May 26, 2008

Food

Lots of people asked me what we eat here... so this post is dedicated for this issue!
First of all - I told you about Bentos - so here are some pictures.
This is the way it is sold in the supermarket:

Some close ups of the things we bought:




About a week ago, Emily, a girl from the Filippines that studies with me, invited Iris and me to a dinner with her friends. It was lots of fun - very nice guys from all over the east - Thailand, Singapore and obviously Japan. We had lots of fun, and the food was cool - on the table they had a grill, and they gave us meat, chicken and vegetables, and we roasted it by ourselves. Tasty and fun.
Here are a couple of pics:



Emily is the the second one in the right row (she is behind the girl with the white-flowery shirt).
There is only one Japanese in the photo - can you guess who it is? (BTW - it is hard even if you were there - most of them speak great Japanese even though it is not their native tongue).

One last food story (no pics this time) - we went to a nice place yesterday, and ordered some dishes that we didn't know. This is the best way to get familiar with new stuff...
The tables in this place have a warm plate in the middle of them, to fry things (a bit like in the previous place, but different). After a few minutes the waitress came with a few dishes and asked us if we want her to make the food. We said yes, obviously, because we had no idea how to make it... it was cool - first of all she fried some chopped vegetables, then did a circle out of the vegetables, and poured some kind of sauce in the middle. Then she mixed it all, flattened it, and put dry noodles on top. It was cool, we really enjoyed it (and it was tasty too...) but we didn't take photos... it didn't feel right. Next time we will do it by ourselves, and maybe then you will get to see it :)

That is all for now.
Yiftach.

May 21, 2008

As promised... The Revenge!

OK, first of all - one last pic from the cell phone. A nice guy from the juggling club - he is very thin and his body can do some strange things...



Now, a bit of updating - on last Saturday we went to a large mall, called "San-A Main Place" - "San-A" is a network of supermarkets, but in this mall it has, well, everything - we bought there A new mattress, pillows, new sandals for Iris, frying pan, kettle, a few other stuff, and a new camera! So all the next pics are in a much better quality from our cute new camera.

First of all - our new home:

You can see our new table behind Iris, and the old mattress standing folded by my side...


This is our laundry place - as you can see - there are video games there to pass the time while waiting (and waste some more money).



Obviously I tried playing... and lost miserably...



That is it for now...
next time - FOOD!!

May 20, 2008

As promised

Photos!!! (sorry that most are in a bad quality - phone camera...)

First of all - two pics of my room in the dormitories:






















Next - a few pics from the university. Yes, it is as beautiful as it seems.





Now, a few pics of Naha:
From the top of a tall building:


A Buddhist monk in the street:


And the market:



As promised - pics from the Hari (Dragon boat racing...):


And a video: (it is sideways... sorry)

video

That is it for now...
Be ready for a part two - where the quality gets better...

May 15, 2008

This is great!

Finally, Iris has arrived (on Tuesday) - that is also why I didn't post for a while - was very busy.
I went to the airport to meet her there, by the time we got home, we were quite hungry, so we went eating, and then right to bed... It is quite a long flight, and she had lots of stops, so she was beat...
Yesterday we had quite a day as well - went shopping for the house - all kinds of small things, and also bought a table (at last) and a microwave-oven (we will get them only tomorrow or something like that).
I guess tomorrow will be quite a day as well, since we are going to start handling all the visa things for Iris.
I am thinking of doing a bone-fire on LAG BAOMER, hope it will work out fine :)
That is it for now... I know my posts lately are much less exciting, but what can I do - I started to get used to life here, and most of the things are just routine and normal, but in Japanese (which is getting better... but still not great at all.) so I don't have much to write, sorry.

Yiftach

May 10, 2008

And a few more...

I will answer yet a few other questions I have been asked (the more you ask, the more details will you get)...

What kind of games were in the Hari (dragon boat racing)?
Not something unusual - shooting targets with air gun, throwing rings to poles, mini bowling... this kind of stuff... very usual.
The thing that surprised me most is the fact that there were LOTS of Americans there - Apperently, the soldiers are really into this Hari thing, and lots of them compete, and have teams of their on - so the number of Americans was almost as big as the Japanese...

What kind of food is there in Okinawa?
Well, most of the places to eat are Okinawan/Japanese food. It is easy to find some western places - Grill and steak houses. Obviously - Mc'Donalds is quite strong here too, KFC is available too. They also have their own network of Hamburgers - MOS Burger. It is not bad.
Besides that I saw an Italian place, and a french place, but it is quite rare. There are some Pizza places. About chinese food - I didnt see a Chinese restaurant (although I am sure I can find, I didn't really look for one), but some of the food that is served in Japanese places here is deeply influesed from Chinese cuisine... So it is close enough :)
And if we were talking about food - one of the things I was worried about is Chocolate - I thought that it would suck here! It doesn't, thank god! lol!
Though a good cup of cofee is not so easy to find...

