Wow! Hanukkah's flying by!It's starting to feel like the holiday. I made latkes from a box Friday night. I thought, for sure, if they're from a box they'd be quick.It took until about 8 to finish making them. The salmon (with pesto) and asparagus were already cooked. So, luckily we could eat as soon as I finished cooking the latkes. They turned out really tasty!
Well, I didn't go to services Saturday morning, because I threw up the night before.I don't know if it was nerves, what I cooked, or what. Mom didn't have a good night either, so she wouldn't have wanted to go anyways.
Later, since we were feeling much better, we went to the congregation's Hanukkah party. I loved the huge wooden menorah just outside the entrance. Looked really cool. There was a lot of people. Some chocolate gelt on the tables with dreidels, a table in the front (next to the ark) for menorahs, lots of food, and a silent auction. Oh, and a place for kids to make clay dreidels. It was pretty nice.A little loud and unorganized, but not bad. Apparently, there was a latke competition to see who can make the best ones. They all looked pretty much the same to me, and were very good.There was a cole slaw thing, crackers and cheese, hummus, salads, pasta, cookies, donuts, and more. Donuts are very common for Hanukkah. Specifically, jelly donuts. They're called sufganiyot in Hebrew. And, they're a much bigger deal in Israel.
Sunday I took the JLPT. They want you there for 3 hours, but the test only takes about half that time.The rest of the time was for breaks. We got there about an hour early, mainly because of the ferry schedule. The guy who did the registration for my classroom talked really fast in Japanese. So fast, the proctor had problems understanding him. Eventually, he slowed it down, and I chit-chatted a little with him. It kind of eased my nerves.
They had assigned seating. The last five digits on your voucher told you where your seat was. The desk area was impossibly small.The width was about half the size of the answer sheet. Made it really hard to write, bubble in my answers, etc. Oh, and since the desk area was so small, we kept hearing pencils falling every few minutes. They told us to bring several pencils and an eraser, so yeah there was no room for them.The people around me were really nice and friendly, that also put my nerves at ease.
The first part, vocabulary, was easier than I thought it would be. I kept trying to be on my toes, just in case they were pulling fast ones.But, it still seemed pretty easy. Second, was grammar. It was a little harder, but I tried to think clearly through each one. Someone forgot to bubble in his number on the answer sheet for this one. I'm pretty positive I bubbled it in, but when you hear that, it makes you a bit paranoid.Although, they said if any of the machines can't read someone's number, they'll personally look at them. Might be why it takes forever to get the results back.Like mid-February. The reading part was interesting, and one question confused everybody. I think if it was in English, it would still be confusing. It was about shower times. They're sly, but I tried my best on that one.Last, was the dreaded listening section. If you miss a word of what they're saying, you can screw up big time.There were a couple of funny conversations, that made everyone laugh. Even the proctor and her assistant. I like how they say stuff like 'Konnichiwa' (こんにちは) extremely slow, and the really long 'complicated' words really fast.
After that, we went to Uwajimaya. An amazing Asian supermarket in Seattle. I've been there before, but it always overwhelms me.I don't think I've ever looked at everything in one go, there. It doesn't just have Japanese gifts, food, produce, etc. There's also a lot of Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other Asian stuff. I really could spend a day or two just looking through everything.
I saw some Taiyaki there, but it was frozen. (Fish shaped pastry with an or red bean paste filling, usually. There can be custard, chocolate, or cheese fillings too) So, by the time we got home, it would have gone bad. They don't have that at our market, and I really want to try it.Oh well, maybe sometime in the future. Looked at their Maneki Nekos. But, all of them are either too expensive, too big, or come with something extra. Saw some lined Japanese notebook paper, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. I want the papers with both horizontal and vertical lines. They're designed more for Japanese. For writing up and down, or side to side. I'll look around some more, maybe there's some online.
We got back scratchers, Russian plum cookies (So good!), Korean-style rice porridge, a really cheap rice cooker (about $10, instead of around $150), fortune cookies, a strawberry pouch that turns into an Uwajimaya bag, and (I think) we got the latest You Maga issue there.
Next, we went to a Japanese restaurant called Kisaku. Saw that it had won a couple of awards and thought it would be great. It wasn't.To me it was too 'Americanized'. The salad was good, but really weird. Had a ball of mashed potatoes off to the side, salad greens, shredded carrots, and an awesome miso dressing. My chicken teriyaki had no flavor.It wasn't grilled, wasn't marinated, nothing like that. Just put on top of some semi-ok teriyaki sauce on a very shallow plate. To me, that's not teriyaki. Even from what I've seen of vids from Japan, that's not how it's done.Dessert was excellent, but I wouldn't say it's particularly 'Japanese'. It was a Fuji Apple Cheesecake. Big pieces of apple at the bottom of very rich tasty cheesecake.Caramel was drizzled over the top and around the plate. There was strawberries and whipped cream off to the side. So good! This place is more known for their sushi, but it should have done better with it's other entrees.It was more of a 'fusion' type restaurant.
They had a couple of free magazines too. One, I haven't heard of before, was Ibuki. It's in English, and it's all about Japanese stuff in Seattle. They describe it as a "Japanese Inspired Food and Lifestyle Magazine". Really my type of magazine!They have all sorts of websites, directories, lots of interesting articles, comics, and more. They apparently follow a certain theme each issue. This one's a "I Love Kawaii" theme. Some of the kawaii stuff I like, but a lot of it almost makes me want to puke.But, it's interesting how it all started. And, I liked some of the artists they interviewed and they're products. I'm thinking of possibly subscribing to this magazine.
I'm thinking of cooking more again.For lunch, I made some tamagoyaki (rolled omelets) and experimented with some rice. I experimented a bit just because I wanted to see how the rice cooker was. The rice cooker's supposed to be used in the microwave, unlike how the traditional ones are electrical. It worked awesomely!I just have to add a little more water than they suggest, because it was still a little crunchy. I added some sliced pastrami, soy sauce, sweetener, 7 spice, and garlic. Came out pretty good. Nice, smoky and sweet mixture. The tamagoyaki came out good too.
deviantART faves: Windmill Poster 2 .:"I Miss U" Danbo Comp:. Egypt I did not make these! First, a nice simple poster for a manga from one of the artists I watch. I like the hills. Second, a kind of cute, yet sad, pic. Third, an awesome drawing of Egypt, from Hetalia.
Music video for Goin' Places by Monkey Majik. Kind of trippy, but cool:
A funny Matisyahu vid for Miracle:
Funny Hanukkah song medley:
Funny twist on an old song:
Stewart tries to show Colbert the meaning of Hanukkah:
Another awesome tribute to Hetalia:
Really awesome sounding Hanukkah medley sung by the Maccabeats: