Tag Archives: SKP program

kelseydo July Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya

I have really enjoyed watching Sumo on TV in Japan so I knew I needed to go see it live! Thankfully on Saturday I got to do just that.  It was surreal!

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Unfortunately the video just doesn’t do it justice! You have to see it to believe it of course. We had to leave early to attend a farewell party for the Study in Kyoto Program so we missed some of the more famous Osumo-sans at the end. One of our friends stayed behind and got to see an undefeated Yokozuna (the top level champion) be beaten by a non-Yokozuna. This was apparently a big deal because the crowd went wild and everyone started throwing their purple seat cushions into the ring! Sounds epic!

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kelseydo Guerilla Rain

Guerilla rain is a sudden downpour of rain, especially in a narrow zone in an urban area. Lately, we’ve been having a lot of Guerilla rain! It is really surprising and intense sometimes. This one only lasted about 10 minutes.

Guerilla Rain!

Guerilla Rain!

After the storm

After the storm

I didn’t get a chance to take a photo before when it was sunny because it happened so fast!

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kelseydo Nikujaga with Megumi-chan

This is the meat-and-potato stew of Japanese comfort food. We had quite a thunderstorm today so it was nice to have some mid-summer stew.

My friend Megumi came over to show me how to make Nikujaga, a very simple and delicious dish. Megumi is coming to visit me in Canada in about a month so I decided to show her pictures of wildlife in Canada: Moose, Grizzlies, Killer Whales, Cougars; just to scare the crap out of her before she comes! Of course I doubt we will get to see any of those animals. Hopefully Killer Whales! The rest I am happy to see in photos rather than real life. Anyways, Nikujaga.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Chef Megumi

Chef Megumi

All you need to make the dish is a little oil, dashi, soy sauce, sugar, salt, carrots, potatoes and pork. We also needed a little sake but I didn’t have any open bottles: if you can believe it. I’ve seen other recipes that call for green beans, shitake mushrooms and use beef instead of pork as well.

Fry up the meat with a little oil

Fry up the meat with a little oil

Add the veggies

Add the veggies

Add the seasoning: dashi, soy sauce, salt, sugar and sake

Add water, then seasoning: dashi, soy sauce, salt, sugar and sake

Cover the cooking meat and veggies with baking paper to seal in the steam and to ensure uniform cooking and flavour

Cover the cooking meat and veggies with baking paper to seal in the steam and to ensure uniform cooking and flavour

Ta-da! Nikujaga….

Itadakimasu!

Itadakimasu!

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kelseydo yakisoba

Yakisoba is a fried noodle dish that is super easy to make, really cheap, nutritious and delicious. Also, the grocery store near my house: Gyomu, practically caters to making this dish with its perfect packaging and  great deals. It’s also something I can easily make once I return home to remind me of Japan! It’s not a very authentic way to make it but it’s still really delicious.

Ingredients

Ingredients

I like to use eggplant, spinach and red pepper to get a lot of colour in the dish since the soba noodles are kind of a dull brown colour. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, which despite the name, is not made of wheat at all-it is more closely related to sorrel or rhubarb. It’s safe for people to eat who have celiac disease or gluten allergies. 

It comes in these really convenient one portion bags and it is already partially cooked so its ready-to-fry. You can also buy raw soba noodles and boil them for a few minutes before adding them to the mix but they are finicky to get cooked right for this dish. The bags are 15 yen so it’s actually a lot cheaper than buying the raw soba noodles.

Soba

Soba

I fry the chicken first, in sesame oil with some garlic powder and chili powder. Once it’s cooked on all sides I throw in the chopped up vegetables.

Frying up some goods

Frying up some goods

Once the vegetables are almost cooked I add the noodles straight from the bag. The trick is to add two heaping tablespoons of Tonkatsu sauce on top of the noodles before you mix them in so that the noodles don’t stick together too much. You might also want to turn down the heat a bit when you first add the noodles as well. Once the noodles are cooked, only after a few minutes, it’s done! Whew, that was easy.

Add some sesame seeds on top. It tastes good, it’s healthy, and it always makes a dish look pro.

Voila

Voila

This isn’t really the most beautiful looking dish but it really is delicious. AND did I mention cheap?

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kelseydo Spinning Thread

In one of my classes at Ritsumeikan, Service Learning, we learn about social issues, community and not-for-profit organizations (NPO). The course is taught half in the classroom and half through field work in Ritsumeikan’s neighbourhood and the local community in Kyoto.

Last week I got the chance to visit a local community radio station, Radio Cafe, which in part is an actual cafe where they do live recordings, and also a conventional radio station. The cafe was really cool and had this amazing sliding door made out of some kind of crazy soap stone mosaic (at least that’s what it looked like to me). The people in the cafe seemed really down to earth but also quite hip- kind of like Main Street in Vancouver but not trying as hard.

Radio Cafe Paraphenelia

We took a look at the radio station and got a run down from the head honcho and our teacher about their recent work on staying connected with people and stories from the areas and communities affected by the 3/11 natural disaster in Japan. Because they are a community based radio station and not in the mainstream media, they were able to do more personable interviews with survivors, researchers and experts on the subject of the disaster. When the natural disaster occurred on 3/11 a lot of people couldn’t connect to the internet or watch TV to gather news or information, but they could listen to the radio.

At Radio Cafe, they believe it is important to keep sharing the stories and happenings in these communities beyond  3/11 to inspire people to become more proactive within their own communities. They’ve inspired a lot of other areas to start up their own local community radio stations as well, which is pretty cool. In our class we will work on creating a type of broadcast that we will record and send to a local community centre near Sendai in an area that was affected by 3/11.

Another cool project we got to work on today was making thread from cotton balls. Our teacher is involved in a program that teaches communities, recently in the areas affected by the 3/11 disaster, how to grow their own cotton so that they can make their own clothes and become more self-sufficient.

Removing the seeds from the cotton (harvested by our teacher in Ohara) and making the cotton “fluffy”

Spinning thread

Photo op. I already spun my thread but I just wanted to prove to you I was there.

My spindle of thread…kinda lumpy…the teacher was real nice about it, she said it was cute. Of course the Japanese students had PERFECT spindles.

In the end, we will dye the thread in Ohara with vegetable dye and then weave it into a tapestry that we will send to one of the local communities that our teacher worked in after 3/11.

I planned to take a trip to Japan in the summer of 2011, but because of the disaster, Nick and I changed our plans and went to Southeast Asia. It didn’t seem like a good time to be a tourist in a country that was trying to put the pieces back together. I always felt like I wanted to contribute something to support or aid of the disaster affected area but I wasn’t sure what I would do. I think this class has helped me become connected to the communities that were directly affected more than I expected to in Kyoto, miles away. I hope this is just the beginning and that I can make some even more meaningful contributions in the future!

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