Friday, December 31, 2010

2010...been there, done that!

2010 is about to come to an end and the Year of the Rabbit is about to begin.

The year was a wonderful ride of ups and downs for me. Luckily, it was about 95% ups. This is my third year living in Japan and was also the year my wife and I had our first child.

Here are a few signs that the year is changing in Japan:

Ebisu Beer, one of Japan's premium brewers has come up with limited time packaging to bring in 2011.

Traditionally, many Japanese people eat soba (buckwheat noodles) そば or 蕎麦 on New Years Eve. This was dinner at my house this evening. My wife prepared a soba soup with tempura shrimp. As you can imagine by the picture, it was delicious.

Nihonshu 日本酒 or sake is a very popular drink on New Years Eve and New Years day. this is the biggest holiday of the year in japan and people enjoy having their liquid happiness to celebrate the holiday! i tok this at my local supermarket this afternoon here in Kobe.

During the New Year, Japanese people tend to eat a lot of mochi 餅. Mochi is essentially a doughy rice cake. it is baked, eaten as is or used in soup on new years day morning.

This is a common gift set given during the new Year. Japanese people are very big on giving gifts. this particular beer/juice set was given t my family by a good friend of mine. He isn't Japanese, but has been in Japan for some time and honours traditions.

This beautiful flower arrangement was given to my family by my sister-in-law. She is a florist in Osaka and made this new Years style arrangement herself. it is an awesome gift to bring in the New Year here in Japan.

I wish everyone out the a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Congrats Kanpei-san on Crossing the Eurasian Continent

Osaka born comedian Hazama Kanpei, better known as Kanpei-san is almost finished his around the world running oddessy. After 741 days of running he has crossed North America and as of yesterday, the entire Eurasian continent on foot. He is an impressive guy and someone I really admire as both a person and a runnner. During this amazing adventure he also battle prostate cancer. This guy is simply amazing.

Hazama Kanpei, aka Kanpei-san finishing his Eurasian Continent run in China!

This is one of his daily videos. It shows him finishing his Eurasian Continent crossing.

Check out his English Earth Marathon website.

Also, check Kanpei-san out on his You Tube channel. He uploads daily videos of his running.

Kanpei-san will now take a sailboat from Qingdao to Fukuoka. He will then run to Osaka where his journey will come to an end in January. I realy hope I have the chance to be in Osaka and cheers for him when he arrives!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas From Kobe

Christmas time is here and so is another blog post. I have ben on vacation for nearly two weeks now and loving the time with my family. I've been feeling great and have really amped up my running again these days. I will be running in the Mukogawa Road race on January 9th (the had marathon) and am excited about another race.

I have also been really busy with You Tube again. my love for it has ben rekindled and I am working hard at collabs, building my channel/community and getting mow videos out there. Video blogging and blogging in general has been a really great hobby for me over the past 4 years.

It is Christmas Eve here in Japan. It is a time to be with your families, eat Christmas cake and if you are a young (or not so young couple), shake the bed at your local love motel!

In the spirit of Christmas in Japan (I went home to Canada last Christmas, but am here this year), here is the wonderful You Tube video, Christmas in Japan!

You can see me in the video at 0:52 (wearing the Santa headband).

I have about a week and a half left of winter vacation. I plan to spend more time with my wife and son as well as shoot some more videos and do a lot more running. i plan to get up very early tomorrow morning and do a 10k jaunt about town while wearing a Santa hat. I think that will be a fun runners way to celebrate the day. Then, a turkey I will bake!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Food Video

Tis the season for trees, lights, snow, snow days, turkey, laying on the sofa with a beer, eggnog, rum, gifts and a big fat man in red! That's right, the festival holiday known as Christmas is quickly approaching. It will be here in exactly ten days. In honour of this wonderful and epic holiday, I decided to spread myself even thinner and put together a video about Christmas food. I posed the question to folks who enjoy my video-blog, "What is your favorite Christmas food or beverage?" I wanted to know about people's comfort food. Many of the things I consider "comfort foods" are somewhat difficult to get my hands on in Japan. I can get turkey, but it is often hard to eat an entire turkey with only three people in your family (one having yet to grow teeth).

Here is my 2010 Christmas Collaboration video for You Tube. I asked anyone to submit a video and about 55 people did so. It was somewhat of a logistical nightmare to put together, but I did it for the second year in a row. Although it consumes many hours of my already frantic life, I think it brings a little bit of happiness to many out there. Even if it makes someone smile, it was worth making (wow! That was very cheesy...but true!).

One of the awesome things about doing this sort of project is the diversity of the people. I had videos sent to me from here in Japan, South Korea, Canada, United States, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, England, Australia, Panama, etc.

I had the chance to play Mr. Mom today. I took my son to IKEA where I picked up a few more decorations for our Christmas tree as well as a few consumable Christmas treats. I grabbed a few Swedish Christmas beers which are similar to a red ale as well as a bottle of Glogg. That is popular in Scandanavia. It is basically mulled wine.

