Monthly Archives: September 2014

Black Thunder….that is all….

IMG_0165

For those of you who can’t read in Japanese, the name of this little candy bar is exactly what the title says it is. The name of this candy bar is Black Thunder (Burakku Sandaa). It’s fricken delicious is what it really is.

IMG_0166

This small candy bar, which can be purchased for around fifty cents, is  a delicious combination of cookie and chocolate. The inside is a lovely light cookie that reminds me a bit of the cookie part of an Oreo. There are little crispy rice puffs dispersed through out the inside as well. To top it all off there is a thin, delicious coating of chocolate on the outside. Silly title, yes, but it’s delicious all the same.

Advertisements

Pizza hut and some interesting fall specials

IMG_0163

This past Friday night Adam and I were having a hankering for pizza. Yes, I realize that going to a foreign country should mean loving all the new stuff. I do, but sometimes you just need a little taste of home.

Pizza hut, should be a safe choice. Yes, but only if you actually read the menu, a few times, and then double check what you’ve already read. Adam and I both love Korean food. Korean style meat is pretty popular in Japan. Should be safe to have a Korean style meat pizza.

IMG_0162

Apparently, at the moment, for some reason I’ve yet to figure out, horse has become the big fall special in Japan. The horse pizza is the bottom half of the pizza. That is exactly what we had on our pizza. I’m not saying that I’d seek it out, but, and I hate myself a little for this part, it was tasty. It was slightly sweeter than other meats I’ve tried and it also melted away you chewed. It was strangely delicious.

The other side of the pizza was less adventurous. It was a teriyaki chicken style pizza with big slices of chicken. The chicken pizza had mayonnaise, of course, corn, and cheese. We also got the pizza with a super awesome sausage crust. It had cheese and sausage rolled into the ends of the slices. That we will definitely do again.

Unlike the states though, we got a large pizza that was about the same size as a small in the states. It’s probably better that way. It means we eat less which has contributed to both of our weight loss. Tasty and strange all rolled into one.

Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 2: Mission Acquired

Adette segment photo 2

Chapter two of my new fiction series is up and ready to go. Please go check it out. Adette gets her mission and a new friend. The friend and the mission are both not quite what she expected.

Just the paper alone reeked of magic. Adette ignored the urge to wipe her fingers on her skirt. Instead, she unfolded the flaps of the otherwise perfectly smooth paper. Before she even saw what was inside, she knew who it was from.

Dear Trainee Witch or Wizard,

“Personal,” she said to no one in particular. “Maybe if I’m lucky, they’ll use my name someday.”

It is our pleasure to finally deliver your graduation task. We hope that your time in your new location has allowed you to settle in and adjust to the people and surroundings.

After a great deal of consideration, you were sent to this specific location. Your task is unique to the environment. No one task is the same. Hopefully you will find that its completion is fulfilling and rewarding. Good luck!

                                                                        Sincerely

                                                The Elder Council of United Witches and Wizards

Adette was so baffled by the complete lack of real information that she nearly missed the tiny post script written in a separate script at the bottom.

P.S. Adette, as yours is a special case, I’ve been allowed to give you an extra piece of information. Your town is in a difficult situation. For reasons we will not yet reveal, you are particularly suited to the task of ridding the town of its problems. Naturally, you must use your powers to do this. However, under no circumstances can you be seen using them by anyone who does not possess magical powers themselves. If you are seen, the consequences will be extremely severe. For your own sake, do not be seen.

                                                                        Hopefully,

                                                                        Senior Elder Vidar

“What the hell does that mean?” she asked the trees around her. They didn’t answer her. The one just behind her considered it, but they hadn’t been properly introduced. Absently, she folded the paper back into quarters.

She thrust the note into her dress pocket, whirled around, and stormed back the way she’d come. The tall grass rustled and lashed at her skirt as she made her way through the field and back to the road. Her bag, now a soggy brown mess, sat waiting on the curb where she’d left it. Adette grumbled as she scooped the bag into her arms. She took special care to cradle the bottom.

