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Showing posts from September, 2012

Two Garlics You Need to Know About in Japan

Takomachi Garlic
Originally uploaded by McAlpine Alexander
The only two garlics you need to concern yourselves with here in Japan are Chinese garlic, and Japanese garlic, since these are the main ones sold here. Isn't all garlic the same, you ask?

No. If you're a Californian then you should know that Gilroy Garlic is some of, if not the finest garlic in the land. And if you didn't know that, then at least know that Californians love their garlic. I love my garlic in a variety of different ways, but the best way is microwaved, and eaten raw. Just wrap it in saran wrap, and heat it for one minute - maximum wattage - done. I have only done this with Aomori Takomachi garlic, though. Gilroy Garlic I would just mash it and use it as a garlic dip or grill it.


Chinese garlic is the cheapest, and has no flavor; basically tasteless. They are also smaller. If you are on a budget, and need something cheap where you can get more for your money then the Chinese garli…

Asthma in Japan: アスクロン

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural stand point. When you first visit Japan, one of...


( disclaimer.... I am not a doctor nor am I a health care provider.   All information in this post is strictly my opinions only and do not represent the counsel of a doctor).



Pronounce it with me:  Asu - ku - ron
This is an over the counter medicine for people who suffer from asthma.  It works by relaxing the windpipe so that more air gets through.   This drug comes in powder form, so when you take it make sure you purchase a bottle of water.   

Prior to coming to Japan I never suffered from Asthma, but after the first year in Japan I picked it up and found myself wheezing and coughing all of a sudden.    I went…

Akita Momma

I swear, this is the last time.   Coming off a very nice high from yesterday's post and back for round two, but this time with a native Akita momma.   How the milk tastes depends a lot on what the mother eats.  Today was  carrots and rice, is what I picked up.   The milk flowed warmly and freshly from her pink nipples.







I mentioned earlier she's from Akita, but another thing I wanted to highlight a bit is that Akita Prefecture has always been associated with the "bijin" or "beauty" in English, and often times when travel adverts post up about this prefecture they like to include a picture of an "Akita Beauty."   I have been to Akita, and I can attest to the beauty.   In all fairness though, there are beauties all over Japan, it's just that Akita Prefecture is well known for having the most,  according to popular opinion.


I went with her because of this fact, and because she had  some very large breast, and she  possessed the classic Japanese m…

Echigo Yuzawa in the Summer

So I get a text from one of my female friends up there and she asks " when are you coming back up here?"   So, I popped open my calendar and Wednesday was open, all day.   I had no work.   I replied and told her Wednesday next week.    She said what a shame because she had to go to Nagaoka, the next major train hub on the Joestsu Line, on that day on family business, and that weekends would've been better for her.  

The reason for me telling you this is because, even if things do not work out sometimes, especially with other peoples schedules, I never change my course of action.    I could've stayed down in Yokohama after she replied with that note, but you know, I have had other similar cancellations in the past for similar reasons.   People work on weekdays.    Only the elderly and retired take onsen jaunts on weekdays, not working men.   For me, this is by design as I try to avoid the crowds.   Weekends are just too crowded and expensive.   So I went anyway.  

I th…

2012 Newly Renovated Sake Center

Prologue to a series: My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan So good news for us drunkards who love the rice brew.   Echigo Yuzawa has undergone renovation since last spring.  Now that it is completed and open to the public I had a chance to get up there and see it for myself.




