Tales From A Broad

My year of teaching English in Japan is up. Next mission: backpack Asia before going home to the U.S.A. Currently HOME!

My Suga Momma

Monday, November 28

This is Watanabe-san, my suga momma. I say that because she gives me whatever I want. I don't actually ask for anything, but she pampers me more than anyone else. She reminds me of my grandma: so little and cute, i just wanna put her in my purse. She works in the high school office and fixes everything for me. When I talked about joining Aikido, she came back with all the papers. When I said my dresser was broken, she got me a new one with the school's money (no, I wouldn't take from lil' old ladies!). For no reason at all, she randomly brings me vegetables from her garden and loaves of her home cooked bread. It's no wonder that when I told her I love to cook, she offered to take me with her to her cooking class. So, off we went to class a few Saturdays ago. I learned how to make, curry doughnuts (tastes a lot better than it sounds), apple cake, do-it-yourself sushi, spicy bread and miso soup, among other things. After a few hours, we set the table with all the food and grubbed on one of the best meals I've had here. I don't know when I'm leaving Japan, but I know that when I do, I'll miss her.

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Sunday, November 27

Kat, Hannah, Louise, Christine, Sarah and I went to the sumo wrestling tournament in Fukouka 2 weekends ago. We saw, as Louise put it, "fullygrown (well overgrown) men bitchfight. There was face-slapping, hair pulling and underpant grappling." Outside of the arena were 2 wrestlers walking around, so Louise and I got to take a pic with them. Security was at an all-time low and I was able to sneak my way on the first floor where they were warming up and walking out on the ring. There are a couple of wrestlers that are Bulgarian and Mangolian, so not only are they huge around, but their tall too. One of the best things about this country is how true they are to tradition. Sumo wrestling hasn't changed a whole lot since it's inception hundreds of years ago. Before they go on, they have to throw salt on the stage to purify it and cleanse their mouths with water from a community barrel. Supposedly, part of their rigorous training includes drinking beer and sleeping immediately after meals (too bad I already do that without any claim to fame for my sumo skills). Like famous American athletes and football players, the pro sumo wrestlers date supermodels and are invited to luxurious, high profile parties. The average fight is over in less than a minute, but the real draw is when one of them gets thrown out of the ring onto the audience. Mad props to the poor guy who got a facefull of sumo crotch.

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Lost Seouls in Korea

Wednesday, November 16

**I've uploaded all my pics from Korea on my website. Click the link on the left to see!**

The Wed. before last was the day that marked the beginning of my adentures in Korea. If you read nothing else, at least know this: Korea is iiiincredible and if you're considering it at all--GO! There's an overnight ferry from Yamaguchi that takes you straight into the port of Pusan, Korea. Stirlo, Tom Smith and I boarded the boat around evening time and spent the whole night talking on deck about almost everything--relationships, world travels, money (or the lack thereof). This was the first chance I got to spend time with Tom Smith and I realized how quality he is. Middway through, we found ourselves in the karaoke bar chatting up some Japanese sailors. They were typical. Red-cheeked fromt he shoucho (Japanaese hard liquor...BRUTAL), throwing their broken English in the air and singing Queen with us. We were faded by midnight and crashed in the community tatami mat room, sardine style (after, of course, Tom Smith and I were spent talking about Tony Blair and Bush). By the time we woke up, we were in the Korean port.

Korea is one spicy little country. The people push you in the streets, drivers honk ther horns and the food hurts so good you sweat your lips off. The best meal I had their was a BBQ for breakfast. Each table has a mini BBQ where we grilled our own meat and then added veggie sides to eat it with. It was a tasty surgery of dipping the beef (cut with scissors, not a knife) into chili sauce, wrapping it in lettuce leaves and topping it with whole garlic cloves, seasoned herbs and another sour sauce. Aye Dios mio.

While we were waiting for Marko to get into the country, we hung out at the squae in front of Pusan Tower where there were little old men playing chess on one side, and a whole film crew shooting some show on the other side. But, the center of th square was what caught my eye. The statue, people relaxing on the steps, the traditional building in the back and the birds flying at just the right time...it was fitting.

