Monday, April 3, 2006

picnic ver 0

I was set to go cherry blossom viewing today. I checked the weather and prepared some food. However, I didn't check the cherry blossom forecast and the trees aren't in full bloom yet. Still it was nice to sit outside in the warm weather and eat a late lunch.

Outside of the electronic store tonight I saw some workmen setting up for some sort of event. That it normal enough but then I noticed an uprooted cherry tree lying on its side. Amazing. It's a portable cherry blossom viewing party. How much does that cost? What happens to the tree afterwards?

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Above are two shots of the Umeda Sky Building. I took them from inside a building with my not so good camera phone.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

ururu to sarara

We were shopping for digital cameras today and ran into Pichon-kun.

Usually Pichon-kun is peddling air conditioners for Daikin but today he was pushing Canon printers.

A salesperson took our picture and printed it out on the spot. She even offered a second copy but I think one is enough.

jokikiuta CM

another pichon-kun cm

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

sick and wrong

Current mood: charmed

(In 2004 Sanrio announced that Hello Kitty received a new pet from her dad. It's name is Charmy and it's a white Persian.)

Mmm ... hamsters...

J (out of the blue): Kitty is sick and wrong.
Me: ...
J: Her pet comes from the same species as her.
Me: I know and Daniel has a hamster.
Me: Charmy is just waiting for the right time to pounce.
J: It's just like if your friend Kawai-chan was your pet and I had a chicken.
Me: ...
Me: I know but ...
Me: Shh!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cool Water

Little while ago I discovered Metromint water at a local supermarket. I am so hooked. As you can see, from Aranzi Aronzo's summer greeting card I sent last year, I am not too fond of Japanese summers. I am thinking this drink is the perfect thing to help me survive. Usually I have a lot of shaved ice, drink cold tea, try to stay in shape, avoid going into the main part of the city, and stay home as much as possible with the windows open. I am a little worried because the store just slashed the price and they don't seem to be restocking it. (I think it would help if they displayed it in the drink section instead of in the ice cream section.) Looks like I'll have to find a different source or get a mint plant.

Friday, March 17, 2006


I like this time of year because I can eat sweets like these:

Assorted sakura wagashi with salted cherry blossoms and leaves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

otaku fufu (nerdy couple)

One of my friends calls us the "otaku fufu." Sometimes I disagree with this but this Monday, on our sixth anniversary, it was impossible to deny. Last year we rode through Kyoto on a rickshaw. The year before that we stayed at the Hilton. The year before that we bought matching watches and ate Italian. This year we went to see the third installment of Zeta Gundam.

Recently we don't have much time and we already saw the first two movies. Might as well finish what we started. You also have to consider the soundtrack by Gackt and my favorite character, Char. How can you pass up a movie with the title "Love is the Pulse of the Stars?" Even so, I don't think that 50 TV episodes fit nicely into 3 movies. I felt like the characters got distorted. It ended just like a Bond movie. Where was the seriousness? Anyway, I had a good time. I even got to see a trailer for Chakushin ari Final.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Sakura flavored Kit Kat, traditional style ball, sakura from 2004, momo dango (peach flavored sweet), grape flavored fiber drink.

Peach banana flavored Vietnamese style drink, huge strawberry cushion/pillow from my mother-in-law, sakura tea set from Afternoon Tea, Unazukin from last year (make some noise and she will shake or nod her head), spoon/chopstick rests from one of Jun's friends.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006


I wish I were more interested in Final Fantasy because really this is just another power drink. The commercial features a battle over their potion in a convenience store.

Generally speaking Japanese convenience stores are better than average. Stores offer so much and nothing ever seems to collect dust.The one closest to me is even better thanks to an older woman who works there. She always goes out of her way for you and treats customers like neighbors. Sometimes they play classical music instead of J-pop but I have yet to see anything like this.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Tonight is the second season finale of Nip/Tuck. Considering the third season is over in the U.S., you would think that next week Fox would start showing the third season here in Japan. According to the schedule however, it looks like it's back to the first season. No! Why? Why when they are showing American Idol Season 5?

Monday, March 6, 2006

wanwan (bowwow)

Last year we went to the Okome Gallery in Umeda. It's more of a store that promotes rice. Like the "got milk" campaign but for rice and in store form. There are displays about rice, onigiri (rice balls) for sale, and free recipes using rice. I picked up a recipe for lemon muffins. They taste great but are healthier since you use rice. I translated the recipe for my mom and everyone seems to think they are tasty. The exception was Jun who asked me if they had to have the rice in them. Ahh!

The store also sells chopsticks and rice bowls. I really couldn't pass up a set of rice bowls featuring their character, Gohanchawan. Chawan is Japanese for rice bowl, gohan means rice, and wanwan is what some small children call dogs, like doggie. You can't really tell in my picture but he has ears. My favorite part is filling it up with rice to form the head.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Shirahama Onsen

Last October we went to Shirahama right when everyone else was ending a 3-day weekend. This turned out well because we were practically the only ones there. It was rainy on the trip out but eventually it was just cloudy with some sun once in a while. There were several public baths to try. All of them were spread out on a hillside connected here and there with bridges and lit up with lanterns. We even had our own bath. I am not quick to believe much but this time I found that bathing in onsen water is good for your skin. After eating a huge dinner we walked around trying to locate and collect stamps for our map. Once we finished that we could get a kind of lottery ticket. We won a coupon that we used to get some more beer.