For those who don't know, Echigo Yuzawa Station is the first major  train hub in Niigata Prefecture.   It is situated in the very heart of the the rice and sake cultivating regions of Niigata, ensconced  within the Echizen Mountain range.   Most often,  commuters are simply just passing through on their way to Niigata Station, others, like myself, would rather stop here in Echigo and enjoy a sake bath, and great Hegisoba.   And of course delicious sake - kakure-shu.   And yes.  An authentic sake soak in a real spa.   They pour several liters of sake into the bath.    I like to arrive in the morning before other ge…

Good Date Spots: La Cittadella

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural stand point. When you first visit Japan, one of...
La Cittadella, the date spot in Kawasaki that's a ten minute walk from JR Kawasaki Station.  Couples come here for everything.   Nice bistros, movie theaters,  boutiques.   The sunday afternoon crowd come to enjoy the flower and soap shops.   Maybe even take in a movie and just hang around.   This is the place.   Come here for the local vibe of Kawasaki.

http://lacittadella.co.jp




I'll probably wind up listing a bunch in different posts.  For this post I will only focus on Kawasaki's La Cittadella.    In fact, the first time I even heard or been to this place was on a date with a married lady.   I …

Great Place for Pies & Cakes

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural stand point.





When you first visit Japan, one of the things you'll notice is how well the Japanese blend Western architecture into their urban landscapes.    There's  the modern skyscraper, the Tokyo Government Office - Japan's twin towers.    Here in Yokohama there's Yamate and here's where you'll see the reminents  of the British expat community.     I usually just pass through these areas because I'm not interested, but for some others who do decide to visit Yokohama, and are looking for something a little more familiar then by all means you may like what you see here.  


One place I'd like to recommend is called Enokitei, a …

Golfing in Niigata

Gold  Echigo  Yuzawa Country Club


And no.  I am not a member.   Micheal Douglas 1993 blockbuster hit "falling down" was and still is one of my favorite movies.    I remember in one scene when he criticized an uppity wealthy white person for building huge and expensive golf courses in the inner cities when he should've been building parks  instead.   Yet, even in Japan there are numerous gold courses all over the island, and in great locations.   Big, extravagant  courses with commanding views of mountains and valleys.   Quite beautiful actually.     Even in Kawabata's snow country , Echigo Yuzawa, there's a huge golf course with some amazing views of the Echizen Mountain range.     There is information online available in English on a wide range of  golf courses in the central regions of Japan, but I haven't seen any for this area, in one of my favorite hot spa locations.    So I decided to post up this info.  


12 holes


2012 golf season 5/3 ~11/25

Higaeri Pla…

The two main Chinese food chains in Japan!

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural points of view, to racism and how that makes any sense...  There is no racism, just whiney little foreigners.  




The two main Chinese food chains in Japan you need to concern yourself with when visiting Japan.


Bamiyans and Oshos
I have frequented both of these establishments so often, I have earned mayorships for both chains via Foursquare, which I have held for at least six months.    I have eaten Chinese food in China, at least on three occasions; once in the southern provinces, and others in Hong Kong.   And I still find the ethnic Chinese cuisine to be horrible on the palate.

In Japan, Chinese food is made with a Japanese taste, so I guess you could call it…

Convenience Store: Family Mart

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural points of view, to racism and how that makes any sense at all.     This site will attempt to provide a resource.


[ listening to:  The Rippingtons "paradise"]

Rather then list up all of the convenience stores in Japan,  I will only highlight one where I take care of all of my personal needs.   This is because all of them provide the similar services.



Introducing Family Mart.   Or, ファミリーマート The ubiquitous chain shop in Japan that sells just about everything you need 24 hours a day, and everyday of the week.     You just pull up next to the place either on a bike or a motorbike, whichever.    No problems.    Pop-in, grab whatever you need then leave.  …

Family restaurants

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural points of view, to racism and how that makes any sense at all.      What you'll find is that my site will be very insightful, totally presenting a more natural and realistic element to the Japan experience.


The big ones:  Jonathan's, Gusto, and Denny's.   
When in Japan, and you need something quick, descent and that's easy on the wallet, you cannot go wrong with either of the big three choices above.     I will try and make it as simple as possible.  Firstly, when it comes to ranking based on the overall quality, service, and affordability, Denny's ranks highest in every category.   That's based off of some of the most well known foo…