July 12, 2005

Our New Pet

I give you Gonzou (aka Ada II), our new pet. Since Ada was taken hostage and we have a strict policy of not negotiating with terrorists, we figured we should have an emergency backup pet, just in case.

Gonzou, hidden inside the shell on top of the palm tree, is a hermit crab.

Watch Yukari's blog for more details...

Posted by pmk at 9:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

The Sea Urchin That Ate Tokyo

SMBC, a Japanese bank, is running an ad for their Visa card featuring a gigantic piece of uni sushi.

I saw this thing on our way to dinner at a tofu-focused izakaya (review forthcoming on Fugu Diaries). The billboard gave me a major hankering for sea urchin, so imagine my delight when I saw that the restaurant's sashimi assortment included uni. It was delicious!

On our way back home, Yukari and I tried to figure out how much a piece of sushi this big would cost. At Sushi Zanmai's very fair prices, it would be at least $50. At a more swanky place, you could easily break $100. What's Japanese for "uni sushi as long as my arm, please"?

Posted by pmk at 5:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2005

Convenience Store Wine

Convenience stores in Japan are ubiquitous. They are open long hours (many 24×7) and carry a wild assortment of goods from candy bars and beer to DVDs and packaged Japanese gifts. The Lawson's on Meiji Dori in Hiroo, though, takes the cake. They have a tiny exclusive wine section where, among other bottles, they offer a premier cru chablis at $35/pop. Of course, the next shelf over they have $1.50 rotgut, so they aren't getting too uppity.

Posted by pmk at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

July 6, 2005

Vacation Recap

It's not linguistic happenstance that "vacation" and "vacate" look alike. When we take vacation, we vacate our current lives and leave for something that is different and, we hope, better. Everyone has a different idea of the best way to leave their day-to-day behind and try on something new. I know that my idea of the ideal vacation has definitely changed over time.

Pets Need Vacations Too!

Ten years ago, Yukari and I took a vacation to the Cayman Islands--our first real vacation together and my first extended vacation without some kind of parental supervision.

We stayed at a then-new hotel on Grand Cayman--maybe the Westin--and had planned to learn to scuba dive. The day after we arrived, though, Yukari started feeling a bit under the weather, so we decided to bag the scuba training.

As it turned out, it was good that we canceled our diving plans. It rained almost every single day that we were on the island. We sat by the pool during the odd moments of sunshine and otherwise spent our days napping, eating and watching "Great Chefs" on the TV. By the time our week of vacation was up, I was very, very ready to go home.

Ever since then, I've had an aversion to "do nothing" vacations. Almost every vacation since has revolved around some sort of daily activity: skiing, diving (we eventually learned how on Nevis in the Caribbean) or eating.

When we started planning our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, though, the itinerary was pretty empty. Sure, there was some sightseeing in Bangkok with Thai friends and some high-speed touring of Angkor Wat during our short Cambodian stay, but that left an entire week in Phuket with nothing to do. Yukari was convinced, I think, that I would be driven insane by day three or so; she kept encouraging me, first subtly, then emphatically, to schedule some diving. All the reading I'd done suggested that diving in Southern Thailand in June is not the best, but I arranged a day of diving with a local outfit so I wouldn't get too stir crazy.

Thai Rainbow

As it turned out, I ended up being the one advocating for a more relaxed pace. Our friends in Bangkok did a great job of showing us the sights and the Wats of Siem Reap were incredible, but by the time we reached Phuket, all I wanted to do was sleep late, lounge around at the beach and turn in early. When we went out for our day of diving, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I didn't feel that if I didn't get out and do something I was going to go insane.

Returning home, I was surprised by how quickly the real world caught up to me. In fact, I found this blog entry on my laptop just this evening, when I fired up jEdit to start writing an article for Fugu Diaries. I was planning on finishing up and posting this article as soon as I got home, but life and work dragged me back in and I forgot it entirely. Maybe I just have just saved it until the end of my next vacation!

Posted by pmk at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2005

Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?

Darth Vader and his imperial guard stormed the KDDI design building in Harajuku last week.

I was heading to get my haircut and rode past these guys playing Star Wars dress up. I immediately made a U-turn so I could get some pictures. The funniest thing was how short some of the stormtroopers were. Who knew stormtrooper uniforms came in extra-small.

Click the picture for more Tokyo/Star Wars goodness, including Darth Vader and his evil minions mugging for the camera with cute little Japanese kids.

Posted by pmk at 9:50 AM | Comments (2)