Happy Halloween!


The high school I teach at was having a festival, complete with haunted houses.  (Actually classrooms)


Ghost Cafe staff at the school festival


Okay, notice the candy corn?  Well, you can’t buy that at normal stores in Japan.  However, my son has seen it in American books and so forth and wanted to try it.  I told him it was, as I recalled from my childhood, gross.  So, anyway, he asked my mom to send him some candy corn.  Eighteen dollars and two weeks later, the candy corn arrives.  Finally, he gets to taste it!!!!!!!  Hooray!!!!!!!!!!  I tasted it, too.  As I have been limiting myself sweets, they actually tasted pretty good to me!   Want some more of that.

I gave the candy corn to my son as a snack (see above photo) but he isn’t eating it.  Now we have a bag of candy corn that nobody will eat.  Go on, eat it. You know you want to.





My sandwich gave me the finger.


Happy Halloween, y’all!  And a peaceful All Saints’ Day!


Jim Thompson’s House

I had borrowed the English Thailand Lonely Planet Guidebook from our library a few weeks ago, and read it.  I didn’t bring it with me, because I wanted to travel as lightly as possible and because I figured my niece would be my tour guide.  (She ended up being an EXCELLENT tour guide.)

Anyway, when I reached Thailand, all I could really remember from the book was some tourist site with the English name of Jim Thompson’s House.  So, not really knowing anything about it, I told my niece I wanted to go there.  That was good, because she had been wanting to go, too.


Jim Thompson was American who lived in Thailand during the 20th century.  He made his fortune on the Thai silk industry.  He built a gorgeous house which was actually several Thai houses fitted together.  The mysterious part is that he disappeared while on a walk and nobody knows what happened to him.  Kidnapped?  Murdered?  Abducted by aliens? Eaten alive by lol catz?  Cue X-files music.


The pricey shop where silk products with the Jim Thompson label are sold.  Considering I only brought 300 dollars with me to Thailand, this was beyond my budget.


On the premises of the house.  We could not take photos inside the actual house.


Bhudda statue.  Our tour guide told us, “Long ago, statues were sometimes made of gold, and a cheaper substance coated the gold.  Thieves would cut the head off to see if the interior was gold.  If this had been gold, the whole statue would have been stolen.”


My niece and my cousin.  What troopers.  They are currently in Vietnam taking photos of barbecued dogs.  (Not a joke.)


This shallow pond evoke memories of when my son fell in a similar pond when he was three.  (My cousin was there–my son and I had been waiting for him while he hiked up a mountain.)   It also evoke memories of when my niece fell in a swimming pool? a lake? and her mom rescued her.


I iz glad you vizited.  Plz show yur appresiashun and send ded ratz to me.  Plz.




More shopping in Thailand…..

I don’t think today’s photos are that interesting.  We had a bit of spare time, so we bummed around a bit and I snapped photos.  I wish I had snapped more every day scenes, but oh well it is too late now.


Thai street.  I do like this photo.  It looks fairly typical of a Thai street in Bangkok, minus the statue.


Krispy Scremes!  We were at an upscale mall.  Like I said before, there was VERY little Halloween in Thailand so I snapped photos of it when I saw it!



These were cute.  Expensive, I think, though.


Grocery store, I felt it was quite upscale.  Supposedly a typical Thai person doesn’t cook and eats street food, but then who are these vegetables for?


Same upscale grocery store.  Souvenir Section.  I felt it was pointless to choose Pocky as my obligatory omiyage.  I instead chose things like Mangosteen Puffed Rice and Durian Dried Fruit and that sort of stuff.


Just relaxing on a bench so I shot this photo.  My Lonely Planet guide book said that the average Thai earns 40 cents a day, but I find that hard to believe– at least not for Bangkok.  (I am sure people in Bangkok earn more.)  Even at regular stores, 40 cents a day isn’t enough.  My niece said people in the north are very poor and Bangkok is totally different.


