rachelmanija: (Saiyuki Gaiden: Drinking buddies)
( Sep. 6th, 2007 02:39 pm)
Last night I drank half a bottle of sake, then danced in the street.

In geta. (Japanese wooden clogs.)
rachelmanija: (Saiyuki Gaiden: Drinking buddies)
( Sep. 6th, 2007 02:39 pm)
Last night I drank half a bottle of sake, then danced in the street.

In geta. (Japanese wooden clogs.)
Taken and sent to me by a kind gentleman attending Worldcon:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/brownartidea.jpg (in post-apocalyptic landscape, apparently)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/worldcongorgeousrachelbrown.jpg (In front of Yokohama World's Largest Ferris Wheel, and I want you all to know that the photo was sent to me with the title already attached)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/worldconbrownbuescherstanford.jpg (with Henson puppetteer Julianne Buescher and Henson exec Halle Stanford)

Oh, I forgot to mention: that's a black leather collar.
Taken and sent to me by a kind gentleman attending Worldcon:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/brownartidea.jpg (in post-apocalyptic landscape, apparently)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/worldcongorgeousrachelbrown.jpg (In front of Yokohama World's Largest Ferris Wheel, and I want you all to know that the photo was sent to me with the title already attached)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/telophase14/worldconbrownbuescherstanford.jpg (with Henson puppetteer Julianne Buescher and Henson exec Halle Stanford)

Oh, I forgot to mention: that's a black leather collar.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2007 02:51 pm)
Please check my last couple entries-- I posted pics, plus big news of my newest upcoming project. Also, check [livejournal.com profile] telophase for further updates.

I don't think I've sufficiently explained how incredibly hot it has often been around here. When we went to the heavily forested Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, right in time for the Summer Festival, which is apparently celebrated by hundreds of people in large teams, all wearing their different vaguely traditional and incredibly colorful polyester outfits, then waving giant flags and dancing frenetically to pop songs onstage, it was so hot that I ate three shaved ices. The cicadas were so loud that it was like being at the front row of an electronica concert-- they almost drowned out the music.

So the other day we departed to Magome, an old rest stop along the Nakasendo Road, the old Tokaido Road between Tokyo and Kyoto. There is a crossroads sign with arrows pointing the way to Kyoto and the way to Edo. It was very hot. Very, very hot. I drank a lot of Pocari Sweat, the sports drink which is milky-colored, a bit salty, a bit chalky, a bit lemony, very slightly thicker than water, and whose label appetizingly explains that it is "the exact compostion of human body fluid."

That, plus Stephanie straining her ankle in Tokyo, is why we did not walk the old road from Magome to Tsumago, the next town over, but instead took a bus. I am certain it is very beautiful, and there is a waterfall that Miyamoto Musashi sat under or composed a poem near or about or something like that (but not bathed in, for he was notoriously averse to bathing)-- like George Washington, Miyamoto Musashi seems to have spent half his life rushing madly from location to location, if he really slept everyone that advertises his stay. But I think I would have gotten heatstroke. Maybe I:ll try again in autumn.

Magome is almost entirely composed of shops, inns, and houses on either side of an extremely steep cobblestone path winding up a hill. It is rather aggressively picturesque, with old-style wooden slats on every house, wooden water-wheels turning and water splashing, monstrously overfed koi gaping their jaws from tanks below orange poppies, evening-blue morning glories and hollow lantern-vines twining up trellises and fences of bamboo and black twine, and men baking fresh pastries stuffed with your choice of red bean paste, white bean paste with chopped boiled walnuts, pickled vegetables, curried meat, or eggplant.

It was a bitch to lug our suitcases, backpacks, and handbags up in that heat, let me tell you.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2007 02:51 pm)
Please check my last couple entries-- I posted pics, plus big news of my newest upcoming project. Also, check [livejournal.com profile] telophase for further updates.

