Happy Halloween!!

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 | 0 comments

Scroll down to the Happy Halloween post dated October 24th to see Wasabi's costume. I edited on that day but just posted it this morning...unfortunately, my wonderful technical skills aren't helping me to figure out how to move it up to today's date and posting, though!

How much can YOUR nose hold??

Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 | 0 comments

   This was on TV the other night....I think it was a variety show, but it could've been a game show too; they tend to overlap here sometimes. Basically, it was a competition to see who could collect the most water in a bucket within a certain time. The amount of water was then measured by pouring it into a hollow tube---if enough water was added, the tube would tilt to the opposite side in a see-saw fashion. Sounds like a pretty simple competition so far, yes? But here's the kicker...the bucket was supported by cables attached to each contestant's...NOSTRILS! Yep, that's right. Nostrils, people. Nostrils.
 May the man with the strongest cartilage win!
 Click HERE to see for yourself

Oh, and while you're clicking....vote for Wasabi! Please please please!
 Click here to vote for Wonder Kitty!

Wasabi has.....

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | 2 comments

....FELINE ACNE!?!!
  Who knew. But cats can get it, too. It usually doesn't develop into full-blown zits (or abscesses, yikes!), but instead takes the form of blackheads. Wasabi's little bout of acne is under her chin, where most cats get it. It basically looks like she just has a dirty chin. The exact cause of acne in cats isn't really clear, but underlying factors include: stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact dermatitis, etc. I don't think she's all that stressed, but who knows? And she's been screened for all diseases and given vaccines, so we can rule that out. We've seen her washing quite often, check. Which leaves contact dermatitis, but she has a glass water and food bowl, whereas plastic is usually the culprit in these cases. So much for an easy solution!


 Based on everything I could find online, mild asymptomatic cases aren't usually treated anyway, but we can take her in and get a special benzoyl peroxide shampoo if we really want to. So far, it doesn't seem to be bothering her, and my guess is that it'd cause much, much, much more trouble than it's worth to try and use a shampoo on the little weasel! Still, we're going to take her in after work on Friday and see what the vet says. Or else maybe I'll just rub some zit cream under her chin! (Joking, joking).


Wasabi and her 5 o'clock shadow

2000 Yen Note and a Sushi Lunch

Posted on Monday, October 26, 2009 | 0 comments

Yuki gave me this 2000 yen note on Saturday, and at first I thought he was playing a trick on me or something. But apparently this note was actually drafted in 2000, to commemorate the 26th G8 summit in Okinawa (thank you, Wikipedia). I guess they're pretty rare in circulation--this was the first one I'd seen---but most banks have some. I don't think they actually print them any more, though?






On Sunday, we went out for sushi to our favorite local sushi restaurant. This isn't one of your typical cheapy conveyor-belt sushi places, though---this restaurant originated in Numazu, a city about an hour away that's famous for its fishing port. There are I think 3 of this chain's restaurants here in Shizuoka, but only this one features the conveyor-belt style service. And this one is usually the most crowded, too. Yesterday we only had maybe a 10 minute wait, but sometimes it's been a lot longer.

                                     Waiting outside the restaurant





Inside the restaurant--they actually have 2 conveyor belts; the main one is on the left

                                    The first plate: Shirasu, a tiny fish famous in Shizuoka



Left: Close-up of the sushi conveyer belt       
 Right:


Yuki and his kani-jiru (crab miso soup)






 Left: Kani attack! Right: Sanma (don't ask me for the name of this fish in English, because I have no idea)


    Left: Aji and Right: Anago (a type of eel)






Seared salmon

                            

                                                       The grand total: 11 plates!

Happy Halloween!!!

Posted on Saturday, October 24, 2009 | 2 comments

Wasa-bee would like to wish everyone a great big Happy Halloween! Actually, she probably would much rather bite anyone in sight this morning, seeing as she's heading in for her spay-and-declaw visit at the vet's. Poor baby! Say a prayer that she comes through everything ok; I can't imagine that she's going to be feeling like quite her usual foot-nipping self afterwards. We took these pictures and video (the video is last, and you really don't want to miss it) a few weeks ago, and I've been dying to post it early but have managed to hold out until the big day. So, without further ado, may I present: Wasa-BEE in all her glory!

Oh, and if you have yet to vote for her....PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do so! It takes less than a minute to register and vote, I swear!

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/912787













'Please....no more pictures!'

Die Bee Costume, Die!




Wasabi's 15 Minutes of Fame

Posted on Friday, October 23, 2009 | 0 comments

I've gone and entered Wasabi in a photobook contest....we're hoping that she'll actually do something useful for once (as opposed to just randomly biting us) and win some money! Please, please, please vote for Wasa-beast! Here's the link: Vote for Wasabi HERE

You do have to register, but it'll take less than a minute, I promise. Wasabi says 'Thank you' and also that she'll come hunt you down and bite, bite, BITE if you don't vote for her. Her own words, not mine.

Giant Maneki Neko Duck and Some Random Products

Posted on Friday, October 23, 2009 | 0 comments

        We came across an Aflak display at the grocery store last weekend...complete with a giant Maneki Neko Duck character and a poster of the cat and duck from the commericals. I managed a big smile for the camera, but I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant to touch the stuffed duck: it looked like a bacterial breeding ground, what with all the smudges and marks from little hands touching it! Go figure, I've gone and gotten a nice sore throat since then. Coincidence?? I think not. If Aflak doesn't want to lose any money paying out coverage for hospital bills, they might want to consider stocking some wet wipes next to these ducks!





