Nagashi-Somen (Flowing Noodles)
Jul 25, 2014
I had the chance to go to a Nagashi-Somen party the other day.
Somen is a Japanese noodle made of wheat flour and salt, which is very thin and white.
The Japanese term “Nagashi-Somen” means “Flowing Noodles.”
With Nagashi-Somen, somen are put in water flowing along a long bamboo gutter.
You catch the noodles with your chopsticks, dip them in a cool broth, and eat them.
It brings you fun and a cooling taste at a party lunch during the summer season.
It's the perfect thing to eat in the heat of summer.
Naturally, the person at the top of the stream gets to have more chances to scoop somen, and less at the end.
My son was supplying somen from the middle of a bamboo gutter to allow a fare scoop for the people standing on the end.
As “Nagashi-Somen” needs lots of preparation starting from ordering bamboos, building the gutter (needless to say they are heavy and a pain to compile), and boiling somen for more than 300 guests, we don’t see the event as often as we used to…
Yes it is rather a bothersome event.
I sincerely appreciate the organizer’s efforts (staff from my daughter’s After School Care Program) in giving us a chance to experience the beautiful Japanese tradition of easing hotness during summer!
Odaiba New World is Now Open!
Jul 22, 2014
Fuji TV’s annual summer event has started again this year.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Fuji TV. To commemorate this special occasion, the event has been renamed to “Odaiba New World,” and it is now more exciting and more powerful than ever before.
As Tokyo being chosen as the host of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, a lot of events are planned to take place right here on the grounds of Odaiba. Looking towards the future, Odaiba aims to transform itself into an international and cosmopolitan city, and Fuji TV will put forth every effort to further liven up and make the area more vibrant.
2014 Odaiba New World is packed with a variety of games based on our popular TV shows, numerous live events, and some of the most innovative attractions that you’ve never seen before or you can experience only at this event.
Odaiba New World consists of 3 areas including Fuji TV Headquarters building, Central Plaza, and Doki Doki Land.
Today I will introduce you some of the highlights of this year’s event that are fun and enjoyable to people visiting Japan from overseas.
@ FUJI TV HEADQUARTERS
At Fuji Television’s spherical observation room, you can experience the world of “Run for Money” and “Battle for Money.” Come to experience the thrill and excitement of these two extremely popular shows both in Japan and around the world.
Located on the first floor is the “The New World Live Stage.” It features entertaining live stages including Piihyara Dance by Fuji TV announcers and Idoling!!! Live.
Right near the stage you’ll find an array of food stalls serving delicious local dishes from various prefectures around Japan.
@ CENTRAL PLAZA
From variety show “High Noon TV Viking!” comes a dragnet fishing attraction as seen on the show. You just might get lucky to find the golden fish that you can exchange for a special prize!
@ DOKI DOKI LAND
Izakaya, or restaurant EXILE returns again this year full of delicious foods and stage entertainment. Taste the delectable special menu items created by members of EXILE while enjoying various events on stage. Open daily until 10 p.m.
Massively popular anime/manga series “One Piece” comes to life before your very own eyes at this spectacular 3D hologram theater, where the Straw Hat Pirates invite you to an adventure you’ve never experienced before.
“Mecha Ike” returns again! This year’s theme is “Empty Lot.” What’s it all about? You just have to come see it for yourself and find out. Mecha-Ike’s empty lot will surprise you with numerous amusements created by Mecha-Ike members.
These are only a few of what we have to offer, and there are a lot more attractions I want to show you from Odaiba New World, but I’ll stop here for now. Our other bloggers will be introducing them subsequently.
Odaiba New World is until August 31st. Come join us in on all the fun and excitement for yourself!
Holidays in Penang
Jul 18, 2014
I took an early summer vacation this year to visit friends residing in Penang island, Malaysia. The friend, is actually not one person but a wholesome family complete with kids, a boy and a girl who are adorable and most friendly to say the least. My friend J, who used to live here in Tokyo began traveling with his family last year, and since then he has continued to do so, while working remotely from wherever he goes. If you are curious to learn more about his lifestyle and family, please check out his website here.
J was kind enough to take the time to hang out with me for a few days to show me around the area. One of the places I enjoyed most was the Pulau Pinang National Park, on the north western tip of the island. The park offers various nature trails and boat rides that allow you see many animals. One of them is the monitor lizard. It’s basically a giant lizard, and this one in particular was about a meter or so in size. I’m assuming that it’s a water monitor, since it was able to swim both in the river and ocean.
