Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kansai Time Out magazine finished

Sadly, after 32 years, Kansai Tine Out magazine is finished. The Kobe-based, English language magazine about life in Japan has folded.

Sad stuff.

I made a video about it:

Kansai Time Out Magazine has died...

Election Day

It is election day. Today is THE big day in Japan. The media is saying that the National Democratic Party which has basically been in power since 1955 may fall today. I suppose we will see!

Voting under way in general election with DPJ favored to end LDP rule
TOKYO - Voting in Japan’s general election was under way Sunday at polling stations nationwide, with the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan seemingly on its way to a landslide victory.

A DPJ win would mark only the second time for the Liberal Democratic Party to lose power in its almost uninterrupted rule of more than half a century over the country and is likely to usher in DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama as Japan’s new prime minister.

Called by Prime Minister Taro Aso, the 45th House of Representatives election has effectively been about a choice between the incumbent LDP-led government and a DPJ-led government. Read more....

Last week my wife bought a sweet potato that looked like a human stomach. i thought it was pretty cool. In the supermarket, my wife said, "Kevin, this potato looks like a stomach." I replied, "Yes it does, let's buy it."

Last weekend was also the summer You Tube gathering in Osaka. In this picture you can see moi (busankevin), KansaiPJ and Daichen. It was really cool because thee Nagoya based vloggers came down for the party. Victor (Gimmabreakman/Gimmeaflakeman), Daichen and Heeton.

Here is my video about the gathering:


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did Jesus live in Japan?

Jesus Christ lived in Aomori - really?
An active conspiracy theory that rivals the revelations of “The Da Vinci Code” awaits visitors to the sleepy village of Shingo, between Hachinohe and Lake Towada in Aomori Prefecture. Every year in June, a ceremony unlike any other in Japan awakens Shingo (called “Herai” in times long ago) and women in kimono dance around the grave of Jesus Christ. Yep, THE Jesus Christ.

You didn’t know? You can visit his grave in a beautiful park in Aomori. But, behold, there is a lot more to this legend. Back in 1935, a well-known researcher dug up some ancient scriptures in Herai. They were written in Hebrew and supposedly signed by none other than the man, Jesus Christ, himself. These scripture allege that Jesus came to Herai when he was 21 to study religion for 12 years. Then he returned to Judea to teach everyone what he had learned in Japan.

As the story goes, people there didn’t agree with what he was trying to preach and arrested him. It seems however, that here’s where the story takes a twist. Jesus managed to escape crucifixion by having his little brother take his place on the cross. Jesus had a brother? You ask. Apparently so. The real Jesus did a bit of backpacking, then came back to Japan where he settled down in Herai. He married a Japanese woman named Miyu and became a rice farmer. His gravesite marks the end of his 106-year life (or 118 according to some people). His brother’s grave sits comfortably beside Jesus’ grave. Read More...

Two police officers stabbed while trying to subdue 74-yr-old man
OKAYAMA - Two police officers were stabbed while trying to subdue a 74-year-old man brandishing two kitchen knives in his home in Nadasaki, Okayama Prefecture, on Friday. The man, identified as Kenji Nanba, was charged with assault and interfering with police in the line of their duty, but he has denied the charges. Read More...

Former South Korean President and Nobel Prize winner, Kim Dae-jung laid to rest in Seoul.

South Korea Remembers Kim

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Japanese Toilets and H1N1

Another weekend and another bit of H1N1 news in Japan "Sugoy"....lots of sarcasm there:

New flu enters epidemic stage in Japan as number of cases rises

Another unfortunate case of bad english in a Japanese retail business. I know of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, but haven't heard of his "urine soaked" colleague!


Last week I went to Kyoto to visit some fellow You Tube video bloggers. While there, we went to a bar and check out the bizarre contraption in the men's room. I have never seen something like this. It appears to be some sort of urinal, but one that possibly more than one person could use at a time. I suppose this sort of urinal could lead to some sword fighting and a possible mess everywhere. Two of my friends who were there, who are long time Japan residents also said that they had never seen anything like this before.

Bizarre Japanese urinal.

More strange men's room goodness in Kyoto, Japan!

6pm in Osaka. Near Tennoji Station in a bar called Tin's Hall.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kyoto Nights and stuff

Another weekend has come and gone and my very long and enjoyable Obon Holiday week has come to an end. Like millions of other folks across the fine country of Japan, I will be draggin my weary bones into the office tomorrow morning. My wife certainly feels no pity for me since she unfortunately had to work all last week (she does like her job though).

Last Friday I went to Kyoto and met with a newcomer to the country. Although he has visited a few times before, this is Dusty's (aka....DeeDoubleYou81 of You Tube Fame) first time living here. He came here a few weeks ago and is teaching English in Japanese high schools s part of the JET Program. Also meeting us was KanaiPJ and reyonaldsair. we had some drinks, ate some food and generally had a lot of laughs.