I don't think I've sufficiently explained how incredibly hot it has often been around here. When we went to the heavily forested Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, right in time for the Summer Festival, which is apparently celebrated by hundreds of people in large teams, all wearing their different vaguely traditional and incredibly colorful polyester outfits, then waving giant flags and dancing frenetically to pop songs onstage, it was so hot that I ate three shaved ices. The cicadas were so loud that it was like being at the front row of an electronica concert-- they almost drowned out the music.

So the other day we departed to Magome, an old rest stop along the Nakasendo Road, the old Tokaido Road between Tokyo and Kyoto. There is a crossroads sign with arrows pointing the way to Kyoto and the way to Edo. It was very hot. Very, very hot. I drank a lot of Pocari Sweat, the sports drink which is milky-colored, a bit salty, a bit chalky, a bit lemony, very slightly thicker than water, and whose label appetizingly explains that it is "the exact compostion of human body fluid."

That, plus Stephanie straining her ankle in Tokyo, is why we did not walk the old road from Magome to Tsumago, the next town over, but instead took a bus. I am certain it is very beautiful, and there is a waterfall that Miyamoto Musashi sat under or composed a poem near or about or something like that (but not bathed in, for he was notoriously averse to bathing)-- like George Washington, Miyamoto Musashi seems to have spent half his life rushing madly from location to location, if he really slept everyone that advertises his stay. But I think I would have gotten heatstroke. Maybe I:ll try again in autumn.

Magome is almost entirely composed of shops, inns, and houses on either side of an extremely steep cobblestone path winding up a hill. It is rather aggressively picturesque, with old-style wooden slats on every house, wooden water-wheels turning and water splashing, monstrously overfed koi gaping their jaws from tanks below orange poppies, evening-blue morning glories and hollow lantern-vines twining up trellises and fences of bamboo and black twine, and men baking fresh pastries stuffed with your choice of red bean paste, white bean paste with chopped boiled walnuts, pickled vegetables, curried meat, or eggplant.

It was a bitch to lug our suitcases, backpacks, and handbags up in that heat, let me tell you.
Note: Please check my last couple entries; I am posting in chunks because I'm paranoid about posts getting lost. Also, do I not have very many Bleach fans reading my LJ, or do many of them hate Rukia/Renji, or what? I expected much more excitement over that post! Excitement to match my own at the thought of its existence!

After exhaustedly dragging our luggage past our ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), we checked the Magome tourist information office, which told us that we needed to go back down. The only English signage explained that while no bears had ever been sighted on the Nakasendo hiking route in modern times, the Magome tourist information office rented out bells, just in case.

We declined to rent a bell, suspecting already that we would be doing no further hiking, but headed over to our inn, the Tajimaya. It was a lovely old wooden building with a stuffed tanuki in front, blue curtains dangling from bamboo poles, and an amazing old hearth called an irori, with a pulley system dangling a kettle that could be raised and lowered over the coals. It did not, unfortunately, seem to be in use.

Our first thought was a bath, so we scrubbed off, sitting under the waist high showerheads under teeny wooden stools, then crammed ourselves into the rather small bath. To my delight, it had an jet like a jacuzzi. To the delight of the two Japanese guests who eventually arrived at the bath, we were just getting out-- the bath emphatically did not fit more than two.

Though our room was very large and quite nice, with tatami matting, closets full of futons and bedding, a TV (which we never turned on), screen dividing it into two sizable rooms, and a tokonoma with a nice wall scroll and a rather baleful-looking stuffed pheasant, what pleased us the most was that it was air conditioned.

Thus refreshed, we trotted about the town a bit, then returned for our luxurious eleven-course (not counting tea, rice, and miso soup) meal, laid out elegantly in separate dishes. Perhaps the best part was the cube of luxuriously textured tofu with tiny shrimp and a brunoise of carrots and mushrooms-- perfect cubes the size of this typed letter a. I have been watching Top Chef, so I know how difficult that is to achieve. There was also a miso-broiled and smoked whole (smallish)fish, two kinds of sliced seared beef in mustard or soy, eggplant and chicken in tomato sauce, soba, sushi rolls cleverly made with chopped soba instead of rice, a number of pickles, watermelon, and tempura of eggplant, squash, shredded carrot, and a green leaf that might have been burdock, which I held up to the light to see the delicate tracery of veins.

