Cruising through life with a camera, healthy appetite, and endless gadget lust.
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Second stop is a meat-on-sticks joint that served up miso-dipped deep-fried pork and a beer.

Ets and I are out tonight for some kind of eating festival thing. About 80 restaurants, cafes, and bars are participating. The idea is you buy tickets that can be redeemed at these establishments and they have predetermined menu items that they will serve.

First stop is the Red Leaf Cafe with their roast beef and sangria sampler.

Sunday, May 9, 2010
King of the Hill ... and his wife
Our second round of camping in as many weeks was a result of much deliberation (that is, not much at all) by the womenfolk of the concerned parties.

Our friends Satoshi and Yuko (along with baby Shin-chan in tow) are big camping nuts. Name any essential, and many non-essential, pieces of camping and they've probably got it. Granted, our definitions of "essential" may differ somewhat but they do know how to camp and do it in style. In fact, it was this particular couple who got us turned on to the whole camping thing in the first place.

The campsite they led us to was literally on top of a hill with a small observatory nearby. It's run by the municipal government and whilst it was lacking some of the refinements of other paid campsites, there was still a very new, clean toilet and a perfectly serviceable washing up area. And it was free too! The night was just as cold as last week but I was better prepared with my new sleeping bag and this campsite also afforded us a great view of the city in the distance. Saw the Dipper again too thanks to the wonderfully clear skies.

It was actually hard to believe that such a nice place, and one that felt really in the middle of nowhere, was so near to our apartment. A mere 40-minute drive was all it took to get us feeling like civilization was much further away than it actually was.

Saturday, May 8, 2010
Man of the Jungle! ... and his wife
This past Golden Week (April 29 - May 1), ets and I went off to the mountains for a spell of communing with nature (with all the creature comforts that we could feasibly bring with us). However, the days leading up to GW saw ets in ever-increasing fervor which led to a quick trip to the local Sports Depo to ogle camping gear and comparison shop.

A few days and a not-insubstantial sum of money later, we were in the possession of a very nice tent, tarp, cooler box, ice packs, air mattress, dutch oven, and all the other necessary camping accoutrements.

Ets, in all her grace and glory, managed to secure us a car-camping site which turned out to be quite near and actually very nice. The Japanese name translates into something like Jungle of Nature and that quite accurately describes it. Fortunately, the first night we camped out, there was only one other family there and we were far enough from each other that we couldn't see the lights of each others' lanterns. This meant a lovely dark campsite where we could see the cosmos in its infinite wonder.

The nights were butt-clenchingly cold and my cheap 7-year-old sleeping bag wasn't quite rated down to those temperatures. Fortunately, wearing almost everything I had was just about enough to help me make it through the night. (New bag acquired, rated to -12C).

As far as our first camping trip went, it couldn't have gone better. We're about to head off again this weekend with some friends (real hardcore campers) to a place in the same vicinity.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Beware, all ye who enter here!

When I eventually have children, I have always hoped that I would have at least one daughter. I say this whilst simultaneously nipping any pregnant rumours in the bud. I stumbled across this earlier today. This is infinitely better than, and a worthy addendum to, the "one shotgun per daughter" approach to raising children.

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