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.