Have fun!
Yiftach.

May 7, 2008

Dragons and stuff

Monday was a real cool day.
I went to a traditional dragon boat race called Hari.
These boats are quite long, containing lots of people that row, and a guy that gives them rythm with a small metal drum.
It was a cool site. I took some pictures with my cell phone. I promise to upload them once I will be able to. (it is not a great quality, though).
Besides that, it was very nice there - lots of booths of food and games (good prizes in those booths - Wii, PsP, PS3... but not much chance of winning... yes, I did try...).
Besides that there were two stages with all kinds of nice shows and dances and stuff. All in all, had a real great time.
After that I went to the Dojo and practiced for about 3 hours. It was self practice because it was a holiday (children's day, if you must know) so there was no practice. But it is OK to come and practice by yourself...
Beside thaat, I don't really have much to tell.
I want to do something for Independence day this evenning. Hope I will manage to.
YOM ATZMAUT SAMEAH everyone!!!

Yiftach.

May 4, 2008

The little things...

I was asked to write about the little things in life here, so here I am, doing as you please:

What do I eat?
Usually I eat at the University cafiteria, which is quite cheap... if not I either eat at some soba place, or buy a Bento.
Now, you must ask yourself, what are all these words???
Soba - some kind of noodles. There are basically three kinds of noodles - Ramen, Soba and Udon. Here in Okinawa they have Okinawa Soba, which is a bit different I think, and what they put in it is quite unique for Okinawa.
Bento - A lunch box - very popular in Japan - buying some food in a box. There are lots of kinds of Bentos - with Sushi, Tempura, Rice, and all kinds of things.
At special occasions I go to a nicer place and eat something a bit more expensive, like Sushi or Sashimi...

What do I do most of the day?
Well, usually I have a class at some point of the day. I go to the computer room, to get online. Obviously I go to Naha about four times a week, to practice at my Karate Dojo. I also go to a meeting of the juggling club about once a week (there are two meetings a week, but they tend to be on the same time as the Karate). Sometimes I go out with friends from the Karate.
At my spare time I usually just walk around, learning the enviroment, or studying - doing homework, reading the classes again, memorizing words, etc...

How is my Japanese?
Well, it is getting better. With the studies, and living here - I try to speak and listen as much as I can, it sure is getting better. I still don't speak fluently (or even close to that) but I usually understand what people are trying to say to me, and can express myself in a limited way. It is getting better though, I can deffinitly that my Japanese is much better than it was a month ago.

Who are my friends?
I think that at the moment my best connection is with the guys from the Karate. I have some friends from the classes, and from the juggling club, and ofcourse there is Junko, but at the moment I dont really have any close friends that I can just pick up the phone and call them when I am borred...

Hope that satisfied some of your curiosity...
If you have more questions, feel free to ask, I promise to try and answer.
Yiftach.

May 3, 2008

It has been a while

Sorry for not writing... I have been a bit busy.
On Thursday I had a day trip with my class (not the Japanese class, but the one of my Sensei). We went to Yambaru - in the northern side of Okinawa. About two hours drive. The trip was great - the view in the way is really beautiful, and the area itself is cool - a very thick forest. all green... very nice.
After the trip we went to a Nomikai - literaly, a drinking meeting. These meetings are held in Izakayas - a Japanese bar (if you really have to know it literaly means A store that has Sake...). These Nomikai thing is not like hanging out. First of all, our Sensei also came (and it is a normal thing to happen...), besides that the idea is that everybody orders whatever they want, and usually people take care that you won't have an enpty glass, and in the end the bill is split equally. It was real fun (and real long, too - about six hours I think) and it was a real good practice for my Japanese, and also an opportunity to make some new friends.
Then came Friday. I moved to a new place!! Since Iris is coming in a week and a half (YEY!!) and the dormitory room is not fit for two (and anyway it is male dorms...), I rented an apartment. It is quite small, but much nicer than what I remembered. The problem is, that it has nothing in it. And I do mean nothing. So far I bought a fridge and gas heater (KIRAIM) and a some kitchenware and stuff. But I still don't even have a table to eat on... I eat on the floor ):
If talking about floor - you should know - Japanese houses are floored with a wooden parket and with Tatami - straw mattresses. The Tatami in my apartments have just been replaced, so they are new and it is real nice, since they have a very nice odor.
Something problematic though - for some reason I have no hot water! The way it works here is with gas, and I don't know why, but it doesn't heat the water... They fixed it yesterday, but then when I came back from the Karate lesson, I had only cold water :( So now they are going to try and fix it again, which reminds me that I should go soon, to meet the house owner (which is quite nice by the way...).
So that is it for now, I believe I will post again soon, since it is holiday until Tuesday, and I don't really have a lot to do...
Yiftach