Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

Sunday Soundcheck 71

2011年 10月 23日

We’ve reached the last column of the syllabary, but not nearly the end of the Sunday Soundcheck. I’ll explain why after this column is completed, which won’t take so long since there are only three characters in this column. My feeling is that these three are the oddballs tacked on at the end, but all three of them are very important.

The first is wa which is written in hiragana and katakana as わ and ワ respectively. It is the only character starting with w, so most Japanese people have difficulty with foreign words containing w sounds.

Warikan (わりかん・割り勘) is splitting of a bill equally between parties, commonly called Dutch treat in some circles. Often at Japanese parties a senior member will feel responsible to pick up the bill as the host, but sometimes it is necessary for everyone to chip in. Nowadays most restaurants are computerized and will allow each person to pay for exactly their order at the register, but when many dishes are shared the warikan system is probably better.

Wanman (ワンマン) from ‘one man’ is used to refer to trains with no conductor, just an engineer. In the big cities this is nothing special; people may get on or off the train by themselves and tickets are generally sold from machines and inserted into automated wickets at the exits. Fare adjustment machines also exist for passengers who have gone farther than their purchased fare. Also in the big stations there are usually staff manning the entrances and exits; however, in more countryside areas – particularly on the local trains which stop at every station – there are sometimes unmanned exits. In these cases the engineer-only trains will typically only open the front door of the train so the engineer can watch passengers dropping their tickets or fares into a kitty, much like a bus.


Just For You

2010年 9月 7日

Linda's BoutiqueToday is just some friendly silliness. While I was in Venice I spotted a couple shops with names of people I know. Here are the photos I snapped. One is “Boutique Donna: Linda” for my sister. The other is “Trattoria/Pizzeria – da Roberto” for my friend, who I never met when we both lived in Seattle, but was drawn together with in Ichishi-cho, of all places.

da RobertoThe boutique seemed good, but we were rushing by on a mission so I just snapped a quick shot. It was on a winding alley a little off the normal tourist areas. The restaurant tempted me several times as we passed it on different days with empty stomachs. We never sat down and ate there, but maybe on another trip.

Tall Cool One

2010年 9月 3日

Demands on my time are high, but I am back in Japan, so it’s time to get posting. Summer this year was filled with activity and travel, so I have a lot of photographs to post as well. Parents Needle (straight)Recently I have been spending a little time learning about how to use GIMP (like Photoshop, but cheaper) as well, so I can trim and repair and adjust the photos a bit.

The second trip was to Seattle. My wife could not join us, so I took my parents-in-law on their first trip to my hometown. We arrived to the announcement that the weather was 12 degrees Celsius. I was sure the Japanese attendant had made a translating error since 20 degrees is just a transposition in Japanese and it certainly couldn’t be that cold. Well, the staff was accurate… it was cold. Fortunately it warmed up and we had beautiful weather the whole trip. A couple mornings had clouds and rain, but otherwise we were ecstatic.

One evening I took my parents along and all five of us enjoyed the Sky City restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. Certainly I have had better food and the prices are a bit high; however, the food was quite good and I was happy to pay for the view and the experience. King crab legs, salmon, seafood pasta, steak, and vegetable gateau were our selections. Everyone seemed pleased. We also ordered some Beecher’s cheese wrapped in prosciutto for an appetizer and sampled the wine. At the end of the meal we had chocolate cake and cobbler with ice cream.

We could clearly see all the way to Canada and Oregon, making it one of the best days of the year and our reservation included sunset.

Today’s photo is a composite of two photos made with some additional software I have been trying out.

Correction: This photo is a composite of three photos made with software from ArcSoft, but first I rotated all the images in GIMP so the tower would not appear bent. See the first attempt here.

One Shot

2010年 8月 6日

Apologies to all of my readers. Finally, I will give you a brief glimpse of the wedding events. First, I have been busy and there were delays in getting digital images from the wedding, so I haven’t made the time to write up details here. Second, I totally spaced out and mistakenly thought I had posted a link to some photos. (I think I did that on facebook, but clearly didn’t do it here.)

Wedding DinnerWe had the wedding on a Sunday afternoon and Saturday night we had a party for the relatives. Originally there was talk about wearing kimono for the wedding; however, logistically and artistically it wasn’t working out. We chose a restaurant in an old feudal lord’s home for the dinner party and wore traditional garments. My wife is wearing the same kimono that my mother-in-law wore for her wedding. We changed out many accessories, so it has a different feeling, but this allowed many relatives to recall the previous occasion about 40 years ago.

Shinto weddings typically have the bride in a special white kimono. This kimono is a type called furisode (振袖), coarsely translated as ‘flapping sleeves’. Furisode are for young, unmarried women to be worn on any formal occasion. Typically they have much brighter patterns than standard kimono.

My kimono is very traditional and subdued for a wedding. We wanted me to look appropriately cool, but not distracting from my better half. Many foreigners have a very negative reaction to foreigners wearing traditional garments. Claiming it is a kind of dress-up game or that it looks awkward or inappropriate. We disagree and felt that it gave us a balanced pairing for this event.

When I return from the honeymoon, I will upload more photos and make time for writing up some of the highlights from May.


2010年 1月 18日

Another of my fellow teachers in Tsu (津) also lives in Ise (伊勢) with his wife and new baby. His wife’s family is originally from Toba (鳥羽) and run a cafe there called Ciao.

We took our visitors from Yokohama (横浜) there for a little lunch before soaking in a nice hot spring in the afternoon.

