Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We are famous!

Mom and I were featured in a Japanese newspaper centerfold in a color (very exciting) postage stamp size (less exciting) picture with a caption that says "The Kato Kirby and Lisa Kelley family visit Emukae for the Mayudama Festival".

As you can imagine I do not read many Japanese newspapers, so when I received an email from Megumi, a woman I have English conversation lessons with explaining that she had spotted my mother and me while enjoying a breakfast parfait, I was completely surprised (and also shamelessly gushing with excitement!)

The issue was from April but finally I have a copy. Now we know the kind man who originally we thought wanted to give us a parking ticket but turned out to want our names and our picture next to our illegally parked car was from the paper. It seems he was left no other photography subjects on this particular day since the town when we passed through seemed almost completely empty of visitors. From the caption we now know there was a festival.  We can assume that the the festival was rather slow this year, or that we and the newspaper man were too early or too late. 

Mom and I have not received the amount of media attention one would expect after such a highlighted newspaper presence but this is probably for the best, we are humble people after all ;)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


So much for organic gardening, I will use any amount of chemicals necessary to keep these off my porch! This one (~ 4 inches long) crawled out of my rosemary pot this morning and ran to the wall. I bravely snapped a picture before spraying it with Raid. It ran away and we can only hope it is dying somewhere in a neighbor's yard. The worst part is that apparently they give nasty bites and I've heard some species travel in packs and will appear if one is killed. I find that I do better if I think of them as the "grubs" that Timon and Pumbaa eat in The Lion King, hakuna matata right?

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Whenever I feel a spell of homesickness approaching, I look out to find the cranes and pretend I am somewhere in West Seattle looking over at the shipping yards. It takes a little bit of focus to block out the very volcanic looking peek, but to make things easier we now have a Lego model of the Space Needle given to us as a wedding gift. If I hold it up to the left as I close one eye  it really authenticates my imaginary vision of the Seattle skyline. However, the cranes are still my favorite because they remind me of being little and riding home on the Bainbridge ferry from the Beach. I would see them all on the water and think ‘Wow, that’s a lot of cranes! Whatever they’re building, it’s going to be good!’. I’m not sure at what point the slow construction on the pier led me to suspect that the cranes were actually there for unloading shipping vessels, but I imagine it was somewhat of a disappointing realization for me.

To the left

When I first arrived, driving on the left side of the road was absolutely terrifying, I avoided shifting above second gear at nearly all costs. As time went on I became comfortable changing gears with my left hand and no longer had to sing Beyoncé's Irreplaceable ("to the left to the left") to remember to turn into the correct lane.

This is my car, the Suzuki WagonR, it is automatic and I am fairly certain it has the equivalent of a golf cart engine in it. Now I know there is only one word that comes to mind when you look at this car, sexy. All you can do is hope the rumors of launching the car in North America are true.

It came with the hang loose sticker and I decided to keep it to maintain its sporty character. I also added my own stickers, so someone please tell Granddad that there are golden W stickers on both our cars, I know he will be pleased.

Aioli Kirby

Another recent discovery of ours is aioli, so delicious we are very seriously considering naming our first born child after this heavenly condiment. Bellow are sweet potato fries, original aioli, lime Sriracha aioli, and avocado aioli.

Easy Aioli (Better Homes and Gardens)

1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 olive oil

Combine mayonnaise and garlic, then whisk in water, lemon juice and salt. Whisk in olive oil until smooth, cover and chill.

For Sriracha lime aioli; omit water and add hot sauce to taste. Substitute lime juice for lemon juice. Also, may add lime zest for additional flavor while preventing sauce from becoming too drizzly.

For Avocado aioli; add 1/2 an avocado or more to above recipe, add extra salt.

Sasebo Sliders

Sasebo is famous for being home to both American and Japanese naval bases, a peculiar but impressive Dutch theme park, a stripe-painted spinning top, the Kujuku Islands (99 islands) featured in the opening scenes of The Last Samurai, aaaaaand the Sasebo burger! This burger began appearing in town in the 1950's, unique for its bacon and fried egg. While Mom was visiting we had the most clever idea to make Sasebo sliders! We used Hawaiian sweet rolls, quail eggs, Kraft singles cut into quarters and shallots to construct our mini burgers.

