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hmmn: musings from the far east(erwood)

Last Build Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 13:48:59 +0000


Getting hooked on audiobooks

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 15:08:40 +0000

Any geek like myself who listens to podcasts has probably heard the advertisements for, the Amazon property that sells audiobooks. Their ads seem to have become a fixture on these podcasts, naturally enough since people who listen to podcasts are likely to be the most predisposed to listening to books narrated for [...]

The bittersweet taste of kindness

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:33:14 +0000

Today at one of my long-standing English-conversation teaching jobs, where I teach a group of five retirees over lunch in an upscale Chinese restaurant and have done so for over nine years, twice a month, I ordered this month’s “chef’s special”, which was a stir fry featuring 苦瓜 (nigauri, or “bitter melon”), perhaps more commonly [...]

Documentary on Japan’s Suicide Problem

Tue, 04 Sep 2012 14:39:07 +0000

Ages ago — ten years ago, in fact — I wrote about Japan’s high suicide rate. Today I came across a documentary on the subject that must have been made around this time, commissioned by Channel 4 in the UK, which someone uploaded to YouTube last year. Following this search will take [...]

Vivo! Beer + Dining Bar in Ikebukuro

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 13:17:53 +0000

[Originally posted to my nascent “Japanese craft beer” blog — only two posts! — last October.]

Today I took advantage of having to go to Shinjuku for an errand to check out the well-regarded Vivo! Beer + Dining Bar in Ikebukuro on my way home. (Or did I take advantage of a [...]


Thu, 23 Aug 2012 13:50:40 +0000

The other day my son and I ate lunch at a local branch of the chain udon restaurant Marugame (丸亀). I usually let my son order in these situations, partly to give him confidence, partly because I’m self-conscious of speaking Japanese in front of him. However, on this occasion [...]

Whisky Highballs

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 15:40:23 +0000

Japan has been in a whisky “highball” boom for at least the last couple of years or so, if not longer, spurned on by the big makers like Suntory. There are “highball” bars and highball-focused izakayas and restaurants in Tokyo’s oyaji havens, and canned highball drinks seem quite [...]


Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:47:06 +0000

I finished the video below a few days before the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan and has caused so much destruction and loss of life. It didn't seem appropriate at the time to mention it at the time.

Elliott Sharp’s SyndaKit

Wed, 17 Nov 2010 16:32:29 +0000

I went to see Elliott Sharp and 11 other assorted Japan-based musicians perform his composition SyndaKit the other night at the Pit Inn in Shinjuku. It was a full house, testament not only to the renown of Sharp himself, but also to the impressive roster of performers sharing the stage with him.

I have [...]

Media Files:

Gotta love YouTube Sometimes

Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:17:45 +0000

Wall of images

Sat, 04 Sep 2010 08:58:45 +0000

A while ago Google changed the way they displayed results of their Image Search. However, judging from various comments I’ve seen, and from browser extensions that have been developed, that quite a lot of folks hate the new look, which I like to think of as a wall of images.

I suppose [...]