December 30, 2006

Hoshigaki


Yes, it looks like an old fashioned hot water bottle, or a small torpedo. But it's a little slice of heaven. This is hoshigaki (preserved persimmon), which I had for the first time in my in-flight meal on my way to Japan. I saw hoshigaki at a market when I came home, and Mr Santa Guy was sweet enough to buy them for me for Christmas.

Turns out that Big Sister Guy knew all about them, because she'd been on a small farm tour in the past few years at a place where they perform the process that turns beautiful but inedible persimmons into to this fabulous taste treat. For more on the process, which is a dying artform, read this article.

Yum.

December 29, 2006

Koriyama, Best Little City in Need of a Postcard

Many people go to Tokyo but not that many go to Koriyama, a smallish city 3 hours north by bullet train. And that's why I was excited that we sent the forklifts there, and me after them. In October, AV-san and I went there to pack them up.

Work was smooth-smooth-smooth. And AV had been there before, so he knew the lay of the land and showed me around in our off hours. There are no post cards of Koriyama. There are only, as AV points out, post cards of things you could see if you only had a car and could drive 20 minutes away from there. However, there's lots to love about the place.

In Koriyama you can find vintage clothing. It's all American. Some of it's from my home town, and AV and I sent word to the former owner of one home town gym shirt that her castoffs were halfway to making some local teen look *really* hip.




Some of the best Chinese food I've had in my life was in Koriyama. AV would argue that it *is* the best Chinese food in the world. I don't really care, but it was tasty. And after we ate at AV's fave restaurant, we went out for a nightcap on the QT with our friend at an amazing restaurant with gorgeous traditional music and local color. This is a detail of my favorite picture from that night. What you don't see is the AV and Mrs Guy show in the foreground. What you *do* see is what our friend could see between us. I'm leaving the picture sorta large so you can zoom in if you like:



And in Koriyama, you can get a killer haircut.

For those going to Koriyama, go to Prea Salon in the basement of Hotel Precede. They'll totally hook you up and restore cuteness where before was only a barren conglomeration of random aimless hair. No really. Just consult your phrase book, write down the phrases for "I'd like a haircut," "How much," "Can you write that down for me" and whatever time you want to make an appointment for, and speak the words.

Language. It works! We had smiles all around:






And Koriyama has some of the best sushi around. Who needs a picture of sushi, so just trust me. In Koriyama, the people are so very nice. Take the plunge and go to a sushi restaurant with no english on the menu. Bring your phrase book, try to remember stuff you order back home, and point if you see something that looks tasty. You're free entertainment for the other customers (or at least we were), and you'll have an amazing time. I'm still expecting an email from our young chef-in-training.

He likes forklifts.


December 28, 2006

The Greater Guy Family Christmas

Enchiladas, krumkakke, laughing.

Followed by the beach, Cheez-its, and planning when we'll do this again.

My people.

December 27, 2006

Soul Brother #1

I guess this is the appropriate time for my one James Brown story, from way back when mrs guy was still Miss Somebody Else.

So...back in the day, the fanciest hotel in town only booked big orchestras and "champagne music" for its swankiest room (let's call it The Firenze Room). By the end of the 20th century, however, they wanted to change their image and draw a new crowd, so they hired James Brown to be the first act of the new era. Boyfriend and I were big JB fans, so we made reservations for the first night of his engagement at the Firenze Room.

The night of the show, I got off early from my job at the diner. I ducked into the diner bathroom to change into my "fancy" clothes, Boyfriend and I got into my 1968 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 named Maceo (after Maceo Parker of JB's band) and we headed to the big city.

And we got to the hotel too early, because we were eager to get a good table. As they were about to seat us, a tiny man came up to the host and said "The man's READY." The host stammered "But he's not supposed to go on for 45 minutes!" and the little guy countered with "Well you better call Room 225" (or whatever it was).

It was clear what we'd just seen. James wanted to go on, but the venue wasn't ready for him and most of the audience hadn't arrived yet. Drama in real life! We'd already gotten our money's worth, as far as I was concerned.

We sipped a martini and waited for the intro:

"FIFTYtwo-years-old-and-the-hardest-working-man-in-showbusiness-Mr-Ja-a-a-a-a-a-mes Brown!" The show was awesome. The singing. The cape. The whole deal. There is nobody like James Brown. The only drag was that he waged a battle with the sound guy. He stopped the show several times and threatened to walk off the stage if the sound man didn't turn up the volume. It didn't seem like part of the act. Oh well. An artist of James Brown's caliber has exacting standards, right? Oh Honey, you don't know the half of it.

After the show, we loitered. We left messages with the front desk for our "close personal friend" Mr James Brown. We were total dorks, as only very young people fueled by expensive martinis can be.

And then when we thought he had enough time to get to his room, we used the power. We went up to room 225 and for a half hour, Boyfriend and I leaned against the wall on either side of the door and smoked cigarettes and listened to Soul Brother #1 chew out his band. They were so amazing that I was shocked that he found things to pick on. It's been quite some time, so I only recall one thing clearly: he took time for a little choreography. "...and when I do THIS" followed by a trademark JB gutteral !hooh! and some unknown gesture or movement "...I want you to come in real low."

That's it, really. Hate to wind you up for a story with no ending, but the man was ready yesterday, and wherever he went is scrambling to prepare, I'm sure.

December 22, 2006

Goosemas

It's difficult to believe that it's already Goosemas.

Not long ago it was guava season.














Then it was foggy.



















And now Porkopola and Fritz are festive northerners, Santa and Mrs. Goose.



















The factory is closed until the 2nd, and all is well with the world.


Peace.

December 12, 2006

Mele Kalikimaka

Tonight was the uke band holiday party. Mr Guy and I worked up two songs: Kaua'i Beauty and Kaimana Hila (in case of hana hou). It was so much fun. I call the potlucks "the potluck of the gods" because everybody is such a good cook. Banana lumpia? Doesn't get much better than that!

But everybody brings something to share, whether it's food or their wonderful energy, or they dance a beautiful hula or they play a song. It made for a tremendous night. I feel very lucky to be one of their members.

I got schnookered by Auntie Spunky. As I came in she asked me to sign up to play, then she asked me to sign other people up to play, then she was onstage and they asked me to tell them who was next, and when they reeled me into reach they put a mic in my hand and asked me to keep the list going. Then eventually Uncle Jr set me up with the cordless, and I could MC and snipe from the bushes and still eat my dinner between songs and keep the list going. It was very fun.

I was asked to add witty patter, which really isn't my thing. "Tell a librarian joke!" they yelled. There aren't any, so I started one that can't be finished: "These two librarians walk into a bar..."

Google this as a phrase. There aren't any hits! Until now, of course.
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