Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Going Organic

The other day Garandee came running to me with a knife in her hand. I thought I was in big trouble, but she looked horrified: her face was pale and her hands were shaking...

Garandee: "Eeeeeeeekkk!!! Garando!"

Garando: " !!!! "

Garandee: "There's something in the cabbage!! I will change our menu today!"

Garando: "Why? I was looking forward to your rolled cabbage soup...."

I went to the kitchen to check out the cabbage and found a neatly sliced worm at the core.

Garando: "Looks like you just executed a worm"

Garandee: "I HATE WORMS!"

Garandee freaks out at anything that slithers or wiggles. Snakes, worms, caterpillars, eels, catfish, you name it. I thought living in the Philippines will help her overcome that fear because these are pretty common (well maybe except snakes). And maybe I shouldn't mention that I even had to get de-wormed at age 5, but too late for that because she can read this blog anyway.

Garando: "Looks like this cabbage is organic. Zero pesticides, or else you wouldn't find these critters in it."

Garandee: "Really? But that never happens in Japan. We have organic too."

Garando: "Well that's probably because your vegetables go through x-rays before hitting the shelves. You know, to detect worms and stuff. Our vegetables just get rinsed.... once."

Garandee: " .... "

Garando: "See? I pulled it out. Just imagine it as an organic asparagus."

Garandee: "NYO!!!"

I ended up eating radish soup that day.

Garando mode:
Ryan Adams' new CD is awesome!

Read More......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shoes Off, Garando!!

It's probably common knowledge that shoes are FORBIDDEN inside the Japanese home. Touching the tatame with even the tip of your shoe is a mortal sin, stepping in with a full pair will doom you for all eternity. Even if our apartment doesn't use tatame, this rule is strictly enforced...

tea ceremony

I've lived on my own for over 6 years and enjoyed the freedom of flinging my shoes as I plop on the bed after an exhausting day at work. Obviously I can't do that now, but I don't mind seem to mind.

But do you know those days when you're in such a hurry to leave? I bet we all have the same routine...
Step 1 - grab shoes
Step 2 - find a chair to sit on
Step 3 - slip on shoes
Step 4 - grunt as you reach for the shoe laces
Step 5 - rush for the door

...and just when you're about to lock the door from the outside you realize you forgot one of the following:
- wallet
- car keys
- I.D.
- lunch box
- Whisper (with wings)

Isn't that annoying? Well in your case you can just run back in, grab the thing, head back out and be on your way. But for me... that means I have to go through all the 5 steps AGAIN!

There was one time I left my wallet at the kitchen counter. Staring at it from outside the front door was agonizing... because I already had my shoes on!

I don't have time for the 5 steps. I need to improvise!

Garandee was nowhere in sight, adding to the temptation to do the "tip toe" or the "heel walk" to get to my wallet. But she's like CSI: she detects the slightest shoe prints no matter how clean my shoes were. Too risky!

I can crawl, but I wouldn't want my trousers to get dirty... hmm...

Then I got lucky! I found a couple of our kitchen floor rags within reach!! I put them on the floor, one under each foot. Then started sliding my way to the kitchen! YES! It was actually a lot of fun, almost like Ice Skating! Getting closer, and closer... I can almost reach for it!

Garandee: "What are you doing?"

Garando: "!!!"

Garandee: "Didn't I tell you so many times that shoes..."

Garando: "Ok, ok, I'm skating back to the front door"

Garandee: "What skating??"

Garando: "Never mind. .......I was so close......"


Garando mode:
Garando is in trouble...

Read More......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Garandee's Kawawang T-Shirt - part 2

read part one
read epilogue

Anonymous: "Eto ba, kuya? (is this the one?)"

Garando: "Hindi, dun pa banda... ayan, yung green (No, it's over there... that green thing)"

Anonymous: "Ah, etong green na basahan? (Ah, you mean this green rag?)"

Garandee: "Garando, who's that?"

Garando: "Jet Li."

Garandee: "NYO! Really!"

Garando: "Someone who's willing to scale walls and retrieve your shirt for some cash"

Garandee: "Oh, I see..... THANK YOU, JET LI!!!"

Garando: "Shhhh! Don't say that! I was kidding!"

Garandee: "I know.. kkk kkk kkk!!"

So Garandee finally got her shirt back, but now she doesn't want it anymore because it got too filthy.

T-Shirt 01

Garandee: "it's baho, I don't like."

Garandee mode:
never mind na lang...
Read More......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sayonara, Terror...

Garandee's Mom owns a few cats and this one in particular, is my favorite among the bunch.

Meet "Terror"

He's big, cocky, and works as a full time bouncer. Garandee said he's anti-social and hates visitors, but Terror developed somewhat of a liking to me... which led her to think the cat might be gay.