Normally she’d enjoy the beautiful, old, arching trees, the bright sunlight, and the river that ran toward her cabin as she made her way home. Not today. The scenery passed by unnoticed. It was obscured by the unclear thoughts tumbling through her head.

Adette continued to work through small parts of the letter aloud as she stepped through the front door of her small cobblestone cottage. The bottom of the bag gave out just as she lowered it upon her small wooden counter. Eggs rattled ominously in the cartoon but none broke. Parts of the bread had gone slightly soggy. It had to be set somewhere to dry out a little. The bottle of milk crashed down onto the shelf in the refrigerator. Adette slammed the metal door shut and stared at the pile of produce still mocking her on the counter.

“I’m not dealing with you now.” She addressed the pile, narrowed her eyes, and dared the vegetables to talk back to her. Of course, they didn’t. They had been picked and were therefore already dead.

Adette fished a pitcher of lemonade out of the fridge and a glass from the cupboard. The liquid sloshed around the bottom of the glass as she poured. With both pitcher and cup in hand, she stomped out onto the porch. She settled into the chair and sighed. Beyond the porch, the grass rustled. Then it rustled again. Something was coming.

“Now what?” Adette’s glass clanked down onto the stone table top. Her heels clacked across the wood. Beyond the shrubs she saw a flash of brown and white. Whatever it was clacked its way up the stairs and a long furry nose poked its way around the post. A white stripe started at the tip of the nose and ran all the way up to the top of the dog’s head. Adette stopped as the rest of the dog followed the short snout.

Its face seemed to be about fifty percent ears, and even though there was no real color difference, it clearly had eyebrows. Tiny toe nails clacked on the wood of the porch. A few feet shy of Adette’s skirt, it stopped and lowered its bushy behind onto the wood. Ithad nothing more than a puffy stump for a tail. The dog cocked its head to the side and considered her quietly.

Adette started to speak then stopped. Her breath whooshed out in an exasperated huff.

“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”

The dog didn’t seem all that bothered by her tone. He stared at her, twitching first one eyebrow then the other. Adette’s mouth thinned in annoyance with each passing second.

Slowly, the dog’s butt slid backwards and his front paws slid forward until he was lying with his front paws folded politely in front of him. One brown, doggy eyebrow stayed raised.

“Well, they said you were impatient and a bit slow on the uptake, but you seem nice enough and your yard is big. I think I’m going to like living here.”

“Living here?” Adette choked out, “Why do you think you’re going to live here?”

“I’m your familiar, Karl,” he said as he began bathing a front paw. “Didn’t they tell you?”

 

Please let me know what you guys think. I’d love to hear some things you’d like to see show up in the later chapters.

Earthquakes

Ok I was working on another post, and right in the middle my apartment began to shake. The pictures I wanted to use for the other post weren’t turning out, so, what the heck, now is as good a time as any to talk about the unavoidable topic of earthquakes.

This isn’t the first one I’ve felt since I’ve been here. There have been about four or so close enough for me to feel. The first two I missed because I was sleeping. Something that people in parts of the states who experience earthquakes on a regular basis don’t tell you is that they happen all the time. Not every earthquake is a big one.

Since Japan has so many earthquakes, they have become crazy fast at giving you information about them. I felt the earthquake at around 12:35 by 12:40 there was information about the seismic intensity and the epicenter on Japan’s meteorological website. This website isn’t just updated super fast. It’s also in English.

http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html

You can also find information about the weather and any alerts about your area. They have radar. Sometimes I laugh at the alerts. Yesterday we had a dry air advisory. Other times I just find them interesting.

Some things in Japan can be kind of slow. This is not one of them.

Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 1: The Girl is a Lie

Adette-Segment-1-Photo

Hey. This is just going to be a short post. I’m currently working with my local JET group’s webzine! They’ve allowed me to start a serialized fiction piece. I wanted to make sure I shared it with all of you.

