Friday, January 30, 2015

New shoes!

Normally I'm very practical about shoes; I've been beating the hell out of the same pair of good walking shoes since I got here (and have very nearly killed them; 5 city kilometers a day makes shoes unhappy). But it's hard not to want to look good in Tokyo, so I got myself some nice ones this time.


Tonight Kai is having an izakaya party, so I'm dressing up American style (read: I look like a cowboy again) and am pleased that it'll at least look like I have boots this time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ): Japanese WalMart

There's a store in Japan called Don Quijote (except in kind-of-Japanese). Granted: I don't think there's any location in Tokyo that attracts anything like the crowd that a typical WalMart sees, but it makes up for that by having absolutely no organization at all. You can find anything you could possibly want in Don Quixote. If you can find it.

Aside from the entertainment value -- Donki has almost as much in common with Spencer's as with Sam's little brother -- the nice thing about this place is that it often sports a pretty nice array of foreign products, from American peanut butter and jelly to Canadian maple syrup to... I don't know what else, but those are the things I happened to notice this time.

Anyway, the reason I'm making this note, and that I'm thankful for the presence of a Donki right near my school, is that I'm currently eating pretzels while drinking a Black Russian made with SKYY and Kahlua thanks to its presence.

Help me, Don Quijote.

You're my only hope.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Second term at Kai: Two weeks in

OK! Apologies for the lack of updates. Winter break was really, really nice in terms of getting a whole lot of work done, but after it ended, I was utterly unprepared to go back to school, both because I had basically not studied at all and because I was in probably the best work groove I've had in the last year.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Goodbye, asshole neighbors!

In what may be either an impressive coincidence or the first time modern Japanese culture has worked immensely in my favor, the idiots next door moved out after repeated contact from the guarantor company we apparently shared.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Significant tea, fried rice, and leftover tofu

I've been drinking quite a bit of tea lately; fortunately, a good friend left this gem for Christmas, along with several others that are still waiting to be enjoyed.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Braised pork shoulder with onions and tomatoes

I paid almost exactly double for a pork roast today what I would have paid in the US. Fortunately, pork shoulder is freaking cheap, so even at twice the price, it's worth it. Particularly when you're really craving something a little more home-cooked, at least the way I'm used to it. So I threw something together and it turned out way better than I had any right to expect.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Out with the old, in with the new... mouse

Unfortunately, my trusty Logitech G9x recently started having some pretty ugly issues, to the point where selecting text or dragging things was rather torturous. I stuck with it as long as I could, but finally broke down and ordered a different model (the G9x, though I adored it, has a cable -- not ideal with such little extra space -- and is very pricey now that it's no longer in production).

With that in mind, I grabbed a Logicool (the Japanese brand of Logitech, apparently) G602. It's massive overkill as far as the buttons -- I imagine for a serious gamer this would be amazing -- but the click action is nice, the scroll wheel is pretty smooth, and the middle click is much easier than the G9x was. The tracking, despite being over radio, is also excellent.

So while I'm sad to see the G9x go... I can't really say I miss it. And for about 40 USD compared to 70 USD, it's a hell of a lot better to buy these from amazon.co.jp than amazon.com. Score.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cheap sashimi, even cheaper: By the block!

Of course one of my favorite pastimes is hitting up the grocery store in the evening to get discounted sashimi. I primarily look for combinations of squid and salmon, which are my favorite seafood to consume raw. But there's an even cheaper way to get nice, fresh sashimi than buying premade servings.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Too simple to be a recipe: Buri (older hamachi) in the fish broiler

I think I've mentioned this appliance before... the little broiling compartment under our gas burners. I've made a whole lot of garlic cheese bread in it, but up until now, had not tried fish. As I've been planning a traditional Japanese breakfast, I figured this would be a good reason/excuse to figure out how to use the thing.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas kitchen post-mortem (haha... oh wait, that's Easter)

I figured I'd post a little bit of photographic evidence of the leadup and cooking activities that culminated in our Tokyo Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tasty, tasty lard: Rendered pig fat for Great Cooking Justice

In the US, I enjoyed buying beef suet and rendering tallow as a cooking medium. While everything beef is painfully expensive here, I did find that at Niku no Hanamasa I can get pretty big quantities of pork fat for next to nothing! So I decided I'd go for it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Izakaya Log: A place I'm a little embarrassed about not knowing the name of, in Shinjuku

We just refer to it as the "habushu (snake liquor) place," for reasons that will become obvious as you keep reading this post. If you keep reading this post. If you don't... you will never know.

Make the right decision.