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January 06, 2006


Well, it's a New Year, and we've decided to make a few changes on the blog. First of all, we're going to move the main part of our blogging to a new site, There are a few reasons for this, and I'll elaborate.

We've been at Bootsn'All for over a year now. It's still a great travel site, and we frequent it often, but the blog part of it is pretty limiting. It's a fairly fixed format, and doesn't allow the kind of creativity that we'd like to interject to keep it fresh. The new site will allow us more flexibility in format, content, to post some of our favorite links, and may even allow us to do some commerce if we ever decide to offer photos for sale. Not sure how that would work just yet, but we'll figure it out.

Also, in the technical realm, I started using the (free) Firefox browser as my primary interface with the internet, and for some reason, the Movable Type buttons that show up on Internet Explorer don't all show up when using Firefox...minor detail, yes, but sort of an annoying one. Blogger is apparently set up to be optimized with Firefox. So, bottom line, we're going to give it a whirl.

We'll keep the Bootsn'All site open, of course, and may update it from time to time still to keep it from getting kicked off their server, but I'll post the link to this new site at the top of the page. Please keep in mind that if you'd like to surf back over there to see history, you're of course welcome and encouraged to do so!

So, then...Come see the new site! Please let us know what you think of the new format.

Don't forget to bookmark it into your favorites. See you there!

Posted by djf at 06:39 PM
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December 26, 2005

Meet the newest member of our family - iDog!

20051223 New Puppy 036.jpg

For Christmas my interpreter, Hiroko, gave Melody an iDog. If you've not seen one yet, it's one of the many gadgets that seem to be glomming onto the whole iPod craze. It's the same color plastic and is designed to be "fed" music.

On its own, he (we think it's a he, although there's no way to really tell...) makes little beeping and whistling noises, and shakes his head and waggles his ears. If you pull on his tail, he makes "mad" noises. He also has lights in his head that change colors and designs as his mood changes. Right now, he's making the "please come pet me" sound, sort of a whine. If you pat him on the head or nose, he makes happy noises. And, if you leave him alone for long enough, he'll just go to sleep.

All in all, he's an cute and amusing little fellow. Here are a few pictures of our new puppy.

Continue reading "Meet the newest member of our family - iDog!"

Posted by djf at 05:34 AM
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December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Japan! We hope all of our friends and family all over the world have a wonderful, joyous and safe holiday.

Blessings to you all!

Christmas Tree 002.jpg

Posted by djf at 03:15 PM
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December 18, 2005

Dinner and Karaoke

Last night, I went out with some of our counterparts in the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. It was purely a social function, not official in any way and was a great time. My friend Toshi set it up, and he really did a great job. Melody had to work, unfortunatly, but she gave me a kitchen pass so I could go.

sm20051217 Beach and Karaoke night 064.jpg

I took the train up to Shinjuku and we all linked up at the station there and headed off to supper. Apparently, somebody knows somebody who knows somebody, because we ate at the Sumitomo Club, a pretty swanky, exclusive place. It's up on the 47th floor with incredible views of Tokyo below. The dinner, which cost us each less than $50 (Y5000) was one of the best meals I've ever had. It was teppanyaki style, so a chef prepared it on a big grill in front of us. It wasn't quite "Benihana" with the knives flashing around and him throwing shrimps at us; rather, he was quite professional, obviously expert, and took a lot of pride in the creation of the meal. The meal was served in a private was just us five and the chef and a dedicated waiter who would drift in and out constantly keeping your drinks filled, your plates cleared...Customer service in Japan is the best in the world. Hands down.

Chef talking to the mushrooms
sm20051217 Beach and Karaoke night 065.jpg

Continue reading "Dinner and Karaoke"

Posted by djf at 04:02 PM
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Tsukiji Fish Market

As mentioned, here are a few pictures from the trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo...Seeing all those different kind of fish was fascinating and in a certain way, horrifying. Sometimes it's better to not know what you may be eating.

Some of the fish you'll recognize. Some you probably won't. Still, to be safe, you may want to skip this if you've just eaten lunch (or have plans to go eat sushi later on today...).

