Remembering Japan | 3 Years Later

by Tokyo Terrace on March 12, 2014

Remembering Japan | 3 years later

Three years ago today was the most terrifying day of my life. The shaking during the 9.0 earthquake in Japan was awful. I was in my second grade classroom with all of my students, their sweet faces peaking out at me from beneath their desks, not able to fully process what was happening. A few items fell off the wall. My arms bent at the elbows along with the movement of the tile floor. I had an inflatable globe hanging on the wall that bounced around like a ping pong ball. Once the earthquake stopped, there was complete silence (a rare thing to experience inside a school). The inflatable globe continued to sway, slowing down ever so slightly. The silence didn’t last long though. We quickly evacuated the school and made our way outside to the soccer fields where we experienced several after-shocks.

I watched the old, tall trees around us sway but it was not the same swaying trees do in the wind. The clouds above us were swirling in a very strange way as well. Everything seemed out of balance. Brad (we taught at the same school) and I looked out at the students sitting on the field and realized that the ground was literally rolling beneath them. We didn’t know how long this would last. We didn’t know if our dog was OK inside our first floor apartment.

We didn’t know that as we sat there a tsunami was forcing itself into the shore line.

We didn’t know the water would move so far inland that it would bring the sea floor along with it, burying buildings and people.

We didn’t know that as terrifying as the earthquake was for us, it didn’t end there for many others.

We didn’t know that 3 years later the struggle would not be over.

The fear we felt could not compare to what hundreds of thousands of others experienced that day. For many, the fear continues.

Brad traveled to Ishinomaki, one of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami, with a group of teachers and friends to help with clean-up a few weeks after the earthquake and tsunami. He met people who, despite having less than nothing to offer, showed hospitality to their group. In the midst of the loss and the fear and the continual after-shocks and the ocean sludge all around, they were able to show appreciation and composure in a way I believe is unique to the Japanese people.

After living in Japan for 4 years, I learned so much. I’m learning even more as I watch them rebuild and recover with grace after such devastation.

3.11 | Remembering Japan | 3 Years Later


Guest Post: How to Eat (Cheaply) in Tokyo

by Tokyo Terrace on February 19, 2014

I’m happy to share this guest post from Expat Explorer today! They have put together some great tips on how to eat cheaply in Tokyo, which is something a lot of people don’t think is possible. Some of the best food we ate in Japan ended up being the cheapest. So without further adieu, here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the affordable food scene in Tokyo, Japan!
Japanese food is a favourite for city dwellers globally, not just in Tokyo. And it has a reputation for being four things – tasty, quick, healthy, and expensive.
In the latest Expat Explorer survey (brought to you by HSBC Expat), Japan ranked third for a healthy expat diet. But here are some tips for ensuring that your sushi lunches in Tokyo aren’t just delicious, but don’t break the bank either.

1. Exercise will power: Many Japanese eateries use conveyor belts to ensure the journey from kitchen to customer is even quicker when it comes to sushi. And this means you pay by the plate. Set yourself a maximum of 2-3 plates in advance and choose rice-based options to make sure you fill up. Healthy portion sizes as well as wallets? Sorted.

2. Forget what your mother taught you: Fresh isn’t always better when it comes to vegetables, at least from a financial point of view. Get to grips with the range of pre-made vegetable dishes available in local supermarkets and save yourself time, hassle and a fortune.

3. Stand for your supper: You won’t need to beg like Oliver Twist – standing while eating in noodle bars is standard in some Japanese restaurants! Be prepared to pay extra for the luxury of a seat.

4. Follow the savvy savers: Food is much more affordable in blue-collar districts or areas frequented by students. If you can, steer clear of city slicker types to seek out inexpensive cuisine.

5. Know your local canteens: Basement canteens in office blocks aren’t always reserved solely for employees in that building. Cheaper food and an opportunity to meet workers from other businesses could be a winning combination for expats in Japan.

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Michigan + Japan

July 18, 2013

We are on vacation in Michigan right now, but I wanted to take a minute to share a little fun from Japan with you! A few years ago, I joined the team over at Japan Eats. It was great fun and they just recently put up a video of one of the Japan Booze Blind […]

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Homemade Furikake

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I’m a condiment person. Dips, salsas, sauces…you name it, I probably love it. When I was a kid, it was not difficult to find me at parties because I was most likely lurking near the chips and dip. OK, let’s be honest…that’s usually where you’ll find me as a grown-up, too. Chips and fries are […]

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Asparagus + Black Sesame

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I’ve heard stories from Brad and my in-laws about asparagus hunting in Iowa. Brad’s grandparents live there and have been known to pull their car over at the sight of the green asparagus stalks reaching upwards from the depths of a ditch. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to partake in this activity but I […]

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Creamy Polenta with Arrabiata, Egg + Bacon

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Up on the new blog, Set the Table, today! Tweet

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Travel + A New Cocktail (or Two)

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Have you subscribed to my new blog, Set the Table, yet? If not, head over there now to catch up on new posts and subscribe so you don’t miss anything! Tweet

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Cocktail Friday: Lavender Honey Sidecar

March 29, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve got a brand new Cocktail Friday post over at Set the Table! If you haven’t added Set the Table to your reader yet, please do! Tweet

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No Rise Cinnamon Rolls

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I’ve got a new post up on my new food blog, Set the Table! Click here to check it out! Tweet

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Cocktail Friday: Basil Gin Fizz

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You can find the recipe for this perfectly delicious cocktail at my new site, Set the Table! Tweet

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