Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shin Okubo = Korean Town in Tokyo

Restaurants from this part of town in Tokyo, called Shin Okubo, have been on TV a lot recently, especially with the increasingly high popularity of K-Pop and Korean dramas at the moment. The dishes always look mouthwatering and it's somewhere that I've wanted to visit for quite some time now and check off the 'to do' list.

 A friend lives in Tokyo and she offered to show us around and take us to one of her favourite restaurants there. I think if she hadn't been there, I probably would've done a U-turn and headed somewhere without the queues. Look at all the people lining up in front of this restaurant in the photo below!

However, she knew what she was doing and had us seated in only about 25 minutes, which given some of the waiting times at other places was mighty fast. While we waited we had time to suss out the menu and plan our attack. The problem was everything looked good.

Checking out the much for a beer?

Good news, the beer is cheap!

 Standing outside was thirsty work, so we ordered a couple of draft beers each to get the ball rolling. toasted my birthday and got stuck in to the side dishes that came free with the beers before the ordered dishes came out. I have to say that everything we ate was a winner, but the gyoza took the honours. I think it's probably the best gyoza I've eaten yet!! By the time we left we were well fed and had knocked back several beers each and it only cost about $25-30 each!!! I want to go back!

Best Gyoza yet!!!!

Korean style sushi rolls


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Junji Takasago Exhibition

It's been a long long time since I was last in Roppongi (back when the boys, Andy & Rob, lived in the city). With the development of Roppongi Hills and MidTown the area has been revitalised and has a new edge to it. The Subway station is modern, clean and has more head space than in the past. But you can still buy a beer from the convenience store and drink it on the sidewalk.
 Sei & Aiko by a promotional sign in the subway station access walkway.
 L-R: Hiroko, Sei, Aiko, JUNJI TAKASAGO, me and Shinya with a signed copy of his latest book.

Friday, June 24, 2011

HAWAII - beyond your wildest dreams

This Sunday I plan to head in to Tokyo for the day to check out a friend of a friend's photo exhibition. The exhibition title is "HAWAII - beyond your wildest dreams" by nature photographer JUNJI TAKASAGO. It's a collection of 50 images from the magical islands of Hawaii.
photo: Junji TAKASAGO
 The exhibition runs from June 17-29, 2011 10:00 – 18:00 everyday @ Fujifilm Photo Salon, 1st floor, FUJIFILM SQUARE in Roppongi, Tokyo.

Check the exhibition site info HERE
Check Junji Takasago's galleries and site HERE

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birthday Boy

Another year older and hopefully wiser. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes, presents and messages (even those reminding me that 40 is just around the corner). It was great to speak to family on skype and catch up on the news back home. It was a work day so not much to do other than treat myself to a nice bit of meat and a beer (Bill you were on the money!). Aiko was in Tokyo on Monday and splashed out on a really nice cake to top things off.

Hopefully this year will be a little more settled than the last 12 months and bring some pleasant surprises.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kamogawa Power

Good friend, Dave Yamaya, has his new web site up and running. It's looking pretty swish and has a number of galleries with great shots capturing scenes from in and around Kamogawa. He also offers photography services and has taken some great pics of me, both from the water and land, that made my day and could make yours, too.
Check out his site HERE and contact him for your photos today!

Monday, June 20, 2011

RWC 2011

The Rugby World Cup in now only a matter of months away before it kicks off in NZ and I'm recruiting supporters here in Japan for the All Blacks.
Got this little fella nice and early and he seemed pretty chuffed about it all. He said he thought the ABs had what it would take to trump all the other wannabes. He also said to keep a eye out for the dark horse, Japan. Under the steady guidance of Head Coach and Ex-All Black, John Kirwan, he figures that they may surprise a few people.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pizza Time!

