2008-11-30

Bridge Near Troubled Waters.

I got back from my weekend-long Bridge Tournament in 白石市 (Shiroishi) and I'm happy to say that I won big. Okay, I came fifth (out of 18) on the first match and then got paired up with my usual partner. He's an average player but occasionally forgets conventions leading us into defeat. I got tons of praise for my playing by several opponents but we scored between 10th & 15th on later games. So how did I come out a big winner? I won 1000 yen worth of gift certificates redeemable in any book store. Woohoo!

As for the hotel itself, Katsura, it's set off in the sticks cosily surrounded by mountains and a babbling brook. Somewhat rustic, the modern conveniences are not quite modern but it was still a nice place to visit (until next year's Tournament, that is.) The food was terrific with so much healthy eats, my body can't take all that nutrition! While everyone took another dip in the Onsen on Saturday night, I went for a walk and star-gazed. I could only see a fraction of the sky due to the mountains, but what I saw was glorious. It was a lovely brisk evening and I could view Orion in all its grandeur. My colleagues all thought I was nuts going outside in the cold, but you can only prune yourself in warm
waters so often.

Other than the gift certificates, I managed to pilfer some Yuzu tea (I'll have to dip some of my Yuzu KitKats in it!)











So how did I spend my big winnings, I bought a Manga that came with a free "ああっ女神さまっ or Oh, My Goddess" figure and was a little disappointed. The manga is your typical 945-page monstrosity but the 92 pg Zombie Men series is only mediocre though I have yet to peruse it fully.

And, hey, I chatted up one of the few people in the place younger than myself and may actually have a Bridge partner if I ever play in Tokyo!

2008-11-28

A Simple Reminder...

Tomorrow night is Echophonyk so come on down if you have the time. For those of you who don't have the time, you can always listen to previous Echos, in particular DJs Taka & Mokugohan's creepy Halloween hits.

My blogging will be sporadic over the weekend for I'm off on a 2-day Onsen trip with the bridge club gang. Here's hoping I get a Grand Slam or two!

2008-11-27

For チョコレート Lover, & クッキー Lover.


It's always feast or famine with the Nestle folks. We can go weeks without a new flavour and then we get several within a few days. I just got over the influx of two different cheesecake concoctions, when now I've been inundated with 2 different sizes of クッキープラス (Cookies+) which is a mix of KitKat wafers with a brown chocolate cookie that looks and tastes suspiciously like an Oreo. I wonder what rival Nabisco has to say about that?


We have two different sizes, the normal wafer-length 2-pack at 130¥ or the box of 8 mini-wafers at 210¥. This has fast become my favourite KitKatian snack in a long time...




To whet your appetite for a bit of Oreo goodness, here is Riko Narumi taking a bite. (She was in one of my favourite movies, The Great Yokai War.)



On the back of one of the boxes, we get this cool quote, "For Chocolate Lover, For Cookie Lover." (The Japanese language has no natural plural, so no Lovers here.)

2008-11-25

More Cheesecake Photos!

Once again I welcome the Googlers out there searching for Naughty Photos of Cheesecake, but like that link attests, they're sure to be disappointed.

No instead I offer KitKat's latest concoction: Cheesecake-flavoured! I'd been anticipating these since I first read about them and I'm not surprised to find them more expensive than your average wafer.










As you can see here, you can get them individually wrapped for 40¥ or in a box of 5 for 200¥...no bargains to be found here! You can choose from either Strawberry or Blueberry (my preference is for the Blueberry) and I will state that they are good, but not quite worth you have to pay for them. You be the judge...



While we're talking about snacks, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the latest campaign by http://www.ezaki-ペロティ マガジン which has marketed GeGeGe, DevilMan & 009, amongst others. These choco-lollipop type treats allow you to eat the heads of your favourite characters. Mmmm, brains.






Along the same lines, one can find the 50th Anniversary of these characters including ラムちゃん and 8-マン (8-Man) starring in their own spicy & crunchy treats.


Finally, my old nemesis is back: the Choco-egg! These dangerous Kinder-like eggs contain animals, birds and the ever-addicting Dinosaur! I would love to buy up a bunch of these but I'm on a tight budget, so I'll survive with just the one, but I got the T-Rex, WooHoo!