This is the turtle rock and alligator rock we saw from our boat ride. Can you tell which is which?
This is Monkey Beach, where we took a small break on our way back. Unfortunately, there were no monkeys to be seen while we “Tarzan-ed,” grasping onto a rope tied to a tree. Apparently the monkeys are of the crab-eating Macaque species.
Returning from our 1.5 hour trail hike on the boat, we disembarked at this rather unsteady handmade dock. (photo: below right) J told me that the locals are fearless in driving their motorcycles down this dock at speeds you would never dare.
*On a side note, the E&O hotel in Georgetown is fabulous. A colonial style luxury retreat that has stood for over a century, the Eastern & Oriental hotel has hosted renowned writers and artists as well as heads of state. Even if you decide to stay elsewhere, the hotel itself is well worth a view.
Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.
Farmer’s Market in Aoyama
Jul 15, 2014
This past weekend, my friend and I made a trip to the Farmers Market in Aoyama and was delighted to see so many fresh fruits and vegetables from local producers and various other things that brought a huge smile to my face.
The market is located right in front of the United Nations University in Aoyama, in the heart of Tokyo. They opene every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Besides the fresh produce stalls, you can also find a wide selection of food trucks selling everything from hearty pastries to spicy curry, and craft beer, fresh juice to gourmet coffee. The market has outdoor tables to sit and enjoy your meal.
While strolling around, I ran into my friend as she was helping out a dog adaption event.
Awwww how cute are they!?
There really is no better way to spend a lazy Sunday! If I lived near by, there is no doubt that I’d be at this farmer’s market every weekend...
If you are in town, do check out this farmers’ market in Aoyama. I guarantee you won't regret it!
Miracles can happen， even to adults
Jul 11, 2014
About one year ago on a weekend night, I was walking near Shibuya station. Passersby were hurriedly heading home when I casually tried to pass the station and heard a singing voice. It was a young man performing live on the street. I hardly ever stop to listen to street performers, but this time, I listened for about 10 minutes. He was good. And his voice was excellent. His name was written on a poster board and it was “Go Takamatsu.” What an easy-to-remember name, I thought.
About a month after that night, I had a chance to grab a few drinks with a coworker from when I used to work at a radio station. He is a director and works on a radio program for Yumi Matsutoya (aka Yuming, a national Japanese singer known for hit songs like the theme song for “The Wind Rises”) I was shocked when he began to tell the story of when he saw a promising singer on the streets of Shibuya. He said, “The other day I saw a skillful singer in Shibuya singing Yuming songs. I invited him to the next radio show. His name is Go Takamatsu.” It was the very singer I saw on that night in Shibuya. I told him to go on telling the story, because I wanted to know more.
When the coworker found Go Takamatsu on the street, it was when he was being asked by police to stop playing. Merely hearing 10 seconds of his performance, the director’s intuition struck him. He wrote down the name “Go Takamatsu” in a flash and searched for him on the Internet the next day. After discovering his website, he messaged him. “I saw you singing at Shibuya yesterday for a moment. Would you like to be on radio? The host of the radio show is the person who wrote the song “Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara” that you were singing.”
Upon appearing in Yuming’s radio show as a guest, Go Takamatsu presented his song live in front of his admired star. “I’m getting goose bumps!” Yuming exclaimed. It was the first time for the director to see her so enthused about someone else’s music.
A few days later, on the night of the seventh, Go Takamatsu was performing live in Shimokitazawa at a small venue, with a capacity of about 200 people. Performing on stage, he spotted the radio director with a woman next to him wearing strange black sunglasses. After the performance, he saw the director in the lobby and that’s when he found out who the woman was. It was Yuming, and she had come here incognito to listen to hear Go Takamatsu live.
Miracles can happen, even when we’re adults.
5 years singing Yuming on the streets and she ends up comes to your show.
Go Takamatsu will make his debut under a major record label EMI Records. His first single called “Naminori Dorobou” will be released on July 16, 2014. He has a regular radio show too. It just began in July and is called “All Night Nippon 0” that airs late Monday nights from 3am on Nippon Broadcasting.
Go continues to sing on the streets even today.
Brought to you by your friends at Fuji Television, Japan's No.1 broadcaster located in Daiba, Tokyo. Learn the latest Japanese culture, lifestyle,entertainment, trends, and more, through their eyes.
Use QR-code-enabled Japanese cell phones to access our mobile blog site.