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My Life Page 14
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Discgolf is not dead! Despite not updating that section for months, I have actually played about 3 times. So why is it appearing in the My Life section? Well instead of going to the usual course in Tachikawa's Showa Kinen Park, I've been playing at Tokyo's 'other' discgolf course, the one in Tatsumi, which is like the Tachikawa course's poor cousin. The Tatsumi course is inferior in almost every way. The fairways are much shorter, there are only 9 holes as opposed to 18, and there are minimal obstacles like the trees, ponds and streams that make the course in Tachikawa so interesting. All this contributes to ridiculously good scores which is I guess is the main reason it's been left out of the discgolf section, although I might stick it in there someday if the mood strikes me. The Tatsumi course does have one redeeming point though, it is near JC's apartment which is generally much closer to everyone than far off Tachikawa is, much easier to get people to come out and play.

Disc Golf Tatsumi


In these lazy, hazy, crazy days of Tokyo's killer summer heat, what could be better than taking a free tour of Kirin's Beer Factory? We headed out there on a Saturday which might seem like a pretty good day to join a tour, but the factory workers had other ideas and selfishly decided to take the day off. Instead of watching bottles and cans zoom merrily around the conveyer belts getting filled up with beer, we had a great view of what all the production lines and machines look like when they're turned off. Kirin thought to solve that problem by having little TVs on the walls showing what things look like on a beer making day, but the effect was comparable to driving all the way to a baseball stadium in order to watch the game on TV. To add insult to injury, I wasn't allowed to take any photographs during the tour, which is why the pictures are all of us drinking our free beer (yes free) after the tour. Only two glasses each though unfortunately. However seemingly nothing is stopping you from just heading back to the beginning and taking the tour again if you're really thirsty. Cheers!

Kirin Beer Factory


Headed back to Kumi's hometown again, but in the summer this time. While the winter is cold and grey, with little to do except watch bad Japanese TV, the summer has endless outdoor options. I stayed for two nights and managed to fit in a ton of interesting stuff. We headed up to this area famous for having 5 different coloured lakes. Sure enough the lakes ranged from blue to yellow to green to red to brown. We also spent most of a day at this beautiful waterfall/river just relaxing. I hadn't brought my bathing suit but I just couldn't help myself and jumped in the water with my clothes on, sans shirt of course. It seems that kind of thing isn't done in Fukushima as Kumi's mom wasn't too impressed, insisting that I go buy a new pair of pants to change into lest I get a cold. There were no clothing shops to be found though so I had to settle for air drying, which I did admirably. Other highlights included hanging out with Kumi's niece and nephew, catching the usually shy Tora in a state of repose and driving to Yamagata to eat Yonezawa beef. Awesome!

Fukushima 2007


Long overdue for a mylife update! Here we are way back in the middle of September when a bunch of us headed down to Izu to give summer a rousing send off (hard to believe it was only a few months ago). Participants this time around were of Jason (skimboarding), UK Mike (digging a hole), Maho (playing with kids), A friend of Maho's (whose name escapes me now, sorry!) and Wendy (top right in red).
We drove down under threat of a typhoon hitting any minute, but just like last time, the whole (long) weekend was pretty much sunny, warm and perfect. Days were spent chilling on the beach, bodyboarding, hanging out at this great little beach cafe (albeit with really slow service) and doing the onsen thing in the evening. UK Mike ended up being the star of the whole beach when he took out his shovel and spent the day trying to dig the greatest hole ever dug.

Izu Again!


Living in Japan for a long time, you often get a craving for Western food. But sometimes junky hamburgers or cheap steaks just don't cut it. There will come a time when you want good Western food. That's when you head to Lawry's for prime rib. I was thinking I wouldn't dress up much but it's a good thing I did, this place is high class! 100 foot ceilings, plush velvet seats, low lighting and a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for romantic dates, people with lots of money (not me), and when you've had enough of normal crowded and noisy Tokyo restaurants (me). The service was polite and attentive to a fault. At the reception area they had at least 5 staff members waiting to usher you to your seat, all bowing and treating you like royalty. Lawry's specializes in prime rib and they didn't disapoint. You can choose from 5 cut sizes. I chose the fourth largest which was brontosaurus sized and barely managed to finish it. The dinner also comes with salad, mashed potatoes and yorkshire pudding, all of which was fantastic. How much? Well let's just say it'll be a once a year kind of thing.

Welcome to Lawry's


Kumi's mom often sends us boxes of food, and a while back we got a huge box full of Japanese pears, 16 of them no less. While they are delicious to eat raw, each one is the size of a large grapefruit, and after 8 or 10, you tend to wish there was some other way to eat them. Well there is! Using my intellect I reasoned that pears, while not apples, look and taste somewhat similar so why not make an apple pie using pears instead of apples!? I turned on my oven, brought my cooking skills to bear and in no time at all I had whipped up a pear pie to put pies everywhere in the world to shame. I had hoped to use at least 2 pears in my pie, but such is the size of these pears that one was enough to fill it! Speaking of baking, my sister recently opened her own cake shop in Canada. You think I'm good? Well check out some of her designs!

Pear Pie


Been more than a month now since Kumi and I moved, and it's been a struggle to get the place in some kind of proper order. After traveling to IKEA twice, ordering stuff online twice, sending stuff back once, waiting weeks and weeks for it all to be delivered, the place was finally ready for a photo or two. The photos here and below are of the living room and small kitchen (see below for the kitchen). Not shown are the bedroom to the left of the TV, as well as the extra bedroom (currently the computer room), and the large bath/washing/laundry room. At 60 sqr. meters it's the largest place I've ever rented, and except for the kitchen which is a bit puny, I love having so much space to call my own. Next step is buying a house I guess!

Our New Apartment


We ended up spending a bit more than we wanted on furniture, a table and 4 chairs, a queen sized bed, a bookshelf, a TV stand, a carpet and lots of curtains. Who would've thought curtains could be so damn expensive and troublesome? We measured all the windows and ordered a bunch from this online shop only to find that when they arrived, we hated them and they were the wrong size. We were like, screw online stores, we want to see and feel our curtains before we buy them, so we sent them all back and went out shopping. However it turned out that our window sizes were all irregular and we'd have to have order made curtains which were twice as expensive as regular ones, something like $600 just for three sets. We groaned, went back home, had another look at the online shop, and decided to try again with a different batch. Of course they were sold out and we had to wait about 3 weeks for them to be in stock. Finally they arrived, we hung them up and without looking too carefully we declared them to be fine.

Our New Apartment


Very unpatriotic of me I know, but this year I ended up celebrating the American version of Thanksgiving two days in a row, while the Canadian day passed by sad and forgotten. Thursday the 23rd Kumi and I went to the Pink Cow for their amazing Thanksgiving buffet. Wish I could still eat as much as when I was a teenager. I had to struggle to eat two plates of food and dessert was pretty much a write off. The next night JC hosted a little Thanksgiving party at his place with about 10 people in attendance. He ordered a huge turkey from this catering shop which was surprisingly good considering that it was delivered. The whole gang pitched in to make vegetables, mashed potatoes, salads, dip, you name it. Once again I stuffed myself silly. After that we played poker with JC's brand new poker set which he ordered from Las Vegas complete with high quality chips, cards and a green felt tablecloth. Lots of fun! That's JC in the middle flanked by Maho on the right and Genny (making a face) on the left.

JC's Place Thanksgiving




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