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Altoona and dried squid 2009/8/19 15:03
Hi everyone: Ifm on vacation in Dewey Beach, Delaware and didnft bring a computer with me because I was going to get away from the Internet for a week. Well, I made it almost four days. Tonight my daughterfs computer was sitting here unused so I decided I should probably check my email. Then I decided I should check Japan-guide and couldnft believe all the activity the past few days.
First of all, the credit for the Area 2 links and the other stuff I posted should go to Lori-san. She found and posted the first two of those great links. All I did was follow up with some easier to use links for Lori-sanfs videos along with some other stuff I found at the site.
Barbara-san: It is really a small world. I was born in Johnstown but moved to California when I was five and have only been back one time for a funeral. However, my motherfs parents lived in Cresson, which is much closer to Altoona. I spent several summers in Cresson and even attended school there for part of one year.
I guess Ifm not much good at remembering smells but I do remember the smell of the honey bucket wagon and the smell of the fish market. I also remember the smell of Japanese fireworks, one of my favorite toys at the time. Fire crackers, cracker balls, and those great little fire crackers that you struck like a match. Great stuff and dirt cheap.
Steffi-san: I never expected to find anyone else who liked dried squid. We used to get it at the ball park along with hot dogs that were more like half-smokes and strange soft drinks. Ifve never seen it here but Ifll look now that you say youfve seen it. I also loved the little crackers, ocembe, have no idea how I should spell it. I have seen packages of it here, but it was always better in Yokohama where it was unpackaged and fresh and available in numerous different shapes and sizes. I loved the flat ones with the seaweed strip on top. They grew and harvested that type of seaweed in the ocean right next to area one.
Peter-san: I remember Yaki-tori from my later time in Japan in 64-65. We used to joke that it was cat rather than beef after some of the vendors in Tokyo had actually been busted for using cats. At 2:00 AM after the bars closed it tasted good no matter what it was.
Dave-san
by Dave Horne (guest) rate this post as useful

Church near YO HI 2009/8/19 22:04
There was a large church just above the YO HI building that served both Catholic and Protestant parishioners in Yokohama.
A fire destroyed this beautiful building in the late 1950s. I remember walking up the hillside to this church while the firemen were still tamping down the last of the fire and observing hymnals and dozens of silver saint medals laying on the parking area. It was really a sad event.
by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Church near Yo-Hi 2009/8/20 02:13
Eric, I remember walking up that hill to attend after-school religion classes once a week. A young, smart priest, who knew teenagers well, provided doughnuts and hot chocolate in the winter and cookies and beverages the rest of the year -- a big draw, a fun class, always good attendance!
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Yokohama smells, aromas, scents 2009/8/20 06:41
Regarding Yokohama smells, aromas, and scents -- what memories! Starting with his sense of smell, Peter beautifully recreated a morning on the canal near Motomachi -- wow, we have a writer in our midst! After reading about Sr. Catherine's experience at the 1966 New York World's Fair, smelling something "sweeter than cedar," Steffi and Peter's suggested incense, and Eric's sandalwood, I looked up sandalwood, which appears to be connected to Japanese incense. I now think that what I thought was cedar may, indeed, have been sandalwood.

So Peter's yakatori is beef, Steffi, what then is daikon? Some kind of radish? Steffi and Dave's enjoying dried squid must be an acquired taste; on the other hand, here in the San Francisco Bay area, squid covered in bread crumbs, deep fried, and called calamari is a popular and tasty appetizer. An Italian name and a little marketing makes a difference.

Sr. Catherine, I visited your community's attractive website and found it quite interesting to read about the oblate program. Are you familiar with Kathleen Norris, a married Protestant woman who briefly lived in a Midwest Benedictine monastary, then wrote about her experience in a book called The Cloister Walk? My grandson graduated from Woodside Priory, a Benedictine high school, founded by Hungarian monks who escaped their country in 1956. The school's Benedictine motto is "ora et labora" (prayer and work), or as th students say, "Ora et labora et labora et labora, ad infinitum," but they get a terrific education there. I attend a church in Palo Alto where the Stanford University Gregorian Choir sings Gregorian chants (in Latin) every Sunday -- listening to them magically transports one to the Medieval Ages. They are so good, they could charge admission! Sr. Catherine, where did you live in Yokohama?

