Monthly Archives: June 2009


Scuba kitty

Cute… I think?


Samurai baseball

Thought this was fairly cool. 🙂

Experiences health

I’m illegal!

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Sorry for the lack of updates recently.

It’s been somewhat stressful at work (not the work itself which is busy but nothing I can’t handle – rather… the “environment”) and in between that and still going to look for furnishings during my spare time has meant that I’m pretty wiped out when I get home.  I often just get home, change, start to do some cleaning… and wake up around 2-3AM wondering why all the lights are on.

I’ve even stopped exercising for the past month or – no running, no taichi… 🙁

But – I ran 10km last Friday!  I’m sure that wasn’t the wisest of ideas, but… heck, when have I ever claimed to be wise? 😛

The run was actually the Odaiba summer marathon – a yearly event where people can apply to run in a 10km run around the Odaiba dock area.  Since it’s a fairly “easy” run, and it’s in a fairly accessible spot, the Odaiba marathon is quite popular and there’s a lottery that people have to sign up for in order to see if they can get in.

I lost.

Actually, I lost last year as well, but that didn’t stop me from joining both this year and last.  Last year, 1 colleague won the lottery and this year that same colleague plus 2 more won.  (you probably understand why I never buy lottery tickets – I’ve been fortunate enough in very many areas, but gambling/lottery is not one of them. (not that I’m complaining mind you – while it would be nice to win a bajillion yen, life could also be so much worse!)

Anyway, to get back to my story – last year both myself and another colleague decided to participate “unofficially” to encourage/support the 1 colleague that did get in.  What we did was mingle amongst the official participants and use them as cover so that officials wouldn’t see that we didn’t have any running numbers pinned to our shirts.  We joined in the 3 laps, then veered off to the side just before reaching the finish line.

Last Friday I did the same and participated again as an “illegal runner”. 😛  To be honest though, I don’t think that officials would do much even if they did catch us.  It’s not like they would halt the entire race to kick us out, and of course we don’t get any official time records or the Odaiba marathon T-shirt.

I’m happy to say that even though I hadn’t run for a month, I made pretty good time, coming in just under 56 minutes.  But BOY HOWDY did I feel it.  The run consists of 3 laps and by the end of the first lap my lungs and chest were already burning.  By the second lap my legs were dying on me, and by the end of the third lap, it was all I could do to just keep up a semblance of jogging.  I did it though – didn’t stop once, but kept on moving the whole time.  So a thumbs up for me. 🙂

After the run, 3 of us went to a nearby onsen – it’s a really nice one (at 2,000 yen entrance fee it better be!) and after about 40 minutes of soaking, a bowl of miso ramen, and 2 bottles of whole milk the self-inflicted torture I had just imposed on myself was already already fading.

Needless to say, I slept well that night!
(though I did have to get up after only 5hrs of sleep to go back into work – but let’s not talk about that)


Making Tatami

Some time back I mentioned S and I had gone to Tokyu Hands to see what I might need for the moving process.  Another thing we also experienced while there that I hadn’t had time to write about was – we also suddenly ended up making small tatami boards for ourselves!  I had taken pictures but what with all the moving and preparations I simply didn’t have a chance to write about it till now.

As we were browsing the store on that day, we came across an area lined with tatami boards and noticed several people seated around a small table.  A sign nearby advertised that there were tatami lessons taking place and that the next one would be coming up soon.  On the spur of the moment, just because it looked pretty interesting, we put our names down (it only cost something like Y400!) and when the time rolled around, sat down at the table along with 4 other random people.

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The entire process was really interesting – we were provided with the base materials which were basically just hard paper, a couple sheets of thin cardboard, the “interior” thick board made up of recycled paper materials, the “straw” weave (though I think in this instance it was actually a kind of paper material as well), and the colored side cloths.  (S had really wanted a pink cloth instead of the orange she got, and I had wanted a reddish one, but the people at our table were surprisingly aggressive, grabbing materials as quickly as they could… )

Our tools consisted of a punch-down stapler, regular stapler, clips (to hold the material in place while we were stapling it), scissors, and double-sided tape.

Creating the board was extremely simple (there was even a 9-10 year old kid there with us at the table who also created his tatami board without any problems) and we finished the whole process in about 50 minutes.  (of course, it helped that there was someone there guiding us every step of the way).  In fact, it went so fast that I didn’t have time to photo-document every step of the process..

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Basically, we  stretched the weave across and stapled it on while it was being held in place by the clips.  After that we folded the 2 thinner paper sheets on each side of the board, stapled the colored material onto it and folder the same material back over to hide the staples.   Then, we folded in the material at the sides, and once more stapled them.  Finally, we used double-sided tape to place the thinner piece of cardboard to cover the underside.

