Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grapes and Blue Bums

This week has been a bit of an education. I've learned some things about my host country that would never have occurred to me in a million years.

The Japanese don't eat the skin of grapes.

Or the skin of peaches. They just don't like the texture. Interesting.

Lastly....don't judge me.

My class are swimming a lot of late and I have to help them change because they are tiny and have the spatial awareness of roller skate wearing giraffes.

Think I am kidding?

The kids have to lay their clothes on the ground before picking them up... Anyway. One of my kids had this blue spot on their butt. I immediately starting thinking about checking out the parents but then I realised other kids in the class had them too. Instead of wondering about the child rearing practises of my community I asked a colleague about it. Turns out it is a genetic thing called a 'Mongolian spot'. It's common amongst East Asians, Polynesians and Native Americans.

According to wikipedia -
"The blue colour is caused by melanocytes, melanin-containing cells, that are deep under the skin. Usually, as multiple spots or one large patch, it covers one or more of the lumbosacral area (lower back), the buttocks, flanks, and shoulders. It results from the entrapment of melanocytes in the dermis during their migration from the neural crest to the epidermis during embryonic development."

It usually goes away after 3-5 years or before puberty.

It has been the cause of many unfounded accusations of parental abuse. Having seen the colour and the resemblance to bruises I can't say I am surprised.

Now I am educated.

*Mongolian spot affected child photo provided by Wikipedia. Not anyone I know.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pizza just ain't the same

If I had to choose between sweet and savory I would choose the the latter every time. I knew that coming to Japan would drastically change my eating habits and what was available to me but it hasn't been that bad. I miss roasts to a degree that hurts and I am definitely iron deficient from the lack of red meat but there's fantastic miso soup, yummy sushi, delicious eel and a whole host of other weird but taste tingling variations on western food.

But pizza isn't the same.

It isn't even in the same universe.

I didn't eat that much pizza to begin with back home but the foods that I am yearning for are the ones I ate infrequently - roasts, steak, pizza, etc

They have pizza here but it's just not the same. It's good but not the same.

Here for instance is the margarita pizza that I ate at the soccer stadium. It was the best piece of pizza I've had since I got here and it really doesn't look like much at all.

This is the weirdest pizza I've had since coming to Japan - the salad pizza. And believe me when I say it was really, really good.
Bring it on NYC...hit me with your caloric, cheesy best!