Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two Beers in Asia

During the summer I was putting some serious thought into beginning a podcast about living in Japan. I am a huge fan of several podcasts set in Japan and South Korea and wanted to take a kick at the can myself. I suppose I was somewhat intimidated to take on a new medium though. Although I am very familiar and comfortable with producing videos and blogs for You Tube, the world of podcasting would be new. The technical side of producing a podcast s easy enough I suppose, but in order to build support and a reputation I would have to reach out and network with a new community.

Community is a huge part of becoming a success when producing media online. If you want to become a successful You Tube personality, you need a lot of luck, but you also need to form strong relationships with other video makers. I suppose thesame goes for blogging and podcasting.

Although a podcast may be in the cards in the future, I decided to take the model I had in mind and put something like it together on You Tube, a medium I was comfy with. I asked my good friend and fellow You Rube video maker, KansaiPJ if he'd like to join me as a host on a show about life as a foreigner in Asia. Since we both have a passion for drinking fine beer, we decided to do a beer review with every episode.

Two Beers in Asia was born.

If you haven't seen any episodes of my collaboration show with KansaiPJ, check a few out here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Month til Christmas

It's officially been a dog's age and a half since I have last entered the blogosphere and contributed anything. I of course normally only contribute light and fluffy things, but contributing something is better than nothing.

The school term is coming to a close and reports cards are due. Student Christmas shows are approaching and practicing needs to be done. Stomach viruses, colds, swine flu and other blights are flying throughout the air here in Kobe. I caught a stomach virus and a cold, but luckily nothing more serious. In the past, that would have ben serious enough, but these days, there are even more worrisome viral critters flying through our friendly japanese skies!

Here are a few vids I threw up over the last few days.


I am also putting together a Christmas Season collaboration video on You Tube. Anyone and I mean ANYONE is invited to submit a video to me. You DO NOT have to be a Japan-based vlogger to take part.

Watch my video and see!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Updates on the Ichihashi case

Here is some more news on the Ichihashi case:

Police on Tuesday night arrested the suspect in the 2007 murder of a British woman after fingerprints confirmed he is Tatsuya Ichihashi, a 30-year-old fugitive wanted in the case.

Ichihashi, who had altered his appearance through cosmetic surgery, was taken to Suminoe police station. He is currently only wanted on a technical charge of abandoning the body of language school teacher Lindsay Hawker, who was 22 at the time of her death, at his apartment. Chiba prefectural police said they will upgrade the charge to murder.

Ichihashi was taken into custody on the second floor of Nanko ferry terminal after police received a phone call at 6:44 p.m. from another passenger at the terminal saying that a man resembling Ichihashi was sitting by himself. Two police officers arrived at first and approached Ichihashi who was wearing a gray jacket, black cap and sunglasses. Two other officers arrived shortly after.

Witnesses told NHK that Ichihashi remained calm and could be heard telling the police his name. He had been reportedly waiting to board a ferry for Okinawa after coming from Kobe earlier in the day.

Ichihashi was transported from Shin-Osaka station to Chiba by bullet train later Tuesday night.

NHK also aired comments from Ichihashi’s parents. His father said they were relieved to hear that their son had been taken into custody. They expressed sorrow for the Hawker family and urged their son to explain clearly what he did.

Meanwhile, Hawker’s father Bill told TBS in a telephone interview on Tuesday night that his nightmare is finally over. “I very much look forward to seeing Ichihashi across a courtroom, so I can look him in the face,” Hawker said. Read More

Here's some news from BBC:

Japan bathtub murder suspect held
The only suspect in the murder of British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker has been arrested by police in Japan, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 30, is being held in police custody in Osaka.

Miss Hawker, 22, from Brandon, near Coventry, was buried in a sand-filled bath at the suspect's Tokyo flat in March 2007, but Ichihashi disappeared.

Her father, Bill Hawker, said: "The chief investigator office told me we always get our man and they have done."
'Hard battle'

Mr Hawker added: "He never gave up Ichihashi. He ran away from the scene of the crime, he was running away today when he was caught. He has no remorse and I hope the Japanese society give him the maximum penalty."

Mr Hawker said it had been "a long, hard battle" for the family.

"We have worked tirelessly as a family and have never given in for our daughter," he added.

"We wanted justice and we have finally got it." READ MORE

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tatsuya Ichihashi Captured in Osaka

It is pretty strange when you hear news of a "Most Wanted" fugitive on the loose somewhere close, but a relief when you hear he's been captured by the police. That's the case tonight as the suspected murderer of English teacher, Lindsay Hawker was captured this evening in Osaka.