Here is the Swedish beer I picked up in the IKEA food section. At 349¥ a can, it is expensive, but a rare treat.

Here is the bottle of Glogg I bought. It cost 799¥ and has 12% alcohol, similar to a regular red wine. Again, Glogg is mulled wine.

I'm now on vacation for the next few weeks. Time to run a lot, enjoy good food and hang out with my little whipper-snapper!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kevin in Huffington Post

Recently there was a blurb about me in the Huffington Post! I thought that was pretty cool. In a nutshell, I made a vlog on my "jlandkev" channel, talking about a blog I read. The blog is called The Principal's Page and is a worthwhile read for any teacher. I suppose karma kicked in. Say something nice about someone and they'll say something nice back. This is exactly why I love to give so many shout outs on You Tube. Karma!

The little Huffington Post story about Kevin. Maybe not about me, but I am featured in it. I thought it was pretty neat.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kobe in Time-lapse

In the Spring I began goofing around with time-lapse video. I made one video that I filmed in Akashi and then I took a lot of footage one afternoon here in Kobe. For some reason though my iMovie09 software no longer wanted to do time-lapse. Something was screwed up with it and I couldn't sort it out. Since upgrading to iMovie11, things are working again. Finally I took that footage and made this video:

Hope you like it!

There will be more tim-lapse videos of Kobe coming up in the future. I filmed a lot of this from Port Terminal and from the new park close to Boeki Center (Port Liner), close to Sannomiya.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Trees and Minoh Beer

Tomorrow is a national holiday in Japan and of course I, and many others will reap the rewards. Unfortunately I do have some work I have to do throughout the day, but will have some time to hang out with the family. I also hope to hit the road for a morning run. I haven't really been able to run much since my marathon a few weeks ago. I had a pretty serious chest cold that turned into the flu. I'm now ready to start getting serious about running again.

Yesterday we ventured into the wilds of Kobe and harvested a plastic Christmas tree. The new 150 cm tree will soon be a focal piece in our living room. We decided to spend Christmas in Japan this year. Last year we made our way to my parent's house outside of Ottawa and had a super time. It of course would be great to head to Canada again this year for the Holidays, but with a new little gaffer, we'd feel more comfortable not having to make such a long journey.

Yesterday I also ventured out for the first time with the baby carrier. My wife often takes the baby out using the carrier, but it was the first time I tried it. It was a cool experience for sure!

The other dayI bought a couple of bottles of Minoh Beer while at a specialty supermarket in Akashi. Minoh Beer is a craft beer made in Osaka. Their Stout one the WBA best Stout last year. I also have an IPA. Check out this fabulous blog about the brewery by

Here is my video blog about Minoh Beer Stout.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Controversy in Kobe: Japan Coast Guard and Leaked videos

It's certainly been a busy month for me and will only get busier leading up to the end of the semester for me. I have student progress reports to write, student portfolios to ad too, parent-teacher meetings and my school's Christmas show to get ready for. Luckily, as soon as all of that is complete, I'll have a nice long Christmas vacation.

I started running again last night. It was my first run since my marathon last week in osaka. That was a great day. I smashed my old personal record by almost 28 minutes, completing the Osaka Yodo River Citizen marathon in 3 hours and 59 minutes.

Last night I went for my first run since then and ran to the waterfront in KObe, Japan where I live. I often run past the Japan Coast Guard station that is now the center of a lot of controversy in Japan. A crewman from the Japan Coast Guard admited to being the individual who leaked the videos of the incident between a Chinese fishing trawler and Japan Coast Guard ships near the disputed Sengaku Islands. I pulled out my iPhone and made a little vlog when i saw the parking lot at the Coast Guard HQ filled with reporters waiting for something to happen.

Here's the latest news on the affair:
Coast Guard officer issues statement of apology

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Intrigue in Kobe

Coast guard member confesses to leaking collision video
TOKYO - Investigators are set to arrest a member of the Japan Coast Guard who confessed Wednesday to leaking video of collisions between Japanese patrol boats and a Chinese trawler near the disputed Senkaku Islands, an incident that strained bilateral ties, investigative sources said.

The Metropolitan Police Department has already begun questioning the individual, who is a crew member of a patrol boat attached to the Kobe Coast Guard Office, on suspicion of violating a law requiring government employees to preserve the confidentiality of information they obtain through work, the sources said.

Japan Coast Guard Commandant Hisayasu Suzuki said at the House of Representatives Budget Committee that he heard that the crew member confessed to the captain of the coast guard patrol vessel Uranami while on board at around 9:30 a.m. The ship has since returned to Kobe.

