Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's rainy in Kobe

Yep, rainy season. It's not just a name,it's a fact! It's been pouring for the last two days here in Kobe and surrounding area and is forecast to do so for the remainder of the week. I'm of course not letting that get me down. Kobe is loads of fun, even on a rainy day!

Last week I made a post about the new Pepsi Shiso here in Japan. Here's my video review of it:

Just a little Japanese food porn for everyone out there who loves to eat noodles as much as I do. I first heard the term "food porn" from a food blogger based in Korea by the name of Joe McPherson. His Korean food blog, ZenKimchi is pretty damn awesome!
So, anyways, back to the food porn!

My wife whipped up some ramen noodles the other day. They were made with a soy sace base and were simply awesome!

The beautiful presentation just before it was time to tuck it!

Yep, homemade ramen kicks ass for sure. I've eaten a fair amount here in Kobe. Normally I get it when I'm by myself. With limited Japanese skills, it was easy to order when I first arrived. I tend to have a lot of time off with my work so when my wife is working and I'm loafing about Kobe, I'm more than likely stuffing my face with greasy noodles! No wonder I have to run....the only way to keep a decent shape and still enjoy my noodles!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A beautiful day and 2000 subscribers

Another hot weekend has come and gone. I don't mean "hot" as in "sexy" and "vixen-like", but hot as in...."DAMN...I could fry an egg on the sidewalk in Kansai" hot! Today was a day for hanging around the homestead, getting a nice and sleek summer haircut and generally sitting on my balcony enjoying a cocktail or two.

I'm happy news, I reached 2000 subscribers this week on You Tube. I'm pleased. One might even say that I'm as pleased as punch, though I'm not exactly sure what being as pleased as punch entails. Is that fruit punch or some sort of spiked punch?

I wanted to share a few photos I took over the last week or two in the greater Kansai region!

I saw this sign as I was walking down a street in Akashi, Japan. it's a hair salon and what a name!!! "God Hands"!!! Is it simple arrogance or ignorance? How should I feel about getting a haircut here? Does this guarantee an amazing haircut???

Last Sunday, we had a small You Tube get together inKyoto. There were a few vloggers there. Myself, KansaiPJ, Spydermurphy, Zeroteku and Reynoldsair, the guy who organized it. A few other folks joined our group as well. We hung around in an izakaya (Japanese pub) and had an awesome time. There should be another small You Tube meetup sometime in July, but I'm still unsure of the date and location.

Here's a shot of the Kobe waterfront I took a few weeks ago. My wife and I saw the movie Angels and Demons and as we came outside of the theatre (you can tell I'm Canadian by my spelling of this word) we were greeted by this picturesque sight. It was so picturesque, that I was indeed forced to take a picture. Funny how that happens. You can see Kobe Tower (phallic-like red structure and behind it, the Kobe Maritime Museum). Kobe is indeed a pretty and one might even say, picturesque city!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big Rolex Heist in Kobe

I was just surfing through the news and realized there was quite an interesting story close to home. Last night there was a real jewelry heist right here in Kobe, Japan!!! It happened at Daimaru Department Store in Motomachi.

Thieves get away with Y40 mil worth of Rolex watches in Kobe

Sixty Rolex watches, worth approximately 40 million yen in total, were stolen from the Daimaru department store in Kobe City on Tuesday, police said. A store employee discovered a smashed showcase in the watches section of the eighth floor when he came to work just after 9 a.m., and called police.

According to Ikuta police, there was a hole in the wall of the eighth floor, leading to an emergency passageway and fire escape. A crowbar and rope were found on the scene. See original at Japan Today...

In case you`re wondering, 40 million Yen is equivalent to about $500,000U.S. Dollars!
This is all very Thomas Crown Affair!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pepsi Shiso has Arrived!

It's rainy season here in Japan and if you're currently living in Kobe or the Kansai region, you're wishing you were a duck! Yep, it's wet. REALLY wt. Last year's rainy season brought us very little in way of the wet stuff, but it would seem that this year, Mother Nature is making up for last years' shortfall!

