Friday, October 1, 2010

Vending machines

Using internet in my lab, and too lazy to upload photos, so will talk about something I've been itching to talk about for a while now: vending machines!

Seriously.

Wow.

In Sapporo (and Tokyo), you will be hard pressed to find a vending machine that isn't at most 5 minutes by foot away from another vending machine. That is only in areas very few people go, in more populated areas you find them in pairs or more every 10 meters or so... All of them have drinks in them: from black tea to green tea (many many kinds of tea) to different soft drinks, fizzy drinks, juices and water.

You pay for the same drink quite a bit more from vending machines, they're something like one and a half times as expensive as from the スーパー (suupaa: supermarket lol I love how the words are compacted), or from the コンビニ (conbini: convenience store hehe again). A lot of them even have specific garbage cans for the bottles and cans you get from the machine, which is pretty cool.

I found it so interesting that each one had different kinds of drinks, so I started making a point of checking each one I walked past out. Not only does the variety differ from one to the other, but so do the prices sometimes. A small example from Akihabara (heaven for all geeks and otakus in Tokyo): one machine had 330ml cans of Mountain Dew for 120 yen (something like 1.2ish doodoos). Then less than 5 minutes away, while looking for a used vacuum cleaner, ended up in an Indian repair shop (I think? They also sell traditional-looking Indian clothes, found many interesting places but that is a tale for later) and I found a machine there that had the 500ml can for 100 yen! Strange me thinks. Nearly as strange as there being someone keeping tabs of all this world-altering stuff!

So while talking about this, I found out from a reliable source (which means there are no references for any of this :D ) that these vending machines are usually owned by mobsters, and that there are a lot of disagreements about who gets to put which machine where, since very populated intersections or areas are highly sought after, and really make lots and lots of monays!

And now onto some plagiarism, the following is copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people. Japan's high population density, relatively high cost of labor, limited space, preference for shopping on foot or by bicycle, and low rates of vandalism and petty crime, provide a fertile environment for vending machines. While the majority of machines in Japan are stocked with drinks, snacks, and cigarettes, one occasionally finds vending machines selling items such as bottles of liquor, cans of beer, fried food, underwear ^^, iPods, porn magazines, sexual lubricants, live lobsters, fresh meat, eggs and potted plants.

In 1999, the estimated 5.6 million coin- and card-operated Japanese vending machines generated $53.28 billion in sales.

And that is the end of today's lesson boys and girls, hope you all learned something new about the world we live in. A bientot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guess who's back? Back again?

Tah is back. Tell a friend. Guess who's back? Guess who's back? Guess who's back...
TADADAM TAM TAM TAM.

Well after a long but amazing 10-day-trip to Tokyo (more on that in other posts), I'm back to Sapporo! I was surprised by how good it felt to be back to familiar grounds, kind of how I felt driving back home, after a long day at work in ugly Beirut, when I reach the Monsef highway. If it feels like this to come back to Sapporo after 10 days away and only 6 months living here, I wonder how it'll feel to go back to Monsef after 8 months away and a couple decades living there haha. Will find out at Christmas :)

Finally got my modem on Wednesday, plugged it in and no connection (unknown network blabla). So called the internet company customer service and the woman speaks impeccable English yay! It seems however, that customer service is customer service no matter where you are... After 30 minutes on the phone trying different stuff (eh Joujou ana noob khales shimmo):

Me: do you have an IP I can ping to see if I'm even connected to you somehow?
Her: no you get an IP automatically
Me: yes, not mine, yours
Her: we may have connected your phone box to another broadband internet provider, I need to send you some engineers to check it out then come over to your place and test it
Me: ...
Her: oh and we can't send them before the 8th
Me: ...
...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The return continued

... And so I open the bag and find a BigMac! So somehow my McFlurry was understood as BigMac... Guess I shouldve said MaccuFurari.

Other than that back to the gym. With a vengeance! And I'm sore all over to prove it lol. In other news, donno if I mentioned it, but a while back was having dinner with some friends, and while leaving we saw a festival across the streets. We got a couple beers and proceeded to listen to an old man doing karaoke hehe. Old traditional song. Basically there was this Japanese dude looking at us so I did a cheers jesture, and he came over and introduced himself as a DJ in a tiny local radio station. And each Tuesday he has interviews some foreign student. Questions about the country and food etc.

