Yonezawa Beef in Fukushima City

Because my son was accepted into the high school of his choice, we took him out to a restaurant to celebrate. Husband asked him what kind of food he wanted. Son said he wanted steak. So….my husband took him to get steak made from Yonezawa Beef.

We’re at the restaurant…..Classy!

You have probably heard of the world-famous Kobe beef. (You know, the beef that Kobe Bryant’s mom named her son after.) Yonezawa beef is one of the top kinds of beef in Japan, in addition to Kobe and Matsuzaka. Here is a link of the “best” beefs

https://fastjapan.com/en/p109031

It’s listed first, second, third, fourth, etc. but they are ALL high quality and the rankings is the journalist’s opinion.

Two different cuts. We wanted to try both.

The chef cooked in front of us. He chatted with us the whole time, but did not do tricks, like in some restaurants in America.

The chef told me to get my camera ready to take a photo of this!!!!

Of course, it was delicious. Very tender.

Seafood is traditional (as it was plentiful) in Japan, and still extremely common, but nowadays chicken, pork and beef are also eaten frequently.


Yonezawa is a city in Yamagata Prefecture. (My husband is from Yamgata Prefecture.) Yamagata Prefecture is the directly northwest of Fukushima Prefecture.

 

Tea Ceremony

I take Japanese lessons on Wednesday morning and Friday morning. The class are run and taught by volunteers. So EXTREMELY kind of them!!!!!!!!! I ❤ my senseis (or, using the correct plural form, my senseitachi.)

Anyway, one of my Wednesday teachers is a man who is 95 years young. He is still very genki (active, good spirits, healthy.)

He himself does not do tea ceremony, but he enjoys attending it, and he invited me to go with him. We don’t have photos of the actualy tea ceremony because it is not allowed.

He told me not to wear jewelry and so on. So I dressed in subdued colors, and nothing the least bit revealing, of course. (Not that I every do. LOL Or have ever done. LOL LOL Although I probably will tomorrow.)

 

The building. It used to be a bank, but now it is a tourist attraction in Fukushima City. Sometimes tea ceremony is held in this building. (Free of charge.)

The covered well. When I see a well, like this, I imagine people coming here for water–a hundred, two hundred years ago.

For what it’s worth, my ninety-five year old teacher did not have electricity when he was young. I asked him, “Which is better? Life without electricity? Or life with electricity?”

He was like, Duh. “Having electricity is better.” Duh.

I myself have never known a life without electricity or running water. (Not counting the few days after the earthquake, of course. )

I don’t particularly like modern Japanese architecture, but this old-style is charming. True everywhere in the world, I suppose.

(In one hundred years, I wonder if Americans will say, Look at that building. It used to be a Target. Isn’t it beautiful? So charming. My gramps told me at one time people used to actually shop in stores. Hard to believe.)

Afterwards, I invited him to lunch. He chose the same restaurant we ate at last time we got together.

We had a great time! Don’t be fooled by his non-smile. He actually smiles a lot and is a cheerful person.

 

Here’s a (chosen at random) youtube video about the art of Tea Ceremony. (In Japanese, it is The Way of Tea. Sadou. 茶道)

Kirie Exhibit (Kirie Artist: Kubo Shu)

Last week, I went to an exhibit of “Kirie” art at the Bunka Center in Fukushima City. (The Bunka Center is the Culture Center.)

The artist of this exhibit is Kubo Shu. (His family name is Kubo. His given name is Shu.)

The exhibit was amazing! The art was so interesting and beautiful and mesmerizing and….and…great!

I was not allowed to take photos in the exhibit.

Anyway, let me tell you about “kirie,” which is a Japanese art form. The verb kiru 切る means “to cut.” I don’t know hardly anything “kirie,” but it seems the artist cuts designs into paper, revealing colors behind that paper. Thus, it is a difficult and precise artform.


Look at the postcards I bought. Below top two and bottom left were done by Kubo Shu in 2011 and they are of places in Fukushima Prefecture. The fourth (bottom right) was also done in 2011 and it is of Miyagi Prefecture, north of Fukushima. (2011 was the year the earthquake happened.)

Remember….you are looking at paper that has been CUT to make the designs!

Kubo Shu’s website is:

http://www.shu-kubo.com/en/

Are the radiation droids accurate?

I’m not a scientist. I’m not even good at science. But I’ll do my best with this post.

Here in Fukushima Prefecture, we have radiation detectors in parks, school grounds, and other areas. They became very common here after the earthquake.

Anyway, on the internet, I have heard people say that these detectors (which were provided by the government) are not accurate, and were/are intentionally set at lower radiation levels so people won’t know the real radiation.

So I wonder: Is this true? Or not? As a Fukushimer, I want to know the truth.


This is our family’s personal dosimeter. It is top of the line, costing about 500 U.S. dollars on the American amazon.

http://www.gguida.com/GGUIDA/Stories/Entries/2012/6/27_Having_fun_with_Geiger_Counters_-_The_Gamma_Scout_Rechargeable.html

Proof that they are the same dosimeter.


Let’s begin.

My family’s dosimeter in our house’s living room.

Walking to Shinhama Park.