2008-11-23

Keeping Out Of Trouble?

There's plenty or trouble to get into in the following few weeks if you're around town. Most importantly in the immediate future is a brand new Echophonyk on November 28th.

Here are some details:

11/28 (FRIDAY) ECHOPHONYK 20.00-LATE
at: CLUB SHAFT

*GUEST-LIST*¥2000
(2 DRINKS + ECHO MIX CD)
EMAIL NAME TO
Echo Guestlist

*DOOR*
¥2000 (1 DRINK)

*INTERNATIONAL DJS*

DJ MIXTURE (LONDON UK)
DJ DITA (JAPAN)
DJ MOKUGOHAN (CANADA)
DJ NORI (JAPAN)
DJ TAKA (JAPAN)
DJ PINK KARE (COLUMBIA)
DJ TATER (USA)

*VJ NORI* (N DESIGN STUDIO)

*PRODUCTION/LIGHTING DESIGN*
A.A.A.JP

*LIVE RECORDING*
SOUND DUG (USA)

INFO: INFO


By the way, one can join the throngs of people listening to the Echophonyk Podcasts from Halloween to catch up on what's been shaking. Can you believe that these things often end up in the top 1000-2000 out of 30000? Astounding. (Though I suspect DJ Mixture ends up clicking it himself 100 times a day, just to listen to his Mixture Podcasts...you can do the same by clicking that link, if you'd like.)

The following day, I'm heading off to play Bridge at an Onsen all weekend. When I said, "But won't the cards get wet?" They then explained that we won't be playing bridge while bathing...I'm glad they cleared that up!

On December 6th is a special event that deserves its own post, so be patient.

But on December 7th is Adorable Akari's first event as producer/manager/promoter!

Here are the details in Japanese, but the wiser amongst my readership should be able to figure it out:

ありえない超豪華メンツでおおくりする
ロックンローーーーーーォオオルパーティ~
絶対見逃せないLINE UPです 

絶対来て! これをみないでは年を越せませんよ!
ロックンロールジャンキーズ 

ARE YOU GUYS READY?   

◎TRUBLE ROCK FESTIVAL!!'08◎
・THE CHOCOLATES
・THE HAVENOT'S
・ゴーグルエース
・The Woggles from USA
・BLUE III
・雪山遭難隊
・The Black Light Junkys
・JETT3
・Middle's

●詳細●
*2008/12/7 (SUN)
*LIVE HOUSE enn

*16:15 OPEN 16:30 START *TICKET ADV\2500 DOOR\3000
チョコレイツさんレコ発、 仙台のブラックライトジャンキーズもレコ発  

もぅこの冬マストなイベントでしょ?
HotなLIVEで盛り上がりましょ☆・。*

For info & tickets, drop a line to Kenta
ps. click on any of the above flyers for a biggie legible version.

2008-11-20

All Hallowed Out.

I've postponed it long enough and it's now time to clean up my place since the Great Pumpkin tore my apartment apart looking for costume ideas. Following are some scans of my latest Halloween sensation, the Caveman: (the results of which can be witnessed back here.)

First take one large swath of tiger skin. One can go to India and track, kill & skin your own, but I went the easier route of buying one at a used goods shop about 5 years ago. These days tracking down a used goods shop is about as easy as hunting a tiger, so suit yourself.






See my vest, see my vest made from real zebra chest.







The tri-toed slippers are important. Either go back in time and pick them up at Zellers 20 years ago or try and find a pair elsewhere. Good luck finding them in adult sizes these days.









For the more modest caveperson on the go, it's important to wear some King Kong boxer shorts. This has the added advantage of containing your dangly bits and preventing possible indecent exposure charges.




It isn't necessary to have your ass, "ROAAAARR!!!" but it doesn't hurt either.






As your more fashionable Cave-dweller can attest, it's important to accessorize! Start off with a lovely Dream-catcher from Canada. You can pick them up in any souvenir shop in Niagara Falls, but try and get an authentic one from Nelson, BC like I did.