Finally went last week. It was lots of fun. After introductions, we were flooded by thousands of questions on the show's twitter! Questions from the millions of listeners on a Tuesday at 22:00 lol. No but there were many more questions than I could answer in an hour. So he asked me to go one more time this last tuesday, and bring a friend. So went with the an equally annoying Spaniard and it was loads of fun again. The "studio" though is as big as my bedroom back home haha. Ah the good old days of having bedrooms...

Speaking of which. Time to put the phone aside and get some shuteye.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The return! Or is it?

Tam tam taaaaaaam.
So new apartment (read room).
New fridge (read used).
New washing machine (also used).
Computer table.
Computer chair.
All one needs to feel at home :)
At least for me. Some people would go with bed as priority, but then again they're not writing this blog so they can shush :)
There is one thing missing though. Internet. So I'm using my phone at the moment, which is a pain in the ass for typing for long.
So short(er) posts. No photos. For now.

Moving was a pain, but not that much. Knew I'd be moving so never bought lots of stuff, just vacuum cleaner. Speaking of which, rocks to be on the 8th floor, and away from Toyohira. Donno if it was that or being on the third floor, but it was DUSTY! Had to dust and vacuum every two days or I'd feel like I was in a western, only the tumbleweed rolling around was actually dust... Good thing my camera is dust proof heh. Whatever that means :/

Had to go to the district ward office and and change my address, then do the same at postal bank and I must say, times like these make you love Saporo. Try to do much much simpler stuff like that in Lebanon. It'll cost you a couple hours of your life, and a couple weeks worth of stress attached.
Here, there's a ward office for each district I think, so it's not very crowded, especially for the foreigners counters. So you get a number, wait in line, everyone's relaxed and quiet, you get there and it takes them 5 minutes to finish your stuff, and that's with my crappy Japanese and their worse English :) fun stuff.

One such mixup was at a McDonald's. Ya I hate that place with all my heart, and sadiki Hicham I know we shouldn't support the bastards ;) but I was passing in front of it in subway station and really wanted ice cream! And I love their McFlurry. So I ordered one to take out, still needed to give old apartment keys back. I give them ¥200 and they give me my bag. I grab it and am walking out when I touch the bottom of the bag and notice it's actually hot...
And I'll finish the story tomorrow.
*cliffhanger* ooh!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Starcraft II

First, a quick word about Starcraft and its expansion. Sadly, not everyone knows this game on the PC released by Blizzard TWELVE years ago. A game still played a lot until very recently. Until Starcraft II was released two days ago.

With that out of the way, I shall talk about the two tragedies that have befallen me.
The first, not very important, is that I actually knew of the release TWO WHOLE DAYS after!!! Unforgivable!

The second, more serious one, is my Battle.net account getting hacked...
The reason for this is that Blizzard also made another phenomenal game called World of Warcraft, a game I played for a long time. The thing is however, that you have one account managing all your Blizzard games.

I have not been playing World of Warcraft for a while now, but somehow, I did something stupid, and got a trojan virus. And so some jolly fellow stole my Battle.net account info AND my Hotmail account info that is linked to my Battle.net account.
They did this because World of Warcraft is such a huge success, that people actually sell the in-game currency (or gold) for actual real-life currency (or dollars).

The bastards proceeded to change my Hotmail password and secret question to something in Chinese, so that I could not login and reset my Battle.net password!
Thus began the long story of contacting Microsoft people to get my Hotmail account back, and from that get my Battle.net account back, and then change all info and passwords everywhere.

Then proceeded to check PC for viruses and adware and malware but found nothing...
So long story short, my Battle.net account is disabled until I send them an email from a new email account, but I don't want to do that until I find the root of the problem...
This however means I can't buy the new Starcraft game :'(

Raynor will have to wait (until I download the game on torrent for now, until I can actually buy it).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bicycle business

So, it's really late, but I'm feeling quite generous tonight and as such will give the common people a quick update, basically about my bicycle lol. And of incoming changes!

Last week, I opened Google maps, and traced the route I take everyday from my dorms to the university, and learned that it's approximately 4km each way. Doing very simple maths (nijma3!), this amounts to a minimum of 8km a day, around 16ish on days I go to the gym (which hasn't been happening much though).

