty chewy so perhaps it was some kind of squid…but he replied saying that it was shark meat. I dropped the piece I had on my chopsticks and listened as he told me how Japanese fishermen often partake in cutting the fins off of sharks and then throwing them back in the water to die a slow death, and how we shouldn’t support that. I didn’t eat any more of the shark after that…(it wasn’t that tasty anyway).

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**For some reason the penis hot dog photo doesn’t show up…have this photo of me talking to tv cameras about penises.

You’d be forgiven if you thought there was something a little rude about that sausage. That’s because it’s a penis sausage. No, it doesn’t contain penis (to my knowledge) but I ate it at the fertility festival in a town near to where I studied in Japan. The festival started with a parade of massive wooden penises, where I (as one of the few white people in the crowd) was invited to kiss the penis for “good luck” (translation: great headlines – “FOREIGNER LOVES PENIS”.. yes I was on the news that day). Then we made our way around the festival stalls where they were selling phallic foods like bananas and sausages, as well as wooden penises of our own to take home.

Although it was way too crowded and I wouldn’t go again, it was certainly an experience I won’t forget!

Now a question for you! What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

 

Friday Links 9/27

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It’s been a very busy week. I don’t know where it went at all, but I don’t really have anything for Friday Letters this week. But I do have links!

One of my favourite blogs I’ve found recently is Incurably Curious, who wrote this amazing post on being awesomely single. I just find her writing style so witty. <3

Do you like ramen? Well here’s an infographic about every student’s favourite food.

Speaking of Japanese (ish) cuisine, here’s some amazing Japanese bars in London. I see this as more of a “to do” list for next time I’m there…

From Japanese sake to wine…a white wine cheat sheet! I know there are a few German wine festivals happening over here right now so maybe this could help some of my German-based buddies! I know I’m certainly not an expert with white wine.

Here’s an article that’s probably best read with a glass of something strong. I don’t even know who these people are but a woman in America has written a book about how to be a great wife and it’s full of things that will make any sane person very very angry. Here is an article with lots of extracts from the book.

Now, because I know you’re probably angry now – have some photos of possibly the cutest pet snake ever.

A Rainy Day in Wiesbaden

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Pretty much every weekend, it’s the same. We say we’ll go out and DO stuff, but when push comes to shove we sit on the sofa and watch programmes on the BBC iPlayer about the tricks supermarkets bring consumers the best food all year round. Yes. We are addicted to these kinds of show.

I’m not sure how we did it, but somehow we managed it. We managed to get out of the sofa and get out of Frankfurt for the day. And it was awesome.

Our destination was Wiesbaden – a town an hour or so out of Frankfurt which is mainly famous (to expats anyway) as being the place that has the American army base and the casino.

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What we found in Wiesbaden was a lovely clean town, with wide roads and lots of parks. Don’t get me wrong – I love Frankfurt. But at the end of the day, Frankfurt is a little smelly at times, and isn’t a place that is always pleasing to the eye. We noticed people are much nicer in Wiesbaden, too. I guess it’s just a more laid back place, and on Facebook when I mentioned all this people described it as boring, so I guess that’s why people are calm there!

Despite the rain, we decided to go with a walking tour which was really awesome. 3 hours for just 10 euros. It was a little bit tricky to get to the information centre by 11am but we made it just in time.

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At lunch we found that more places here have menus catered to English speakers and we found a lovely German pub to eat at (where I had the best Mexican food I’ve had in Germany so far!!)

Then there was a long walk to the funicular train! For those who have no idea what a funicular is, it’s a pair of trains that are attached to each other, with the one going down the hill pulling the one going up with its weight. In the case of Wiesbaden funicular, the downward-bound train was weighed down with water which pulled the upward-bound train up the hill. Here’s the wiki page for this type of travel so have a read if you are interested!

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Although it was slightly worrying being controlled by water and weight, it’s well worth a trip because there’s so much to see at the top. Most of all, I recommend the Russian church which was absolutely gorgeous inside. I don’t think I’ve seen a church like that anywhere else. Sadly, no photos were allowed inside, but just from the photo above, you can perhaps see how grand this building is.

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The whole of Wiesbaden seems to be a dog owners’ paradise as there were doggies EVERYWHERE. I was in my element saying hi to them all. Except for this awkward situation with one labrador who was getting a little too frisky with a little spaniel…is there rape in the dog world?! If there is, then this was a prime example!!

The shopping area was pretty good, too. There were quite a few shops that we don’t have in Frankfurt – and this window display encouraged me to “feel London”. I’m not sure if I should physically feel London…or maybe London is a feeling which I should have?

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In the next few weeks we have lots of travel plans – to both near and far away places – so this was a great start to our travel season.

Have you ever been to Wiesbaden? Do you have any tips for the area?

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