Sad to say, Terror passed away this month due to kidney failure (heard he had a drinking problem). This is the only video I had of him, made from a first person perspective. I'll miss the big lug...

Speaking of cats, check out these hilarious clips from "Simon's Cat"

Garando mode:
stressed out at work... Read More......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Garandee's Kawawang T-Shirt

Garandee: "Garando!! Garando!! come here, EMERGENCY! Hayaku, hayaku!! (hurry)"

Garando: "Wha?? ok, ok, I'm coming! What happened??"

Garandee: "I was fixing the laundry and my kawaii T-shirt slipped and fell from our balcony*..."

*behind our apartment is a big vacant lot that collects assorted junk that either fell or got swept by the wind from tenants' balconies. Enough junk has accumulated, the lot owner can actually hold a garage sale every month.

Garando: "Is that the little green thing that cat's staring at? I hope it doesn't mistake it for a litter box..."

Garandee: "Hai.... can you get it for me? ONEGAISHIMASU!! (please)"

Garando: "I can't possibly climb that wall... besides, do you see that big sign? 'BAWAL D2 ANG TRESSPASSENG!' (tresspassing not allowed)"

Garandee: "but my shirt....."

Garando: "Hmmm... what to do... what to do.... Don't worry, I'll think of something!"

Garandee: "sayang ne... it became dirty now.... "

Garandee mode:
Kawawa my T-shirt....

Garando mode:
Ganbari masu to retrieve shirt!

Read More......

Monday, October 20, 2008

Communication Breakdown #1 - Kayumi Lotion!

funny sign

Garandee is lucky communication is never a problem here in the Philippines. Almost everything is in ENGLISH! It's actually the main reason why we now bump into South Koreans in every corner. ANNYONG HASEYO!!

I wish I could say the same whenever I visit Japan though...

When I went to Kobe on business trip, Garandee asked me to buy an anti-itch lotion to bring back to Manila. So I went over to the pharmacy, and when I was about to ask the lady pharmacist... I totally forgot the brand name!

I remember Garandee wrote it down on a torn McDonald's receipt and put it in my wallet. But she put it between the bills and not in the more secure pockets at the front. It was destined to get lost!

*gulp* I am so in trouble...

Close to panic, I can only remember one Japanese word that was most relevant to what I was trying to purchase... kayumi = itch

Garando: "uhhhh... annnnoooo..... kayumi bye-bye kudasai?"

Pharmacist: "huh?"

Garando: (let me try again...) "ehem, kayumi bye-bye kudasai??"

That did it! The pharmacist walked to the back, looks like she was off to get the lotion.

But when she came back, she now had a colleague with her... to help decipher what the hell I was talking about. I watched them talk to each other:
Pharmacist 1: "bla bla bla bla bla bla bla kayumi bye-bye?"
Phramacist 2: "eeeehh???"

Still no luck, they called in the heavy artillery: a 70 year-old bald man in a white lab coat, who can be either a mad scientist or the store owner himself.

Store owner: "I'm sorry, what is problem please?"

Problem?? I had to think fast before they finally decide to call the police...

1) I pulled up my sleeves and scratched the hell out of my left arm and said "kayumi!!"
2) I acted like I was putting some kind of lotion on it....
3) I put the invisible lotion in my pocket, used my right hand to wave goodbye to my left arm and said, "bye-bye!!"

Pharmacist 1:
" ... "
Pharmacist 2: " ... "
Store owner: " ... " (insert cricket sound here)

another 3 seconds pass...

All three of them went "Ah!!" and burst out laughing. The store owner ducked under the counter and pulled out one, glimmering bottle of anti-itch. "650 Yen please..."

Mission accomplished!

kayumi byebye

edit: Garandee told me that there's actually an itch lotion brand called "Kayumi Bye-bye". Cool.

Garando mode:
...going to office on a Monday

Read More......

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Japan's New Diet Craze

In the news: Apparently Japan is going through another diet craze...this time involving bananas. Japanese media is simply calling it "THE Banana Diet".


Yes, weight conscious Japanese are going bananas over bananas. In fact, it got so popular Garandee said Japan had literally run out of stock, and if you're lucky enouch to find one, the price is ridiculous! If anyone is interested on more details of the banana diet, let me know.

I'm lucky Garandee doesn't like bananas that much. My knees are still wobbly after surviving her 1 week no-meat detox program. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Garandee: "Garando, which is a better brand for bananas? Dole or Dizon? ......Garando? "

Garando mode:
NYOOOOOO!!!! Read More......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tadaima! (We're home!)

We're back! I'm still pooped because I probably drove a total of 4 hours each going and back... But I'm really excited to share some of the highlights of Garando & Garandee's trip!


