Monday, October 19, 2009

I was having a bad day, so I went to the bubble tea shop on my way to do some errands.

  Mmmmmmm, Thai milk tea with taro pudding!  I know there's no boba in there so it's not technically bubble tea, but I'm not sure what to call it otherwise.  Pudding tea? Custard tea?  If you live in the OSU campus area, this place is amazing!  They have bubble tea, smoothies, all sorts of tasty food and snacks, the best frozen yogurt I've ever had, a gift shop, bowling, karaoke, and pool tables.
  I think I may have a lead on some futons, I'll update when I have more info!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Little Treasures Everywhere

  No luck so far on the futon front!  There are several retailers online who have them, so if I have to resort to one of them I will, but for now I'm mainly trying to stick to craigslist, ebay, and local sales as much as possible, with emphasis on local.  Why? Well, like most I'm on a limited income.  I can get pretty much everything I'm looking for directly from Japanese retailers and use a buying service in order to get it internationally shipped, but it just costs SOOO much.  Plus what's the fun of not having to work for what you want?  If I can find a bargain and it makes the shipping and item price come close to what the item actually retails for in Japan, I'll consider using a buying service, but for now I'll do my best without them.

  I almost had a kotatsu!  A kotatsu (こたつ)is a table with a heater underneath.  It looks like this:

I know it just looks like a floating tray on a blanket, but I swear there's a heater and the legs under there:

 Basically the tabletop isn't attached to the table so you can put the big blanket (called a futon, yes like the bed ^_^) over the whole thing and still have access to the table top.  You turn the heater on, sit on a pillow (another futon, this one's called a zabuton 座ぶとん) and sit with your legs in the toasty warmth while you eat or relax.  I found an ad for a used one at the Japanese gift shop in my neighborhood, but the gentleman that had posted the ad said someone was coming to look at it already.  I held out hope that they would pass, but sadly they took it!  So close!  I did ask him to keep me in mind if he knew someone else that would have one and want to sell it, and he acted like he'd hang on to my phone number just in case.
  On an unrelated note, my kitty Agnes died today.  She was a sweet little himalayan and I will really miss her.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Will it be a kawaiifest?

  Alright, I realize that there are probably as many ways to live in Japan as there are people in Japan.  So what am I looking for in my Ohio-Japanese home?

1. A good use of little space.  I live in a very small home.  It's not an apartment, but at 700 square feet it sure feels like one at times with two adults and a toddler.  The Japanese have a knack for using every inch of living space to its full potential out of necessity, and it's a skill I'd love to master.

2. Typical Japanese furnishings.  Now I know that this is again kind of a wide-open category, but really I'm not trying to make a reproduction of a home from any region or time period.  I want to have the items in my home make me feel as if I live in a home in modern Japan, not a movie set from an Edo-period drama.

3. Adapt a more Japanese lifestyle.  This includes cooking, exercise, money, more walking and biking, and things I probably haven't even thought of yet.

  What do I have to guide me in this quest?  Well, um, not much to be honest.  I've never been to Japan, much less stepped foot in a Japanese home.  My resources at this moment are: the Internet (knower of all things), Japanese dramas (time to pull out my copy of Zettai Kareshi), and what I could get out of my Japanese teachers without sounding like a freak (could you tell me about your fish grill AGAIN Morioka Sensei?).  All in all, that's not much fact or visuals to go off of.  I'm hoping this blog will help too, maybe someone will take notice and send me some suggestions?

  Right now the thing I want to focus on is a futon set for each member of my family.  A brief description for those only familiar with the western futon, Japanese futons are not the uncomfortable couch/bed/back-killers we have here in the States. They look like this:

Very simply put it is a thick, springless mattress that lays on the floor, usually on a tatami mat, that you sleep on.  I have a bad back and I've heard they're great for your spine, so that's why I want to start here.  Plus, I hope that if I like the futon enough to switch out my regular mattress for it that it'll clear up a decent amount of space in my room to allow for exercise, hobbies, et cetera.  Unfortunately there are no retailers of futon sets anywhere that I know of in Ohio, so some hunting will have to be done.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It starts with a circle....

  Simply put, I love Japan.  I don't know if it started with a trip to Epcot or hearing stories of my Grandpa in Japan during the war, but the mere mention of something Japanese and my ears perk up. The more I learn about the country the more my affection grows.  It's people, landscapes, and culture
  "So why not just move there?"  Yes I've heard this sentiment before and, trust me, I've considered it. In fact I'd love to and I've tried figuring out many ways to make a move to Japan work for myself and my family. There are several factors that prevent me from doing this that I may delve into sometime, so for now it's a goal that's too far out of my grasp.  I promise this decision isn't spawned from laziness, just an unchangeable personal situation.  So a trip would be fine, but not a permanent living situation.
  So what's a girl to do?  Well, since I can't go to Japan, why not make where I live seem as much like a typical Japanese living situation as I can?  I think subconciously I've been trying to for years now anyways.  I've been learning to speak Japanese, I cook Japanese food, I shop at the local Japanese markets, and I could continue on and on.  I really think making my home as "Japanese" as I can might make me eel as if I'm missing out a little bit less on the experience of living in Japan.  So, that's my goal, and I hope to share it with as many people as I can.