Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Realization

Disclaimer: This post may contain offensive material to some, so read at your own risk.
Disclaimer 2: When I talk about "sushi" I am only referring to the maki, futomaki,and nigiri types (the more well-known). I realize that sushi is the coverall term for many different types.

I have realized that for the past 5 or so years, I have basically lied to myself. I have let my own self pride cloud my vision, and what's worse I have hurt others around me.....until I saw this:
I ran into this little cartoon from "toothpaste for dinner" awhile ago and it started me thinking. Do I really love sushi as much as I claim to other people that I do? Or do I tell them that sushi is the best, only to fit their (and my) stereotype of what an Asian should like to eat? Or is it because I am known to like unusual foods (sushi being an unusual food)? Whatever the reason may have been, when I first ate sushi (when I was 12, in Korea) and found that it was not bad, that it was actually good, I felt proud of myself that I had yet another exotic food to add to my expanding repertoire. Sushi became an invaluable tool to me as it became more and more popular here in the United States. In conversations about weird foods, I could wield sushi and fell my opponents as I proved to them that I was the most "well ate" person in the group. As time passed sushi morphed from a food that I had eaten and thought good, to one of the best kept secrets of Asian cuisine. My speech slowly became praises and odes to those little rolls of rice, fish, and seaweed. I even scoffed at people who had decided to turn up their noses at sushi (and fish in general) before they even tried it. NOTE: I firmly believe that you should try the food before you go around saying it's disgusting. But, I wasn't being honest. Though I did like sushi, I didn't like it as much as I lead on. I actually like kimbap (the Korean version of sushi) better. I had eaten kimbap all my life and I find the unique combination of seasoned vegetables, egg, and sometimes cooked meat and fish a lot more satisfying to the palate then it's Japanese counterpart. Cooked fish has a lot more flavor then raw fish, trust me. Plus, you don't get to eat kimchi with your sushi at a sushi house, unlike eating it with kimbap.

What I do like about sushi

1. Aesthetically pleasing. They are little masterpieces!
2. Texture of raw fish. My favorite sushi, is nigiri sushi (the little rice logs with a piece of raw fish laying on top). I really enjoy the texture of the raw fish more than the actual taste.
3. The whole sushi eating experience...very Japanese.
4. The Inari sushi. Fried tofu, stuffed with seasoned rice...yum^^

What I don't like about sushi

1. Much blander than its Korean cousin, the kimbap.
2. Too expensive. I don't like shelling out $14 for 4 pieces of rather small sushi(and I don't care how rare the fish is).
3. I never feel that my hunger is completely satisfied.
4. Accidentally putting too much wasabi in my soy sauce.

So after coming to my new found realization and liberation, I often wonder why so many other people claim that they absolutely love sushi and must live with it or die. One reason could be that they are Japanese and feel it a national duty to love sushi (or they really do love their native foods :)), another reason could be that some people are somewhat faking it like me, just to be in the "in" crowd of exotic food eaters. Either way, there are a lot of other seafood options that are much more tasty then sushi.

ok, so if you don't take my word for it, let us go to a more scientific source....

In the April 2007 edition of National Geographic the cover displayed a dead swordfish caught in some trawling nets with the headline "Saving the Sea's Bounty." The article talked about how we are basically depleting fish populations by over fishing. One of the examples the article uses is that of the majestic blue-fin tuna. There used to be vast migrations of enormous schools of these fish but now they can hardly be seen anymore due to over fishing. The reason: the buttery undersides which are in popular demand in sushi bars all over the world. Now, I wholly agree that we need to have fish as part of our regular diet, but this is ridiculous! Fish have like a million eggs each time they spawn (albeit, most get eaten by predators), but we are eating them faster than they can reproduce! It is a reality that they could be fished into extinction. Why? Because too many Europeans and Americans are crazy for sushi.

Whether the craze is real or just a fake (as my post had been talking about) it is sad to see the fish populations depleted. Not only do the fish pay the price, but so do all the millions of fisherman and woman in third world countries. Ok, enough with my environmentalist kick that I am on.

