Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Juno was my first foster dog through Doggies Inc., the organization down in Okinawa for which I transported Miller/Bowie to the U.S. on that ill-fated trip back in September (He's so happy now! He has his own Facebook profile.).

Juno was pretty scruffy when he was brought in. He had obviously been very neglected or on the street a long time. Long matted hair, sores on his skin where the mats had gotten really bad.

After a stint down in Oki with no takers, he came up to Tokyo to try to find a home here.

Within a short period, we had made contact with an adopter who adopted cats from JCN, whose father was interested in getting a dog after losing his cherished Yorkie a year or two ago.

Mr. A had suffered from some depression, but after Juno came, he felt much better having a companion. They take care of each other.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jenny Jenny spinna spinna

Jenny got adopted by a great family! I love that girl.
I have this tape in my car (yeah my car has a tape deck, what) that I found in my house that someone in the family made. It's probably been around since before Buddha.
It's a mix tape of hits from the early '60s and has a bunch of great oldies. One of the songs is called "Jenny Jenny" and it's by an artist called Yasushi Suzuki.

When I was in Fukushima we would drive around and sing along to the tape. We'd get back to the shelter and we'd sing it to her. We'd sing it and dance around in Yuuko's kitchen.
Jenny was picked up in Minami Soma with her brother Kenny and about ten other puppies that were in the road. 
She's gonna be such a great forever friend. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

soy milk story

Little flavored soy milk boxes are common in Japan, easy to find in supermarkets and drug stores for about 90yen a pop. I'm determined to try them all. This is an incomplete list.

Annin (apricot pit)

Fruit mix


Kinako (roasted soy powder)


Black sesame

Black tea

Sesame honey

Sweet red bean soup

Roasted sweet potato
Vanilla ice cream

Saturday, December 01, 2012

mo' mayo

It's a mayonnaise graduation. I had earlier spouted the virtues of this nice, vegan albeit expensive soy mayo. But now! A new vegan mayonnaise has come over the horizon!


(Mayo dressing made without eggs.)

At my local grocery, this dude scans for a mere 288 yen. An almost 500 yen savings compared to its competitor. And it is very nice. It's made by a mainstream company which should make it pretty easy to find.

No longer do I have to shell out mad bux nor import Nayonnaise in my suitcase.  Hurrah!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

milk hall kamakura

Wave first showed me this place a few years ago. She brought her bike, because she is a local. It's in an alley, and if you are a tourist you probably wouldn't find it.
Outside Milk Hall in the alley. Photo by Nami.
I came again with N a year or so later, but it was under renovation. There was a tiny corner open for business, with a handkerchief bar. We ate ice cream, they played records.
From their website
Matt and I have met here for coffee a couple of years in a row. It's dark wood and glass, a kissaten juke joint. It's moody and varnished and they have good taste in music. Milk Hall Kamakura.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

cafe shozo nasu


We decided to make the trip up to Nasu to see Matt's show there and I'm so glad we did.

Pulling into the town on a crispy fall evening, we found a warmly lit cafe with a rustic clothing shop below. Glass jars of coffee beans gleamed on the shelves next to packets of handmade shortbread biscuits. Once upstairs, we chose a corner table next to a heater in the yellow glow, with pretty lamps and stylish clientele scattered around. The Wien coffee and cake set was delicious.

When it came time for the doors to open, we made our way next door and up the narrow staircase to the venue. A bar was positioned in the back, serving drinks and hot soup and a few other nums. Mismatched chairs lined the area in front of the stage, which was lit by dozens of candles.
This country is filled with the most beautiful of little shops and cafes in the unlikeliest of places. Cafe Shozo in Nasu. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

fleas abound

At our flea market booth at the Koenji festival, we met many dog friends who were happy to snack on the rawhide Crunchkins greeting cards that were our stand's special omake.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

bar derek and the dominoes

On a small shotengai leading from Shin Maruko station in Kawasaki there is a tiny roots bar called Derek and the Dominoes.

It's small and dark and offers many kinds of whisky and frequent live music, specializing in artists and styles from the U.S. American South.

I saw my friend Matt there this time and Scrappy Jud Newcomb three years ago. You can find the coolest stuff in the unlikeliest and most unassuming of places.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sorry I'm late

The station masters give out these little cards when the train is significantly delayed (more than a few minutes) so you can give them to your boss or fuming boyfriend to prove you're not lying about the train being late.
Delayed train certificate

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kaisha toilet etiquette

Rules I have observed but don't always observe

Upon entering the restroom, if another lady is present, you must greet her with Otsukaresama desu! (Wassup, fellow laborer!)

Please use the sound princess to muffle the sound of your pee. Under no circumstances should your discharge be audibly recognizable. If no sound princess is installed, you must repeatedly flush the toilet while peeing/pooing to mask the sound. Environment be damned. If available, please also use the "powerful deodorizer" button.

Use the cabinet in the restroom to keep your lady toiletries. Keeping tampons in one's desk is unladylike.

A few minutes after lunch, you should join the klatsch of tooth-brushers doing a community polishing. Five or six to a mirror is fine. Try not to spit on your neighbor.

Except when tooth polishing and gossiping, the user should evacuate quickly if another user enters the restroom. Failure to cede the entire area to the incoming user will result in dirty looks and sighing.

Anything to add?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

mirror lake

My dear Oregon is a dream for hiking, so when my sis proposed a hike out to Mirror Lake, where I hadn't yet been, I was game.
Photo courtesy of Cassandra, taken by some friendly hiker ladies we met along the way.

About an hour east of Portland on the I-26, Mirror Lake is a gentle hike that leads to the pretty lake reflecting Mount Hood.
photo by Melvin

We also managed to find a geocache along the way, Melvin's first.
photo by Melvin

This would be a pretty place for a swim in the summer. I got stuck in a bog and had mud up to mid calf. That's what happens when you wander off the path.

photo by Cassandra

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

a visit to the pumpkin patch

My sis wanted to take all of our child-friends to the pumpkin patch (she's a very cool fake aunt) so I found a groupon to Lee Farms and off we went.

It was a fine fall day.
There were lots of things to entertain the kiddos in addition to squash, so as they powered from hay maze to barn slide I snacked on a caramel apple and listened to a bard doing Jake Johnson and Bob Marley covers out of the corner of my ear.

The pumpkins were a bit expensive, and while I truly want to support small farms, 10x the price of the grocery store is a little hard to swallow. Still, a good time was had. (Faux) country living!