Friday, October 31, 2008

The Tan Tans' Creations.

Well, in the land of the rising sun, there are certain dishes that foodies like us can't find and yet missed dearly.

So, making the best out of whatever ingredients that we can get our hands on, the Tan Tans had some creations up their sleeves.

Seafood soup with fishes, prawn, and yuppiee... crabs!!

Claypot Toufu!!!

Kimchi nabe with flower-crabs (guess what, this is imported from India) and handmade wantons!!!!

And yes, this is the handmade wanton - courtesy from Mrs Tan Tan.

With the wantons, Mr Tan Tan whipped up some wanton noodles with homemade char-siew (roasted pork) and stewed mushrooms.

The Tan Tans also made their own pizza (well, with instant pizza flour mix for the dough this time but definitely not the next)
Baked Pasta!

And most recently, our own cookies - comes in seasame and cashew nuts toppings.

Japanese puppet and shadow show

The Tan Tans were treated to a Japanese Puppet and Shadow show yesterday and the experience was great.

It was interested on how humans can make use of light and shadow to create something so visual.

And the japanese kids response, how do I put it? It was spontenous, loud, responsive and definitely full of energy. The energy levels are beyond that I had experienced in Singapore, and this was not limited to young kids alone.

Left: One of the puppet show, the story of the wolf and the sheep.
Right: Silloute of one of the puppet master.

Look at this response!

Video clip of one of the show

If you want to be a Superstar...

1) Try getting married...


2) Try being a JET who teaches all the public schools in your town...

Yesterday, I had an auditorium of over 800 kids calling out my name and waving excitedly at me as I made my entrance to watch a puppet show. As though they had spotted a celebrity.

The downside about this superstar treatment is that you also lose your privacy. But still, I'll be enjoying the next nine months of this superstar status, for it only happens once in a lifetime :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ueno Tenjin Matsuri!

Iga's main festival is the Ueno Tenjin Matsuri held from October 23rd-25th and featuring a parade of locals dressed as oni (ogre or demons), mikoshi (portable shrines) and another procession of decorated, wheeled floats known as danjiri. The festival has a 500 year history.

It was definitely an interesting experience watching the oni parading and frightening the wits out of babies, toddlers and young children, who responded by madly wailing their lungs out. Apparently it's good for children to cry on this occasion because the oni are scaring the evil spirits away from them.

We also went on a treasure hunt of sorts and kind of won the top prize in a lucky draw - a box of really exotic grapes!

The parade of the oni.

An 'ogre' struggling to drink through a straw.

The samurai (top) and the priest (bottom) warding away evil.

Look at how horrified the kids were.

The Danjiri (large wooden carts in the shape of a shrine/temple)!

Mikoshi (Portable shrines).

Lion dance - Japanese version!

Completing the treasure hunt and our prized Nabari grapes from a lucky draw! One of the top prizes. Lady luck seemed to be on our side that day as we managed to draw the number 88 from a pool of 100 numbers!

Exhibition on the festival.

Ueno Tenjin Jinja and the long queue to pray to the gods.

A creepy haunted house, ironically located just outside the Ueno Tenjin temple. Pretty entertaining.

Cute Japanese kids.
What's a festival without the yattai ~ Japanese pasar malam?

Lantern offerings found outside every house.
Our omiyage of postcards which capture the essence of the festival.