Finally, Dave-san -- Cresson, small world indeed! My uncle, who was a barber, used to drive to a Cresson orphanage on Saturdays to cut the children's hair. I remember the car climbing that monumental hill, at the top of which there was an Italian restaurant, where our family went occasionally for dinner. Were those Japanese firecracker balls you mention something you threw down on the road to set them off? If so, I think I remember them as "cherry bombs." In Altoona, my cousin used to play with a cap gun; he would buy a roll of treated paper, the size of narrow scotch tape, that fed through the gun and made a loud pop each time the trigger was pulled. Does anyone remember cap guns?
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Barbara 2009/8/20 08:47
Thank you for the complement..you are my new girlfriend.. its ok I'm harmless.. almost. I would be a writer except for my spelling.. now Wally is the writer but alass methiks he has faded away.
And Honmokujin, welcome back, please re-post the link to that article you wrote.. I need a touch of humility. And the others would enjoy it.
Sr Cath, stay cool on the Cape. And I almost interupted your telephone duty, was tempted.
Anyone see the Marathon Monks video on You tube ? Its quite special. Try it.
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Food, and more food 2009/8/20 13:49
It looks like we have a whole pack of talented writers here! So many ideas and memories. I think we should put all this into some kind of joint book!

And Peter - your spelling is unique - but we all seem to understand what you're saying, so don't worry about it - just continue to ignore those little red lines under the words. It's your thoughts that we're interested in.

Daikon - is probably in the raddish family - I really don't know the English name for it, but it's long like a carrot, but fatter, and white. It has a mild nondescript taste, and smelled funny. It was plentiful during the war, appeared in every meal, and my Mom hated it forever after.

Dave-san - I am so glad to have found someone who also liked the dried squid. I'd be happy to mail you some after we return to NY if you can't find it in your neck of the woods. Those little crackers you're talking about - I think you mean rice crackers, dried and crispy, covered and baked in concentrated soy sauce and sugar, and often nori strips. They do come in different shapes - sometimes they're just plain white. Those are aromatic also, and I think they're terrific - but no one else I know can stand the smell. They're easy to find in NY, however.

Churches - does anyone know the name of the church on the Bluff to the right of the hospital? I used to keep my friend Minette company when she attended mass there after school. It was across the street from Berrick Hall, before St Joseph's. It wasn't large, but very pretty and I liked going there.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Daikon 2009/8/20 23:31
The Daikon is indeed a type of Radish. We never inspected these as far as I recall but they were everywhere on the Japanese market. This long 8-14 inches tubor is unique to east asia. I had it a couple of times, didn't fire me up. Steffi is such a diplomat, my spelling is unique.[translation.. awful..] and I don't have those little lines below the mispelled words..maybe thats my problem.. all of this time I thought it was all ok. Actuallly, was in a bookstore reciently and saw a book on optical illusions. One of them was mispelled sentences, that one could read ok, apparently if the first letter and last letter is correct the mind fills in the rest. OK no excuses, I wonder if kanji can be misspelled? I was able to write my own name and thats about it.. No sense in having me mispell in two languages. I wonder what we all missed by not being able to read Japanese?
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Bluff church 2009/8/21 03:00
Was this an Anglican church, perhaps ?
by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

Yamate-cho Churches 2009/8/21 05:10
Steffi, I just typed Berrick Hall, Yokohama, Japan into Google search box and up came a link (the first one: Japan-Photo/Modern Architecture/J.H. Morgan) with great pictures of Berrick Hall and Christ Church, which I believe is an Anglican Church as Eric suggested. If you go to Gooogle maps and type in 234 Yamate-cho, Yokohama, Japan, you can "walk" by Christ Church at 235 Yamate-cho, using Google street view. I wonder if this is the church that you were thinking about. If you follow Yamate-cho beyond 234, you will come to the Bluff Clinic, and beyond that the former site of St. Joseph's School. if you continue along Yamate-cho, you will eventually come to the aqua-blue steepled Sacred Heart Cathedral, which was not a cathedral when I was there in the fifties - the normal-size, old church building is still there.

by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Yamate-cho Churches cont. 2009/8/21 05:30
P. S. Steffi, if you click on the links below the first one I mentioned in my earlier post, you'll find more pictures (some interior pictures of Berrick Hall) and a lot of interesting history about your former and still lovely neighborhood. But maybe you have already done this . . .
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Google is your friend 2009/8/21 06:53
I typed "Yokohama churches 1950s," and pulled up an old YOHI Devils page that mentioned the Anglican church on the Bluff.

is there nothing Mr. Google doesn't know ?
by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

Christ Church 2009/8/21 08:58
Thank you Barbara and Eric. Barbara - Dave-san helped me locate Berrick Hall- I have collected all the pictures - it is lovely to see that it is now open to the public - my son will visit there next month.

