Damn, I can't believe I haven't posted in such a long time. My apologies. There is something about me, internet connections and Japan that just don't go together. I had to change apartments awhile ago; was given one weeks notice. So I was without internets for a couple weeks. I called the company and they gave me two free months to make up for any inconvenience. Que sweet. I have about two weeks until I am in the states for a 3 week visit. I am so excited. Much fun will be had.

I am in search of the elusive Cucumber Pepsi. It was released a couple weeks ago and I can't seem to find it. Maybe it was only for sale in Tokyo. I'll have to check the next time I go back there. A new Pokemon film is about to open here, so everything is Poke-crazy. 7-11 is having a big campaign where they are giving away small figurines with the purchase of certain bottled beverages. I currently have 5 of the 13. Yes, I am a nerd. I will never deny that. What is strange is that I can't find the figures any more. About 4 days after they started giving them away, they were gone. What the hell? I need to finish my collection! Gotta catch them all! The picture above was taken at the Gion Matsuri festival here in Narita. There were tons of booths lining the streets to the temple and this one happened to be using Pokemon and Nintendo to advertise. I think it was a skill game to try and win sweet prizes. Interestingly, in the upper left corner it reads, "Nintendo Revolution." This was the codename for the Nintendo Wii while under development. I guess they never got around to changing it. To see more pictures of the festival, go here. It was lots of fun. Good food and good peoples equals good times.


New pictures uploaded to my Flickr account! Go enjoy them!


Mexican food is a rarity in Japan. Delicious Mexican food is even more difficult to come by. When I lived in Kumamoto there was one restaurant with a chef from Mexico. Unfortunately the food was not the Sonoran style I was raised on. Lots of seafood dishes, no carne seca. Oh the horror. So when I moved closer to Tokyo, I thought I would have more opportunities to have an ol' taste of the southwest. Well, that is kind of true. I did find a place in Ueno called Sol Amigo that has a decent menu, though the first time I went there, there was something on the menu that struck me as odd. Taco balls. I will be the first to admit, it scared me. I thought they might have been tako balls (octopus balls). So I passed on them. That is, until today. I got an order of tacos, quesadilla and taco balls. The description was all in Japanese, and what I could make out in my weak Japanese, was there was cheese. The tacos arrived first, then the quesadilla. And finally, taco balls.

Fried goodness. But what lay inside?

Glorious cheese.

The lighting in the restaurant was not the greatest for photos and further examination. These pics were taken with my cell phone, so not the greatest quality. The taco balls came with shredded cabbage and ketchup. Yes, ketchup. I tried a lil piece with the ketchup and it was not that great. I had some salsa left over from the complimentary chips and it tasted much better. There may have some chili pepper inside the balls, but I really couldn't tell. The cheese was just so darn delicious. Wonderful, fried cheese. Oh how I love thee.

After a lil searching online, I found the Sol Amigo website and menu. And of course, taco balls with a brief description was available. The translation program I have provides this mysterious nugget: The lovely rice ball where with the ろ け る cheese entered. I checked my Japanese dictionary for ろ け る (rokeru) but there was nothing listed. Any guesses?


Every weekday morning I wake up around 5:50. Take a shower. Read the headlines online. Check my email. Then I venture out the door at 6:45 to make my way to work. I don't really like to eat at home, feels like I am taking away from my time to wake up (if that makes sense). So on my ride to work I sometimes stop here. The Mini Stop.

It's a very new building, built maybe three months ago. Surrounded by fields for growing cabbage and green onions and a Radisson. Going into the store, the florescent lights and J-pop music lures me to cold beverages. At such an early hour, the store is sometimes filled with sleepy eyed truck drivers, construction workers and salary men stocking up on cans of coffee, cigarettes and rice balls. I stick with my favorite: a ham and cheese bun. Something about this baked good just makes me happy. I couldn't tell you what type of cheese it is; cheese here is an enigma. When I go to the store to buy groceries, my usual choices are between: pizza cheese and toast cheese. Sometimes there is a blend, but not clearly telling me what types of cheese are involved. Probably a blend of pizza and toast I guess. Anyways, the bun is coated with flour. The sensation of the flour and the soft bread with ham and cheese is wonderful. Coating my shirt and face. Oh sweet ham and cheese bun. You win every time.


So I have a bunch of pictures of gumball machines I need to post. These are from my time in Kumamoto. The machines posted here are very typical of machines throughout Japan today. This particular grouping of machines was in front of a new and used video game/DVD/ manga shop .

It's Ultraman! And the baddies from the beloved series. For ¥200, almost two dollars, the price seems a lil steep.

Thomas the Train? In Japanese it sounds more like Toe-masu. The toys in this machine are Thomas the Train....wait for it....mini gumball machines! Gumball machines that sell gumball machines. Who would have thunk it? Only in Japan I guess.

Go! Go! Frog Mobile! Frog Style Frog Mobile! Frog Style is a fairly popular brand of toys here in Japan. They make lots of lil charms for cell phones and bags. Apparently Frog Mobile is the vehicle series. With catch phrases like "I love surfing!", "I am No. 1!!" and "Where do you want to go?" you just can't go wrong.

I don't know who these characters are. I haven't seen them prior to this. It kinda looks like there are lil toilets. Maybe toilet charms? Yes, the Japanese love toilets and poop. Don't ask.


Otaku in the wild. Que sexy!


The Japanese love McDonald's. They just can't get enough of it. The shops are everywhere. In fact the mall by my house has two of them inside. Two! Nuts. A couple months back they introduced the Mega Mac. It's a Big Mac with twice the amount of meat patties. I remember seeing it advertised and thinking, "Wow, I bet that gives you horrible diarrhea." But before I could order one, they were gone. For a limited time only, and probably a good idea at that. There was a value meal that included: a Mega Mac, fries, soda, and chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets! What were they thinking? Well, it's back. And I had one.

They're back and for a limited time again, for a week at a time until the beginning of May. What I noticed missing this time was the lack of chicken nugget value menu. I guess they figured people were getting fat enough off of four meat pattied sandwiches. Here it is in all it's glory.

Oh, what a beast. And heavy too. Almost as big as a Smurf. The taste is awe inspiring. All the taste of a Big Mac but with more meat. They don't go overboard with more sauce or lettuce; the extra meat taste is strong but not so to just be all meaty. I just can't believe I ate the whole thing.

I have to say, I didn't get diarrhea. Quite the opposite indeed.