Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Typhoon Approaches

The first real typhoon season typhoon is approaching, though I guess "typhoon season" may not really be accurate yet. It means a day indoors for me---my day off and no bike riding. Of course if it isn't windy I could take my older bike out. I haven't ridden it for 11 months. I am becoming citified. Complaining about rain. Never thought I'd do that!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

39 degrees centigrade

For the last few days....just a bit hot. I nearly cooked on two bikes rides. Felt like the highway was a frying pan. My water bottle became so hot that it seemed like my drink had been heated on the stove. Much hotter this year than last.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Rainy Season is over and

I couldn't even tell it started. Hardly any rain in the Kanto area. The Japanese are sort of notorious for believing Japan is the only country on earth with 4 seasons---you'd be shocked at how many supposedly educated people believe this. Probably think the earth is flat too. Some claim the "rainy season" is a fifth season, so Japan is the only country with 5 seasons. I suppose I could talk about West Virginia with 4 seasons plus squirrel, turkey, deer, bear, rabbit season etc. Oh, and harvest season, and planting season. Unfortunately, if I did, nobody would get the joke. Then some of the "unique country" nitwits would then say, "Japan has fewer seasons than any other place on earth."

The general rule is to ignore any statement that begins, "Japan (or the Japanese) is the only...." whether uttered by a Japanese or a foreigner. Especially by a member of the Japanapologist club.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The hidden secret of Japan is its food

For some reason, Japanese food is not popular in the US except for sushi, and once you get away from the large cities on the coasts, even that may not be all that popular.

I had always liked most Japanese food, but since coming back to live this time, I wonder how I could ever do without it again. The variety of fresh seafood is something that I have never seen matched elsewhere. It seems like nearly every kind of fish is available in local supermarkets. Fruits are quite expensive and often the quality is not especially high (unless you pay even more for it) but at least I can buy an apple that tastes like an apple instead of the taste-free things we get in American supermarkets.

I have started a new "hobby" over the last few years. My wife and I go to at least a couple of ryokans every year, and I love to test the food they serve. Often it is something I have never eaten before and which isn't easily found in Tokyo restaurants.

In May we went to a ryokan in the Nikko mountains. Dinner was served in our room as is traditional and consisted of about every type of yuba known to man. Yuba is a food derived from tofu, if my understanding is correct. Now it wasn't all delicious, but I found one yuba dish which was outstanding. Unfortunately, neither I nor my wife can remember the name. Not a big deal, because I doubt if one can buy it in Tokyo anyway. Naturally, the fish at that inn was delicious, but I am biased---I love fish anyway.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Long, Hot Ride II

Well, the heat wasn't as bad as I had feared. It was over 90 degree though. I had plenty of water and 1 liter of my favorite sport drink, Pokkari Sweat. (taste is much better than the old Gatorade) plus some Weider energy gel. Could have used more sunblock. I had some rated 50++, but still got a little burned. Oh well....

Hot, long ride

At over 35 degrees centigrade and plans of riding over 80 kilometers today, it promises to be this year's most challenging ride. I seem to have a problem keeping the speed and effort down, so I'll see how it goes today.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Tour de France in Japan

The Tour started last Saturday, but it isn't broadcast in Japan. The only way to listen is on the OLN website's audio feed and it is very unreliable---full of starts and stops. Quite frustrating, but I am up until 1230-1 AM every night trying to listen to it. If I can't hear it, I follow the live reports from several cycling websites.