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Cold days and hot corn soup

September 25, 2009 15 comments
I grew up in Northern Michigan, so needless to say, I am accustomed to dealing with cold weather. The average year in Upper Michigan can be characterized as 9 months of winter, and 3 months of bad skiing.
Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but the winter snows can start snowing as early as late October and the snow is not usually all melted until well into April.
I even remember one time when I was a kid, it actually SNOWED on the 4th of July. True Story! That was before the record snowfall winter of 1978-1979 when 390.4 inches of snow fell in one winter season. That’s 32 and a half feet of snow!!! Pretty crazy.
But seeing that I have not spent a winter there since 1994, I have started to get a little soft when it comes to cold weather. Just today I took a trip to Kamakura, via Yokohama. (Pictures from Kamakura to follow on the next journal entry) The day was really overcast. A thick blanket of clouds had set in the night before and the whole day was dim. Kind of like fluorescent lighting outdoors.
Without any sunshine it never really had a chance to warm up during the day. And after the sun went down it really started to get cold, relatively speaking.
I spent most of the day walking around Kamakura taking photos, climbing a lot of temple stairs and bobbing and weaving my way through the crowds. I kept moving enough so I was able to stay warm.
After taking a couple hundred photos I then swung through Yokohama on my way home. I stopped at Yokohama station so I could do some “guy shopping” as I like to call it. Guy shopping is just like girl shopping, the only difference is the type of products that are being looked at. I checked out all the major camera and electronics stores around the station. I always like to poke around and check out the latest gadgets to hit the shelves, just in case I happen to find something that I just can’t live without.
I found a couple of neat things, but not anything I had not seen before. I expect that with the holiday season coming there should be some new gadgets entering the stores in time for the holiday buying rush. I’ll check again in a couple of weeks to see if there is anything new.
After the sun had gone down it really started to get cold. (Not that I actually saw a sunset, it just got dark, like a big dimmer switch being applied to that outdoor fluorescent lighting) Since I was no longer hiking around and generating enough of my own internal body heat to keep me warm I stopped by one of the ever-present vending machines to get myself something hot to drink.
The great thing about vending machines in Japan is that they vary the selection depending on the season. While there is always a wide range of flavors to choose from, in the winter the increase the number of hot items for sale and also add a couple of interesting choices.
One of the most odd, at least before you get the chance to try it, is hot Corn Soup in a can.
I know it sounds a little weird, but believe me. Nothing hits the spot when your cold like a can of hot corn soup. The only gripe I have is that the can is really small. The word “dinky” comes to mind when I start to describe it. I am able to suck the entire thing down in one gulp. I guess I could buy a few more, but at 100 Yen a mouthful, it could get pretty expensive to fill yourself up on the stuff.
In addition to warming you on the inside, the hot cans also serve to warm your hands up. Many times I have seen people buy a can of hot corn soup or hot coffee and use it primarily as a hand warmer. Only drinking it after they have transferred most of the cans heat to their hands.
I hope you enjoyed this journal entry….^_I grew up in Northern Michigan, so needless to say, I am accustomed to dealing with cold weather. The average year in Upper Michigan can be characterized as 9 months of winter, and 3 months of bad skiing.

See todays pictures HERE.

I grew up in Northern Michigan, so needless to say, I am accustomed to dealing with cold weather. The average year in Upper Michigan can be characterized as 9 months of winter, and 3 months of bad skiing.

Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but the winter snows can start snowing as early as late October and the snow is not usually all melted until well into April.

I even remember one time when I was a kid, it actually SNOWED on the 4th of July. True Story! That was before the record snowfall winter of 1978-1979 when 390.4 inches of snow fell in one winter season. That’s 32 and a half feet of snow!!! Pretty crazy.

But seeing that I have not spent a winter there since 1994, I have started to get a little soft when it comes to cold weather. I recently spent a day in Kamakura, via Yokohama. The day was really clear, but there was still the definite chill of approaching autumn in the air.

I spent most of the day walking around Kamakura taking photos, climbing a lot of temple stairs and bobbing and weaving my way through the crowds. I kept moving enough so I was able to stay warm.

After taking a couple hundred photos I then swung through Yokohama on my way home. I stopped at Yokohama station so I could do some “guy shopping” as I like to call it. Guy shopping is just like girl shopping, the only difference is the type of products that are being looked at. I checked out all the major camera and electronics stores around the station. I always like to poke around and check out the latest gadgets to hit the shelves, just in case I happen to find something that I just can’t live without.

I found a couple of neat things, but not anything I had not seen before. I expect that with the holiday season coming there should be some new gadgets entering the stores in time for the holiday buying rush. I’ll check again in a couple of weeks to see if there is anything new.

