Ret’s Rink – Tape, Collective Housing, Instant Ramen, Daburu Koron and お出かけ

Delayed edition of Ret’s Rink – apologies: I’ve wanted to post this for a while but haven’t been able to. My imminent return to the U.S. has me preoccupied.

Big (only) in Japan? Tape as proof of purchase

Obvious to many, annoying to some, tape is a way of life in Japan. It’s an easy way to avoid using excess baggage in this baggy land o bags. Tokyo is not nearly as strict when it comes to reusing bags to throw out garbage. I remember the Lithuanian artists who lived up in Fukushima. They couldn’t understand why you had to buy special trash bags when the grocery store gives you bags for free.

Apartment shares in Japan draw a share of the herd

Last week I went back to the small town in Fukushima where I spent three years. I met up with the English conversation class and some other close friends to say my goodbyes. I also dropped by the elementary schools and junior high school where I taught. I ate lunch with the junior high schoolers and sat across from one of the punks who liked me as a teacher but didn’t particularly enjoy English. He was trying to be a bit of a badass throughout the meal (steal my milk etc.), so I was surprised to hear him say, “Daniel-sensei, your Japanese got better since you left Nishiaizu.” I don’t feel like my spoken Japanese has improved much, but I guess it has. Hooray for collective housing!

If you look at that article close enough, you should be able to figure out who I rent my apartment from. If you got in touch with him, I’m sure he might be able to help locate or set up an apartment share for you.

Yen for Living also had a post about increased collective housing among the locals.

No Konbini No Life: instant maze-soba

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t had real maze-soba before I wrote this article. I had, however, read enough of Ramen Adventures to know vaguely what I was talking about. I have since had a bowl, and everything I wrote is pretty much right on. I had the real deal at Infini over in Togoshi-koen this past Sunday after a night of boozing. The raw egg yolk, raw garlic, spicy mayonaise, roasted garlic and katsuo flakes combined to make a perfect hangover cure; I even managed to go on a four mile jog later that afternoon. But, damn, it has to be one of the least healthy foods in Japan.

Daburu Koron hit big time with pun-riddled riddles

Sunday night I was watching TV with my roommates and noticed that Bakusho Red Carpet had strayed from its usual formatting – instead of short gags, a panel of four comedians were doing these weird 謎掛け jokes. Nezucchi seems to be the master. I don’t see these lasting for very long – kind of like sudoku in the U.S., these will probably fizzle at some point in the near future.

お出かけ Rinks

A couple of cools links from my RSS reader:


A great post over at No-sword about the origin of the name Shiori. It made me think about names in general, specifically about how long it takes for names to move beyond secondary meanings (if they ever do). I forwarded the post to a friend named Shiori, and she said that in addition to “bookmark” jokes: “When they [her classmates] grew up a little to 5th grade, they found my name becomes “oshiri” if you rearrange the order of letters. I was soooo popular in class back then ;-)”

Infiniti Brand Journey: Hakone

David Marx continues his journey across Japan, this time stopping at the ryokan in Hakone. His description of the feel of ryokan is great – in particular the luxurious, even indulgent, level of privacy they offer. The best birthday present I ever got was a stay at an onsen ryokan in a room that had a private onsen – they bring you food and beer, too, so you never have to leave the room.

Marx is excited to be on the road in Japan, but he leaves out the most annoying parts of driving in Japan – the constant red-light running, intense tailgating and the use of hazard lights to turn any location into a personal parking space.

Do you, editors, take this Japan robot press release to be your awful embedded lead?”

Just started reading Our Man in Abiko. He is right on with this post. Hilarious.

The tyranny of the sub-goal

Great post over at Thoughts On Translation. I’ve been trying not to become slave to sub-goals ever since reading this article. I am Spartacus!