Sunday, April 29, 2012

un bon anniversaire á Tokyo

Today I woke up feeling like the luckiest guy alive. A sincere thank you to all my friends and family for the well wishes. Please know this has been the best birthday ever! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hello Goodbye - Silva

Thanks for the memories. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

のりちか青木スクイズバント, Aoki's suicide squeeze bunt

Norichika Aoki's suicide squeeze bunt, perfectly played! awesome video to see



Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Make Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き): Japanese-style pancakes

Okonomiyaki on wikipedia. I threw a party with some friends on Friday night and we had a great time preparing these Japanese-style pancakes. Highly recommend. All thanks to Natsumi F. for cooking for us and allowing me to write it up for this blog. Without her expert knowledge of okonomiyaki restaurants and cooking, the night wouldn't have been the same. What I like most about this dish is that (similar to pancakes back home) its really hard to screw up to the point that it becomes inedible. In other words, this is really great bachelor food! The following amounts are approximations. 


Cabbage, 1 head
1lb (500g) bacon (substitute: chicken, beef, shrimp, squid, spam, or any combination thereof)
1 package (500g) Okonomiyaki mix (a magical flour mixture including salt, powdered eggs, and pixy dust)(I am pretty sure this is an important ingredient, but I really want to try replacing with a simple mixture of flour and salt to determine just how important this is)
8 eggs
1/2 cup water
cooking oil
Okonomiyaki sauce (could probably use teriyaki sauce or even ketchup if you wanted, traditionalists will cringe fiercely at this) 
nagaimo (Chinese Yam)(optional but highly recommend)
Katsuobushi(optional but highly recommend)

I bought these ingredients at the Japanese grocery store called Hanamasa. You can buy online here.
Experiment with other ingredients such as: shredded cheese, pickled daikon, or anything leftover in the fridge. 
Makes 6-10 pancakes

TIP: Use grated or diced nagaimo (Chinese Yam) to make the okonomiyaki pancake stick together. Used to produce an aesthetically pleasing pancake... and you say "aesthetics schmetics,  it tastes the same in the end" to which the chief dietitian of bachelor food would have to agree. 

First step: shred half the cabbage and place in a bowl. 

Next: Slice and grate/dice up the nagaimo, being sure to remove the outer layer of skin

 Pour the entire contents of the bag of Okonomiyaki Mix into a large bowl. Add the eggs and water. 
Stir until well mixed. Constancy should be a little runnier than cake batter. Add more water as needed.

Then, cut the bacon into two inch strips. 

In a small bowl, add a large handful of shredded cabbage, the equivalent of 2 or 3 strips of bacon and the nagaimo. Pour in enough batter to evenly cover the cabbage and bacon mixture. 

Next, heat your frying pan or griddle with a splash of cooking oil.

When hot, pour in the cabbage/bacon/batter mix (1 pancake should be about 8 inches in diameter).

Cook on medium heat until browned. Flip. Repeat for the other side. 

NOTE: We got pretty good results by covering the pancake with the lid of an 8 inch pot.

Next, pose with your pancake!!

Finally, top with mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, and Katsuobushi. (Aonori, if you got it). 

Serve and Enjoy! Thanks for reading. 

Do you like Okonomiyaki? Let me know what your favorite ingredients are in the comments below. Mucho aloha! :-D

Sunday, April 8, 2012




thanks for the help, C.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cherry Blossom Tasting, the "new" hanami

The much celebrated cherry-blossoms are in full bloom here in Tokyo. The beautiful white cherry blossoms are a sight to behold. The word for Cherry Blossom viewing in Japanese is "hanami".

Today I discovered Cherry Blossom Tasting and it is worth trying, trust me!

Find yourself a cherry blossom.
 Next, remove the petals.
Then, peel off and remove the Stamens and Pistil (yes, the pointy things with yellow dust)
 You should end up with this:

  Finally, sip it like the world's tiniest straw.  So surprisingly delicious!!    
It's Cherry Blossom Tasting Time!! ENJOY!!!!
Leave your comments below!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hachiko's Grave

Aoyama Reien (Cemetery)


If you have ever been down to Shibuya to meet friends on a bustling Saturday night, you probably know the famous statue of Hachiko. The Hachiko exit (famed for the statue of this famous dog) is located across from the famous Shibuya "scramble intersection" Crossing. "Let's meet at Hachiko" is a catch phrase popular if you are actively seeking the vivacity and thrills Tokyo night life offers. 

Hachiko is famous for his faithfulness to his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, whom he meet every day at Shibuya station after Ueno returned home from work. 
Professor Ueno passed away one day from a cerebral hemorrhage but Hachiko continued to show up at Shibuya station every evening for the next 9 years. The full story of Hachiko can be found here

Today I went to the famous Aoyama Reien 青山霊園 to see the cherry blossoms with my dear friend and former classmate, Yuko. During our tour of the cemetery, we found Hachiko's memorial. 
Aoyama Cemetery with cherry blossoms in full bloom

I started out from Gaienmae Station. In order to find the grave, you will want to grab a map from the Cemetery office. The official was very kind and had a paper map ready to hand me when I asked where to find Hachiko's grave. 
The star denotes the grave of Professor Ueno and the memorial to his faithful dog, Hachiko

On the search for Hachiko

Yuko posing with the lovely cherry-blossoms in the background

Jon: According to the map its up here on the right.

Yuko: Thats because you are holding the map upside down.

Jon: oh, right, so we go left, right?

Yuko: ...


After a few directional issues, we found it: Hachiko's memorial. 
"The late Mr. Ueno Hidesaburo"
Small shrine for Hachiko

The guy at the Cemetery office said that seeing Hachiko's grave gives the story of Hachiko a new, more personal meaning. He was absolutely right. I highly recommend checking this out.

Yuko and I at the Aoyama Cemetery viewing cherry blossoms

Thursday, April 5, 2012

のりちか青木 Aoki's Brewer Commercial

English wiki page for Norichika Aoki

Norichika Aoki is the latest addition to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. Aoki is a 3 time Batting Champion and a 6-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star who just entered the Major Leagues for the first year with the Milwaukee Brewers. Everyone has been wondering how he will do. His debut is actually pretty helpful for me. When describing where I am from to my Japanese students who are studying English, I sometimes try to break the ice with Brewers baseball because A) Baseball is a favorite past time here and B) Aoki is making headlines in a big way these days all across Japan and the US so he is hard to miss. This season I will be watching Aoki in great anticipation along with the rest of Japan. Below is his debut in the Brewers TV commercials.ミルウォーキー・ブルワーズ
Here is the Brewers latest commercial featuring Mat Gamel and Aoki.