#1 Cows
There were a lot of cows. Garandee has always been fascinated with the animal (maybe because she likes milk so much), so she really had a blast taking photos of the resting cows as they munched on melamine-free grass. It was almost like we were in New Delhi again.

buko tart

#2 Buko tart
One of my favorite pasalubongs! Tried the "Rowena's" brand for the first time, it's pretty good! But I heard there's one brand that's really known for making the best buko tarts. Wish I knew what that brand was... maybe you do?

flower bloom

#3 Blooming Flowers
We watched flowers bloom! Garandee would take photos of buds around 6am, then come back after a couple of hours to watch in awe as they bloomed into flowers!


#4 Rocky
OMG.... saw this ad during a quick stopover in Sucat. So if ever you're feeling lonely and happened to be in town, Rocky seems to be available! With that look, I bet gender won't be an issue. Do leave us a comment so we'll know if his "massage" was up to your expectations.

Garando mode:
So exhausted...
Read More......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's Go Garando!

5:15 am

Garando: "zzzzz...."

Garandee: "wake up, Garando...."

Garando: "5 more minutes pleazzz....zzzz..."

5:30 am

Garandee: "Garando, wake up already...."

Garando: "wake me up again when you're done changing....zzzzz"

5:50 am

Garandee: "GARANDO! GISING IKAW!!!! (wake up already!)"

Garando: "HAI!! I'm up, I'm up! see? heading to the bathroom now..."

It's 6:00 am and all is ready....

Garandee: "do you have our sandwiches?"

Garando: "HAI!"

Garandee: "do you have our drinks?"

Garando: "HAI! water, tea, and more tea!"

Garandee: "do you have my..."

Garando: "Yes, yes, i have all your cookbooks."

Garandee: "OK!! LET's GO BEBE!"

Garando: "...AGH!!!! Don't lock the door yet!"

Garandee: "?"

Garando: "I don't have our house keys..."

Garandee: "ai naku..."

tricycle 2

Garando & Garandee: We're going somewhere for a couple of days... We'll see you when we get back!

Garandee mode:
Let's GO Garando!! Chop chop!!

Garando mode:
Why do we have to leave so early....

*photos courtesy of Garandee.

Read More......

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Tabo

I dread the days when I get some really tough questions from Garandee that I normally would not have to deal with if we were of the same nationality. Take for instance the first time she used the toilet in my apartment...

She came out of the toilet holding something in her hand and asked me, "what is this?"

the tabo

Garando: "uh, that's called a tabo"

Garandee: "I see. What is it for?"

Garando: (sigh, i knew that was coming....) "it's uh... used for a special purpose."

Garandee: "Oh really? like what?"

Garando: "You don't have those in Japan do you? Well, that comes in handy whenever my ceiling leaks during the rainy season".

Garandee: "Oh i see...but you don't live on the top floor."

Garando: "uh, right. Well, I use that to water plants too."

Garandee: "but you don't have any..."

Garando: "Let's go, we're going to be late for the movie!"

I can't blame her for being overly curious about that mysterious plastic artifact we filipinos keep lying around our toilets because when I used her toilet in Tokyo I found this...

control panel

Neat...the higher models might even have a button for automatic tampon removal.

Garando mode:
I love weekends!!

Read More......

Friday, October 10, 2008

Christian Ito and Hideaki Bautista


Two weeks ago we breezed through another Jdrama, "Umizaru Evolution". We enjoyed the drama so much that we ended up watching the two Umizaru full length movies too. The nice story and suspense kept me hooked, while Garandee drooled over the main character played by Hideaki Ito...

Garandee: "Wow, he is sooo KAKKOII (handsome)!! And so macho with those abs, so opposite of Garando's stomach!! *hint* *hint*

Garando: "Big deal. Did you know that behind the macho image, he comes to Manila often to sing really cheesy 80's love song covers?"

Garandee: "Eeeeeeeehhh!! Maji de?? I don't believe you, that's not even possible!"

Garando: "Oh, you want proof? take a look..."

Ito bautista

Garandee: "NYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! What happened my Hideake-kun!?!?"

Garandee Mode:

Read More......

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Signature" Restaurants in Manila: Conti's

I have this thing about popular "signature" restaurants in Manila: Alba's, Antonio's, Abe, Som's, Razon's, Amicci's, Sango, etc. All do exceptionally well in setting high expectations for food bloggers/connoisseurs by serving outstanding grub! No matter how simple or fancy their menu is, you'll always find yourself leaving with a bloated stomach and satisfied burp.

Now there's Conti's... Garandee and I would always find one around the corner whenever we'd go shopping, and the place was always packed during lunch & dinner. Did it make it to our list of ICHIBAN "signature" restaurants? Here's what we ordered...