It was a fun experience, and I’ll later post pictures on where I put the tatami board in my new place. 🙂

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Food & drinks

The onigiri experiment

My first “cooked” (which basically just consisted of boiling) meal at my new place was okayu, but since then I’ve also attempted fried eggs (YUM – it’s been a while since I’ve had those!), grilled cheese sammiches and instant ramen.  All very simple, “single guy living alone” type of meals.  However, it does seem like kind of a waste of my cooker no?  So I figured I’d try to ramp it up a little by making onigiri.  Not too complicated, but still closer to “home cooking” than what I’ve been doing to date.

(of course, after I started this, I realised that I didn’t need the gas range…doh!)

Every day, and I mean EVERY SINGLE weekday morning, I always grab a “wakame” onigiri at the Lawson conbini.  I love wakame, and Lawson makes the better wakame onigiris that I’ve tried.  Cheap (at 105 yen) and healthy, it’s been a regular staple of mine (heck, I just finished one a little while ago).

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When I was out shopping at the supermarket the other day, the following packet caught my eye and I was instantly motivated to try making my own breakfast.

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Originally I hadn’t specifically thought of making wakame onigiri, but after I got home I also realised that I had several packets of the snackable-type wakame (I think they’re intended as an accompaniment to drinking, like nuts, cheese, etc. but I just buy them as a quick and tasty snack) so I decided to try to incorporate them as well.

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It’s really extremely simple:

Ingredients (no precise measurements because… I didn’t measure anything, just did it all to taste):

Onigiri seasoning

First you cook the rice (I made 2 cups).  When that’s done, it’s probably best to let the rice sit in the cooker for another 10-15 mins to let the moisture settle.  During this time, I chopped up about 3 small packets of wakame and set aside.

After cooling, I transferred all the rice into a large glass bowl and topped it with several dabs of butter.  (the butter was my own little addition since I just love butter on rice 😀

After stirriing in the butter, I folded in the chopped wakame, and finally the onigiri seasoning.  After stirring thoroughly – voila!  Yummy rice!  All that was left to be done was shape it into the traditional triangles (or balls, if you prefer) and wrap it up.  I made 2 onigiri, and there was plenty left over for the following day.

Despite the simplicity (let’s face it, this won’t win me any cooking awards) it was pretty tasty, even if I do say so myself~  😀

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A good musician is always impressive (though I know people’s definition of “good” varies), and even if you don’t necessarily like a particular genre, you can still admire the player’s skill.

Noboyuki Tsujii is blind – yet still manages to play the piano so well that he won a major competition against other international performers.  It’s simply amazing, and honestly, inspirational.

Food & drinks

First “home-cooked” meal (but not really)

This was the very first meal I’ve “cooked” at my new place.  A work of art, a effort of olympian proportions, ambrosia for the tastebuds….well…mayhaps I exaggerate a little.

It was simply 2 packets of instant “heat-n-eat” “ume” okayu mixed with some ginger soup spices. 😉

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Pretty tasty though!  At some point I’ll try to make okayu from scratch since it really is “comfort food” – its equivalent in Indonesia (bubur ayam) was one of my absolute favorite foods there.  Healthy, very versatile, and light on the stomach (making it perfect for breakfast or dinner, or simply when you’re not feeling well) okayu and its close cousin “ochazuke” can be enjoyed by anyone and I think was a perfect first meal. 🙂


Before and after, part 2

After loading all I own in this world onto the mover’s truck, he drove off while I took a train (there just wasn’t enough space left in the truck for me to go along).  As a result I got there a little earlier than he did, and I took the time to snap a few shots of my new place – before the deluge of boxes and miscellany inundated it.  See below. 🙂

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Fast forward one hour later, and this was how it looked.

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And yes, I’m still going through and cleaning/organizing/unpacking everything.  Happily, at least half of of the boxes have been unpacked.  Of the remaining boxes/stuff, at least 2/3 of it consists of books that I don’t have shelves for yet.  The final 1/3 is lots of little random items and assorted paperwork that I really need to organize…


The Backstroke of the West

According to the blurb on YouTube, the reason for these horrible subtitles are because it was translated to Chinese and then back again into English.  I have no idea why… but the results are hilarious! 😀

Kind of reminds me of the pirated VCD’s we used to get in Indonesia – those often had numerous typos and the occasional “what-were-they-trying-to-say” sentences, but this particular one does take the cake. 🙂