Sunday, March 20, 2022
Since I knew if I had a third vaccination, I was not required to be quarantined at the hotel after arriving in Japan from Boston, I decided to get it while I was in Boston although I had a little hesitation about it before. A couple of my friends in Boston advised me to drink a lot of water after vaccination, so maybe because of that, I didn't get any serious side effects which made me relieved.
The PCR test which we need to take before boarding is very expensive in both US and Japan, but we can not avoid it to get on board without negative proof of it, so I went to the facility to take the test and get the proof after 45 minutes waiting for the result in Logan airport. In the plane, crew members put face covering, goggles and gloves in the cabin and wore protective suits during meal service. I guessed they cut the time of serving because of trying not to contact passengers very much. Since the number of the passengers was much smaller than the flight before covid-19 epidemic, we could stay relaxed in the airplane but still the flight time between Boston and Tokyo is very long, about 14 hrs.
The situation must be different depending on the airport and arrival time, when I arrived at Narita airport, I was put in a group along with all other passengers from the same plane. We needed to take a long walk to reach the quarantine area and waited for over two hours on the folding seat. There was a mother with a baby and a family with small children among our group, and it must have been tough for them but nobody complained about the long wait. Finally it was our turn and checked several kinds of documents, PCR test, accessing each one's smartphone for checking health condition, location, etc. and the total time was 3.5 hours. Usually I get back to my home which is in the west district of Japan within the same day of arrival but this time I was so late so I decided to ask my friend to stay over on that night and came back home the next day. Foreigners are not allowed to come to Japan but even in that situation, it takes such a long time. I wonder what it will be like from now on.
Sunday, March 13, 2022
この店で先日「Mochi Cake Mix」が売出し中でした。カフェで「もち粉ケーキ」を作っている私としては気になるこの商品。箱書きには「モチのような粘りのあるハワイ風のケーキ」とあり、早速購入して家で作ってみることにしました。
There is a chain market,TRADER JOE'S ,which is not as big as a common supermarket but they sell many interesting items such as organic foods, imported products, and frozen foods, which are a little different from other markets. Shopkeepers at Trader Joe's are very friendly and they used to wear Aloha shirts but when I went to the shop the other day, they were wearing sweatshirts maybe because it is still winter season now.
I found "Mochi Cake Mix" there and I was interested in it because I wondered how it is different from the "Mochi-ko Cake" in my cafe. "A Hawaiian inspired cake with a chewy mochi texture" was the description of the cake, so I decided to buy and make it.
Mix Mochi cake mix and water first, and add butter and eggs, then pour into the pan. Bake 50 min. in a 350°F oven. As a result, the finished product looked almost the same as the photo on the box. Since there was much sugar already in the cake mix, it was too sweet for me but it was indeed chewy like Mochi. As for "Mochi-ko Cake" in my cafe, I use egg but not butter, and put milk instead of water. I also use light brown sugar and put red bean paste instead of white sugar. I baked a more puffy cake because I put a little baking powder.
Are you asking which one is good? Of course Taga Asahiya's Mochiko Cake is the best!
Thursday, March 10, 2022
家のそばの道路の反対側は人工池でその向こうには市の高校があります。留守にしていた三年の間に中高一体の新しい校舎が建てられ、新しい道も信号も増えました。その信号は押しボタン式で、押すと「Wait!（待て！）」と男性の声が出ます。押してから声が出るまで間髪入れないタイミング、しかも出てくる声が男性というのが日本の生活に馴染んでいる私には意外で、これが面白くて笑えます。他の信号は同様にWait！と言って少し置いて同じ声で「Walk sign is on to cross.（横断サインが点いてます）」というのが三回続きます。
Across from my house on the opposite side of the road, there is an artificial pond, and there is the Belmont city high school beyond the pond. While I was away from Boston for about three years, a new high school combined with middle school was built and new roads and traffic lights were also made. There are push button signals. The other day, I tried one of them, then I heard a male voice say, "Wait!". I heard the voice at almost the same time I pressed the button. It surprised me as someone who has been living in Japan these years because we usually hear female voices and male voices are very rare. It also made me laugh somehow. There is another type of push button signal which comes out with the same voice, wait!, then after a few seconds, I could hear "Walk sign is on to cross" three times.
I wonder if we have this type of signal in Japan. These are for people who have problems with their eyesight and most of them are female voices. At the push button signals, we often hear electronic music or electronic bird voices. We seldom hear male voices and I like it!