Garandee ordered:
Chicken Roulade with Saffron Mushroom Risotto - P145 + P25 (upgrade)

Contis Chicken Roulade

Despite the generous serving of gravy, it doesn't connect with the taste of burnt, blackened chicken skin. It seems the chicken was grilled enough to achieve just the right bitterness. And the risotto, oh the risotto. I never knew you can actually mold it! kewl, but you're better off with plain rice. trust me.

Garando ordered:
Pastel de Lengua (ox tongue) - P210

Contis Lengua Pastel

What's a coaster doing on top of my lengua? Oh! It's the baked crust! I moved that out of the way and I was delighted to see at least 3 chunks of lengua under all that potato and mushroom. Taste was ok, but nothing to write home about. IMO, P210 was way too much for 3 chunks of lengua, a coaster, and 2 tiny scoops of risotto (probably cost me P80 each). So mahal, but why so Conti?

Dissapointed: Maybe we ordered the wrong entrees because I heard some good things about the Baked Salmon and the Mango Bravo. I guess we'll probably visit Conti's again someday... I kinda feel guilty for stealing that coaster and was thinking of returning it.

Garando mode:
I have a bad cold...
Read More......

Shini Gan

After living in the Philippines for over 5 years, Garandee has learned to love classic Filipino dishes. At the top of her list is Pork/Prawn sinigang.

Dee: "Garando, I made my first Shini-Gan!!"

Shini gan

Do: "...uh wow, that really looks and smells like Sinigang! But did you forget to put the meat in?"

Dee: "Nyo! That's healthy Shini-Gan!! I put more focus on vegetables! Japanese really love to eat healthy you know..."

Do: "Oh. (hmmm... can hardly wait 'till she learns how to make healthy bulalo)".

Sneaked in a few pieces of pork while she was watching NHK, and voila! Sinigang.


Garando mode:
Getting ready for work! Read More......

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Balut & Natto



The first time I tried natto was in Osaka around 2004. A friend took me to one of those sushi conveyor restaurants, I was eating all the sushi I could get my hands on. After about 7-8 plates, she offered me this ordinary looking maki that I seem to have missed. It had a clump of tiny round things at the top, I assumed it was fish roe (though it didn't look like it was a salmon's). I do not hesitate when it comes to food so I popped one in my mouth pronto.

.....holy %@#$!

My taste buds were stunned. Struggling not to make a scene and embarass the host, I kept it in. Eating natto for the first time is a rare moment that's hard to explain. It had this slimy texture, an "aged to perfection" taste, and it smelled like my old sneakers.

My instincts kicked in so I grabbed a glass of water to hose it down, but it was too late. The natto was so slimy it had coated my tongue and gums, and those healthy little fermented soy beans clung to the gaps of my teeth. It was going to take more than one glass of water to bring it down. Panic set in, my eyes started to water, but I was eventually saved by a pitcher of tea. At least my friend thanked me for the short bit of amusement I gave her that night.

4 years after that ordeal, Garandee often eats natto for breakfast. I've learned to live with it.



Garandee will never touch the thing, not too many foreigners do. Balut is as gross as it can get, but I'm surprised it didn't make it to the top 3 of Discovery's "Bizzare Foods" by Andrew Zimmern (which is one of my favorite shows btw). Here's a bizarre host doing a demo on how to properly eat balut.

Occassionally I bring home a couple whenever I feel nostalgic and Dee totally hates seeing me enjoying it.

* balut photo taken from Wikipedia. I've reached my balut quota (had one 8 months ago) so I am not allowed to buy one for my blog...
* Garandee thinks the wikipedia photo was too disgusting, so I just drew one.

Garando mode:
Thinking of blog design....
Read More......

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Blog Title

Balut & Natto is probably the best way I can describe Garando & Garandee. We both come from completely different (and sometimes clashing) cultures!

This blog captures the interesting adventures coming from a "Filipino - Japanese" partnership (or a "Japanese - Filipino" partnership if Garandee had anything to say about it).

Garando mode:
Lo batt. 2AM still catching up on work... Read More......

First post!

This morning as I got into my car, I saw a tiny egg splattered on my windshield! I don't own a garage, so this is a big change from the usual bird droppings I get 3 - 4 times a week. It was such a hot day that when I got out take a closer look, it reminded me of the eggs I just had with my sausages... scrambled!

Now how in the world can something like that happen? So the bird was in labor but the delivery nest a few more km farther away, so she ended up delivering her egg in thin air. And my car just happened to be at the right place, at the right time. Such a life changing event...

So I thought, maybe it's about time I started a blog.

...oh, and it took more than the sprinkler and wiper to clean it off.

Garando mode:
Ganbari masu to create blog!! Read More......