Police on Tuesday night arrested the suspect in the 2007 murder of a British woman after fingerprints confirmed he is Tatsuya Ichihashi, a 30-year-old fugitive wanted in the case.

Currently, Ichihashi is wanted only on a technical charge of abandoning the body of language school teacher Lindsay Hawker, who was 22 at the time of her death, at his apartment, but the police will upgrade the charge to murder.

The case has attracted widespread public attention as Ichihashi, who media reports once suggested had killed himself, was found alive and with a new look after undergoing plastic surgery on several occasions.

Ichihashi escaped from police officers when they called at his apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, in March 2007 and then found Hawker’s body inside a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony. The police later distributed fliers and offered a 10 million yen reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Hawker’s family also visited Japan to ask for help in resolving the case, but no significant progress had been made over the last two and a half years.

The case took a sudden turn when Ichihashi showed up at a clinic in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, in late October for another round of plastic surgery. The police soon released a photograph of his post-surgery face with double-fold eyelids instead of single, a higher nose bridge and thinner lips, and it was widely displayed.

It led to numerous further discoveries about him, including his attempt to receive another plastic surgery operation in Fukuoka Prefecture. He was also found to have lived and worked at a construction company in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, for over a year up until this October. See original here

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the sidelines

I suppose I finally have a chance to make another post. I am sitting at home on a Monday nursing a stomach virus. I had to go to the doctor this morning. As of recent, I have become somewhat of an expert on visiting Japanese doctors. I wish that wasn't the case. I'll be back at work tomorrow however, come hell or high water. One negative side is that I will miss my third Japanese class tonight. The third in 2 weeks, which means I will be completely lost again when I return on Thursday.

In non-Japanese/Kobe news:

South Korean woman passes driver's exam on 950th try
SEOUL, South Korea – A woman in South Korea who tried to pass the written exam for a driver's license with near-daily attempts since April 2005 has finally succeeded on her 950th time. The aspiring driver spent more than 5 million won ($4,200) in application fees, but until now had failed to score the minimum 60 out of a possible 100 points needed to get behind the wheel for a driving test.
Cha Sa-soon, 68, finally passed the written exam with a score of 60 on Wednesday, said Choi Young-chul, a police official at the drivers' license agency in Jeonju, 130 miles (210 kilometers) south of Seoul.
Police said Cha took the test hundreds of times, but had no specific total. Local media said she took the test 950 times.
Now she must pass a driving test before getting her license, Choi said.
Repeated calls to Cha seeking comment went unanswered. She told the Korea Times newspaper she needed the license for her vegetable-selling business. See original

I thought this one was funny. I did live in South Korea for quite some time and from time to time check the news from there.

I also thought this one was rather hilarious. It is a website completely dedicated to passed out drunk people in Korea! Please, allow yourself to be entertained. If you have ever had a night out with soju, you can understand how this might happen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Being a Musician in Japan: Kat McDowell

Last weekend I had the chance to sit down with Japan-based recording artist, Kat McDowell. She is a great person and it ws a lot of fun to chat with her. She performed a few hours later at the Minami Wheel music festival in Osaka, Japan. Her set at the festival was great, but I wasn't allowed to film it.

Check out my interview with Kat:

This was my first attempt at doing an interview style video. I think it went well. Kat was a great person to chat with. We have ben aware of each other for some time because of You Tube and she contacted me a few weeks ago about this show. I was really happy that she was enthusiastic about me asking her a few questions.

I was also happy to try something new on my You Tube channel. I have been growing consistently and of course am always planning new videos, but the chance to attempt an interview seems to have worked out well. This video is getting a lot of positive feedback and if it works the way intended, will give Kat a little more exposure. I know that several people have already told me they have subscribed to her You Tube channel. Hopefully, in the future, I will have the chance to do some more interviews. As for the near future, expect another food video and another comedy one. The food video is already filmed and only needs to be edited, the comedy one is scripted and will be filmed soon.

I almost forgot. Today was a national holiday in Japan. It was Culture Day. My wife and I hopped on a train and headed to Kyoto. We went to Arashiyama. I had never been there before. it is a popular sightseeing spot in the Autumn when the leaves are changing colours. Although the leaves have only started to change, we had a great time there this afternoon.

Japanese maple leaves changing colour in Arashiyama, a part of Kyoto.

Kyoto on a cold November afternoon.

Kyoto goodness in Autumn.