Thursday, October 24, 2013

Concert weekend!

It's going to be a busy weekend, so I'm not in particular going to do a Friday post today. I have a concert Saturday night, then I'm playing at the same church Sunday morning, and back at my own church to give a talk for the youth group Sunday afternoon... and that talk isn't quite done yet. Guess what I'll be doing today??

For those of you in the Sapporo area, I'm including a poster and details below.

  • Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
  • Place: Sakae Church, Sapporo Higashi Ku, Kita 47 Jo Higashi 7 Chome 2-1 (Phone: 011-731-7277)
  • Repertoire: Bach viola da gamba sonata #3, bits of Bach cello suite #1, Ghibli movie music, hymns.
  • Also: I will tell a bit of my story as a musician; Akasaka-sensei (visiting from Kanto) will give a message
  • Cake: yes. Sure to be delicious--I know from experience. :)

Hopefully I'll get around to posting some pictures sometime this weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pear Exchange


Today’s coffee: Guatemala

We’ve had crazy weather this week. On Tuesday, we joined the crowd of people at the farm trying to harvest as much as possible before the typhoon came. Our table is covered with peppers and tomatoes and herbs—we’re hoping some of the unripe ones will ripen. There’s zucchini in the refrigerator too.

I think the typhoon must have weakened and changed course, since we hardly got any wind at all, just torrential rain. I guess the farm will be okay for a few more weeks. Here’s hoping the daikon and red cabbage will be big enough to harvest before the snow comes. Yesterday morning after the typhoon ended, the mountains around Sapporo were capped with snow.

This morning as I was taking advantage of the sunshine and airing the futon on the balcony, I noticed that the Ojiisan (a polite way to call an elderly man) next door was on the roof, trimming the pear tree. 

I had previously received permission to pick up as many pears as I like. I made jam with them and brought a jar of it next door with my thanks. Then the next day, Obaasan (a polite way to call an elderly woman) came over with a big bag of peppers from their farm. (In Japan, it is impossible to out-generous one’s neighbour… :)

As I continued on with household chores, I snuck glances out the window. “What shall I do? Maybe I should go offer to help?” When I saw Obaasan picking up fallen branches, I decided to act.

“Could I please pick up some more pears?” I asked. 

“Sure!” said Obaasan. 

We chatted about cooking and gardening as I dropped pears in a big black bucket. Ojiisan smiled absentmindedly as he trimmed branches. “Watch out!” called Obaasan, as pears and branches dropped around me. 

I found out that the pear tree had been in the yard for more than 20 years, but the family never ate any of the pears. They’re not all that good to eat plain, but perfect for baking—unfortunately there’s not many traditional recipes using pears in Japan. (If you know if any, leave a comment. :)

Tonight’s task is to peel, cut, and use as many pears as possible. What to make first? I wonder what our neighbours would like to try?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

On Hiding

Today’s coffee: Costa Rica (at Tokumitsu)

Keith and I have been blessed with a house. We have a good relationship with our landlady, a church member, and her husband, who is our neighbour at the farm. Being in a house of our own means that it’s okay to play our instruments, to shout potentially embarrassing things across the house… and go around singing little songs we made up… and other noisy activities. Except that all summer, the windows were open. I wonder what the neighbours thought.

Everywhere in the world, we have certain behaviours which we only do around people with whom we are comfortable. We only share very personal thoughts with those we trust. Each place, each group of people, has certain levels and expectations for the way people behave in public. In Japan, I think Hokkaido is fairly relaxed, like Seattle is compared to Boston. In Seattle, I could go to the grocery store in dirty jeans, whereas I felt awkward riding the subway in clean, tidy jeans in Boston, surrounded by business people in suits. In Seattle, we are also a lot more open with our thoughts and feelings and struggles than I felt able to be in Boston, or in Japan.

I confess I have an embarrassing hobby: I read manga. Actually, in Japan, this isn’t embarrassing at all; it’s quite common, and it’s a good way to start conversations with other people my age. As long as I stay firmly rooted in the real world with real people, I don’t see myself as being in any danger from my hobby.

But I digress. Last week I started reading a manga about a girl who hides her “true” self—all her embarrassing habits, hobbies, and tastes—and creates a completely different persona when she’s outside the protective space of her own home and her family and close friends. The tension points of the story revolve around the protagonist trying to keep her true self hidden so will not return to the ostracism and pain she experienced as a child.

We all have our public and private personas. Underneath the surface, we are all people with embarrassing habits and hobbies and tastes. The public persona competes with all the other public personas—how well can I pass myself off as perfect? How well can I hide the “real” me? (How good does my life look on Facebook?) I resonated with the protagonist of the previously mentioned manga because as a child, I really didn’t know how to create a “public persona.” I said exactly what I thought (often arrogant and socially awkward thoughts) and I behaved the same at school as at home.

