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!