Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Izakaya (kind of) Log: BEER SAURUS Ikebukuro

I say "kind of" because to me an izakaya is a smaller affair, and this definitely feels more like a western style bar. Which is no sin, and I thoroughly enjoyed the place, it's just a slightly different kind of restaurant than I typically look for here.

Japanese breakfast!

I figured it'd be fun to cook up a traditional breakfast. It came out quite well.

The fish is salted, broiled buri (Japanese amberjack), the miso soup just has tofu and scallions, the sauce is soy sauce and lemon juice, and the veggies are Japanese cucumbers pickled in salt, sugar, and a dash of mustard powder.

The fish broiler is a pretty nice little appliance that I believe I'll be making more use of in the future. Probably the immediate future.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another webcomic, in a slightly different vein

I recently burned (well, no, spent, and well) a few hours going through the archives of this one, which is less comedy and more fantasy/drama.

Unsounded: A Graphic Novel by Ashley Cope

Very interesting story with its own sort of magic/mythology, and at least one character that's extremely easy to hate but (so far) grows at least a little bit in the course of the story. So that's something it's got going for it, in addition to gorgeous art and coloring. And engaging dialogue. And good pacing. And excellent backstory. And...

Well, you should probably just read it.

Izakaya Log: 二十二坪 (22 Tsubo)

On my first foray into searching for 居酒屋 (izakaya, small traditional Japanese style bars), I found this absolute gem in Wasedatsurumakicho, just east of Waseda University and right down the street from my apartment. I've closed this one half a dozen times since finding it, and spent many an hour speaking broken Japanese and broken English with the extremely friendly patrons.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from Tokyo!

It's a bit disappointing, though not unexpected, to have a very snowless Christmas. But it's still my favorite day of the year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kind-of-recipe: Easy tempura-inspired frying batter

After quite a bit of trial and error with flour, corn starch, and potato starch (mostly with an egg wash), I figured I'd try tempura in my search for the perfect fried food, even though it's a pain. Based on this blog post, though, I tried a cold mix of water, flour, and starch, and so far it's worked extremely well.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

End of Term, Christmas in Tokyo, and Creepy Christmas Carols

My class finished the first beginner level at Kai on Friday! The interview part was a lot of fun, and the grammar and kanji tests weren't too bad. The sakubun (essay) test predictably sucked -- mostly because for some reason I can speak reasonably well but can't manage to do as well when writing the same things -- and the "speaking" test, in which we spoke with Japanese volunteers in groups, felt really contrived and forced. Overall, though, it was good, and I think the tests did a good job of evaluating our grasp of the material.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Movie review: Interstellar

Rating: 6/10

I didn't go into this with high expectations, but it still managed to disappoint; the problem is that it's so good in some ways and so very poor in others that it ends up giving itself a great setup and then tripping over its own feet.

My biggest complaint may be that, once you know the whole plot, it becomes clear that the entire thing is impossible, not just because of the shabby physics, but because... well, I'll leave it for the body, since I don't want to put spoilers before the break.

Warning: This post contains spoilers! Do not read it if you haven't seen the film and want to be surprised.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Microwaves? Ha! We don't need no stinking microwaves.

The humble, ubiquitous microwave was one of the things I'd hoped to avoid getting in my attempt to preemptively unclutter the kitchen and save room for other things. After a while of being unconvinced that it'd work at all, I believe I've found a workable solution.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I hate webcomics.

Every time I find a great one I end up losing at least one night of my life going through the archives.

Latest: Manly Guys Doing Manly Things

Also worth mentioning: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Lamb curry and the Wonder that is the Rice Cooker

Lamb is one of those things I never tried until I was out of college and had gotten big into cooking Indian food. When I finally cooked with it, I don't think I cooked with anything else for a couple months.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Garlic Cheese Bread from a Fish Broiler

Worth noting: Our fish broiler has not (since the last people lived here, possibly, anyway) been used for fish. Or for anything else, actually, so there was no lingering odor to worry about. It's pretty much just a little (REALLY little) oven that's directly below the burners with heat only from the top, typically used for (gasp!) fish.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Would you like your hot water warm or cold?

One of the little things I ran across the first time I was here, a few years ago with a friend, was the fact that our weekly apartment in Osaka had a little control panel you had to use to activate the water heater if you wanted, you know, hot water.

Our apartment has it! I'm so inexplicably happy about this!