The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

On the scene

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proth5's picture
proth5

On the scene

So,this is off topic and I am somewhat sorry.  I've hit baking deprivation in a big way (which is demonstrated by the fact that I just bought a cute little pullman pan with the rationale that I have already committed to having to ship a few things from the Ryukyu to home and that I've never seen one that size in the US) and I'm only one month in.  Sigh.


But, yesterday my wakeup call was the shaking of the earth and the tsunami warnings.  This is not my favorite way to wake up.  But I figured that the weekend's excitement was over.


As I type, Okinawa is on tsunami alert due to the Chilean earthquake.  It is one thing to be shaken awake.  It is another thing to prepare for and speculate on disaster as it approaches.  My limited Japanese keeps me mostly in the dark, but I do know that places where I normally work/play/shop are closed and evacuated.  Fortunately my hotel is on the East China Sea side of the island, and I am more than 30 feet up, but it is strange and stressfull to think  tsunami may be hitting this tiny island. Obviously I have been glued to the internet, but we don't seem to be newsworthy.  The one English language TV station that we have is not helpful.  I'm used to weathering the weather of the Rocky Mountain region.  It is frankly freaky to me to have these threats coming from the earth itself.


Although the Japanese stations continue to flash a map (with Okinawa in red - that can't be good) what numbers I can understand (and it is amazing how desperation is a fabulous language teacher - these were just sounds to me a matter of weeks ago and now I can figure out some words - and I used my first Japanese words to get what I wanted rather than pointing today.  Hooray!) tell me that while I have typed and fretted the worst was not as bad as it could have been and has probably passed.


I'm not sure that I will ever be able to process news reports about earthquakes around the world in quite the same way ever again.


Please remember the victims of the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes. 


And bake a loaf for me...

Comments

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Pat


I have been thinking of you all day. I have been following the Japanese news on the internet.  At 7pm your time the Japanese authorities altered the warning from a Major Tsunami Warning to a Tsunami Warning. Essentially this means they are no longer anticipating tsunami greater than 3 metre as had been anticipated. Many places have reported surges, in the following link at 19:27 the places which have reported are in the top table, those still anticipating tsunami are in the lower table.


http://www3.nhk.or.jp/sokuho/tsunami/TN20100228192720.html


I realise you won't understand the place names, but I hope the data will help ease your concern. So far the largest surge in Japan reported was 1m 20cm. Naha reported 20cm at 18:55. In the lower table Okinawa Main Islands are shown as anticipating up to 2 metres. Of course it is the nature of the tsunami that it will continue for hours. And while height of the tsunami is reported it's really the swirling nature of the water and the distance inland it can carry that is the real threat.


In NZ to day we have also been very concerned. On the small island where I live our annual beach races (horse racing, Tractor racing, waiters racing etc) were cancelled. Several ferries were cancelled too. The sea has been rising and falling for hours now but without serious damage. Yo might find the information from our local tsunami gauges interesting:


http://www.geonet.org.nz/tsunami/


I was in Japan at the time of the Kobe 1995 earthquake and went there with a news crew ( I worked in TV at the time) and spent 10 days. That changed me a great deal and I didn't even experience the quake itself (of course many in Tokyo and those we have in NZ too). It was the beginning  of my decision to return to NZ, although I didn't do so til 2000. As you say reports of earthquakes have taken on a completely new meaning for me.


You will have a different relationship with your Japanese colleagues when you get together next!


I have a levain underway for a loaf for you tomorrow!


Robyn


 


 


 


 


 

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

In case this link will set your mind at ease, Lifehacker.com has posted a tsunami tracker.  It looks like the effects are not as bad as originally contemplated.  The warning in Japan has not been lifted yet, however.  My thoughts are with you.


 


http://lifehacker.com/5481908/keep-up-with-the-latest-tsunami-warnings-online?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lifehacker%2F...

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Pat, I'm glad you have been able to stay in touch with the World via the Internet. Being in a strange land, unable to communicate with the local language is unsettling. You are left with your own survival skills. I hope you can find some peace in the coming days as things settle down. Living on edge is hard on your nerves.


I have been reading about the influence of French style breads in Asia recently. There should be some French style bakeries around to satisfy your need for good bread.


Better days ahead my friend.


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pat.


I've been concerned about your safety since I heard about the Okinawa quake. News about it pretty much disappeared, swamped out by the larger quake in Chile.