The crew member’s confession came after investigators analyzed records seized from Google Inc, the operator of YouTube, and found that the leaked video was posted from a personal computer at an Internet cafe in the western Japan port city. Investigators plan to analyze customer records and security camera videotapes obtained from the Internet cafe in order to identify the sender, the sources said.

The video of the collisions has been stored at the coast guard’s offices in Ishigaki and Naha, both in Okinawa Prefecture.

The Kobe Coast Guard office is not involved in police investigations into the incident.

The leaked video totaling about 44 minutes was posted on the YouTube video-sharing website on Nov 4 and removed the following day after an edited version of the video lasting less than seven minutes was shown to a limited number of parliamentarians on Nov 1.

The posting of the footage on YouTube prompted the coast guard to file criminal complaints with the investigative authorities Monday.

The prosecutors used a search warrant to seize records Tuesday from YouTube LLC, a Google unit, on persons posting videos after Google reportedly indicated it would be difficult to voluntarily release such records due to its privacy protection rules.

Following the Sept 7 incident, the coast guard arrested the skipper of the Chinese fishing boat on suspicion of obstructing public duties by ramming one of its Japan Coast Guard ships near the islands in the East China Sea, sparking tensions between the Asian neighbors. The captain was later released.
from Japan Today

Monday, November 8, 2010

New personal marathon record

It has been approximately 1 million years since I have updated this blog, give or take a million years or so. No apologies or excuses. Here I am. I'm back!

I have been very wrapped up in marathon training for the past several months. You have been able to follow my marathon training by looking at the handy-dandy Daily Mile widget located on the right hand side of the blog. Some of you may have cared, many may have not. Nonetheless, this is what has been consuming me.

Yesterday was the big day. Marathon day. I ran it, I kicked ass and it sort of kicked my ass. i finished and did better than i expected. I finished in under four hours, something I did not expect. My new PR (personal record) is 3 hours 59 minutes. My last marathon was run in 4 hours 27 minutes. I did train much harder this time. i put in more miles every week and ran faster when I did.

As I am a rather prolific video blogger, I though I would be able to make a run down better in that format as opposed to text. Also, you get to see some cool stuff in the background as I tell you about the big day.

Check out my Osaka Yodo River Marathon run down.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Disappointment, Sunsets and Red Lights

A busy week for me, but then again, every week seems busy. When you work six days a week, are training for a marathon and have a family, time must be scheduled very carefully!

A little disappointment for me on Friday. I was notified by the Tokyo Marathon that I was not selected to run in next year's race. As with many large marathons, runners are selected in a lottery. With 30,000 spots and almost 10 times as many people applying I was lucky to get in last year, but this year my luck had run out. Regardless, i have two marathons to run in the next two months and am thinking about running an ultra marathon next Spring.

It has been a beautiful weekend here in Kobe, Japan. Check out a few pictures I took last night from my balcony. The sunset was amazing!

On my way home from work yesterday afternoon, I got off the train and did some running. I ran past a rather seedy alley and decided to explore. Check out the video I made about my explorations!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving

Much to the surprise of most Americans I meet or talk to, today was Thanksgiving somewhere else! That's right. Today was Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. As coincidence would have it, it is Sports Day in Japan, a national holiday, so I had a long weekend just like folks back home in Canada. Although mine was for different reasons, I'll take what i can get without complaining.

I celebrated the occasion by having a great day with my family and making a little Thanksgiving meal for my wife and I. I used chicken instead of turkey since it is so expensive here in Japan. I plan to buy a turkey for Christmas this year since we will be staying in Japan for the holiday.

Here is my Thanksgiving dinner pre-gravy. I made mashed potatoes with chicken and an assortment of stir-fried veggies.

Add some amazing 3 pepper gravy and you have a feast fit for a king.

The gravy was a Canadian delight I picked up last Christmas while visiting may family. I brought back a bag of various gravy-type mixes and have been using the sparingly throughout the year!

I made the weekend a little more special yesterday by running 30 km as part of my marathon training. it was a hard go on such a warm day. Lots of people were barbecuing along the way and at times I had trouble maintaining my focus and motivation. At the end of the run I was glad I did it of course knowing that I am one big step closer to being prepared for my full marathon in a few weeks in Osaka.

My run was all over the place, but one nice area past Nada-ku is along a storm drain/river. This was fairly close to Mikage Station. There were a lot of people having cook outs and generally loafing about on this river.

Check out this little video blog I made with my iPhone during my long run yesterday.

Here is another video I put up online last night about cool Starbucks coffee cups. This is only part of my collection.

I ran a total of 78 km last week and I will see if I can keep this weeks distance in the same range.

Random Japan news time:

Husband, grandfather, retiree – and a Japanese porn star
It’s said that everyone has a secret. What was unique about Shigeo Tokuda’s fib was that everything he wasn’t telling his wife and daughter was on recorded on hundreds of videos, and that thousands of admirers knew exactly who he was and what he was trying to hide.

