My “Traditional” Japanese Christmas Dinner

Japan doesn’t have a long Christmas tradition, as it’s a more recent trend here.  It’s also mainly done to sell more things and make more money.  It’s entirely commercial.  It’s also a time for couples to go on dates and exchange gifts.  It’s typically not a family holiday, but parents will sometimes give their children gifts.  Also, it’s very difficult to find turkey here, so we have to make do with other things.

And that brings me to my Christmas dinner today.  This is the “traditional” Christmas dinner.  Just take a look.

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That’s right, Kentucky Fried Chicken!  We had some regular KFC chicken, boneless chicken, French fries (no gravy in Japan), salad, and a “Christmas cake.”  It was actually a chocolate cake.  To many Japanese people, Christmas means cake.  They’re often very surprised to find out that cake isn’t a big tradition where I’m from.  Sure, people get fruitcake, but it’s often not really enthusiastically accepted.  I don’t have a picture, but they also dress up the Colonel Sanders statues outside the restaurants like Santa Claus.

I guess for many of you, Christmas is just getting started, while it’s coming to an end here.  Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your day.

Definitely Not Making My Yearly Reading Challenge

Looking at my Goodreads reading challenge of 30 books, I’m very far behind.  I’m at 18 books, and I may get to 19 if I finish Homeland. I’m also behind on doing reviews.  I have three to do, and I want to get them done before the end of the year.

So, what will I do with next year’s reading challenge?  Actually, I’ll go for 30 books again.  But this time, I’ll be spending some time in the evening reading before going to bed.  That should help a lot.

I’ve got myself a to-do list.  I need to update my reading list, but I’ll do that in the new year.  I have to do three critiques on Critique Circle before I can submit Journey to Ariadne part 4.  On that topic, I finally figured out a name for the ship that will take them to Ariadne.  Another thing to do is take a picture of Christmas dinner and post it here.  I’m having a “traditional” Japanese Christmas dinner.  Wait until you see what it is.  Can you guess?

Entertaining Dreams: Grammar, Buildings, and Hats

The title of this post doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, dreams don’t make much sense, either.  I’ve had many nonsensical dreams, and they’ve always entertained me after I’ve woken up, if I could remember them.

I dream a lot, and I know it.  Well, everyone dreams a lot, just not everyone remembers them.  I usually forget my dreams within a minute or two of waking up, but I remember the feeling.  Sometimes, I have dreams so vivid that I can’t forget them.  I’ve had some insane dreams, and I’ve decided that I’m going to write about them from time to time.  These will be written as flash fiction or short stories, and they include flying, being attacked with an axe, running from trolls, chasing aliens, and resurrecting dogs.  Sound interesting?

Well, I don’t remember much about this morning’s dream, but it involved work.  You see, I teach English, so I often think of grammar.  My dream involved grammar, though I don’t remember what the grammar point was.  We were discussing something and we started a debate about whether or not buildings look good with hats on top.  I don’t mean architectural features, I mean actual hats.  Giant hats.

I would like to hear about some of your crazy dreams.  Share them below in the comments.  I think we’ll have some fun reading them.

Extreme Frost

It’s winter, and for many places that means snow. However, where I live in Japan, it means cool days and near freezing nights if it’s clear. Cloudy nights are usually above freezing. But when it’s been a bit humid and goes down below zero, we get frost. This is typical frost.

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A nice dusting of frost on the green plant. Unlike Canada, many plants and trees continue to have green leaves through winter here, and many flowers bloom in December and January. Lots of vegetables and citrus fruit are harvested in winter, too.

Anyway, last week, I saw something that amazed me. I saw some extreme frost. It grew into thin ice crystals nearly 10 centimetres long. Take a look.

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Isn’t nature wonderful?

Female Dominated Societies

Fantasy and science fiction tend to be dominated by male authors.  It seems that fantasy in general has cultures that are male dominated, mostly taking cues from history.  Science fiction is different, though.  It tends to have more balanced societies with neither being dominant.

I’m reading a couple of books right now that take things a bit differently.  In the science fiction book, the enemy alien is female dominated, and I actually haven’t seen any males at all. This has not been explained yet, but may be in the future.   In the fantasy book I’m reading, females dominate the culture, and men are considered to be inferior.

