< class="pagetitle">Archive for the “Japan” Category

Here is the æµ·è‹” – のり – nori (shredded and formed seaweed) shelf in a local supermarket.

In this photo alone, you can see over a dozen varieties, and you can tell the shelf is in need of restocking.

Japanese people eat a lot of seaweed, let me tell you.

I can also tell you the names of the kinds I don’t like, and ways to prepare it that taste like slimy, salty rubber.

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“Las Vegas Spareribs” flavored Pringles!

All the time I spent growing up there and I didn’t know Las Vegas was famous for spareribs.

Can anyone enlighten me?

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I took this stealth photo with my phone in a smoky arcade & pachinko parlor here in Matsuyama.

There wasn’t anyone else around, so the baby was definitely with the two gentlemen playing pachinko. I’m not sure which of them was supposedly taking care of him(?), but for the kid’s sake I hope he doesn’t do so regularly.

Like Las Vegas, Japan has an unpublicized population whose gambling addiction sometimes leads to familial neglect.

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My group of friends here in Matsuyama holds an annual Halloween scavenger hunt. One of the items on this year’s list of things to capture on film was a “high five chain” spanning one block.

While Yuko was filming another group member (John) and me, three of my students suddenly called my name and spilled out of a shop we were passing, then joined our high five chain!

Thanks, girls! You helped our group win Best Video! I’ll give you your share of the prizes next week. 🙂

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I found this bag of cat food in the pet goods aisle of a hardware store.

It’s Tuna-flavored Cat Smack!


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This industrial power switch resides backstage at Hakuho Hall (白鳳会館), an office building with a large rental stage hall near Miki Study Pals, in which we rent a room for overflow classes and hold our twice-yearly holiday parties.

The interesting part is that the big red button is ON, and the big green button is OFF.

And so I ask Why, Japan, Why??

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I spotted this mid ’60s Ford Mustang at a used car dealership near Miki Study Pals in Matsuyama.

You may not think a classic Mustang all that odd, but I’m pretty sure it was never sold here.

It looks to be in great condition though, for whatever lucky collector snapped it up (it was there for less than a week).

Also note the (early ’80s?) Porsche 911 in the background.

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I snapped this with my cell phone in a 100 yen store.

If you aren’t familiar with them, Japan’s ¥100 stores are far superior to dollar stores in the United States; they have much more stuff, of higher quality, and actually venture into low end housewares. They sell knives, tupperware containers, dietary supplements, and all manner of stationery. I’ve even seen toy badminton sets there.

These little bottles were next to the register. It’s exactly what you think it is- it’s glue you roll on your legs so your socks will stay up.

Yuko says she used to use it when she was in high school, and that many girls still use it today to keep up the extra tall uniform socks that they’re required to wear. She says it was especially popular during the “loose socks” fad a few years ago.

I’m still not convinced I’d be interested in gluing socks to my legs.

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I found this knockoff Famicom (NES) in a random clothing store in Matsuyama.

As you can see, it’s sitting on a shelf with some accessories, happily waiting for customers to pick up a controller and pause a few minutes from browsing among the t-shirts and overpriced jeans.

They had about five classic games and five Japanese games I’d never heard of. After knocking off a few levels of SMB and snapping a cell phone pic, I moved on.

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Fish heads like this are available in most supermarkets with a fresh fish section. While the fact that that’s a large majority of supermarkets around here may not be surprising, perhaps it may surprise you that I know of only ONE supermarket with an actual deli counter. (And would you believe that they only have one variety of ground beef that isn’t mixed with pork?)

One of my … eccentricities … is that I dislike picking food off the bone and despise picking bones out of my mouth, especially finicky little fish bones. Despite that, I’ve eaten this particular type of fish head on two separate occasions. The cheeks are each about one small bite each, and the rest is just a PITA.

If you’re curious, this is 鯛 / たい / tai, which my dictionary tells me is “sea bream,” but seems to be sold as “red snapper.” The fish makes superb sushi, and has earned its place as my second favorite fish to eat raw (after salmon, not counting o-toro, which would be like saying you prefer 1947 Cheval Blanc over a $5 bottle of merlot). But I digress.

On the upside, the heads are pretty cheap, at only about $1 each.

And because I know you’re waiting for it:
Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads.
Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum.

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