- - - 9/30/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 8:51 am

Wow, I have been busy lately. Sorry for no posts this week. The next post will surely make up for it.

- - - 9/25/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 3:50 am

"The largest hornet in the world, the aggressive black-and-yellow giant hornet is both feared and revered in Japan. A small but highly efficient killing machine—a hornet two inches long and with a wingspan up to three inches—lurks in the mountains of Japan. The voracious predator has a quarter-inch stinger that pumps out a dose of venom with an enzyme so strong it can dissolve human tissue.” (src)

Based on a comment by Ken, I thought I should elaborate on this subject. There are not that many deadly creatures in Japan, but this one is just sooo cool.

Please view the following video… Japanese Giant Hornets - Windows Media

- - - 9/24/2004 - - -

Ginza Private

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:00 am

ECC sent me out to the school in Ginza where the really rich customers come to get private lessons. So I had to actually wear a suit, and this may be your only chance to see me in one…

- - - 9/23/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 9:12 pm

Monday was a Japanese public holiday - Keiro no Hi, or Respect-for-the-Aged Day. Therefore, there was no work so I had a free day. Also there was no school for kids, so Jenn and some of her JET buddies decided to go to Kamakura and they invited me along. I got a big surprise when while I was on the train down to Kamakura my friend from college, who is visiting Japan at the moment, gave me a call. I didn’t think he was going to visit until the end of his trip… but he decided to meet us down in Kamakura as well. When all the JET people had arrived there was a giant group of people, more than I thought would be there. (see gallery) Anyway, we walked around some temples, both of which I have been to before, and at that point I meet Jeff and we went out for lunch. After lunch we all went to the Daibutsu, which again I had seen before. After the Daibutsu we went to the beach. The beach was heavily polluted and contained tons of trash and dead fish (see gallery), and to make it worse there was lots of wind which blew lots of sand into our eyes. In the evening Jenn, Jeff, and I decided to break from the group and walk around Harajuku. We found this amazing ramen shop to put a nice end to the day.

The Kamakura gallery

My panoramic shot worked perfectly.

Jeff and I at the Daibutsu

Some JET people having fun

Me and Jenn at the beach


- - - 9/21/2004 - - -

Hard Drive Failure

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:03 pm

My computer is finally fixed! For over a week I was practically without a computer. It’s not easy for me to live without a computer for that long of a time. It all started on Monday, while watching a pirated version of ‘Farenheight 9/11′ my computer hard drive (HD) suddenly died. I was noticing problems with it before, but was previously unaware of this forthcoming doom. Thankfully, I had a copy of ‘SpinRite’ available. SpinRite is a famous HD recovering utility, so I immediately put it to work recovering what it can. 3 entire days later it was finally finished. It had done its job and had, at least temporarily, recovered my files and given me a working computer. After looking at the diagnostics of my HD, I realized that I needed to replace it, and soon. However, before I could do that I needed to backup any files of importance, like all my Japan pictures. I also needed to make an image of my HD so that I actually had an operating system on the replacement drive, as I left all my computer related CDs at home. These tasks took another half a week as many attempts failed as the hard drive sporadically decided to die again, and I came close to throwing my computer out of the window. So, after over a week of hell, I finally was able to buy a new HD, reformat it, mount the image of my old drive, repartition it, and check it for stability. - - - Success! I have a working computer again.

Red = Bad

Self explanatory

- - - 9/15/2004 - - -

Friendly cat

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:00 am

Here is me with my new friend. This cat is amazingly friendly and seems to always beg for attention when I walk past its home as I come back from work. It even follows me for a half a block after I pet it.

- - - 9/14/2004 - - -

What is it?

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:00 am

Like the title says… What is it? I have a friend that has this disgusting looking thing in the back of his throat that I have never seen before. To me, it actually seems to be getting bigger. My friend is also a poor man, and refuses to go to a doctor even after his girlfriend and I told him to do so. So, it would be nice if anyone could recognize what it could be and advise whether or not I should physically tie my friend up and take him to a doctor.

Click on “more…” to see the picture (like I said before, it is quite disgusting)


- - - 9/13/2004 - - -

Roppongi Hills

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:10 am

Well, I had another interesting weekend. Saturday night I went out with Jenn…yet again! We decided to go check out Roppongi Hills. It actually wasn’t too interesting. Besides being a massively huge building with an observation deck, it had a movie theater, lots of expensive restaurants, and even more expensive shops. After doing my favorite activity (walking around aimlessly), we finally found a place to talk and eat in Roppongi. After a long dinner we realized that Jenn missed the last train back home. So she went back with me and spent the night at my place… (on the floor!… Which is actually softer than my bed). On Sunday we spent the day walking around Koganei Park. Afterwards, we went back to Shinjuku for dinner at a very good udon place and tried to think of what to do next weekend.