Okay, to make up for my less-than-interesting photos, I’ll share something my cousin (who is VERY inquisitive) discovered.  He googled Thailand and was reading the Thailand Wikipedia article.  Then he clicked on the Thai king’s name.  Well, a message in Thai came up and we could not read further.  Evidently the king Wikipedia site is banned in Thailand!  I know they revere their king and I was careful not to say anything bad about him.  (Not that I have anything bad to say!  I barely know who he is!

Here is the Wikipedia king site  Read it and see if you can figure out why it is banned!  (I think I know.)

Next I googled the “King and I”, because I heard the movie (and probably the book) is banned in Thailand.  The “King and I” came up, so I guess they are not too worried about it.


Cooking Class in Thailand


Cooking Class Ingredients


Big Knife.  Getting Nervous.  Do Not Cut Your Fingers Off.


I have no idea what I was making.  It is all a blur to me now.


The cute and funny teacher and my cute and funny niece.


She is probably saying, “If you eat curry, you may go boom boom in the toilet the next day.”  (She actually said that ;-)


Eat up.


Telling us the qualities of a good Thai housewife.


I will make a good housewife yet.


My favorite part.  Mmmmmm sticky rice and mango.  Now I am craving sticky rice and mango.  I want sticky rice and mango!


Seriously, the class was fun, but touristy.  I learned a lot about Thai cooking, although I won’t be able to replicate the recipes because we don’t have the ingredients here in Japan.  But our local Jupiter (the international food store) has packets of ready made curry so I think I will buy those and add veggies to them.

Funny:  There was a Singapore man in our group and he had signed up for a class every. day. of. the. week.  (Each day the menu changes.)  He said he loves cooking.  I couldn’t see myself in the class every day.  It’s a fun class, not a serious cooking class.  And like my niece said, “You would get tired of hearing the same things about Thai cooking over and over.”



And now to the serious, SERIOUS business.  The cooking class was my niece’s idea, and to tell the truth I was leery.  I have had bad experiences with “cooking projects” here in Japan.  I am constantly being told:  “Cut it diagonally!  You cut it too big!  No, you are not supposed to do that!”  And so on.

I just don’t want to cook with Asians.  (And I say Asians because the Chinese women are just as bad as the Japanese women.)  I don’t know how to cook Asian food, and honestly I don’t care.  Cooking is not really my thing.  I can cook, but it is hardly gourmet.

I enjoy cooking at home where I can do it my way.

So I was a little worried when I heard the words, “Cooking Class.”  But like I said, this was totally touristy and you really don’t have to know how to cook in order to do the class.  It is very easy.  (Plus, it is for profit–so they don’t make you feel stupid.  They want to keep their customers happy.)

Well, there you have it.  A little bit of my frustrations of living in Japan.


Shopping for Cooking Class

My niece and I took a Thai cooking class together.  She had taken one before, and enjoyed it.  She said they were quite common for tourists.

First we went to the market for shopping for ingredients.  It wasn’t REAL shopping–it was actually a detailed explanation of various Thai ingredients.  Our teacher would put stuff in our baskets to make us feel useful.



On our way to the cooking class. Thai street.


A wonderful thing about Thailand was all the fresh fruit.  It was commonly sold already cut along the street.  Alloy!  (Delicious!)


This is the market.  This machine shaves coconut.  I’m in heaven.


Thai ingredients.  Our teacher explained them, and I have to admit I was unfamiliar with a lot of them.  Who knew there were so many wonderful foods in this vast world of ours?


The market.  Both my niece and the cooking teacher said that Thais typically don’t cook their own meals.  Street food is cheap and already prepared, so they rely on that.  So yeah, the cooking class we were taking was VERY touristy.


Curry ingredients and chicken feet, side by side.  Yum.


Shopping in Thailand (Part 2)


My cousin said, “Where are all the Siamese cats?”  True, we did not see a single Siamese cat. ;-) But this kitty is a cutie.


The best pizza in Bangkok, according to my niece.  The pizza parlor had lots of foreigners.  I was surprised to see so MANY tourists, I am not sure why I was surprised.  I know we were in the touristy spots.  It just seemed like there were more foreign tourists in Thailand than in Japan.


