TAK-TAK

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Sake-bomb

I didn't know this drink. When I went to the Japanese stake (Teppan-yaki) restaurant, I shared the table with young American guys. They were nice and friendly. They found I was Japanese and recommended me their sake. I like sake. I had a cup of sake from theirs. But they also recommended a "sake-bomb" to me. I didn't know that name and I wondered about their glass. Their small cups for sake were put on the bottom of beer mug cups. They taught me about the "sake-bomb".
Most of American young people seem to know "sake-bomb". I explain it for Japanese readers. First, beer is poured a half of small beer mug cup. Second, sake is poured in small sake-cup. Third, sake-cup is dropped into the beer mug cup. Last, you drink this blended alcohol in one drink!
It was a little weird. Do you blend sake with beer? But they did that. With some curiosity, I also tried. The taste is... hard to tell. It was not bad. It was not special. If you want to taste real sake, I don't recommend the sake-bomb. It is a kind of party style.
But in the next morning, I found why people call that drink a "bomb"... Headache... I was hung over.

Friday, February 27, 2004

San Diego View

I had a short business trip in this week. (So I didn't update this blog from slow dial-up connection in the motel and I post some articles at the same time.)
I used an air-plane this time. When the plane which I rode started flying, I knew it was my first time I rode a plane departing from San Diego International Airport. I have used airlines in the USA many times. And I have ridden the plane arriving to San Diego Airport many times. But sometimes I rode a plane departing from LAX airport and sometimes I left San Diego by car and returned to San Diego by one-way flight.
What do I want to say? I mean, the view through the window of plane departing from San Diego Airport is really BEAUTIFUL!!
San Diego International Airport has only one long landing field. All planes land from the sky over the downtown and all planes take off over the Pacific Ocean. If you sit on the right window side luckily, you can see the great view of Mission Bay during taking-off.

Is it natural?

Today I make a little dangerous comment.
Within these a few weeks, I watched same topic in morning news everyday. Gay marriage. Particularly after President Bush urged gay marriage ban, this dispute looked escalated. I think if the President really wanted to stop same sex marriage, last Tuesday's action made the matter worse. Most of California people hate Bush. Some Californian, who didn't agree same sex marriage before, might be change their stance after President Bush commented about that.
But I still feel somewhat out of place with same sex marriage. I know, the USA is a country of freedom. But I have a simple question. Is same sex marriage natural for the creatures on the earth?
It may be reasonable in the macro view of the earth. God doesn't want the number of mankind increased more than now on the earth. Gay couples cannot make their children.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Rain...

From Last Weekend, there were rainy days in San Diego.
I don't know. February may be a kind of rainy season in San Diego.
Japan is a very humid country. There are many rains through a year.
From last October to Last January, I have used my umbrella ONLY ONCE in San Diego.
Oh, my God! I have already adjusted to San Diego weather. Now, I hate to use an umbrella!
This town has a good and comfortable weather and environment. I am afraid whether I will re-adjust to the Japanese environment or not when I will come back to Japan.

P.S. >For Japanese readers
Though I couldn't enjoy to go outside last weekend, I updated some information and articles of "another Japanese Web site of mine ". Please check it out!

Friday, February 20, 2004

"KISS MY BRASS!!"

Today's article is a kind of "live report."
If you don't have any interest in the pop concerts, please read another article.

February 18th, 2004, Bette Midler appeared at San Diego Sports Arena.
Most of the audience was over 40. Some mothers came there with their daughters.
I had gotten arena tickets. The 16th row. It little bit far to see her face. But the position was still good because the stage design was really attractive, like a play. I can enjoy the art on stage.

About 8:20pm, Bette Midler came on stage riding on the white horse of Merry-go-round in the air.
I thought the line-up of this show would focus on some tribute songs about Rosemary Clooney which were recorded her latest album. Actually, the numbers of the concert were not only Rosemary's songs. She sang all her own famous hit numbers. She sang "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Friends" in the beginning of her show. That was a good surprise for me. I love her old numbers. She also talked a lot. Unfortunately I can understand less than half of her talk with my listening ability. Sometimes she was vituperative about Janet, Christina, or Britney. It was not so serious. It was just fun.
She also sang the great cover number "When a man loves a woman." I was surprised she could still shout really well in this song over 25 years after when she had recorded this song. About 1 hour after, the show took a break after the song "silver me timbers."

