Making ice cream while hung over
Osaka Travel Blog› entry 90 of 93 › view all entries
It was a beautiful morning, but I wasnâ€™t in the beautiful-morning-mood. I could have used more than 4 hours of sleep, but I didnâ€™t want to offend anyone or show Japanese people how lazy Americans really are. I guess by waking up on time with a smile, I was poorly representing my background as a 21-year-old New Yorker on vacation.
I thought ice-cream-making was for elementary school kids, but apparently graduate students getting their PhDs in artificial intelligence subjects can also have a good time mixing ingredients and tossing around a huge canister. The process is pretty simple, but the competition between college groups added some motivation. I wasnâ€™t sure of the exact amounts, but we mixed sugar, sour cream, and egg whites together into a bowl.
Then the fun part: Close the plastic lid and roll it around to rapidly decrease the temperature against the metal. The rolling action should keep the frozen yogurt at the edges of the container and the ice should freeze it after about 15 minutes of movement. Different teams tried different methods of rolling the container. My team basically found a hill and threw it down a couple of times (like 50). I was doubtful of this success because if you graph the rolling speed against time, you will see some shaking for the climb up the hill, and then an accelerated roll down the hill.
Well, we eventually got it. I also gave up half-way and went to a vending machine to spend 100 yen on real ice cream. I guess the one I ate wasnâ€™t made with love and teamwork. I tried some of their frozen yogurt and it tasted pretty good. I was never a big fan of the sourness that came with frozen yogurt â€“ I always thought frozen yogurt was like rejected ice cream. The toppings are decent, but I rather have some cookie dough or mint chocolate chip. If they come out with double chocolate chunk frozen yogurt, Iâ€™ll be, as they say, â€śall up on that shit.â€ť
~See Lemons Make Frozen Yogurt
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After the paragliding adventures, we had a few hours to play some soccer and baseball. These two sports seem to be the staple of Japanese culture. Not only does everyone want to be a baseball player, but they practice tirelessly enough to succeed.
I never really played baseball, but I consider myself a well-rounded athletic person. I think basic hand-eye coordination skills and some motor functions are all you need to play quick pick up games with students that build robots. It may sound clichĂ©, but I remember the little league kids teasing to come closer whenever I went up to bat.
The BBQ feast we had was epic. We cooked the amount of beef equivalent to a full cow. The sizzling moo kept me stuffing my face until I truly could not move. The food coma struck me swiftly and skillfully like a trained ninja. Fortunately, the promises of sake and soju kept me from pitching a tent and calling it a night. My eyelids were heavy and my breathing slowed while I struggled to maintain a Japanese conversation. I knew it was a bad sign when I couldnâ€™t think of anything but jumping cows and fluffy sheep.
The token Irishman (hopefully not as offensive as my â€ślittle Chinamanâ€ť nickname) did not disappoint the typical stereotypes of alcoholism and drunken rage.
~See Lemons a Little Tipsy
R: â€śClemens, are you free next Tuesday and Wednesday, and do you have 20,000 yen?â€ť
Me: â€śWell I have the money, but I was thinking of exploring Osaka a little mo--â€ś
R: â€śNo no no. Youâ€™re coming on the field trip. Shimada-san, can you add Clemens to the list?â€ť
Me: â€śWell, waitâ€¦ Where are we going, and what are we doing?â€ť
R: â€śOh, I have no idea, but there will be a lot of alcohol involved. Plus, you speak English and I need someone to bother. Bother bother bother.â€ť
Me: â€śUhhhâ€¦ I donâ€™t have a say in this?â€ť
R: â€śNot at all.â€ť
Me: â€śOkay. Sounds good to me.â€ť
And so it began. I had already spent countless days traveling alone, so I took the opportunity to be social. I had no idea where I was going, but it didnâ€™t matter â€“ I had learned that life is not always about your location or situation, but rather sharing that moment with those you care about most.
We cramped into a bus and drove for hours to some random location in the middle of nowhere. The fog that day gave it an eerie Hollywood horror film feel to it. It felt like there was a murder mystery brewing behind the scenes. Three rooms would be shared by 16 people, and one of them was reserved for the only two girls that joined us. Seven guys sleeping on the floor of a normal sized single sounded terrible at first, but we had the perfect solution to make it not matter â€“ alcohol. I had called â€śno homo,â€ť but I think Richie and I were the only ones who understood. Before the eventual drinking night, we went paragliding and ate some of the best barbeque Iâ€™ve had in my life. College field trips accompanied by alcohol are just simply amazing. It doesnâ€™t take a lot of effort to make me happy.
~See Lemons Happily Dragged Along