8km à pied, ça use,
ça use.
8km à pied,ça use les souliers!

Only I'm not walking, but the concept remains unchanged, and so I use that fact to make myself feel less bad about the 3rd bicycle I've so far kinda broken or ruined...

First one was the old crappy one my very nice friend gave me (I'm really not being sarcastic here), didn't take me much effort to ruin the chain so that it came off every other block. Returned it and she actually was nice enough to give me another one.
Condition was better, but not much... it wasn't ME riding it when the chain actually broke, but I paved the way for it.
The last one, which I bought second hand from the Co-op, seemed more promising, in much better condition. It seems however, that it is a bit small for me. I should have realized this when my feet would brush the ground when I would be banking right or left lol, but I just assumed the road was uneven.

Last week, the main suspension (under the rear seat) actually broke... Seems it wasn't meant to carry me + my books + my laptop for a total of 80something kgs. Go figure.
Asked the nearest repair shop, turns out it costs nearly as much to change it as it would to buy another second hand bike... So I fixed it myself. It's not a very good job, but it seems to be holding out for the time being. I just need to make sure everything's still in place every couple of days, and avoid carrying my laptop with me lol. And maybe stand up when there's a bump in the road. And maybe not jump off the sidewalk when there are many people there. That might help a little haha (no seriously wasn't doing that, maybe only once or twice. Now I just avoid streets with many people).

Good thing is however, that this long ride is amazing exercise. Especially since I'm always late in the morning! When I first started making the trip maybe 2 months ago, I'd get there tired, now I can very easily go full speed the whole way back and forth one go. So I started to find other ways to make it a challenge, like standing as much as I can (while avoiding straightening the knees of course), or not using my thighs and stuff like that.
There are days however, when all this is unnecessary. Days when the wind is more than enough challenge! Days like today.

Once the wind was so strong, it actually stopped me in my tracks, from nearly top speed! Had to walk my bike... but this only happens at the riverside for some reason. Maybe coz of lack of buildings that shield you.

Well anyway enough of silly and uninteresting stuff. Winter is coming (Song of Ice and Fire reference... if you don't know what that is, shame on you! But worry not, you do not need to read them, HBO is making a series based on the books! Books will be better of course, but I digress again). Therefore, bicycle riding will be somewhat hard. Add that to the million reasons living in these dorms (or any other dorms) sucks, and you get enough incentive to move to an apartment! I say apartment, but it's basically a bigger room lol...


Et voila! My new apartment. A couple minutes away from my lab (on foot!) and on the 8th floor (8 being my favorite number). I'll be missing out on the daily workout but I can think of many many more positive sides to the move. Like: hotel Tah is now open for visitors! Well not yet, but as of August 21st (or a week after that). Come one come all! I won't pay for your ticket :P but you'll have a place to stay, and a guide for the bestest foodz hehe.

Enough rambling for now, so much to write about, so little "jalad" to do so :)
Uploaded many pix on FB though so check them out.
Moo.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

GAD DAMMIT I'M NAT FAT! >>.<< !

We got the results for the health examination we did a couple months ago, and it seems I'm fat! Lel. BMI (Boday Mass Index?) never really applied on me coz I'm quite dense. Physically people physically! So when I had myself checked at the gym and results came up less than 10% body fat percentage, at 72kgs (with clothes), I wasn't really fat :D
So now, haven't gotten taller (unfortunately), but have gotten 2 kgs lighter at 70 kgs, and my BMI is 25.2; the average here should be between 18.5 and 25.
So I got a comment that I'm a bit fat (or skinny.. stupid computer automated message) and that I should watch my diet lol. Getting quite hungry just thinking about it. And coz it's 2 AM and I haven't eaten anything in a while! Like 6 whole hours... weather got hot all of a sudden and I just woke up hot and sweaty, and not very sleepy. Thus the update. And the incoherence in sentence structuring...

And finally, not nice to have an entry with no photos! So! The school visit I spoke of last entry was not done yet and we had to write a thank you letter! Seeing as I'm quite lazy and couldn't come up with much to write, I decided to just go buy a brush and some ink and draw a big THANK YOU in kanji! Nice right? No. After getting the stuff, found out the letter's addressed to the kids (7-year-old don't know the kanji for thank you, don't think anyone uses it...) so we came up with another idea. Don't remember if it was Wulan, Pen Pen or Vangie that threw the idea out as a joke, a joke I found to be quite serious!


