Tag Archives: japan

>Strange Shinto Days

>There was some kind of meeting in the shrine today. I have no idea what it was about and would not bother to ask. It didn’t sound like the most interesting event in the history of Shinto but seemed to involve a lot of priests and study and talking.

Strange that I should view such a thing as strange. It’s a religion, people have views, I guess things need to be discussed. When I came back from the park with the kids I smiled and bowed to the people outside just in case I knew them. No reaction at all. A lot of strangers.

So a lot of people came to the shrine today to discuss ‘Shinto things’. It’s a religion – that’s what people do.

This evening I had some wine and some beers, went to bed late. Not long after I fell asleep Akemi woke me up. The alarm that triggers when somebody had come into the shrine had sounded (I didn’t hear, I was totally asleep) and Akemi said she thought there was a candle outside the shrine. I looked out the window at the candle. Looked like a light bulb to me – in a strange place. I went into the shrine and nothing human or supernatural jumped on top of me. When I came back upstairs Akemi thought the light might be a reflection from the illumination of one of the ‘things’ outside. She’s probably right.

There’s a story about that alarm but I’ll tell it another time.

And I’m lying in bed now, wondering why I call the ‘thing’ outside a ‘thing’. Why the hell don’t I know what it is?

I’m also thinking I love superstition even though I don’t “believe” in it. Makes life a little spicier.

>Kani Miso

>Kani Miso. Kani=Crab and Miso=brain. But actually these are not crab brains. I often wondered how the hell you managed to get so much brain from a little crab. The answer is, of course, you can’t. Apparently (and not surprisingly) crab brains are quite small. Kani Miso appears to be anything within a crab which is not good wholesome white crab meat. That apart, I love the stuff. I can consume vast quantities of that dark, deep sea tasting, mush and often do, given the opportunity. I gained the nick name kani-miso in my old band here because of my passion for it.

Had an odd experience the other day though. Had lobster-miso which I’ve never seen before (even Akemi couldn’t remember seeing it before). It’s similar to kani-miso but has a less full taste. As a lot of people find kani-miso a little powerful this might be a thing to look for if you’re after something a little more delicate.

There’s one other good thing about kani-miso (well, it has a positive aspect). You can buy it in cans which means my mother in law will sometimes ship some back to me. Kani-misi and a pint of english beer. Heaven.

>Nagoya Aquarium


IMG_0325 It was Selina’s birthday yesterday (ten years old – TEN YEARS!). Happy Birthday little one. Today we all went to Nagoya Aquarium which we’ve been going to for … well, nine years now! It was a hot day, 28 degrees. Nowhere near as hot as it gets and without the humidity that will come after the rainy season but having spent a year in the UK with a crap summer it was hot. The aquarium never gets old for me and Alisa just LOVED it. Both Selina and Hugo never really showed any interest in animals as such (the first time we took Selina to the aquarium she just fell asleep I think). But Alisa loves all that stuff.

The dolphins (as always) were great and they have a killer whale as well which is cool. There are a number of shows during the day where you get to see them doing cool things. If it’s too hot (or too cold) you can always view it from under the water in the viewing chambers. They’ve had music events there as well and I can see that would be cool. It’s very chilling and relaxing down there (unless you go at the beginning of golden week with three manic kids and the rest of the Nagoya population). When you’ve done that part there’s the normal aquarium to go to where you can see a lot of fish, crabs, turtles, penguins and most other things. When you’re there with somebody like Alisa it makes it all worthwhile.

if you’ve ever in Nagoya go and visit. It’s a nice day out. With car parking (but excluding food and pressies) it cost us about 6,000 Yen (30 quid).

>Bento Box

>I have a long list of items I like to complain about regarding England. One of my favourite is food. I don’t subscribe to the common misconception that there’s nothing worth eating in England – there is. But generally you have to make it yourself or pay a lot of money. There’s a chain of sandwich shops the North West called Philpotts and they do wonderful sandwiches and you pay for that. Where we currently work there’s one place that does sandwiches. Their idea of variety is brown or white. Anyway – back to Japan where I am currently sitting.
Left is a standard bento box picked up from the local convenience store. This is actually one of my favorites as I’m such a greedy guy. My in-laws here view these are being frankly low cost rubbish but they’ve never tried getting a cheap lunch in the UK. Within the box you get (deep breath and in no order)
Fish, Potato Croquet, Hamburger, Rice, Seaweed, Chicken, Sausage, Potato Salad
Chikuwa, Potato Salad, Pickle and Spaghetti. You’ll also get it heated up if you want but I eat mine cold. There’s a huge amount (I only ate about 2/3 of it) and it tastes great. The cost of this is 460 Yen. At todays exchange rates that’s £2.23.

Still, try getting a decent cheese sarnie here.