We then watched an episode of the anime Mushishi, which is already one of my all-time favorites, and collapsed into bed.

After a substantial ryokan breakfast including a poached egg made in a heart-shaped mold, the innkeeper asked me in Japanese if there was anything I'd like for dinner that night. Rather surprised, I replied that I liked everything except eggplant. He seemed rather startled, then told us there would be a dance after dinner. Hours later, it occured to me that he]d actually asked me how I'd liked my dinner last night! I proceeded to feel guilty all day over dissing his eggplant.

After insulting the innkeeper, we set out for the other town, Tsumago. Despite being dropped off at its bus stop, it proved surprisingly difficult to find. And boiling hot. And full of (almost all Japanese) tourists. Pretty, but not as restful as Magome. The hiking route looked gorgeously green, but also very hot and full of mosquitoes. I have been breaking out in enormous hives when bitten, it was hot, and Stephanie's ankle hurt, so we had a snack of sweetish grilled miso-brushed pounded rice molded onto a stick, and took the bus back. I fell asleep and we missed our stop, so we ended up doing a tiny bit of hiking after all.

That night, there was no eggplant served for dinner. Some dishes were the same, others were different, all but a gross slimy vegetable were delicious. We ordered a bottle of (somewhat harsh) sake with dinner. I drank more than Stephanie, I must confess.

Sure enough, after dinner the innkeeper gathered us up and taught us a Magome folk dance. Once he felt that we more-or-less (more less than more) had it down, he had us put on geta, which are wooden clogs, and led us out onto the cobblestoned public street, where we danced some more, in a circle, stamping our geta with loud traditional clacks.

Thus invigorated, we sat around the irori and attempted to have a conversation, albeit much hampered by Stephanie knowing almost no Japanese, the innkeeper knowing almost no English, me and a woman whom I think was from Taiwan and an American Worldcon guest not knowing much Japanese, and a slightly drunk Japanese man with an Asahi can not knowing much English other than the names of Japanese baseball players on American teams-- a subject which took up a lot of conversational space.

When the latter asked where I had studied Japanese, I confessed that it was from watching anime. But when I named off anime I watched, I couldn't pronounced Bleach in a recognizable manner. "Hold on," I said in Japanese, "I'll be right back." I jumped up and ran out.

Later Stephanie told me that they had remarked on me being "genki," which translates as "peppy," basically.

I returned with a stack of manga and a figurine of Renji Abarai from Bleach. "Abarai!" exclaimed the probably-Taiwanese woman.

"Shinigami!" exclaimed the Asahi man.

This confused the innkeeper, and required some explanation. Renji is indeed a shinigami-- a "death god" or "soul reaper"-- but as that figurine was from Bleach: the Styling, he was dressed in a school uniform.

The next morning I woke up with no hangover, and the Renji figurine beside my pillow.
Note: Please check my last couple entries; I am posting in chunks because I'm paranoid about posts getting lost. Also, do I not have very many Bleach fans reading my LJ, or do many of them hate Rukia/Renji, or what? I expected much more excitement over that post! Excitement to match my own at the thought of its existence!

After exhaustedly dragging our luggage past our ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), we checked the Magome tourist information office, which told us that we needed to go back down. The only English signage explained that while no bears had ever been sighted on the Nakasendo hiking route in modern times, the Magome tourist information office rented out bells, just in case.

We declined to rent a bell, suspecting already that we would be doing no further hiking, but headed over to our inn, the Tajimaya. It was a lovely old wooden building with a stuffed tanuki in front, blue curtains dangling from bamboo poles, and an amazing old hearth called an irori, with a pulley system dangling a kettle that could be raised and lowered over the coals. It did not, unfortunately, seem to be in use.

Our first thought was a bath, so we scrubbed off, sitting under the waist high showerheads under teeny wooden stools, then crammed ourselves into the rather small bath. To my delight, it had an jet like a jacuzzi. To the delight of the two Japanese guests who eventually arrived at the bath, we were just getting out-- the bath emphatically did not fit more than two.