For a long time, Mr. Tokuda was not just the world’s oldest porn star, he was perhaps its most anonymous. His family didn’t know where the 76-year-old really went and what he did when the retired travel agent pulled on his blazer and went off to “work” in the morning.

But among his fans – and there are enough of them to justify the making of at least one new film a month – Mr. Tokuda is the superstar of the rising genre of “elder porn,” movies that feature older actors (at least the male ones) and plotlines in which the growing number of Japanese senior citizens (again, at least the males) can picture themselves. His most famous role is as a senior citizen who acts anything but his age with an assortment of nurses, as well as with his twentysomething daughter-in-law.

Elder porn is a fast-growing industry in Japan, which has a population that is both the oldest in the world as well as the world’s second-largest consumers of pornography (after the United States). By his count, Mr. Tokuda has appeared in some 350 films, with another project – Prohibited Elderly Care Vol. 45 – already in production. Read more here at the Globe and Mail

Osaka brewer's stout named world's best in British contest
OSAKA - A.J.I. Beer Inc, a small brewer in Mino, Osaka Prefecture, has produced the “World’s Best Stout” for the second straight year in a British beer contest. Minoh Beer Imperial Stout, which contains 8% alcohol, is “silky textured with sweet rounded malt opening,” the organizers of the World Beer Awards said on their website.

“I have gained even more confidence,” said Masaji Oshita, president of A.J.I. Beer, adding that he will aim at winning the title again next year. Minoh Beer is produced once a year and the company will start accepting orders for the stout late this month, it said.
Original at Japan Today

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vote for Qiranger to host Paradise Hunter

Qiranger, aka Steve, is an online friend of mine. He is a popular and very talented blogger/vlogger based in South Korea. His travel videos are interesting, well researched and produced. this guy is a natural host!

Now he has entered a contest to become a host of an actual travel television show called Paradise Hunter.

Check out his video below and if you like what you see, go to the link below that and vote for him!

Vote for Steve/qiranger here!

High school boy stabbed to death on Kobe street, girlfriend flees to safety

High school boy stabbed to death on Kobe street, girlfriend flees to safety
KOBE -- A male high school student who was talking with a girl was stabbed to death on a street here on Oct. 4, while the girl fled and was unharmed.

Police received an emergency call at around 10:50 p.m. from the girl, who told them a man she didn't recognize had attacked the male student. The boy had wounds from a sharp instrument and was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead at around 12:25 a.m. on Oct. 5.

Police said the victim was Shota Tsutsumi, 16, a second-year student at Kobe Koryo Gakuen High School. Tsutsumi and the girl, a 15-year-old who lives near the scene of the attack, were dating.

Fire department officials said the girl told them that while talking with Tsutsumi, a man carrying what looked to be a knife approached, and Tsutsumi told her to run. When the girl returned, Tsutsumi was lying bleeding, with a cut on the neck. The attacker -- a man who looked to be in his 20s or 30s -- fled on foot, the girl said. See original (Mainichi Daily News)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kansai Rain and Asashoryu's Retirement

It's been a very rainy weekend in this part of Japan. Yesterday it poured for most of the day, but luckily my school was able to squeeze in all of its Sports Day events before it really started to come down. That's right, I was at school yesterday. Sports Day is a Japanese tradition in kindergarten through high school. Students take part in games and "athletic" events in order to put on a grand show for family and friends. It's not really a competition in any way, but a "team-building" pageant.

I missed almost every training day last week because of a sinus infection and cold. I'm now on the mend and was able to get out early this morning (I have Monday off this week) and pound the pavement. I was able to get in 10 km before my family got up.

Here' some random Japanese food porn:

This is a bento box I bought for my wife earlier in the week. this one cost about $13.00 Canadian. It looked pretty good and my wife gave it a thumbs up.

Some news type stuff from around Japan:
Ex-yokozuna Asashoryu has topknot removed
TOKYO - Former Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu, who retired in February after assaulting a man outside a Tokyo nightclub, had his topknot removed in a ceremony at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday.

Asashoryu, 30, performed his ‘‘unryu’’ style dohyo-iri ritual in the raised ring for the last time, flanked by Mongolian wrestlers Asasekiryu and ozeki Harumafuji, who served as the usher and sword-bearer, respectively.

Thousands of fans turned out to bid farewell to the 68th yokozuna, whose popularity still remains strong even after leaving the sport. About 380 people took snips from his “oicho” (ginko-leafed topknot) before his former stablemaster Takasago cut it off.

‘‘The fans cheered for me like it was the final day of a tournament after a playoff. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I was overwhelmed,’’ Asashoryu said.

‘‘The time I spent with Asasekiryu, who came with me from Mongolia, was very meaningful. Sumo elder Kokonoe (former yokozuna Chiyonofuji), who was the person I aspired to be like, also came. I feel nothing but appreciation.’‘
Read More at Japan Today

In this You Tube video I found this morning you can see some sports personalities at the retirement ceremony. One is a famous Japanese boxer, Koki kameda.

