April showers bring May birthdays!

Hey guys, it’s been a while.

A bunch of things have happened. I climbed another mountain (not near the size of Mt Fuji but a good hike nonetheless. I moved rooms within my house to a much nicer, more fully equipped room. Got my first pay from the new job. Helped put on Vegan Earth Day Festival Kyoto across 2 days this past weekend. Been hitting up veggie joints a lot, hanging with pals, working, cooking, and all that JAZZ. Oh yeah, I went to a pretty sweet jazz concert recently. It went from 12 noon to 12 midnight. 10 or 11 bands played. The last one being my favourite Japanese band “NATSUMEN”. They were amazing – so much energy! God damn!

Anyway, ain’t got too much time and I’m a lazy bastard, so this has been a very forced update, so I apologize, but I don’t.

Music I’ve been jammin’:
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (new record!)
The Most Serene Republic – Fantasick Impossibliss (new EP!)
NATSUMEN – Never Wear Out Your Summer (not new, but great!)

Peace out.

Catch ya next time with a more detailed update….?


End of Week #2

Hey yo!

End of my second week here in Osaka and yeah, started the new job. Seems like it’ll be pretty alright. The hours run a little late (until 10:00pm), but that seems like the only major trade-off. Yesterday I went to my friend Chojin’s birthday party/Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party. We went to an area called Sakurashukugawa and there were Cherry Blossoms everywhere there. Didn’t end up taking pictures, but here’s a tree from in front of my house.

In other news, I started a blog about my veggie life here in Japan. If you’re interested, that can be checked out over here y’all: Kyle’s Veggie Life

I went to Chojin’s new place is Kobe last week and beforehand went to a nice vegetarian restaurant there with Kumi. Chojin was making 2 kinds of liquor at home. One from coffee and one from strawberries!

Catch ya later!

Kyle in Japan: take 2, week 1

My first week in Japan, eh? Good and not so good. But overall not so bad.
Saw a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in a while, so that was really cool.
But since the day before leaving Canada I had a little tickle in my throat, and in the past few days it turned into a little pain in my throat – hurting every time I swallowed. Bad thing, right?

NO! Well, yes, bad thing – painful. But it also lead me to my very first Japanese Doctor’s Office experience.
I messaged my friend to see if she would mind going with me, since it’s a bit of an intimidating thing. Not knowing the protocol at all and so on.

Turns out she was already there! So it wasn’t a big deal to run over there and hang with her and then go in together to see the Doc. He was a nice guy. He quickly dealt with my friend and then me. Stuck a camera in my mouth, so we could both see it on the monitors, asked me some questions, and gave me the appropriate medicines (anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories) to help get rid of my sick soon. Having no health insurance I was expecting a hefty bill, but it only came to about $35. I can deal with that. Having only taken the pills once, I’m starting to feel a bit better already. (That might be purely psychological, but I have no problem with that.)

In other news, I’m gonna be doing some more work as an executive member of the Vegetarian Festival Japan NPO, so I’m excited about that. I’ll be doing some more translation work for the website and at the next event: Vegan Earth Day Kyoto 2010. I’ll also be trying my hand at a commercial of sorts as well as translating some non-Japanese recipes to Japanese (maybe making videos for some of those?).

I went to see a Deerhoof concert on the 23rd, and they were absolutely amazing just as the last time I saw them. As it turned out, one of the vegetarian festival members was also big into Deerhoof and some other bands I love. So we ended up meeting up at the show and then have since planned a couple other shows to hit up in the near future. How exciting. Someone to not only indulge my weird vegan tendencies with, but also my weird musical tendencies.

Music swimming through my head of late:
Broken Social Scene’s new tracks – “World Sick”, “Forced to Love”, “All to All”
Dirty Projectors
Burt Bacharach – Raindrops keep falling on my head (such a wicked song I’ve rediscovered – the end is amazing)

Going back!

So yeah, going back to Japan in a few days. Getting excited. I’ll keep you updated again on this blog. Or at least I’ll try! Wish me luck!

It’s been too long…

It’s been too long, and too much has happened to recap it all, I’m afraid. But here’s a quick run-down of sorts.


