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Amparo Bertram

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08:44 pm: Trying new things
Not much happened on Friday, other than that I was asked to give a short speech at the year-end faculty party. The way I understand it, lots of people are going to be making little memory speeches looking back on Morijo.

At the last faculty meeting, they went over plans for the renovation of the school building. The plan as it is now has me moving to sit among the first-year homeroom teachers. (I'm currently sitting with the second-year homeroom teachers.) This is rather odd, since I will not be having any classes with the first-year students or their teachers--they'll have their own Ritsumeikan-hired native English teacher--but I don't really care where I sit...I just dread moving all my stuff.

Today I got caught up on laundry, did some shopping, spent far too long browsing at the bookstore, and then had a fruity adventure.

A while back, megory mentioned that she would be interested in tasting persimmons. I'm sure she's capable of buying them herself, but I thought...here I am with a bag of persimmons that I know I won't be able to finish all on my own. Is there any way I can send some to Michigan?

Thus I came up with a plan to make persimmon jam and send that to the family for Christmas. Even if they can buy their own persimmons, they can't buy handmade-by-their-daughter/sister-in-Japan persimmon jam, now, can they? ^_~

Unfortunately, although the Japanese are all over pickling like nobody's business, they don't do much canning. Finding supplies proved to be a challenge. I searched all the local stores with no luck. I managed to track down an online supplier of scrapbook-related goods who also sold imported Ball canning jars on the side, so I had a case of those delivered. I also located a bottle of powdered pectin while shopping with wednesday_10_00 last weekend.

I tried hunting for a canner, but as far as I can tell, Japan has no such thing available. Even Japanese web pages with canning instructions just say to use regular deep pans, so that's what I wound up doing. <crosses fingers>

Today I set about making and canning the jam. I used to watch my parents can garden vegetables and such when I was little, but that was over twenty years ago. (Yeesh.) I read all the jam-canning instructions I could find in a web search, both English and Japanese. For some reason, the Japanese pages all advise turning the filled jar upside-down for about half an hour, while the English pages I read all say to make sure to keep the jar upright and never tilt it. I followed the English instructions, reasoning that at least I could be absolutely sure I wasn't misinterpreting anything.

The most reliable-seeming recipe, to my consternation, called for "a package" of pectin. (What's wrong with you? Don't you know how to use proper measurements? What if we're not using the same "package" that you are?) I searched for the package size, and it turned out to be marked as 2 oz. Converting to grams, that was twice as much as the amount in the bottle I had bought. I decided, heck with it, it won't hurt to have slightly runny jam.

Funnily enough, the Japanese instructions all say to mix the pectin in the sugar first to prevent it from forming little hard-to-dissolve balls, whereas the English instructions never mention that. It seemed like a good tip, so I tried it, and I didn't have any trouble. In fact, it was a good thing I only used half the called-for amount of pectin, because it gelled up quite well--so well that it's nearly as solid as jelly.

I'll tell you one thing, it's hard to do proper canning with a stove that only has two burners. I somehow got through the whole process, though, and I now have five jars cooling on my kitchen table. They look like they sealed okay, but I'll check them tomorrow to be sure.

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[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:December 3rd, 2005 05:27 am (UTC)
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Wow, how cool! You're adventurous. The house I bought actually has a canning pantry in the basement -- apparently the people who lived here some years back were enthusiastic canners. There's still a shelf full of jars in various sizes. I suppose mailing jars to Japan would make no sense, but you have to let me know if you want any supplies when you're back in the US. ^_^
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 3rd, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
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You're adventurous.

<g> It did feel like an adventure...or, rather, a quest, trying to track down all the supplies. (Does this mean I get to level up?)

I suppose mailing jars to Japan would make no sense, but you have to let me know if you want any supplies when you're back in the US.

That's really kind of you.

Speaking of mailing things, I'm hoping to get your doujinshi package in the mail today.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:December 3rd, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
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Speaking of mailing things, I'm hoping to get your doujinshi package in the mail today.

Yay! A post-JLPT consolation prize treat! ^_^

Just let me know what I owe you, and THANK YOU so much!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 3rd, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
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I got it mailed today. Here's the total:

(doujinshi Y5750 + postage Y2310) * $1/Y121 = $66.61
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:December 6th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Am brain dead following the test. ^_^ Am I remembering correctly that you prefer a check in snailmail to paypal? Let me know via email (stanaquil AT comcast.net).

Has the yen dropped lately? Maybe it's time for me to do a little extra shopping at bk1...
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 6th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
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Has the yen dropped lately?

Yes, it's been hovering around 120 yen per dollar for a while. Great for buying things from America...not so great for me to send money home...
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