Blogger Responds to South Korean Government’s Anti-Japanese “East Sea” Campaign
Sounds like the South Korean government is trying to attract more foreign tourism by telling the world how bad Japan is!!! Don't think this is the best strategy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dangerous bugs everywhere!

I'm beginning to get somewhat frustrated with my rash of colds and constant flu-like symptoms as of late. My chest cold has apparently flared up again and I wasn't able to run tonight. I was supposed to run 10 km tonight, but simply wasn't up to it. I did manage a short walk. Being a new father (I was up from 3-5 am this morning) combined with parents sending all of their very sick children to school these days, I have ben finding it hard to run 6 days a a week. I've only hit the pavement 4 days a week for the past 2 weeks. i will of course finish my next marathon running, but the time will be a slow one me tinks!

Last night while out walking close to my house, I spotted a rather large and interesting caterpillar! Check it out:

On the topic is insects and, there were certainly a lot of the venomous ones I mentioned in the previous video at school today. For whatever reason, several trees around my school were covered in some very green and dangerous critters.

I had a student last year who had the misfortune of accidentally touching one of these critters in a local park. He was in a world of hurt and had to spend the afternoon in the Emergency Room!

I even know adults who have had one of these fall on their shirts and then not be able to sleep for days because of the pin and massive swelling!

As someone from Nova Scotia, Canada, the idea of insects being dangerous is quite alien. When we saw a fuzzy caterpillar in NS, we picked it up as fast as we could to play with it because we knew it would be soft. Here in Japan, if it is fuzzy,stay away!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Run by the River and Yoshinoya Pork Buns

It was a wonderful long weekend here in Japan and I took the opportunity to get outside and put some kilometers under my feet. I'm still working on my base for the upcoming marathon in Osaka so my distances are still not impressive, but they are increasing steadily. Today I was able to run a half-marathon distance. I ran bout 21 kilometers. I ran from my place on Port Island, towards Nada-ku and then to a river close to Sumiyoshi. The river run was really nice. I ran along it a few times in 2008 when I first started the whole marathon running thing.

Here I am stopping for a pose. Unfortunately my running has been very sporadic over the last few years. I have run a handful of full marathons, half-marathons and 10 k's, but often take months off in between and pack on the pounds. This time around I will hopefully stick with the running well after my next two races are finished! I've actually registered for a full marathon in November and one in December. I applied for the Tokyo marathon 2011, but am waiting to see if I get a spot. It is a lottery. I got in last year, but there's a chance I may not get in again for next year's run.

This river is actually more of a storm drain than anything. This helps drain the rain water from Mount Rokko. There are many of these "rivers" throughout Kobe. They are always pleasant places to run for a few kilometers.

There were so many children playing in the water and several families barbecuing along the way as well. It is a long weekend and many kids were enjoying a nice Monday away from school!

For a nice little post-run snack, i bought something new. These appeared on store shelves just a week or two ago. They are Yoshinoya 吉野家 brand nikuman 肉まん. For 136¥, I decided to grab one.

Verdict: Not bad, but tastes like any standard pork bun you can buy at any convenience store in Japan, just a little more expensive.

It was a nice overcast day for a long run. I ran 15 km yesterday as well so now I am officially spent. My quads are screaming for a day off and I will listen to them. Thursday is another public holiday in Japan also I plan to get at least 15 km on that day as well. My goal for this week is to run between 60-70 km. Lets see if the legs hold up! I need plenty of sleep and to eat well.

For a nice little slice of some rural Japanese living, I watched a nice video today by the You Tube vlogger, sofypapa.

In this video you can see this American vlogger have a nice Sunday dinner with his Japanese family.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

English Teachers: A Webseries about teaching English in Japan

I've seen a few ads for this new webseries for a few weeks and today on Twitter, a lot of people were spreading the word. Episode One of "English Teachers" a show about teaching English teaching in Japan is out!

I watched it and it definitely looks like something promising. I haven't taught English in Japan, but I did for more than five years in Korea and it certainly brought me back to those days! Whether you teach in Japan or Korea or have ever thought about doing so, you should check out this series:

English Teachers - Episode 1 "First Days Suck" from Nameless Media and Productions on Vimeo.


A Night in Japan

Last night I decided to take my Sanyo Xacti HD and run downtown to film some of the spots I pass through while training for my upcoming marathon. I plan to make a few more similar videos since I run in many areas of the city. I filmed in the Motomachi area around 8:00 pm (Saturday night). Some comments on my video poked fun at my "running." I will clearly state that I ran downtown and then slowly meandered around shooting video. Then I ran back home!

Some of the cool sights and sounds in a slow part of Kobe on a Saturday night.