In REALLY BIG NEWS...Pepsi's new and bizarre flavor of the summer is here. Pepsi Shiso is on store shelves of today and is ready for the people of Japan to take on. Minty green goodness wrapped up with the flavor of Pepsi!

here I am this evening cautiously eyeing up the bottle of Pepsi Shiso my wife brought home for me. I have been eagerly anticipating it for weeks.

A closer look t this monstrosity. What is Shiso anyway? It's known as Perilla in North America and is a minty leafy herb.

How was it anyway? Not sure as of right now. I'm planning to crack the bottle open tomorrow evening and give it a taste test for You Tube!

Speaking of "The Tube", I posted two short videos last night.

And in some less serious news (because green Pepsi is REALLY serious):

Shoplifter tries to leave store, wearing women's shorts under his pants

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting four pairs of women’s shorts from a Hyogo Prefecture supermarket by wearing them under his trousers, police said Wednesday. Office worker Katsutoshi Nishigaki was allegedly caught red-handed while attempting to leave the store in Asago, Hyogo Prefecture, at 4 p.m. Monday.

The shorts he is accused of stealing are worth a total of 5,670 yen. Nishigaki allegedly took the shorts with him into a fitting room to layer them under his trousers so no one would notice the theft, according to police. But his escapade was seen by a female plainclothes security guard who took notice of him when he entered the women’s underwear section, police said.Read original at Japan Today

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sexy Samurai Underpants

Oh yeah...this is some very sexy news from Japan!

Samurai underwear proving soft touch for female gift-givers

Pairs of short tights for men featuring patterns from samurai warrior armor are proving a hit with women looking for presents for the boyfriends and relatives due to enduring interest in the civil wars of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Rogin Inc, a Tokyo-based apparel company, offers 10 kinds of such underwear including those bearing patterns from the armor used by legendary 16th century samurai leaders Oda Nobunaga and Takeda Shingen.

The company said it has sold nearly 10,000 pairs and has had difficulty keeping up with demand since it started selling them in December despite the high price tag of 9,240 yen per pair. Read more at Japan Today...

I tried the new Green Tea flavored Coca Cola Plus today. It honestly didn't taste in any way like green tea, but it was better than regular Diet Coke. I normally don't drink colas or pop at all since it makes my guts and innards in general angry, but this time I had to! I'm not going to review this product on my You Tube channel since Claytonian already did a good review of it a few days ago.

Check out Claytonian's review of Green Tea Coke.

Tasting Green Tea Flavored Coke

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Running, coffee and concerts

It's been a sunny Sunday. A great day to get back in the "running" spirit and go for a run. I plan to run in 2 marathons this Fall and have to get back into training asap. I have to admit, it's really tough training in Japan during the summer because of the incredibly high heat and humidity. I did it last year while training for the Osaka Yodogawa Citizens Marathon. Basically, you have to run after dark or really early in the morning to attempt to beat the heat. Also, you have to run with water. it took some getting used to, but after a few weeks I was quite comfortable running with a water bottle in hand. I have a pretty cool ASICS one that fits in your hand nicely.

I put about 90 minutes into Japanese studies today. I may do some more before bed tonight.

Ah....a few things that caught my eye today:

Starbucks Coffee's small cans of "doubleshot" coffee will be even more widely available in stores around Japan soon. I suppose that doesn't make too much of a difference to me since they are SO freakin expensive, that I never buy them anyway!

Also, today there was a concert here on Port Island in Kobe where I live. the trains were really busy when we went home this afternoon. Also, when I was running on Port Island this afternoon I saw throngs of young Japanese women with really big hair and really short shorts heading to the arena on the island.

They were all there to see the singer Ayumi Hamasaki. I honestly have no idea who this very "Photoshopped" woman is, but all of her fans look a lot like her! I suppose that's not a bad thing at all though.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rainy Season, Pandemics and Spaghetti Potato Chips

Lots of things have been happening on this side of the world, but I've had very little time to ramble on about them.

