Practicing Minimalism and conscious consumerism in Japan

Weekly Update

These last couple weeks have been a bit difficult for me.  Work has been so so and part of it is probably because things are really slowing down so I’m finding myself at my desk more often than not.  Finals are right around the corner and I only have one more week of classes and I’m done for the rest of the semester.  I can’t believe it!  Another school year is over!  Anyways, this week I thought I’d share a few happenings on my life in Japan.

Stuff & Things

First off, LOOK AT THESE CUTE PINS I GOT!

This year I’ve found myself suddenly dragged into the world of pins.  As the pin community on Instagram continues to grow, so does it’s audience.  I’ve already talked to a few friends who have also recently boarded the pin lover train and it’s an addicting place to be.  If you didn’t notice the pins above are actually Ditto versions of Clefairy and Gengar.  I love them so much and they are perfect for wearing on shirt collars.  You can find these pins at JustPeachy.com.

I also contacted an artist to draw up a design I want to get for a future tattoo.  This specific tattoo has been something I’ve been thinking about for almost two years and I’m so happy that the design has been finished and its exactly how I had envisioned it to be. It’s so amazing how you can collaborate with an artist and create exactly what you’ve been looking for.  This piece is perfect and  all I need to do is find a tattoo artist willing to transfer the design for me (found) and I’ll finally have the piece I’ve wanted for so long.  I don’t want to share the design on here since it’s top secret (plus I paid for it and I don’t want to stolen and copied) but it’s kinda nerdy and has a lot to do with Star Trek haha.


Food

A few ALTs and I met up at went to our favorite conveyor belt sushi place to stuff our faces.  I finally brought my camera with me on this excursion so I could take some photos.

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Simple udon
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Corn Mayo
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Tempura Shrimp Avocado and Egg
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Imitation crab tempura (yum!)

 Then on a separate weekend I met up with my friends and we had a lovely brunch / lunch at Afternoon Tea.  I’m so glad Hamamatsu has an Afternoon Tea branch because I absolutely love this place.  The menu is seasonal so it changes quite often and the food is always good.

This was the “spicy” chicken pesto pasta.  First off not spicy at all.  Secondly, I feel like Japan doesn’t really understand what pesto actually is…but either way it was still yummy.

These were a special promo seasonal cotton candy drink.  I have only seen cotton candy drinks like when I went to Seoul so I was excited to try it but at over 600 yen a drink I opted out.  Luckily a few of my friends ended up ordering them so I took some pictures.

Meal Prep

Sadly, I haven’t been doing as much meal prep as I should mostly because my Sunday’s have been so random lately.  Here are a few meals I’ve made recently that I’ve managed to take pictures of:

Protein pancakes ^

^ Panko crusted baked salmon over pesto pasta.

 I usually order boneless salmon from Coop Delivery but their salmon is so dry and not very good so I tried to use up all the salmon I had left in my freezer by trying to mask the dryness by baking them and using the panko.  It was alllriiight? I mean it was good for regular standards but the fish was so dry.  I don’t think I’ll order this fish again sadly and it would have tasted perfect if I had used fresh salmon. Either way I enjoyed experimenting.  I also sadly used up all the pesto I brought back with me from Trader Joes in America.  I’m now going to have to go back to making my own which is kinda a bummer but also a healthier option I suppose.

Omurice ^

Aaah! Good-ol Japanese omurice!  If you don’t know what omurice is, it’s basically fried ketchup rice with chicken, peas and carrots wrapped in a giant omelette and then smothered with ketchup on top.  It’s super easy to make with a bit of practice and probably one of the cheapest yet filling meals in my recipe book.   I used brown rice here…which was a “healthier” option but obviously not as good as if I were to use regular white rice.

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Japanese Culture & Language

So I was having a long discussion with my apartment building mates about the fact that we sometimes get really creepy people come by our place and ring our doorbells.  Recently we’ve had two people promoting their church, and  four NHK guys since August (maybe more but none of us were home to answer).

For those of you who don’t know about NHK, it’s Japan’s national broadcasting system.  They offer tv programming and  few other services.  If you have a tv and just plug it in, you’ll be able to watch NKH news and other NHK channels.  It’s technically  Japanese law to pay a specific fee to NHK if you own a tv, though recently you can watch their services on your smart phone and computer so there’s a bit of a grey area with this TV only loophole. Instead of sending you a bill, NHK representatives come to your door demanding you pay for their services regardless if you use them or not.  Here’s the kicker, since the law is not actually regulated and there is no official penalty for not paying, a lot of people refuse to pay, including me.

A lot of Japanese people refuse to pay as well.  Since I’ve moved to my new address I’ve had three separate times that a NHK representative has tried to get me to pay up.  First off…I don’t own a tv, and even if I did NHK SUCKS!  I wouldn’t want to watch their channels anyways.  It’s all propaganda and bullshit news.  I could rant about this forever, but the main point I want to make is that obviously each news broadcaster has it’s own political agenda and bias but in NHK’s case, it’s forced nationwide.  That’s a bit too much of big brother for my taste.  That’s all I’ll say for now.

Anyways, since I don’t have a TV and wouldn’t watch NHK to begin with, I refuse to pay.  So I usually just ignore it when they ring my doorbell.  Actually, if anyone I’m not expecting rings my bell, I usually just leave it be (though sometimes I’ll creep to the peephole just to make sure it’s not a package).  I also can’t stand people promoting their religion (more info about that here on growing up Jewish) so to save myself the agony of having to tell them to leave me alone I just ignore it.  One of my building mates opened her door a few nights ago and got a rather nasty NHK representative.  He demanded her to pay even though she told the guy she had no tv.  He even asked her to hand over her phone and was super pushy about it.  She had to close the door on him because he wouldn’t leave! Not only that but he came at like….9:30 pm.  WHO COMES THAT LATE?  I’m seriously in my pajamas by then if not already sleeping.  She quickly sent us a text to warn us to not answer the door and I’m glad that she did because not one minute later my doorbell rang!

So to end this long long story, the next day began talking about how the heck would we tell these guys to leave us alone.  I also complained about this issue to another friend of mine and then the conversation shifted to how sometimes old men come over to us (gaijin) and try practice their English on us. Whether it’s the harassing NHK guy, or some creepy old person that decided to sit next to you on the empty bus, sometimes you just want to tell a person to go away! There’s nothing wrong with that. So I asked my boyfriend to help a girl out and he gave me some great expressions to use:

I actually can’t believe I never asked him this before!  Anyways, I hope this helps some people who also never really looked into this and luckily Mr. Boyfriend left a ton of options for us.  If you need help reading these in romaji I’ll write them for you here:

Leave Me Alone: Hottoite / Hitorinishite

Go Away: Dokkaike / Acchiite

Insisting Leave Me Alone: Kadakada kansho- shitekuruna

Insisting Go Away: usero / kiero


Excursions

February has been pretty low key.  I had a teachers volleyball tournament (our last of the year) two weekends ago and this past weekend I went to Nagoya to visit my boyfriend.   Bae has been studying English for the past three weeks in Nagoya as part of a training program for possibly going to Alaska in July.   Sadly I haven’t been able to see him and give him his Valentine (check out Valentines in Japan here if you’re confused) so I took the bullet train over to see him 🙂

We went to Nagoya’s Tokugawaen which is a beautiful Japanese garden with tons of waterfalls and lakes.  More on Tokugawa excursions here.

After our stroll through the garden we ate some delicious eel over rice and then we located the tattoo artist I had contacted and I got my second tattoo.

After the tattoo I hobbled around Nagoya and went to the Pokemon Center.  We had a yummy dinner and I bid my love farewell.