Not Made In Japan

Once upon a time (in the late eighties), after studying Zoology with a minor in Japanese language, I (a Canadian sansei) decided to go to Japan to study marine biology, practice Japanese, and perhaps find myself, whatever that meant. Here are some scenes from that time.

food en

Breaking Fast

Breakfasts
Were processed,
Warm and white.

Soup, often corn,
Always a powder,
Poured into a plastic bowl
That looked lacquered.

Added water, 
Boiled in an aluminum kettle 
On the rusting gas table. 

In the shiny red toaster oven,
Toasted a single piece of white bread, 
Soft and square and thick,
With tiny holes
Like styrofoam,
Something to do with Japanese flour. 

On top
Sat a single piece of white processed cheese 
Plasticized
At its melting point. 

In rural Japan,
Real cheese 
Was not a real option.

Sitting at my low table
Quickly break my fast.

Gulp.
Bite.
Chew.
Swallow.
Repeat.

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Feeling Warm at Christmas

One Christmas...

My Mom sent me a turkey one Christmas. It was a frozen, smoked turkey. I invited a bunch of people to my place to eat it. I took out the middle sliding doors of my rooms, so I had a fair amount of space. The tricky thing was that the turkey was too big to fit in my microwave oven. Since it was smoked, I just had to figure out how to defrost it. I ended up using the electric heating element of my table for warming my feet, to warm the turkey. I sliced off bits as ...

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The New Digs

Before me, a foreign couple with a young son lived in the house. Evidently, they let the boy trash the place. The marine station replaced the straw mat flooring and the sliding doors, but left the holes in the plaster walls for me to fix. I tried a wire mesh and smooth plaster combination, but as the plaster hardened, the wire popped out. I tried another kind of plaster with fibres in it that worked well. I covered the flesh-toned walls with white paint and it looked clean and new. The dark wood beams gave it a rustic feel.

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Gokiburi (cockroach)

First evening in new digs...

 

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A Bloomin' Idiot

A beautiful dream...

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