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