Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving and a Taste of Malasada

Last Thursday night, I celebrated Thanksgiving with most of the American students, a few Japanese students, and a few of the other international students. For most of the Japanese students and a few of the international students that went, it was their first Thanksgiving.

It was nice celebrating Thanksgiving because although Akita International University (AIU) is an "international school," Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that is not celebrated by most of the students at AIU. Usually Christmas and Halloween are celebrated at AIU.

The Thanksgiving party that I went to was a private party, and it was required that anyone who went to the party pay at least 600 yen entrance fee or bring food. For the Thanksgiving party, I had made yakisoba with my friend from the University of Hawaii, my Japanese friend, and another international student from Thailand. Both my Japanese friend and the student from Thailand were unable to go to the party.

As for the yakisoba, originally I wanted to use spam for meat, but because one of the American students complained about how much she dislikes spam, we used teriayaki meat instead. It seems like not everyone can understand Hawaii's love for spam.

The food we ate at the Thanksgiving party was very delicious. I was able to eat food that I have not eaten for a while since coming to Japan such as cake, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, the timing was very inconvenient, because their was a Dancing Contest at the same time in the same building on the same floor.

The Dancing Contest was a school event, and had performances by both international and Japanese students from AIU. Surprisingly, even students from Akita University (a nearby University and Akita's prefectural university) performed at AIU. The dance performances featured hip hop music with either American or Japanese music in the background.

The performances lasted for several hours, and because the Dancing Contest was very fun to watch, some of the students that went to the Thanksgiving party would sneak outside occasionally to watch the dancing contest. 

The competition is called Dance Virus

  After going to the fun party, I decided to relax on Friday, and then go to Yurihonjo with five other students on Saturday. Some of my friends had wanted to go to Yurihonjo because they wanted to buy alcohol, and there is a beer factory called Saiya Shuzouten, the maker of the alcohol "Yuki no Bosha' in the area. In addition, the tour is free, and the company provides free alcohol samples for tourist. I wanted to go because I wanted to explore as much of Japan while I am here.

A Bridge at Yurihonjo

  The tour was mostly in Japanese, and the tour guide spoke only a few English words. There was two Japanese students from AIU with me that my friend invited, so they were able to translate some of the tour guide's explanations.
The beer factory that I went to
Based on everything that I was able to understand, I think the only thing I remember was that a few centuries ago, women were not allowed to enter the beer factory because the female goddess forbid women from coming.
The beginnings of alcohol

At the end of the tour, my group of friends tried the free alcohol, and most of the students except for me bought alcohol. Although I started drinking after coming to Japan, I rarely drink, and I only buy alcohol if I can get it for free, or if it is a social situation such as the alcohol is being offered to me by a host family. I only drank the free samples, but I felt slightly dizzy after drinking.

On the way back from Yurihonjo, we stopped at Akita City because most of us were hungry, and we assumed that it would be a while before we would get back to AIU.

After arriving at Akita City, we spent a few minutes on deciding on where we wanted to eat. I thought the Japanese students, would know all of the good food places in the area because the students were seniors, and they are Japanese, but surprisingly they only know the drinking spots.

Thankfully, I remembered how to get to the store that sells malasada's (Portuguese doughnuts) after I walked around Akita City before when my friend from Hawaii told me about this place, so we walked to that place from the train station.

The malasda store was about 15 minutes away, and it was at a shopping center right next to Akita Prefectural Museum. It had a Hawaii theme designed, and it even served juice from the Hawaiian Sun company in Hawaii.

When we arrived at the store, I immediately bought a chocolate malasada from the malasda store, and was reminded of my memories of malasadas from Hawaii. The malasada tasted really warm and sweet, and I was so happy to eat it. I shared some of my malasada with the students that I was with, and they immediately liked it.

We ate soba for lunch, and because I really liked the malasadas, I bought a malasada for everyone, including myself, and everyone ate it happily.

Delicious Japanese malasadas
After everyone ate the malasadas, I told my friends that if you go to Hawaii, if you want to make friends, you bring food. My friend from Czech Republic responded that if you want to make friends at the Czech Republic, you bring alcohol.

As for the rest of the week, it snowed really hard on Tuesday, and most of the snow melted away already, but I heard it will snow really hard on Saturday, and the snow gets really bad around on February. Also the kindergarten children that I tried to teach English to by showing them an object and match it with the label for a COS event wrote me a few thank-you cards.

The snow is melting away after a few days

It was very sweat, and I shall forever remember the kindness from these little kids. It makes me feel important, and it reminds me why it is important to write a thank-you card.

Lastly as for my bicycle, I tried to unpick the lock with my friend's bicycle tools, but apparently that did not work. It seems like Japanese bicycle locks are very hard to break, so it will probably be a while before I fix my bicycle.