Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Strikes Back

Well, I guess I'm not quite rid of winter as I had hoped!! I am out of my winter slump at least and feeling more motivated these past few days, so hopefully that will hold into the next month!! I woke up this morning to snow! As most of you know, it doesn't really snow here in Fujinomiya. Last year it only snowed one time and lasted about as long as it did today! I think the most that snow was on top of my car, about 4 inches, but the snow wasn't sticking to the ground all that much. It melted really fast, before noon! But while it lasted, it was pretty on all the roof tops and tree branches. It's always nice to get just a bit of snow to make me feel at home, though I am really glad I wasn't living at home this winter! I'm good with 4 inches and one day all winter, not a record 28 snow days and counting like in Minnesota! Sorry guys! Below are a few pictures of the snow. First is from my bedroom window and the second on my drive to school near a bus stop. That's actually a field right there where there are usually veggies growing.

Though it's been hovering around freezing for about a week, people think that it's still not cold in comparison to home. Japan has poor insulation as they think that summer is too hot and they want air to be freely moving for that reason. That's the explanation I have gotten from a few people anyway. Most people have a wall air conditioner in their apartments that doubles as a heater in winter. I have no such luck and decided not to invest in that since I bought a car. Instead I use a kerosene heater. It seems like an old way of heating an apartment, but a lot of people use them here as space heaters. I can comfortably warm up 1-2 rooms with it. I usually use it in the living room and kitchen in the evening, or just the living room after dinner. It's efficient and cheaper than electric heaters. I have a really old electric heater I use in my bedroom at night, but it barely takes the edge off the cold, it doesn't actually heat the room. Same with a halogen heater that I have. As you can see it's a much newer version of the kerosene heater than you would have seen in old times. It has a timer on top so you can make it kick on in the morning or at a certain time, a thermometer, child lock, etc. It's really quite safe except for the carbon monoxide. I have to be sure to let in a bit of fresh air from outside every once in awhile.

As I said, I've been working on being more motivated this week, and that includes cooking at home and not going out to eat all the time. Last night I mixed up a common winter dinner in Japan called nabe. Often people cook it in a special pot and a portable burner in the middle of the table, but I don't have a nabe pot so I just made it on the stove in a big pan instead. I made a kimchee nabe, my favorite. I cut up some tofu, fresh mushrooms, cabbage, a few other leafy green leek type vegetables and added some beef. You just turn it on, let it boil and steam for awhile and then eat it in small bowls with chopsticks (you can just drink the actual soup part). Sometimes we add udon noodles, but I forgot to buy them, so I just had veggies and meat. So delicious and healthy with all those veggies!

That's about all for now, nothing too exciting going on this week! Hope some of your snow melts like ours did!

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