Someone commented on the video about "showing us the action"! I honestly never run in the crowded areas where the action is! I, like most runners, stick to quiet areas with as few intersections and traffic lights as possible to maximize the running distances.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hummingbird Hawk Moth スズメガ

Down for the count with a chest infection. I am home for the day and on antibiotics. As a teacher, I often get sick here in Japan. I suppose it is a job risk when teaching young children. Kids have weak immune systems and when you get large groups of them together, its a virus/bacterial party! They normally pass on their sickly goodness to faculty and staff. It's the same everywhere you go. The older the children are though, the stronger their immune systems (and hopefully sense of hygiene) and the smaller chance of you getting sick.

On my way to the doctor's office this morning I came across a cool little Hummingbird Hawk Moth スズメガ . I quickly took a little video with my iPhone.

With my chest infection am on meds and home, sleeping most of the day. No running for a couple of days. I will be biting at the chomp to get back on the road on Wednesday evening!

Yesterday I was in Akashi and as I walked through Akashi Park I saw this guy painting Akashi Castle. I thought it was a nice little moment.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bibimbap 비빔밥 in Japan

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my wife and I are both big fans of Korean food. A few weeks ago I was surprised while browsing though my local Daiei supermarket here in Kobe, Japan. In one section I found a bibimbap kit. Bibimbap 비빔밥 is a really delicious korean dish consisting of rice and vegetables. It's actually my wife's favorite! I quickly grabbed to packs at 198¥ each (about $2.20 Canadian) and brought them home. We simply had to add the ingredients to some steamed rice and add an egg

According to Wikipedia:

Bibimbap 비빔밥 is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice." Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautés and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.[2] It can be served either cold or hot.

Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini, mu (daikon), mushrooms, doraji (bellflower root), and gim, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef.[2] For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so that adjacent colors complement each other.
See more...

Here is the bibimbap kit I bought at Daiei.

Included with the kit was a packet of Korean red pepper paste or gochujang 고추장. You MUST have this when you have bibimbap!

The final product. Often a raw egg is placed on top of the rice and vegetables, but my wife prefers a fried one. it was an awesome treat to have on a Sunday afternoon. i think i may actually buy the same thing for lunch tomorrow!

If you are interested in learning more about Korean food or how to prepare it you can of course check out Zen Kimchi.

Another really great site for cooking Korean food is Maangchi. I have seen her on You Tube for many years, but went to her site for the first time today. It contains great recipes, photos of Korean food, how to videos and a lot more. She even has a photo contest on at the moment. You should check it out!

HK court sentences man to 16 months for Kobe watch theft

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong man who pleaded guilty to trafficking eight stolen Rolex watches from a Japanese department store last year was on Thursday sentenced to 16 months in prison by a Hong Kong district court.

Lee Kui-man, 47, was charged with handling stolen goods after he was arrested at a border checkpoint on route to mainland China in January with nine stolen Rolex watches. Eight of the watches were later confirmed to be among those that went missing from the Daimaru Kobe department store in June last year.

‘‘Based on the nature of the offense, I find two years an appropriate starting point’’ for a prison term, Deputy District Judge Gary Lam said. In light of Lee’s guilty plea, the sentence was reduced to 16 months.

The eight watches, carrying a wholesale price worth about HK$500,000 (about $64,300), were among 83 Rolex watches that went missing from the department store’s Rolex counter after a hole was found drilled in the adjacent wall of the counter.

In addition to the Kobe theft, Lee also pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary that happened between 2002 and 2003 in Hong Kong.
Read original at Japan Today

Body found on Beppu mountainside identified as missing Kobe nurse
OITA - Police said Monday that DNA testing has revealed the remains of a woman found strangled on a wooded mountainside in Beppu on Sunday are those of Hiromi Yokote, a 28-year-old nurse from Kobe who had been reported missing.

According to police, Yokote, who worked at a hospital in Hyogo Prefecture, told her family she was going on vacation to Kyushu alone. Yokote left her home by car on Aug 28 and her family reported her missing on Sept 1 after they became concerned that they could not contact her. Yokote’s car was found near her body a short distance from Beppu’s famous hot spring resort.
Read original at Japan Today

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Love You Jimmy Dean

Not to be confused with James Dean of "Rebel Without a Cause" fame, Jimmy Dean is a brand of American sausages. I came across these awesome little fellas a few weeks ago at my local supermarket in Kobe (Port Island Daiei) and stocked up. I bought four or five packs and threw them in my freezer. They are so delicious and totally take me back home in a manner of speaking!

It's quite easy to buy foreign food in this part of Japan. there are so many expats living in the area and Japanese people with an interest in all things foreign that there are many shops that see this sort of thing. I suppose I am pretty lucky for that.