After the grocery store, we stopped by Don Quijote in search of rubber snakes (that's a story for another time). Note to anyone looking for rubber snakes: Don Quijote does not have them. Who would've thought?? The store that carries anything and everything odd doesn't stock rubber snakes. I still haven't been able to find any here, actually, and I need them within a week. Let me know if you're aware of any stores that sell them, please!
But on to other odd products that Don Quijote DOES sell. First off, we have the Jesus Body supplements. 'New discovery to be kept secret from others. This discovery is a secret. I can lay it down because I am correct. We will not make you sorry. Pleasure to have the real thing. I really longed for this'. I think that this is supposedly some kind of fitness pill, but quite honestly, I have no idea! Because, it's a secret and all. Heh.  (Click on the photo if you want to enlarge the pic and read for yourself).




Next up, the Humping Dog USB port cover. I might've actually considered buying one of these as a gag gift, but they're unfortunately not actually USB drives, just port covers. Why would anyone want to spend ¥900 on one of these, just so they could stick it in a USB port when it's not in use? Of course, that's probably why they're at Don Quijote---lots of the reject/poorly selling items tend to show up here at discounted prices.



         
Various breeds of humping dogs


Next up, we found some Kit Kats left over from lackluster vending machine sales. These Kit Kats are usually stocked along in drink vending machines, hence the glass containers that they're packaged in. This package contains 2 of the regular chocolate type, and 2 caramel pudding Kit Kats.



  Finally, a new brand of Kit Kat (I found these at a convenience store, not at Don Quijote). Roasted Japanese sweet potato Kit Kats. They acutally really did taste like roasted sweet potatoes...but I doubt that I'd buy them again, since 1. there was a weird bit of sweetness to them (too much sugar) and 2. if I want a roasted sweet potato, I'll just buy one. Wasabi loved the bag, however, so all was not lost!



 

Suspension Bridge Day Trip

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009 | 0 comments

This past Sunday, we went driving up to a rather well-known suspension bridge. We've gone to this place a few times before, but it's so peaceful up there that I always love going back. I think that the last time we were there was when my brother was visiting, so almost 2 years ago. We went on a weekday then and it was so quiet that we were able to see a bunch of Japanese macaques spying on us from the trees.
Since we went on a weekend this time, there were a lot more people, but it still didn't exactly rival downtown Tokyo or anything.
  The most famous suspension bridge in the area is called 'Yume no Tsuribashi', which directly translates to 'The Dream's Hanging Bridge', basically meaning a hanging bridge of the stuff dreams are made of. I can only assume that the name refers to the location, since it's a really beautiful site.
  We also stopped at at another suspension bridge and a steam locomotive station on the way to Yume no Tsuribashi. I've been told that riding the SL line when fall foliage is at its peak is an unforgettable experience, but tickets usually sell out well in advance, so I don't know if we'll get to it this year or not. We do have a trip to Kyoto and my brother's visit (his second trip here) coming up next month, though, so I doubt that there will be a shortage of photos in the weeks to come!


            A not-so-famous suspension bridge. It was pretty long and crossed over the river, not something I'd recommend for those of us afraid of heights!



View from the middle of the bridge

I have no idea why they need wind power for these green tea fields?


Why did the chicken cross the....




At the steam locomotive station





En route to Yume no Tsuribashi. You have to go through this long tunnel, which cuts through the mountainside.



With these feet, who needs a canoe??                                                                                                     

                    One of the hotels near the bridge


                                             The reservoir



                 Yume no Tsuribashi


Just before crossing the bridge                                       



                                                                              The dam and waterworks

                                                         

                               Yume no Tsuribashi is just ahead and out of sight

Saturday Dinner and a Cool Toilet

Posted on Monday, October 19, 2009 | 3 comments


We went out to dinner on Saturday for no particular reason, other than Yuki wanted me to try a new place he'd gone to with a friend earlier in the week. We'd actually walked by this Japanese-style bar/restaurant several times but never thought about eating there, since it looked pretty expensive. Luckily they offer course sets, so we were able to try a lot of their food for less than we'd thought. Not that it was exactly cheap, but it's definitly afforable for a special occassion, and the quality of the food is amazing! Too bad I can't remember the name of the place, but I'm guessing that it won't be of much use to most people, anyway. Definitely wonderful cuisine though, and an impressive bathroom, too. I wish that whoever designed this restaurant could design my future home!
 (Once again some of the pictures are small for reasons I cannot discern. If you want to see a close-up, just click on them).

                                                                 The sushi bar



The appetizer: broiled sanma (fish), shrimp and the best potato I've ever had



Tuna, saba, and a fish whose name I can't remember but is apparently expensive because it's got a ton of tiny bones in it that the sushi chefs have to remove---help, anyone?


Next course: salmon broiled in teriyaki glaze and topped with shredded Japanese radish and salmon eggs




                                            Yuki's sake, served in an abalone bowl




                         Chawanmushi (steamed omelette-like dish) and fried fugu, or blowfish--yes,
                            it does contain a poison sac and you have to have a license to prepare it


                                            Me right before what could've been my last meal. I guess our chef really did have his license!


Dessert: green tea ice cream topped with sweet red bean paste
                              


No, I can't believe that I took a picture of a toilet, either. But in my defense, it was a REALLY cool bathroom!