Friday, January 21, 2011

Blast from the Past

A student comes up to me in the hallway today.

"Ms. Massie, I was looking at my University of Edinburgh prospectus last weekend, and I think I saw Mr. Goff..."

Remember this? Well, here it is, back to haunt us!

An intelligent and sociable young man:

They knew better than to put a guy who looks like Justin on the cover of the engineering section.

A vigorous walk up one of Edinburgh's scenic hills:

And wait! Who's that loitering in the background at the law school?

I'd know that backpack anywhere, I would.

My favorite part is imagining that student over the weekend. Here he is, minding his own business, just trying to get into college, and suddenly HUH? there's the Middle School English teacher, right there in the middle of the Edinburgh undergraduate prospectus. It's enough to make a kid paranoid.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heading to Hong Kong

I'm going to Hong Kong for an IB workshop today--I'll be there through Monday morning. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to the trip (eat some good food, hopefully learn something), but on the other hand, I'm not thrilled about leaving Nana behind.

Anyway, I promise as many pictures as I can manage to take around workshop sessions, and anyone who needs to should be able to reach me by e-mail while I'm gone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yes, They Make Wasabi Kit-Kats

A couple years ago, while making our way back to the US from Korea, Nana and I stumbled upon a pack of green tea Kit-Kats during a layover in Tokyo. We promptly bought a few, and while we meant to blog about the experience, it seems we never got around to it. Just another one of those weird little things that, despite all our best efforts, didn't make it into the blog.

Little did we know, however, that we were just scratching the surface of Japan's strange Kit-Kat obsession. (Our friend Rosa over at ZOMG Candy has links to some relevant information, including reviews, here.) It turns out that "Kit-kat" sounds a lot like the Japanese for "good luck," so it's become a thing to give people Kit-Kats before important events, such as (especially) college entrance exams. From there, the Kit-Kat has blossomed into a national obsession, with hundreds of strange flavors available, including regional and limited-edition varieties, some of which are considered collector's items. Yes, you heard me: collector Kit-Kats. There's even a Kit-Kat blog devoted to the phenomenon.

Thus for Christmas, in addition* to bringing home a stash of dark chocolate Kit-Kats (delicious, especially when frozen), Nana and I decided to torture--I mean, treat her family to some of the stranger flavors we could find.

The top is wasabi, the bottom sweet potato.

Each one seemed to be made from a white-chocolate base, with the flavor and color added.
We decided to taste the sweet potato first, on the theory that it was less likely to nuke our tastebuds and/or make us swear off Kit-Kats for the remainder of our natural lives.

Verdict? It actually tasted like Japanese sweet potato (which is a little less sweet and a little less orange than the sweet potatoes you find in the US). Fairly edible, but it had a sickly, buttery kind of taste that means we probably won't be buying any more.

Next: wasabi.

 At first, it didn't taste much like anything--but then it hit.
As you can see from the photo above, the wasabi Kit-Kat actually tastes like wasabi. White chocolate and wasabi. Hm.

*Somehow, I managed to spell this as "edition" in the first draft. Whoops!