Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ho Ho etc..

Merry Christmas! My internet gift to you lucky readers is this Youtube clip of a monkey bullying a couple of tigers. Please enjoy.

Adam and I went on a day trip to Haruna shrine on Christmas Eve, easily one of the nicest shrines I’ve been to in Japan, and it’s only about an hour from home. Most shrines and pagodas are rebuilt as copies of the originals due to fires or earthquakes or bombings, but this one is the original structure, built in 1869. You can really feel the history in the faded paint and weathered wood. To get to it you have to hike alongside a mountain path lit by lanterns. Really nice. We packed a bento and drank some hot tea before hiking up to the top, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

At sunset we headed up to Lake Haruna at the top of the mountain, where there was a Christmas illumination show taking place. This was an involved production which culminated in Christmas lights, hand-holding couples, peevish adolescents in Santa suits, and a bubble machine. (Which was awesome because the bubbles froze in mid-air. Frozen bubbles. Frubbles, if you will.)

We caught a bus back home and bought some fried chicken for dinner. I could go my entire life without going into a KFC and be content, but Japanese eat fried chicken on Christmas, so I thought we’d do it their way this year. Japanese are also big fans of Christmas cake, so I decided to make one of those too. We don’t have an oven, so I made a cake in the rice cooker. This is completely reasonable, since most Japanese homes aren’t equipped with ovens or anything else that would encourage much baking. Rightly so, as baked goods in Japanese homes are doomed to failure. 7 hours after putting my cake in, I gave up waiting for it at 2 am and went to bed. After that time I turn into a surly underslept harpy and nothing good happens after 2 am anyway. The aftermath of it all was something more like a Christmas bagel. We dressed it up and ate it anyways.

Christmas morning was spent hunting down presents and opening packages from home. Thanks to everyone from home. All the gifts exceeded far beyond what I deserved for Christmas; namely pervasive neglect or a swift punch to the nose.

Also, I made Adam a Christmas TARDIS. I am the coolest.

Oh, and check out what Adam made me for Christmas. He was a slave to Microsoft Paint for 2 weeks in order to make this. Steampunk Santa! If you look closely, you can see a man riding a penny-farthing in the background. There's also a TARDIS if you can find it...


  1. How does one make cake in the rice cooker? I have an oven, but I'm still intrigued...

    That's a very nice TARDIS, Matt got a bunch of Mechtorians figurines from me, you should google it, cause they'd totally be up your alley.

  2. You just make up the batter, pour it into the rice cooker, and press cook. It takes a long time though; I had to repress cook like 5 times and it still wasn't done. After 2 I just had it on the warm setting overnight, which did it.

    I just googled Machtorians and do look awesome. I like how most of them have moustaches.