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Chocolate Extreme: 99% Cacao

January 19th, 2007 at 04:27 pm

I like dark / bitter chocolate and the cacao craze has definitely hit Japan. I was in the store the other day and saw bars of 99% cacao being sold. Even though I do love dark chocolate, I'm not sure even my taste buds could handle something like that...

Concrete Nature Trail

January 19th, 2007 at 06:49 am

I was wandering around when I came across this nature trail through a bamboo grove near our house. What I found interesting is that the steps and fencing along the trail, although they may appear to be wood, are actually concrete painted to look like wood.

Now I can't remember ever seeing something like this in the US, but after my initial shock, I can see there are some financial benefits to doing it this way. The concrete will last much longer than wood ever would and that means less repairs and manpower needed to maintain the trail.

Still, it's a bit strange to be walking through a beautiful natural area with concrete logs under your feet and a concrete fence to your side...

Utilizing Space

January 18th, 2007 at 03:40 pm

One thing that I notice in Japan is that they utilize the space they have much better than we do in the US. On this morning's walk, I came across a building where they had converted the rooftop into several tennis courts where they were conducting classes. Not something you would likely see in the US

Pepsi Gold

January 18th, 2007 at 12:53 am

Since I don't drink soda anymore, I'm not familiar with the latest releases so this may not be anything exciting to you. During my trip to the store I came across Pepsi Gold which caught my eye because if it's color.

I was tempted to try it, but decided I wasn't going to get into that habit again. Anyone ever try it?

Fire Hydrant

January 17th, 2007 at 06:23 pm

One of the things that I love about living in Japan is some things are so different than you'd see in the US. Take fire hydrants, for example.

In our neighborhood, they also store fire equipment in boxes along the main streets.

From a taxpayer standpoint, I'm not sure this is the most efficient way to do it, but it shows that even basics like emergency services work a bit differently in other countries.

One Man's Junk...

January 16th, 2007 at 08:06 pm

We end up getting a lot of our stuff off the street in Japan. Because houses are small and space is limited, when something new comes in, the old stuff usually gets put out even if it is still in perfect condition. On my walk this morning I found this on the side of the road:

Town Over The Clouds

January 15th, 2007 at 06:06 pm

On my daily morning walk, I came across this sculpture entitled "Town Over The Clouds"

This is another example of the random art that can me found in Japan - this sculpture is located on a fairly busy street that hardly anyone walks on meaning that it probably isn't appreciated by many. Not sure why these are set up in strange places like this - would seem more appropriate for a park or something...

Small Town In The Big City

January 14th, 2007 at 05:20 pm

One of the things I do love about Japan is the honesty which still can be found even when not in the countryside. Vegetable stands where the fresh vegetables have been left with just a sign saying how much to pay for them (there is nobody watching over them) are much more common in the countryside, but still can be found in city areas too. This is one that I walked by today:

The sign says that the vegetables are 100 yen each (about $1) which may sound expensive, but is less than you could get them from the local grocery store here. To the right you can see the tube where the money should be placed - it is simply duct taped on so anyone could take it if they wanted.

It's nice to see this type of honesty when it comes to money. Not many urban areas in the US where this would work.

One of the reasons I enjoy wandering around Japan is I love coming across things like this Smile

Manhole Cover Art

January 14th, 2007 at 12:13 am

As you might imagine, there are a lot of differences between Japan and the US. One interesting thing is that the manholes in Japan are often decorated in a theme of the city where they are. Here are a few that I came across today while walking to the store:

Obviously, having these specially made is more expensive that getting a generic cover. Is this a good use of taxpayer money in your opinion or would it be better used in other areas?

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