Every summer here in Japan, a fierce battle ensues between me and the cicadas.
Our apartment building is surrounded by trees, which most of the year I find to be lovely, as I love trees. In the summer, however, it becomes a curse. Cicadas are always hanging out in trees or near trees as I’m sure most of you know, and the trees around our apartment become filled to the brim with cicadas. With our windows closed, the cicadas are loud, but if our windows are open, it’s a roar of noise. When one of them is on our balcony and begins making noise, it’s the most loud and shrill noise imaginable.
That’s not the worst part though. No no. What kills me every summer is that there are so many cicadas, that I cannot walk through the hallway in front of our apartment (an open-air corridor) or take the stairs without being attacked by one or more cicadas. Now, I use the term “attack” losely, because I know they’re not really attacking me. That’s simply how it feels to me. The reality, however, is that cicadas are the worst fliers in the insect kingdom. They simply see something coming towards them, freak out, and fly. They fly in no specific direction or without any aim, they just fly. Usually, this leads to them flying into a wall (multiple times), the ground, or me.
I think this could also qualify cicadas for having the worst survival instinct in the insect kingdom. I mean, if a potential predator is coming towards you, one with proper survival instincts would flee away from the predator. Cicadas, however, are lacking the whole idea of “away”, so they just freak out and have a flying spaz attack, more often than not flying into the potential predator (in this case, me), and scaring/startling the living daylights out of said potential predator and making her shriek like a banshee.
Summer is long in Japan…
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If you love tacos or you love pasta, or if you’re like me and love them both, you’ll love this taco pasta dish.
There’s been several versions of it circulating on various food blogs, so I’m not really sure where it originates from, but here’s my version of it. Both Hisa and I really liked this dish. I think kids would also really go for this dish. If they don’t like spicy foods though, you might substitute a can of plain tomatoes for the can of tomatoes and chillies.
Pasta shells works great in this recipe, because it holds the sauce well, and they look like little tacos! :D
Taco Pasta (serves 2)
- 1/2 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
- 4 – 5 oz. dried pasta shells (or just make enough pasta for two people)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes and green chillies
- 2 Tbsp tomato pasta
- 1/2 packet (2 Tbsp) taco seasoning
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown the beef over medium heat. Drain off fat when browned. Add onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add canned tomatoes and chillies, tomato paste, and taco seasoning. Mix well and let simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and sour cream, and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and toss until pasta is well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in the chopped cilantro right before serving.