No smoking, No shooting…

Nina and I went to watch Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (崖の上のポニョ)yesterday. The film was closer to Totoro than any of Miyazaki’s other films in its simplicity. The story line is reminiscent of The Little Mermaid with a bit of Finding Nemo but Miyazaki’s incredible imagination creates images and scenes that linger long after leaving the theater. I’ll want to see it has the same charm as Totoro and I’m sure I will pick up more of the background now that I know the story. I have no idea when it is scheduled to be released in the States, but go see it.

along the road
along the road

But what was almost as interesting as the movie was the whole movie theater experience. I hadn’t been to a theater here in over 20 years. The closest theater is in Oita about a 40 minute (and 950 yen toll) drive on the new highway. When you purchase a ticket, you are given assigned seats. We bought popcorn and soda and were given a nice plastic tray to carry them in. Upon leaving the movie, two guys were collecting the trays and garbage from each patron. Kids were given booster seats…. but what was most surprising were the courtesy announcements that played before the movie.. They were in English with simple graphics. First “No smoking” then “No shooting”…I started to laugh outloud and then saw the illustration of a camera…we were also reminded “No cell phones” “No speaking” and “No kicking”. After the previews there was another short announcement reminding us that is against the law to film the film… I remembered a DVD that someone showed us in China that was obviously filmed in a theater with the backs of peoples’ heads clearly visible.

rain running down our neighbor's roof
rain running down our neighbor

I told Nina that I am tired of going to the grocery store and all the food is Japanese. I love Japanese food but wish there were an equivalent of Uwajimaya for the westerners here…I can drive 2 1/2 hours to Costco, but I would much rather go to Trader Joe’s. But I have been cooking a lot with NIna and we found a great blog for Japanese recipes, Just Hungry they also have a blog on Bentos. Tonight we made Cabbage Rolls. We used shiitake instead of portabella mushrooms, regular cabbage instead of savoy, a mix of ground pork and beef, and skipped the thyme and made a tomato sauce to cover them with at the end. YUM. Next week we want to try using tofu and seasoned rice instead of meat.

the ubiquitous road mirror
the ubiquitous road mirror

Next weekend I am heading up to Gifu to connect with a group of kids and three teachers from Catlin. It’ll be good to have a hit from Oregon.

6 thoughts on “No smoking, No shooting…

  1. Hannah Whitehead August 27, 2008 / 4:10 am

    Hi Kate,

    I’ve been enjoying your posts a great deal. It helps me feel in touch. Have a wonderful time with the Catlin Gabel folks. I know they’ll be so glad to see you.

    How is your house coming inside? You’ve come a long way on it from the beginning of this blog.


  2. katezawa August 27, 2008 / 10:19 am

    I’ll post some pictures of our progress soon. Jiro just finished the installation of a composting toilet and the bamboo floors look great!
    I have appreciated your email updates…know that I am thinking of you and have great admiration of your courage. Hope the start of the new school year goes smoothly!

  3. Julie August 30, 2008 / 12:36 am

    Kato moto
    I still picture you in your old place up in the mountains when I try to visit you in my mind. You sound up beat and engaged. Obama says change is good. You are living change superbly!
    Sidney is in India as of yesterday. I haven’t talked with her but the SYA folks have confirmed their arrival. The group of kids looked great. i’m really excited for her and for her Indian family who will get to know her. Thank you for your support and advice. julie

  4. Charissa September 1, 2008 / 10:05 pm

    Hi Kate and Jiro,
    I have been enjoying this blog a lot-and learning. Last wek I went to a tiako drum concert and learned about Obon. They did two ancestor calling drum dances. One with big drums and one with a LOT of tiny red drums. Which do they do in your village? Did they do one in front of your house? Or was it the one for the 5 people in your village?
    I tried to find that sushi rice dish you served when we came for dinner-it had shitake and tofu and a yellow orange long strand(squash?) in it. I bought all the ingredients and was excited to make it and now don’t remeber the steps. I know the tofu and mushrooms get soaked squeezed and soaked again-but am at a loss to the rest. Any receipe on line you can point me too.
    I know, much questions and mispellings, but, it wouldnt be me without them.

  5. katezawa September 5, 2008 / 10:45 am

    The obon dances are held in each neighborhood. We all went to our neighborhood one where five people were honored. The city also held a huge bon-dance last weekend that Nina and Jiro went to.
    The mixed sushi rice dish is called chirashi-zushi. Here is a recipe for it

  6. katezawa September 5, 2008 / 10:49 am

    So glad Sid has made it safely to India. It sounds like she is set to have a great adventure for the next few months. Even though our living space is quite nice, I wish I lived up in the mountains here again…we are going to drive up there this weekend with the kids. I wonder if they remember much about it other than what they’ve seen in pictures. I can’t believe it was almost 20 years ago.

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