Looking at nature, there are species that are female dominated.  Many insects have much larger females, and even those that eat their male mates.  The same goes for fish.  It seems that most mammals and birds have larger males than females, though.  It seems as if endothermic animals (often referred to as warm blooded) are mostly male dominated, while ectothermic animals (known as cold blooded) offer a larger variety of both male and female dominated species.

In my Ariadne universe, there’s a tendency for women to have a particular advantage over men, which may lead to a more female dominated society.  I will likely explore that, in fact.

Are there any books you’ve read that have a female dominated society? Leave a comment with your suggestions.

No Need to Be Pessimistic, Be Optimistic

It’s cold out. It’s winter.  It’s my least favourite season.  Time to be pessimistic!

  1. It’s 2 1/2 months of cold.
  2. I turn 38 years old.  I’m soooo old!
  3. I have to spend a night at the in-laws.  What do I talk about? And in Japanese!! Ugh.
  4. I have a week off soon, but it’ll be filled with toilet training for my daughter. How tedious.
  5. I have to take a long train trip to the in-laws.  Pain in the ass with my daughter complaining.

Okay, enough of that.  I’m not a pessimistic person.  I’m actually an optimist, which annoys the hell out of some people.

  1. Daylight hours are getting longer now, which means spring will be soon!
  2. I have a lot of years left to do lots of writing.
  3. I’m going to be eating a lot of sashimi, drinking beer, and I can practice my Japanese! Great!
  4. I have a week off to do lots of blogging, writing, and when my daughter’s toilet training is finished, we can save money on diapers.
  5. Long train ride means lots of reading time.  I like that.

Can you brighten a pessimist’s day?

Naming Fictional Technology

A few hours ago, I was going over in my mind the plot of Part 5 of Journey to Ariadne.  As I was thinking, I ran into a little roadblock.  I couldn’t get past it, as I kept thinking about this.  I was trying to think of a good name for a future technology.

Looking back at science fiction of the past, we often have things named transporters, teleporters, warp engines, hyperspace, subspace, communicators, and so on.  I don’t want to repeat those names.

I already have a name for the propulsion system for the ships in Journey to Ariadne.  It even has a slang term for how it’s used.  The system is based on current hypotheses about faster-than-light space travel, although I’m doing a bit of a twist on it.  In Journey to Ariadne, they haven’t quite made FTL speeds yet.  However, the principles are the same.

The thing I was thinking about earlier was a communications system.  It can’t be a simple communicator.  We’ve gone beyond that in the 21st century already.  We have smart phones, which are compact computers that just happen to have phone capabilities.  They are in fact small personal computers with an incredible number of functions.  I need something similar, but advanced enough that they’re much more than what we have now.  I have a design in mind (I may even draw it), but I don’t have a name.  An acronym sounds reasonable, but I have no idea what it could be yet.  Well, I’ll have to brainstorm a lot.

If you write sci-fi, how do you name your futuristic technologies?

Flash Fiction #10 – Belittling Santa (Flash! Friday)

This week’s Flash! Friday is Christmas themed.  This is the second one of their third year, but it’s the first one I’ve participated in.  For this one, I actually used Google Maps to check that I was using real information for location.  However, the events are completely fictional.  Of course, it’s fictional.  This couldn’t really happen, could it?

So, here’s my entry:

Belittling Santa

“We bring you this breaking news tonight from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Is it an epidemic of home break-ins and robberies, or is it a prank? Brent Sabourin has the story. Brent?”

“Thank you, Debbie. Yes, here in the Mayfair area near the intersection of Thirty-Sixth Street West and Avenue C North, seven houses have been broken into. The items stolen? Christmas presents. Someone entered these homes sometime during the night and whisked away nearly ten thousand dollars’ worth of gifts. However, we may have a lead on this heinous crime. Barbara Jensen says she saw something very unusual.”

“I came out of the kitchen at about two this morning and saw someone with a bag standing in my fireplace. I couldn’t believe it! He looked just like Santa, but was only about four inches tall!”

He watched the television flicker as he listened to the news story. The little white-bearded man smiled. “That’s for belittling me, my dear brother.”

Let me know what you thought in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

The best list ever : learn almost everything for FREE !

Great list of free learning resources! Check them out. I haven’t seen a list this extensive and well-organised before.

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One day while I was browsing Tumblr, I found a G R E A T list of totally free resources to learn almost everything. I decided to republish it for you to enjoy that. A million thanks to girl-havoced.

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