Et voila! Just drew a couple names and a quick thank you and it turned out quite nice.


Ehab, my palms (or palm to be more precise) still blacker HAH!
And I think I'll go back to sleep now. Peace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big ass bruise!

Since I'm on a roll and uploaded all the photos I've been too lazy to upload for the past month, I'll accompany them with a quick explanation here. Won't be uploading same pix though.

Yesterday's post was a short one and I'll not consider it as the "return", so since THIS is the new beginning, I decided to make it special, and kick off with a rather humorless and pretty rude pun. Thus the title.
Now we all know the best way to get someone to do something is to tell them NOT to do it.
"Don't look down!"

And you went and did. Obviously. So I'm sure my next few words will have the opposite effect but I'm just gonna say it: at the end of this post I am posting a photo of a big ass bruise I got a couple weeks ago... on my ass! Get it? Haha. Ehm ya SO you were warned! If you've known me for more than a month, chances are you've already seen my ass ;) but in case you aren't yet of the few [un] lucky people here's your chance. Basically I slipped and landed on a step and had to share the pretty pic hehe.

On to other news. Those that read my last post about my new earphones, will be delighted to know that I just found the ones I "lost" today... and now I feel a little less good about buying the 40$ ones, but am not gonna return them coz they're just too frikkin awesome.

Soooo actually I find myself too lazy to write anything about Hokkudai sai (food festival at our uni), Yokasoi (dance festival in Sapporo), Maruyama zoo and mountain (with the breathtaking view of Sapporo), and Zenibako (beach), since the photos are more than enough info me thinks, and I'm quite lazy.

With that out of the way let us begin with the miscellaneous things:


Saw these guys while going to class lol. Stuck around till they finished thinking they'd climb up when done, which was pretty silly of me in retrospect, since they basically just went down a meter or so and were on the ground lol... ah well...


This is a gorgeous house right outside uni, with an old woman always gardening. Might have posted a photo of it before but it's definitely worth seeing again :)

Another gadget I wouldn't have thought I'd ever see: a USB fan... yes lol. Very cool :D


This is pure genius! Ever eaten ice cream or anything wrapped in paper and had to gradually tear the paper while you ate? Well this little baby is already ready to very easily tear in a spiral, conveniently uncovering the important stuff: the FOODZ!

Now on to less random stuff. A Shinto shrine: quite old.


Very gorgeous.


So you go to the altar throw some money and pray for something, then ring the bell so the gods can hear you. Then you can pay the equivalent of a dollar and get your fortune. If you don't like it, there's a place where you can tie it and it won't come true. So take someone who can read it with you. Don't know if you take it and have someone translate it, then don't like it and come back to tie it, if it will still come true since you took it out in the first place :P Not that I really think it will come true anyway.


Outside the shrine. You can see summer in its full effect. I'm pretty sure I have the same photo in the winter somewhere but I can't be bothered to find it and compare :)

Finally, was riding my bike back home, and had my earphones on full blast listening to something loud, however, I still heard something. Took off my earphones, and the sound was pretty low, surprising with the volume of the music (probably the silence between songs), so I went in the general direction of the music and found this:

video

Asked, and seems (correct me if I'm wrong) this is an Omikoshi (Mikoshi but the O is added for respect in Japanese), which is basically a vessel used to transport the deity from the nearby Shinto shrine around the neighborhood, so the deity can check it out. I felt very lucky to have wandered there by mistake. A very pleasant experience.

Of course can't keep the tone very serious! So this is me in flashing mini mouse ribbon yay!


And this is me posing for my new haircut yay!


And this the sheep dog again! I just love it!


Saw it down by the river and sprinted to take another photo of it. And it just walked up to me and started sniffing and licking me! So cute! And huge!

