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A red leaf blew in my window a couple days ago. Autumn has only just arrived in Japan – one of the advantages of living on an island nation. During this time, the Japanese participate in momijigari, or “red leaf hunting.” This is the time of year when the Japanese red maples turn brilliant colors, and have been celebrated in Japanese culture for a long time. It is celebrated, apparently, in much the same way as “cherry blossom viewing,” which will be my privilege to see during my stay here. In fact, the kanji for “red leaves”,Red Leaves is also read to mean “maple tree”, and forms the beginning of the word “momijigari".”

I’m actually waiting for a friend to give me copies of the pictures from Kobe, so I’m holding off on posting about it. (My camera gave out again – don’t ask. It hates me.)

A couple days ago I visited an Indian restaurant near Kansai Gaidai with Ami, my Japanese friend, for the first time. There are several Indian restaurants in the Hirakata-shi area, and, I’m sure, all over Japan. This is due to the over-abundant popularity of curry rice,  which was apparently introduced to Japan in the early 1900s. This is an incredibly delicious hybrid dish from India, but the Japanese variety tends to be less spicy, have meat in it, and be slightly sweeter. The beef variety is a bit like beef stew in nature. The spice blocks for curry line the shelves in supermarkets. It’s a dish I liked from the beginning of my stay in Japan, and a whiff of the smell sends me back in memory.

Anyway, the restaurant we visited is called New Delhi.

 

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Here I am eating naan bread, the insanely delicious Indian flatbread that I learned to love from attending an Indian festival at my university. Japanese curry is traditionally served with rice, but at the New Delhi restaurant I could have the GIGANTIC portions they serve – you can see the naan bread is roughly the size of a medium pizza. We dipped it in the curry. For Y900 (roughly $10) we got curry, naan, egg-drop soup (mmmm), mango-sauce ice cream, and a delicious Indian drink, mango lhassi, which is a milky yogurt-based drink designed to cool your mouth after the curry. I’d always wanted to try lhassi, since I’ve read about it in novels, and now was my chance. The entire meal was filling and delicious, and the service was courteous. I loved it. Excellent Indian food….in Japan. It’s an interesting world.

We’re coming, crashing, onto the end of the semester, a nervous time because of all the finals – I need to get good grades! It’s odd to have so many friends leaving for home, but that I’ll be staying in Japan.

I’ll be going to Osaka on Sunday for a kimono fitting, tea ceremony, learning to play go, and origami session. That ought to be very interesting and a good picture-taking time (if my camera will cooperate.) I’ve already been part of a tea ceremony before, but it’s a very interesting, meditative ritual that I hope to share with you.

Until the next post, I hope you have fun, whatever you do!

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