The word loaf has many usages and its meanings are dependent upon the context in which it is used in. “Loaf” is most commonly used hand in hand with “bread”. and is sometimes used as a verb (my boss is good at loafing), adjective (a loaf of whole wheat, what a loafer) and noun (I’ll take a loaf and a bottle of Lucky Charcoal Filtered Vodka please!).
“Loaf” often elicits a pavlovian effect on those who hear it, commonly making stomachs grumble. However, the expression “I’m going to pinch a loaf” makes normal people wrinkle their noses and verbally express their disgust. Equating the act of defecation with baking is so vile, that it never fails to be at least somewhat funny everytime I hear it.
Which leads me to a question: can certain types of feces be considered “loaves”? I think so. A loaf can be defined as “stuff compressed or formed into a solid column-like form, through the processes of baking or squishing that stuff together”. After all, cold cuts are sliced from loaves of various nitrite injected proteins(think olive loaf). And, you gotta admit, the french baguette, fruit cake(vile in its own right), and other types of bread, tend to resemble our excrement. It is not uncommon for my brother to proudly describe what he flushes, and he can probably recollect his favorite noteworthy specimens. He might even have a photo album.
This picture though, put together two words that I just never expected to see together. Now, after being in Japan for a year, I have aquired a taste for many animal parts that are not commonly eaten in the States(chicken gristle, gizzard, hormone, stewed tendons and ligaments, etc…), among them tongue. But for some reason, when you add almost any bodily part with the word “loaf” it is transformed into something that is instantly disgusting. Here, why don’t you try: Think of a random body part (say, for example, skin) and add the word “loaf”. And presto! Mmmmmmm…. skin loaf! What a fun word! And who says learning English is no fun?!?

Hiking Kuju

This is an insect that was found at the peak of Mount Kuju. It was about the size of a large grape, and has the general morphology of a tick. It moved very slowly and didn’t seem bothered at all when picked up. As there were no visible animals at the top of the mountain other than people, their pets, and insects, and sparse vegetation, I am guessing that this monster tick eats volcanic rocks and dirt.
I hiked up the mountain with one of my elementary schools and their families on Saturday. The hike started at eight and ended at three. The sun was shining in the open blue sky, and a constant cold breeze chilled the sweat on my brow. It was such a nice day that there must have been about one thousand visitors hiking the trail on that day alone.My students went at their own pace, and so I was forced to climb from our check in point up to the top three times by three different groups! As soon as I descended (from the last rest point), newly arrived students would demand that I accompany them again!
Anyhow, this is my second “expedition” up Mount Kuju- the first one was much harder to complete, as I took a longer and steeper trail during deep winter in the snow- yes, it was dangerous, but a hike isn’t worth doing if it doesn’t have some elements of danger. The fact that if you break your leg, then you will either have to suck it up and crawl down, or freeze to death all alone, makes hiking more interesting!
Kuju is the tallest mountain in Kyushu (I think, maybe it’s Neko-Dake), and is still volcanically active. The smell of “Io” (or sulphur) permeates the air up there, and the landscapes are fantastically varied and scaled. Truly a magnificent hike if you happen to be in the area! As soon as I get my ISDN connection up and running I will post a bunch of pix.

Ojisan udedokei

This is my good ol Seiko Professional dive watch, which was given to me on my 15th birthday by Kohei. At 15, it looked ridiculous on my scrawny teenage wrist, but now, 9 years later, that has been upgraded to “slightly too large”. This thing is a tank, more a bludgeon than a timepiece. It can withstand great pressures, safely able to dive down as far as 200 metres without danger of implosion. This is my new watch of choice while teaching at my hoikuens and shogakkos, as even they won’t be able to harm it.

Another One Bites The Dust

Yes, I have sent yet another cherished watch to the junk pile… The Wenger was with me for many adventures and accompanied me on my various travels. It has been diving in Catalina, helped me to teach sailing in Newport, plummetted off of the Circus Circus bungee platform, and has kept me on track for this past year in Japan (among many other things). It was a faced paced round of Duck-duck-goose that finally did it in. I dove for the vacant spot left by the goose, and BOOM, the band broke.
This is not the first time that a watch of mine has died a violent death. When I was living on Picasso Avenue, I lost my Spider-Man watch (limited edition Fossil) in a similar incident. A group of us had just come back from a party on D.P. to our pad, and noticed that Diane was missing. She was last seen drunk, and talking to a couple of guys, so we were obligated to go retrieve her before she got herself into trouble! Me, Steve, Brian, and Chris jumped on our bikes and took off toward the coast. I decided that going down the ramp would only take away more precious time, so decided to jump the curb, between two cars, and join the convoy on the street.
My bike came down in an ungainly angle, and the impact between my front tire and the pavement catapulted me down over the handle bars face first. The impact was a hard smackdown, that I can only describe as “black”. With great effort I pushed myself up and uttered the words that would be used to mock me for the following months “I broke my watch!”, oblivious to my own state. It was completely smashed beyond any hope of repair. Bits and pieces of the obliterated face reflected the dim yellow glow of the streetlights, the braided leather band snapped in the same place. My bloodied jeans were frayed threadbare at the points of impact, a testament to the power of friction.
The sting of roadrash over my face, right hand, arm, shoulder, hip, and knees accompanied he realization that I was bleeding, and my chest hurt. I limped inside, and Brian took off to find Diane. They returned immediately.
I went to the bathroom and pulled out the good ‘ol hydrogen peroxide and cotton swabs. It took 30 minutes to sterilize all of the wounds and to scrape all of the small rocks and grit out. Everytime I applied the peroxide, it really hurt, so much that I would scream out in pain. This was followed EVERY TIME by waves of laughter, followed by insincere statements like “I’m sorry but its really funny”, or “we’re not laughing at you!” followed by more laughter. What good friends huh, laughing and making fun of my agony!
For the next couple of weeks I looked like the recipient of a good thrashing. Slowly, my wounds scabbed up, the scabs peeled off, the pink new skin got tanned, and I recovered. However, for months my chest still ached, and Brian and Chris took potshots, jabbing me in the ribs whenever an opportunity arose. My father visited some time later, and after inspecting the pain, he told me that I had broken my rib. Of course once they found out, this made the bastards laugh even more.
Moral of the story: Not only is BUIing (Biking under the influence) against the law, but it can be very painful physically and psychologically. But after a fall, you must get back up and ride again! With practice and perserverence, one can learn to BUI in a safe and controlled manner, maybe.
Well, its time to get a new watch. I can only hope that the next one will fare better than its predecessors…