A couple of VooDoo dolls are important to add a spark of realism to your outfit. You can buy some crappy K-Mart dolls but it's best to shop in New Orleans to guarantee that they pack some whammy. Sure they may be anachronistic, but my Shrunken Head was at the cleaners.






Fortunately leopards wander the forests of Japan in such great quantities that they are not at all endangered and the Japan Wildlife Commission encourages you to kill them and sell leopard-skinned goods at your local 100¥ shop.







At that same 100¥ shop, one can find a noise maker-horn that thanks to a generous wrapping in masking tape garners one a handy-dandy club.







It is necessary to be particularly adept at UFO Catcher in order to capture one of these rare spotted pyppets (python-puppets) alive.






Add a few poorly scanned beasts to your repetoire (sorry, too lazy to photograph properly) such as this wooden Jackal head. It's best to wear a hat and attach it to that, for it takes great poise to keep it balanced upon one's noggin.








Include a UFO catch Wolf & life-size King Kong head to wrap around your wrist as proudly displayed trophies and you're pretty much guaranteed to wow all the guests at your next Halloween party.
Soups On!

The other day I met an old pal for lunch at Soup Stock Tokyo. She had the Borscht, I had some Creamy seafoody-concoction that tasted like Tomato Soup. I had a bite of hers, go for the Borscht. I've walked by this place (near the S-Pal II exit to the new Parco, btw) and it's always packed with women. I never see a guy in there so that discouraged me to enter until I was accompanied by the fairer sex. Worth checking out.


Anyway, I met up with this former paramour whom I previously saw at her wedding party last March.






This is what she looks like now! (In a parallel universe - probably one in which I have a goatee, that belly infestation could have been half mine. Ah, well...)








Anyway, we wondered around the Parco for I wanted to check out their Lego display. It is now over but I did manage to snap a few photos of some World Heritage Sites. They had a room full of them, but it woulda cost me 300 to enter. I felt the models scattered around the mall were sufficient. Here we see Macho Pikachu atop Lima, Peru.

The Colosseum of Roma, but where is Ben Hur?







The Great Wall-e of China.











The Taj Mahal. If you look closely, you can see Apu.










NO idea whatsoever as to what this is...a teepee?







This some kind of Sphinx (man, I wish I'd taken a memo so I could remember each of these.)












Some hippie...groovy baby.











This guy was taking my picture just when I was taking his!










Who knew that George Lucas has become a Heritage Site? Like he needs another excuse to feed his giant ego!

2008-11-19

Nothing Could Be Finer...

Than to watch the 89ers in the morning (well, afternoon.) Thanks to a freebie tickets from Ando, DJ Mixture, Dom's wife & children, Magnificent Michiko & I attended an Sendai 89ers game last Sunday. Being a short little bugger, I've never been a fan of these Brobdingnagian rejects dribbling all over the court, but I was surprisingly caught up in the excitement of the game and enjoyed it thoroughly.


Granted, the company I was in helped my enjoyment, though the game itself was fairly gripping as well.

They pretty much dominated the first half, but were behind throughout the 3rd quarter and didn't regain the lead until the last 3 minutes yet still managed to retain it.


I auditioned for the team, but alas didn't make the cut for their recent line-up. But I must say, I look good in yellow!

But who cares about the game, when during every timeout, the Cheerleaders came on and enthralled the audience with their gyrations.






One of the dancers looked gosh-darn familiar and I was certain it was a former Tokiwagi student/ Seiwa teacher who left the school 2 years ago to get hitched. She was a dance teacher & gymnast, so I was not at all surprised to see her dancing with these sirens. I set up a meeting with her via one of the floor-hostesses in order to invite her cheer-mates to the next Echophonyk event. Was my face red when I realized that she was not the person I thought she was, but I handed her some flyers and she was gracious enough to pose with me.

Here's a few seconds of Tyna, the Lionesque mascot, boogieing with the GoGo-Girls:



Michiko & I parted company from the other fans and went to see a movie. Unfortunately there wasn't anything worth seeing, so we went for Sushi instead. It was extremely delicious!

By the way, can anyone explain to me why our team is called the "89ers" and why they have a yellow lion as a mascot?

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