Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snowboard Trippin'

Tomorrow, a couple of buddies and me are off to Kusatsu in Gunma Prefecture for a few days snowboarding.

Fingers crossed we get some nice weather and some fresh snow!!

I'll be stoked if we get some days like in the photos. (courtesy of

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The weather was super warm and sunny today so I was out there for a surf. I borrowed a Stand Up Paddle Board from Maki @ Bloom and had a pretty fun time. It was only my 4th or 5th go so I was still pretty wobbly, but I managed to get a couple of fun ones towards the end. Thanks to Kentaro @ Grace Surfboards and Dave (water shot) for the pics.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spring is Just 'round the Corner

A selection of pictures taken while driving the 'Flower Line' around the Minanmi Boso Coast from Wada to Tateyama (via Shirihama). Not too crowded yet on the roads as the tourist season is just about to kick in.

Weekly Wrap

We've had waves this week!!! Here's a pic I took down at Maruki to the right of the car park. It was good to see an old friend Take-chan who was visiting with Yoshino-san in search of waves. Finally the sand seems to be coming right here which means that the crowds have more options and the numbers at each point are thinned out a little
Last Saturday I tried to make a 'POKE' salad. I had a rough idea of how to do it after watching a friend whip one up a while back. Fortunately there was some discounted Maguro (Tuna) at the store so I grabbed it and this is how it turned out.
It had nothing on my friend's POKE but was still pretty damn good!! I'm gonna try to make it again next time I find some good discounted fish and maybe I'll try to add a little chili pepper to spice things up....stay tuned.

There was a small wave at Seaside on Monday with hardly anyone out. It looked pretty fun but in reality there was a nasty little warble on most waves and the power was gone which made things a little frustrating. Luckily I was riding a longboard so I was still able to enjoy it, especially when the sun came out.

After that, I took a drive down the coast hoping to enjoy the beautiful afternoon and a potentially great sunset. We got to sample some of the early spring flowers along the 'Flower Line' but unfortunately a late afternoon haze swept in and we couldn't see across the bay to Mt. Fuji. Still, a nice way to spend a relaxing afternoon nonetheless.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Woke up to a light dusting of snow on the surrounding hills. Waves are still pulsing through but as I was sick the other day my better half yanked the handbrake. All bodes well for my little snowboard trip at the end of the month though...:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finally....some swell

(Seaside on Monday arvo: rider unknown)

Well it took forever to arrive but we finally have had some waves. I borrowed a board off a friend of mine and have been trying it out the last few days. I surfed Kakou on Monday with just a few out and got some pretty fun waves. Some of the lefts had really good shape and the board went really well. It was pretty cold though, just 6 degrees!!! And then yesterday, before work, I surfed a little at Maruki, down by the hospital, and got some fun ones, too. It was only 4 degrees!!! As you can see from the picture taken by friend and Pro Longboarder Takashi Sakuma, I was well wrapped up with loads of rubber; boots, gloves, a hood and a 5/3mm POP wetsuit, so wasn't too cold. But it definitely takes a little getting used to, surfing with all that crap on. It makes you feel awful slow and clumsy which is pretty frustrating. Can't wait for winter to finish and some nice warm spring weather!!Then last night at work, something snapped and my body just started to freeze!!! I couldn't stop shivering and all my joints started to ache. I was stressing a bit and expecting the worst, maybe swine flu or something. I came home a bit early and rugged up in bed with the heater on full-bore. I had a resting heart rate about 100 bpm and a temperature of 38.9!!! Fortunately though, it all seems to have passed as I feel almost back to my normal self today. Thank goodness. The waves will have to wait until I feel more confident in my health. Hopefully the swell sticks around and the sun will come out.

On another note, one of our new neighbors (across the street) got a bunch of squid from the wharf and gave us some. They were all pretty decent size so we had to split over two nights. After I cleaned them up, Aiko made 'Geso Age' (deep fried squid tentacles) and fried squid rings just the way Ken-san does at Donya. they were sooooo good!!! Then we wanted to try something new, so we tried '', a Japanese recipe website recommended by one of my High School students, and this is what we cooked. It was pretty easy and tasted great. Thanks Nozomi

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Surf Rack

A lazy Monday with again a lack of surf worth getting excited about meant that it was time to do those little things on the chores list. After tidying up around the house and giving it a once over with the new vacuum cleaner, I decided to attach the surf racks (which I bought from Maki @ Bloom Surf Shop a while back) on the bike. It's a pretty easy process. Just a matter of mounting them and making sure there is enough clearance for my knees and big feet to ride the bike without too much hassle once they were in place.

