Episode 23 – Miracle Fruit


This was something I had been meaning to do since I arrived in Japan. Alex and I headed out to Namco Namja Town in Ikebukuro (map) this past Saturday in search of miracle fruit. I heard about miracle fruit about 6 months ago and was surprised to hear that it was available in Japan. I wrote myself a note and that note popped up in front of me this weekend so off we went.

Miracle fruit is the common name of Synsepalum dulcificum, a berry containing miraculin which has the power to stop sour tastes in their tracks. Alex and I went out to find the Miracle Fruit Cafe in Namja Town and this episode is our audio experience of trying miracle fruit.

Instead of show notes. I’m posting pictures and links here. The show is just us talking.

Show Notes:

Automated Translators

A brief anecdote about why automated translators aren’t always the best. Last week I was going through work email. I often use Google’s translation services as a quick assistant to help me get the “gist” of company emails. Often there is quite a bit of Kanji that I don’t understand, so this helping hand becomes quite useful. However, every so often, a gem makes it’s way through that just cannot be overlooked.

In the MSP user the mail we have done. With the kindness of the Microsoft lord, seminar such as the usage of MSProject next month (June) it is opening schedule in [removed]. Because we adjust with either below, please inform about the circumstances of everyone.

Now I realize translating Japanese literally is not advisable for actual use, but it often serves my purposes well. But I’m glad I know enough about Japanese not to await the coming of the “Microsoft Lords”. ^_^/

Calling Tokyo Calling

TC-32776-MainIcon 1.jpg

This evening I had the great pleasure of participating in Scott Lockman’s Calling Tokyo Calling podcast series where he uses the new service Talkshoe to engage his listeners directly. After my first experience, I have to say, this type of format for doing audio is really compelling. I particularly like the collaborative aspect of running a show with your listeners and soliciting and reacting to real time text and audio feedback.

In this short 30 minute episode, he was able to react to a fellow podcaster here in Japan (myself), San from New Zealand who runs the SNA Cast, Matt in Tennessee and more. Even the after-party was a blast. It was great fun and it looks like Scott will be making this a regular feature so there will be more to come. Next week Scott has invited me back to comment on Japanese cell phones. Check it out.

This evening’s episode can be downloaded here or streamed by visiting the page here.

Episode 21 – Coffee Show Part 1


The coffee episode had landed! Well at least 1/2 half of it. Fred joins me live from Times Square as we discuss the ins and outs of various coffee experiences in Japan. Scott Lockman provides a cameo from Allez France in Tokyo. It’s always interesting in these parts.

And since I ended up having much more material than I anticipated, this special will be brought to you in two, yes two, episodes. Combine a little bit of background noise from the skype / laptop mic, and voila … a perfectly listen-able episode for your coffee curiosity satisfying pleasure. Enjoy!

Show Notes:

  • Intro Music – “Hologram Jesus” by Pthalo
  • Coffee Music – “Coffee Man” by Calvin Owens
  • The “Detroit Story”
  • Some high-level comparisons of coffee shops in Japan
    • Starbucks
      • Discussion on sugar types
    • Coffee even at Mos Burger
    • McDonalds
  • Allez France (direct from Scott Lockman of Tokyo Calling)
  • Vending Machine Coffee
    • Boss coffee – since 1992
    • Vending machine photo link we discuss
    • “Black” coffee
    • Coffee cans
    • What makes vending machine coffee great
    • Machine brewed coffee – Flavia machine at work

Reminders about Feeds


I just wanted to remind everyone who reads, listens, or watches of the following options for this podcast / blog site. There are five feeds that you can subscribe to:

  • The site feed will give you all of the blog posts. This feed is good for people who just want to read and aren’t really interested in all the fancy media.
  • The regular podcast feed will get you ALL of the media, both audio and video episodes. Put this in your feed reader if you want it all. Additionally, if you have iTunes installed, you can use the iTunes feed instead.
  • The audio only podcast feed is well, audio only.
  • The video only podcast feed is well, video only.
  • Finally, there is a comments feed if you are interested in keeping up with the chatter on this site.

I realize there are some people who enjoy the audio much more so I’m reminding folks of these options before posting new material. I have quite a bit of video that’s ready to go as well as more audio episodes. Stay subscribed!


World Map

(title translation: Where are you from?)

Wow! That’s all I can really say.

