Monday, March 26
Stephen Clark: Iron Chef

Woke up to a big breakfast. It's looking unlikely that my hosts will let me go hungry while here. That's something I can live with.

Interesting observation on graphic design - virtually no imagery. There is nothing but Kanji. The only graphic used is usually a "Wingding"esque telephone for the phone number. Television ads make me laugh whether they intend to or not. I'm going to have to bring a video tape home with me.

Received my birthday gift from John today. A video of the Japanese dialogue version Pokemon movie coming out in North America next month. Seiko disavowed any part in the gift choosing process. I, however, will be able to watch the movie before anyone back home - BWA HA HA.

We went to two beautiful parks today - but the digital camera won't be bought until Tuesday so I'll have to resort to "a thousand words". Both parks had "koi" (carp) but the second park had fish fed by the patrons - resulting in schools of foot-long koi and goldfish. Kinda scary when the feeding frenzy kicks in.

The weather here is like we're going to get in another six weeks back home. One thing I don't have to wait for is fresh strawberries, currently in season. The sakura (cherry blossoms) are ready to bloom and I should have a lot of pictures taken when I leave at the peak of the season.

Visiting the family of Akihiko's brother, I experienced one of the greatest moments of my life - Sony High Definition television. After three hours burning incense and bowing to it, my parents dragged me out of the house. I plan to return.

My nephew, Dean, played with a three year old second cousin, Yuto, while the rest of us suffered through some of the most elaborate desserts I've ever seen. I had my fourteenth cup of green tea for the day.

When we got home I think I crashed the toilet Operating System. It took me twenty minutes to figure out how to CTRL-ALT-DEL the damn thing.

Stephen takes the spatulas (spatulii?) and cooks the family okinomiaki dinners. Cooked to perfection on my first try, I've decided to find where they tape Iron Chef and enter myself in the next competition.

In Japan, heating everything from houses to soccer fields is done by running warm water under the floor. Simple yet sensible. It doesn't sound like much to note, but it is when you're walking through the livingroom and your heels are suddenly greeted with an unannounced warmth insisting that you stop whatever you were doing and focus on this right now.

At night, my body collapsed into bed. I was awake for about an hour around 3:00 am - it's is unusual for me to wake up at all during the night - and on my third trip to the bathroom I decided to swear off the dozens of cups of green tea the next day.