Anyway, if you are tempted to try sushi, by all means go for it. It is good, but come over to my house and I will make you some kimbap ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Summer Lovin' (thus far)

So, just as I promised I am back to post up some pics of the other things we have been up to this summer! Because of our awesome new digital camera we have a ton of pictures. I picked just a few and made collages for your enjoyment (hopefully :))

1. Graduation:
Daniel and I both graduated this April with our Bachelors degrees from Brigham Young University. I got my bachelors of arts in Linguistics with a minor in Editing and Daniel got his bachelors of arts in International Relations with a minor in Math (smarty pants!) We were so happy to be done....for now.

We had lots of support from family and friends, we are so truly blessed! Here are some pics of the family at our family barbecue to celebrate our graduation. We didn't get pics of everyone but we want everyone who was there to know that we love all of you! Daniel's dad, aunt, and dad's girlfriend, Kathy came up from New Mexico for our graduation. Two of my aunts came down from Salt Lake also to celebrate with us. Daniel also had an aunt and uncle come to the barbecue as well. And the farthest traveler? My cousin from Korea. He flew in from Korea that week to see our graduation and also to study English here at UVSC (actually that was the main reason, but he came in time for my graduation).

2. Hogle Zoo:
Our poor Maya, her second birthday fell right on finals week and we weren't able to do a lot to celebrate. So at our family barbecue we celebrated Maya's birthday along with our graduation (she even got her own little cake). We later took her up to Hogle zoo with Hana and my cousin from Korea, Young Shin, and my mother-in-law. I think that Maya liked the giraffes the best. In the pics, check out the huge iguana above Daniel and Maya, and also the white alligator (there are only 10 in the whole world!)

3. Belliston Family Reunion:
Over the Memorial day weekend we got to attend the annual Belliston Family Reunion. This year the reunion focused on Daniel's grandpa's 75th birthday. We spent Saturday down in Nephi visiting all the important places where he and their grandma grew up. We had a wonderful picnic in the park, and dinner back in Provo. Then on Sunday we all met at Uncle Carl and Aunt Michelle's new house for a wonderful lunch.

4. Visa and Passport pictures:
At the end of August we are leaving for Seoul, South Korea for 16 months. Daniel received a Fulbright Grant to do economic and political research there. Well, since we found out the news, we have been working hard to get all the necessary preparations taken care of. That meant we had to take lots of passport and visa pictures. My mom and dad also needed to get their passports renewed. So here we are. Would you issue us a visa to enter your country?

5. Random Pictures:
Here are a couple of collages of just some random pics that we took. Location: Utah Lake, Daddy's B-day party (my parent's house), Rock Canyon trailhead, Temple Square, and just here at home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Hunt for the Elusive Grayling

Hey everyone, sorry it has taken me so long to post. Since my last post so many things have happened that it is almost overwhelming to talk about. So for this post I will only talk about our camping and fishing trip and I will just post pics later for the other things we did.

This weekend Daniel, Maya, and I went up to the Uintas for a family camping and fishing trip. Daniel is on the hunt for the elusive grayling. This is a fish that he wants to catch. One of a few that he hasn't caught yet. Being the avid fisherman that he is, he searched and studied long and hard where he could actually catch these fish. He found that there are a few lakes up in the Uintas, past Heber City and Kamas, where there are grayling along with brook trout, another fish he has yet to catch. So Thursday night we made preparations and we left Friday, right after Daniel got home from work. We drove right up to the Uinta national forest and we couldn't believe how beautiful the scenery was. We also saw a ton of wildlife as we drove. We saw like a million mule deer (so many that we were afraid that we would hit one of them), yellow-bellied marmots, and my favorite--sandhill cranes.

here are just two pics of the sandhill cranes (and their babies) that Daniel took--for your sanity and mine^^

We found an awesome campground right on one of the many lakes on the Mirror Lake Highway. We camped right on Trial lake. It was absolutely gorgeous! We got there around 7:30pm. Just up from us was another campground on yet another lake, Washington Lake. Just up from that campground was the Crystal Lake Trailhead where we went hiking the next day.

here are some pics of the campground we stayed at:

and yes, I helped put our tent up! Here are some more pics of our night at Trial Lake:

We built a fire (well, Daniel built it) and enjoyed a nice rugged meal of tinfoil dinners. Basically, I made two mini meatloafs, placed them on tope of sliced potatoes, and topped them with thickly sliced onions. We enjoyed these with some sliced frenchbread and grapes that we borught with us as well. It was delicious especially after all our travelling and setting up camp. Here are some pics of the food and Maya and I patiently waiting for them to be done.