Did lots and lots of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) during the few weeks they were out in april (had 5 hanami parties).
Went to a Spanish bar of an acquaintance of mine I met through someone I met at a cherry blossom viewing party. (I’m teaching his daughter English starting this week.)
Been getting very berry busy lately. I’ve been taking on more and more private students. Business is good for Kyle’s Traveling School of English.
Got treated to a tempura party at a student’s house, and there’s supposed to be another one (tempura/sushi/whatever) next weekend. All my students are crazy nice to me.
Oh yeah! Went to Tokyo and Yamanashi for a week. Saw lots of friends. Good time. However, the night bus was terrible. As usual, I wasn’t able to sleep a wink. That’s a liggity-long 9 hour ride.
Had a dream that Obama came to my English school and I taught him an English lesson. It didn’t occur to me at that time that he kinda knew English already, but it was exciting nonetheless.
Last weekend I went camping in Northern Kyoto. It was pretty good. It was different but at the same time not sooo different. Felt like I went camping in an alternate dimension. But I guess, I’ve been living in an alternate dimension for about half a year now.
This weekend I’ll be going to Wakayama with a couple people I don’t know (the daughter and daughter’s boyfriend of a cafe owner whose cafe I teach at quite often). Don’t ask me why. But apparently we’ll go and see some fireflies, maybe I’ll do some Catching Fireflies. And we’ll go to an Onsen (hot springs) and eat and drink and stay at their friend’s place. We’ll see what comes of this crazy adventure….

The sweetest of the sweet po-tats

I bet this is starting to sound like some sort of cooking blog, but it just so happens, cooking is a very big part of my life right now. I started thinking about a different way of doing sweet potatoes, not just baking them. So, I thought, why not try mashed sweet potatoes. I’d never even tried regular mashed potatoes before, but these days that won’t stop me (though not long ago, that minor detail would banish the idea from my mind!). I can just look up the general way to do it. That’s what the internet is for, right?!

So I peeled those sweet po-tats, chopped ’em up, boiled them til soft enough, drained the water, mashed ’em (this part is very important to not forget), added a little margarine (soy margarine), as well as some basil and stir and finish cooking. To round out the meal, I enlisted some curry powdered (and other spices-ed) tofu and then did up some bok choy with a light wink of sesame oil. It was a really nice meal, I think. The sweet potatoes were pretty sweet! Very soft and delicious. My friend in the house who’s also vegetarian tasted some and enjoyed it.

On a-slightly-nother note, yesterday for something to do I checked out a small market across from the station called “Lucky” that I never really knew was there. I had heard about it’s existence recently and someone said it’s expensive. But I thought I’d check it out anyway. To my surprise, they had many things to interest me. There, I found a “vegetable-only” curry mix! If you see pigs flyin’, now you’ll know why. In Japan, basically all curry has beef or some kind of meat extract. But I checked all the ingredients and, indeed, as it says on the package, it’s been made without using any meat at all. Hurray.

Other interesting finds of note:
Hummus mix
Falafel mix
Tabouli mix

In general, more international items. However, of course, those things mentioned are really expensive. But it’s interesting to find them there, nonetheless. One other thing I found……chickpeas!!!!! I found these in Umeda (one of the big city centres of Osaka), but it’s about 40-50 minutes away by trains, costing about $10 round trip, thus I would only buy them there if I was in the area. And even still, it’s a pain to carry that around if I’m out gallivanting with people. So yeah, this place is 10 minutes away from my house, and the chickpeas are cheaper there too! It looks like I’ll have a very hummus-y future here.

Tomorrow I’m going to a Cherry Blossom viewing party with peeps from my house at Osaka Castle!



Yo guys, I just made hummus for the first time (unsupervised). Gotta say – good job, man! I thought it was about damn time.

One can o’ chickpeas, check.
One non-vehicular lemon, check.
Garrrlic, double check.
Something resembling tahini, that I found at the grocery store, some kind of sesame paste, regardless….checkity-check.
Cumin, salt, shichimi (Japanese 7-spice), cute mini-food processor. Yup.
Process the shit out of that stuff! (the good kind of processing)

Keep changing ratios of ingredients, see what it needs.
Annoy studying person who’s sitting at the dining room table with noisy processing of food, over and over to perfection.
Eat with brown rice bread (since Japan is just SOOOOOO advanced that they think they’re better than the pita).
Share with housemates.
Receive compliments upon compliments regarding how amazing hummus is from people who’ve never had it before. Welcome to culture, Japan!
Oh, and also turn red and turn away embarrassed when your American housemate with a history of hummus having says it’s perfect. All on the first try, guys. Come on. What’s up with that??
Write a cleverly titled post on your blog detailing how amazing you and your hummus are. Done. Thank you.