Treasures from yesterday.
- These umeboshi sweets from Muji look like jewels, right? They're just sugar-and-water boiled sweets, but with a piece of dried pickled plum inside to make a sort of sweet-and-sour flavour combination. So freaking pretty.
- I also picked up these apple & sweet potato biscuits - can't find a link for 'em - which are SHAPED LIKE BEARS, OMGYAY.
- Okay, let's talk about natto (fermented soy beans). I was out for a meal with my English department on Wednesday, and they asked me if I liked Japanese food, so of course I was like, 'hellyeahfood.' I've found that, in general, Japanese people love to take this as a challenge: 'Ah, but will you eat raw fish?' 'I love sashimi!' I sing out, ruining their fun. They exchange glances, then pull out the big guns. 'But do you like... natto?!?'
I hesitate. 'I haven't tried natto yet.'
They look satisfied. 'No foreigner likes natto. Try natto!'
WHAT. IF YOU KNOW IT'S GROSS, WHY IS IT A THING?!?
So, I totally tried natto. It comes in a little foam box, and the industrial sealing should serve as a warning to all who try to open it, because this shit stinks. Like, every time I left the kitchen and came back in it hit me again. My flat smells of natto. My clothes smell of natto. My natto-eating-attempt is immortalised in a permanent funky sort of smell. And then, once you've opened it and are breathing through your mouth, you have to give it a really good stir with chopsticks until it goes kind of sticky and spider-webby and like something you'd pull out of a blocked drain, and then you eat it with rice.
Okay, listen up, English teachers. It ain't even that bad. Once you've permanently ruined your sense of smell and stopped noticing it, you can concentrate on what it actually tastes of, which is not much. Maybe this is purely out of misplaced pride, but I'm not even against it. Do I win the challenge?
- Matcha soy frappuccino in Starbucks yesterday. Yeah, they gave me soy milk... and cream. Not sure I understand the logic there, but I drank it, and it was awesome.
- The sky as I got off the train last night, with a new red acoustic guitar slung over one shoulder and a shopping bag including such I can't stop impulse buying in this country bizarre goods as a fake, hollowed-out book, two little candles shaped like cakes, and houmous, I found houmous, yay! The world is beautiful.
I also want to say thanks to the commenters on my last post about (not) being vegan in Japan; I'd been arguing with myself for weeks over whether I was really choosing to live in the moment, or just backing down over my principles for selfish reasons. I want to make it clear that my principles haven't changed, and if/when my situation next changes I'll consider again. I still feel vegan on the inside, haha. But Natalie left this comment, and I really want to share it:
I actually had almost the EXACT same experience when I went to Italy to study abroad last year. I remember being served up freshly made mozzarella, as well as steak that four lovely grandmothers had cooked with such love and tenderness. In order to experience the culture fully I really had to immerse myself, and I think that was worth it. Sometimes you just gotta live your life, and don't worry about what other people say! Be in the moment and make sure every moment is the way you wanna live it!
Have a beautiful day.