Monday, March 7, 2022
もはや出番がなくなったスーツやスカートなどは長年仕事ができたことへの感謝とともにゴミとしてごっそり出しましたが、セーターやシャツ、コートなどまだまだ活躍できそうな衣類はまとめてガソリンスタンド脇にあるRecycling Bin (リサイクル箱)に入れました。誰かの役に立てば嬉しいです。別のガソリンスタンドには同じような赤十字のリサイクル箱が置いてありました。連日映像で入ってくるウクライナから逃れ出る母子の姿が目に浮かびますが、彼らへの支援はやはり募金の方がいいのでしょう。
I didn't clean up my house for a long time with my excuse being that my stay in the US was too short to do it, but this time since my stay is much longer than usual, I decided to remove unnecessary things. In Japan they ask us to separate the garbage by type and there are too many categories which makes me confused sometimes, but in my place in the US we need to separate only "recycle garbage" and "nonrecyclable garbage". As for household electric appliances waste, we call the city hall to set the date and put a sticker to let them know it is waste and put it in front of the house, then they will take it away.
I packed all stuff such as suits and skirts which I wore when I was teaching at the college and do not need any longer, put them into a garbage bin, but I brought other clothing such as sweaters, shirts and coats which were still good, to the Recycle Bins which are located at the corner at a nearby gas station hoping somebody will use them. I found a similar Recycle Bin which is organized by the Red Cross at a different gas station. Everyday many video clips are coming into our eyes which show mothers and children who are escaping from Ukraine which make us feel so sad. I think the thing we can do for them is probably to donate money rather than clothing.
Sunday, March 6, 2022
I have a friend who is an emeritus professor of the college where I used to work and both she and her husband have been warmly supporting me even after I have already left and moved to Japan. I met them with my daughter at a Chinese restaurant and we were treated to Dim Sum and Seafood dishes. While I was overwhelmed by the many kinds of dim sum such as steamed dumplings, her husband kindly put them on the small dish which was in front of me. The most surprising dish was a big plate of lobster with ginger and scallion sauce cooked in the Chinese way. When I ate steamed lobster with lemon butter sauce, it was a long time ago and I was not expecting to have such a gorgeous dish for us on this day. It came with sauteed Chinese green leaves. Since I hadn't had Authentic Chinese food recently, I ate a lot of what was offered and my stomach was full. They had just returned from Nevada where they hiked in the desert for days, so we had a good talk about their experience. It was a really wonderful lunch and I thanked them so much, but I was feeling bad because I did nothing in return.
They gave some gifts to me and among them was a Native American Dream Catcher. It is said that if you hang it by the window or at the head of your bed, the bad dreams get caught in the web and the good dreams work their way through the hole in the center. At this moment, unbelievable destruction which is much worse than bad dreams is happening in Ukraine. Wishing they get back to their normal peaceful days immediately.
Friday, March 4, 2022
I had a dental appointment today. It has been almost three years since my last visit to the dentist, so I was taken for an X-ray first then moved to remove tartar. Today's hygienist was Lexi and she was very friendly. I told her that I had a toothache in my right upper rear tooth about a half year ago and Lexi seemed to have reported it to the doctor. Shortly, Dr. Lapidus came into the room and checked my teeth. It seemed that he didn't find any problem with my teeth, he said that he was going to wait until next time and see it again. Lexi worked on my tartar removal again. I thought that Dr. Lapidus had more gray hair than the last time I met three years ago. Listening to light rock music from the speakers in the ceiling, Lexi was talking to me about the clinic being closed for two and half months because of Covid-19, that everybody was so tense even after the clinic opened again, and the strict protection for Covid-19 both on the clinical and patient sides at the beginning because nobody knew what covid-19 was. I rinsed my mouth and she did peppermint floss for me, then everything was over. I felt so fresh and told her about it. Lexi said "Yay!". She gave me a Goodie Bag which contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lip cream and toothbrush cap. I think the dental service is good, maybe because we pay a high monthly insurance fee.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
I was recommended by my friend that baby oil is better than olive oil to remove makeup, so I went to a drug store to buy baby oil and switched to baby oil from olive oil by replacing a bottle from the kitchen with a small bottle. It was because baby oil was less expensive than olive oil. Well, this time I decided to buy baby oil in Boston rather than bringing it from Japan. The day after I arrived in Boston, I went to the pharmacy to find baby oil for travellers. There was only a bigger size at the first shop, and then at the second shop I found one in an appropriate size. The bottle was very small and the letters were also small. Although I recognized the word "Baby" I couldn't read the rest. It seemed pretty much like Baby Oil and there was no such thing on the shelf, so I purchased it. I had been using it for a couple of days as a remover of makeup with a little strange feeling about it. I thought that it was because these are products from two different countries, JPN & US. Today, I looked at the bottle with my glasses and read the small letters. It said "Baby Shampoo". I felt silly again! I didn't involve other people in my mistake, which was good, though.