Finally, would like to talk about the school visit last week. Each year, in this intensive Japanese course we're taking, the teachers organize a trip to a nearby Japanese middle school. The aim is to see how the Japanese educational system works, and have a nice Japanese experience. The school benefits from an international exchange, since we all prepare presentations about our countries.
We can't post photos online because of Japanese regulations regarding the schools, regulations I'm surprisingly very comfortable following (!!!) I'm sure they have their reasons, but if anyone wants some, just let me know on FB or drop a comment (with a name or email address if your nickname is something vague!) and I'll email you some. Sharing photos with family is OK but not posting them publicly. And believe me it's worth it! I chose the youngest class, 6-7 year-olds and they were TOO. FRIKKIN. CUTE.


The whole class (both sections) sang "We Are The World".


That's us practicing the night before at one of the dormitories.


So we got there and were each greeted by a student and led by the hand to the gym, where all the students and parents (?) awaited our arrival. We entered to a Michael Jackson song lol (forgot which though) and after lots of talking (in Japanese of course), they started with the interviews. I naturally forgot to read up on the questions they would ask us, and messed up mine by answering something totally different but humorous (I think meh).
After that we sang, then they sang, then we all danced... the MACARENA lol!

Then it was off to the classes and the presentations we prepared (all in Japanese of course...) Mine was about famous places in Lebanon. Took me a while to prepare it, since I had to download a trial version of Office 2010 to get PowerPoint, and learn how to use it since the last version I've used was 2000. Add to that the fact that it was all in Japanese, and you have a recipe for hours and hours of work for 10 minutes of presentation lol. It was fun as hell though, and except for the last couple slides (where I became lazy), I mostly had the full attention of 7 year-old children. A feat in itself!

We then began playing games, none of which I fully understood, all of which I was running and screaming and being all-out-silly in though :D

We had lunch with the students. They have lunch in their classes. Carriages are left in front of the class, with food and milk cartons, and of course utensils. The students then wear the funniest looking hats and clothes and assorting table cloths on their desks, then make lines to have the ones on duty serve them food. Too cool. Very cute pix here :(

After lunch, more games, dancing, singing and lots and lots of fun! The extra attention is a bit annoying, especially for my class, where it's the first time for many of them to see a foreigner. And so they were all over me, touching me and trying to get my attention, and of course I couldn't understand 90% of what they were saying. It was even tougher for our African friends haha, since their skin is even stranger to the kids than mine! And were even asked many times why they were black.

Finally we drew big notes of thanks to the kids and were on our way after a long and exhausting, but very very fun day.

Oh and nearly forgot the promised photo! Haha.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to... : part I


Since it's been a while, let us begin with something simple, as the title suggests, a tutorial of sorts. Without further ado:

How to buy 40$ earphones without feeling any guilt:
  1. Lose your old (perfectly fine, great and comfortable) earphones
  2. Go scouting for new ones
  3. Buy 29$ earphones that even have a mic in them (very cool since I listen to music on my iPhone and it helps to not have to hold it up to my mouth or remove the earphones altogether)
  4. Try them out and realize they have absolutely rubbish bass! Can't even listen to stupid Lady Gaga and JayZ without base, let alone Metal or good Rap/HipHop...
  5. Go back to the store and ask to replace them (they actually DO that here unlike in Lebanon where you'd be chased off at gunpoint hehe )
  6. Get the 40$ smashing Philipps earphones you had noticed before, that openly advertise the something something air flow that gives real and deep bass
  7. Forget about the previously paid money and convince yourself that you only paid 11$ for the new earphones
  8. Enjoy the amazing sound on these babies! Had to really drop the volume though coz they pretty badass

They even come with their own elegant case, and are very short (guessing that helps for jogging?) but come with an extension cord to reach longer. I miss my sound system JUST A LITTLE bit less now...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Overview

So been kinda busy for a while.
And lazy! Let's not forget lazy...
Much easier to just upload photos on FB than to write here too :)
And the more I procrastinate updating the blog, the more depressing it is to think what to write next...