Filed under: — Andy @ 1:33 am

Recently, a friend brought to my attention that it is not possible to find Reeses Peanutbutter Cups in Japan. After arguing with her that such a huge name in candy must be found somewhere in Japan, I set out on a quest to find some Reeses. After many many convenience stores and foreign markets I have still yet to find any trace of such candy. It has now become an obsession… I will find Reeses in Japan!

- - - 9/12/2004 - - -

DVD Burner

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:55 am

I recently got a DVD burner. Now I can burn DVDs again just like I could at home. The interesting part was that I said I got a DVD burner, and not that I bought a DVD burner. So yeah, I got a FREE DVD burner from my friend, and he… got it from the trash. It was supposedly broken, so he gave it to me because I can take anything apart and fix it (well not anything, but I still like taking things apart). In reality I didn’t even have to do that. I plugged it in and it worked fine from the start. It now amazes me what some Japanese people consider trash. Yay! for free DVD burners saving me 10,600 yen (about $100).

Below is a picture of my new toy!

- - - 9/9/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 11:55 am

This week we had a somewhat major earthquake. As the map below shows we had a 7.1 earthquake followed by many aftershocks. Coming from California I am used to earthquakes, and thought it was fun when I felt the ones this week. However, when talking to my students it seems that all Japanese people are afraid of earthquakes and do not like them. First they tell me they hate the rain and typhoons and now they tell me they hate earthquakes. On average they dislike all the natural phenomena that I love. Bring on the tsunami.

- - - 9/7/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 12:05 am

I can now add pan fried salmon with button and lemon to the list of successes. It was one of the absolute best things I have made yet. I also successfully made tapioca with coconut milk and sugar. Next up: Hanbagu and Sukiyaki.

- - - 9/6/2004 - - -

Shinagawa Aquarium

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:45 am

I went to the Shinagawa Aquarium on Sunday with Jenn. It was raining all weekend so going to the aquarium seemed like a good thing do to. The aquarium wasn’t as big as some of the Los Angeles ones I’ve been to, such as the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Aquarium, but it was still very fun and interesting. I really enjoyed the sealion and dolphin shows as well. Besides fish, there were some awsome glow-in-the-dark mushrooms! After the aquarium closed we took a nice walk around the park and headed out for some food… I wanted to eat fish. However we found this interesing place called "Cow Bell” that had something called "Shichirin”, and not knowing what that was I decided it would be fun to go there. Shichirin is very similar to Korean BBQ where you cook your own food but it is different as you have an old-fashioned clay pot on the table. It was incredibly good and fun as well. We stayed and ate for an unknown amount of time and talked before finally deciding to leave. It is great to actually have stuff to do and things to spend money on durring the weekends.

Shinagawa Aquarium Gallery

- - - 9/4/2004 - - -

Japanese Cooking

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:07 am

After taking a cooking class in Thailand, I realized that cooking is actually fun. After I got back to Japan I started to cook Japanese food. My cooking skills were non-existent before Thailand, but now they seem to be steadily improving. I am also amazed at how much healthier I feel having cooked and eaten actual food. Granted, I am nowhere near a master chef, but my first attempts at some Japanese recipes were mostly good. I am now looking for more, interesting, yet easy to cook dishes that I can make given the ingredients in Japan.

By this date…

I have successfully cooked the following foods once:
- Egg Salad
- Japanese Pumpkin Soup
- Oyakodon
- Chili Mac
- French Toast
- Tuna sashimi w/ avocado
- Hamburger

I have mastered the cooking of the following foods:
- Rice
- Fried egg sandwich
- Fried rice and many variations (+kimchi, +eggplant)
- Spaghetti and meat sauce
- Soba Noodles
- Tofu w/ katsuobushi
- Peanut butter and honey sandwich (thanks Ken)
- Curry rice (it comes in a packet)
- Natto… Yes I eat Natto!… Look it up.

I have failed making the following foods:
- Stir Fry
- Mashed Potatoes with frozen vegetables
- Some sort of meat thing

I will now refuse to eat the following foods:
- Any sort of cup ramen!

- - - 9/2/2004 - - -

More Disney Sea Pics

Filed under: — Andy @ 10:04 pm

I added a few more pictures from Disney Sea…

Disney Sea Gallery