In my natural state, 5th grade (hair surprisingly tidy for that time of my life)
I was in the “gifted class” in elementary school—I really wish it hadn’t been called that—with all the other kids with good grades and creative minds but no social skills. In some ways it was a protective haven, where I learned to use my mind but not my common sense. In 5th grade when I left that protective haven, I continued being my awkward self… and got bullied. It didn’t take long until I learned what I could and couldn’t do in public, but not before I was stigmatized as a social reject until I graduated from high school. College was great; I got a chance to start over with a completely clean slate. No one from my high school went to the same college as me. Then in a few more years, I got another clean slate in graduate school in Boston. And again in seminary. You would think I’d be pretty good at this by now.

High school senior year, public persona fully formed
Here I am in Japan. I think more so even than Boston, outward appearances are important, especially for people who stand out. I stand out in a lot of ways. Not only am I a foreigner, I am also a married female missionary, which in some ways is similar to the difficult role of “pastor’s wife.” The level of scrutiny of my lifestyle turns up a few more notches. My heart hurts for friends who struggle to find their place as pastor’s wives. There are so many expectations, but none of them spoken.

I hope that I can live in such a way that my actions reflect what is in my heart—and that I can do this without shame, hiding nothing. And yet there will always be layers, which are slowly peeled away as trust is built. I can be comfortable at home with Keith, comfortable sharing my struggles and joys with close friends, comfortable sharing prayers and answers to prayer with friends at church. I'm praying for wisdom to be open when it is helpful and closed when I need to be.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Sourdough Bread, Part 4: Making Bread ・ 天然酵母のパンの作り方

Sourdough Bread ・ 天然酵母のパン

You’ve made your starter and maybe a few batches of pancakes… now the moment you’ve all been waiting for is here: it’s time to make bread! Below is my basic recipe, but there are endless variations to try once you get the hang of it. When I get around to it, I’ll post some ideas.**

天然酵母の種を作ってホットケーキをもう作ったかもしれませんね。 さあ、いよいよパンを作りましょう! 私はここでシンプルなレシピを書きましたが、このレシピをマスターしたら、色々なバリエーションができます。** 

  • 1 ¼ cups active sourdough starter*
  • 2/3 cup water** (If possible, use filtered or bottled water)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ½ cups flour (my blend: 1 cup whole wheat, 1 ½ cups white bread flour)**
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 元気な天然酵母の種、300cc*
  • 水、160cc** (できればペットボトルの水か浄水器を通した水がお勧め)
  • ハチミツ、大さじ1
  • 全粒粉、160g**
  • 強力粉、240g**
  • 塩、小さじ1
*Active sourdough starter is bubbly, like this. 元気な天然酵母の種は写真のように小さい泡が沢山あります。

Active sourdough starter ・ 元気な天然酵母の種
A bit too active! Oops. ・ キャア、元気過ぎる!

Instructions ・ 作り方

1. You can mix the bread dough by hand (builds arm muscles!) with a wooden spoon in a glass bowl, or you can use a stand mixer with bread hook. Mix sourdough starter, water,** and honey. Add 1 cup flour and mix well. 手で生地を混ぜる場合は、ガラスかホーローのボール、木のへらを使って下さい。 力仕事ですよ! スタンドミキサーがある場合は、パンのフックを付けて使うこともできる。 天然酵母の種、水**、ハチミツをボールに入れて混ぜてから全粒粉を加えて混ぜる。

2. Add salt  and the remaining flour ½ cup at a time. Your dough should be quite stiff at this point, although still moist. 塩を1.に加えて混ぜる。 強力粉を少し入れて、混ぜて、全量が入るまで繰り返す。 生地はかたいけど、かなりべたべたしている。

3. If you’re mixing by hand, when you can’t stir any more, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead about 10 minutes. Don’t forget to flour your hands! Add any remaining flour a little at a time. If you’re using a stand mixer with bread hook, you can let the mixer do some of the work for you, so you probably won’t need 10 minutes of kneading my hand, but actually bread likes to be kneaded, so no need to worry about overdoing it. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and holds its shape. When you poke it, it will spring back. Note: The amount of flour necessary varies according to the weather and humidity; also the moisture content in your starter may be different than mine, so you may require more or less flour than I do. 手で生地を練っている場合は、混ぜられない時生地を打粉をした台の上に載せて、手に小麦粉を付けて、10分ほどこねる。 残っている強力粉があったら、それをこねながら加える。 スタンドミキサーを使っているなら、ミキサーが生地をこねるので、手でこねるのは5分位で十分です。 生地はこねられるのが好きですから、こね過ぎる心配はありません。 生地がツルツルになってまとまるまでこねる。 生地を指で押しても、元の形に戻れば、こねる時間は十分です。 注意:天気、湿度、種の水分の量によって必要な小麦粉の量が違うので、一度作ってみて、自分の体で覚えてください。