I always like to see the ocean but the white sand made it really impressive. Shirahama is also known for their ume (plums, or technically Japanese apricots). Before heading home we grabbed an ume flavored ice cream cone which was delicious. There was a problem with the local train so we just took the express train. I hope someday we can make a return visit.

Monday, February 27, 2006

not so lovely

I was browsing through a catalog produced by Felissimo called Haco. They offer a lot: "fashion, zakka, beauty, food, book, cd, etc." Instead of ordering though, you subscribe. What I think is the most important and interesting part is that they pick the color and sometimes the design of whatever you subscribe to. They feature what could possibly end up on your doorstep but unless you subscribe for as many months as there are options you might not get "the one" you want. They are a few singular items, like those scissors I just mentioned, but for the most part what you would receive is a surprise. Plus, you have to wait 3-4 weeks for it to arrive.

Potentially this could be good for some people like the girl obsessed with pink in the picture. But what if some yucky brown color really doesn't look so great on you? And, come on, a blue top and a pink skirt?

Until recently I thought it was a stupid idea but then I was thinking it would be kind of fun. Then I talked it over with Jun.

J: I don't think it's such a good idea ... blah, blah, blah, ... pisses me off that they say they are confident that you'll like their style ... it's none of their business ... blah, blah, blah ... so-called designers ... mumble, grumble ... (incoherent Japanese).

Me: (Thinking to myself: Where did this nasty independent streak come from?) OK, OK, I won't order (subscribe to) anything.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

choki choki (snip snip)

Why use kitchen scissors with only two blades when you can have a pair, I mean a set, with five blades on each side? The catalog seems to think that they would be handy for cutting nori (dried seaweed) and nira (Chinese chives). However, you can easily find nori precut into a variety of shapes and sizes and is chopping up some nira that difficult?

So, one of the following must be true:

-Usefulness of said product is greater than the agony of it's clean up.

-Novelty of owning the new gadget is greater than the agony of it's clean up.

Unfortunately I don't think these kitchen scissors will complete my life like my T-Fal pan, (bacon), garlic presser, and blender have.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Let's Cooking!

Can you imagine having slices of ham for ears? How about rolled up bacon? We won't even get into the sausages. Then there's the new character that just came out. She has meatballs. Before you think this is just a typical post about those zany things Japanese people do, hear me out.

On a shopping trip you can hear a cacophony of food commercials pouring out of small stereos placed strategically throughout the store. One for fish here, one for mushrooms over there. The one for fish I disliked enough to forget and I actually like the mushroom song. Then I heard the one for an array of pork products. It has some rhythm and the voices are high enough to create that musical itch. It plays on and on in a loop. It's so annoying it's cute. So cute it's annoying. OK, OK, I'll buy some bacon! It burns! Make it stop! I've tried many things to get it out of my head. (The power of Christ compels you!) Eventually I ended up searching for it on the Internet. Guess what? There is also an exercise routine to go along with it. Check it out for yourself. I am going to go buy some bacon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

hungry monkeys eat bananas

Last night we went to Gyu-kaku. One of those places where they give you a plate of meat and you grill it yourself. For dessert Jun tried the "yaki banana". "Yaki" means that it is supposed to be grilled because otherwise it would just be a wannabe banana split. Well I thought that it was grilled but apparently it wasn't grilled enough for Jun and he asked the waiter if they had forgotten to grill it.

Reminds me of this mini game on PSP. You have to cook up things for monkeys like banana soup and yes, "yaki banana". Only their orders, which are in Japanese, start fading away. More and more monkeys arrive and they demand more and more bananas. Then you start mixing up the orders and start serving the wrong banana dishes. The monkeys start screeching and leave and before you know it the game is over.

Monday, February 20, 2006

new shoes

When I got married it was at a shrine and I wore a wedding dress. In June my brother-in-law will be getting married at a wedding chapel and as one of the family members I will be wearing a formal kimono. This is one of the few oportunities I will have to wear such a formal kimono. So even though I am a little nervous about being wrapped up in this, literally, I am eager to do this. Luckily my mother-in-law sent me a nice new pair of zori. Not only do they fit but they have a little sparkle to them. I can use them after the wedding ceremony too. Well, I better get busy. Only three months left to break them in.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Last December I took lowest level (level 4) of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It was cold and rainy. I was wondering why I had decided to pay money to take a test. I was using it for motivation but did I really study that much more? Yesterday I found out that I passed and I've never been so happy to pass a test. The highlight was my listening score, 94 points out of a hundred. So what now? Upward and onward I say. I never really looked at grammar before the test so I could study that and find out what's so special about all those particles. There are always thousands more kanji to learn. And, of course, I will keep listening.