Books!  My favorite thing.  This was at a small Thai bookstore in an upscale mall.  There was also a small English bookstore in the mall, but I did not take photos there since we all know what English books look like.


I like the book on the bottom right!  Very Thai.


Upscale “omiyage” shop.  I bought a few things here as souvenirs for people.  Lots of dried fruit.


Beautiful cakes!  However, my niece said that baked goods in Thailand look good, but don’t taste that great.  (Like the chocolate.)  Since I did not try any baked goods, I’ll have to take her word for it.


I felt like I was eating my way through Thailand.  I could have eaten even more than I did.  Lots of delicious food!  (And inexpensive compared to Japan.)


Okay, I was on the lookout for Halloween in Thailand.  This was the first bit I saw.  Really, there was hardly any at all.  Far, far more “Halloween Spirit” in Japan.  I think Halloween is gaining in popularity here in Japan, whereas apparently it hasn’t really reached Thailand yet.


Very upscale store.  My cousin said, “These jeans cost 200 dollars!  I can get them for 40 bucks in America.”


Isn’t this shrine so pretty?  Lots of little shrines dotted Thailand.


Okay, that was our first day in Thailand!

My impression?  Well, basically Thailand seemed to me like a ghetto Japan.  The Thai airport and subway were clean and very modern, but the streets were dirty and busy, with people just sitting around doing nothing.  Oh, and no nice neat recycling containers, no vending machines, lots and lots and lots of street vendors…..So obviously it was not Japan.  I think I prefer to live in Japan.  No offense, Thailand.  You just too hot,humid and dirty.

To visit?  Well, I was thinking about which country is better to visit.  Both have their good points.  But Thailand is much cheaper than Japan, so I think it is the clear winner.  (However, the flights from the U.S. are atrocious, so that works in Japan’s favor.)


First Day, Shopping in Thailand! (Part 1)

Everybody who lives in Japan knows that you have to bring back omiyage (souvenirs) to people you know.  So the first day we went to Jatujak Weekend Market.  Just kind of a fun, bustling market with lots to buy.  The only problem is I would find something I liked, then continue on shopping, and not figure out how to get back to the shop that sold what I wanted to buy.



Market Place–Lots of fresh smoothies.  The prices are posted.  The rate is approximately 30 Baht to a dollar or 30 Baht to 100 yen.

Thailand had lots of wonderful fresh fruit.  Yum!  Whenever I got fruit, I chose something I could not easily get in Japan….like Durian!  LOL


My lunch at the market.  I came to Thailand JUST FOR THE GREEN CURRY.


This is a regular, everyday grocery store.  Lots of foreign chocolate in addition to Thai chocolate.  Today I tried a Thai chocolate bar…..not that great.  Low quality-ish.  So I understand the need for foreign chocolate.  And doesn’t everybody need chocolate?  I know I do.




Crackers!  My cousin wanted to know where the frozen pizza was.  lol


Okay, don’t these jeans look more “Japan” than actual Japanese jeans?


Okay, come to mama.  REAL THAI SHOPPING!


This is a rather upscale mall.  My cousin (who was with us) loves American food.  That’s him taking a photo of the KFC.  And after all, don’t we all go to Thailand to visit the KFC.


Thai flavors.  Oh, if I only wasn’t on a diet……………oh well.  If you rearrange the letters of the word DIET, it almost spells EAT IT.


Now what trip to Thailand would not be complete without MASSAGE????  One day we got feet massage, the next traditional Thai massage.

Okay, time to be brutally honest.

The massages in Thailand are not as good of quality as those in Japan.  The feet massage was more like a leg rub.  The Thai massage was okay, except my masseuse kept complaining about her boyfriend to my niece’s masseuse during our massages.  (Not that I understand Thai….I am guessing that is what she was complaining about.)

However…………..the Thai massages are MUCH cheaper than Japanese massages.  Much.  So can I complain?  No.  I cannot.

Okay, stay tuned tomorrow for more exciting SHOPPING IN THAILAND PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!