born and raised in asian america, coming at you live and direct from tokyo.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

sick food

akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaiitashimasu! (very rough translation: happy new years! please support me again this year!)

so the transition into the year of the rat was awesome. snowboarded at ishiuchi maruyama on 12/31, partied with some folks in roppongi for the countdown, family time all day on new years, then snowboarded again at gala on 1/2!! (sorry no pics, just way too lazy as of late. check mixi or facebook if you really want to see.)

but then the bad news. when i woke up on 1/3, i felt TERRIBLE. turns out i caught the flu, and have been holed up in my room for three straight days now. my aunt, god bless her soul, has been amazing in helping me out, bringing me medicine and stuff, but this brings up an interesting question.

*when you're sick, what do you want to eat and drink?

personally, i was thinkin like chicken noodle soup, macaroni & cheese, clam chowder. something really hot and gooey. and lots of orange juice to fill me up with vitamin c.

as soon as i was able to eat something, my aunt said she had some food that would make me feel a lot better. some dried fish, cold octopus, chopped radishes, chicken cartilage (mostly new years leftovers). normally i love these foods, but not when i'm sick. also, she thought drinking cold orange juice would only make me colder and sicker!!

even after over 15 months here, the cultural differences never cease to amaze.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

anyone still out there?

sorry for the lack of updates, it's been a bit of a whirlwind out here the past couple months. in summary, went home, lost my job (company folded), got a new job as a waiter.

i actually started a blog in japanese, so if you're a mixi reader have a look over there. right now, i'm just trying to finish up my phd apps (usc, stanford, claremont) and then hit the road for some serious traveling! hope you all are well :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


these asian summers are no's hot as hell!! well, at least it's already the middle of august, so the weather SHOULD start gradually cooling down as the autumn season approaches.

so how do japanese people escape this heat? shopping in ridiculously-air conditioned shops, drinking lots of cold beer, and hitting up the beach! i went out to yuigahama with marie last week and managed to get this ridiculous sunburn on my shins and the tops of my feet. almost one week after and walking is still painful!! oh well, the beach was def a dope experience, but unfortunately very short-lived. the beach season officially starts on july 15th (after the rainy season), and ends today when the jellyfish supposedly check their calendars and collectively decide that it's time to start attacking all those human invaders.

on august 5th, the nova branch that i was working at (toranomon) closed its doors. although the official stance is that the lease on the building expired, it's pretty obvious that the company is in a bit of a bind now and doing what it can to correct its previous over-expansion blunders. i'm gonna miss that school.

but hello to my new office at hibiya! great location right in ginza, lots of fun stuff to do, good restaurants, bars, shops. coworkers all seem like good folks and students are a much more diverse bunch. we went out to this chain restaurant called ZEST the other day. it's trying to be this tex-mex type of thing. great ambience, terrible food. oh well.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

typhoon season

so a typhoon (in america we would call it a hurricane) is supposed to hit tokyo tomorrow. it's been a rough week, so hopefully it'll just wash everything away.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


two days ago, a spa in shibuya exploded because of a methane leak, killing three people. today, spas all around japan are reviewing their technology to ensure the public that this centuries old pasttime is indeed safe. i think in america, people would be too busy trying to place blame on someone and filing lawsuits and all that instead.

just a thought.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

quick updates

i've come to the sad realization that after nearly nine months in japan, i've managed to completely neglect this blog. i will regret that when i ultimately move home and want to relive my experiences out here. so what have i been doing?
  1. went home mid-may to watch a warriors playoff game against the jazz. my dad scored some luxury suite tix. they lost. otherwise, my trip home was amazing and everything i could've ever hoped for.
  2. my company is currently under government imposed sanctions for its shady business practices. however, i still have a job, am still getting paid, and will soon be transferred, most likely to shimbashi.
  3. lots of friends out here are moving and stuff. slightly sad, but good to see them going places with their lives.
  4. went to the budweiser bar in shimbashi. very weird, in that creepy japanese way. the geek side of me tells me that it may be one of the most interesting places in tokyo to do an ethnography.
  5. babysat my dad for two weeks. fun but exhausting. got re-interested in golf.
  6. studying almost daily for the GRE's, which i will take in august. i'm also trying to do some more recreational reading since i realized how not ready i am for the verbal section.
  7. finalizing where i will apply for phd programs for fall 2008 admission. all in california. and i've made a firm decision to move home around june 2008.
  8. went to ashes & snow out in odaiba last weekend. the building was awesome. the photography was...stunning seems like the most correct word. still trying to organize my thoughts though about the entire exhibit. something about it was just a bit too...exotic.
  9. still loving japanese food. but starting to branch out. found a pho restaurant. and the indian food here is bomb.
  10. will visit home again in september. see you in vegas.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

you only live once

so i'm making the most of my life. this afternoon, i will be flying back home (on only three days notice) to watch game 4 of the warriors-jazz playoff series. as a die-hard warriors fan reveling over the warriors first playoff appearance in fifteen years from across the pond, i jumped at not just my first ever opportunity to watch them in the playoffs, but also my first ever opportunity to watch them from a luxury suite! this year is definitely special, and one plane ticket is a small price to pay to take part in all of this magic. i definitely believe.

unfortunately, i will only be in california for six days, but i'll try my best to take advantage of my time there ("losers always white about their best. winners go home and..."). i've already made a meal schedule, hehehe.

