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Juicing the Orange

This was posted on Facebook, but it shall also get the blog treatment. We were all equally burnt out at work this morning…and some shenanigans ensued.

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Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year to the 3 or so people who occasionally look at this blog, though I have probably already talked to you.

Here is to new beginnings. 2010 was not a good year for me, minus the trip to Japan and some good moments with good friends.

I look forward to stirring things up in 2011, in a good way. I also look forward to frolicking around London come July.

Here is a photo of me with my friend Caleb on New Year’s Eve.

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I have not done much here by way of updating, but I did want to tell about what it was like to eat in Japan.

As many of you who are acquainted with me are aware, I am deathly allergic to shellfish. My allergy is so sensitive  that even the slightest cross-contamination will make me sick. Why on earth would I go to Japan? A few have asked me, is this some kind of death wish?

I have wanted to visit Japan for years. If only I had visited even just 6 years ago, I would get to enjoy all my favorite Japanese dishes! Sushi, katsu, sushi, donburi, Japanese tapas, yakitori…did I say sushi? I sorely miss it, but unfortunately it is not worth the risk.

I came to find that everything is contaminated with shrimp in some manner. It is on the menu everywhere. The most innocuous-seeming eateries would include a shrimp item. All the fast food chains except Burger King included a shrimp burger. There was always a shrimp sandwich offered at a cafe, or a some entree that would have little baby shrimp sprinkled in it. I can’t order other dishes from these places because they cross-contaminate like crazy in the kitchen.

I did have a very detailed allergy card that my lovely friend Ayako translated into Japanese for me. The first sentence warns that I can die if I consume shellfish (one person gasped dramatically upon reading this). To make it more effective, I went Japanese-style and added cutesy visuals. Good thing I did, because I feel like those little icons were what got the message across at least half of the time.

I can easily say that eating in my situation was a huge challenge. It was humid, and I was often hungry, surviving on ghetto ham sandwiches I constructed from of convenience store purchases. I quickly got very tired of the granola bars I had packed along. It got easier in Tokyo, when we had an apartment with a kitchen, and I got to at least cook myself breakfast.

That said, I was still able to get some excellent Japanese meals in, based on extensive pre-vacation research, dumb luck, and locals. I managed to check off most meals I wanted to have off my small list: tofu in Kyoto, katsu, shabu shabu, Wagyu beef, Japanese curry, omu rice. Food porn below.

Omu Rice at Obu Cafe, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Shephard's Pie at The Gael Irish pub, Kyoto. Probably the best I have had!

Home-cooked traditional mountain food: Hida beef, tempura, rice, pickles, miso soup, local vegetables, local river trout. Shimizu Inn, Shirakawago. Photo: Monica Roy

Tofu Steak at Mominoki House, Tokyo

Tonkatsu Set at Tonki, Tokyo

Shabu Shabu in Kichijoji, above Yodobashi Camera, Tokyo. My favorite meal!

The rest are in this set from my Japan photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacepandamadness/sets/72157624939030643/with/5040306219/

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Peeping Peggy

This made me laugh so hard during last night’s episode.

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Only in New York

Last Saturday we waited forever and ever for the train to come and take us home. Typical late-night MTA. However, we were treated to this moment, below is only a clip. Oh, NYC.

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The following paraphrases a scene I just witnessed during work, as transcribed by Maori, my fellow coworker.

Ian: You can’t wear that. Go shopping. You need to look more fabulous.
Karolina: What? Whatever.
Ian: Go shopping. You can’t wear that.
Karolina: Is this really that bad of an outfit?!!
Ian: You look like Larry the Cable Guy.
Karolina: (collapses) I thought you said I looked like a punk rock lesbian.
Ian: No. You look like a redneck.
Karolina: You think I look like a redneck?! I thought you liked this shirt?!
Ian: I hate it. Go shopping.
Karolina: I am not going all the way downtown to get a new shirt.
Ian: Go. It has to be at least $10. Unlike that shirt.
Maori: What is the function?
Karolina: Gay Lesbian homeless benefit.
Ian: You’ll fit in too much.
Karolina: Now you think I look homeless?!
Ian: Come in my office.

maorinette – Fashion is tough here at work..

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Adventure Time

It is my new favorite cartoon! I remember watching the pilot (below) a gazillion times when it went viral online. Soooo glad the show went to series. It allows me to indulge in my love for the utterly strange and surreal. Mathematical exclamations! Noodle-limbs! Also, Jake the Dog’s voice is also the Bender on Futurama!

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