January 10, 2008

The Ramen Master

Before coming to Tokyo Shimpei had mentioned a new Ramen place had opened about a block away from his station and it was really good taste. We headed off for dinner with the typical Japanese style directions, "from the station cross the tracks, then walk to the 7-11 and hang a left and after a bit you'll know when your there". It was very easy to find with a long line of people and a simple sign "eat ramen here".

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January 1, 2008

The Deadly Poisonous Killer Japanese PufferFish

Fugu NabeYes... Challenging life, death or worse! Fugu paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious. There have been tales of people being taken to the hospital and put in the morgue and wake up at some point later if they don't die from that whole not breathing thing.

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December 27, 2007

First Ramen of the Trip

There are few traditions in Japan that revolve around New Year, one of these it to do house repairs and yearly house tasks. For us this means changing all the batteries in the clocks, clean and repair all the light fixtures and what ever needs renewal. So, we needed to head off to one of the main stations to replace a gas hose for the cooking stove. There is a good ramen place up the hill in Minami-Senri, and they serve a good bowl of spicy tonkotsu ramen with really nice chashu (roasted pork).

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December 26, 2007

The Land of Tanuki (Part 1)

You know you're headed off to a distant land when the final train in the journey is a single car, it's even better when it has a picture of the thing that represents the area that your headed off to.... TANUKI.... Ok, lets start form the beginning, a long time ago when Christen was still living in the valley she took it as her responsibility to make sure I had a correct understanding of Japanese culture despite Mikiko's objections. And it went something like;
  • Tan Tan Tanuki no kintama wa, Kaze mo nai no ni, Bura bura
  • (English) - Tan-tan-tanuki's testicles, there isn't any wind but still go swing swing
Welcome to Shigaraki, home of Tanuki-chon...

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December 22, 2007

Freedom is an Apple Pie

I think we need to start a rebellion in America, we have become so politically correct that we have lost all our freedom, and in this case freedom come in the McDonald's deep fired Apple pie. Some time in the early eighties in California and then later accost the country we were robbed of the choice of baked vs fried Apple pies, and I'm betting there was some prude PC PTA group behind the loss.

December 21, 2007

Hot Springs in every house

Japanese style bath tubs (ofuro) are requirement in Japanese culture, but you have to take a shower and get clean before you can get in the tub. It's not about becoming clean, it's about soaking in very hot water and relaxing. In most households the tub is fulled and stays warn, then in order by household rank everyone takes a turn starting with guests, elders, father, kids then wife. Yes, if you stay late in at someone's house you might be invited to soak and relax and you might even get a few kids thrown in.

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December 20, 2007

Back to Lilliputian Land

Another day starts with the alarm clock going off, and me heading off to LAX to jump on some airplane heading to a hotel in a far away land. The difference this time, Mikiko is not dropping me at the bus stop and leaving, we are dropped by my mom and headed home to Japan instead of a hotel, wow... home... For a first in my life I'm head off on this mysterious thing I've only heard others remark off-handedly about, vacation...

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November 11, 2006


Kushikatsu is a style of food from the Konsi area of Japan (Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Kyoto, Suita). In a few respects it is like going to a sushi bar, the food itself is an art form of flavors and textures. There are also different levels of taste and quality, from sticks you can buy at the local market, stands on the train platform to high quality restaurants.

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November 9, 2006

Japanese Lunch

After we unpacked and got the house in order Miki and her Mom made a nice lunch of Sesame bread, hand made sausages, Chinese Shumai dumplings with hot Japanese mustard and a salad made from seaweed, onions, cucumber and tomatoes. Nice strong Japanese style coffee, we are set.... The sausages taste similar to ones that our Uncle Sam and Elva used to get made from pigs they raised, the traveling butcher that serviced their area was something special ( and if you ever have a full sized pig rendered into meat products you will have more then you can store yourself and will end up just like Sam and Elva giving sausages to every family member, neighbor, friend and a few strangers).

Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast - Sakana (Shisyamo) After only getting a few hours of sleep, Okason made a normal Japanese style breakfast for us. It was a bowl of rice, bowl of Miso soup, a bit of Tofu and a plate of little fish to share. Nice typical breakfast in Japan.

Shinchon and Michon, brother and sister ( can you tell? ) - breakfast after driving 6 hours to Osaka

Japanese Breakfast - Along with fish we have Miso soup, Tofu and rice
Japanese Breakfast - Along with fish we have Miso soup, Tofu and rice

The Road to Osaka

Once we survived the flight with only our asses damaged, it was time to take the train from Narita Airport and meet Shimpei for the drive to Osaka (the distance from LA to San Francisco) about a 6 hours.

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Cheap United Flight

A few months ago Miki and I went down to the Torrance area to get the hard top installed on the Geo Tracker, after the install we headed to the Japanese market, while walking about we found JTB was selling round trip to Japan for $299 each. After inquiring at travel desk we confirmed the rate and found there was also about $200 in taxes, fuel surcharges and airport use fees... Still round trip to Japan for $500 was hard to pass up.... We jumped.....

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