Saturday, January 31, 2009

and then there's bamboo!

If you're like me, you've never seen bamboo outside of the thin rectangle strips in Chinese food. Well, the bamboo tree is the superhero tree. Strong, and tasty. And popular here. Not as much as seafood and rice, but you see it often. Like in our local grocery store here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

our local grocery store

And it's full of seafood. Here's a squid for ya!

Monday, January 26, 2009

where's Kyoto?

Sometimes I'm asked where we are. Well, Kyoto is about 3 hours by bullet train (the fast train) from Tokyo. That's the train we take to Tokyo Disneyland. In fact, we're planning another trip there this year, just not sure when yet. It's still cold here now, so we might wait until April, when the cherry blossoms are blooming and kids are in school.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

min. of Solace

This is a McDonald's in a busy area of Kyoto City's train station. The seats are always filled. And do you know, they now have a double and triple burger at all the McD's here? Yes, the American influence is running far past television. My wife tells me that across from the pyramids in Egypt there's a Pizza Hut. Makin' it great?

By the way, we saw the new Bond movie yesterday (Sunday), because it only just started on Sat. here. What a disappointment. 2nd worse Bond film I've seen, after Dr. No. Also the shortest ever made. I don't think there's ever been a Bond movie less than 2 hours long. Perhaps if they'd made the edits on the action scenes longer, it would build to 2 hours. As it is, the action was too fast to enjoy the beauty of the pictures. Yet we get a nice long shot of Felix drinking a beer for some reason right around an action scene. I don't get it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

snow-capped mountains

The other day it was snowing, and I snapped this picture from the parking lot of the DVD rental store we go to.

Yes, everywhere you look there are lovely mountains.

Friday, January 23, 2009

the lovely breakfast my lovely wife fixed me

I'm an eggs and bacon man. My wife is the best at fixing me breakfast food. I even here get the bonus track of greens made with bacon to go along with it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a bit cold here

Not cold today, but I did get a cold last week that put Mayumi and I under the weather for a solid week. We're only just back to normal now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Irma eats pasta

There's an invisible man eating pasta in a Kyoto train station window here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the movie store

All movie theatres I've been to in Kyoto have had stores between the concession stand and where you sit to eat. Here's the store of perhaps my favorite theatre (where we saw The Great Dictator 2 years ago; first black and white movie I'd seen on the big screen). The other day I saw Hellboy 2 here, and bought myself a Japanese program of Saw 2 (one of my favorite films) for a mere $5. They had programs for all 5 Saw films. Want me to look for something? Let me know.

Their half and half (salt and caramel) popcorn is good here. You can also get churros and french fries and a few other things. I've never eaten hot food like a hot dog in my life in a movie. I'm happy with popcorn and drink!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Indian restaurant in Kyoto

A few weeks ago we went to an India restaurant that Mayu read about in a magazine. They serve a variety of curries, which are very good. I've never been to an Indian place, and while the green stuff - spinach curry - might not look tasty, it is! It was a popular place too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the nice salad my wife made for me

I was a Ranch dressing eater for a long time. But they don't have Ranch here. They have lots of sesame flavors in Japan, and they are very good. Just ask my salad.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

branding that doesn't work

Ever since I've been in Japan, whenever I go to any webpage, like amazon and ones I go to all the time, I keep getting ads written in Japanese. I didn't change any settings. Of course I'm using a Japenese server, but it's amazing to me that no one seems to have an answer to how I can tell my computer to tell the web that I'm in America and not Japan. I've asked the question a few places and to a few people, with no answer. Anyone have any idea how to stop these automatic and wrong targetings?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year's dinner

This is our New Year's Day feast, thoughtfully provided by Mayu's parents. Since I'm not a seafood person (except for cooked fish and shrimp), Mayu also made me a rice dish. The variety was great, though everything was cold. I've never eaten cold cooked food (nope, not even pizza or fried chicken), so it's still surprising for me. But it was a very nice afternoon with the whole family.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

more goodies on the way to the shrine

That huge revolving thing looked like roast beef - but who knows! And yes, those are eels you see.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

further pictures from the wish day

This walkway of 100s of entrance columns is famous. It's been used in many tv shows and is one of the famous areas of Kyoto. Which is probably why it was so crowded. In fact, according to the news, there were a million people at this shrine during the 3-day holiday weekend!

And as you walk towards the shrine, there are an infinite # of stands selling everything from full little cooked birds on sticks (I didn't get a picture of that; I'm not sure you want to see it!) to clothes and fortune tellers and lucky charms and grilled corn on sticks and antiques. Just anything.

It was cold, but with the global economy being what it is, there were more people here making wishes than last year. I made a few wishes myself - "Let BearManor Media have its best year yet!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

the wordy waterfall

This is an interesting water exhibit we often pass in Kyoto station, in the restaurant section. People love it, always a crowd around it. It spells Japanese words, American words (like Kyoto) and imaginative shower pictures in a way you wouldn't expect.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

more from the New Year's wish

Clap your hands. Make a wish. Raise the large stone. If it's heavier than you imagine, you won't get your wish. If it's lighter than you imagine, your wish will come true.

It was just as heavy as I expected. Mayu said this is a good thing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

our latest love

Lately, we've discovered the great Shaun the Sheep series, created by the Wallace & Gromit people. Fantastic claymation, story and characters. And no dialogue, just grunts and woofs and baas from the characters involved. Just another proving mark that the British are ages away from anyone in the comedy department.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mayu's birthday!!

Mayumi Ohmart had her birthday a couple days ago - and here's the wonderful cake her parents got for her. Notice the multi-color flame candles? Nifty, huh?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

made a wish for the new year

I'll give you a full account later of how we - Mayu's parents, M and me - went to a shrine last weekend to make a wish for the new year, but for now, here are a few pictures of the amazing # of people ahead of us!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

lunch at Lipton's

We had a nice lunch in Kyoto City on Sunday afternoon, as you'll see by the pictures. Then we saw Tinkerbell, which is only on DVD in the States for some reason. It SHOULD play everywhere in theatres because it's a very good film. I won't say great because the character animations themselves are too inexpressive, as much computer cartoons seem to suffer from, and have Chucky doll faces. However, the backgrounds, music, story, everything else was magical. And I strongly suggest getting the DVD. Too bad you can't see it on the big screen like we did!

Friday, January 2, 2009

this is where I dry my hands

There's no paper towel in any Japanese public bathroom that I've been in. Instead, they have these great powerful machines that are Off until you put your hands in them. Then you pull them up amidst super gushes of air. Up and down, until your hands are dry. Good system.

Of course it's also hard to find a trash can in a bathroom sometimes too - I don't know why!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Japanese-Chinese food

Our delicious dinner at a Kyoto station Chinese restaurant last week. Parts of it, anyway!