I'm relieved to hear you are doing okay. I'm baking baguettes from  your formula today in thanks.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

As a pilot once told me "Better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground." 


So we were prepared for the worst, but it didn't happen.  Monday dawned fair and warm.


Thanks for the links.  I may need them in the future.


The food has been so good here that I miss baking rather than eating bread.  I am always occupied at home with baking or gardening or, well many other things that it feels odd to not be the creating force.


Please do not forget the victims of the Chilean and Haitian earthquakes.  And keep baking those loaves for me...

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Okinawa is a skinny little island, and being "on the East China Sea side" isn't saying much, especially from some points.   There was a hill near our house in Awase and I remember standing on that hill and seeing ocean on both sides. 


I grew up there and I remember some HUGE earthquakes and big typhoons, too. 


It's been 40 years since I've been there--I sure would love to see what Okinawa has grown up to be.  When we lived there I remember only one stop light and one fast food place (an A & W).  US Military dominated everything, and we used to go to a big department store in Naha just for the thrill of riding a real escalator.  The beaches, however, were awesome!


Stay safe, enjoy the food ( the fish was amazing, I recall) and stay away from habus!

proth5's picture
proth5

Okinawa is quite the bustling place.  It still has a big A&W and the US Military presence is still significant, but it seems like every square inch sports something to do and somewhere to eat.  This is how I keep reassuring myself.  "It's a new building - they anticipate earthquakes - it has been designed to withstand them."  Don't tell me otherwise, because I don't want to know.


I don't normally eat a lot of fish, but I have been eating it here because it is so fresh and so good.  Seems like the taste that has been off putting all these years was the taste of "not perfecly fresh" fish.  When I happily eat raw fish for breakfast (and I have) you can be assured it is something special.


Growing up here must have been pretty cool.  You probably got the ear for Japanese before the neurons hardened.  It continues to be a struggle for me...


A colleague encountered a habu this weekend.  Fortunately it was uneventfull.  It's a tiny island, but a lot of stuff can kill ya! 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

But we waved our Grissini in celebration of your safety, Pat.  Glad to hear all's well.


I came across an interesting blog which discusses the building codes there: 


http://meloniek.blogspot.com/2010/03/okinawa-earthquake-and-tsunami.html


Had to be a very stressful experience.  Wish you could find a kitchen and get your hands back in the flour.

proth5's picture
proth5

for that link.  I was at the pottery sale she mentioned on Saturday, committing retail therapy.


Man, I need to do some baking/cooking.  I've done these long stints before and there always comes a point where I get baking/cooking deprived.  You would think it would be fun to have meals made and put down in front of you - but I am not natured that way.  Hot pot/microwave and noodle bowls (although they are much better here than in the US) does not do it.


Thanks for the grissini wave.  They look way cool.  But I've got a substantial time left here before going home and then another stretch.  We should organize a TFL "Bake your best loaf and let curmudgeon proth5 point out every little flaw - if you dare" contest.  :>)  That might help...

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


We should organize a TFL "Bake your best loaf and let curmudgeon proth5 point out every little flaw - if you dare" contest.  :>)  That might help...



See my TFL blog. :-)


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

so I spent a day strolling around clicking along the streets having a look around.  I was there as a toddler.  My Dad had said that we could also see both coastlines from where we lived.  My father had built a house there.  That would have been back in '58 to '60.  


Can you get a hold of a mini-oven?


Mini

proth5's picture
proth5

Mini.  Our housing situation (in various hotels) is simply not conducive to culinary setups.  I'll just have to look at other people's efforts.


Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?  According to what I am told this island is vastly different from the Okinawa of the late 50's. 


I have not yet gotten tired of looking at the water - like my first few years in Denver when I couldn't stop looking at the mountains...


Happy Baking!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That topic hasn't yet been addressed... yet.


I know they must sell tabletop gas burners, like for camping and restaurants with a can of gas (looks like a regular spray paint can) is inserted into a box with lid next to the burner.

proth5's picture
proth5

you could pass for McGyver.


The maids at the hotel leave us little notes to get stuff cleaned up if we so much as leave a non-hotel issued glass on our desk.  I'm sure they would call the bomb squad if such a contraption was anywhere in sight.


