Monday, March 31, 2008
So, if you're traveling to Beijing for the Olympics this year, and have a yearning to see more of China than just the sporting events, head over to Gary's website, Lonely Planet China, and sign up for one of his tours. They span much of the country (unfortunately skipping the farther western areas - maybe in future tours) and he can give you an exciting, safe and incredible experience.
If you mention that I sent you, he'll give you 20% off the already very reasonable prices!
Travel with Gary!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Here she is packing the night before she left. Mind you, she's already had two weeks of packing, unpacking, repacking, culling, packing, culling, and repacking. In this short, crappy cell phone video, we see her in action, culling yet more. Again, I almost cried.
You've come a long way, Baby!
Monday, March 24, 2008
The crappy video below is a couple of tanuki who were fighting up and down and in the middle of the road a few nights ago. I was on the way to meet Melody for some Mexican food at El Bigote (The Mustache - not The Bigot). As I walked up the road, there was commotion in the bushes along side, and two tanuki came rolling out. I couldn't tell if it was a real fight or if they were just playing around, but they ranged up and down the side of the hill until the came to be in the middle of the street. Just then a car drove up, catching them in the headlights. They paused in their struggle, and then scampered off into the underbrush again. The video catches this moment.
About ten seconds after they ran off, one of them came back down the hill, and stopped in the street about 20 feet from me. He checked me out, figured I had nothing to offer, and ran off down the street.
First hakubishin, now tanuki! What's next? Whatever it is, it better hurry...I'm out of here in two weeks.
Friday, March 14, 2008
This is good information to know as it could happen to anyone. Take a look.
How to Fly Without ID and Skip Lines
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
We had supper last night at another one of our favorite restaurants in Kamakura, Arkadas (pronounced Ar ka dahsh... it's Turkish...). Saleh, the proprietor and cook, is originally from Istanbul, and married a Japanese woman a while back. He's been here for about 15 years or so, if I remember correctly, and has a thriving Turkish restaurant and sports bar just around the corner from Hase station (that's the one nearest to the Daibutsu, or 'Big Buddha.").Saleh's also a big football fan (the world kind, rather than American), and has jerseys, balls, and a game constantly on the plasma screen TV. If you like soccer, it's a great place to hang out.
Even with the sports theme, the place has a nice, romantic ambiance, and a view of the ocean. There is seating for couples and small groups, and Turkish kilims on the floor surprisingly complement the jerseys on the wall. A local socialite, Saleh regularly throws small celebrations, and a few times a month, he brings in belly dancers for authentic entertainment.
The best part by far is the food. Saleh uses all fresh ingredients, and has family in Turkey who send him spices and lemon infused salt on a regular basis. For regulars, like us, he's quick to make recommendations or whip up something special. Last night, he made a great salad that wasn't on the menu...just something special for us.
We were eating with friends who had never had Turkish food before, so Saleh dished up a small feast of multiple things to give them a good overview of the different types of food. Besides the aforementioned salad, we also had a combination tabbouleh, hummus, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh bread. The main course was Iskander Kebab (like shwarma or gyro meat on top of pita bread and smothered in yogurt), and a mixed grill kebab set with lamb, beef and eggplant, and chicken. Everything was washed down with a couple of Efes Pilsen beers (for me and Harry), and rose hip juice for Melody and Catherine. After fresh baklava and Turkish coffee and tea, we lingered chatting before finally taking our leave.
If you ever get the chance, try it out. It's conveniently located to the Hase Train station and is a great stop after you've sampled the different temples around the area, such as Hase Kannon and the Daibutsu. Trust me. There's nothing like a refreshing Efes after walking around all day. For those who really want a taste of Turkey, ask for some raki, the traditional Turkish liquor. Its fiery anise taste is a bit like Sambuca, but distinctly different. Adding some water to it (the way it is drunk in Turkey) makes it look sort of like dirty dishwater, but moderates the heat just enough to make it an enjoyable digestivo or after dinner drink.
Here are the details. Click on the title above to go to the Arkadas website. It has pictures of the belly dancers...and food. And did I mention belly dancers?
Monday is closed(祝日の場合は営業)
〒248-0016 鎌倉市長谷2-16-15 サイトウビル２F
Translation: Saitowa Building, 2nd Floor, 2-16-15 Hase, Kamakura City, 248-0016 (post code); approximately 2 minute walk from the Hase Station.
Additional directions: Exit Hase station, turn left, and head toward the beach. At the stop light, turn right, and walk about 50 feet. Arkadas is the first small parking area on the right, just in front of a 2 story building. The restaurant is on the second floor.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
And now, it's time for me to go to work. See you in an hour or so...
Spend some time with some of the other writing, travel blogs, and resources as well. It's a great site.
- Call Yahoo BB. Try to find an English Speaker.
- Find one.
- Find another one.
- Call back.
- Find an English speaker.
- Explain that you need to cancel your service.
- Explain that you need to cancel your service.
- Receive letter requesting your end date and why you want to cancel your service.
- Send letter to tell end date and explain why you need to cancel your service.
- Attempt to return modem and other items to Yahoo!BB in their original containers.
- Look for original containers.
- Realize that original containers are now buried in a box inside of a crate on the back of a truck on its way to a shipping container to be loaded on a ship to get sent to the USA to be loaded on a truck to be stored in a warehouse somewhere in Texas.
- Buy a similar sized box.
- Return modem and other items to Yahoo!BB.
- Cancel your NTT phone service.
- Final Bill #1 (one month later).
- Final Bill #2 (yet another month later).
Friday, March 07, 2008
This morning, as I was emerging from the house to get in the car, I saw a small, brown critter, about the size of a cat, but different. I thought at first, it was Tanuki, the Racoon Dog common to Japan (and caricatured in countless statues outside of izakayas). So, when I got to work, I Googled it, and turns out I was wrong. I asked around, and finally, my Boss' secretary suggested that it might be a "hakubishin." Sure enough, that's what it is. In English, it's called a "masked palm civet." Tomoko said not to mess with it because they're mean. Apparently, they've also been indicted as co-conspirators in the SARS outbreak a few years ago. In any case, it didn't stick around long enough for me to do anything except stare at it in wonder as it scurried across the street into the neighbor's yard.
(Photo courtesy of Animal Photos!)