Quick update:
1. The swine flu scare is pretty much history in japan....thank God!
2. In Korea....if you're a foreigner...BEWARE....they'll put you in quarantine if you cough! English teachers are being taken into custody to prevent swine flu, while native Koreans with swine flu are allowed to wander free....cause it's a "foreign ailment"....more irresponsible government behavior!
3. CANADIAN NEWS...The NDP won the election in Nova Scotia for the first time EVER....an NDP government...strange...but I think cool! (I'm a Nova Scotia boy)
4. I'm working my ass off!
5. I still find some time to make short You Tube vids (see below)!
6. Rainy Season in Japan has begun!
....stay tuned for more updates!

WOW! Check this out. The other day I came across spaghetti potato chips in a 100Yen shop(a Japanese equivalent of the "Dollar Store"). I like the brand "O'Zacks"...they normally have pretty good chips. I was amazed! they did indeed taste EXACTLY like cheap Prego spaghetti sauce.

Japanese Emperor to visit Canada in July: Harper
OTTAWA (AFP) - - Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Canada from July 3-14, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced.

"This year marks the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Canada's first diplomatic mission in Japan," said Harper. "It is an honor for Canada to welcome their Majesties on this special occasion."

Their visit, he said, "clearly demonstrates the warmth and importance of the relationship between our two countries."

Emperor Akihito's last visit to Canada was in 1953 when he was crown prince. On their visit this time, he and Empress Michiko will travel to Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver, Harper's office said. Read More at Yahoo News...

Here are a few of my more recent You Tube vids :)

Nature's Revenge

Tard Test

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big Bug Season in Japan

It's that time of year again! It's Spring going on Summer and in Japan that means that it's time for kids all around the country to break out their bug nets as well as start nagging their parents to acquire some large insects for them.

Every store from Izumiya to Toys R Us is stocked with large beetles that kids take home for the summer to nurture and love. Although a hobby I can't really see catching on in the United States or Canada, here in japan,it's a hit!

This is a beetle that a student in the class across the hallway from mine brought in last week as a class pet. the 4 year old student, dubbed this fine animal, "Snoopy." That's right....Snoopy! When I think black, slithery beetle....the size of a cell phone...I think Snoopy!

I wandered into the local Toys R Us this afternoon and what did I see? I saw the entire large bug display area. This particular critter, about half the size of my hand (I have small hands) was going for about $45.00 Canadian. Then you have to buy all the cool bug accessories such as the bug cage, woood block (for lounging) food gels and wood chips.

On a non bug note, but more of an amphibian note...I took my class to a local park this morning in hopes of collecting life. I snatched this over sized tadpole for them to investigate. It is actually the biggest one I've ever seen, let alone caught.

This beastie is spending the night in my classroom in a small aquarium, but I will release him in the same pond I caught him during my lunch break tomorrow. GOOD TIMES!

Here's a REALLY OLD video....from more than a year ago.....I caught these Japanese giant beetles getting it on!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cold Combat and Ankle biter Damage

Yep! I'm not feeling well. I've been fighting a cold all week. Not so much a cold as a tease of a cold. I've been on the cusp of a full blown cold for days now. I've been self medicating (not a fan of medical systems anywhere when an ailment is minor) and I think it's almost licked. The complete lack of energy I have makes work hard though. Contending with little ankle biters is demanding enough when you are in top fighting form. When you are weakened, they sense the opportunity to pounce...and they doTo tell you the truth, one of the main reasons I've gotten back into my old hobby of serious weightlifting has been to make my job easier. I've found that if you are in good shape, being an elementary school teacher is much easier to do.

I came across a picture I wanted to share with the world. Since I've come to Japan, I've become a huge fan of ramen noodles. Not the instant Cup Noodle shite! I hate that stuff. It always leaves me with a serious case of gut-rot. I mean the good stuff from a restaurant. A few weeks ago, I dragged my wife to yet "another" ramen joint and had some REALLY spicy stuff. Check it out:

Note the mound of red chili pepperon top of it. The reason why the broth is red is due to all the hot peppers as well. it actually reminded me of Korean food. Good stuff indeed!