October 16, 2012

The Beauty of Getting Lost

There's nothing terribly exciting to report today, but I'd like to post once a day, so I'll either make something up or pull together miscellaneous stories and photos from days passed.

But the bulleted version of the day goes something like this:
  • Woke up. Nothing too surprising there as almost everyone starts their day the same way.
  • Decided I'd be productive today so, among other things, I applied to Gaba and set out to turn Kelly's porch, which was covered in pigeon droppings, into a Japanese oasis.
  • After a bit of cleaning I found my way to the Japanese equivalent of the 99 cents store to buy some bamboo floor mats. A few things to note:
      • It was actually a "100 yen" store ($1). I don't think the Japanese have embraced the brilliance of 99 cents.
      • Wose than that, it was a "100 yen +" store, which is the equivalent to the "Dollar & Up" stores we have in America. Here's the thing, all stores are a dollar and up. They should really call themselves "Cheap Crap & Candy" stores.
  • While on the way to the store I got lost. I was able to ask for directions in Japanese, but when I saw a tall white guy walking near me, I decided to ask again, to start conversation. He's an Australian gentleman who has been here 10 years. He teaches English and said he'd be happy to introduce me to the person who hires at his company. Also invited me out to beers this Thursday with him and his "mate" who lives in the same town as Kelly. The great things that happen when you are lost...
  • Went for a run along the river that runs parallel to the street that Kelly lives on. What made the run hard was not that I hadn't exercised since breaking my foot, but was instead the incredibly pungent smell of fish and seaweed. Or riverweed. 
  • I'm a third of the way through finishing a third of goal 52. I'm more than 100 e-pages into "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami. Currently reading on the newly remodeled porch. Well not currently, I'm currently typing this sentence. I've never been one to read fiction for pleasure but I'd like to change that. It's fun reading about the characters going out to the same places I've been visiting. Have yet to reach the chapter where Watanabe and Naoko sit together and compare different flavors of Kit Kats...

Here's a Kit Kat Update (KKU):

I've found a few new flavors lurking in convenience stores, but none come in the beautiful packages that Taylor and I found on our first mission. This leads me to believe these newly discovered flavors are year-round treats, rather than the specialty ones that are so elegantly crafted and packaged. Regardless, a goal is a goal, so:

Vanilla Ice: You'd think a flavor named
after a less than mediocre rapper would be less than mediocre. You'd be right. The vanilla flavor was comparable to generic off-brand ice cream rather than Haagen-Daz French Vanilla. But if you're a lover of vanilla and want to be mildly pleased, pick this one up!

Alright stop, collaborate and listen,  Ice is crap and not worth a mention
Caramel Pudding: I'm not sure if these should even be here because they were not in bar form, but are instead Milk Dud-sized balls. But they read "Kit Kat" so I bought them. I don't know if I liked them, but I did finish the bag, which is to say they weren't offensive to any part of my mouth. A pretty good ratio of chocolate to caramel, but is this really a surprise given the ubiquitous combination of cthese two flavors? It feels like Nestle has sold out and is taking the easy road. If you're reading this, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, please reflect on the amazing flavor combinations your company has produced and then ask yourself if caramel and chocolate is an accurate representation of the fine work your R&D department is capable of. I think you will find that it is not.
A lazy attempt
Cookies and Cream: Nestle, we're on a three strikes policy and between caramel pudding and cookies and cream, you've struck out twice. How about a little originality? Remember the days of Hot Japanese Chili? Who can forget the winning combination of Rum Raisin and chocolate? I can't forget, and that's why I'm going to give you another chance to blow me away.

Dark Chocolate: I'm going to purposefully miscall this "strike" as a "ball" in order to give you another chance, Nestle. I recognize that all milk chocolate products eventually get a dark chocolate companion and I'm not surprised you followed suit. And actually, I think I may have enjoyed you more than your milk chocolate twin. Something about the crispiness of your waffer mixed with the bitter taste of dark chocolate really did it for me. You know what, you went for that pitch and you knocked it out of the park: home run! Well not out of the park, you just got a lucky bounce and the outfielder tripped. Let's not get carried away. You are, after all, only dark chocolate.
Crisp Waffer & Bitter chocolate, a winning combination.

Some photos from weeks passed:

Enjoying Purple Sweet Potato ice cream in Kamakura
Yokohama Waterfront Selfie
America has Street Meat (hot dogs) and Japan has Road Spuds.
People often sleep on the train, but this gent has taken public comfort to a whole new level
Is this the Colonel dressed as a witch, or a witch dressed like the Colonel?
5am, Shibuya. Wasn't able to catch him with the pants around the ankles, but I assure you it happened.

Question of the week:

Have the Japanese people not adopted YOLO because, as Buddhists, they believe in reincarnation?