Monday, May 26, 2008


Turns out Tokyo is a really cool city, there is so much to see and this past weekend I made my fourth visit. On the way back from the Sea Life Park, we took a water taxi through Tokyo Bay and went pass all this cool architecture, check it out:This is a television station, a few blocks from a bride we pased under. As we passed under the bride, a white stretch Lincoln Towncar passed over, probably to pick up someone famous at the TV station. I posed the question, "whats the idea behind that building?" In response, "well, it's a TV station, and would very difficult for a hijacker to take over..." I could not agree more, that would be difficultInteresting Office Building.
Making my way through the bay.
All over the bay were these junk boats, well boats made to look like junk boats. I think they were all actually really nice tour boats, a couple were even playing music and had parties going down. You can also see the Tokyo Tower in the background, it's a very famous landmark that provides good TV reception for people cell phones.And in this last photo, if you look really really close, you can see the magic kingdom and mt. Disney... which looks like a tiny mt. Fuji.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Japanese Language Lesson 2

After some research, it turns out the Japanese word for churros is......ChurrosI should of seen this one coming, I could of asked the people at the Chita Handa bakery to make some churros months ago.

Monday, May 19, 2008


If you take the wide view Hida train out of Nagoya for a hour and a half, you end up in the center of the Gifu Prefecture in a city called Gero. And if you are a little tired when you step off the train, you might think, for about a second, you are in Leavenworth.But then you come too, notice there is nothing German going on here, a train behind you that makes it easy to get home and no thought of an Oct. feast.So, Gero is a small mountain town in central Japan, one of three well known cities known for it's 'Onsen' or natural hot springs. Sometimes back in American, this is refereed to as public baths. There is also a couple of temples here too.All over city are these bath house and they cost between 300 and 600 yen to enter. They are all really clean, although the Y300 ones look not so nice form the outside. Of course you can not take photos inside the Onsen, that would be rude. Although, you can take a photo of this one.Kind of like Shin Kani, Gero is build around the banks of a river, in this case the Hida river. And in the middle of the park in the middle of the city just off to the side of a overpass bride is the free public public bath. This was more advance, and I could not conjure up the fearlessness to give this a try, but all day people would walk up, get naked and soak in the pool. And all day, people, families, tour groups would walk over the bride and watch.You can get a better idea from this view, this is early in the morning when the pool was a little low on water. The city center is cool too.They have a 4 or 5 block long waterfall running down the center of main street. And on either side of the waterfall is shops and restaurants full of good food.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Like Chicago, it's cool how your running group becomes your extended family. I'm way behind updating the blog, but a couple of weeks ago, they invited me to a BBQ, I had to go.Okay, to understand a BBQ in Japan, we must first think about what's up at a BBQ's in America. Typically, someone sets up a party in a park or back yard, everyone shows up and the host cooks. With a spatula. In Japan, first thing you need to do is find a park (in this case, after a 14km run).It turns out a lot of cities in Japan are centered about rivers, and along the banks of the river is a park. In this case, the BBQ is in Shin Kani, which is in the middle no-where. Far from Nagoya, still made for a great running area, because of the mountains around the city which the run took advantage of. Next step, start the fire.Since summer has started, I have been to two BBQ's and each time people seem to have a hard time starting the fire. They use straight up charcoal with news paper and it never works. It's a team effort though, people take turns trying to get this thing going.One of the first things that makes you ask yourself "what's going on?" is it's not the host who cooks but everyone, for everyone else. Then no one uses tongs or spatulas, but cooking with chopsticks.Best of all, the food is really good, as you can see, it goes fast. Kind of a Korean flavor.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Although I'm sure there are many forms of politicking in Japan, the only one I'm really familiar with is when the person with a thought attaches a bunch of loud speakers to his car, pulls up Nagoya station and starts yelling. Normally it's just one group of people going at it, but today was special. Okay, look at this:What you see is one group of people behind Nagoya station yelling at another group across the street, look close, they are those four people on top of the white van. And it's weird, because it seems like the group on this side of the street was pro-Tibet and anti-China, which most people in Japan are.But if we assume this, I can't figure out what the people across the street are yelling about. I mean, they would not be yelling back in agreement. Like "YES, YOU ARE RIGHT!"Unless this group above is pro-China. But that's like being pro-Cleavland at a Tigers game.Now the group, we are now calling pro-China, was much more polite, dropping please and thank you's as if they were free. They also had a large group of spectators watching and clapping on each counter point. Basically, I had no idea which side of the street to support. After about 15 minutes, both sides were done making their points and started packing up, probably to drive off to a new corner and yell at people. When out of no where, this guy who, I think been drinking to much (it's not even noon yet) wanted to get in a confrontation with the pro-Tibet side.This guy was pissed, but I think he might of been mad because he was trying to take a nap under a tree outside Nagoya station and these people would not shut up.But they ultimately took care of this issue by simply smacking him with Tibetan flag. He ended up going back to his nap under the tree.[Addendum] I was thinking about this; in this case where two people meet at Nagoya station and yell at each other from across the street, do you call each other and plan or is this just a coincidence?

I was asked, and yes, there are many restaurants in Japan that are from the US. For example, here is a McDonald's a few feet from the protest. You can't really tell, but it's full of people enjoying menu item #7. There are two more in the station also.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


This past Sunday, I hopped on the Kintetsu train line out of Nagoya and went to a small city on the south end of the Mie Prefecture called Ise.Ise is known for two very famous shrines, called the Inner and Outer Shrine. Above is the outer shrine. These places are beautiful, but I'm starting to think that every shrine in Japan is famous or well known. I have yet to have someone to tell me, you need to visit this Shrine, its just over there.Because it's a shrine, you need to wash yourself before you enter, but because this place is so popular, they needed to set up the bath for a large volume of people. So walking up to the entrance, I came upon this:Kind of like a pre-shrine party. This bath is much larger then normal, and I thought it was kind of cool all the people here becoming pure. Here are some more photos from Ise; Click Here

I'm Lucky, I Have No Food Allergies

Let me explain this thought. People who I work with have a hard time eating a lot of things in Japan and limit their diet to American style food. The worst case scenario of this, I was at a restaurant with a large group of people. Upon being served food, one person proclaimed "I ain't going to eat no fish." I was a little confused, it would have been so much more quiet to simply say "no thank you," or something.

But most foods here is new, and tasty even though much of this stuff looks weird to the western eye. But once you understand everyone else is eating everything here and doing just fine, you can set aside much of the fear and just enjoy. While in Ise, I enjoyed snails, cooked right inside the shell and served by removing cap and eating what's inside. It looks like this:That snall is really really good. I'm constantly taking photos of normal food that I think is crazy. From another trip, here is baby raw squid that I ate in this city called Okazaki:But everything is really good and hard to find in the US. Here is one last photo of crazy food, check out this monster green-bean:So far, there are only two things here that I did not enjoy, but I'm not sure what those are called, only what they look like.