Archive for September, 2004

Salsita

Salsita Mexican Cafe & Bar is located in Ebisu. The address is 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西1−3−2 but if kanji and chome numbers are useless to you then take the JR to Ebisu station. Go out the west exit, turn right and hit the crosswalk towards NOVA, walk down the street to the right of NOVA, take the first small street on your right and mindblowing cuisine is only 100m down on your left (the only thing on your right is traintracks, this is how you will know if *you* are on track…gag).

The chef’s name is Moriyama Koji and he studied/apprenticed in Mexico, then returned to share the wondrous things he learned there with us. He is a beautiful, beautiful man. Nothing you eat is prepared by any hands other than Mr. Moriyama’s, and nothing you order is begun until after you’ve ordered it. The attention to detail is fanatical and the results are….astounding. It’s a one-man show, moving at glacial speed by Tokyo standards. Time dilates inside this tiny restaurant, so you and thirteen other guests can enjoy, in addition to a fantastic meal, respite from this hyperkinetic town.

Most dishes are straightforward Mexican or TexMex fare, but a must-have on the menu is the shrimp and avocado cocktail, featuring some of the sweetest cocktail shrimp I’ve ever eaten in an olive, tomato, jalape

Metroblog Message Boards

Other cities have put this up so I thought I’d clue Tokyo readers in as well. The Metroblogging Message Boards are live as of a few days ago. Head over, take the Gladiator’s Oath and let the battles begin… :)

Monster

Monster is out in Tokyo theatres now. I am a bit surprised they released this in Japan, notwithstanding the Oscar imprimatur it received, but I caught the late show and the theatre was more or less full, which I thought was neat.

I can only encourage you to watch this movie if you have not seen it yet. I just got back from watching it for the first time tonight. I feel like Charlize Theron’s awards are well-deserved after seeing her performance. I have been to the Florida panhandle a few times, and I never found it to be a particularly uplifting environment, their is ample poverty and a sullen, depressive quality to that part of America that comes to the fore in the most visceral way in the film. It is not a happy experience, but if you think film is valuable as social commentary, as an occasional reminder (however you might quibble with the flaws or the film’s version of the “truth”…the pat answer is to say “watch the documentary if you want the truth” – but I don’t think that word really applies in film, look there’s political/social commentary from the very start, before you even get past the title of the documentary you already strongly suspect the verdict rendered by its creators) of the parts of life that you try not to think about most of the time, then I hope you will watch this film.

Train, subway and car in Tokyo

Nobody is able to avoid traffic jam in big city but Tokyo is horrible when it comes to transportation. Subways and trains are running everywhere in Tokyo, but still there is a big problem.

If you have ever been to Roppongi in night, you probably know certain number of people running into subway around 24:00. Last train.
Train and subway are main transportation in Tokyo. But it closes operation around 24:00, starts running around 5:00. It is no good. And this is the reason why I stopped hanging out in Tokyo area anymore. I don’t want to stay up all night at bar or whatever. I want to sleep when I need to sleep. People living in Tokyo area is fine because they can take a cab to home. But if I take taxi to home, it costs over 20000JPY. It’s insane.

Second, trains are always crowded. Especially morning and evening, all cars are super packed. I hate commute but there is no choice. I think it is a part of the reason why people jumping in railtracks everyday. (and train will be late, and it brings another packed train).

In suburb, car is a popular transportation. as you might already guess, traffic jam in everywhere:P
Highway is just a highway, not express way. Toll is very expensive (from my home to Mt.Fuji, toll costs about 3000JPY for one way) and gas is expensive too. I really don’t understand why I have to pay so much.
Also parking is A big problem in Tokyo. It is almost a mission impossible to find a place to park with no/small cost. Literally, it is impossible. Even you pay, it is still difficult.
Everytime friend come to my place, me and friend have to drive around to find a parking. It is not actually parking, we have to park on street anyway. Parking ticket is very expensive then, we have to check the car every 30mins. It is a big mystery of Japan. We sell a bunch of cars but we don’t have parking. Why don’t they build parking lot?

Me and friend agreed that we would build a tower of parking lot if we get lottery win so we can make more money!

Nara at Hara

E and I took a walk over to one of our favorite spots in Tokyo on Sunday- the Hara Museum. August 11 to October 11, “Yoshitomo Nara- From the Depth of my Drawer” is as good an excuse as any to get there if you haven’t been yet. Housed in a really interesting 1930’s house, the museum is worth visiting no matter what the current exhibit is (but it is usually something interesting).

ynara.jpg
“Fountain of Life” Copyright 2001, Yoshitomo Nara.
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Indian

Went for Indian curry at Minar. If you ever end up in Fussa city, visit Minar in the Dai-3 Marusawa Bldg. It is on the 2F.

Strike!

Japanese baseball sees its first strike in 70 years! [Linkage]. Whatever happens, I hope they add more teams. I mean, 12 teams do not really make for an interesting season. Each prefecture [Link]should have its own team. Okay, maybe not each prefecture, but at least half.

New Arrivals

You probably know or have heard at least some of the deomgraphic bullet points on Japan. According to the wikipedia (and I bet it’s been said a couple hundred-thousand times, but what a beautiful site…look at that URL – concise and human-readable, mmmmm). Here’s some highlights: the population-count currrently stands at 129 Million; about 65 Million of them live on just 7,558 of Japan’s 377,899 square kilometers (that’s 8,600 people/sq km); Foreign Citizens make up 2% of the total population, and foreigners from native-english speaking countries about 0.1-0.2% (aside: in 2001 native Japanese represented 0.1% of total US Pop.).

So while Tokyo has around 40,000 Americans and thousands of other English-speaking people, we are still somewhat unique and our presence seems to almost invariably inspire this question, from other English-speakers just as often as from native Nihonjin, “Why did you come to Japan?”

This is an interesting but difficult question for me…for two reasons. The first is (I think) the result of my upbringing in the US. Our cultural/educational indoctrination (absent home-schooled religious fundamentalists and crazy, backwoods militias) instills in the majority of us the idea that in broad terms, immigration is a “Good Thing

Clean Up

The third Sunday of every month is Building Clean (BC) up day (this excites me to no end /sarcasm.) BC is SUPPOSED to start at 7 AM. 7 AM! Unfortunately, the other tenants cannot tell time, so they usually start around 6:45 AM and finish at 7 AM. In an effort to fit in and avoid the $ 10 U.S.D. fine, I comply.

Individual floor BC consists of a) sweeping around the elevator, b) sweeping the stairwell, c) mopping the areas from a and b. Grounds BC consists of a) standing around, b) standing around and talking, c) sweeping the same leaf from one end of the road to the other, d) complaining while standing around, e) spreading gossip while picking at the same weed (not the smokeable kind) for 10 mins – poor weed, f) sweeping garbage into the bushes, g) avoiding the gaijin, h) making several circuits around the building asking if anyone needs help, and i) sweeping up a bunch of garbage, hunting down a dustpan, hunting down a bag or someone holding a bag, taking bag, or person with bag, back to the garbage you have swept up neatly, depositing garbage into bag, finding someone who needs help, helping them with whatever they are doing, and then heading upstairs once everything is done. Once upstairs, lift all heavy items for the senior citizens (cannot let them injury their delicate backs), mop, clean mops, and then bail back to your apartment and blog about BC on Tokyo.Metblogs.

Oume Line PowerBook Carriage?

So, I hop on the train at my station and look around for a seat. What I found instead was this [View image.] The iBook user had a USB Air-H adaptor. (I looked into getting one of those, but the plans seemed a bit out of my range.) If I could have found a seat, I would have whipped my black PB out and joined the fun.

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