So since I have a midterm tomorrow that I have not started to study for, I'll just use that as an excuse to get away with only writing an overview of what will be discussed soon:
  1. Summer! Yesterday was first day you can stand in the shade and still feel kinda warm.
  2. Food festivals at Hokudai (my uni) last week: many many countries had tents in which they were selling their traditional foods. This was for 4 days (Thursday-Sunday) which meant we had a long weekend, and I had tentloads of food, and paid too much for it :D
  3. Yokasoi which means "follow the night"? Forgot. Basically this weekend was also a 4 day festival for... DANCING! Ya 4 days of people dressed in costumes and dancing as teams all over Sapporo. Very cool.
  4. Basketball. Football (not world cup of course).
  5. Midterms!
  6. Big ass bruise! Explicit material incoming...
As for the midterms, I had kanji exam today, finished it in half the time! Did great in it too. Studied for a hour or two yesterday for it yay.
I find myself very strangely really really enjoying kanji. What I thought was stupid (sorry I mean illogical and not quite efficient) and complicated, I now regard as very interesting and complicated hehe.
Still have the grammar exam tomorrow so I guess I'll go study for that now :'(
I even shaved so as to postpone studying... and those who know me can tell that means a lot!
Ah well off to study...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shopping: part II

So much to write about! Every time I think about it it depresses me and I have no idea where to start haha.

Zerefore, I shall begin with the camera.
A week after I bought it, removed memory card to import pix and after putting it back, started getting the following error message when turning it on:
"Check that there is no foreign objects inside the battery cover and close cover tightly".

After much removing and returning of battery and memory card, was still getting the error.
So I went to the camera shop and told them what was happening, and that the message would randomly come and go.
After much more removing and returning of battery and memory cardS, this time by them, they concluded that there was a defect in the camera and that they would give me a new one.

Got my new camera, put the battery and memory card in, and turned it on, et voila! Same error message lol.
So after a couple minutes in the back of the store, the woman in charge came back and told me that this is in fact not an error, just a warning message. We were so focused on the first part of the sentence, that the second part escaped our notice haha. Since this is a waterproof camera, the lid should be closed "tightly"! And if it is in fact NOT closed tightly, this message pops up when you turn it on...

Awesome thing however is that, since I had already bought and stuck the protection sticker on my new camera touch screen, I got to keep the new one, even though the "old" one had nothing wrong with it. Yay!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The MULES strikes again: part I

As I said earlier, I forgot my bank card pin code, without having used it even once...
So the procedure goes as follows:
  1. Apply to have it changed
  2. Get registered mail with the old pin code a couple days later
  3. Change pin code at ATM machine
Therefore, I started thinking of a suitable pin code that would not be easy, and as such rejected by the bank, but not too hard that I would forget it (although I was resolved to take it down this time :P).

I came up with the perfect pin code! (I'm not putting here for obvious reasons hehe)

Got the old pin code last night, and it turns out it's the "new" pin code I decided to use...

DOH!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yum yum: part IV

Since I got my new bike, I've been doing all my trips on it. Subway transportation has been drastically reduced! Thus became apparent my huge miscalculation!
I had thought that by riding my bike instead of the subway I would save money AND work out at the same time. Although the second point proved to be spot on, the first one... not so much.
It is true I'm saving money on subway fare, however, I'm paying much much more on food :( for a while now, since I haven't been working out anymore, my appetite was partially tamed. The cage is open now! Run for your lives, or I might just eat you! Averaging 2 lunches for the past couple days, excluding breakfast (and maybe small snack after), and dinner (or two, depending on how late I stay up).

Second lunch Thursday happened when I passed next to a restaurant I knew nothing about except the name Dohton Bori. Well anyway while passing near it, my nose picked up a tasty scent. My appetite called. My body answered.

Traditional sliding doors (less traditional when they're iron and glass though haha) separated me from mah foodz! Inside, I was pleasantly surprised that it was all wooden. Took off my shoes and put them in a shoe locker, then followed the waiter to my table, which is a grill (turns out it's an Okonomiyaki place yay!).

After sitting down I went back out and did the trip again to film it :)

video

The entrance has a bell that rings when someone comes inside, so waiter was surprised to see ME again lol. I could see the bubble saying "Stupid tourists..." floating above his head. Also excuse the flip of the camera, didn't think that through lol.

So it is that I had my closest encounter with cooking in Japan! For 880 Yen (9$ish), you get a bowl of ingredients for the Okonomiyaki:


A bowl of ingredients for the Soba:


A small bowl of seaweed salad (very tasty btw (by the way)).
Glass (with the restaurant mascot and name lol) you can fill with juice or tea:


Ice cream (banana for me):


And so basically, you have to make your own food on the grill!
Good thing I was watching the cooks in the previous places I went to. Started with the Onomiyaki, which is basically a raw egg with cabbage and some other stuff (depending on your order). You just throw it on the grill and make it in the shape of a disk and the egg eventually sticks everything together. You then flip it (and try not to brake it...) and wait for it to cook.