We had Pizza for dinner and it was pretty damn good if I do say so myself.
The only sad thing was that we used the last of the "BEETROOT RELISH with orange" that my mum gave us last time we were back in NZ.
That relish goes so well with chicken on pizza!!!!! I'm gonna miss it  :(

Friday, June 17, 2011

びわ, Loquats or Japanese/Chinese Plums

 'Biwa' fruit trees originally came form southeastern China but were introduced to Japan more than a 1000 years ago and have become a popular seasonal fruit grown in sub tropical climes such as southern Chiba. At this time of year all the Biwa trees are heavily laden with fruit which are often gifted to friends and neighbours. Orchardists individually wrap each one to protect the skins from marking and bruising, meaning they hit the shelves in pristine condition. They can be eaten raw, but need to be peeled and have the pips removed. Apparently it's also popular to make jam, jelly and chutney and can be fermented into a fruit wine!
We were very lucky to be gifted a box by the mother of a student and were very grateful. Japanese people never fail to surprise me with their generousity to others. Arigatougozaimasu!
For more information on Biwa, follow the Wikipedia link HERE

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Enishi & Pinedale Backpackers Lodge

 Long time friends and self employed entrepreneurs 'ENISHI' packed up and started on a new chapter in their journey. It was great to see them all before they left and I wish them all the best for safe, successful and enjoyable future. They presence will be missed by all of us here in Kamogawa.
 They were clearing out the closet and giving away the non-essentials and I was lucky enough to be given 'SPROUT', a surfing DVD, as well as this classic CD, 'RESEVOIR DOGS', which I used to listen to a lot when flatting with Timmy T down in Dunedin. I hope things are OK for him and his family from Christchurch and their PINEDALE Backpackers Lodge in Methven, New Zealand as they gear up for the ski/snowboard season @ Mt. Hutt. Thinking of you guys mate!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Last week we had a couple of strange, rainbow-like rings around the sun and in the sky. What do they mean? Are they merely a thing of beauty? Or is there something more sinister behind them as some proclaim? I just figure it's rainy season and when the sun shows its face we're lucky enough to get rainbows...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monday, May 30th @ Kakou, Kamogawa

 I was up at the crack of dawn once again in anticipation of some good surf. The wind was all wrong on this coast and there still wasn't a lot of swell coming in. A friend called and said he had the day off and was keen to drive over the inside (Uchibo Coast) of Tokyo Bay where there are a few hidden gems that occasionally light up. However, today was not the day and after a quick paddle at Iwai we made the call to head back.

We took a little detour via Tateyama and bought some homemade sausages from a German sausage shop, ABEND ESSEN, near the SDF Helicopter base for dinner later that evening then raced back to Kakou point in Kamogawa.

Dave Yamaya and Toshiya 'KERIS' Moriyama were taking photos. Hyota and Kazuki, Hiroki kun, Hiroe and Nako chan were just coming in as we paddled out. Jun was already out and Yukio soon joined us. It was super fun. The water was warm, sets were head high and it was offshore! Even the sun poked it's head out from time to time.

 Thanks to Dave and Keris for taking these photos and leaving me with a great memoir of the day.
Photo: Keris
Photo: Dave
Photo: Keris
Photo: Dave
Shinya! Photo: Dave
 The homemade German sausages went down a treat! All types of varieties. I especially liked the ゴマチーズ (sesame seed and cheese) as well as the ワサビソーセージ (wasabi) ones.
Sei was busy in the kitchen, too and whipped up a couple of great tasting dishes and 玄米 (genmai) rice. It was almost a shame that the day had to end. Thanks for the good times everyone!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sunday, May 29th @ Seaside Kamogawa

 Typhoon #2 was on the radar this weekend. I was up at the crack of dawn (first time in awhile) and down at the beach checking the waves, hoping for some increase in size. It wasn't to be, but there were fun lefts and rights at Seaside and hardly anyone out in the overcast drizzly conditions, so good friend Dave and I went out for a surf. Toshizou-san was shooting some pictures and got this one of me going right (above) and sent it to me. Thank you Toshizou! (check his photo blog in the links on the right or click HERE).
Then Dave called it a day, paddled in and took some photos and got one of me going left by the tetras in front of Nonkey Surf Shop (below). Thanks Dave. Big Mahalo as always!! (check his blog on the right or click HERE)