Saturday, October 22, 2011
This is a really good and somewhat healthy snack alternative. It's imo kenpi made from sweet potatoes. They're crunchy, sweet potato sticks frosted on the outside. Just potatoes and sugar. It's a great way to satisfy your sweetooth. I love them.
Friday, October 14, 2011
I just learned recently that October 13 in Japan is "Sweet Potato Day". Japanese love sweet potatoes and its a traditional autumn food. I especially love the simple "yakiimo" baked sweet potatoes. There is a small truck that drives around the neighborhood, like an ice-cream van, playing a melodious music, selling sweet potatoes baked over hot stones. There good, but kind of expensive. People often make them at home. I think the simple music and song is really beautiful and somehow kind of pious. . I remember when I first came to Japan, I heard that music in my office and I thought there was some kind of religious procession going on outside. The words are simple:
Yakiimo, ishi yakiimo, yakiimo
(Baked sweet potatoes, stone baked sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes)
That day, my school had a sweet potato picking event at Mori no Kuni at Mt. Daisen. All the students and parents came, including Rika and my wife. Most Japanese people go sweet potato picking at least once in their life, it's traditional. We picked the potatoes, baked them in burning leaves and had lunch. It was a good day. Every family also got to bring home a big bag of sweet potatoes. Yata!(great!)
Here's a video of the song, sorry, not mine
Last weekend we had yet another "un do kai" Sport's Day or Field Day at Hana's elementary school. That's two Sports Days in two weekends! The First one was the official Sport's Day by the school. But this second one was actually put on by the community, the school was just a host. That Monday was a National Holiday, Taiiku no Hi (Sport's Day) and commemorates the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Many schools hold athletic events on that day. The feeling of the two days was very different. For the first, official one, participation by students and attendance by parents was pretty much mandatory. There were so many people there and the schedule was busy. The second community one, however was much more relaxed. Attendance and participation were voluntary. Not as crowded and more laid back. Spectators were assigned to small pavilion-like tents by neighborhood. They also had lots of parents' participation events. Junko ran in a couple of races. I was the camera man. Participants could receive snacks and a bento lunch. There were also prizes for winning teams. It went from 9:00 in the morning till 3:00 in the afternoon, but we left at lunchtime after collecting our bentos. Good job girls.It was fun, but I've had enough Sport's Days to last me until next year. Oh no, My school's is next month!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Last Saturday was Hana's elementary school's un do kai event or Sports Day. They called it Field Day when I was in elementary school. Sport's Day is a big deal in Japan and probably the biggest event of the year for most public schools. It's a right of passage for students, but also a big deal for parents. I went to the school grounds at 7:00 in the morning and put down a family sized tarp with our name on it on the ground to reserve our spot. The event is all day long from 9:00 a.m. to nearly 4:00 p.m. All grades (1st-6th) are mixed together and put into 4 teams, red, yellow, blue, and green. Hana was on the green team. Each team is then divided into smaller groups of 5-6 students for races and such. First they had races, then various games. I liked the giant ball game, where each team had to move a giant bouncy ball from one end of the field to the other. They had fishing game race for younger students with giant cardboard fish. There were several relays and good old fashioned tug of war. Mixed throughout were songs and performances by different grades. Everyone has a picnic lunch with families at noon, before continuing in the afternoon. Mothers often go all out making lunch. Hana's grandparents came, too. It was all really fun, but personally, I felt, too long. I got really red and my eyes hurt from the sun. The whole family took a nap after coming back. What a big day.