When I first arrived in Asia in early February 2002, I lived in a small city north of Seoul in Korea. When I lived there I was happy about the fact that I could buy ketchup in Korea. As far as other foreign foods went, I was pretty much out of luck. My friends and I would occasionally make the trek into Seoul and the foreign ghetto area, Itaewon. There was a place called Gel's Deli (probably spelled that wrong), which is now long gone(I think). That's where we would buy our very overpriced foreign treats. Now I've heard that there is a much more readily available stock of foreign food goods throughout Korea.

To be honest, I rarely buy foreign food in Japan. I love Japanese food and my wife and I normally cook all of our meals at home. It is great however, to have the option if I want it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Been Real Busy

Things have been busier than usual as of late, but I am enjoying updating my blog more and more. I suppose that's a good thing for the few good folks out there who read it!

Basically, I get home from work every night around 6:00 pm, then I give my awesome little kid his bath and then, if it's my turn, make diner. After dinner I head out for a run. By the time I get back, showered and sorted out, it's about 10:00 pm. I normally try to hit the sack by 11:00 pm at the very latest. It's a pretty tight schedule and doesn't allow much time for video-blogging, reading/responding to comments or even watching the videos of friends.

For the few awesome people who read my blog, you can see why I am so (happily) busy!

here I am with my little guy last weekend. He was looking mighty casual in this particular photo.

Some great friends of my wife gave Kai this really awesome jungle adventure set. He really likes it, but at this point seems more confused than anything when you plop him down under it!

You might have noticed that I added a Daily Mile widget to the side of my blog. That way, you guys can keep track of the silly amount of kilometers I'm logging each week. My running base isn't really back yet, but by October I hope to be putting back at least 70 km a week if not more (if I can find the time).

Now since I showed you guys my little kid in this post (I never plan to have him in a You Tube video...his agent won't allow it), I thought of diapers. I am up to my eyeballs in dirty diapers these days. Apparently, so was a thief in Tokyo:

Diaper-headed Man Robs Convenience Store
A man has been arrested in Tokyo for robbing a convenience store. At the time of the robbery, he was armed with a knife and wearing an adult diaper on his head: watch the video about it on Japan Probe

I also added a few more blogs to my "Must Read Blogs" list on the side of the page. Go check these fine Korea/Japan related blogs.

Oh yeah...

Apparently Autumn is soon approaching here in Japan. I can tell that by the sudden appearance of sweet potato chips on the stands in convenience stores!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back in my shoes again

I've been running again. I have actually been taking it quite seriously as well. I registered for the November 7th, Osaka Yodogawa Citizen's Marathon and has seriously started to get ready for it. I honestly haven't run seriously since I completed the Tokyo Marathon in February. I occasionally go out for a trot around the block, but nothing intense or regular.

I also have to admit that since my wife and I had our awesome little baby, I've been too busy and tired to train at anything. I didn't even have time to put a podcast together last week and I love dong my podcast!

it is time to get back into serious shape though and focus on one of my many hobbies. I decided to work on a hobby that gets me out of the house and healthy though. The more energy I have from training, the more fun I can have playing with and enjoying my little son!

I have logged 30k in the last three nights. About 40k this week so far. I ran about 11k this evening and plan to take a rest tomorrow. By the beginning of October I plan to average about 70k per week. After that, we'll have to see what my schedule allows. Running is a time consuming hobby and I simply don't have the time I used to!

This is a shot I took last night while running through downtown Kobe. I ran from Port Island to Kobe Station and back. I passed through Sannomiya and Motomachi on the way.

Here's another night time shot from my run last night.

Here's a rather long and bouncy (possibly headache inducing) video I posted last night on my jlankev channel on You Tube about my run through the downtown. I plan to make a similar video again soon, but with my HD camera as opposed to my iPhone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kobe eyes tattoo ban at Suma beach

This is.....absolutely ridiculous! That's all I have to say!

Kobe eyes tattoo ban at Suma beach after marijuana case

KOBE - The Kobe municipal government is considering banning people with tattoos from a beach in Suma Ward following the recent arrests of college students for alleged marijuana possession during a music event at the beach, city officials said.

The city office intends to come up with a concrete plan during this year, including establishing the rule by ordinance, but banning tattooed people from a public beach is a rare case in Japan as most tattoo bans are for commercial facilities such as saunas. The envisaged ban may prompt controversy over its possible violation of the freedom of expression as tattoos are becoming increasingly fashionable with young people, critics say.

‘‘It is our duty to make a safer environment for the citizens,’’ said a city official as senior officials of the city and Hyogo prefectural police are set to form a special team to work out details such as ways to restrict entrance to the beach.

Suma beach saw the lowest number of visitors in 25 years this summer, with about 620,000 people in 46 days. Some citizens have told the city office that they ‘‘hesitate to go near the beach’’ amid an increase in young people with tattoos, the officials said.

