Candy monster

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 0 comments

Candy monster
Originally uploaded by WasabiKuwabara
Wasabi is learning how to fetch! For some reason she's obsessed with the individually wrapped candies I bought yesterday, and she'll run after them and then (usually) bring them back after I toss them. Sometimes she gets distracted, but she's doing pretty well overall. Smart girl! I have to say, it's the best ¥105 I've spent on cat toys yet. Who needs toy mice, stuffed pink pig, feathers on a string, or even gum when you've got hard candy to run after??
We also went outside to the park for just a few minutes yesterday, but that didn't go over so well. Too scary! I might try her again today, since we're hoping to get her at least accustomed to traveling in her carrier: we want to take her around Kamakura (Giant Buddha!) if she gets better about the whole leaving-the-house experience.
Unfortunately not too much else is going on right now. Yuki has a big exam coming up at work, so travel is out of the question for the next couple of months. Not that it stops me from looking up trips to Okinawa, Italy, or Hawaii and then pointing out how (relatively) cheap it is to go this fall, of course. We're going to do a weekend get-away to celebrate our 2 year anniversary, but that too will have to be after his exam is finished. Maybe Kyoto again?


Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | 0 comments

Beautiful girl
Originally uploaded by WasabiKuwabara
The trip to the vet went ok last night. At least, Wasabi tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia, yea! She didn't like being jabbed in the leg for her bloodwork or again for her vaccine, and I'm told that she REALLY didn't like having her temperature taken rectally. Poor girl!
Also, the vet told Yuki that Wasabi has gone from 720 grams last Tuesday to 840 grams as of last night (Monday). Whoops. Image a graph of her weight proceeding along in a nice linear fashion, and then suddenly it starts to move exponentially. What can I say, the little porker likes to eat, and I'm not one to deny her!
In all seriousness though, we really don't want an overweight kitten or a fat cat, so we've cut out the extra spoons of canned food that we've been mixing in with her formula and dry food. I was hoping that she wouldn't notice the difference, but Miss Piggy has already gone through 2 bowls of her new 'diet' mix and has been nosing at the bowl for more! So much for a free feeder!!
In other news, since I'm realizing that this is becoming more a kitten blog than anything else, we're getting excited about our upcoming Mt. Fuji climb. Or, at least, I'm getting excited. I'm trying to convince Yuki to wear a Japanese flag banana and an akafun (a red fundoshi...type in 'fundoshi' under google images if you want a good laugh) but so far he doesn't seem terribly keen on the idea, wonder why not! =)
Whatever the case, we'll be starting the climb on August 13th, resting for a few hours in a lodge near the top, and then finishing the hike in time to see the sunrise on the 14th. That is, assuming: 1. we make it to the top---possible low oxygen (and incredibly long lines due to tour groups composed of slow-shuffling senior citizens) being potentially troublesome factors and 2. that it's not raining or cloudy that morning.
Being a gainjin (foreigner), I myself have absolutely no compunctions about cutting out of 'line' if needs be and going up the mountain off-trail in order to make the top before sunrise, but I don't want to embarrass my fellow hikers by doing so, either. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when the time comes! Oh, and if you want a postcard mailed from the top, let me know now, since I plan on pre-addressing and stamping them instead of waiting in yet another horrendous line at the post office up there!

Sadistic Japanese tutors and more

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2009 | 0 comments

I'm pretty sure that one of my tutors is a bit sadistic. Every lesson goes something like this:
Him: 'Blah blah blah blah blah blah...blah blah desuka?'
Me: 'Chotto yukkuri hanashite kudasai!' (Please speak a little more slowly).
Him: 'Blah blah blah blah blah blah...blah blah desuka?' (Big evil smile ensues).
I feel like Adam Sandler when he's trying to learn Spanish in Billy Madison...only I don't get the mansion and lots of beer!
Some part of me must like the torture though, since he's the only tutor whose lessons I bother studying for. Maybe it's akin to the mental equivalent of a cattle prod?
Whatever the case, I think that I'm finally getting used to him. After the first lesson, I was ready to quit and actually had a nightmare about him the night before my second lesson! Yeah, I know, I worry way too much.
I am, however, having a bit of fun myself trying to stump him with English words. Today, it was 'trans fats'. I have no idea how to say that in Japanese?? He didn't know, either...maybe because nobody seems to really care about them....margarine and shortening are in practically everything here! I happened to glance at the kaki fry (battered and deep-fried oysters) label a while back, and sure enough, shortening was listed. Who knew?? Like they're not toxic enough from being deep-fried. Delicious, though. If you're got to die of a heart attack, that would be the way to do it. Of course, my mom pointed out how 'kaki' sounds a lot like 'kaka', and she doesn't want to try anything bringing about that mental image!
Anyway. After the lesson, rushed home to find....Wasabi and the recycling bag. Or, should I say, Wasabi and the contents of the recycling bag spread all over the floor. I'm just thankful it wasn't the garbage! Right now she's purring and sucking her thumb after such a hard day's work. Tonight is vaccine time at the vet's, so let's hope it goes smoothly!

Beach weekend in Chiba, July 19th and 20th

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2009 | 0 comments

I've been meaning to post these pics for about a week, but have been too busy playing with Wasabi until now. She's currently sleeping on the mouse, so it's still a bit hard to post!
Last weekend, we went to Chiba to meet up with a bunch of our returnee friends for the second annual Umi no Hi (Ocean Day) get-together. We stayed at the same beach house as last year, since it's in a great location---right next to a ramen shop owned by the same people who run the beach house, and it's only about a block from the ocean.
Unfortunately, the wind was quite strong this time, so we didn't get much swimming in, but we still managed a bbq in the evening, and then a bonfire on the beach later that night after the wind died down. We also of course had a watermelon smashing contest/event, and Yuki pulverized it in the end. Much fun for all!