Let's take a journey into the world of raw fish (and other things...)!

Continue reading "Tsukiji Fish Market"

Posted by djf at 02:36 PM
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December 11, 2005

Still here...

It's been a while, sorry. Work has been really busy, and I've had the opportunity to do some travelling on the weekends, so it's been hard to get to the blog. A long overdue post chronicling the past month is in the works! I promise!

Melody is still at sea, but returns sometime better be before Christmas.

They're building the house behind us and unfortunately, it looks like our "Fuji View" will be ruined because the new house is taller than the one there previously. I went over and asked them if they could just not add that roof part on, but my Japanese is still not quite up to the task, so they just looked at me like I was some "baca gaijin" (crazy foreign guy).

Anyhow, here's a quick rundown on the travels...

Continue reading "Still here..."

Posted by djf at 06:24 AM
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November 14, 2005

China from China?

The day that I went surfing with Ray, I was poking around on the beach and found a broken piece of china. It looked fairly old, but I don't know anything about this type stuff. Still, it was interesting to find.

When we were on the Nokogiriyama trip last weekend, we made a quick side trip to the beach, where I found several more pieces of broken ceramic plates and cups.

Seeing that I found the pieces without much effort, I figure I'll keep looking whenever I go down there. Maybe I can make something out of them later on...mosaic table comes to mind, not necessarily something that I could do on my own, but maybe I could find someone who can.

Continue reading "China from China?"

Posted by djf at 03:06 PM
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Long Weekend


We had a long weekend this weekend, due to the Veteran's Day holiday. Have you hugged your Vet today?

Really didn't do too much...sort of lounged around the house and did some tidying up. I did go out for some curry last night, and ran into our friend Chibu and his wife. He is a hairdresser, and his wife owns Melody's favorite shop, Ikat. Not to be confused with Ika, or squid. Chibu was throwing a party for his kids and some of their friends from college. There were actually a couple of Americans there, too. A kid, Joe, from LA who is here in Japan for his junior year of college. He's studying Japanese, and is planning on coming back here to teach English afer he graduates. With all the time spent with my colleagues at work, it's always nice to talk to folks that have nothing to do with the military.

I hung around for an hour or so chatting with Chibu and the kids, all the while being struck with the fact that I was the second oldest person there, had a couple of beers and caught up on the local news. Then, I headed home and heated up my curry.


The house that was demolished around Labor Day is rapidly coming along. The foundation was laid about 2 weeks ago, and they're putting up scaffolding today to start the actual construction. Around the corner, by my parking space, another house started to go up on 26 Oct, and it's already being framed. When people around here start to build, they just get to it and make it happen. Since the time I've been here, no fewer than 5 houses have been torn down and reconstructed.

Continue reading "Long Weekend"

Posted by djf at 05:37 AM
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November 06, 2005

1500 Arahats

While on the Nokogiri hike, on the back side of the mountain is a stretch of trail that is called, 1500 Arahats...1500 small statues of men who attained enlightenment. Please don't confuse this with the 1500 Arafats, which is totally different, and much less enlightened.

This was really one of the best parts of the hike, partly because it was mostly downhill (after the 1500 steps up the side of the mountain, getting to see 1500 little statues lined up going down the other side was more than alright with us), and because of the statues themselves. Each was different. Some were contemplative. Some happy. Some sad. Some serious. And more than a few who looked constipated...

Here are a few of the Enlightened Men.


Continue reading "1500 Arahats"

Posted by djf at 03:16 PM
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Mt. Nokogiri Pictures

As promised, here are some of the pictures I took yesterday. It was an overall fun day, a bit of an early start for a weekend, but the Krispy Kreme donuts that my interepreter brought back from the USA, even though they were a few days old, were delicious. Nothing like a burst of sugar and fat and preservatives all washed down with a few cups of coffee to get your day going!

And now for the pics...

Dog who wanted to eat us...Nice Doggie! Stay! Stay!

Continue reading "Mt. Nokogiri Pictures"

Posted by djf at 02:57 PM
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