Thursday, December 30, 2010

Luggage MIA

I slept pretty well - I generally have zero jet lag coming to Japan - and spent a nice relaxing morning with Mama and Papa.  As always Mama started populating the table with food and snacks and several cups of tea and other drinks all at once - I have to be careful or I will gain back all 40 lbs in 10 days LOL.

It is hard to resist ALL my favorite foods at once heaped on the table in front of me - all carbs and other sorts of deliciousness in the land of NO Splenda, diet food, diet drinks or Weight Watchers...

A diet here is having only 2 heaping bowls of rice (or noodles or simply insert your favorite carb here) instead of 3 or 4 or 5...

I called JAL and they told me that one of my two suitcases has appeared and would be delivered to the house by late afternoon.  I had no idea which suitcase I would be getting so a little Price is Right fun to start my trip off right.  I had packed a laptop in each suitcase and one suitcase was packed with only gifts for family and friends here and the other with my clothes and necessities.  By the afternoon, I would either have gifts for everyone - and no clothes or underwear  or I would have clothes and underwear but no gifts.  Of the laptops, one is my work laptop with VPN and the other is my own personal (newer, faster, bigger) and has all my class materials on it - my class which I start teaching on January 4th!!

I spent the day taking a Japanese style bath and soaking until I looked like umeboshi and then Ake and her mother stopped by to say 'hello'.

After their visit, the three of us walked to the nearby grocery (Mama is determined to make Papa go for a walk - but she should really stop wasting her time as he has no interest LOL) and picked up yet more goodies to snack upon every minute of every day...

After stop one and three bags of groceries later; she sent Papa home with two of the bags.  He HATES to shop - especially with Mama, so he quickly took his leave and we hit grocery number two.  A few more items and a few bottles of nigori sake later, we headed for home as well.  Mama was happy, bubbly and full of energy.

My mother certainly doesn't act or look her 80 years and that made me feel pretty good.  They are also very excited to come visit in June - their last visit was for Mama's 77th birthday or (Kijyu 喜寿)  2011 will be her 80th birthday or (Sanju 傘寿) so it certainly will be a great time for her.

My luggage arrived shortly after we returned home and behind suitcase number 1 was all of the presents and my work laptop.  I gave Mama and Papa their gifts from Ed and I and they were very happily admonishing me that we shouldn't have bought any gifts.  I'll give Ake and Jun their gifts tomorrow and also send the Sugiyama gifts with her for her parents.

I watched tv, answered emails and then we had dinner, mapo tofu, potato korokke (croquette) and mentaiko (spicy codfish roe), Mama's nukamiso pickles, pickled apricots and a number of other dishes -  all my favorites!!

Spicy Mapo Tofu with Pork - YUM                    

Potato Korokke - oishii!!

Mentaiko (Spicy Codfish Roe)

I ended the night with a sparkling nigori sake (which is available in the US) - "Hajikeru" Nigori Sake by KizaKura - it was sweeter than most but delish!!  Oishii!!

So now that i's 2:20 AM JST (12:27 PM EST) I am off to sleep.  The wind is picking up and rain is forecast for New Year's Eve but with the heated floor, delicious Osechi Ryori* and hot sake through the day - it will be cozy, perfect!!!

Osechi Ryori is special New Year's food that is only available at New Year's.  Mama has ordered a special selection and she also makes a lot of the food (which many people no longer do because they don't know how or find it too time-consuming to do so) - all of which I love! Yummmmm!!!!

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