We visited the most beautiful Buddhist temple I've seen in Asia so far. It was hidden behind a curtain of bamboo plants taller than the temple itself The walls were decorated with bold emeralds, reds and golds. Before we could go inside, we had to pass through the "guards," four statues as tall as the temple itself. Every once a while, I'd see a few monks come out of their little rooms.

The best part of the trip was the time of year we went. Since the only seasons Florida has is hot or hot and humid, I was sooo happy to see the trees changing colors. Like a stupid tourist, I took a million pics of leaves on the ground and of the ones that are still surviving on the limbs. The streets were so picturesque with red and yellow leaves scattered about.

The next morning we took the bullet train to Seoul. The feeling in Seoul is very young, energetic and artsy. There a few universities around, so that probably explains why. We met the coolest Korean girl on our first night out. She just walked right up to us, told us her name was Ellie, and became our personal chaffeur for the night. She took us wherever we wanted; translated for us; introduced us to a few people...it was such a nice break from Japan where people tend to be meek and shy at first.

The first cultural thing we did was check out the palace. We caught them just in time for the changing of the guards.

Later we went to Namdaeumun Market because we heard it was infamous in Seoul. There were sooo many people crammed in narrow streets selling everything from boiled beetles to fake Reeboks. It was the epitome of Asian shopping. There were a handful of handicapped guys--legless--rolling themselves on wood boards with wheels and pushing a radio for tips. Korea is really cheap, especially compared to Japan, so we couldn't resist buying something useless. Marko topped them all though when he bought socks with a picture of Yonsama on them (the Brad Pitt of Korea for middle-aged women...he's a God over there).

My second favorite Korean meal was a pancake made out of batter, leeks, octopus, onions and God knows what else. There's this salty, soy-ish type sauce that we dipped it in and...uuuuuuh...too good to describe. Not only was the food nice, but one of the restaurant workers gave us a ride back into town.

Some of ther best lines from the trip (I wish I could remember more of them):
"If she wasn't good looking, she'd be burned at the stake as a witch." ~Marko
"We need hot, salty eggs." ~Tom Smith and I after a night on the piss.
"Let's enjoy (insert any mundane activity, like standing in line or brushing your teeth, here)." ~Tom Smith
"Freshen yur drink gov'na?!?" ~All 4 of us (inspired from the crazy Brit lady in the Simpsons)

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I need to catch up on a lot that has happened lately. Albeit a few bumps (some more major than others), it has been one hell of a ride. Before I fill ya in, I need to thank the Japanese for being so neurotically nice and helpful. In over 3 months, I've gotten my bike stolen (Kat, you'll be glad to know that the Wicked Witch of the West bike is no longer around), lost my cell phone and digital camara. Thanks for being such good samaritans b/c in the States, it would've been as good as gone.

This might be my favorite pic in Japan. Call me voyeuristic, but I had to snap a shot. ;0)

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Halloween: Part 2

Tuesday, November 1

I couldn't do Halloween justice without going to a proper Halloween party. Hannah, Justin and I decided to go as 7-11 workers because the stores are EVERYWHERE here (Japan has the most 7-11's in the world) and the people who work there are total characters. Hannah decided to be "Joy Full," Justin was "Max Valu" and I was "Suzie Wong (all names of stores, restaurants, clubs here in town)." With our powers combined, we were the "Seven-Errrevens from Smokuyama!"We took a mid-party break to the real 7-11 down the block. After Justin told the workers, "Sorry for being late to work!" in Japanese, they let us behind the counter to harass even more people. All I know is that I quite possible could have infected every oily soaked piece of tofu and fishy foods in those metal bins with my metal tongs.

Here are some of my fave costumes of the night: "Your mom goes to college."The sushinators.Those crazy ghetto BritsStephan Hawkins...oye, so wrong and hilariousA fat janitor breakdancing?Senorita Rosita, aye-yi-yi!

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