Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I'm lucky to have such good friends here in Japan. Daisuke invited me on the trip and he introduced me to his lovely girlfriend Yuko and Macky, another cool and friendly Japanese kayaker who also shared the driving. They didn't trust me behind the wheel so I was basically chauffeur driven there and back in one day. Over 600km round trip!! Thanks guys.
I had been out the night before and I wasn't feeling very well that morning. When we finally got to Ishikawa Prefecture I just wanted to skip the kayaking part and go straight to the onsen and warm up. It was freezing out and raining heavily. Daisuke said that we were going to a very delicious noodle restaurant before going kayaking. I'm not a big fan of noodles and so I wasn't very convinced by their description of Soba（蕎麦：そば） as a type of noodle. We stopped at the restaurant which looked like someone’s house on the side a valley with no other buildings around. We entered the restaurant which looked very traditional. It didn't strike me as being a restaurant at all. Everyone was very quiet and the place was like a yoga room. They brought soba tea out first which is now one of my favorite teas. I just had to buy some there.
I wasn't in the city anymore and so there was no English or katakana on the menu. I just copied Macky and got "soba tempura" and then copied how he ate it. I'm such a copy cat! I wasn't feeling warm enough to try the cold soba like Daisuke did. Next time!
Soba tempura is buckwheat noodles and battered vegetables in a soup. I can not describe how delicious this stuff is and how happy this meal made me feel afterwards. I haven't had soba like it since. This is the restaurant in question. Check it out if you can
The tempura or batter is also very different from our Irish batter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempura
Ok getting to the river. As usual the scenery was beautiful and we saw lots of cool tributary water falls.
Piss break - caught
The onsen in question was of the highest quality, so I was told and is one of four in the country with such high quality water. It is called Shiramine Onsen（白峰温泉：しらみねおんせん） and it's very good for the skin.
I'd like to thank Daisuke for an unforgettable day packed with Japanese culture and to Yuko for running shuttle and to Macky for advising me to order the best soba tempura ever!
All warmed up and ready for bed after the onsen...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A massive Japanese insect...
The Love Train in Tokyo...
Yoshi's little Suzuki van has a turbo...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I’m not sure about other people that have had N1H1 but I was having cool vivid dreams that would make million dollar movies! Yeah that good! I’m telling yeah. If you haven’t had N1H1 yet you’re missing out. I had a great time when I was asleep!!
I met japans kayaking version of Mr Miyagi aka Master. The guy is 61 years old and still kicks ass in a kayak. He is a professional and teaches regular private one on one classes. He owns Chapel kayaking shop and it has writing and signatures on the walls from the likes of Ken Whiting from back in 97’, and then some posters with Rush Struges, Yonton and Jay Kincaid’s names from when they were there a few years ago. Master gave me some very detailed coaching on the river not holding back from telling me how faulty my skills were. It was motivating to hear what he had to say. Everything he said was translated for me by my good friend Nanae. She is a cool kayaker that has prefect English who actually made the whole weekend possible and invited me to go kayaking. It was also nice to see a 61 year old man school me in an arm wrestle with both arms I must add. One of his arms had been busted in a judo accident he showed me, but he still followed through and schooled my “sick” ass!...;) I was sick ok! You can see the red fever face I have in the photo on his blog found here.
Two birds with the one stone...
I decided to go shopping in kobe’s Ikea and get some stuff for my apartment! For a while I thought I was turning into a materialistic fool but I was getting fed up of the old bed sheets, cutting with blunt knives and of using the kitchen table as an ironing board, so I got that sorted out. But on my way to Ikea I decided to get off at a random train stop with Ikea in sight about a mile walk down the road. A lot of japanese folks were going into a building so I followed the crowd to see what was going on and I found this.....
Just another random day in Japan.
In my club we do 3 minute flights at a time, but at this club they where doing competition length 5 minute flights. I did about ten fights, with very few breaks. Needless to say I was in bits by the end of the training but I'd learned alot and gained confidence. It was also cool being the only foreigner at the training.
So I started judo on the 4th of September. My teachers in my high school where I work thought I was crazy to join a judo club 22km from where I live. They also said it would be impossible to cycle there for the lesson. But the club is unique in the fact that the Judo sensei is a seventh or eight dan black belt that teaches in both Japanese and English.
Because of this it's a rather international club with a great mixture of judo styles. http://www.daishin-judo.com/index1.htm Next month a judo team from Israel are coming for a month to train with us and the month after that a judo team from Greece are coming to train in the club. I cycle three times a week to and from practice when there isn't some party or important thing that comes up during the week. I used to take the train but have since had my road bike shipped here to save money and increase the fitness. The streets of Osaka are busy and keep me on my toes all the time. But the cycle sure beats the train and I'm not as stiff the next day. Takes about 50-55 minutes each way almost as quick as the train. I think there must be at the least 15 minutes worth of traffic lights.
After the special practice on Saturday we all went to a Christmas party for a few beers. After the intense workout I knew the lads would be on their ears after one or two. You can checkout the pics here... http://www.flickr.com/photos/daishin-judo/sets/72157622879974391/
I was equally as surprised as the seventh dan black belt in the photo above, who I was fighting with (far right in photo), when I got a leg sweep and he dropped to his back. But as a friend said to me afterwards, "even a stopped clock is right twice a day"!!