Archive | October, 2010

Day of the monsters

31 Oct

It’s ハロウィン (Halloween).

I like monsters. In movies my favorite characters are the ones such as Darth Vader, Frankenstein, and such.
My favorite musicians are “shock rock” bands like KISS, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and Lordi.

So to celebrate Halloween, let’s watch a few videos by the “Monsters of Rock”, Lordi.

Here’s “Would You Love A Monsterman?”:

“Hardrock Hallelujah”:

“It Snows In Hell”:

and “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Pet contest

29 Oct

I like animals a lot (but not as much the the famous animal expert “Mutsugorou-sensei;) ).
We have a cute pet turtle and we’ve had a cat, rabbit and a bird in the past…and every summer we have a few カブト虫 (Japanese Rhino Beetles).

We also like to visit the many zoos in the Tokyo area and also look at the cute animals in pet shops.

I found on the Yahoo! Japan the 「Yahoo!ペット・コンテスト」 (“Yahoo! Japan Pet Contest”).

On this site people can upload cute photos of their pet and visitors to the site vote on the best ones.

Currently this cat is in first place on the Yahoo Japan Pet Contest.

This one's in Second Place now.

Third Place.

Of course, not all of the pets are cats. There are also cute photos of people’s dogs, hamsters and rabbits. I even saw a pig and a ハリネズミ (hedgehog) while I was browsing through the photos.

Here are few more pictures that I liked:

 

Do you like animals too? Do you have a pet?

If you want to look at the 「Yahoo!ペット・コンテスト」 (“Yahoo! Japan Pet Contest”) then click here.

Hooters in Japan

24 Oct

Do you know the Hooters American restaurant chain?

They are restaurants well-known for spicy “Buffalo-Wing” style chicken and beer served by pretty young waitresses dressed in tight T-shirts and short shorts.

They also have televisions showing sporting events such as football or baseball games.

Sports on TV, Buffalo Wings, beer and sexy waitresses. It’s not difficult to see why this chain is popular…at least with men.

Actually the original Hooters restaurant opened in the early ’80s in Clearwater, Florida, USA…in the neighborhood where I grew up.

Well, after years of negotiations, Japan’s first Hooters restaurant will open tomorrow (2010 October 25) in Tokyo, Japan.

Hooters, Tokyo will be located in the upscale Tokyo neighborhood of 赤坂 (Akasaka).
The address, if you want to go there, is: 東京都千代田区永田町2-14-3 赤坂東急プラザ2F (2nd Floor of the “Akasaka Tokyu Plaza” in 2-14-3 Nagatacho).

The “Akasaka Tokyu Plaza” is full of luxurious stores and restaurants. Not the type of place where you’d normally find a Hooters restaurant!
I feel more comfortable in downtown “blue-collar” neighborhoods and stores. That’s the type of place Hooters is. They serve spicy chicken wings and beer. And the staff are dressed in tight T-shirts and shorts.
The restaurants in places like the “Akasaka Tokyu Plaza” are the types of places that you find in the “Michelin Guide”.

The girls in the front row of this photo are "Hooters Girls" from various Hooters in America who came to Tokyo to train the staff of Hooters Tokyo (who are all the girls behind the front row).

I heard that beginning next year, if this first Hooters in Japan proves popular, they plan to open more restaurants in other high-end areas of Tokyo such as 銀座 (Ginza).

There are many American chain restaurants in Tokyo such as Hard Rock Cafe, Outback and T.G.I. Fridays, so I always thought that they should open Hooters here…but I would’ve thought they’d choose an area in Tokyo such as 新宿 (Shinjuku) or 池袋 (Ikebukuro).

Anyways, I won’t be eating at Hooters in Japan for the same reason I don’t eat at Hard Rock Cafe, Outback or T.G.I. Fridays…the food isn’t so great and the prices are too high.

Besides, my wife makes better “Buffalo Wings” chicken than I’ve ever had at any Hooters before! :)

How about you? Do you like “Buffalo Wings”? Do you eat at “Hooters”? Would you visit the “Hooters” here in Tokyo?

Back To The Future 25th anniversary

23 Oct

In the summer of 1985 one of the greatest movies made was released.
Back To The Future” hit the theaters when I was fifteen years old…close to the age of the lead character in the movie played by Michael J. Fox.

I’m of the generation of the ’80s (often called “Generation X”), so watching a movie about a teenager of the ’80s* going back thirty years (from 1985) to 1955 and experiencing a type of “culture shock” was fun to watch…at least pulled off by the excellent actors Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Crispin Glover it was.