Put some oil on the grill and threw in the noodles and just flipped the mix over every once in a while pretending to know what I was doing haha. Et voila!


A couple minutes later:


Salah vs lunch... round 2 victor: Salah! *cheers and claps all over the world!!*

Shopping: part I

OK so much shopping done this week!

First item on shopping cart:


Photo was taken using second item on shopping cart, my new Sony Cybershot touch screen waterproof slim camera yay!
I've had my eye on that camera for a while now, and after rafting, where I couldn't take my own photos (especially in the water hehe), I just had to go get it!
Once there, saw an unbelievable offer, for only one day, on a Nikkon camera. Most specs were better than mine, but it was bulkier, worse off with low light, and not waterproof. However, its price went down from 42,000 to... 18,000, just for that one day! WAT ZA FAK!?
Told some friends about it and I think 2 ended up buying it lol.

Last but definitely not least:


MUGIWARA KAIZOKU! むぎわらかいぞく!One Piece yay!
If you don't know what that is, then you suck hehe. If you do, then my good friend Michal showed me this shop where you can bring out the geek in you :) they have all that is related to manga! Toys, figurines, cosplay costumes, DVDs, comics, the whole works!
The shirt however is from the clothes shop on the floor above. They also have many others, but unfortunately no Fullmetal Alchemist :(

Speaking of the geek in us, kinda took a wrong turn somewhere in the convenience store when looking for the camera section and ended up at:


Lol annoying ass character but still cool usher to the DVD section imo!


Right inside, there was an old school section:

Behind the glass, some all-time favorite series on DVDs!
The original Star Trek:


MacGyver lol:


The original Mission Impossible!

Rafting

Aha!
And we're back! Dina がんばって!OK had to begin with that.

So since it's been a while and I have no idea where to start, so I'll start with rafting last Sunday!

It all started at 9:30 AM in the huge train/subway/convenience store building I've spoken about more than once, where I met Aiman (Libya), Barbora (Slovakia), Dasha (Russia), Julien (France), Ted (Mars), Vala (Russia) and we took a minivan towards... geh need to get the brochure forgot the name... NISEKO! Muahaha my memory never fails! Or rather since I KNOW that it will, I've come up with many methods to get around that fact, like for example:

Taking a photo of the subway entrance in front of which I parked my bike... just in case ;)


As always I sat in front to chat with the driver, but I hadn't thought about the fact that I can't really speak Japanese lol. Turns out he speaks little English though, and he works as a fisherman half the year, when the rivers aren't freezing, and different things the other half. Thanked him for contributing to my healthy diet of sashimi/sushi since I got here :D

Last Sunday was the last day of ski, still plenty of snow as you can see.


Coolest part of the drive:


That was a bridge, that went into this half-tunnel thing (to protect from avalanches I guess). Striking resemblance to that Need for Speed 2 track! Which reminds me of Niz rest his soul, he always used to kick my ass on that track :(


Finally arrived at our destination and were greeted by the evil puppy with plans to take over the world with his hypnotic powers.


20 seconds later, we had to hold this strange woman back. She was trying to scratch out the eyes of a poor unfortunate smaller man while he pleaded: "I'm sorry the dogu tolde me to grabu youro assu!" OK maybe that didn't happen. Donno why I just had the urge to write that, felt like a voice in my head compelled me to do it...

Moving on, we put on the wet suits, emptied extra air (if you have lots of air inside and fall into the water, the air might all go to your legs thus making you float legs up lol), and went outside to take the bus.


The guy with long hair was our guide. The other team of 7 Japanese girls had Spider-man for their guide... But ours was cooler! We called him Spider-man coz he was showing off (we assumed?) and hanging down from the bars on the bus' roof. Strange man with red hair...