Kris and I later made Sasebo sliders again and invited friends for a "mini themed" dinner party. There were mini chocolate chip cookies, mini milkshakes, mini strawberries, I wore a mini-mouse-esque polka dot shirt, but my very favorite interpretation of the theme was Kendall's; he wore a Maurice Jones-Drew jersey, the Jaguar's #32 running back who at the height of 5'7' is one of the shortest players in the NFL.

I want a puppy

And this is why Kris tells me I can't have a puppy...

The basil on the left did not live but I was able to revive the Italian parsley. The truth is I want all the positives of having a dog, like cuddles and playing, but none of the negatives like walking, feeding, grooming and the guilt that comes with not being a consistent walker, feeder, groomer. So for now the lizard that shriveled up and died in our bedroom light will continue to be the closest thing to a pet we have.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Adulthood begins when a three day weekend is not an extra day off but one less day during the week to do the same amount of work"   

This is something I learned my junior year of college but no longer applies to me since I have seven day weekends until my multiple background checks process and am permitted to teach at the school. I cannot wait until I produce more in a day than a batch of brownies and an internet post about a mushroom. 

Like a fat mushroom loves butter

King Oyster (Pleurotus erryngi)

This mushroom profile brought to you by the Japanese grocery down the hill and the teachings of Professor Joe Ammirati wherever you are.

Related to the common oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), the king oyster is a delicious mushroom with decurrent gills, a fat trunk of a stem and an "oh but at least you tried" little cap.  It has a white spore print typical of its genus and is the largest species of its genus. It is also known as the French horn mushroom, boletus of the steppes, and my personal favorite, trumpet royale. It can be found wild through west Asia, north Africa, and Europe but is cultivated widely in east Asia.

It is meaty and absorbs flavors brilliantly; I love it, like a fat mushroom loves butter!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go.""
                   -Maya Angelou

Limited cookbooks

I currently have only two cookbooks here, one is Celebrated Chefs, a collection of the Seattle area’s restaurant's and chef’s signature dishes. Most of the ingredient lists require at least two specialty items, such as pancetta, chanterelles, duck confit, and sottocenere (this one is a bit more flexible “or any other truffled, semi-firm cheese”).  The other cookbook we have is Tasteful Treasures: A Collection of Recipes by SunCrest Home Health Employees of Eastern Tennessee, a Christmas gift to Kris from Terrie for his favorite sausage ball recipe (which I still promise to make).  Other recipes include Chicken/Ranch cheese ball, Crock Pot Lil’ Smokeys, and Coca Cola Chicken. I’m honestly not sure if ketchup, and soda pop will ever be staple ingredients in my cooking, but I’ll try anything once! Still, I can’t help feeling as though there is some sort of middle ground I am missing recipe wise, floating somewhere between Velveeta and ripened chèvre. All I can say is that I’m very excited for my things to arrive; I know that somewhere in those boxes there are cookbooks with pages flagged by Auntie Anne herself that won’t let me down!

The good news is...

Lots to look forward to, the sun rises tomorrow!

At one point Kris said this over the phone to a friend back in the states and I found it very amusing. As I was thinking of blog titles it came back to me. In Japan (also the land of the rising sun) we are 17 hours ahead (of PST) and today here is USA tomorrow, and the good news is... the sun does rise!

I also found that there is a statistical problem called "the sunrise problem" which is the type of question posed on the first day of a statistics class by a quizzical professor and is "what is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?" Upon further investigation I learned if you observe 1000 days that the sun does rise, then the certainty that it will tomorrow is 99.9% and this probability will increase as you see and include more days that the sun successfully rises. However if you account for prior knowledge of gravity rules the answer is dramatically different says Xu Cui, a researcher at Stanford University. I am going to guess this dramatic difference is also in our favor.

So see you tomorrow!

I am sorry to say this is actually a sunset, but the shot in the sunrise direction is not as good, so forgive me.