Japan in Reality
An irreverent look at life in Japan and the differences between the perception and the everyday reality of life as experienced by an American who has lived there for 20 years. What Japan is really like, how the Japanese really act, as well as a slightly outside perspective of events in the USA.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Political Discourse in 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
Coming of Age Day - 成人の日
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Got a Hankering!
You ever have an itch behind your eyes, a mental one, one that just drives you crazy. You know, like the nagging feeling you’ve left the gas on in the kitchen (Hah! Let’s see you NOT go check on that later!).
Well, the number of itches I’ve had qualify me for mental psoriasis. No flaking, just a flake…
I sure scratched the hell out of one of them this last week! My birthday was last weekend (Happy Birthday to Me!) and I had a hankering for spice cake, something I haven’t tasted in 25 years. Spice Cake. Feminine Parental Unit-Procreating Spice Cake! (I was gonna barbeque up some steaks, too, but my wife treated me to a fantastic Steak Dinner at a cool restaurant - see my next post)
My kids freaked out: "I don't want to eat spicy cake!"
"It's not spicy, just spiced." Blank looks...
"I'm adding cooking spices." Glassy eyes...
"There's cinnamon in it." Ah, they're alive after all!
Anyways, I broke out my Better Homes cookbook, and looked up the spice cake recipe. And then started modifying.
You see, when you’ve lived abroad as long as I have, your tastes change. I can’t eat American frosting at all, and have to reduce the sugar when baking. Still…
#Better Homes and Gardens’ spice cake recipe is pretty damn good. I increased each spice a tad, then changed 1/3 of the sugar from white to brown. “Mmmmm, good cracker!”
Frosting is another story, however. Butter and sugar frosting? Oh, my god, NO! Did some googling, but didn’t really like most of what I saw. 2 packs of cream cheese and 4 ½ cups of powdered sugar? I could hear my pancreas shutting down...
So I winged it.
One small package of cream cheese, plus a half-pint carton of whipping cream. Start whipping them, then slowly dribble in a little powdered sugar. Keep dipping fingers to taste (preferably not the same one twice!) until it reaches your desired level of sweetness.
It came out pretty good, I think. Take a look:
I'll leave the rest up to the imagination.So, do you have a hankering?(If you do, please torture me with it!)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Um, uh, wha..?
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
My Very Own Banana Republic
I've been watching CNN the last few days and shaking my head in disbelief. I am immensely disappointed by the games I see coming out of the fruitcakes on Capital Hill.
I know people have strong opinions vis a vis ObamaCare. My friend, R, a Libertarian who makes Rand Paul seem middle of the road, is concerned about the financial issues of big government and the 'imminent' collapse of the dollar. Another friend, S, is wholly on board for ObamaCare, her life having been saved when she discovered cancer during a period when her family had to choose between insurance or food on the table. Still another friend, E, represents the conservative right, with concerns about family values and religion. A different R had his own small used-car lot, and had concerns about how he and other small-business owners would pay for their employees' insurance.
I don't want to pay taxes. I don't want to have to pay the $1500 yearly auto safety check required here in Japan. But these are the law. Don't pay your taxes, you will be fined, possibly even imprisoned. Don't do the safety check, get your car towed. These are laws on the books, which I cannot simply choose to ignore.
Yet that is what is happening today. Here we have a law which has gone through both houses, and then been signed into law by the President. A small group of Republican lawmakers don't like ObamaCare, and have decided to hold all government programs hostage.
Today Boehner came out of the White House, saying that Obama won't negotiate on this issue.
I have one question: Why should he? This is not a bill under negotiation. This is not a proposed amendment or any other writ which requires all parties to consider carefully whether or not to proceed. It's already a law.
That doesn't mean concerned parties can't fight it. I have no objection to any group using any legal and ethical methods available to them to attempt change. Negotiate to pass amendments to the law, or even attempt to get the backing to repeal the law altogether. If I agree with you, I will stand with you. If I don't, I may stand opposite you. That is the beauty of the American system, the fact that anyone may strive toward a majority acceptance of their view which leads to real change.
But what John Boehner and his relatively small group is doing is a travesty.