Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dietary Dos and Don'ts

So being vegan in Japan will be interesting. Jorie and I figure we can manage pretty well while we're staying at JCMU, but eating at restaurants and a week's worth of homestay will be another question. One of our biggest concerns is offending others or being an inconvenience, yet we don't want to compromise our morals, either.

We have decided to let one thing slide when other options are not available: fish stock. It's used in soups and other dishes and is quite common. It would be, probably, the hardest thing to avoid.

Other than that, we made it clear on our homestay sheets what our dietary restrictions are, and we were told to be sure we clarify for our host families when we are able. The main objectives are to be polite, apologetic, and thankful, no matter what. If we have to discreetly pick some meat out of a dish, so be it.

I'm excited to try new things, and I have experienced a few already thanks to my friend Molly. At home, Jorie and I sometimes make zaru soba with home-made vegan tsuyu sauce, as well as veggie sushi and miso soup made from kombu broth. Lovely photos are by Jorie.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Travel Meds

So we both had to go to the doctor for a checkup and possibly vaccines before our trip. Thankfully, neither of us needed to get any shots. What we did leave with was a bag full of medication. We were given the standard medication for travelers diarrhea (sounds pretty unpleasant... hope we won't be needing it). And then there's my stuff.

The big worry for me on this trip is Interstitial Cystitis, a painful bladder condition, now thought to be an auto-immune disease. The trouble comes when I eat or drink the wrong thing (mostly acidic things like citrus or tea) but also when I travel. It's something to do with bumps in the road, apparently. Either way, it's highly unpleasant, and we're going to be traveling a whole lot. I've never been on a train, so I have no idea how bumpy it will be. Yikes.

I was given a month's supply of the standard medication I take to treat this condition, but the doctor thought maybe we should try something else in addition. Something more short-term just for traveling. So I get to try this stuff that makes me pee... orange. How exciting. We'll see if it does anything; I'm testing it out by taking it and then eating something abrasive, like strawberries. I think next I'll try green tea. I miss it and this is an excellent excuse to have some.

On making this post: part of me thinks "talking about pee is TMI". The other part of me thinks having an invisible disability is really frustrating and spreading awareness of it is a good thing. It's also a pretty big obstacle for me and although I'm hoping it won't be as much trouble as I think it will, it could cause some troubles on this trip.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Five Weeks and Counting

Toward the end of the semester, everything seems to happen so fast -- and this semester is no exception. Both Steph and I are graduating, and at NMU's art school, with that comes the responsibility that is Senior Show. In addition, we've got papers to write, presentations to compile, and exams for which to study... and then, there's the Japan trip, looming just in the distance, only five weeks away!

Not too long ago, we secured our plane tickets. They soon came in the mail, with the flight itinerary... looking at them makes my heart race!

Daily Photo: Tickets to Japan

Steph has never flown before; I have, and even though I've flown internationally, this flight will be so much longer. Ignoring the take-offs and landings, I try to think of an airplane as being a giant bus in the sky...

The next hurdle for us to clear is this coming Tuesday, when we have appointments and vaccinations at the health center on campus.