Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

japan tourist cafe shozo

I wrote about Nasu Shiobara's Cafe Shozo up in Tochigi for Japan Tourist. Great place!

Monday, February 25, 2013

coffee lounge

 How I love coffee, and lounging.
There is such a lot of good coffee and lounging to be had in Japan.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jenny does wine

My friend Jennifer Julien is a food expert, NHK TV personality, wine connoisseur, and lovely lady! Her recommendations are in Kaldi wine shops, and at a bargain too! Look out for them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lunar New Year

Happy Lunar New Year!

 Have a dragon-butt-shaking year, just like these bored gong bangers cold-weather revelers.

 We celebrated by eating annin soft serve and delicious Taiwanese sesame noodles served by a persnickety jichan in Chinatown.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


 Update: SOLEX has been adopted by a wonderful family!

Solex is a 2-3 year old Shih Tzu who was pulled from a high-kill pound in Okinawa by the rescue group Doggies Inc. He is a very friendly and sociable boy who gets along with other dogs and kids. He is great on a lead and is puppy-pad trained. Solex has short legs so he has a hard time jumping on your furniture! He has been neutered and vaccinated (8 way combo shot, rabies) and has received his first dose of Frontline and Heartgard. Solex wants to snuggle you and sit on your lap. You know you (or someone you know) wants to adopt an adorable Muppet-pup! He is being fostered at my place in Tokyo and is looking to meet his future family. Adoption fee is 14,000 yen. Please contact me or Doggies Inc. and please share! 
種類はシーズーで現在2~3歳の男の子です。この犬は沖縄の保健所から動物保護団体Doggies Inc.によって助けられました。とても人懐っこく社交的で、他の犬や子供とも仲良くできますよ。足が短いので、椅子やテーブルの上にのって暴れることもありません(笑)。また、トイレもペットシートの上にできるよう訓練されています。去勢手術、8種類のワクチン、ダニの処理、フィラリアの注射も既に済ませ準備万端。あなたに寄り添い、ひざの上に乗ることを待ち焦がれてます!とっても可愛い子なので、きっとずぅ~っと一緒にいたくなるはず!現在は東京にある私の家で過ごしながら、新しい家族を探しています。養子縁組にかかる費用は¥14,000です。ご興味がある方は是非、私(もしくはDoggies Inc.)までご連絡のほど、お願いいたします。シェアもお願いします!
Thank you Doggies Inc., Bedell family, and Blaine and Nobuko Hoy for rescuing/sponsoring/helping with his vetting and transport fees!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

back in Manila

Back to Manila, sprawling city with lots of people. Friendly people! With really great English (one of the PI's national languages). I learned a few phrases of Tagalog but even Tagalog is only one of the many languages and is not spoken everywhere.  
 Sewer wanted.
 Vegetarian food was kind of hard to come by in PI (most of the food is very meaty). However, one place we found was the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital cafeteria. A weird place to eat on vacation, I know, and kinda hard to find, but I was really happy once we did. The entire cafeteria is vegetarian, and included many veg versions of local dishes. Score!
Manila, you are pretty. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


We decided to try Boracay, from reading the tourism bureau's recommendations as the place that locals favor. We arrived to find that this is decidedly a resort island, with a few grand hotels and lots of touristy restaurants. While some (not all) parts of the island were sanitized and resort-y, I did appreciate the availability of food options.

An aside: I don't like pretending that I'm not a tourist when I am. When I'm traveling I try to give my money to people who will notice it and use it in their local economy, just like I do at home. I try not to use big international chains especially when I travel. But I am still a tourist and a stranger and someone who is not fluent in the language and culture. I try hard to be thoughtful and have a low impact and considerate of others and mindful of my surroundings, but the fact remains that I am a relatively privileged person with the means to travel. I know there is a pretentious notion against being a tourist, of being a "traveler" instead and hating on other people who have the gall to visit some secret place that the traveler feels they are the first outsider to have ever visited. Suck it up. If you don't actually live there, if you are not from a place, if you are visiting not because of work but because you have the relative freedom and money to travel to somewhere you don't live, you are a damn tourist. Fine, don't be a loud obnoxious person in Tevas and Bermuda shorts, but you are not a special snowflake. Be kind and learn things and get over yourselves.

Boracay is just beautiful. Beaches, sand, a few restaurants, a few moto-taxis, but it's not over the top. There are plenty of places to get away with just a short taxi ride. 
All I wanted to do was drink calamansi juice.
Lots of boats on the clear water.
 Grilled vegetable sandwich at one of the cafes in town.
Beach treasures
Toilets are euphemistically known as "comfort rooms" in the PI.
This is what it felt like. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

winter is coming

Finally got some snow. Yada. I'll take the sweat and humidity of summer any day.