After the break, she appeared again on the stage with the costume of mermaid that was popular style of her concerts. Sometimes she rode on a moving chair. Sometimes she moved by jumping on her tail with her back chorus member. Some cover numbers of musical play songs, "from the distance," "chapel of love," She sang many good songs.
With the famous number, "wind beneath my wings", the show ended once. Most of audiences were still not satisfied. Everybody still clapped their hands. Suddenly one scene of the movie "The Rose" was showing on the screen of the stage. Everybody wanted to call "Rose" on that screen. The situation was similar as real audience. As "Rose", who was acted by Bette Midler, appeared on the scene, the real live Bette Midler also appeared on the encore stage. The encore number was the rock number, "keep on rockin'." The audience was really excited. Then she sang greatest ballad number, "the rose." Everybody sang with her. The voices surrounded all over the hall. At last she sang "friends" again. The show was really over. The time was about 11:10pm. It was marvelous! I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tonight I went to the concert of Bette Midler. It was really great!!
I am still exciting.
Maybe, I'll report it in detail tomorrow.
Sorry. Good night!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Privacy

I feel the American people respect their privacy vaguely.
While I was watching the TV news, I noticed one different point from the Japanese TV news. In the American TV news, everybody shows their name on the caption. Off course the anchor persons and the reporters should show their name. They are kinds of public people.
I mean, I found the name of people who was a normal citizen and who was interviewed by the reporters. For example, today a traffic accident between a truck and a skateboarder happened in San Diego. The TV reporter interviewed some police officers and other young skateboarders. While a young skateboarder was speaking to the TV reporter, his name "XXXX XXXX / skateboarder" was shown on the TV caption.
I don't want my face and my name were broadcasted on the TV. Everybody whom I don't know can know me from TV. I don't want that. The Japanese TV news does not show any personal name in that case. While the interview, there is no caption, or just "a skateboarder" or just "a friend of victim" on the caption.

And now I have another question. Did that skateboarder tell his real name? If you happen to be interviewed by a TV reporter, you can tell your false name. To make a false comment is not good. But it is not so serious to tell the false name. You can protect your privacy.
I remember the news about internet registration. Congress discusses 'Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act.' I don't know this act is good or not. But it is obvious why they try to make this act. Many people use false personal information to register online.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

A Beef Bowl

I ate a beef bowl in Yoshinoya today.

Maybe, I should write today's column of the Japanese (person), by the Japanese (language), for the Japanese (people).
From last weekend, Yoshinoya in Japan stopped serving the beef bowls to their customers. The reason is the BSE, mad cow disease.
Yoshinoya in Japan usually use American beef because they are cheaper than Japanese beef. As you know, last year some mad cows were detected in the US. Japan and Korea reject to import beef from the US without the BSE test, now. Yoshinoya is trying to stock beef from Australia or domestic ones. But it needs time and costs. Yoshinoya gave up supplying the beef bowls temporarily. The last night when Yoshinoya served the beef bowls, many stores were crowded with many Japanese customers who want to have a beef bowl.

How do you feel about this news? Some people may say Japanese food companies and Japanese customers overreact to the American BSE. I rarely find the restaurant which takes same kind of measures against the BSE in the US.
I think, this difference between Japan and the USA comes from the thought about who has the responsibility.
In Japan, once someone has a disease caused by some foods, the food supplier has a responsibility about it. Japanese like rare foods like sushi and sashimi. And Japanese are also sensitive about freshness of foods. Supermarkets should not display out of sell-by foods. If several customers with food poisoning are found, the restaurant has to stop its business in a few days and research the source of poison. Japanese food suppliers always care about food poisoning risks.
One day, I went to a grilled restaurant in New York. It also served good fresh meats and some rare fishes. I found the notice in the menu; "some marked menus include rare foods. You have your own risk to have them."
In the US, many people said like this; "there are some risks or danger in the world. Everybody has their own responsibility to avoid and control those risks by themselves." I think this is good attitude. (But I have no idea why people always try to shift the blame each other in the court of the US.) Sometimes, people in the US have strong independency and people in Japan depend on each other. It must be caused from their history. US people had to pioneer their life in large country. Many Japanese people had to live with harmony, "Wa" each other in small land.


