Monday, August 12, 2013

Diet Water

My local supermarket now sells "Diet Water". This is carbonated water that is "low Calorie". I am not sure how high the Calorie count in "normal" carbonated water is, but I always assumed it was not that high...

I'm thinking you are very kindness

Welcome. I'm thinking you are very kindness.
Japanese doormats are sometimes a bit weird.

Anime Style Mannequins

In Japan, many of the mannequins in the shopping malls or small clothing stores have huge eyes like anime characters.

Shopping, small props that may be useful

A very small show, and a screaming chicken. Making things small is a funny magic theme, but I have no shoes that look like this one.
 I often go to the 100-yen stores or places like Don Quixote or Village Vanguard that sell "weird" things. Then I buy lots of small weird things that make me go: "This might be useful for some magic trick". I end up using way less than 10% of the stuff I buy but from time to time I have some genius idea of what to do with things I bought years ago.

A trash can (actually an ash tray) and a bucket. Could be used for some coin magic, perhaps?
Two cases, one for pens and one for coins.

This is an optical illusion. You spin the disk and watch the spinning disk for 20 seconds. Then you look at the bunny, which will look like it is shrinking (or growing, depending on the direction you spin the disk). Could be used as a lead in to tricks where thing become smaller.

Shopping, clothes

I went shopping for clothes now that the summer collection is on sale and no one is going to sell clothes that you can actually wear in this too hot country any more. I found some shorts and some t-shirts that were quite nice in two different stores selling 和柄 (wagara, "Japanese designs") things. These make you look like you are in the yakuza (Japanese mafia), my friends tell me. But I like these designs, so I wear such clothes anyway.

This cute frog looking out from behind this moon was the reason I bought this shirt

People are unlikely to believe I am in the Japanese mafia anyway, since I am blond. People will however believe I have no fashion sense, but everyone thinks so anyway, so that makes no difference.

Chinese food

Shark fin soup
After we finished at the plastic model exhibition, my friend and I went for food. The night before, some customers in our magic bar gave us a pack of spring rolls from a nice Chinese restaurant, so we decided to go to that same Chinese place and have dinner there.

Shrimps in chili sauce

My friend ordered way too much food, but it was very nice. He also ordered the shark fin soup, which was good but very expensive.

Sweet and sour pork
Fried rice
Almond jelly 

Japanese Fashion

Sometimes you see people wearing shirts like this. I am told these people are "otaku", which means more or less "nerd" in English, but has only bad connotations (while nerd can be more positive in English). I have many hobbies that qualify me as a nerd, so I am hoping that Japan will also in time give their nerd words positive meaning :-)

Plastic models

Ultraman, with blinking lights
A friend of mine took me to the "Hokkaido Modeler's Exhibition" on Saturday. It was a big hall filled with plastic models. My friend's driving school teacher from when he got his driver's licence was participating in a model competition with a diorama depicting the ending scene of some anime I have never heard of, so we were there to look at that.

The diorama that was our main objective.

I used to build and paint plastic models when I was younger, and it was very nice to see some models again. Many of them were very nicely painted. Some had moving and blinking parts too.

This omuraisu says "chahan" (a different dish), which I thought was funny.
Making our custom ordered omuraisu
I bought some "eat me" cookies. They were "Alice in Wonderland" cookies, not sexual innuendo cookies or being rude cookies, I was told.
There were also people building and selling stuff on site. We found a woman making omuraisu (a Japanese dish) models and writing whatever you wanted on them with fake ketchup. My friend asked for one with his girlfriend's name, and one with "ome" (very short for "congratulations" or "happy birthday" etc.). I called it an "ome raisu", but it was not much appreciated.

Very colorful and Japanese model airplanes
A similarly colorful tank

A diorama from my favorite Starwars movie
I liked this topographical map model

One Piece (the manga and anime) is popular in Japan, and there was a big diorama with Obe Piece content.
A huge ship, with moving and blinking parts
The helicopter had rotors that were spinning so fast it is hard to see them in the photo.

Why are animals driving these WWII vehicles?
I used to play Warhammer (a game using these models) a long time ago. Not this team, though.
I also played Warhammer 40k (though, again, not these teams).
There were lots of tanks with small girls like this.
A big Gundam diorama
This house had a removable roof and lots of moving parts.
The interior was incredibly detailed.
This water wheel spun, and it drove a mill inside the model!
Hatsune Miku, a Hokkaido virtual idol. Placed strategically on a mirror platform, so you can see her panties. Very common with Japanese idols. 

Japanese meatball curry

Our student cafeteria is currently serving "meatball curry", which they claim is only available in our closest cafeteria (there are many student cafeterias on our campus and they have more or less the same menu). I tried it, but it is not that great.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Barbecue, and a recipe for Swedish "stick bread"

A friend invited me over for barbecue on Sunday. I made some Swedish "stick bread" and baked it on the barbecue nets since we did not have any sticks. Lots of good food.

This clever contraption was used to get the coal burning with less work than usual.
A squid in foil, with squid guts and other things mixed in with it.
Swedish "stick bread" baked without sticks and looking more like Japanese "melon bread" (though tasting not at all of melon).
After it became dark, one of the other participants let me share some of his toys.
There were also two different types of cheese cake available. Both very good.

I was asked about the stick bread recipe, which is super simple. This is food that small children are supposed to make themselves, and it is more a "playing with clay" kind of fun than "let's make good food" thing. Anyway, the recipe I used was:

125 cc of flour
half a teaspoon of baking powder
a quarter of a teaspoon of salt
50 cc of water

Mix the dry stuff, then add water. Normally you make long dough strips that you wrap around a big stick and then stick into a camp fire to bake them. The dough should be about half a centimeter thick to get the inner parts baked without the surface turning into charcoal. For fine in a frying pan or on a grill too. This bread is not particularly tasty, but since you get the grilled aftertaste and you always eat it when it is freshly baked, it is not bad.