Friday, November 26, 2010

Far Away Turkey Day

Thanksgiving in Japan once again has come and gone for us, and this year it was no short of another amazing feast! The unseen star of this year's culinary performance was my husband, who prepped, cooked, and worked for days and hours on end to produce an entirely home-cooked traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 30 people (all while cooking regular restaurant orders at the same time)!

With good food and our family of friends from around the world (Japan, the USA, the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia representin'), Thanksgiving continues to be one of the most delicious times of year (warning: gratuitous food and eating pics to follow):

Out from behind the kitchen (is it me, or is he already trying to get a little snoozing in):

And, once again, the prospect of stuffing ourselves like the proverbial turkey makes us realize just how darn lucky we are and thankful we should be. Traveling, health, amazing food experiences, two good jobs, inspiring friends, laughter, ups and downs shared together, a nice warm house, and this continued crazy Japanese adventure all make the list this year. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Urban Homesteading in Japan

With the new brood of English teachers starting work here in Sapporo this summer came a coolio couple with a passion for travel, brewing their own beer, and still our hearts! Definitely our kind of folks! And to show you just how cool they are, Brian and Jess have brainstormed and put together the Sapporo DIY Exchange promoting urban homesteading here in Sapporo. You can visit their website here, but they basically intend to "build an international community of folks curious about all things DIY, from homesteading and crafting...yogurt and cheesemaking, other fermented foods, soapmaking, gardening, crafts,...and anything else we get curious about." Yup, sign us up!

So our first meeting of the Sapporo DIY Exchange was held at their house last weekend and it was a complete success! First workshop: yogurt-making...

...complete with step-by-step instructions for constructing homemade incubators:

Like any good workshop, there was plenty 'o this case, a variety of their own homemade yogurts, flavored yogurts, yogurt sauces, and homemade falafel for dipping!

And we each got our own tub of yogurt to take home...I'm a big fan of parting-gifts:

I can't think of any better way of "cultivating" new knowledge, experience, and a little internationalization (not to mention, bad puns) all at the same time! Totally looking forward to learning more from these two and having a little afternoon community time to boot!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What About Jacob?

So, a lot (all?) of my posts recently haven't really featured the Thiessen Twosome so much as it has just been There's a pretty good reason for that, folks, honestly! As of this past July, Jacob has been the head (and most times, the only) chef at the bar and restaurant he's been employed at since he first got here, TK6:

This guy is a crazy working and cooking machine, and while I don't see nearly enough of him as I like (demand), I'm still super proud of him and happy that he's carved a niche out and formed a community here that doesn't revolve around the ubiquitous English-teaching world of Japan.

Yes, Jacob's family at TK6 is wild, strange, supportive, and...shall we say...close:

But he's happiest when he's working and I'm happy that he's working in the field that he loves. While the job doesn't always allow for us to travel or get away with each other too often, it's still an incredible experience for him, and after all, that's what this little Japanese adventure of ours over here is all about...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

South Korean Getaway, Part II

To read part one of our South Korean getaway, click here.

After Busan, we traveled up to South Korea's fourth largest city (and Naomi's current home) of Daegu with priorities being on dinner, full-out Korean style, of course:

And, thanks to a couple of Naomi's friends who just happen to have their own guest apartment (!!!), we were definitely hooked-up accommodation-wise:

We spent our time in Daegu wandering through the medicinal herb market, taking in the pretty fall leaves and beautiful weather, doing some shopping, and meeting some of Naomi's fellow English teachers. One of them, Rose, came along with us back to Seoul and assisted Naomi in serving as our deluxe tour/cultural-guides:

Heading back to Seoul for a little more time in the capital city before the end of our trip, we had a chance to wander around and take in the hip, artsy Hongdae University District:

And headed out for one last bright Korean night on the town:

Complete with the mother of all Korean culinary traditions: the Korean BBQ:

And, with amazing "luck," we just happened to be back in Seoul during the gorgeous Seoul Lantern Festival. I say "luck" because it seemed as if all of the rest of Seoul had the same idea as the area was literally stuffed with thousands of people! With camera in hand and perseverance galore, however, I was able to carve my way through the body-mass to get some shots of the saturated lanterns set up on the river. Naomi, Rose, and Meagan, however, decided to hit the bar and "visit" the festival through my photos instead. Wimps.

So, for our short little getaway to our closest neighboring land (by "our" I mean Japan as a whole...Hokkaido's closest neighbor is actually Russia!), I'd say we had a great little sampler of some of the best of South Korea. Not sure if I'll have a chance to make it back to SK on this Asian adventure (as I always say, "too many places to visit and not enough time..."), but if so, I'll make sure to leave on an extra empty stomach...