I looked up Christ Church - from the map it is indeed the church I was familiar with - almost directly across from where I live - and here's what I found about its history - it's now called Yokohama Christ Church, and I didn't recognize it as having been built by the same architect as Berrick.

Yokohama Christ Church History

* 1859 : The Garrison Church
* 1862 - 1901 : The First On the Bluff - Destroyed by Fire
* 1901 - 1923 : The Second Church On the Bluff - Destroyed by Earthquake
* 1930 - 1945 : The Third Church On the Bluff - Destroyed by Bombs
* 1947 : The Third Church On the Bluff - Rebuilt
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Cresson and more of the world 2009/8/21 18:20
Barbara-san: If you knew Cresson you must have gone through Hollidaysburg to get there. My grandmotherfs sister had a little gas station and store on the Altoona side of town where you might have stopped.
I had forgotten the orphanage in Cresson. It was several blocks above my grandparentfs house on 6th Street. I donft recall any Italian restaurants in Cresson but I do recall a place in Gallitzin that was great. Not sure how to spell it, but Arccalenes is roughly how it was pronounced. Your uncle probably knew my grandfatherfs barber, Joe DfStevens, again not sure of the spelling. He gave me my very first hair cut and every haircut I ever got in Cresson.
Ifve heard cracker balls called cherry bombs. They would explode on impact and were great sling shot ammunition. They were much less powerful than a fire cracker and therefore safer.
Peter-san: I watched all nineteen minutes of Marathon Monks. I donft think I will want to become a monk any time soon and I donft think you should either. You have much more potential as a writer.
Steffi-san: Rice crackers would be what I call Ocembe. Again, good to know someone else shares my taste in Japanese goodies. I donft remember ever eating daikons but I do remember seeing them in the grocery stores, both loose like long radishes and in liquid in a pickle barrel type container. Thanks for your offer to mail me dried squid. Ifll let you know if I canft find it.
Itfs interesting how eating squid and raw fish was considered so gross in the states when all of us left Japan long ago and how stylish it has now become. Squid, cuttlefish, and calamari are all the same but perceived differently. In Italy calamari is served in numerous ways and never thought of as anything but delicious. Fruiti df mare is a combination of squid and many other wonderful things that come from the sea and one of my favorite Italian dishes.
Eric-san: Your posts are always informative. I think you know much more than the rest of us because you were lucky enough to have spent much more time in Yokohama. All of us were lucky to have spent a little time there.
Ifm still on vacation but noted several new postings sharing information. Itfs interesting seeing how we are all interconnected in our search for information on our previous lives in Yokohama. Google has certainly opened many doors to the past and to the present. Itfs good to see everyone using it now. Youfve learned my secret.
Dave-san
by Dave Horne (guest) rate this post as useful

Interesting news re zebra mussels 2009/8/25 06:01
Thought that those of you who live out west would be particularly interested in the following article - it's a good summary of what's been happening.


Northwest fears that invasive mussels are headed its way
By Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers Les Blumenthal, Mcclatchy Newspapers – Sun Aug 23, 6:00 am ET

WASHINGTON \ Highly invasive mussels are lurking on the Northwest's doorstep, threatening to gum up the dams that produce the region's cheap electricity, clog drinking water and irrigation systems, jeopardize aquatic ecosystems and upset efforts to revive such endangered species as salmon.

Despite efforts to stop them, the arrival of zebra and quagga mussels may be inevitable.

Some scientists say the mussels could arrive within five years. Others say the mussels' larvae already may be spreading undetected, though no one is sure whether they'll survive or thrive in the Northwest's rivers, streams and lakes.

