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.