August 2010

General and japan30 Aug 2010 07:44 am

Just completed a run to the grocery store for some storm goodies ahead of the news that a storm is headed for Okinawa. Goodies means canned fruit and instant noodles. The storm (typhoon Kompasu) is ramping up and may be as strong as the last big typhoon here in 2007.

I have pulled down my laundry line, filled my tub with water and we will see how this brand new apartment building weathers the storm.

I just hope that the power stays on. See you on the other side!

japan23 Aug 2010 05:33 am

I have a brief connection to the internet from my laptop tonight, so I can share a single photo from the past few weeks. The sky seems to change minute to minute from my bedroom, but this is how it looked the other night.

japan12 Aug 2010 08:39 am

Real blog updates! I am currently mostly internetless, so the 10 or more updates I have coming on my apartment, the neighbourhood and yes, the food, will have to wait. I do not know exactly when I will get internet, but I hope it will be in the next two weeks. It takes a surprisingly long time to get internet here due to infrastructure issues (surprisingly) so I have tried to start in on it early.

I have already been a brave eater and tried things I thought it would take months to find and sample including Okinawan soba, goya (aka bittermelon), mimiga or pig`s ear and natto – the most famous of gross foods, fermented soybeans. Yikes!

Food: Asia and japan02 Aug 2010 05:45 pm

I don’t know how businessmen do it; travelling around the world, arriving in a new city and conducting full days of business while jet lagged, then going out at night and waking early the next day to do it all again. These first few days in Tokyo have been draining, but exciting.

Last night, our prefecture hosts from Okinawa invited us out to an izakaya near the hotel. An izakaya is a place where you eat and drink then eat and drink; they are famous for all you can drink packages. Although I initially thought I might crash for the night or go out and explore on my own, I eventually decided to hang out with the crew. 10 or so of us from the group of 14 headed out with the two other JETs who have been in Japan for some time to an izakaya called “The Lock Up.” It’s got a theme of “haunted jail” and is kind of a kooky place.

We rode an elevator up 6 floors (which to be honest was one of the most terrifying parts of the evening) and then I stuck my hand through a guillotine to get the door to the bar to open. Inside, we were taken to a private “cell” in a sort of dungeon like restaurant where we indulged in a 3800 Yen ($38, give or take) all you can drink and non stop food option.

I think my favourite part were the science themed drinks. Many came in beakers, flasks and syringes and you had to mix them at the table. They were delivered by a sexy police officer.

Tony gets lead to our “cell” by “Officer Naughty”

Some of the drinks available, including a “OleOle” which was a milky boozy drink with an Oreo in a mortar and pestle you crushed then added to the drink, a test tube set with liquers you added to your mixers with a pipette and various other awesome drinks.

Here’s a video of one of the drinks in action; it was juice in a beaker you poured over another drink with cotton candy and pop rocks on top. As the cotton candy melted, the pop rocks fizzled in the drink.

Part way through the night, the lights suddenly went out. A siren came on; the “inmates” had escaped. The “inmates” came running through the room, scaring the shit out of us. Oh, Japan.

I’m glad I battled jet lag to stay up for this!

japan01 Aug 2010 09:26 pm

(Okay the second one was taken at dusk)

So far things have been incredible. The only thing suffering still is my appetite, sadly. It has been quite sedate the past few weeks, and even being in a culinary capital such as Tokyo has not brought it back. I’m slowly eating more though and hopefully will be able to stuff more down soon. Gotta head down for lunch now, actually. I had planned on eating Kyuubey sushi for lunch, but they were too busy.