Fighting the wind

And they hadn't even started drinking yet...


Roasted sweet potato

Watermelon smashing

Watermelon killer



Scenes from my morning walk

Kakigori (shaved ice)

Ton Katsu, A 2-Ton Ketsu*

Posted on Saturday, July 25, 2009 | 0 comments

So, after running a bunch of errands this morning, we had a very late lunch at a ton katsu (pork cutlet) restaurant. Now, I don't usually go for deep-fried pork, but even I have to admit that this place is pretty good. I still order the soba (Japanese noodles) and some shrimp and vegetable tempura, though, and just have a bite of Yuki's massive ^[/8
5 (Ok, that was from Wasabi. Interpret as you wish).
filet-----------[[[[[[[ (bad kitty, bad!).
After lunch, we headed home and gave the little one some new toys. She of course promptly rejected the catnip, the ball with the bell inside, and the f 786+ (seriously, she's doing all of this typing on her own). As I was saying...and the feather on a stick in favor of...the cardboard packaging for said toys. Like getting your kid an expensive gift at Christmas, and he ends up making a fort out of the box. Beautiful. I'm just going to give her garbage to play with from now on!

*'Ketsu' is a ruder version of word 'backside' in Japanese, if you get my drift

Lunch at Katsukura

Ton Katsu

The so-called 'Ladies' set'...because it's as big as most Japanese ladies??

Chewing on cardboard from the cat toy packaging


Wasabi chewing on a box of....wasabi

Helping Type


Posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 | 0 comments

Here's the gyoza that I made...not the best pictures, but then again, you really don't want to see my miniscule 'kitchen', either.
I'd list the gyoza recipe, but I don't really use one. Here's what I basically do; it's a little different every time:
Add a little goma abura (sesame oil) to a skillet and cook a package of ground chicken over the lowest heat possible. While it's cooking, peel and dice 2 carrots; add to the chicken. Dice up one package of shimeji mushrooms and one package (about 3) of eringi mushrooms and throw these into the skillet, too. Add fresh ground ginger (I buy it in a tube here) and also fresh minced/ground garlic (also in a tube). Add a lot, that's all I can say. And add more garlic than ginger. Mix everything up and continue cooking. Stir in light soy sauce, maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons? And then toss in some chopped baby leeks (にら). I add about a fourth cup or so. I usually chop them ahead of time and keep them frozen, then just throw them straight from the freezer into whatever I'm cooking.
Simmer until almost all the juices are gone. I usually turn up the heat at the end, since I get tired of waiting.
Let cool a little bit, then put heaping teaspoonfuls onto gyoza wrappers. Lightly moisten the diameter of the wrappers, then fold over and pinch together to seal. Place on a cookie sheet that's been sprayed with cooking spray, then spray the tops of the gyoza, too. Bake at about 350 F (170 C) for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy.
Serve with dipping sauce: About 2 Tb. light soy sauce, 1 Tb rice vinegar, and spicy sesame oil to taste. Enjoy!

Gyoza preparation

The finished products

Moyashi Kitty: Wasabi inspecting part of the salad I made for lunch.

ABC Gum!

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 | 0 comments

This morning has been really busy so far! We've managed to climb up the storage shelves now and had some fun playing by the peanut butter. After that, we discovered Mommy's ABC gum in the wastebasket. Yummy! And you thought only dogs and small children would chew that stuff!
Luckily, today was garbage day so I'd emptied the wastebasket this morning.
Now it's time to make some homemade gyoza for dinner, at least a certain little someone doesn't seem to have much interest in people food so far (besides the gum, that is).

The joys of climbing




Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2009 | 0 comments

We finally got a kitten! I've really missed having a cat the past 2 years that I've been here, and Yuki finally convinced the landlady to let us get one.
We'd gone to a pet fair last weekend, but there weren't any cats that I really fell in love with, besides a little black and white baby boy, and we'd told ourselves no boys, since in my experience females in general tend to be more cuddly (and a lot less territorial). We decided that we were going to get a little orange and white female, though, since she seemed sweet enough. After telling her owners that we wanted her, Yuki filled out a survey form, asking me what my 'ideal cat' was as he was writing. Without thinking, I said 'black and white female, loves people'.
Well, it turns out that the 'survey' was actually the application form, so we never officially applied for the other cat! But, to everyone's good fortune, lots of other people wanted her, and on Monday night, we received an email from the coordinator, telling us about a baby kitty who'd been raised at a local animal hospital. As soon as we saw the picture, we knew we wanted her, and we went and picked her up Tuesday night, the 21st of July.
Her story: Wasabi was found with her umbilical cord still attached, poor baby! I guess that there was a sibling with her, but that one didn't make it, sadly. So our little girl has been raised in a clinic basically since birth. Seeing as she's had no mommy to nurse off of and no other kitties around, she's taken to sucking on her own front forepaw before nodding off to sleep. She really loves being around people, but we're still working on the 'No biting' part!

The animal hospital where we got her. One of the people who found her had actually paid for her medicine and care for the entire 2 months. Such a kind lady!!

Bonding with my new baby

I was ready to sacrifice Fuku-chan to her, but Yuki said No way!

The first time she saw herself in the mirror...
lots of hissing and raised fur. It was hilarious!

Cat in a bag

Rolling on the couch

Snuggling with her daddy. She's already got him wrapped around her little...paw??

Our landlady's son snapped this one when I took her over to visit with them. I had no idea that iPhones could take such good pictures!