Thursday, September 30, 2010
You might look at this photo and say, oh the poor kid, he looks so sad, but let me assure you, this is one cool commuter. OK, so maybe there's a little bit of resignation here. ("No, we are not taking a taxi today...")
Monday, September 27, 2010
I gather from this map that it was no biggie. It certainly didn't make headlines, at least none that I saw, but it's a remarkable event for me, because I hardly ever notice these things, and apparently they happen all the time. Should a really big one hit, I've got my Emergency Bag all packed and ready to go, though I'm not sure how much good it will do me.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The view from our room's entrance hallway (where you leave your shoes and make your way to the bath or toilet) makes it seem like we were in a suite (maybe the stones in the floor are supposed to massage our bare feet?)
We certainly liked New Hawaii's cafe better than ST's overly-genteel dining room. The menu was nothing special, really, except it did include a very tasty teriyaki-chicken pita sandwich, and the usual edamame, soft serve ice cream (choice of grape, caramel, vanilla or green tea) and other snacks. And beer on tap. And the bar lounge area rocked the Ikea furnishings and huge picture windows with seashore views.
In September, which is off-season, you can't get any food from 3pm-6pm over at the Terrace, because it's "tea time," while New Hawaii's cafe stays open all day, from 10 am - 9 pm. The Hawaii ladies working the cafe even heated up the bag of frozen ramen I bought for Conor at the 7-Eleven down the road, providing a bowl and spoon and everything.
We were also happy to discover that New Hawaii's onsen rooms were bigger and better too, and open from 1pm, 3 hours earlier than over at ST. Of course, the ST has those comfy loungers on a beautiful wooden deck overlooking the ocean. And a small pool. That is filled in mid-July, and drained on the eve of Aug. 31 (the official end of summer in Japan, according to the calendar if not the weather).
But ST doesn't have a Haagen Dazs vending machine in the lobby! (So that's TWO ice cream options at Hawaii. Last time we were at Sayan Terrace, they RAN OUT OF ICE CREAM leaving a half dozen children in tears. I am not making this up.)
The boys ate their cups of cookies-and-cream, purchased immediately upon check-in, in our room before changing into their swimsuits and heading for the sand.
Our Japanese-style room had the traditional tatami mat floor, low table, legless chairs and stacks of seat cushions on hand. (At some point late in the day while you're still out, hotel staff come into the room, push the table and chairs to the side and roll out the futons for you. The futons and all the bedding, and those dreadful pillows that feel like sacks of wood chips (??), are stored in the closet until then.
A sliding paper and wood screen door separated the dining/sleeping quarters from a tiny area that had a sink, two reading chairs, and a mini fridge, and this picture window:
Our view more than made up for the funky burnt-broccoli-like smell in the hallway.
The boys had no complaints.
I think the boys would've slept with those sticks if I had allowed them to bring them back to the room. (I really should sign them up for kendo classes. But they are already taking karate. More on that later.)
And what's a hotel without a beer vending machine in the basement?
Onjuku is 83 min. via the Wakashio Ltd. Express train from Tokyo station. (It's a JR Keiyo line.) Direct trains run every couple of hours; other trains require a transfer to a local line, which adds travel time. Hotel New Hawaii is a 5-min taxi ride from the station.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I'm sorry, I know this is juvenile of me but...
This looks like a hemorroid remedy, not a snack you buy at the cinema concession stand. Which is where I saw it, when Terry and I went to see SALT, the engrossing yet ultimately shallow and silly flick where Angelina Jolie proves she's skinny, but she's strong. (Name that 80s movie!)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
I hate to say it, but....add a couple of bike helmets and these boys look ready to knock on some doors ('Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?')
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Haruna Murayama of Japan, the first Japanese to win the title (it was the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe's sixth annual competition). Contenders from 31 other countries participated in the contest, held in London earlier this summer. An Australian came in second place, a Swede took third. Murayama had to produce six cups in 8 minutes to win. Her signature pattern is that of a drooping willow tree.
I wonder how Hiroshi over at Streamer feels about this.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I can't decide who is better at kicking ass -- Ukrainian-born actress/supermodel Milla Jovovich of the Resident Evil series (called Biohazard here in Japan) or U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie (Wanted, Salt). I haven't actually seen any of the Resident Evil movies but I did catch Milla in The Perfect Getaway, (a guilty pleasure -- don't think, just rent) and, of course, one of my all-time favorite flicks Dazed and Confused (where she does a kick-ass job applying Kiss makeup to a couple of statues).
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Todd Wassel, of Todd's Wanderings, on discovering Placenta!, the drink:
"It is no secret that the Japanese love English, not speaking it fluently, but pasting it on anything and everything to make it seem cooler. Most items make no sense and are just random words strung together. Others are more unfortunate, like the 5 year old girl in my elementary school English class who showed up wearing a t-shirt that said “Smack the Bitch and Pump the Hoes.” I’m still trying to figure out if this was supposed to be a gangster tag line or that of an enraged farmer. In her parent’s defense, it was pink and had cute little flowers on it.
So my natural reaction at seeing the drink Placenta, was that some poor office worker was asked to come up with an English word that conveyed health and vitality for their new line of vitamin supplement drinks. Unable to speak English he turned to his ever present electronic dictionary and the rest is marketing history. To my surprise, they knew exactly what they were doing." (One 30 ml bottle of Blended Pig Placenta sells for about $8.50.)
"More Japanese drink it than I could possibly imagine," Wassel writes. "So many people that a new, popular product line was developed of beverages of various placental concentrations (tastes like peaches!), capsules, an organic skin cream and a wearable facial mask filled with placental extract...."
As Wassel points out, those who practice Placentophagy – the storied, age-old tradition of placenta eating, on the rise again in the U.S. -- will totally dig this. I, however -- a mother of two who decidedly did not consume any part of either placenta (still, no judgments) -- do not.
You can read more of Todd's Wanderings here.