(*Actually Michael J. Fox is nine years older than me. He wasn’t a teenager in 1985…but twenty-four years old.)

Anyways, it’s hard to believe that the first “Back To The Future” movie is already twenty-five years old!
They could make a remake of “Back To The Future” about a kid of today’s generation going back to 1985 and it could probably have just as many “generation gap” gags.

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of “Back To The Future“, Universal Studios is releasing the entire “Back To The Future” trilogy together in one-set on high-definition Blu-Ray discs on 2010 October 26.
This new set will contain over two hours of bonus material including sixteen deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and “Tales from the Future,” a new six-part retrospective documentary.

Here’s the ad for the upcoming “Back To The Future” 25th anniversary re-release on Blu-Ray:

Compare that to the original 1985 trailer for “Back To The Future“:

And it seems that the “Scream Awards” (which recognizes the best horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies) honored the 25th anniversary of “Back To The Future” a few days ago with a reunion of the cast.
Here’s an ad for it:

Winter beer

19 Oct

I just got a case of Kirin Beer’s latest beer*.
(*Actually, it’s a 発泡酒 (Happoshu) which is a low-malt beer. These are popular because they avoid the high beer tax in Japan and therefore are cheaper. They taste quite the same as “regular” beer, so I like them.)

This new beer is called 「冬麒麟」 (“Winter Kirin“).

It tastes very good. It has a “mild taste” just as it says in the ad.
This is a temporary beer offered by Kirin Beer for this winter season, so if you’re in Japan, I recommend trying a can or two.

(The Kirin Beer Company is named after a mythological dragon-like creature called 「麒麟」 (Kirin)…not a “giraffe” which is also called “kirin” in Japanese but written 「キリン」.)

Most of my life in Japan

17 Oct

Today is 2010 October 17.
I came to Japan on 1990 October 17. Twenty years ago.
I was 20 years old when I came to Tokyo…so I’ve now lived half of my life here. Starting tomorrow, I will have been in Japan for “most of my life”.

Time goes by so fast.

In 2008 on this date I wrote a post that compared some of the differences between Japan in 1990 and Japan today.
Click here to read it.

Today is also the anniversary of the day that Yoshihiro Hattori was shot to death in America because he went to the wrong house by mistake on his way to a Halloween party.
Last year I wrote a post on the seventeenth anniversary of his death.
Click here to read a bit about his story in the post I wrote last year.

I can’t believe I’ve already been in Japan for twenty years. October 1990 doesn’t seem that long ago.
Unless that is, you look at I list of the music and movies that were released in 1990!
I checked on Wikipedia…and twenty years seems much longer now that I realized that in 1990 Macaulay Culkin was a cute kid and “Home Alone” was a new movie!

The top-ten movies of 1990 were:
1. “Ghost“…This movie was pretty good, I think.
2. “Home Alone“…This was one funny…but all the sequels (some with different actors in the lead role) were ridiculous.
3. “Pretty Woman
4. “Dances With Wolves
5. “Total Recall“…I like action and suspense movies, but this one was mediocre.
6. “Back To The Future Part III“…This is an excellent trilogy. Of course the first one was the best, but the two sequels were good too.
7. “Die Hard 2: Die Harder“…The four “Die Hard” movies are among my all-time favorites—and I recently heard that they’ll will be making “Part 5″ soon. I hope so!
8. “Presumed Innocent“…Harrison Ford is a great actor who has starred in many excellent films!
9. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“…I knew about this comic book because in the liner notes of the excellent 1986 “Master Of Puppets” album by the heavy metal band Metallica it has in the “Thank you” list, among other things, “sushi, Absolut Vodka, Alka Seltzer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“.
Metallica is cool, this movie isn’t.

As a sidenote, there’s a similar story with the metal band Anthrax. On their 1987 “Among The Living” album there is a song titled “I Am The Law“. In the album’s liner notes it says that the song is inspired by the “Judge Dredd” comics. In 1995, Sylvester Stallone starred in a terrible movie adaptation of this comic series.

But I digress. Back to the list.

10. “Kindergarten Cop

I was going to include a list of the music albums that were released in October 1990, too. But I’ve either never heard of most of the bands on that list or they’re albums by bands that I can’t tolerate.
There were a couple good albums released the time I came to Japan in October 1990:

No Prayer For The Dying” by Iron Maiden


And the “Led Zeppelin box set“.