Though our room was very large and quite nice, with tatami matting, closets full of futons and bedding, a TV (which we never turned on), screen dividing it into two sizable rooms, and a tokonoma with a nice wall scroll and a rather baleful-looking stuffed pheasant, what pleased us the most was that it was air conditioned.

Thus refreshed, we trotted about the town a bit, then returned for our luxurious eleven-course (not counting tea, rice, and miso soup) meal, laid out elegantly in separate dishes. Perhaps the best part was the cube of luxuriously textured tofu with tiny shrimp and a brunoise of carrots and mushrooms-- perfect cubes the size of this typed letter a. I have been watching Top Chef, so I know how difficult that is to achieve. There was also a miso-broiled and smoked whole (smallish)fish, two kinds of sliced seared beef in mustard or soy, eggplant and chicken in tomato sauce, soba, sushi rolls cleverly made with chopped soba instead of rice, a number of pickles, watermelon, and tempura of eggplant, squash, shredded carrot, and a green leaf that might have been burdock, which I held up to the light to see the delicate tracery of veins.

We then watched an episode of the anime Mushishi, which is already one of my all-time favorites, and collapsed into bed.

After a substantial ryokan breakfast including a poached egg made in a heart-shaped mold, the innkeeper asked me in Japanese if there was anything I'd like for dinner that night. Rather surprised, I replied that I liked everything except eggplant. He seemed rather startled, then told us there would be a dance after dinner. Hours later, it occured to me that he]d actually asked me how I'd liked my dinner last night! I proceeded to feel guilty all day over dissing his eggplant.

After insulting the innkeeper, we set out for the other town, Tsumago. Despite being dropped off at its bus stop, it proved surprisingly difficult to find. And boiling hot. And full of (almost all Japanese) tourists. Pretty, but not as restful as Magome. The hiking route looked gorgeously green, but also very hot and full of mosquitoes. I have been breaking out in enormous hives when bitten, it was hot, and Stephanie's ankle hurt, so we had a snack of sweetish grilled miso-brushed pounded rice molded onto a stick, and took the bus back. I fell asleep and we missed our stop, so we ended up doing a tiny bit of hiking after all.

That night, there was no eggplant served for dinner. Some dishes were the same, others were different, all but a gross slimy vegetable were delicious. We ordered a bottle of (somewhat harsh) sake with dinner. I drank more than Stephanie, I must confess.

Sure enough, after dinner the innkeeper gathered us up and taught us a Magome folk dance. Once he felt that we more-or-less (more less than more) had it down, he had us put on geta, which are wooden clogs, and led us out onto the cobblestoned public street, where we danced some more, in a circle, stamping our geta with loud traditional clacks.

Thus invigorated, we sat around the irori and attempted to have a conversation, albeit much hampered by Stephanie knowing almost no Japanese, the innkeeper knowing almost no English, me and a woman whom I think was from Taiwan and an American Worldcon guest not knowing much Japanese, and a slightly drunk Japanese man with an Asahi can not knowing much English other than the names of Japanese baseball players on American teams-- a subject which took up a lot of conversational space.

When the latter asked where I had studied Japanese, I confessed that it was from watching anime. But when I named off anime I watched, I couldn't pronounced Bleach in a recognizable manner. "Hold on," I said in Japanese, "I'll be right back." I jumped up and ran out.

Later Stephanie told me that they had remarked on me being "genki," which translates as "peppy," basically.

I returned with a stack of manga and a figurine of Renji Abarai from Bleach. "Abarai!" exclaimed the probably-Taiwanese woman.

"Shinigami!" exclaimed the Asahi man.

This confused the innkeeper, and required some explanation. Renji is indeed a shinigami-- a "death god" or "soul reaper"-- but as that figurine was from Bleach: the Styling, he was dressed in a school uniform.

The next morning I woke up with no hangover, and the Renji figurine beside my pillow.
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