Ciao serves a variety of foods: pizzas, pastas, dorias and sandwiches, but more importantly – DESSERTS. Cakes, cookies, and sweets abound.

Recently we have taken interest in their parfaits. They have three sizes, which I’ll translate as mini, normal, and MONSTER. Monster is actually not all that enormous, except for the fact that you can choose any cake from the case and it is ensconced in the upper portion of the parfait. Quite an amusing site!

One lesson we learned was ordering a baked cheesecake to put in a parfait is not the best idea. Being much firmer than the ice cream it is tough to cut into it without disaster; however, the staff was one step ahead of us and had already provided a small plate to put the cake onto, so it all worked out. My recommendation is to pick something fluffier for your MONSTER, perhaps a chocolate chocolate cake.

Anyhow, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and got fattened up just in time to get naked in front of strangers.

Change Can be Good

2009年 12月 5日

Tempura Sakamoto (天ぷらさか本) in front of Tsu Shinmachi Station (津新町駅) is my favorite restaurant. Numerous times I’ve mentioned my experiences there, but let me summarize: a variety of tasty and healthy foods, reasonable prices, and a kind family.

Before my calligraphy class today I stopped in for their O-Banzai Lunch, a selection of about seven tasty dishes for one low price. There is always seasonal variation to the dishes, but for the most part it is free of surprises; however, new policy presented me with something different today. A local producer of organic greens and vegetables has convinced them to try his wares.

The tempura dish today had the staple shrimp, but it was accompanied by slender, tender carrots and carrot greens. Lightly fried carrot greens have a fascinating, intricate appearance and the delicate flavor is no disappointment either.

The yosedofu salad had additional Japanese radish greens, which also gave a nice, fresh taste. Today’s lunch was a special treat. Hopefully the arrangement with the local farmer will turn out well. Delicious, healthy food and support for local business make a great combination.

When you’re in the area, please stop in and enjoy the restaurant.

Open for Business

2009年 3月 27日

Last Friday we had the day off for the Vernal Equinox (and you wonder why people think Japanese people are nature worshipers.) I met my girlfriend on a limited express train to Kyoto. She was on her way to a conference and we needed to talk. Being to busy to just meet like normal folks, we stole time on the train.

Pooh's?While she was in her conference I strolled about the city looking for something interesting to photograph. I am a member of AJAPS (All-Japan Association of Photographic Societies・全日本写真連盟) and often neglect to submit photos at our meetings, so I made use of my time. Nothing really prize-worthy jumped out, but I got some fun photos.

Here is a restaurant that made me laugh. Clearly the staff knows they are “OPEN” for business, but whoever did the glass painting seemed uncertain who owns the restaurant. It is Pooh, isn’t it?

Bitter Deception

2008年 12月 23日

For years now, I have been telling people in Japan about the wonderful Japanese restaurant in my hometown – owned and run by Japanese staff – which has a wonderfully authentic atmosphere. A few years ago, I even ordered traditional New Year’s osechi ryori from them to give my friends and family a proper New Year’s Day party. Everyone is impressed and can’t believe it.

Well, today we stopped in and were greeted with a nice, “irasshaimase”. I politely requested a table for ‘sannin‘ (showing three fingers as I spoke) and I was thinking everything would be as normal… until I commented in Japanese on how the number of customers was small (presumably, a result of the snow). The waiter smiled and made an unrelated comment in English as he moved away to give us time.

From that point forward I started watching everything carefully: what was said, how they acted, the style of the remodel work that had been done, etc. Finally, I conceded that the staff was all new and perhaps it was a Korean family running the restaurant; much like the teriyaki restaurant at the edge of town. A half dozen years ago, at said teriyaki shop, I was trying to speak to them in Japanese until I saw a Korean name on the business license.

I think they’re happy for people looking for authentic Japanese food who mistake them for Japanese people, but are a little annoyed when the ignorant white guy tries to speak to them in Japanese. Anyhow, the experience was a little less than my expectations.

Otherwise, I’m going a little stir crazy being snowbound.

The Palm of Mom’s Hand

2008年 9月 8日

About a month ago I went to a restaurant in Matsusaka (松阪) with a very difficult name, simple but difficult. This is a fine distinction which is a struggle in both English and Japanese. Most folks will say simple is the opposite of difficult, but I would contend that simple and complex are opposites and, likewise easy and difficult. In Japanese I would say kantan (簡単) and muzukashii (難しい) are opposites and, likewise tanjun (単純) and fukuzatsu (複雑); however, many people take difference with this. Language is a delicate creature and should be handled as such, but I have wandered from the main topic… the restaurant’s name: Kaka no Te (かかの掌).

Readers who know a little Japanese might jump to the conclusion that ‘te‘ means hand, but a quick look at the kanji shows that it is more complicated, having the entire character for ‘hand’ as a part of this character. Different meanings, some religious, are described by this character but it can mean te no hira, which I’ll translate as ‘the palm’; more literally, it might be ‘the inside of the hand’. Kaka is a little simpler. being a loving term that children use to say ‘mom’ (お母さん), written in kanji as: 母, 嚊, or 嬶. So, the restaurant is “The Palm of Mom’s Hand”.

Normally restaurants should have very comforting names but, dad being absent alot, mom was the primary disciplinarian in our family; hence, the palm of her hand didn’t always have that comforting feeling. Spanking is not popular in Japan, so I’ll assume there’s no similar duality here. A business card labels this as Kami Shima Homemade-Style Cooking. It was tasty and seemed healthy enough.