It was really fun to enjoy nature together. The only thing was that after the sun went down, it was so dang cold. Besides our sleeping bags we brought 3 big blankets to help keep us warm through the night. Daniel and I were both worried that Maya wouldn't sleep at all. She tends to not sleep if she is overly excited or scared. But to our surprise she was the first one asleep once we got her all tucked into her sleeping bag. She was way excited at first to be in the tent. She was jumping all over the place and screaming out of sheer joy! I wonder what the other campers thought :) I told Daniel not to wake me up until after the sun had come out and the place started to warm up. Funny story: so I woke up thinking it was pretty late in the morning since it was light out. Maya was still snoring away and I thought that Daniel had gone out and started the fire. I got up and looked over to where he was sleeping and all I saw was his sleeping bag folded in half (or so I thought). So I commenced getting ready so that I could help him outside and get breakfast started. Then all of the sudden his sleeping bag started to move and I totally freaked out. He was still inside his bag just all curled up and he had cinched up the hood of his bag (he has a really nice mummy bag) so I couldn't see him. He looked at his phone and it ended up being only 5:30 am! He made fun of me and how he thought that he would have to drag me out of my bag and carry me to the car.

So we had a nice breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and ham and we packed up all our stuff ready to go hiking and fishing that day.

Like I said we went to the Crystal Lake trailhead where you could take a few different trails depending on which lake you wanted to go to. Daniel was on the hunt for grayling so he planned that we would go to Marjorie Lake whose trail forked off of the main trail to Long Lake and some others.

here we are starting off on our hike (we had to bribe Maya with licorice for her to follow us):

The hike was absolutely gorgeous. It is like the first part of the Timpanooki trail up TImpanogos. There was still snow in the shaded areas. After a while we came to the fork where we needed to take another trail to get to Marjorie Lake. After taking it we found out that we were the first ones to take this trail since it snowed (and maybe since they opened the trails!). We came to a point where there was so much snow that we couldn't see the trail anymore. But we kept on hiking. Daniel was sure that we could find it (he had a topographical map, so we knew the direction we needed to head). Well we came to a small lake that we thought was Marjorie, but upon looking at the map we realized that we had to hike further. So away we went, not knowing where the trail was exactly, only thinking it was closeby. Well, after about 2 hours and not finding the lake, we determined that we were a bit lost and needed to find the trail again. What an adventure. To tell you all the truth, I was a bit worried, especially since we had Maya. But Daniel knew what he was doing and he eventually found the trail and Marjorie Lake (or so we thought)!

here are some pics of the scenery and us lost:

After we got to what we thought was Marjorie Lake we rested for lunch then commenced fishing. We all wanted Daniel to catch a grayling so that all that wondering off trail would have been worth it. At first the fishing was slow. Nothing seemed to be biting. But, Daniel is a true fisherman, and through some careful observation and a few chanced coincedences, he figured out how he could catch (a lot) of the brook trout he seemed to be seeing a lot of. After he caught his third brook trout I began to wonder how we were going to catch the prized grayling. It seemed that the Brook Trout enjoyed staying close to the shores of the lake, maybe the grayling liked the middle of the lake which could only be accessed by boat. But we enjoyed the fishing immensely. I got so many bites and finally I caught my first book trout! I also caught another one and we had it all the way up to the bank but as Daniel was trying to grab it, it fell back into the lake and swam away. Lucky day. We caught 7 brook trout total (me:1, Daniel:6). It definitely was so much fun. Maya also had a blast running around picking up assorted rocks and tossing them into the lake. She also got a kick out of the huge black ants that were there.

here are some pics of us at "Marjorie Lake":

some pics of the brook trout:

So what about the grayling, you ask. Well, After Daniel had caught his third fish and while I was fishing, he was wandering around with Maya and saw a sign. The sign said that we were at Long Lake! That's right. We never made it to Marjorie or it's prized grayling. That explains why we were only catching Brook Trout (the only fish in Long Lake are Brook). Daniel told me about this discovery as we were packing to leave for our hike back. We both had a long laugh and commenced back for our car. Needless to say our hike back was a lot shorter since we didn't have to wander aimlessly for 2 hours. We were definitely sore, sunburned, and tired, but we had a blast.

I guess the grayling will have to wait for next time.