Monday, September 29, 2014

Prepaid cash cards, Japanese local government, Japanese curry, and Tokyo apartments

While I didn't get everything done I wanted to today, I did get as many things done as I had planned, so that's kind of the same. Right?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finally, my first night out. HUB, anime conversation, and taiko gaming.

While I have not been thrilled with HUB before (it's a self-styled British pub chain, and a hangout for expats in Japan), this time I was fortunate enough to be in very good company, with a gentleman I know from Minnesota and several of his Japanese friends, who have varying degrees of English prowess. Which always makes for a lot of fun and learning opportunities for everyone.

More walking. Oh, Tokyo. But also: Hot dogs and Engrish!

Today was fun; met up with a friend and... you know the quote. Long is the way, and hard, that out of Shinjuku pretty much just leads back into Shinjuku. If I had friends anywhere near the share house I'd really, really enjoy a day of not walking everywhere, but I don't think I'll get that for a while, what with all the bureaucracy I still have to deal with before school starts. Oh well.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another day, another few miles of walking, but also a phone!

Very much no thanks to the jerk at SoftBank Roppongi that told me yesterday he simply could not start a mobile service contract for me until I had an address on the back of my resident card (which they put there at a local government office, and which I'm trying to avoid doing until I have a permanent place, though that's not extremely likely at this point), that is.

Friday, September 26, 2014

First full day in Tokyo (well, this time, at least)

This was my schedule. Not that it was planned, but this is how it turned out.

I've landed! Well, last night. TOKYO!

I got in at 4:35 PM (sorry, 16:45; I really need to get used to that) at Narita. Despite my expectation that immigration would be a major hassle, due to having to pick up my alien registration card for my student visa, it went pretty smoothly; it took barely longer than it did when I came here as a tourist. So I do have my card, which is cool!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

One week to go.

In seven days I'll be... well, at this time I'll probably be bumming around LAX waiting for my flight to Narita.

My car has been sold (well, tentatively, but the only way it wouldn't go through is if I wreck it before I hand it over Monday morning) and we're trying desperately to find new homes for all the stuff in our apartment. It's... not going extremely well. The books have been sold or donated, and I've managed to get rid of one of my computers, but other than that no one seems to be biting.

This will probably end up meaning a pretty big donation to a local thrift shop.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seasoned black beans with onion and tomato recipe

I love black beans, but they can be a bit bland on their own, and a little doctoring can make them much better. I happened to have a can of diced tomatoes and an onion, so I picked up a can of beans and winged it. The results were pretty good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Carnitas (seared and braised pork) recipe

When I first started making "carnitas" it turned out the recipe I found (which was either this one or the same thing posted somewhere else), despite being quite good, was totally wrong. I still make it, but it's pretty much just pulled pork, so when I actually want carnitas I do them this way.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wontalians! (wontons/gyoza, Italian style)

After being inspired by a gyoza recipe that included whole shiso leaves (something we unfortunately don't commonly find in Minnesota), I decided to use basil instead... and to swap out the normal Japanese style filling with something much closer to an Italian meatball. To those of you now saying I have an irrational obsession with well, I disagree. It's entirely rational.

Mie Goreng... coleslaw... recipe

After falling in love with Indomie Mi Goreng instant noodles (yeah, I definitely slum it for a quick meal once in a while), I tried making the seasoning from scratch, which was very good but not very accurate.

Not quite sure why it took so long, though, to actually try to make the dish it was supposedly based on (or at least named after). So I took a look at -- surprise! -- the NoRecipes version of this dish and tweaked the heck out of it for my own dastardly purposes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Got my visa. Just booked a flight to Tokyo!

This morning (bright and early; thanks, FedEx) I got my passport back from the Chicago consulate with my student visa in place. Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crock pot beef and mushroom stew recipe

I'm not sure whether beef was cheaper when I was in college, whether beef is or was cheaper in Iowa, or whether I just wasn't quite so thrifty as I thought. Whatever the reason, I always had this in my head as a cheap recipe. Granted, I think it does still give you a pretty good quantity of food per buck, but it doesn't qualify as cheap.

All you really need for this is a crockpot and a can opener.

Friday, September 5, 2014

And it's here! The Certificate Arrives.

My certificate of eligibility arrived today! So that's pretty awesome; I'll be filling out the final application tonight and sending it along to the Japanese consulate in Chicago tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Honey Lemon Chicken (via

My favorite source of recipes, by far (and ironically), is Marc Matsumoto's Today one of the things I'm cooking is his Honey Lemon Chicken, the recipe for which was posted on his column rather than his own blog.