When you start kneading, it looks something like this. ・ こね始める時はこんな感じです。
When you're done, it looks like this! ・ こうなります!
4. Put the dough in a large glass or stainless steel bowl, cover with a lid or damp cloth and put the bowl in a warm place until the size of the dough has doubled. In the summer, this takes about 10 hours at room temperature.  Warmed to 40 degrees C/104 F, it will take 6-8 hours. In Japan, my oven can be set to 40 degrees C. During the winter, I put the bread dough in the kotatsu (probably around 35 degrees C); I can simultaneously keep the bread and my legs warm! In places without Japanese ovens and kotatsu, I put the bread dough in the oven with the light turned on, and that is sufficient. In a cooler place, rising time can take much longer; the longer the rising time, the sourer the bread becomes. Once I let it rise for more than 48 hours in Sapporo winter room temperature. It was practically inedible it was so sour. Personally I think 10-16 hours is perfect for flavour. 生地をガラスか、ステンレスのボールに入れて、しっかり絞ったぬらしたタオルを被せるかボールに蓋があったら蓋をして、生地が倍になるまで、温かい所に置いて発酵させる。(一次発酵) 夏の室温では10時間位かかるが、40℃のオーブンなら、6-8時間位しかかからない。 私は冬の間生地をこたつに入れる。 冬の室温では発酵は非常に時間がかかる。 私はある時札幌の冬の室温でパンを発酵させて、48時間かかりましたが、食べられないほど酸っぱかった。 時間が経つにしたがって、パンが酸っぱくなるので、おいしい味のため、10-16時間で発酵させるのが理想的です。

This is a kotatsu. Jealous? ・ こたつに入っている生地
It starts about this size... ・ 量が少ないみたいけど...
... and it gets big! ・ ... 大きくなる!
5. After the dough has doubled in size, knead it again for a few minutes, shaping it into a loaf. You can also divide it into smaller loaves or rolls. I put my dough into an oiled and floured rising basket; this gives the bread a nice shape, but isn’t necessary if you have kneaded the dough properly. If you don’t have rising baskets, put your loaf on a greased baking sheet. If you are making rolls, they can rise and bake in greased muffin tins. 生地が倍になったら、2,3分こねて、生地を好みの形に作る。 ブールという丸いパンがお勧めですが、テーブルロールなどもできます。 バンネトンというバスケット(写真のような型)でパンを発酵させることもできますが、ちゃんとこねたら、要りません。 バンネトンを使うなら、薄くハケで油を塗って、その上から小麦粉を茶こしでふりかけて生地を入れる。 バンネトンを使わないなら、天板に油を塗って、パンをそのまま天板に置く。 テーブルロールはマッフィンの型で発酵させて焼くことができます。

If you're using rising baskets, put the pretty side down and the messy side up. You'll flip it over before baking anyway. ・ バンネトンを使ったら、パンをひっくり返して入れる。 後でもう一回ひっくり返すから。
6. Cover with a damp cloth and put the loaf or rolls in a warm place (see step 4) and let double in size—this should take 2-4 hours.  4.と同じようにしっかり絞ったぬらしたタオルを被せて、パンを温かい所に置いて倍になるまで2-4時間位発酵させる(二次発酵)。

7. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. If you are using rising baskets, gently turn the loaf onto a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut one or more slices in the top of the loaf. This will keep air bubbles from forming, but isn’t necessary for rolls. (When I had a large oven, I used a baking stone; if you have one, by all means use it! Preheat the stone with the oven, and turn the bread onto the baking stone at the last minute before baking.) オーブンを220℃に予熱する。 バンネトンを使う場合は、生地を天板にひっくり返して置く。 バンネトンを使う場合も、使わない場合もパンの上に2本の切れ目を十字の形に入れる。 鋭い刃のナイフやギザギザの刃のパンナイフでもいい。 テーブルロールの場合は切れ目を入れなくてもいい。

8. Fill an oven-safe mug or similar halfway with water; set it on the baking sheet next to the bread. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the loaf, then bake 15 more minutes. Baking time will vary based on size of loaf; if you make smaller loaves or rolls, decrease the time. I bake rolls for 25 minutes (18 rolls in muffin tins). 耐熱のマグカップに水を半分ぐらい入れて、天板の生地の隣に置く。 オーブンの下段に入れて、20分焼く。 パンの向きを変えて、15分位、きつね色になるまで焼く。 パンのサイズやオーブンによって違うので、注意。 テーブルロールを焼く場合は25分位で焼けます。

9. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing… then enjoy with your favourite toppings! In our house, my husband is usually watching the timer, bread knife in hand… パンをオーブンから出して、網の上に移して冷ます。 食べる前に15分以上待ったほうがいいですが、私のうちでは、主人はパンのナイフを持ちながらタイマーとにらめっこです。 

Rolls, baked in a muffin tin. ・ マッフィンの型で焼けたテーブルロール
Suggested schedule
  • Morning: remove starter from refrigerator and feed
  • 5:00 p.m.: Feed again
  • 9:00 p.m.: mix and knead dough
  • 9:30 p.m.: first rise
  • Next day, 6:30 a.m.: shape loaf/loaves
  • 6:45 a.m.: second rise
  • 10:30 a.m.: preheat oven
  • 10:45 a.m.: bake
  • 11:20 a.m.: take out of oven
  • 11:35 a.m.: Lunch time!
But actually, the schedule is pretty flexible. You can adjust the times according to your needs.

  • 朝:種を冷蔵庫から出して、餌をやる
  • 17:00 餌をやる
  • 21:00 生地を作ってこねる
  • 21:30 一次発酵
  • 次の日、6:30 こねて形を作る
  • 6:45 二次発酵
  • 10:30 オーブン予熱
  • 10:45 焼く
  • 11:20 オーブンから出す
  • 11:35 いただきます!

**Please go to this page for variations! (Coming soon!) バリエーションはここに書いてあります。(少々お待ち下さい。)

Part 1: My Sourdough Bread Story  ・ 天然酵母のパンのストーリー
Part 2: Making and Caring for Sourdough Starter ・ 天然酵母の種作りと種の世話
Part 3: Sourdough Pancakes ・ サワードー・ホットケーキ


Today’s coffee: I think I had a couple cups at the bazaar… and I think I had some with breakfast too…

Tired. Today was the church bazaar. It wasn’t really as long of a day as I thought it would be (9:00-4:00); the preparations took much longer (2 days). I think it was the preparations that took it all out of me. I made 5 different snacks: pickled beets, kabocha cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, zucchini cupcakes, lavender shortbread cookies, and mini-quiche. Conveniently it was Keith’s birthday on Thursday, so I made the kabocha cupcakes, Keith’s favourite, for his birthday. :)

My snacks. Do I look tired? I was.
Other than making snacks for sale, my role was to play cello for the guests as they were waiting to go in. I played 2 times through the Bach first suite and prelude of the 3rd suite as well as a couple of requests.

Serenading our guests. There was also a lot of interest in the vegetable table. Yes, this is Hokkaido.

The Wakaba Bazaar has been going on for many years, and it’s rather famous in the neighbourhood. It’s probably our church’s biggest event. It’s an opportunity for everyone to bring friends and neighbours into the church for the first time. When meetings started several months ago to plan and prepare for the bazaar, I noticed a major difference between Wakaba and the various churches I have attended in the US: everyone was expected to help out. Church members and staff, regular attenders, loosely connected family and friends, everyone. There was no escape. ;) I felt like I spent a lot of time today standing around doing nothing, actually. There were plenty of people helping. I suppose just being there and being together was important, even if I felt a little useless.

Setting up the cake table. (Don't you wish you had come?)
Okazu Corner--savory snacks (on the left is Yoko, our landlady)
Bagels, with instructions for how to eat them. We will be having these for breakfast tomorrow.
Keith was in charge for games for kids. (The pastor's daughters made the fish.)
I suppose being able to divide responsibilities is a luxury of a much larger church than Wakaba; on any given Sunday, there are about 35 people at church. And yet even in a much larger church in Japan, I wonder if in the same way, full participation would be expected at a major church event. In the West, we tend to value the individual over the group, whereas in Japan, the group tends to be valued over the individual.

A few weeks ago at the fujinkai (women’s meeting), we spent most of the time discussing how to invite participation from a few members who rarely come or who don’t stay for coffee or lunch or meetings after the service. If everyone isn’t participating, it seems like there’s a sense of unease even among the central members. I’m not sure I understand completely; for me, sometimes “trying to include that socially-awkward person” unfortunately feels more like an obligation—something good Christians are supposed to do—than restoring that person to his or her place in the Church, God’s family, and thus bearing witness to God’s glory through our unity and love for one another. Maybe this is a lesson I need to learn from my Japanese sisters.

This isn’t easy; sometimes people struggle to participate in the manner expected of them. Perhaps those members who were the subject of conversation at the fujinkai need to be allowed to participate on their own terms, although I'm not sure what that would look like. I think here in Japan there are a lot of expectations which are difficult to fulfill, in the church as well as in society in general. I pray that in Japan, the church will be a place where anyone and everyone can find a home.