Tag Archives: food

Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan,” “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Japan Ramble Primer

Japan can be intimidating, even for seasoned travellers. You arrive to massive sticker shock, tiny octopi in soup, and 30 kinds of hot canned coffee (which all taste moreorless the same) in ubiquitous vending machines. 

Japan is a long country with 80% mountains – covering several climates, from frosty Hokkaido in the north, to tropical Kyushu giving adventurous folks much opportunity to head to the outer provinces for exploration of the heady scenery of this varied archipelago. With some planning, politeness and persistence, combined with a little zen, you can find big adventures.

Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka – crowded with skyscrapers and twisted alleys, piled high with screaming neon clubs pumping techno, reggae or karaoke and shops piled with futuristic technological gadgets that won’t make it to North America for another decade – but, far away from the expensive hotels and talking toilets of the huge Pacific metropolis, you may find yourself soaking in alpine hot springs on a starry night, drinking sake with strangers crammed into a mountain hut after a backcountry dinner of rice, seaweed, miso and green tea.

Continue reading Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

Primer: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography“, “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Getting to Okayama, Japan

Airport

Best to fly to Kansai (KIX) Osaka airport. This schmancy modern airport is located on a human-made island in the middle of the bay and includes 2 hotels, like 100+ restaurants, post office, an airplane viewing platform and importantly, a train station.

The hotels (the full-service Nikko Hotel & business-single-pod-style First Cabin) are super useful if you arrive exhausted from the long flight (usually about 14 hours from N.A. west coast). A short trip from the airport’s island by shuttle bus brings you to loads of other hotels. This airport village also has loads of shopping for buying treats on your way home.

Of course, the are other airports, specifically Tokyo (massive international hub Narita NRT or sometimes Haneda HND which is usually used for domestic flights) and the new Centrail/Chubu/Nagoya (NGO) airport. While you might save a few dollars on the flight, you’ll have a longer (more expensive) train journey to reach Okayama which is the destination for the shindig.

Fly direct to Okayama (OKJ) via the charmingly convenient and cute Momotaro Airport. If you fly to Haneda or Narita (Tokyo) mentioned above, you can transfer and fly right here.  Sometimes this requires an airport shuttle between Narita (mostly international) and Haneda (more domestic).  There is a bus service from Momotaro to downtown Okayama too.

Note: there is a huge service difference for the long-haul flights from North America. My personal experience is to fly an Asian-based airline, i.e.: Japan (ANA *fave, JAL), Korean (Korean or Asiana), Taiwan (EVA), HK (Cathay Pacific) or Singapore if coming from YVR, SFO, LAX, etc. If coming from other Asian destinations, well you are usually all good. I have experienced much less enjoyment from US-based airlines and China mainland airlines often have low prices but check the reviews and adjust against your comfort levels.

Consider tracking flight options/prices with Skyscanner with a price alert or same with Google Flights and try Hopper (app) to see when best time to “pull the trigger” on purchasing flight. Flying from Vancouver? Check out YVRdeals.

Continue reading Primer: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Note: what follows is the information as was printed upon a sheet which was included in the gift bags as a way to support and thank the various vendors, suppliers, helpers and whatnot for the wedding and build their businesses by fostering community. (pdf attached for your convenience). 

For many of these sections (party, giftbag, shrine, pottery etc) there are additional posts and artifacts. As such, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just the way the goodness was shared and printed, quite literally the morning of the party with very few modifications in this form. 

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Thank you to #DRO420 Suppliers, Please Support

私達の結婚式を助けてくださった様々な友人や事業者を紹介しましょう。 レビュー、いいね、共有、写真などを提供して、感謝の気持ちを示してください。  

Let us introduce the various friends and providers who helped us put together the wedding festivities. Please help us show thanks by offering reviews, likes, shares, photos etc.   

Food

Rural Caprine Farm / ルーラルカプリ農場 / Sempei Makoto Kobayashi  / 小林真人 party host and food / yagimilk.com/  

Noriko Hinuma / 日沼 紀子 / Spice chef / スパイス料理家 

Pom / ケーキ工房ポム / cake / pomme101.com

Continue reading Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Humble Boys Hard Land Weed – Choogle On #123

Humble Boys Hard Land Weed

High in Jamaica, Uncle Weed visits Black Ras’ abundant mountain growfield to discuss “swamp weed” grown in morass versus “hard land weed” grown in volcanic soil with bat guano, plus varieties of ganja strains – both domestic and imported. Plus background about his family teaching him the ways of growing most anything and living an Ital lifestyle.

Head to the hills for: Humble Boys Hard Land Weed – Choogle On with Uncle Weed #123  (.mp3, stereo, 30MB, 14:44)

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Can Hemp Save Us From Global Warming? | High Times

Can Hemp Save Us From Global Warming? | High Times.