Monday, April 09, 2007

it's election time!

earlier today, i voted in today's gubernatorial election. just a few interesting reflections:
  1. in order to vote, all eligible residents are mailed a registration form.
  2. the registration form needs to be taken to the polling place.
  3. upon presenting the registration form, you are given a small piece of paper with an empty box.
  4. in the box, you write the name of the candidate you wish to vote for.
  5. you put your ballot in the box.
and that was it. there weren't any local measures or anything like that. there weren't any bubbles or computer programs. the whole thing seems so simple...i don't remember voting like that since elementary school student council elections. even my junior high school and high school used scantrons i think.

although it has already been announced that shintaro ishihara (wikipedia) has been reelected for his third term, there was no way that i could vote for such a xenophobe. my vote went to shiro asano (wikipedia), who represented the primary opposition against independent ishihara, who leans very far to the right. but just from watching news reports about who tokyoites voted for, it's really shocking to hear public sentiment.

being the biggest city in the world (in terms of population), many residents believe that having such an outspoken leader is necessary to maintain order in an already relatively strict society. and seeing that minority groups represent such a small percentage of tokyo (as well as the fact that unlike myself, almost none of them are eligible to vote), their rights must be hedged to ensure the well-being of the dominant japanese population.

coming from liberal san francisco, conservative tokyo is definitely a new experience. but as long as people are still being marginalized and justice is not a reality, then there still is lots of work to do. 35 million people to work on...they don't call this a struggle for nothing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

the life and times of japan's greatest athlete.

in the past three weeks, i have sustained two serious sports injuries. but such is the life of athletic freaks of nature like yours truly. let me elaborate...

1) while setting record after record on ridge racers 2 for psp, i developed a decent blister on my left thumb. however, in all attempts to do my part for the entire racing community, i played on. i beat the game and simultaneously rendered my left thumb useless for the next week.

2) today, a couple coworkers and i hit the pitch (if you could even call it that) to prepare for our upcoming nova teachers' futsal tourney. seeing that soccer is a game primarily employing one's feet, i managed to amaze even myself by messing up my right shoulder. you see, the ball was kicked way over my head. since i am a lazy bloke and didn't feel like chasing after an overkicked ball, i jumped up and stuck my arm out to catch it. my right arm bent back, something felt strange, and now i can't lift my arm past ninety degrees. but since someone else kicked the ball too far, i have decided that this one isn't my fault.

oh well. at least my alter-ego had a helluva debut with ten strikeouts in seven strong innings over the kansas city ymca all-stars.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

too bad about my bruins...

...but it's alright. they done good this year. now i can focus on the warriors playoff push!! and what's this, do i smell BASEBALL!?

the past few weeks have been MAD busy, in a very unproductive, yet awesome way. it is currently the sakura season here in japan. i did "hanami" (flower viewing) a few times this past week and it is definitely an experience. just going out to the park, eating/drinking far too much, singing, playing games...all under hundreds of sakura trees and millions of falling pink petals. it's surreal, to say the least. sadly, my pictures do not do justice to hanami. please come next spring and experience it for yourself!

also, reason #7654321324 why i love tokyo. last night, i was getting home from work around 9:40pm. i ran into a friend of mine that lives nearby and he told me to go over to his restaurant for a second because there was something we had to talk about. the restaurant is in the next literally just feet from my house. so i go to the restaurant, a few other older men from the neighborhood association (including my uncle) begin to trickle in, all of us wondering what is going on. then my friend announces that last night was the final night that his restaurant would be using asahi beer. starting today, they will switch to sapporo draft beer. thus, it is our job to finish the remaining asahi beer so that he doesn't have to throw it away. suffice to say, good times were had, and it didn't cost anybody a single yen!

although i have been professing my love for japan a lot lately, just wanted to add that this country is still far from perfect. last week, one of the employees at my company was brutally murdered and the killer is still on the run.

although that was super messed up, i really think that this response by the father as delivered by the british ambassador to japan is not helping the situation at all.

also, while i never really liked monta mino in the first place, this article makes me hate him more. but the way the article seems to shift blame on the victim is also pretty disgusting.