Then, with a some daylight left in the day, I made a little name plate to hang by the door so that visitors can find our place easy enough. I used the Japanese Kanji characters for our Japanese family name. I played around with various variations including using my family name as well as our first names, but simplicity won over and for now at least it will just show the Kanji version.What do you think? Leave a comment below...

Monday, February 8, 2010


Aiko and I both had a free weekend, which was a first for awhile, and decided to take the new car for a drive, try out the navigation system, and check the new 3D movie AVATAR.We decided to go across Tokyo Bay, via the Aqua Line Tunnel, to Kawasaki. It's only about 80km from Kamogawa so it didn't take that long. Kawasaki is a pretty big city with a large port area filled with industrial sites and warehouses as you approach from the bay side and has a big bustling city scape surrounding the main station. We had a work seminar there a couple of years back and I can vouch for it having a pretty active night life, too.

We saw the movie at 109 Cinemas which is located in "Lazone", a large shopping and entertainment mall housing a huge variety of eateries, with food from Japan (including Hokkaido and Okinawa specialist restaurants), Korea, India, China, NY Diners, California Pizzerias, etc, etc. We ate Hawaiian style Loco Moco with BBQ shrimps and hamburger steak which we washed down with a glass of beer...arghh...oishikatta!!

AVATAR was pretty cool. We had hoped to see it on the IMAX screen but unfortunately every session was sold out so we settled for the 'EXPAND' screen. The graphics were amazing!!!And the 3D effects were good, giving it a nice touch, but less accentuated than I had expected, although on a bigger screen perhaps they're further enhanced. The storyline was a tad predictable following the "David V's Goliath" theme with the underdog overcoming the odds, while the 'unobtainium' mineral, that was the basis for the conflict in the movie, was pretty lamely named. But, overall, it was pretty enjoyable.

There's a lot one can read into it with a strong moral issue running through the film that most people will be able to associate with, especially those with an environmentally minded outlook on life. It also seems to borrow a traditional Hawaiian belief that energy exists in all living things which is a reason Aiko had been keen to see it.

One theory that I heard/read somewhere was that it depicts USA invading Iraq for it's oil??? But like I said, a lot can be read into it and it's pretty open to interpretation from various angles. See it? Well, if you've got some spare coin in your back pocket and time to spare (it's almost 3 hours long) I'd recommend it solely for the graphics alone. The story, too, leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling and a sense that the good in life will always prevail. DO IT!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Waitangi Day

The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on February 6, 1840, by representatives of the British Crown, and various Maori chiefs from the northern North Island of New Zealand.
The Treaty established a British governor in New Zealand, recognised Māori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave Māori the rights of British subjects.
However the English and Maori language versions of the Treaty differ significantly, and as such there is no consensus as to exactly what was agreed and is thus a source of much frustration and anger for many native Maori who feel their ancestors were wronged by the document.

However, what is today generally considered is, that it is the founding document of New Zealand as a nation. That makes NZ, the youngest country in the world, 170 years old today!! Happy Waitangi Day to all the friends and whanau back in NZ!!!

One of the signatories, Hone Heke, with his wife Hariata

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One California Day

The other day we had a few people around for dinner. One of the guys was kind enough to bring us a house warming present...One California Day...a surf DVD featuring a variety of breaks (mostly in Ca. obviously) and a variety of surfing from short boards ~ long boards as well as aerials and barrels ~ nose riding antics. A bit of everything to interest most. ありがとうございます

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome Home Ai-Chan

This is the weather chart for today and tonight. Should be mighty cold, especially after a week in Hawaii. We'll have the heater on full bore and be wrapped up nice and warm to be sure. With any luck Kamogawa may miss the snow, but the wind is howling and the rain's falling...

On a far tastier note, almost every time Aiko has to go to Hilo for hula I ask her to stop by "BIG ISLAND CANDIES" and pick me up some of their Mint Brownies. These things are the bomb!! If you like mint and chocolate and you've never tried these, then you're missing out. I guarantee these would have Mum's husband licking his chops!!! Guess what I'll be eating with my morning cuppa coffee this week...

Week's wrap

Well I finally got to put away the running shoes, even if it was only for a day. Maki and I had some small waves on the inside at Kakou. Pretty damn cold early in the morning and not exactly going off so I didn't stay out too long. Still, good to get wet.One of my students that I posted about earlier was happy that I was happy and wrote me a follow up letter. She hand painted the envelope with water paints and depicted the daffodils that are beginning to show as the season moves toward spring. Thanks TomokoFinally, I see so many nice cars here in Japan. The shear number of which continues to astound me. I guess that Kamogawa is a popular driving destination for many city folk who like the windy hill roads and the beautiful seascape and coastline when they get here. Here's a Porche parked out the front of my place. I wouldn't mind taking that thing for a spin!