 

A report published by the Family Council on Drug Awareness, Europe (don’t let the name throw you –it’s a pro-pot organization) introduced the Cannabis Biomass Energy Equation (CBEE), a formula delineating the manner in which cannabis uniquely produces energy that is less polluting and less expensive than fossil fuels and uranium, and is therefore capable of economically replacing them.
One of the primary CBEE tenets is that hemp grows well in almost any cli- mate and reaches its maximum biomass yield in only four months, allowing at least two harvests per year producing 20 tons of cannabis biomass per acre, which in turn will generate 2,000 gallons of methanol to be used in biodiesel production.
The report also answers those skeptics who discount the extensive cultivation of hemp due to economic factors, calculating that only 6 percent of agricultural land in the United States would be necessary to produce sufficient cannabis biomass to supply all of the country’s current needs for oil, gas and diesel.
Even if that 6 percent turns out to be a lowball estimate and more land is required, given the fact that there are almost 600 million acres of unused land in the United States — with some 30 million of that total comprising agricultural land being kept idle by farmers who are paid nearly $2 billion a year by the US government not to harvest — there’s more than enough acreage for hemp cultivation to produce the required biomass.
Hemp for Victory: The Sequel
It’s been over 75 years since cannabis was outlawed by the federal government — but just a few years after deeming it illegal, the United States was forced to embrace the versatility of hemp with the onset of World War II (as immortalized in the 1942 US government film Hemp for Victory). Many would argue that global warming is the worst crisis we’ve faced since the Second World War, so it’s no doubt fitting that hemp could again be in demand — once legalized — as a crucial material to help combat the planetary threat of climate change.
While this needs to happen sooner rather than later, there are encouraging signs. Besides the ever-increasing awareness in the culture at large, there’s been action on the political front. The Huffington Post reported that more than 70 hemp-related bills have been introduced in various US states since January 2014—double the number in 2013.
The US Farm Bill, signed by President Obama this past February, permits any state to legalize the cultivation of hemp for research purposes, and the number of states who have done just that has now reached double digits.

The Way Home (Forever will i see you more) – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #10

The Way Home (Forever will i see you more)

With scant days to go, Uncle Weed reflects on expectations, better realized – plus shares affection for kind people, the important of finding authenticity and supporting local economy– all while embarking on final steps before leaving, including: visiting Mr. Lawrence, the lifeguard; packing up jerk spice and mango chutney; detailing the geometric woodwork in the Queen’s Cottage’s roof; plus mops up a few stories, chats about PM Michael Manley’s Canadian ties, and dives into the sea… before saying good-bye to the Jamaican people by celebrating optimism about the free island’s place in the world.

Last time for everything in The Way Home (Forever will i see you more) ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #10 (.mp3, stereo, 128kbps, 28:18)

Continue reading The Way Home (Forever will i see you more) – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #10

Cultural Field Notes For Ramblers – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #9

Cultural Field Notes For Ramblers

“Mongooses are like ninja squirrels – stealth, rat-eating machines. They kinda look like squirrels but squirrels are gentle, nut-eating creatures and mongooses (mongeese) are feared sniper killers.”  

After more banter about lobsters, reggae and food, Uncle Weed offers observations about music industry, taxi drivers, civic pride, pothole filling, corrupt government and cynicism, devalued currency, human potential, news of the day, Patois remix, ninja squirrel mongoose, Rasta culture, fireflies, coconuts, kids doing homework, bats catching mosquitos, meaning of goats, donkeys strolling, swimming (or lack thereof), varieties of crabs, Prime Minsterial hijinks, calling elections, cruise ships, markets, churches, and Jamaica-Canada connections. 

Notebooks and pencils ready for Cultural Field Notes For Ramblers ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #9 (.mp3, stereo, 128kbps, 42:00)

Continue reading Cultural Field Notes For Ramblers – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #9

Jerk Grilling Master Class – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #8

Jerk Grilling Master Class ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #8

Friend Nadine banters with Uncle Weed about Jamaica’s national dishes and alias nicknames before gamely sharing her techniques for the unofficial people’s favourite “jerk” along with a real-time example of a pork shoulder sizzling on a – ubiquitous and rugged – gas-can grill while sharing her tips for choosing the right cut and combinations of dry and wet spice concoctions. 

Fire up the charcoal for Jerk Grilling Master Class ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #8 (.mp3, stereo, 128kbps, 11:16)

Continue reading Jerk Grilling Master Class – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #8

Market Day and Lobster Man – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #7

Market Day and Lobster Man  ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #7

Sparking a morning joint, Uncle Weed recounts a skiff boat reef trip with Harold, acquiring lobster from John Wesley – member of The Silverlights – house band of Leroy’s bar, breaks down lobster physiology, discusses geo-cultural differences between parishes & regions, reviews of recent meals of skipjack and coconut chicken lobster, and takes a stereo sound-seeing tour deep into a hectic farmer’s and bric brac market in Falmouth complete with machine gun teenagers and butchers with hatchets, hacksaws and hammers. 

Fill your belly with Market Day and Lobster Man  ~ Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #7 (.mp3, stereo, 128kbps, 26:02)

Continue reading Market Day and Lobster Man – Choogle On Jamaica Scheme #7