P.S. Here are small tips about Yoshinoya in Japan. You can find some different points in Yoshinoya in Japan from that in the US.
Yoshinoya hadn't served other bowls except the beef bowls before last year in Japan. There were no chicken bowls, no salmon bowls, and no other bowls like menus in the US.
Yoshinoya is one of the fastest-food restaurants in Japan. There are no tables. There are only long counter bars in the store. In the lunch time, the stores are crowded with many customers. You don't have enough time to taste bowls quietly, because many people might be waiting just behind you.
Most of customers are composed of business men and single unmarried young men like college students. Half of Japanese young women never used Yoshinoya and most of young women never go to Yoshinoya with only girls group.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Soft drink

"Students Learn to Dispense with Sodas"(If you want to see this link, you need a free registration.) Today I saw this news in the cafe for lunch. Recently, many schools discuss whether the vending machines of sodas are necessary for the school, or not. I'm adult. I don't care.
But we, Asian people, still can't understand these movement. Why do you, American guys, always want to have sodas??
I occasionally use fast-food restaurants. In those stores, I can choose one drink in their variety. But most of them are similar kinds of sodas. Coke, Sprite, or Mountain Dew. What is the difference? Sometimes I find a cold tea like NesTea, but it is also too sweet, too much sugar in it! If I want non-sugar drink, my only choice is water.
I wonder why Coca-cola does not supply cold non-sugar tea in McDonald's USA, even though they have already supplied a kind of Oolong tea in McDonald's Japan and China. Cold tea has different taste from hot green tea. Oolong tea is healthy. (At least, it is healthier than Coca-cola Light.) And many USA people have a great interest in diet. Cold oolong tea must make a great profit for Coca-cola in the US. Please try it! At least I will always choose one!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Bicycle, bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike...

In weekdays, I always use bicycle to go to my office. Now, I live in San Diego. There is a new town around my apartment. The roads are wide and clean. Some roads have a good bike lane. It is comfortable for bikes.
But I have some tiny troubles. In my town, many traffic signals are new. They have a good sensor. Most traffic signals change their light by the sensor. On the small street, if that street has no cars, the traffic signal in the intersection never turn to a green light in the direction toward that street. It is reasonable. But the traffic car sensor cannot sense me when I ride my bicycle!
First one week, I didn't notice this traffic system. I just waited in front of a cross section till some cars appeared on the same street. I know, I could get off my bike and push the pedestrian button. But sometimes I want to turn left in a big intersection. It is inconvenient. Does anybody have a good idea?

I also have to care about cars which are turning right in an intersection. Some drivers pay less attention about bikes. Today, I watched a car that almost ran over another bicycle. (Fortunately, It was not me.)
One of my American friends gave me one good advice, "When you are riding a bike, you are an invisible man for car drivers." He is exactly right.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Grammy Awards

Last sunday, I watched the Grammy Awards.
Just my short impressions.

The winners were not surprising, but many live performances had good quality!
Prince, beyonce, Beatles tribute band, sting, Dave Matthew, Black eyed Paes, and so on.
I felt these performances were greater than those for recent several years.
When I saw Christina Aguilera singing, I thought her gentle live costume must be influenced by Janet Jackson's trouble.
But when Christina appeared again to get Grammy's, CBS must be stupefied by her wide spread dress.
Oh, show business...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Another web site will be also available!

