Weekend Update

Julie and I had another busy and eventful weekend.  On Friday we went to the city of Towada where we met up with other ALTs in the area for some all-you-can-eat barbecue.  Always good to reconnect in the presence of good food.

I returned to the local Go Club in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday where I improved my ability to cut and connect.  I was still defeated but my losses weren’t as staggering as the week before.

On Saturday evening we decided to try grilled fish for dinner.  Here is what we had to work with:

After marinating a fillet of salmon in soy sauce for about fifteen minutes, we fired up the natural gas and grilled the fish for a few minutes on each side.  The flavor was subtle but sweet.  It was our first time cooking fish and were delighted it turned out so well.

We also purchased a few more amenities for the apartment to help us with organization.  Most of our time Sunday evening was spent cleaning.

Almost forgot!  The people who work in the general office at my school have been supplying me with a steady stream of traditional Japanese food.  On Friday I was given natto.

Natto is essentially fermented soybean.  Its sticky texture and strong odor are initially off-putting.  However, I found the taste to be surprisingly pleasant.  The batch I sampled tasted like dark coffee.

Finally, to round out the weekend, I began reading a book by one of my favorite nature writers:  David Quammen.  In his collection of essays Natural Acts:  A Sidelong View of Science and Nature, Quammen contemplates such mysteries as the diversity of beetles, the boredom of the underachieving crow, and the psychoanalysis of the octopus.  Then there is his essay about bats:

“Practical bats have just hit the news again.  A recent report in American Heritage magazine reveals that the United States government, during World War II, had a plan to use Mexican free-tailed bats for firebombing Japan.

The idea was to refrigerate these bats into hibernation, see, fit each with a small payload of napalm and a little-bitty parachute, see, drop thousands like that from planes over Japanese cities, see, and hope for the best.  No I’m not making this up.  Your government.  The research cost $2 million…

The first field tests were held at a remote airport in California on May 15, 1943.  These were also, apparently, the last field tests.  Adams and his colleagues discovered that T. brasiliensis could not always be put into hibernation, nor brought out of it, as promptly as might be convenient.  And that the parachutes were a little too bitty.  And that the incendiary capsules were a little too large.  Groggy bats were tossed out of a plane.  Many broke their wings.  Some hit the ground without waking at all.  It was a waste of innocent animals.

…A few other bats, armed on the ground with live napalm united but spared the lethal jump, escaped from their handles.  These escapees flew off toward the nearest buildings-as indeed they were supposed to do, though preferably in Japan-which happened to be the airport hangars.  The hangars thereupon burned.  So did a general’s automobile.”

What a crazy story.

Look for the following posts in the days to come:

  • Introduction lessons (high school and junior high)
  • Vocabulary lesson number one
  • The return of “Great 100 Yen Store Purchases”
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One Response to “Weekend Update”

  1. ray Says:

    Natto has be stirred to taste better
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/natto-has-to-be-stirred-50-times/

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