After the sun had gone down it really started to get cold. Since I was no longer hiking around and generating enough of my own internal body heat to keep me warm I stopped by one of the ever-present vending machines to get myself something hot to drink.

The great thing about vending machines in Japan is that they vary the selection depending on the season. While there is always a wide range of flavors to choose from, in the winter the increase the number of hot items for sale and also add a couple of interesting choices.

One of the most odd, at least before you get the chance to try it, is hot Corn Soup in a can.

I know it sounds a little weird, but believe me. Nothing hits the spot when your cold like a can of hot corn soup. The only gripe I have is that the can is really small. The word “dinky” comes to mind when I start to describe it. I am able to suck the entire thing down in one gulp. I guess I could buy a few more, but at 120 Yen a mouthful, it could get pretty expensive to fill yourself up on the stuff.

In addition to warming you on the inside, the hot cans also serve to warm your hands up. Many times I have seen people buy a can of hot corn soup or hot coffee and use it primarily as a hand warmer. Only drinking it after they have transferred most of the cans heat to their hands.

Categories: cool Tags:

Castaway

May 16, 2009 4 comments

Click HERE for today’s photos

Since I have been so busy lately, I have not been able to make it to the past two meetups of the Tokyo Cameras Photo Club.  That’s why I decided to organize a small get together  in Kamakura last weekend for some of the members.

Weather-wise, we could not have had a better day, and we capped the afternoon off with a stop-off at n Izakaya near Kamakura station.   It was exactly what I needed, and even though Kamakura is a very well beaten path for me, I still enjoyed myself.  Same place, but different light.  That’s what makes photography such a continued passion for me.

Currently I am in Diego Garcia.  If you don’t know where that is, then draw a line between Madagascar and Sri Lanka, and at the point directly South of the Seychelles you will find Diego Garcia.  I arrived here last Tuesday and will be staying through next Thursday before flying back to Japan.

And while the work is keeping me very busy, I do have this weekend to relax and explore.  Today I took a long bike ride down one arm of the atoll and spent the better part of the day on a deserted beach, all by myself.  It has been a long time since I last experienced solitude like that, and it was an entirely cleansing experience.

I found a great spot, just up from the high tide mark that is shaded by palm trees leaning out over the beach.  Looking out over the lagoon I could neither see nor hear any indication of human presence.  No power lines, no roads, nothing.  Not one single thing to make the place appear to be inhabited.  The only indication of human activity was my own footprints on the beach.

It was there that I smoothed out the seashells and sand to form a bed where I could take a nap, for how long, I have no idea.  You see, I did not take a watch, as that would have been totally counter productive to the reason I was there.  I drifted off to sleep with the waves softly lapping at the shore, and the rustle of the palm fronds in the sea breeze as my only company.

Upon waking I noticed that the water had ridden the incoming tide and had crept up a bit closer to my own private paradise.  I then proceeded to have a light snack and packed up my impromptu camp so I could wander my way down the coastline, taking in the sea birds, crabs, sea turtles, and the occasional black tipped reef shark or stingray as they cruised the shoreline in pursuit of schools of fish who were in turn looking for their own next meal.

It is a complete privilege to experience a place like this.  There are not too many truly unspoiled places remaining on this earth, I feel very lucky o be able to experience one of them.

I love my job.

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Razor Phone

April 21, 2009 12 comments

Click Here for todays photos.

I have always been amazed at the features that have been added to cell phones over the years.  

You have GPS navigation, electronic money, pedometers, video and still cameras, mp3 players, mp4 players, calendars,…   yes, the list seems endless.  And then with the introduction of the iPhone things got even more interesting and it seemed the days of the famous Star Trek communicator had finally come true.

But just when I thought they could not cram any more useful features into a cellphone, here comes the Razor Phone.  

No, not  This Razor, I’m talkng about a true  Razor Phone, as in a cellphone with a built in electric shaver.  

Be still my beating heart!  

As strange as this concept first seems, I can see this being pretty popular with the salaryman set here in Japan.  It will be great for those office workers that get their five-o’clock shadow at 1 in the afternoon, or those salarymen that want to spruce themselves up before a last minute late in the day meeting.

I’m just not sure if it has a vibrate mode.  

My guess is no.  

Because if it did it might be easy to mistakenly (and quite literally) jump out of your pants if the thing started vibrating while you had it in one of your front pockets.  Nothing like the threat of imminent (re)circumsize by Razor Phone to get the heart going.

It looks like I will be taking part in another episode of Cool Japan sometime soon.  I’ll keep  you all posted as things firm up.

Categories: cool, technology

This is just… Cool.

February 19, 2009 6 comments

I don’t usually do this, but this update is just the posting of a link.  

But it’s a really cool link.

It shows what Tokyo would look like if all the pavement and asphalt was replaced with grass. 

Kind of like a dream….

Categories: cool Tags: ,