- - - 1/28/2012 - - -

Yokohama Chinatown and Ice Skate

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:32 am

One of my old friends recently moved back to Tokyo from her hometown. We got together with another friend and headed over to Yokohama Chinatown to see some of the New Year festivities. Chinatown was even more crowded than usual, but we still had a good lunch without waiting too long and was also able to see a Chinese acrobat and dragon show. Afterward, we walked up to the Red Brick Buildings to do some ice skating. It had been about two years since I last went ice skating there.

At Chinatown

Ice skating

- - - 1/21/2012 - - -

Birthday cake

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:31 pm

I attempted to make an American style birthday cake for my friend’s birthday. Since I used a boxed cake mix it was quite easy to make and overall it turned out very well, although still sweeter than I expected. I added raspberries for the middle and strawberries on the top and also tried to make some extra homemade frosting. The cake was shared with everyone in my house, where all commented on how distinctly American the flavor was.

- - - 1/18/2012 - - -

Ume no Hana

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:15 pm

I took my friend to ‘Ume no Hana’ for her birthday. It is one of my favorite restaurants as the food is healthy, delicious, and not on the crazy expensive scale. The Yokohama branch is on the top floor of the sky building and has a great view of the surrounding area.

- - - 1/17/2012 - - -

Sushi Party

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:22 am

We had a small sushi party at my house. We bought lots of different ingredients and fish, cooked up some sushi rice, and attempted to make different kinds of hand rolls. My rolls didnt look too professional but they tasted damn good.

My first attempt. I really didnt care how it looked, I just wanted to get eating ;)

A few more people joined later on.

- - - 1/15/2012 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 11:42 pm

The first mountain of the year was Oyama. Not a very difficult mountain I made it up in less than an hour, 15 minutes before anyone else in my hiking club. It started to snow a very little at the top when we were making lunch, but I was dressed very warmly. While up at the top I was reminded of the time 2 years ago when a friend and I climbed the mountain and then almost froze at night waiting to see the first sunrise of the new year.

Taking the easy way to the halfway point.

The shrine where my friend and I took refuge at night two years ago.

- - - 1/8/2012 - - -

Philippines Photo Gallery

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:39 am

Here is the Philippines Photo Gallery

- - - 1/7/2012 - - -

The Philippines

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:24 am

For my winter vacation I wanted to go someplace I have not been yet. I chose to go to Cebu Island in the Philippines for a few reasons. The first was that I wanted to go someplace off the beaten path that was warm and had lots of natural beauty. Also, many people have said that Cebu was much nicer and safer than the city of Manila.
I left Japan on the 24th, spent Christmas Eve on a plane, and arrived in Cebu a bit after midnight on the 25th. The following day, being Christmas, there was not much to do on account of everything being closed. Most everyone in Cebu, and the Philippines for that matter, is Christian. In fact, I learned that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. I spent a lot of the day hanging out at the mall with some of the people I met at the Hostel. Afterwards, we went to the crowded Basilica of Santo Niño to participate in Christmas Mass and see the Santo Niño(doll) of Cebu, followed by lots of street food.
The following day I hopped on a ferry to the neighboring Bohol Island where I spent the next 4 days. Bohol is a lot less metropolitan than Cebu with much fewer people and a lot of interesting things to see. I went to the Tarsier sanctuary, the so called Chocolate Hills, and a beautiful waterfall. I played with the biggest python in the Philippines, saw some old Spanish churches, and explored a cave. I spent a day at Danao Adventure Park doing the zip line and plunge over a canyon. Rappelling down the canyon was also quite fun. I went snorkeling at the beach and saw some very nice corral and fish (and quite a few jellies), and although I put on sun block I still got a very nice sunburn.
My last 3 days were spent back in Cebu, but I traveled south to a city called Moalboal. Also a very famous diving spot it is the home base of Planet Action Adventure. I went on both their canyoning and river climbing tours. For canyoning, we did a bit of jungle hiking and then proceeded to walk down the river stopping only to repel down the many waterfalls in our path, the biggest being over 30 meters high. River climbing was the opposite, we mostly swam our way up a river, climbing over any rapids or rocks or anything else blocking our path up. Both tours were amazingly fun and a great experience. This has my personal recommendation for any action junkie like myself. The guides were also very professional, accommodating, fun, and great cooks as each day ended with a riverside BBQ. Every evening I was also able to join the local soccer group. Mostly college students, we had a pretty good match every night despite the on/off rain. Between the two river tours, I spent the New Years Eve with a new friend drinking and watching all the fireworks along the beach.
I would love to go back to Cebu and do some more adventure tours some day, but maybe next time I would like to try something similar in New Zealand. Hopefully next year.

Basilica of Santo Niño

I got the hostel cat.

Tarsier. Worlds smallest monkey that is not technically one.

Chocolate Hills

I like snakes

click here: (more…)

- - - 1/2/2012 - - -

Udon Party

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:19 am

I am back from the Philippines! But first, the day before I left we had an Udon party at my house. The Udon was all hand made and it took a while to roll it all out and cut it all up. We also made Tempura, smoked pork, and other nice things to go with the Udon. It was very similar to the Soba party we had last year. To finish it all up, I made a blueberry brownie cake :)