Most of this past week was dedicated to long days in the lab recording as many grasshopper jumping videos as we possibly could. Our original goal when we started filming was to get 180 videos done by the time we left. However, due to the uncooperative nature of the Rice grasshoppers, we had a little bit of a set back. Our new goal is simply to record as many videos as possible so that their won’t be much make up work for the other grad students to do once we are gone. As of right now, James and I have recorded just over 100 videos. We have finished recording our brown/red legged grasshopper species and are on pace to finish Acrida cinerea by the end of our stay. Dr. Jablonski was able to work with the company that donated us the Rice Grasshoppers originally and we are now receiving a second shipment of rice grasshoppers to see if any of these grasshoppers will be more prone to jumping. However, I personally am doubtful. Due to the fact that these rice grasshoppers were bred and raised in captivity with no exposure to the wild, I hypothesize that they are accustomed to having zero predators and therefore would rather move or hide than jump when exposed to any kind of “threat”. It’s an unfortunate circumstance but maybe this new batch of grasshoppers will prove my hypothesis wrong. Our days in the lab have been ranging from anywhere between 8-10 hours varying on how long we take for lunch. It’s a grind but it will be quite the accomplishment once we are done and looking back at it. We have also discussed with our lab professors about our future with the research once we return home. As of right now, James and I will be getting computers from the University of St. Thomas, along with the analyzing software, and we will be analyzing the videos throughout our fall semester. We will then submit our data to Dr. Jablonski and the grad students who will begin to analyze the results and start working on the paper. Our hope is that we will be able to help write the paper with them so that there won’t be much confusion during the writing of the methods and results section.
This weekend, Dakotah, Kyle, and my friend Junoh (who is from South Korea but went to high school with me at Marshall) decided to pay us one last visit before we headed off. It was really nice to be able to take a break from the long days at lab and just let loose. On Saturday, James and I spent a little more time in the lab filming but met Junoh with the other two guys for dinner later that evening. We went to yet another amazing Korean Barbecue and ate about a million pounds of food. No joke, we all thought we were going to explode once dinner was over. After this, Junoh decided to show us a classic Korean night activity… Karaoke!! But it’s not the type of karaoke that we Americans think of like in a bar in front of tons of people. Here, you rent your own private rooms for around $20-25 total (really cheap) and then you get to sing, dance, and whatever else with your buddies for around an hour and a half. Let me tell you, it was an absolute blast. We sang everything from old rock classics, to modern rap and pop. Junoh even sang a Korean ballad for us and we all died laughing about it! By the end, we had all lost our voices from singing and shouting. I really wish they had something like this in the states. After this we were all so tired that we went home and slept. On Sunday we woke up late and eventually saw Dakotah and Kyle off to the bus station before heading to lab quickly. We weren’t filming that day but we had to set up some gear for the grad students who were going to do some more force and frequency measurements. After this, we met up with Junoh again and headed out for a Japanese style restaurant. Here they cook all the food right in front of you and my goodness, it was some of the best food I had ever tasted. We tried a variety of things: yakisoba which is a Japanese style fried noodle, okonomiyaki which is a Japanese style pancake, and monjaki which is yet another version of a Japanese pancake. Now these pancakes are not what you think they are. They are chopped up cabbage mixed with many other ingredients such as onion, shrimp, octopus, mayonnaise, peppers, various spices, etc. and then fried before you. They are also topped with cheese, bacon, and this barbecue type sauce. It may sound gross to some of you but it was one of the most delicious food items I had ever consumed. I would eat it three meals a day if I could I think…. We also tried some Japanese style cocktails and beer, all of which were very good yet very different tasting than American beer. Unfortunately James and I had to get up for work the next day so after dinner we thanked Junoh for coming to see us, showing us even more amazing restaurants, and then parted ways. Always sad leaving but Junoh is going to be attending the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota this year so I’ll be able to see him when I’m back home! He told me he knows of a few tasty Korean restaurants near campus so I’m sure we’ll be going to those quite often.
Roughly three and a half more days left on this amazing adventure… I can’t believe it is already ending so soon. It feels as though just yesterday we were leaving the states and flying to Korea. I am so happy and thankful for receiving the opportunity to come here and I would highly recommend visiting Seoul or South Korea as a whole if you ever have the opportunity to come out to this half of the world. One more reflection blog coming next week upon our return! See you all soon 🙂
Step 2 of okonomiyaki
Final product of okonomiyaki… YUM