It’s new material I came up with especially for this. It’s about a witch on her last assignment before finishing her program. Adette just doesn’t realize that her assignment means saving ungrateful villagers who can’t know that she’s a witch. With the help of her Corgi, Karl, she may just save the town and her career. She may even get to the bottom of where all of the magical disturbances in town come from. Who’s behind it and what will finding out cost her?

Read it!

A single, small shadow sailed across her face. Adette tipped her head back and tracked the broad hat as it sailed across white puffy clouds and the clear blue of the late afternoon sky. Bright red ribbons fluttered behind, taunting the young girl chasing after it with an air of amused determination.

Wind gusted beneath the hat and sent it toward a thicket. Beneath the trees, grass and leaves disappeared behind thickly woven branches. One dark blonde eyebrow rose toward the sky. On the invisible tide of air, the hat surged across the final distance between itself and the thicket. It arced toward one of the only openings and sailed through. The girl, a blur of well-pressed blue and white, sprang into the thicket and threw the branches aside.

Adette waited and watched. A tingle ran along her skin. Suspicion grew inside her. She considered the bag of groceries in her hand. It seemed to be growing heavier by the moment. Adette could taste the silence spreading outward from the tall stand of leafy trees.

She sighed and smoothed her skirt. The bag settled onto the cobblestone sidewalk with a ping of cans and crinkle of paper. With dainty precision, she pulled each finger free of her white gloves and set them atop her grocery bag. Her head turned first one way then the other. No one but herself appeared to be around. Thankfully, they were far enough out of town that traffic was unlikely.

Adette’s muscles stretched as she leapt from the sidewalk. She tore down the hill. Her legs pounded against the lush grass in a flurry of peach and tan cotton. The darkness between the branches ahead of her seemed to grow thicker and more imposing with every step. Her eyes narrowed. Her suspicions were confirmed.

At the edge of the stand of trees, she halted. Beyond the branches and leaves the darkness stared back at her. It knew she was there, like a wary animal watching you get too close. In one set of fluid, well practiced movements, Adette set to limbering and popping her knuckles.

When she was satisfied, she pressed her hands against the low-hanging branches and shoved them aside. They seemed to resist. Adette narrowed her dark blue eyes in concentration. A spark, more a popping sound than anything you could remember seeing, snapped at the tips of her fingers. The branches sprang apart. She slipped into the darkness.

Blackness descended on her vision. With careful steps, she strode forward.

“Really, this is child’s play. Please. You are wasting your time.” As if in answer, the trees around her shivered and the blackness brightened until she could see across the small clearing. At the opposite end, the girl lay in a heap of brown hair, blue cotton, and sprawling limbs. She didn’t move, but her chest continued to rise and fall with her breathing.

The forest inhaled. Branches froze as the wind died. The tiny wispy hairs that always escaped from Adette’s bun stuck to the back of her neck. She braced herself and called upon the power within herself. Tingling warmth prickled beneath her skin.

The forest exhaled. Wind whipped against her face and arms. Her eyes cracked open only to be lashed with dirt and bits of leaves. She squeezed them shut again and rode it out, waiting for the creature to tire itself out.

Eventually, she grew tired of the display. She straightened herself and opened her eyes against the whirling dust and debris.

“Enough!” she demanded. The wind died as abruptly as it had come. Darkness and dust peeled away revealing the small clearing as it should have been. Adette narrowed her eyes.

The girl was nowhere to be found. Where she had lain before there was nothing but grass. The grass hadn’t even been trampled. It looked as though it had never been touched. Adette’s eyes swept the clearing until they fell on something small and white just inches from her feet.

Adette bent and retrieved the small piece of paper from the ground. It had been folded neatly into four quarters. On one of the flaps, her name had been scrawled in a neat looping script.

“Well that explains a lot,” she said with an impatient sigh.