I am having a hard tine getting net access, so I am way behind in recording what has been going on. Expect some out of order reports as I catch up.

A couple nights ago Stephanie and I were tired, so we decided to spend a quiet night in the hotel watching DVDs. But before putting in a DVD, we decided to check out Japanese TV. Two DVD-less hours later, we went to sleep. This is what we saw-- all in Japanese, but I translated a bit:

1. An international women's shot-put competition, held in Osaka. This was pretty amazing. I had previously not known what shot-put is: it's a very heavy-looking metal ball on a long wire, which you spin around your head until it spins you in a tight circle, heels digging a hole into the earth, and then release it to fly some ridiculous distance away. Those women were really built on the upper body, and it was great to watch.

ETA: Stephanie says that's actually the hammer throw.

(Speaking of women's upper bodies, a number of people at the con seemed quite hypnotized by mine, due to the spectacular outfit I had previously purchased in Harajuku and wore to the con. Several men asked to take my picture (and some women did too) and some of those asked if they could post it on their home page. Due to a language barrier, I momentarily thought one of them was asking if he could use it as a model for a figurine, but alas, no-- he just belonged to a figurine club and was indicating the home page on its business card.)

2. A sushi-eating contest. The contestants, three men, one of whom had matching green clothes, and hair, consumed plate after plate of conveyer-belt sushi in a leisurely fashion, with a loud DOING every time they finished a piece.

(We had conveyer belt sushi for lunch today. It was delicious! The sushi chefs stood in the middle of an enormous conveyer belt, bellowing (in Japanese) "Two uni for number thirty-nine!" HAIIIII!!!" My favorites were lush salmon striped in orange-pink and white like rock strata, a very nice tamago (egg omelet cooked in dashi), and cold but still fine and sweet unagi (sea eel-- not to be confused, as I did once, with usagi (rabbit.)

I did not care for the disturbingly cartilageneous crab salad or the natto roll, though Stephanie enjoyed both! A roll involving some fish and salmon eggs was also very good, and probably the first time I've enjoyed salmon eggs. We also got some nice broiled salmon-- finished by a chef with a blowtorch in either hand.)

3. An episode of an anime series I like, Naruto. It was the conclusion of the post-timeskip Sakura puppet battle of DOOM. Nothing can shamelessly break your heart like anime, and I especially liked the image of the lonely little boy with puppet jutsu, creating two life-size parent puppets after his own parents had died, and using magic marionette strings to make them embrace him. Awww!

4. A competitive glass-blowing show, in the style of "Top Chef" or "American Idol." This was fantastic and I think would do very well in American remake (probably in the works right now.) Four glass-blowes, three men and a woman, were first assigned to create donburi-- rice bowls-- in glass. One made an eel bowl, one made pork cutlets (tonkatsu) that doubled as a money box, one did a mixed one that doubled as a jewelry set (shrimp brooch, ginger rose ring, salmon egg bead necklace, etc.)

The last two continued to the final round, where they were tasked to create a goldfish bowl like none other. The methods were amazing, and the results were spectacular: the man did a fisherman's net with a crayfish peeking out inside a gold swirly bowl, all in a moat-dish with guppies in it. The woman did a three-tier planet thing with rings of Saturn! I kind of preferred his, but hers was the most spectacular and she won--Japan's newest Top Glassblower!
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