Friday, July 24, 2015

I got a PS2! Also, new 'Chairs'

No, not a PS4. Not even a PS3. Yes, a glorious, original model PS2.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Photo Dump, Random Food edition (probably number 2 or 3)

In which I exhibit just a couple Japanese (and one American!) food products I've found and ravenously either ogled or consumed in recent memory.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

...but the most successful fish broiler subject yet? Skin-on chicken thigh.

  • Chicken thigh. Skin on. Obviously.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • Heat.
Cook on high, skin-up, until skin starts to brown. Drop to medium for a while. Flip and keep going on medium until the thing is almost certainly cooked through, then back to high to brown the meat; flip it again and brown the skin as far as you like.

Tender meat, crispy skin. Fish of the land! Slice it up and enjoy it with quinoa and pesto.

Fish broiler shenanigans

Well... I guess broiling fish in a fish broiler (i.e. using it as intended) doesn't really count as shenanigans, but hey, it's new for me.

I think about three days out of the last week my breakfast has been broiled fish. Yep, just broiled fish, either salmon or amberjack, usually with some salt and either a little bit of chili powder or an impromptu Creole seasoning for blackening (which is getting better as I collect the ingredients it's actually supposed to have).

Broiled salmon with just a bit of chili powder

Fresh fish, salted, broiled. Nice and tender, tasty crispy skin (seriously, fish skin is good!), and cheap: Almost always under $3 for two reasonably-sized fillets, and sometimes under $2.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tokyo is officially one hot city. Way too hot.

Yes, I was warned. Yes, I believed the warnings. No, that did not make it any better.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Django-CMS: Another package I don't intend to ever use again.

Add Django-CMS to the ranks of Satchmo, a similarly impressive work in Python that's just way too complex for its own good.

I'm not denigrating the effort or professionalism that went into these things; I've met the guy that started and wrote much if not most of Satchmo; he's a decent person, and very talented. But these packages have both hit the critical mass of complexity where even seemingly benign minor version changes have a very nasty and consistent tendency to break sites that depend on them.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I'm a cowboy, baby!

OK, not really. But I play one on TV.

OK... not really.

But sometimes I walk around Tokyo dressed like one, and THAT is fun. A friend and I dressed up a bit in different very-American styles for school to commemorate the US' Independence Day (July 4), despite it being July 3 at the time.

Faces have been changed to protect the innocent.

After school I hit a party that a couple other good American friends threw in honor of the holiday; we had, as usual, a ridiculous amount of fun. Hot dogs, homemade pizza, Rice Krispies bars, Chee-tos, and various other quite western snacks... and, of course, the hat got passed around, as it does in that sort of situation. A great time!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Looking forward at long-term options to stay in Japan

After realizing I've been here for nine months (seriously, nine freaking months?!), it occurred to me that my language program is only two years long... hopefully extended by three months for the level I'm currently retaking, but still, I'm closing on half way through the stay my school realistically allows. Finally taking a look at my options for staying in this country, which I'd really like to do, has been... less than encouraging.

New Japanese Bicycle safety law!

This is quoted from the US Embassy's July 2015 ACS (American Citizen Services) newsletter. I'm not trying to poke fun at them; this is a valuable service and I definitely suggest Americans outside of the company sign up for it. But the contained information is a bit funny.

Under the new law, any cyclist who is caught riding through a red light or violating other traffic regulations more than twice in a period of three years, will be required to take a safety course before being allowed back on the streets. The course lasts for three hours, and costs the participants 5,700 yen. Anyone who does not attend the course after receiving the order will be fined up to 50,000 yen. There are 13 traffic violations covered by the new law.

  • Riding through/ignoring traffic signals
  • Passing under a railway crossing gate
  • Not stopping at stop signs
  • Violating traffic regulations while riding on sidewalks
  • Riding with malfunctioning/non-working brakes
  • Riding a bicycle while intoxicated
  • Entering off-limit areas
  • Riding too slowly on sidewalks and obstructing pedestrian flow
  • Not following traffic lines
  • Riding onto pedestrian-only areas of sidewalks
  • Entering crosswalk without green-light to do so
  • Not paying attention to other pedestrians and or cyclists due to using mobile devices
  • Violating regulations when at circular cross-walks

I say this is funny not because it's a stupid law -- I don't think that at all -- but because of two things:

  1. Japan already has plenty of laws and plenty of penalties for breaking them. Enforcing laws is where things tend to fall apart.
  2. This list is actually a great primer on what to expect from bicyclists in Tokyo. Read up and watch out, because cyclists here usually don't!