Once in the water, the craziness began (again I blame the evil puppy!). Our guide miscalculated and started to hype us up by yelling: "HIGH FIVE" to which we would high five with our oars and scream while screaming it with him. I think he started regretting doing so the 38th time we did it haha. We did some rafting between jumping in the water, pushing each other in the water, and splashing the other boat full of Japanese girls every chance we got! Fun stuff.
(photos are on my FB so can't be bothered to upload them again here)

After finishing, the bus was waiting for us with hot tea. Then we were back at the puppy's base of operations, where we changed back into our clothes and went to the hot springs! Not sure what type of hot spring it was, but it wasn't Sulphuric which smells bad so that's cool. Hot spring with a cold 750ml beer? Yes please... No photos inside for obvious reasons ;) sorry ladies.

Video of a small drop we did yay! Unfortunately we had to take the silly side, the cool side (with much bigger drop was too dangerous for us... pansies...)

video

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Golden week? Hey here's a homework :)

So golden week's basically over, good week it has been though!

The good:

Went out a lot. Photos I took are really bad coz of the dark, except for this one... of the stairs to the Cuban style bar where there was Salsa night:


Ate a lot (naturally).
Proof that choosing where to eat based on the hotness of a waitress is not always a bad idea!
Octopus pancake (unfortunately can't read the menu well to order it without mayo...):


Potato to go with that:


Fillet, spaghetti and omelet on rice... that been said, that meal was tough. Took all my willpower and strength not to look like a barbarian since I was so hungry :(


Last but not least, the other night, was hungry and it was really late, my fridge naturally only has liquids in it :P so decided to finally try the burger chain they have here, Mos Burger, since everything else was closed anyway, and well I gotta say it wasn't bad at all. But more importantly, the waiter suggested the new restaurant next door.
Tried it today, and this happened:


By far the most fatty meat I have ever eaten. Doesn't really show in the photo, but there's a whole layer of fat in-between layers of meat. And it's kinda hard to remove it with chopsticks :'( So I gritted my teeth and took it like a man! And it was much better than expected. Took a photo of the menu so that I drill the kanjis into my brain, in order to avoid trying it again, but all in all, wasn't that bad. If anyone can translate this, it'd be nice of you :) I'm too lazy to use the kanji dictionary, and I'm not really sure I really wanna know anyway hehe.


After that, this is a must. (Eh moz I actually bought fruit...)


Also, was walking around and came across this shop:


I've noticed the huge crab (gotta be blind not to) more than once but never walked near the shop. Yes Sherlock, they have crabs (err that came out wrong):


There's even fresh crab! No idea if you can just pick one and take it though :S


Finally, studied a lot... wait. No that's not right. Wrong section, and well, that didn't really happen anyway...

The bad:

This actually started before. What happened was that the zipper on my favorite black pants broke in the suitcase on my way here. Being the optimist that I am (and seeing how much experience I've had with gluing my fingers together with super glue), this was a simple job for me! Or so I thought... *enter dramatic music* TAM TAM TAAAAAAAAM!
So although I actually put the zipper back together, something is still missing, the zipper no longer locks when you close it and lower the handle, and so eventually it just opens by itself...
Now I am not a shy person, and wouldn't really give a rat's ass if my zipper were open, but I think I'm already scaring the native Japanese people enough without this.
So I went and asked a tailor how much this would cost to fix, 30$... I think I'll leave it like this for now lol.

More bad!
Japanese teachers it seems are more similar to French system teachers, who also believe that vacations should mean more studying, instead of less hehe. That been said, we don't have THAT much extra homework, just for me, ANY homework is a pain. But ya I'm guessing anyone reading this already knows that. So I guess I should finish this quickly and finish my last homework...

The ugly:

I haven't had the chance to talk about Japanese TV:
IT IS F**KING WEIRD!
That been said, if you can get over the occasional disturbing image, even someone like me (who can barely understand a couple words) can laugh his/her ass off at how absurdly funny some shows can be.
Take this for example, the Japanese take on "Biggest Loser". Donno if it was directly influenced by it, but the idea is basically the same. These guys come in and do some exercising to lose weight. But...


Yes they're wearing red tights.


Yes they're training to dance on "Thriller".


YES this guy is TEH AWESOME!


Yes their teacher (who was really hot by the way) was crying by the end.


The dude in the jacket was the one who lost the least weight in the last weigh-in and had to ride around the city on bicycle while they danced. Or so I could make out...


The fluffy:

Couldn't really tell where to put this photo, so I made a new category for them. Was walking around, and saw this guy with these 2 fur balls, couldn't help myself. Asked him if I could take a photo and he agreed. Lol.