December 15, 2008

Sumo in Fukuoka

I made it to the Kyushu Basho in Fukuoka last month, and the sumo was good fun and entertaining as always. I hope to make it an annual trip. If you have the opportunity to go, do it! Even if you think it might not might be your cup of tea, it will be a great cultural experience and you'll get to see your fellow Japanese spectators in a more relaxed and jovial atmosphere. But enough reading already, watch the video. お願いします.

More Information: wikipedia or the official Grand Sumo web page here.

December 12, 2008

JLPT! Put it in the Bank

On December 7th, I took the JLPT. No horror story here, I was prepared and nothing really surprised me. Put this one in the bank baby. It was actually nice to take a test again. I've been missing the pressure that requires you to focus all your attention on one object and come as close to perfection as possible. I took level 3 this year and will most likely take level 2 next year, though it will not be the primary focus of my Japanese studies. Check the above video for a full recap plus some other footage.

December 3, 2008

Tangy & Spicy Udon


  • Shitake Dashi (or make your own broth by throwing some shiitake mushrooms in hot water)
  • Sesame oil (a good drizzle)
  • Soy Sauce ( a glug)
  • Crushed red pepper (a good sprinkle)
  • Cayenne pepper (a good sprinkle)
  • Vinegar (a glug slightly less than that of the soy sauce)

Main dish:

  • Lettuce (spinach or your favorite variety)
  • Chicken sausage thinly sliced
  • Fresh shitake mushrooms
  • Kitsune (fried bean curd)
  • Kimchi
  • Crab (imitation is fine)


  • Udon noodles


  • Combine broth ingredients and bring to a boil
  • In another pan, combine main dish ingredients except for crab and lettuce
  • Bring another pot of water to boil, add udon noodles and let boil for 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  • Add lettuce to main dish pan and allow it to wilt
  • Put noodles in serving bowl
  • Pour broth over noodles
  • Add main ingredients on top of noodles
  • Top with crab