Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Her Name is Kana!

Kana and Kade became friends at the University of Alabama.  She's from the lovely town of Arida (near the metropolis, Osaka) in Japan. On one of our returns to Thailand we stopped off in Japan for a nice visit, and Kana was the perfect hostess - well, she and her parents.


Kana with her best friend

Kana and her mom

(L-R) Eunjung (South Korea), Kade (Thailand), Diana (Columbia) and Kana (Japan)
Going to the circus in Birmingham, Alabama, 2004
Kana, Diana, Un Jun

 See if you can spot these ladies in the ELI photo.  English Language Institute. 

During Kana's time at the University of Alabama, I wrote some lyrics about her, best sung to Barry Manilow's hit, Copacabana.
Her name is Kana
she's from Osaka
with red color in her hair
she opens doors and she's not scared
Kade and Kana
Osaka, Japan
late summer, 2004
Here's some text from an e-mail I sent family and friends after we arrived back in Thailand after visiting Kana in Japan.  In the e-mail, I had attached a few digital images, and then set out to describe the images and our experiences.  The images I described actually made it into the above video.  Perhaps, after reading this text, and then watching the video, this will all come together!!!
  • First image is of the dinner table at Kana's house. Kana was a classmate of Kade's at the University of AL. Her parents are next to her. We actually stayed in Kana's home in Arida City, a small town in the middle of mountains and orange groves in western Japan, about a hour or two from Osaka. The evening of the first image shows us eating what I believe was the tastiest dish we tried during our time in Japan. It didn't look great, but boy was it delicious. It was made of shredded boiled beef, onions, eggs and mushrooms and it was cooked in a fabulous sauce, which was fairly sweet. It was served over steamed rice. I can't imagine any American not enjoying it, really, because the flavor reminded me of some favorite dishes (barbecue, sloppy joe...along that line) back home. Side dishes that evening were chilled eggplant and pickled eggplant. I liked them both.
  • The second image shows a Japanese favorite, sushi. This tray of sushi, costing $50, was delivered by a local restaurant a few minutes before dinner time. The really shiny pieces of meat are raw fish. You can also see fish eggs (roe) with cucumber, squid, sweet egg sushi, shrimp sushi and barbecue eel sushi. It's all placed on a bed of sticky rice and, in some cases, is "glued" to the rice by a tiny amount of spicy green stuff (wasabi, the only part I don't like). Anyway, the sushi that appears to be rolled or wrapped entirely in seaweed is a sushi made with crisp vegetables and mayonnaise, combined with fish, eel or crab. It's very good. To make all this sushi really come alive (no pun intended), you must use your chopsticks as a tool to dip the sushi into some soy sauce, which comes in the tiny bottles pictured at the top. Of course, if you want to freshen your breath, some slices of fresh ginger are on hand. Other things you might notice are what I call dessert-sushi. Some have a cake-like exterior and others have a nutty topping.
  • The third image underscores the old adage, "When in Rome, do as the Romans." Except, you must substitute Japan for Rome. I always tell people that the best way to learn to use chopsticks is to be in a situation where you're hungry and you have no choice other than to use chopsticks. A visit to Hong Kong a few years ago cured me of my inability to use chopsticks. Nowadays, using them effectively is becoming second nature. .....back to the image......... Stir-fried eggplant (they love eggplant!), spring rolls and a soup make it a complete meal.
To read about my first visit to Japan, in 2000, click here.

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