Oh yeah....everyone! I got a new hair cut this afternoon. It is really damn hot here in japan, but I have also officially (a few weeks ago) begun marathon training. I will run the Osaka Yodogawa Marathon again this year and maybe a few other runs this Fall.

Dusty taking a picture of himself infront of Kyoto Tower before he journeyed off into the deep recesses of Shiga!

Kyoto Tower at night. Looks cool at night once lit up, but during the day you realize it's basically a large antenna attached to a ghetto motel!

Kevin (BusanKevin) and Dusty (deeDoubleYou81) hangin and having a few drinks in Kyoto.

Johnathan (reynoldsair) and PJ (KansaiPJ) hangin and relaxin in the same joint!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cicadas Everywhere セミ

It's the middle of summer in Japan and if anyone who has ever been here this time of year knows; it's hot and sweaty. The average daily temperature in my neck of the woods (Kobe) are i the low to mid 30's, but with the humidex, they are pushing 40! After my father sent me a photograph of a dead cicada ("semi" in Japanese), I felt inspired to make a "cicada-only" post today.

This is the cicada my father found, just outside of Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. The North American species is sometimes referred to as the "Dog Days" cicada since it is rambling about during the dog days of summer! Actually, the ones here in Japan (at least the common ones around the Kansai area are about twice this size).

There are hundreds of types of cicadas all around the world and they are considered the loudest insects in the world. Cicadas are also completely harmless to humans and other animals. They don't bite or sting, but sometimes might urinate on you if you are walking under a tree filled with them. I know this from personal experience. I was whizzed on by more than one cicada last summer! Most people are pretty intimidated by this harmless insect due to its large size and very loud noise.

Cicadas can actually produce sounds up to 120db...THTA' REALLY LOUD.

There is a lot of great information on cicadas on Wikipedia.

Here is a very recent video from a very cool Japanese video blogger of a cicada crawling out of it's exoskeleton. I have seen them at night crawling in their "crab^like" shells before hatching, but I have never seen this!

Cicada Emergence

Here is another great cicada video from an an English speaking Japan-based vlogger fro last year. Here you can see the cicada crawling up a tree looking for a good spot to anchor itself before it's final stage emerges!

Japanese Cicada - Shinto Shrine Trees

This is a vlog I made a little more than a year ago. This one will give you an idea of how deafening the noise can be from a large number of cicadas early in the morning. They normally make their noises on hot sunny days and begin around 6:30am (in full force), This was filmed on a Saturday morning around 7:00am. I was in the midst of marathon training so I was waking up really early (for me) to run.

Cicadas セミ 蝉....Damn You!

Hope you enjoyed this very cicada themed post!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breaking up in Japanese

This new collaboration video by some Japanese vloggers is hilarious!!!

The difference between Kanto and Kansai people!

Monday, August 10, 2009

U.S. Consulate in Kobe

There are definitely a lot of interesting and historic sites to see in Kobe. Along the waterfront downtown, is a street that in some ways reminds me of The Bund in Shanghai. It is actually referred to as the Kobe Bund by some. At one time, Kobe had a very large foreign population due to it's strategic location and accessible port.

Yesterday I was looking at the former American Consulate in Kobe. It is located beside "Meriken Koen" or "American Park." The park was named that due to the U.S. Consulate being there. It was established in 1868. Today, the building now houses a "big and tall" men's clothing shop.

Former U.S. Consulate in Kobe.

This building was built in 1868.

Former U.S. Consulate in Kobe, Japan.

U.S. Consulate in Kobe (former).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Earthquake in Tokyo

Alright. This is weird. I felt an earthquake this evening. It was my first one. Honestly, I wouldn't have noticed it if it wasn't for the fact that my wife yelled to me after dinner. I then saw the water in our glasses moving nd then I felt a few jolts. It's weird to actually feel your home move! Now; the quake hit Tokyo the hardest. It must have been fairly strong because Kobe is quite far from Tokyo.

I went to Twitter and saw that my Tokyo Peeps, although shaken (pardon the pun) all seem to be alright! "Ganbatte" to all the Tokyo folks!

Magnitude 7.1 earthquake strikes Japan coast
(CNN) -- A strong earthquake struck off the south coast of Japan on Sunday night local time, "jolting Tokyo and wide areas of eastern Japan," the country's Kyodo news agency reported.

The 7.1 earthquake hit 200 miles (320 kilometers) south-southwest of Tokyo at 7:55 p.m. (6:55 a.m. ET), the United States Geological Survey reported.

Its epicenter was 188 miles (303 kilometers) deep, the USGS said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency reported its magnitude as 6.9, Kyodo said.

There were no immediate reports of damage, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning.

See original story....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Umeda Sky Building

My wife and I were in osaka yesterday for lunch and as we walked through Umeda (a downtown hub of Osaka) I was impressed with the appearance of the Umeda Sky Building 梅田スカイビル. It is a striking building any day of the week, but the way the sky and clouds were reflecting off it in the sun truly impressed me!