Earth oven on the beach... I guess I could get clay from Yomitan Village...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

just about anywhere and It is a running joke among the staff when Hubby or I pull out our swiss army knives.    Anyway those little stoves one burners are packed into plastic cases (easily identified because they look like cordless drill boxes) stacked up in appliance stores.   Designed for picnics, so you wouldn't have to bake in the room,  get back to nature or go on an outing to cook!


Susan and I ran across this little gem.  Click Here


And I imagine you could pack this into your back pack for emergency bakes.  Can't tell if it has a bottom on it or not.  There is the 'ol standby of wrapping dough around a stick over a campfire too or foil on a "Y" shaped (wet or green) stick to hold a risen lump of dough...  Then there is baking in a covered wok, a small round rack inside and putting water in to steam is a dream! (also makes a great popcorn popper!) 


Mini

proth5's picture
proth5

You have done me in.   I've been being a big baby about this not being able to bake stuff.


I'll admit to missing "my stuff" (came over here with only carry on luggage - think about it...)  but I've always claimed that I have been working with sourdough so long, I could get a starter going just by dipping my finger in the flour and water mixture.  So I'm going to figure out how to get the right equioment/ingredients and see if I can start one up.  If it starts, I'll have to figure out how to get it baked...


We used to do the old "bread round a stick" in Girl Scouts.  I'm not sure how folks would react to me gathering wood and building a fire on the beach, though.  I'm sure there is some law against it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

burn too easily.  Take a bag of charcoal with you.... 


Da da dumm....., Da da dummm.....,  Dat daaa da da da...

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

there's a You Tube video of a guy making bread on the hotel iron soleplate.  I think there was an Altoid's tin involved too. 


I guess if you are really desparate!

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I've checked before and it was not mapped, I thought perhaps because of the SAC base (Kadena AFB).  It's fun to be able to "explore" now.   It's mostly in Japanese so it's a little hard to navigate. 


I THINK I found one of the houses I lived in (Kishaba Terrace Heights), but the elementary school (Sukiran Elementary School, now called Zukiran) I used to attend seems to be missing. 


We also lived in Awase, where there was a lone custom built house across the street from us--the rest were little cookie cutter tile roofed houses.  I wonder if that custom house is the one your dad built, Mini.  There weren't too many custom built American houses back in those days as most of the Americans were connected with the military and were there for relatively short periods of time.  The people who lived in that house in the latter 1960's were not connected to the military--the dad was a product rep who sold product lines to the US PX and Commisary. 


Speaking of bread, out toward Futema there was a bakery called Jiro's bakery (maybe Giro's).  They could bake anything American style and made some of the best bagels I ever had.  I loved going to visit the bakery as a kid. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Then again...  I haven't been able to show him pictures and get more details.  He did say it was brick, designed shutters and rails that closed over the windows and latched for Typhoons protection of the windows.  The roof must have been sturdy because it survived many a storm when others homes were evacuated.  He built it because there was no military housing available and a long waiting list, and he could so he did.  He sold it for a profit at 5 thousand dollars.  There was a ridge at the back where the land slowly eroded away.  All the street names have been changed so that didn't help much.  I have to talk to my folks and show them the program to get any further.  I would also like to see the old photos of the house.  Some highways have been cut thru also adding a wee chaos.


I have looked up many of the houses where I have lived.  I found one in Madison (street and house number changed) by walking home from the elementary school.  That was part of the first and second grade!   It is interesting what one remembers and some of the changes.  Water towers make good reference points. 


off to bake some bread... a mini baguette as a baseball, for Pat, so she can take her bat and whack it into the East China sea if she wants to while i look at the Yellow Sea waiting for the splash.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I remember those shutters and how dark it would get inside when the typhoon knocked out electricity.  Sometimes nothing would stop the rain from getting in the house.  We had a minor flood one time when rain was driven through one of the house's vents, but the floors were cement, the walls were cinderblock, and those houses were built to withstand typhoon force winds and earthquakes.  


That's why we're not hearing about casualties in Okinawa from what would have been considered a major quake if Chile didn't have a much larger event.  


The house across the street from us in Awase was very modern in the 60's, stucco, not brick.  It was built like a modern American house which was very unusual at the time.  I played with the kids in that house all the time and it's kind of funny because I think I remember more about that house than the one we lived in across the street.  It's funny because I remember things like the fact that they had closets with electric lights that helped combat the mold and mildew that are ubiquitous in the hot, humid climate.  That was the pinnacle of sophistication to me ;o)