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And so I met the Emperor and Empress of Japan

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日本学術振興会主催の「JSPSサマー・プログラム歓迎レセプション」に出席された天皇、皇后両陛下(11日、神奈川県葉山町)=代表撮影

It was a surprise, really. No one knew anything about it before. They discreetly slipped a notice in our info package of the day, saying the Emperor and the Empress are visiting since they’re vacationing nearby. In the notice and every announcement that happened every 15 minutes afterwards, they kept emphasizing “Please wear your casual summer wear” and “the Emperor and Empress want to have a casual chat” with us. And if you’re wearing a suit jacket, you should take it off. I swear the word “casual” was repeated at least 15 times. It’s like the dentist telling you, “no, it’s not gonna hurt”, and it always fucking hurts. If it was so “casual”, you wouldn’t say it so damn much!

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Japan, 5 years 1 month later

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View from my room - the school is on top of a mountain

View from my room – the school is on top of a mountain

I’m in Japan, and will be for the next 3 months or so. This blog will be temporarily co-opted to be used as a travel blog, even though I’m really here for work, not travel. Obviously there will still be many many food posts. I also have to write up about my Korea trip still. I don’t have a particular coherent plan for this, but it’s my blog, so I’ll do whatever I want damn it!

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How to make ramen broth (low effort, high payoff!)

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This random blue guitar on the street of Cambridge seems fitting with this post

This random blue guitar on the street of Cambridge seems fitting with this post

It’s been busy around here as I am getting ready for Japan, buying gifts, hanging out A LOT with friends, prepping for the study I’ll do over there, and generally moping about because I won’t see D until he joins me in mid-August. My schedule has been a bit crazy trying to force people to see me at least once before I leave :), so the other day when I suddenly had a free night, I called up a few friends to finally make the ramen night that we’ve been thinking about happen. They freaked a little bit (“I can’t make char siu in just a few hours!”- typical fastidious son of Chinese restaurant owners :P), but we got it sorted out somehow. I’ve made ramen a few times before, every time with a different complicated recipe. This time, since it’s been so crazy, I didn’t put a lot of effort in it, but it still turned out quite good, surprisingly. A Japanese friend came over last night to try to leftover, and gave me a thumb up of approval :) It might or might not be the proudest cooking-related moment of my life!

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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring or kake/kitsune/chikara/everything udon

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It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, the first 70F +, sunny day of spring, and the 5th or 6th day of assured warmth that makes people finally feel sane to put away their winter clothes. This is the best part of New England summer: just the right temperature, sun, and humidity. It’s the kind of day that makes me question even my decision to spend the next 3 months in Japan, because there are really so many wonderful things to do outside in New England during the summer.

And of course, on a day likes this, it only makes sense for me to stay in and blog about it.

…before you judge me: yes, I am going outside. In a little bit. What’s the point of being an atheist if you can’t stay in on a Sunday morning?