Hi,

Now I am making another original Web site of mine and combining it with this site.
Please check it out!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Tower Records

"Tower Records to Seek Chapter 11." Today, I noticed this article. I like Tower Records. This store is also popular in Japan.
According to this article, Tower suffers from stiff competition from mass market retailers. I know, I can purchase some new CD cheap at WAL-mart. But the number of CD is much larger in Tower Records. And I can listen some CD at Tower Records before I buy them. Sometimes I found my previously unknown good music by listening at Tower Record.
I think their stock is special. Of course, we can buy best-seller CD everywhere. But some people (like me) are not satisfied by only famous pop music. If you look for some minor CD, you will find the stock of Sam goodie's is different from that of Tower Records. I feel there is some aesthetic in their own CD stock.

This opinion may be nostalgic. But I think the CD stock of Tower Records is sort of the culture of the US. That is not historical culture but modern culture. WAL-mart is very convenient. I understand the reason why WAL-mart is prospering. But we always change our culture for economical convenience.

Adding a article (Check out the old article: 12/23/2003)

I have just started this blog in the beginning of this February.
But I have been in San Diego since last October. These 4 month I have many wonderful experiments and some troubles in US. Sometimes I wrote such experiences in my PC. Sometimes I remember what happened me and what I thought at that time.

This blog system accepts to post some articles at the old time stamp. So, when I want to post such old experiences, I would post at that time stamps and I would give notice for such kind of articles.

I like driving. Last Christmas holidays, I drove to NYC with my friend (from San Diego!)
So, I want to post my impression about this wonderful journey.
Tonight I post the 1st article of my journey on the time stamp of December 23, 2003.
Please check it out!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

iTunes

I am a Windows PC user. Now I also use iTunes frequently.
I have some opinions about iTunes and some P2P software. I support iTunes. But I can't tell many things today.
I find many attractive songs in iTunes Music store now!!
Now I am checking "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues" series and some songs of Etta James.
(Here's a question: How old am I? Now, I am also downloading Beyonce and Green Day)
Today I don't have enough time to write the column.
I want to listen to the music!! I'm sorry.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

CC (Closed Caption)

Last night I watched the TV program "Beverly Hills Cop". (I like this kind of movie. Now I am writing this column while watching "Die Hard".)
I have been in San Diego since last October. And I think "Beverly Hills Cop" was broadcasted over 4 times within these 4 months. Some channels play same movies twice in a day. ("Beverly Hills Cop II" was also played. But I wanted to watch "III" !)
I mean, It is no problem for ESL people. Movies are a good place to practice listening. I can train repeatedly.
One of the good systems of American TV is closed caption. I know, It is developed for hard-of-hearing people. But it is also very useful for ESL people. We can understand English conversation with closed caption more easily. If same TV program is broadcasted repeatedly, firstly, I watch it with "cc", and next I try to understand it without "cc".
DVD is also good training for listening. Most of DVD movies have the "cc" option. I have a "Friends" DVD-set. (It is a good deal. 4 disk-pack is only 35 bucks. And each disk includes 6 episodes, over 2 hours!)

I think one of the good point in US is the careful systems for disabled people. We can find parking spaces for disabled people everywhere. Most buildings are designed with stepless slope. And sometime these systems are good for not only disabled people.
In this point, Japan is still a developing country. Now, Japanese are trying to change many society systems to be good for disabled people. Many buildings and houses still have many steps and most of TV programs are played without closed caption. And these are not only bad for disable people, but for foreign people. If you visit Japan, you can find some beautiful views, kind people, safe living. But sometimes you would feel some inconvenience because many billboards are written only in Japanese and many TV program are broadcasted only in Japanese without "cc".
But please don't dislike Japan for only these reasons. I think such difference of society systems were caused by historical and geographical backgrounds. I'd like to write my opinions on these points another time.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Just Started!!

Hi, somebody.
I have just started this column.
I'm a Japanese and now live in California.
I want to write some feelings and opinions about USA life in the view of Japanese people.
And this page is also for English practice of a Japanese ESL person.
So, it would be a pleasure if you make a comment or send me e-mail when you find some English grammatical mistakes or you have some opinions about this page.