At Shinhama Park with the radation droid. The droid says: .115 usv/h

The stupid smile on my face is proof of what a poor scientist I am. Good scientists use their serious faces when doing important research.

Actually my dosimeter (at THIS moment in time) says .12 usv/h, which is lower than the radiation droid.

So you can see the droid number better.

Okay, the weird thing is that the number on my dosimeter did not stay stable…It was constantly changing every few seconds, never staying long at any one number.

Just so you can see, this is the back of the radiation droid.

I walked over the statue.

Over towards the playground area.

Back to the same droid as before. I was surprised to see its number had changed! (In just a minute of time.)

At this point, I began to talk to a man who works at the park, tending it. I asked him if he thought the droid was accurate or not.

I don’t think he really knew whether it was accurate (he didn’t say), but he told me that the number changes due to the weather and the wind. At this point, I noticed that yes, it was quite windy. (And everyone who lives in Fukushima Prefecture knows that the amount of radiation depends on where you are. Some parts have more radiation, some very little radiation. And just so you know—EVERY place in the world has some amount of radiation, including where you are right now. The existence of radiation is not what we are looking at. The existence of radiation is already a given. It’s the amount that is important.)

My dosimeter got as high as .21 (shown in photo above, it is .20) It just flickered to .21, but did not stay there for long, and would come down.

The park worker pointed out the label that shows when and where the droid comes from. (I think he did not personally know whether the droid was accurate, so he wanted to show me the label of its origins.)

And then I pointed out to him this interesting sticker some joker stuck onto the droid. Now that I think about, I personally have never seen paint vandalism on the droids. That’s really amazing, now that I think about it. Here in Fukushima City, the droids are always this eggshell white color (and possibly get painted over if there is indeed vandalism. I don’t know. Japan actually does not have very much vandalism.)

The park worker and I were still talking and I was snapping photos of my dosimeter…I think this was the lowest it got, possibly lower. So you can see that its numbers change quite quickly.

I needed to go shopping, so I left the park (and the very nice park worker) and went to my local supermarket.  A five minute walk from the park.

Inside the store.

Sashimi section

Drinks section (Notice the fluctuation from the sashimi section. Maybe the temperature? I honestly don’t know.)

Ice cream section

I needed hand soap.


Okay, folks. Draw your own conclusions. That’s what this blog is for. Not for ME to tell you what to think, but for YOU to think for yourselves.

Discussion questions:

1.) If you had a stray cat hanging around your house, and fed the cat and then found out that your neighbor had just fed the cat before you did, and that the cat was ALSO getting food from a third house, what would you name the cat?

2) Do you think Amy bought ice cream?

3.) Do you think she got a lot of house cleaning done today?

4.) Are you as excited as Amy is about the new Incredibles movie coming out this summer?

Please mark your answers.

If you got all answers correct, I’m very proud of you. You did a great job. Hooray.

 

 

IMG_6271

The very well-fed stray cat from question number one. She is skittish and refuses to live with people. She just hangs around outside and meows for food.

Some Senior High School Uniforms For Fukushima City

Well, my son is now in a public high school here in Fukushima City. (April is the beginning of the school year in Japan.)

Junior high school students usually go to their nearest public school. (Or they pay for a private school of their choosing.) The junior highs all across Japan are first year, second year, third year. (The equivalent of America’s seventh, eighth, and ninth graders.)

A student doesn’t automatically get into a public school like in the United States. Instead, the student must take a test. Naturally the student wants to attend a high-ranking school. It’s very complicated! High school in Japan are again first year, second year, third year. (The equivalent of America’s tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders.)

Above is a photo of various uniforms for public high schools in Fukushima City. (I got permission to take this photo.)

These uniforms are VERY expensive.

Shoes for girls….

 

I am so proud of my son. He’s a good kid and I love him so much!

 

 

Cherry Blossoms in Shinhama Park, Fukushima City, 2018

Cherry blossom trees bloom for such a short period of time that I feel guilty doing anything other than enjoying them. I was so busy this year, I didn’t get to do a proper hanami. (Flower viewing) Actually, on the day I took these photos, I rode my bike to the movie theatre to see the Pixar movie Coco (and feeling guilty that I would be indoors during such wonderful weather.) However, at the theater, I was told that the movie was dubbed into Japanese. I didn’t want to watch the Japanese version, so I kept my money and then rode to the park, where I took these photos and then sat on a bench and read my book.

The playground area. This was completely redone after the earthquake….I’m not sure why. I don’t think it has anything to do with the earthquake itself. The play things are different than what my son played on when he was young, and the grass is not real, it’s plastic. (Ugh!) This park is well-maintained–you can see the workers in the background. It’s one of the nice things about the park, the full-time workers keep it ship-shape.

Oh! the gorgeousness of it makes want to croon…….

I have to admit, this is the “Lazy Amy Hanami Park.” It’s right next to my house, so it’s my go-to park for anything. But it’s the best public park in downtown Fukushima City, so that’s all right.

“Dream”

The view from my bench. Ahhhh! Japan in the spring. It’s a great time to visit (except for the hay fever which MANY people suffer from in Japan in spring, but fortunately I don’t.)