I’m sitting here this morning drinking my coffee and exploring Google analytics. This wonderful site tells me today that requests from exactly 69 countries have occurred for content on this site in the past year.

I started this project as a diary to keep track of my trip, my experiences, what I’ve seen and heard for my family, future children, or perhaps a curious soul sometime in the future. I certainly did not expect such response, and such a global one at that. Arigatou!

But while it may be fun to think that so many people have visited, it’s even more amazing to me that I don’t know many of the people who come from these countries, let alone much about the countries themselves. My experiences in the world are still so limited and I wish I could travel to many of these places in the future.

So, feel free to put up a quick hello on the comments and let me know where you’re may be from. I’d love to learn more about some of the readers of this FindingJapan a little better. Right now, feeling a little like I’m naked on stage. I can’t decide if its best to put clothes on or imagine the audience naked too. ^_^

Being Sick, Japanese Translation

This evening I sat down to do a writing exercise that is due next Monday. We have to turn in two short writings about our Golden Week weekend. Since I spent most of mine up until Thursday sick, I tried to describe this as best I could in Japanese. I’m really passionate about the subject right now. 😛

Anyway, in reading my short story, I was pretty proud of it so I’m posting it here. The Kanji I know I’ve included as well. I think there are probably many mistakes, but again that’s the goal of having homework corrected. Feel free to butt in if you see something glaringly wrong and can’t possibly stand me handing in something like this. But its probably better I get it corrected so I learn something.




My Golden Week

During golden week I had a cold. It was from Sunday of last week to this Sunday. It was terrible. On Monday, I went to the medicine store. The price of the medicine was 1,650 yen. The medicine store guy told me, “Take one three times every day”. So, I did it. But, on Thursday I still had a cold. So, on Thursday I went to the clinic. The doctor gave me some better medicine. I said, “Really!!, Thank you very much”. I returned to my house and went to sleep. I also slept on Friday.

Right! I’m off to write the second on talking about my experiences in Ueno Park and Asakusa today. I saw 50s greaser dancers and got denied entry to a restaurant because of my gaijin status. What fun!! 🙂

Episode 15 – Biking Through Tokyo

Bike bike bike

Yeeeesssssssss. Here it is. The episode you’ve all been waiting for, “Biking Through Tokyo”. I hope I didn’t talk it up too much prior to this. I edited this over the weekend. The footage had been sitting on my drive for about 2 weeks, just dying to be put to good use.

I had to be a little creative with the editing since alot of it was bumping. It’s alot like drinking too much coffee the way it runs now. Please don’t eat anything while watching this. Hopefully you will enjoy some of the sights of Tokyo as I did on that day. Oh, and instead of shownotes, here are delicious time-code notes where I’ve marked points of interest that I don’t mention in audio.

Show Notes

  • 0:00 – Fancy-schmancy intro as always
  • 1:00 – The dreaded Nissan’s Business Japanese makes a guest appearance
  • 1:06 – Note the super-secure bike lock
  • 1:37 – じてんしゃ is Japanese for Bicycle (pronounced “ji-tenn-sha”)
  • 1:47 – That is a highway on/off ramp
  • 2:18-2:25 – If you look closely, you can almost see the kitty-cat sticker on the bell. LOL
  • 2:58 – Ferrari
  • 3:40 – Notice how many different types of sidewalks there are yet??
  • 3:47 – I pedal through people in Asakusa-bashi w/o touching my feet on the ground – You have no idea how hard it was to navigate that with one hand and film at the same time. ^_^
  • 4:22 – The Asahi Beer building

Special thanks to Gustav Young from Oddioblender for letting me use the track “Frantic Footsteps” for this video. Please check out the site for more great glitchy nerdcore music. I listen to this album constantly!

Alternative video link (Google Video)


My Get Well Kit

Get Well Kit

Click here for the original flickr photo with notes.

I’ve got a bit of energy so I had to do something today. The last two days I’ve been sick in bed. But I have not had a lack of entertainment. Twittering from bed, games, movies, and phone calls are all allowed. Why is being sick as an adult so much more fun than being sick when I was a kid?

Seriously though, I feel like a truck hit me in the head and I’ve got a busy two days ahead so I hope I’m able to head out tomorrow. The strangest things have been coming out of my nose and throat today. But alas, がんばります! ^_^