"They are getting closer and closer," said Jim Ruff of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council . "They are a huge concern."

The mussels are among the fastest-spreading invasive species to arrive in the United States . The invasion began in the late 1980s in the Great Lakes , probably arriving in the ballast water of freighters that had been in the Caspian Sea .

Originally from Eastern Europe and the Ukraine , the mussels now have been found in 22 states \ including California , Nevada and Utah \ and two Canadian provinces. They're in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi , Ohio , Cumberland , Hudson and a handful of other rivers. They've also infected the Colorado River system, on which 27 million people rely for drinking water, irrigation, hydropower and recreation.

In May, a 26-foot boat on a trailer that had been on Lake Mead outside Las Vegas , on the Nevada - Arizona border, was stopped near Spokane, Wash. The mussels covered its bottom.

"If someone offered to bet me they would be in the Northwest within five years, I'd take it," said Stephen Phillips , a senior program manager with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission , which was established by Washington state , Oregon , California , Idaho and Alaska to support activities that conserve, manage and develop marine resources.

The mussels reproduce prodigiously. One study cited by the U.S. Geological Survey found that a single mussel can produce 1 million eggs a year.

The fertilized mussel larvae float through the water, feeding on tiny phytoplankton and beginning to grow. Juvenile mussels attach themselves to just about anything solid, including the hulls of boats and barges, which spread them even farther.

At one Michigan power plant, the mussels were found in densities of 700,000 for roughly every square yard and in layers a foot thick. According to the USGS, navigational buoys have sunk under their weight, and small mussels have been known to get into the engine cooling systems of boats.

"The history of these mussels is they keep moving into new territory," said Fred Nibling Jr. , of the Bureau of Reclamation's Ecological Research and Investigations Group in Denver . Nibling recently briefed members of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council , which oversees the development of comprehensive plans to meet the region's energy needs and restore salmon runs.

"They will become part of our life, just like rust," Nibling said.

Power managers in the Northwest are especially concerned because the region has the most extensive hydroelectric system in the nation. Nearly half the wholesale power sold in the Northwest is produced at the 31 federal dams operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries.

The dams produce enough electricity to power 20 cities the size of Seattle . Among them is Grand Coulee Dam , which ranks fifth in the world in terms of energy production. Grand Coulee also has made the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project possible, which has turned roughly 600,000 acres of central Washington desert into some of the nation's most productive agricultural land.

Dam operators also are concerned that the mussels could clog fish ladders and other facilities that allow endangered salmon to bypass dams' spillways and turbines. The mussels' edges are sharp, and fish ladders could become a hazard for salmon.

"They could slice and dice the salmon," said Ruff of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council .

That's not the only problem, however.

The mussels filter microscopic organisms out of the water. An individual mussel can filter a quart of water a day. Some scientists think that the clearer water in Eastern rivers and lakes is as much a result of the mussels filtering the water as it is of environmental cleanup efforts.

The microscopic organisms are at the bottom of a complicated food chain and the invasive mussels could disturb it, affecting animals farther up the chain.

"It's a huge threat to the entire ecosystem of the Northwest if they get in here," Ruff said.

If the mussels do arrive in the Northwest, fixing the problem won't be cheap or easy.

The Coast Guard has estimated that economic losses and control efforts in states that already are infected cost $5 billion a year. Initial estimates for fighting the mussels on the federal Columbia River dams are nearly $25 million , with additional annual maintenance costs.

Most of the efforts elsewhere have focused on painting with anti-fouling marine paint or using the small, slow release of diluted chlorine to kill the mussels. Because of endangered salmon, steelhead and other species, those approaches may be too toxic and would require federal permits in the Northwest, however.

Other possibilities that are being tested include using bacteria, sound vibrations, ultraviolet light, electrical current, high-intensity water jets or hot water to kill the mussels. They also can be removed manually.

For now, officials are watching and waiting.

All four Northwestern states are checking recreational boats that come into the region on trailers, with special attention to those from Nevada or Arizona . Idaho has the most aggressive program: It checks every boat that comes into the state. Other states have launched similar efforts. California reportedly is using mussel-sniffing dogs.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Erculiani's Restaurant, Gallitzin, PA 2009/8/25 06:14
Hi, Everyone -- I've been enjoying the recent forum conversation, followed Peter's link to the YouTube video of the Marathon Monks, which really puts the Boston Marathon into perspective -- have learned so many new things on this forum! Thanks, Peter, how did you know about the Marathon Monks?

