January 31, 2008

Kasdan On The Shore

So the title of today's post is in homage to Haruki Murikami's novel "Kafka On The Shore." Murikami is a brilliant (and often bizarre) contemporary Japanese author. One of the strangest characters in Kafka On The Shore is an other-wordly Colonel Sanders (yes - the KFC guy). He is a sort of figment/spirit that guides one of the main characters, a truck driver who wears a Hanshin Tigers baseball cap. We never understood the whole Colonel Sanders character. Well. A funny thing happened today. A co-worker of Mike's offered to take us to a Hanshin Tiger's game, and so he looked them up to get some background. And, he found this on Wikipedia:

"As with many other underachieving baseball teams, a curse is believed to lurk over the Tigers. After their 1985 Japan Series win, fans celebrated by having people who looked like Tigers players jump into the Dotonbori Canal. According to legend, because none of the fans resembled first baseman Randy Bass, fans grabbed a life-sized statue of Kentucky Fried Chicken mascot Colonel Sanders and threw it into the river (like Bass, the Colonel had a beard and was not Japanese). The statue was never recovered. Thus, the Tigers are said to be doomed never to win the season again until the Colonel is rescued from the river.

In 2003, when the Tigers returned to the Japan Series after 18 years with one of the worst records in the Central League, many KFC outlets in Kōbe and Ōsaka moved their Colonel Sanders statues inside until the series was over to protect them from Tigers fans."

See, now that we live in Japan, Murakami is starting to make sense!

Today, Ilena took a grocery store tour and learned all about Japanese vegetables, tofu, meats, fish, and sauces. And she successfully made a delicious (oishi!) miso soup for dinner. In fact, Ilena has been absolutely cooking up a storm here in our little kitchen, making a variety of meats, fish, and vegetables nightly.

Mike has had some minor successes communicating in Japanese on the train and at the video store. When he rented a Spiderman 3 DVD tonight, the video clerk and Mike had a short conversation about 24 and Lost. It's really exciting communicating, even if our Japanese is still extremely limited.

Lauren is adjusting nicely to the language too. Every time we pass a cute dog, she says "ino kawaii! (cute dog!)." And all of the Japanese ladies called Lauren kawaii too!

And tomorrow, we have Jacob's class concert at the school. He has been very busy practicing the songs, which are in both English and Japanese. Should be great!

Finally, we are starting to investigate our options for vacations during March (perhaps) and during Golden Week, at the end of April/beginning of May. We are kicking around the idea of maybe going to Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket - check this place out!) in March if we can put it together in time and find decent airfare, and of staying in Japan for Golden Week and going to Hiroshima (less than an hour and a half away by Shinkansen bullet train) and perhaps Okinawa, way down south. We shall see. By the way, the Japanese National Tourist Organization webpage is awesome for anyone looking to travel in Japan. For example, check out their page on Hiroshima here.

And that about does it for tonight.


Lisa said...

Japan HERE! Okinawa HERE! (name that movie) Go to Thailand!!! Amanda can give you an incredible itinerary..we've already spoken about it. Love you all and i'm counting down until June so i get to see you again! Ilena, i'm hoping you'll cook my fresh meats, fish and vegetables when you come back to the US. XOXOX

Kawii Lisa

Lisa said...

oops! I meant to say...

Kawaii Lisa or Ino Lisa...depending on your mood. :)
I'll watch LOST for all of us tonight...as soon as the season is over i will send you my cable box with the dvr in it.

Pat Carrothers said...

Hello. I came across your blog while searching for info on Kobe. My husband just accepted a job in Osaka and we will be moving there from upstate NY in approximately July. I'd love to correspond with you and get your advice on how to prepare. Here is our family blog we started just a few weeks ago... www.carrothers.blogspot.com

My email is tracy.carrothers@gmail.com

The info on your blog so far has me looking forward to the move.