Tuesday, November 6, 2007

jamaican dancing, birthdays, and the terrors of kerosene heat

last weekend there was an international festival in akita city - ALTs and other gaijin put together booths displaying cultural information from their home countries. I didn't participate per se, but did hang out at the Irish booth a bit. If I stay another year perhaps I'll do a New York or France booth next time around, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. There was no America booth (or Australia, Canada, or England for that matter) although the the head JET prefectural advisor did put together an Oklahoma booth. It was an interesting mish mash anyway, but Kaydene, the Jamaican ALT, clearly stole the show with her traditional dancing. There was also a group of dancing toddlers who jumped up and down to a song that included the lyrics "Itadakimasu!" (meaning - I humbly receive, said before eating) and "Gochisosama!" (meaning - It was a delicious feast, said after eating). supercute.

Birthdays seem to be in season. On Saturday I celebrated two at a hip and modern izekaya in akita city. The place was so cool with its flattering rosy lighting, I deemed it as passable for NYC. On Sunday, I celebrated another at a favorite okonomiyaki (cook your own cheese omelet, more or less) place in honjo.

the birthday girl, juls

me, juls, and cathy

maureen, mihoko, and edel

kristen, another birthday girl, and her new lucky cats

matthew and cathy making okonomiyaki...

Lately, as it's been getting colder, I've had to deal with how to keep my apartment warm. I am definitely missing the old NYC tenements with their ridiculous overheating, having to keep all the windows open in the dead of winter just to mediate the tropical temperatures. I wouldn't even mind the baseball bat-slamming, rat-scurrying sounds the pipes make! Here, I must make do with a kerosene space heater that I am terrified of. Well, more terrified of the carbon monoxide poisoning it will inevitably give me. I also keep the windows open here, to prevent the poison gas accumulating, but this of course erases any heating effects of the kerosene. To make matters worse, buildings here have no insulation. This I do not understand. It is clearly inefficient to have uninsulated homes, and the winters here in northern japan are notoriously frigid. Well, anyway I'm going to keep working on finding a good balance between heat and ventilation, and will hope for the best. In the meantime, here are some pics of pretty honjo.

on perhaps my last bike ride through the rice paddies of the season?

the landscape of honjo - mountains, trees, rice paddies, and pachinko parlors

mt. chokai, now snow-capped, as seen from my school balcony

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Yes my tenement radiator is slamming as we speak.