Dave-san, yes, I've been to Holidaysburg many times, and our family certainly might have stopped at the gas station you mentioned. Isn't Holidaysburg the hometown of Janet Blair, the movie actress? Perhaps connected in some way to Blair County? Regarding the Italian restaurant that you spelled phonetically, it sounded familiar to me, so I asked my cousin, born and raised in Altoona, and you are correct about the restaurant being in Gallitzin. The name of the restaurant is Erculiani's (pronounced Ur-cue-lee-nee's), and there's an interesting video about the restaurant and the history of the Erculiani family at youtube com -- just type "Erculiani's Dinners" into the search box. I knew that the meals there were delicious but didn't know about it's widespread reputation, drawing many celebrities to this little out-of-the-way place in the Pennsylvania Appalachians. This video would interest anyone whose family had immigrant beginnings in the United States. My cousin didn't recognize the name of the Cresson barber, but my uncle, now deceased, probably did know him -- a group of local barbers worked together cutting the kids' hair on weekends at the orphanage.

Okay, what was the topic -- something about the Yokohama Navy Exchange? If we've exhausted the smells of Yokohama, how about the sounds of Yokohama? I remember the "noodle man" that came around with his cart selling noodles at the end of the day. In his high-pitched nasal voice, he sang out in Japanese the equivalent of "Noodles for sale." A tantalizing treat on a cold winter day -- much like the ice cream man that rang his bell through American suburban neighborhoods on hot summer days. More sounds later . . .
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Marathon Monks and more 2009/8/25 23:17
Barbara
I stumbled upon Marathon Monks when trying to find out more about another sect that I had heard about years ago. This sect [ if true] practices what might be called extreme meditation to the point of experation. They[apparently] live on decreasing ammounts of only nuts and honey and over time in deep meditation slow their resparation and other vitals down and down untill they pass into nirvana at death. In the process they mummify themselves and apparently some are still sitting in the lotis position after many years. This practice was banned by the Japanese goverment but this prohibition was vioalted since then. I don't recall where i first learned about this, it may have been a Riplies " Believe it or Not " If anyone has a lead for me on this for me I would be appreciative. Perhaps if our friend Kaoru
was still on the forum here he could help. [ I can see Dave now, starting to work his Magic.
Also as I recall Steffis son is leaving for Japan very soon. I know we all wish him well. [ envy is a sin right ?]
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Got my own answer 2009/8/26 11:38
Yup its true
They are the Sokoshinbutsu Monks. Still researching it, not a lot of info .. yet
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Peter 2009/8/26 14:29
Try googling Sokushinbutsu Monks
by Lori (guest) rate this post as useful

Lori 2009/8/26 23:17
Thanks yup did that and used other SEO's. And I thought the marathon monks were strict. Sr. Cath you may want to research this.
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Monks, Erculiani's, Noodles, and Sounds 2009/8/28 07:06
Peter-san: Your research on monks is interesting. Somewhere I recall a saying that there are many paths to enlightenment. I guess that pretty well sums up my philosophy on religion and life. If I took away any great truth from living in Yokohama at a formative age it would be tolerance. So, if someone wants to run or starve himself to death as a religious rite I don't care so long as no one tries to force their beliefs on me. I've always had a respect and perhaps preference for eastern religions, probably from once living in Yokohama. Buddha always took good care of me in the Far East.

Barbara-san: Thank you for the link on Erculiani's. That is the place. Too bad it is no longer there. I spelled it as I remembered it being pronounced, probably because my Anglo-Saxon Appalachian relatives were incapable of pronouncing anything correctly. Janet Blair took Blair as a stage name because she was from Blair County and was from Altoona according to what I found on the net. Funny you should mention her because when I returned from the beach I stuck "South Pacific" into the CD player before I looked her up.
I always thought the noodle man had some kind of high pitched whistle. He was singing? The sound I always associate with Japan is spoken Japanese. When I left the first time I could understand much more than I could speak and still do on the rare occasions when I hear Japanese.
Dave-san
by Dave Horne (guest) rate this post as useful

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