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Shopping and Fugu – I got a new hat

Japan Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #97: I love this hat. I love it so much that I will name it. My old stuffed animals (of which I obviously haven’t had sitting next to my pillow at home for decades) all had very uncreative names. I had bunny the bunny and chicky the chick chick. When I watched the South Park Christmas Critters episode, I felt like I probably named all those animals when I was five. Anyway, hattie the hat sounds terrible, so I think I’ll just call her “azimuth.”
Free time is lovely. There is so much you can get done, yet so little you want to do. I tend to keep my goals for a day’s accomplishments quite shallow to make me feel better for doing close to nothing. It was one of the last few days in Japan, but I didn’t find it necessary to rush through any adventures.
After 3 months of running around and taking pictures of everything and anything to capture these happy moments, I started to lean towards a more low profile life style. Although this idea of absorbing a true vacation without stress and worries was short-lived, I found the days alone to clear my head helped me prioritize my hobbies and future decisions. There are so many things that should be analyzed, but hopefully, some of that time was devoted to reflection and enjoyment of happiness. I don’t want to wait until I’m 65 to sit back and smile at a happy life. I’m 21 and I can already do the same. Why do I need a holiday to remind me to be thankful? What is there to be sad about if things could be so much worse? I felt at peace with myself for all that was good.
It had been a long time since I stepped back and unfocused my eyes…
Anyway, I was actually following a tight schedule; I had to fit in 3 months of shopping into one day. Without going into much more detail, you could imagine that it was an enjoyable day. There were so many things I wanted to buy with all of those funky Japanese styles, but I really stayed mindful. I think someone else in my situation would have blown much more money. I restricted my pleasures to a hat (that I still wear everyday) and an adventurous food indulgence of fugu (poisonous puffer fish).
Fugu’s reputation is notorious in Japan. It is more common in the winter if you want to have sushi and sashimi pieces, but some places keep fresh fish in their tanks. I wanted to get a sushi version, but it was too ridiculously expensive to push for a $50 dinner.
The $20 fugu shabu shabu was much more reasonably priced and I felt much safer cooking it(it would have really sucked if I was one of those “death by puffer fish” statistics). From the Simpsons episode about fugu, I expected the chef to make me sign an agreement not to have my family members sue the place if I died. Since this type of documentation was not presented to me, I felt much better about my meal.
The raw fish was odorless, but once it began cooking, there was this odd smell that mixed with the steam which made me picture a wavy image of skull and crossbones rising along with the steam. The anticipation of my first bite filled me with a mix of emotions. My chopsticks trembled holding the white piece of meat. I dipped a side in the vinegary sauce and spent a good 2 minutes carefully inspecting for sign of danger.
Surprisingly, the wooden chopsticks didn’t burst into flames or disintegrate under some poisonous tendency of the fugu. I purposefully threw it back into the boiling water to make sure it was extra well cooked before proceeding. I began talking to the fish like a lunatic, saying phrases like, “if you are poisonous, I am going to kill you.” It was nonsense, but it made me cheerful just in case my next bite would be my last.
As a food critic, it was my duty to eat it and tell the world of its intricacies. I tossed it in my mouth and immediately felt like I made a mistake. The texture was a little rough because it was obviously overcooked fish, but there was a bitterness that made the tip of my tongue a little numb. “Damn, I f*cked up.
” I wanted to spit it out, but I continued twirling the piece to get a second opinion with the other side of my mouth and another set of taste buds. Before I knew it, my entire mouth was covered in this weird sensation. I felt a gag reflex for a quick second and quickly washed it all down with a beer. It wasn’t what I expected, but I continued eating it because I was starving. (I don’t learn my lessons well, either). The second piece was cooked a little more lightly and it wasn’t too bad. After a few pieces, the numbness went away and it actually tasted quite good. I don’t completely understand (nor remember) the difference in taste to a normal sea-swimming fish, but I guess we pay more for the rarity and uniqueness. I don’t think I’ll try fugu shabu shabu again, but I know fugu sushi and sashimi are still on my to-do list.