McDonalds bargains in Japan

16 Oct

From yesterday (2010 October 15) until next Thursday (2010 October 21), McDonalds in Japan are giving away free cups of coffee for one hour each day this week from 6:00PM – 7:00PM.

McDonalds Japan also has a number of “¥100 Menu” and “¥120 Menu” items that include such deals as a hamburger, small coffee and ice cream for ¥100 each and things like a cheeseburger for ¥120.
Well, starting last month, a new item has been added to the ¥100 Menu…a small size 「マックシェイク・バナナ」 (“Banana Milkshake”).

バナナ マックシェイク (Banana Milkshake)

I remember the Banana Milkshake was on the menu at McDonalds Japan about six years ago…and now, starting last month, it’s back on the menu.

Does McDolads in your country offer Banana Milkshakes? Have you tried one? What did you think of it?

Also, McDonalds Japan is currently offering four new chicken sandwiches…one at a time.
These sandwiches are collectively called “iCon’ Chicken”.
The current one is 「チーズフォンデュ」 (“Cheese Fondue”).

In late October, the “iCon’ Chicken” will be changed to “German Sausage”, then in early November it’ll be “Diavolo”, then in late October they’ll sell the “Carbonara”.

+++
edit: Please click here to read a comment I added to this post about McDonalds coupons.

東京スカイツリーライトアップ

13 Oct

The 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree”) tower will stand an incredible 634 meters tall once it’s completed next year and every evening it will be illuminated blue and purple on alternating nights (blue one night, purple the next, and so on).

 

What the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like illuminated in blue, once it's completely built.

 

What the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like illuminated in purple, once it's completely built.

Well, as I wrote in this comment I made last Saturday, the Tokyo Sky Tree was illuminated in both blue and purple from 6:30PM until 9:30PM tonight in a test run of the LED lights that will be used to light up the tower every evening once it’s done being built.

As expected, many people turned up with their cameras to see the Tokyo Sky Tree light up the night sky for the first time (and only time until next year).

The Tokyo Sky Tree lit up in purple tonight.

紅葉地図

11 Oct

I grew up in Florida. There is no autumn or winter there to speak of. The temperature drops a bit…but the leaves on the trees don’t change colors and it doesn’t snow in Florida.

That’s another thing I like about living in Tokyo…four seasons. Each season is vastly different from the others and each one lasts an even quarter of the year.

Soon in the Tokyo area it will be the time of 「紅葉」 (“Fall colors”) when the leaves on the trees changes an assortment of yellow, orange, and red.

When I first moved to Japan and saw the colorful autumn trees for the first time, I really liked it. And I still enjoy looking at them.

Last spring, I wrote a post about a “Cherry Blossom Map” that showed where the Sakura trees are in bloom during the Spring 「花見」 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) season.

The same company that made the “Cherry Blossom Map” also has a 「紅葉地図」 (“Fall Foliage Map”) that shows were you can enjoy 「紅葉狩り」 (“Fall Colors Hunting”).

Click here to see the 「紅葉地図」 (“Fall Foliage Map”).

紅葉 (Autumn leaves) in Tokyo

October weather

10 Oct

Every year in October and April, when the seasons are changing, the temperature fluctuates a lot and it rains often.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a holiday in Japan. It’s 「体育の日」 (“Sports Day“). So it’s currently a three-day weekend here.
Yesterday (Saturday), the weather was very cool (high temperature was 19°C) and rainy in Tokyo. Today it was raining in the morning but has stopped raining and it’s cloudy now and warmer (about 23°C).
Tomorrow is forecast to be warm (high temp: 26°C) and sunny.

Next week’s weather in Tokyo is forecast to be sunny most days but rain again next weekend…and the temperature will go up and down.
This fluctuating temperature in early Spring and Autumn is called 「三寒四温」 (“Three days cold, four days warm”) in Japanese.

 

Tokyo's weather forecast for 2010 Oct 10 - 17. (Click to enlarge)

I was looking at tenki.jp, a Japanese weather website, to get Tokyo’s weather forecast, and I noticed that it’s possible to compare Japan’s weather to any other city in the world using that website.
So I decided to see how Tokyo’s weather compares to Tampa Bay, Florida (where I grew up).
It’s still quite warm in Florida, it seems. Yesterday, for example, was 19°C in Tokyo…but in Tampa, Florida it was 29°C…very warm.

Last week's weather...Tampa, FL (the blue line) vs Tokyo, Japan (the orange line)

How is the weather where you live?

(By the way, did you notice that today’s date is: ’10-10-10?)

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