This is a story about now, but also about the past.

Ten years ago I was living in a rural city in Japan, in a prefecture full of farms (not so much anymore). I klived by myself in a tiny house- my tiny bedroom, the living room (which with the air con and the kero heater was definitely the most lived in room) a tiny kitchen, a dining room and a toilet and bath space.  It was oldish, and limited in odd ways.  Since the Japanese toilet had a cistern fountain, you were expected to wash your hands there. The only sink in the house was in the kitchen.

The house sat at the junction of two alleyways (not on the street).

Anyway, one day in early summer/late spring a woman came by selling grapefruit.  My Japanese at this point is best described as basic.  I could ask for things, and kind of understand conversation, but not well.  The grapefruit was awesome, so I said I would buy some.  She went out to the (tiny) truck on the street and the guy with her brought this huuuuge box of grapefruit to my house.  All I wanted was a few, but they were selling by the huge box.  I didn’t have enough cash on hand, but they took what I had ( hmm, maybe should have haggled).  Anyway, giant box of grapefruit.  I filled my fridge as much as possible, but still had some left out.

Thus began the summer of grapefruit.  I made a rule that I couldn’t have food at home, unless I ate a grapefruit first.  They were too juicy to take out for lunch at work, so it was mostly home.  Every morning I had a grapefruit.  If I wanted a snack, I had to eat one first.  I lost a bit of weight that summer.  When my sister came to visit in August, she commented on the number of grapefruit in my fridge (down to less than 20). I laughed.

Anyway, I haven’t had grapefruit much since then, but we have been getting nice ones in our work fruit box, and no one else is eating them. So i have started eating them again.

In that summer of grapefruit, I didn’t have a grapefruit spoon, so I came up with a different way to eat them.

I cut them in half

In half

The I cut the ends off

No end

So they look like this


I slice them thinly, kind of like cocktail garnishes. 


 Ultimately I end up with a plate like this



 Don’t ask me why, but somehow, the slices are much easier to eat than quarters, of if I was trying to spoon the bits out. 




why direct questions are a good idea

Person who asks irritating questions (PWAIQ): persnickety, is this document (linked in email) from the regulator still current?  Note published in 2000.

Me: it’s on the archived document page, so I think not.

PWAIQ: so does that mean we still need to comply with paragraph 50? 

Me: argh.  Head desk.

 Why wasn’t that the question?

happy mountain day!

One of the nice things about reunion was reconnecting to the wider Smith community.  Overnight I received an email telling me that mountain day had been declared.  Which means that it was actually yesterday (Monday).

Mountain day is a specific Smith holiday, dating back to the early days of the college.  On a particularly fine Fall day the college president declared an impromptu day off classes, so students could enjoy the weather and the mountains. It’s declared at some point between the start of classes in September and the half term holiday in October.  Every year people try to predict the day.  While I was there, Ruth Simmons delayed until almost the last week possible for at least two of the years.  It’s usually a Monday, Wednesday or Friday (I think because the classes on those days are more frequent than the tues/Thursday ones) but my senior year, when I had managed to create a class schedule heavily loaded on the Tuesday and Thursday( accidentally) it was called for Tuesday.

It’s a lovely surprise rest day, a chance to relax and appreciate the outdoors.  We all need mountain days in our lives.  

Microblog Monday – going in circles

On several levels, i feel as if I am going in circles, I have lost direction.

And sometimes my life just produces a circular result.  We are planning on going to japan for Christmas/new year.  We will be going back to the Kansai area, which is the same area we went to the last Christmas we had in Japan.  I like the area, it is nice and snowy without being as cold as further north.  

I thought I would look up the name of a craft chain I like and see where they are in Osaka, I know their Kyoto location.  Half the page is yellow pages results ( and bad ones) and the other half is various blogs.  Down at the bottom of the page is my post from last year- is about the shop, but their Tokyo location.  So one of the best sources is me.  Kind of funny.  At least I know the Kyoto location, and can go there.


Thursday night

I live in a state where most retail ( grocery stores being the exception) closes between 5 and 6 pm.  Once a week the big shopping centres are open until 9. For the suburban centres this is Thursday, the CBD is open late on Friday. 

We needed a frame for my stepbrother’s 40th birthday present so we mounted an expedition to IKEA.  And it was an expedition.  We live about half an hour away, on a good day.  Today was not a good day.  We had a big storm blow through aroun 4, and at 6:30 the effects were still present, the freeway was not moving well.

Typical IKEA experience- went for a frame, came home with a hundred dollars of other stuff, plus frame.  

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