Dec 30, 2014
Dec 29, 2014
Dec 28, 2014
The table in the picture is our dining table. It is a kotatsu. It has a heater underneath and there is a blanket under the table top, between it and the frame. However, this one is unusual. It has chairs and is the normal height for a table. The image of a kotatsu is a very low table with short legs where the person sits on a cushion on the floor. I've never been comfortable while sitting at a regular kotatsu. I do not bend in the right places, so we have not had one for years. However, when shopping for furniture for our new apartment we found this. It is a good place to sit and read at night. It keeps your feet nice and warm, and if you are the only one in the room, you can usually turn off the air conditioner.
Dec 27, 2014
Dec 24, 2014
Dec 23, 2014
Dec 20, 2014
Dec 19, 2014
Dec 17, 2014
Dec 16, 2014
Dec 15, 2014
Dec 13, 2014
To the left of Santa is a plastic block containing a likeness of Sakamoto Ryoma (Japanese name order), one of the prominent figures in the overthrow of the Shogunate. On the right is another block of plastic with a likeness of Kobo Daishi, a Buddhist priest who I mentioned in the last couple of posts. Both of these were apparently made by focusing laser light into the block. They are rather amazing to look at since they are made from very thin lines inside the solid block.
Directly behind Santa is a small Buddha from Thailand. It was a gift from an old friend. Behind that in gold with a black background is another Buddha. This one I purchased during a visit to Yamadera, a temple that is reached by climbing a thousand stairs. I posted pictures of this trip in this photoblog about three years ago.
In the back row on the right is a model of a Northern soldier from the American Civil War. He has fallen off his horse, which is something that happened to my great grandfather during that war, so I image it as a statue of him. The rectangular red and black thing is a lacquered box with an Indian style elephant painted on it. Next to it on the left is a small raku pot that I made when I studied pottery in college. Finally on the left is a figurine that I bought in Tashkent. It is a bearded man holding two baskets of fruit.
In addition, there are two paperweights in the shape of ducks. I have had them since I was about two years old. You can just see the tail of one of them on the right. On the far left just a hint of a brass vase from India can be seen. I purchased this in a Glenelg antique shop in Adelaide, Australia.
Dec 12, 2014
When I boiled them and started eating, I discovered that the kernels are very chewy, which apparently accounts for the name mochi corn. Mochi is a typical Japanese food. Here is the introduction to the Wikipedia entry.
Mochi (餅?) is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is called môa-chî (麻糬) in Taiwan.
Mochi is a multicomponent food consisting of polysaccharides, lipids, protein and water. Mochi has a heterogeneous structure of amylopectin gel, starch grains and air bubbles. This rice is characterized by its lack of amylose in starch and is derived from short or medium japonica rices. The protein concentration of the rice is a bit higher than normal short-grain rice and the two also differ in amylose content. In mochi rice, the amylose content is negligible which results in the soft gel consistency of mochi.
Except for the kernel skins, the texture and taste of the corn was quite similar to mochi. A few days later mochi corn appeared in our local supermarket so I was able to enjoy it a couple of times before the season was over. I am definitely looking forward to having it again next summer.