The luxurious upper class sure does have a knack to frivolously spend their money. For those who affiliate me with that upper class, I will rebuttal by saying that I only do this for the once in a lifetime experience. I do it to have it checked off my to-do list. It’s like sky diving, bungee jumping, and paragliding – there’s a once in for everything. I’d also want to hit all seven continents and visit at least 50 countries in my lifetime.
Besides, money is made to be spent. I wouldn’t want to die a millionaire. The Chinese culture has always had a plan to save for their children’s future. There’s this “just in case” fund that I’ve always admired. I definitely still have these planning genes to make the sacrifices for my next generation, but I’ve also felt like there’s a point where I don’t want to make millions of dollars to see my child become spoiled.
I rather provide someone with the means to make money than leave them with an exhaustible sum. I think someone famous (his name escapes me) did this to his kids when he passed away. It was definitely enough money to have them set for a few years of well planned spending, but not enough to do absolutely nothing with their lives. Haha – I should probably think about how to make money before I start distributing it…
~See Lemons Have Hat Hair

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Random Observation/Comment #96: I’ve watched the Dark Knight eight times. What a freakin’ awesome movie. I didn’t think Heath Ledger was that type of actor, but he did a legendary job and I don’t think there can be any replacement for him. The revelation of the Joker’s character was carefully planned by luring the audience into false conclusions with the early snippets of unclear intentions. At the point when we admired him for his brilliance as a mastermind, we were shown his twisted cynicism. This was no longer a simple Dick Tracy film about corruption and justice – it had evolved into a struggle of balance and a sacrifice of honor for a greater cause. A city of mobs screwing up the underground economy becomes a city of chaos lead by a lunatic that wants nothing more than to witness the fall of society.
He was a genius of plot twists, and he was purely insane. What story do you believe? Why So Serious?
Like everyone else, I tried to rationalize the Joker’s character by reading into his actions and hints of origins. It’s very difficult to just accept that one of these villains doesn’t have a logical motive. I’ve been reading comic books enough to see some type of cookie cutter method of creating a villain. First you need an evil puppet master leading the bigger picture and convincing his henchmen (P.C. - henchpeople) to do his dirty work. The motive of the boss is the key to his evil and needs to make sense in a twisted-villain way. Think of all of it as a war and people are just taking sides for and against humanity or justice or some humane ideal.
Here are some very common types of villains:
• “I want to rule the world!” – These types of villains will stop at nothing to conquer their land and kill everyone that gets in the way.
• “Give me all of your money! … so I can rule the world” – The common thieves and bank robbers that plague every neighborhood actually become very good at this job due to their super powers and invulnerability towards human soldiers that don’t seem to learn.
• “I’m going to take justice into my own hands… all will be good if I rule the world” – Through some odd transformation of character, these villains feel like the terrible things done to everyday innocent people are being overlooked. To boost their ego and wear tight costumes, they kill the everyday scum.
Unfortunately, they are misunderstood and become chased as one of the bad guys.
• “I dun care, I do wha I want” – The acquisition of new super powers makes them above everyone, thereby opening some special privilege of accomplishing all of their unattained goals.
• “::shakes fist:: I’ll get you for this!” – Payback is a b*tch, when you’re on the receiving end. This vengeful fervor often leaks into the heroes’ end and makes them turn into villains. Usually the masterminds will not be driven by something this simple.
• “I just want to see the world burn.” – This one might be an underlying motive, but it is rarely the driving one. Sure, some people enjoy seeing chaos, but for the most part, it is to meet a specific end.
In the case of the Joker, he does it because it’s fun. The best part about it is that he’s good at it and he has no need for a special power.
There is no rationalization, and that’s what makes it brilliant. He is a villain waiting to die, but he’s taking society down with him. It is cynicism at its best. You want to find out the beginning, but his stories of being a good husband or abused child are all just lies. What story do you think he would have said to Batman?
“Do you want to know how I got these scars?” My parents and younger sister made the ideal family. We would take trips to town for music lessons. The clash of cymbals and roar of the drums were the sounds of my dreams. One day when we were driving our normal route, a drunken truck driver runs a red light and makes the most unforgettable music. I crawled out of the wreckage with limp bodies in my arms. From that day on, I couldn’t smile. To hide my sorrow, I put a razor in my mouth and did this to my face. Now I’m always smiling…
~See Lemons he he ho ho ha ha