Marmite Update: Britain`s Version Of Nato?

A Google Search yielded this page. Like natto in Japan, British children are fed this stuff at an early age, so they aquire the taste after rigorous feeding regimens. Natto is typically served as a condiment to rice, as Marmite generally tops toast (the most popular carbohydrate eaten with every meal in said countries).
In the Marmite page, this is a suggestion of a possible use for this particular “savoury spread”:
…Marmite is very effective as a topical ointment in the treatment of haemorrhoids.
And I’ll leave it at that…

Is This Stuff What British People Eat???

Yesterday was a free day. The birds were singing, there were “Ferris Bueller clouds” in the bright blue sky, and a gentle breeze, and so of course I got sick the day before and had to stay at home. But this turned out to be a productive day nonetheless. My place was really messy, so I spent most of the day sorting, organizing, and tossing stuff in the garbage. As I was going through, discarding things in the kitchen that had grown a layer of grey mold (everything- I am not even exagerating) I found this jar of Marmite. Contains various vitamins, 100 percent vegetarian, yeast extract… this looks like something that my father would recommend to treat you for whatever might be ailing you at the moment.
So I unscrewed the grimy yellow cap, and was treated to a whiff of stuff that smelled like a mix of Kyolic (fermented garlic infusion of nastiness), vinegar, and Karo syrup. It was thicker than honey, and had the color of spoiled chocolate pudding. Surprisingly (maybe not really), no mold had grown on this. Even if it had, this stuff could not be any nastier that it was in its natural state.
I know Brits eat some strange stuff. Steve’s Toad in the Hole and other lard filled dishes are proof of this. I mean, are you supposed to find pubes in this dish traditionally, or was that just a special treat created in honor of Pete? Anyways, what did Harvey (my predecessor) use this stuff for? Since it was in the kitchen, I can only assume he ate or drank it in some form. I was thinking, are you obligated to eat disgusting things if you are a vegetarian? I think if I were vegetarian, I would opt not to eat Marmite, even if it made me a pseudo-vegetarian, and all the other vegetarians looked down on me (while enjoying a heaping tablespoon full of stinky goodness). I find the other argument, that it contains vitamins, not sufficient to get me to put this stuff in my mouth. I prefer my vitamin fortified Froot Loops and Kix thank you very much!
Has anyone eaten this stuff? If so I am curious to know:
1. Why?
2. How?
3. Would you ever do it again?
4. Is this stuff big in the U.K.?
5. Is it traditionally served with pubes?

Zou No Zou

Still trying to figure out how to make an “o” with a straight accent line over it (indicating a long o sound). The addition of a “u” to the end of the “o” will just have to make do for now.

Ride On!

I have tried to ride many different things down many different steep areas around Japan. Snowboarding in the local hills, mountain boarding on Mount Aso and the Ubuyama Bokujo, cardboard down Kikka-machi’s huge steep astroturf hill, homebase down the long roller-slide in Kyokushi, Taro’s longboard down a jinja, et cetera. But this was the most fun I’ve had recently.
At English camp, I tried riding a sled down a really steep grass hill, and had many good rides. My students saw this and tried their luck at it. All of the boys couldn’t do it, and felt really bad because this girl could nail it from her very first run.
If you ever get the chance to ride sleds down steep grass hills, keep in mind that it is even more fun to wear zoris, and the key to successful jumping is looking good in the air (extra bonus for a good wipeout).

Inaka Tempura (Is What The Kanji Below Reads)

In English, “inaka” means “country”. I live in the cho-inaka (or uber-boonies, for you non Japanese speakers).
My village is so inaka that the local restaraunt doesn’t even make shrimp tempura. Nonetheless, this tempura kicked some major ass! It was every type of vegetable and mushroom tempura conceivable piled into a huge mountain of oily goodness (I am still trying to decide if this would be considered a healthy meal or not), and I was unable to finish all of it! Is this the equivalent of country style biscuits and gravy? The Japanese still have much to learn in the ways of fattening and unhealthy foods.

Crikey, Thats A Big Sheila!

What kind of savage beast could possibly do this type of damage to my forearm???
You are probably picturing this, the mighty T-Rex, in your head! But no, this creature is much more cunning and dangerous.
She is so dangerous that they keep her behind a reinforced set of iron bars, and use modified supercharged cattleprods to keep her at bay! This is what bit me, and she has since the last chomp, tried to bite me a couple more times!
However, no beast can match up to the raging fury that lurks within my little sister. I have a scar on my cheek created from when I was 5 years old. She bit down and refused to let go even after drawing blood, a testament to her feral temper.