The city enforced an ordinance with a penalty in 2008 that forbids loud noise on the beach during nighttime, yet about 70 music events were held this summer. See original story

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Korean Cuisine at ZenKimchi

I suppose I normally save "shout-outs" for videos on You Tube (and I will do this shout out later in video form), but I wanted to let you guys know about a wonderful website. Now of course I live and work in Japan. I really love Japan as well as the food and culture. The people rock as well!

If you have been following my blog or You Tube (Busan Kevin) or (jlandkev) channels for some time you will also know I lived in South Korea for more than five years. Korea was great too. Comparing the two countries is like comparing apples and oranges though and to be honest, I normally steer very clear from comparing them anyway! There were many things I liked about Korea. The food, the inexpensive transportation and of course the fact that I met my wife (she is Japanese) there as well!

I am a of Korean food. This love for Korean grub is something my wife and I have in common. Unfortunately, unless you can get to Korea town in Osaka, Korean restaurants in Japan are a bloody fortune to eat at!

For all of you who live anywhere and have an interest in Korean culture and food, I want you to take a long look at the site This site was started by Joe McPherson several years ago and has grown into the premier Korean food website out there. Joe has become somewhat of an expert on Korean cuisine and a major force in promoting it outside of Korea. He now even has a team of writers creating content about Korean food in America and elsewhere.

The Zen Kimchi website has grown from a personal blog about Korea to THE place to go for information about where to eat Korean food and about Korean food itself.

The site contains the ZenKimchi Food Journal. This has news, information about different food and a lot more. My suggestion; take a few house and just get lost in the site. There is so much to explore!

An example of some of the awesome information contained in the Food Journal section is Korean Food 101.

The ZenKimchi Korean Dining Guide is exactly what you think it is; lots of information about restaurants that serve great Korean cuisine.

ZenKimchi Adventures is Joe's blog about life in Korea and life as a Korean food writer/podcaster.

You also can't forget Joe's podcast, the Seoul Podcast. With more than 100 episodes in their catalogue, this is the ideal podcast for English teachers in Korea or aspiring English teachers. I suppose it is also great for anyone with an interest in current affairs in Korea as well.

Simply put, if you are interested in Asia and specifically Asian food, this is a great site to spend some time on. If you live in South Korea or in Japan and plan to travel there, you need to check it out. The site just keeps getting better everyday and the amount of content is constantly growing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Starbucks Does Kobe

I suppose this isn't completely new news since these cups actually hit shelves a few months ago, but I have decided to spread the word. Starbucks スターバックス, the Seattle-based coffee shop chain is of course very common throughout most parts of Asia. You can find them in China, Korea (not the Northern part), Taiwan, Japan, etc. In Sannomiya, the downtown core of Kobe, there are several locations (always packed to the rafters on a weekend afternoon).

Most major cities in Japan have their own special Starbucks coffee mug. I have a few in my Starbucks mug collection (yes, I am an unabashed Starbucks fan). I have wanted to buy a Kobe mug because I really enjoy the city and know I won't be living here forever. I wanted one as a keepsake I suppose. The Kyoto one I have is wonderful as is the Tokyo mug. Unfortunately, the Kobe mug has always looked nasty! It simply looked cheap and poorly designed. Until this year.

The new and much cooler mug of course has Kobe Tower as the main focal point. When lit up at night, the scene around the Kobe waterfront, with Kobe Tower and the ferris wheel at Kobe Mosaic are icons of the Kobe skyline.

On the back side of the mug you of course see the ferris wheel as well as scenes from Mount Rokko and the really wonderful Starbucks located in a historic building in Kitano Cho.

This is a great mug to drink some coffee from. My next purchase will be the Osaka Starbucks mug which came out last year. that one is even cooler than this one!

Earlier in the year I made a video about the very cool Starbucks located in Kitano-cho in Kobe.

Kobe at Night

A couple of nights ago I went for a run. I ran from Port Island where I live downtown and along the waterfront. i really love the way Kobe looks at night. there are so many wonderful European style buildings and often they are lit up for tourists and locals alike to admire. I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

iPads for Sumo Wrestlers

I thought this was great. Two things I and Japan.

iPad the right fit for giant sumo wrestlers
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's ancient sport of sumo is embracing the latest high-tech, with its governing body set to distribute Apple's iPad to wrestlers who often struggle with smaller cellphone keypads due to their giant hands.

The sumo association said it will hand out iPads to Japan's 51 "stables," or the clubs the wrestlers belong to, with the aim of improving communication among the roly-poly grapplers after some in the past had missed information sent by fax or telephone.

"We will hand out the newest iPads to all the sumo stables to swiftly communicate what we need to," association vice chairman Hiroyoshi Murayama said.

The iPad tablet PC, which starts at 48,800 yen ($570) in Japan, was likely chosen because many stablemasters do not use computers and wrestlers are not good at punching in messages on their mobile phones with their big hands, Jiji news agency said.

Sumo is trying to overhaul its image after being rocked by a series of scandals including an illegal baseball gambling racket, assault and drug use. See original here