Is it the end or the beginning?

Good morning everyone,

It's looking like we'll have some nice weather for the weekend and for my last half marathon. Highs all weekend and into next week will be in the low to mid 20s and we can expect a mix of sun and clouds for the foreseeable future. It's perfect fall weather, don't you think?

So, today will be my last blog for Urban English School. It's blog number 3,495 if you can believe it!

I want to thank all of you for making my school a success! I know it hasn't been a financial success (just by looking at my bank account...ha ha!), but that's ok. If I wanted to be rich, I never would have become an English teacher and I certainly wouldn't be considering moving to Canada to be a farmer.

Nope. All I want from life is to be able to enjoy the experience and the best way to do that (in my opinion) is by spending time with great people doing the thing(s) that you love. I've been able to that up till now here in Japan thanks to all of you.

And I'm hoping that I'll be able to continue to do it in the next chapter of my life back home in Canada. The first year or so will be rough, I'm guessing. But after that, once things get settled, I'm looking forward to seeing some of you hop on a flight to come visit me in my new life.

I'll also probably start writing a blog or something like it again once I get settled, so make sure you keep in touch on facebook or through my email to find out what it's going to be and when it'll be starting.

Thanks again.

Have a great day!

The Penultimate Day

Good morning everyone,

It's looking like we'll have nice weather today and through the weekend with daytime highs in the low 20s and a mix of sun and clouds. It's perfect running weather!

So, it's my second last day as an English teacher. Somehow, it still doesn't feel real. I wonder when it will finally settle in that I'm starting my next chapter soon.

Till then, I'll be here cleaning all week. Actually, there's not much to clean. It's just a floor, right? How dirty can it be? Ha ha!

But there's tons of books, old textbooks and stuff that you're free to take if you like. You can always pop by to say good-bye too. I won't be that busy next week, but I'll be in and out of the school, so make sure you email/call me before you come by just in case I'm out or in a meeting.

Just in case my internet gets disconnected, you can contact me on messenger, LINE or through my Hotmail address:

Facebook Messenger: Jerry Fluney
LINE: jerrysensei

You can also use these to keep in touch after I head back home.

One more blog tomorrow...I wonder if there'll be a new Starbucks coffee or KitKat flavor to write about?

Have a great day!

Where can I find these!?

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be mostly sunny and nice with a high of around 23C. In fact, the whole week is looking pretty much the same. I hope this great weather lasts until January! Ha ha!

Snack maker UHA (pronounced “yoo-ha”) Mikakuto is known for their daring projects. Every once in a while they’ll come up with chewy candies that taste like wine and cheese or salmon, and then also offer a VR unit with a robotic arm that simulates Kanna Hashimoto hand feeding them too you.

Once again, they seemed to have done the impossible and created a snack that holds all the flavor of gyoza but requires no cooking and can be kept in room temperature environments. It’s called Gyoza No Manma and is a part of UHA Mikakuto’s long-running Sozai No Manma series which attempts to replicate fresh foods such as mushrooms or croquettes and convert them into a preserved snack food format.

Also, much like previous Sozai No Manma items, these gyoza are incredibly hard to come by at first, perhaps in a conscious effort by UHA Mikakuto to stir up some mystery and buzz. Luckily, our writer Tasuku Edogawa managed to grab a couple packs for 216 yen each.

One pack contains four little gyoza snacks that measure about 6 centimeters in length and 2 centimeters in height. They’re not quite as big as regular gyoza, so if you’re looking for a meal out of Sozai No Manma your stomach will probably still be grumbling afterward.

However, upon opening the pack, you are greeted by the savory aroma of rayu, a sesame oil sauce with a mild chili flavoring. That alone will get your mouth watering in anticipation of some real gyoza.

The illusion of real gyoza continued into the first bite as well. You will be surprised by the crispy outer shell and tended insides. All too quickly, you may end up wolfing down the four pieces, and then have a sudden craving for a beer.

Gyoza No Manma, a name which translates to “Just like Gyoza,” certainly simulates the gyoza experience… but is it gyoza? The name would imply not, but its ingredients are certainly in line with regular gyoza, containing foods such as cabbage, pork, ginger, and chives. At the same time though, its price is outrageous by normal gyoza standards.

It’s an existential dilemma. By design they’d probably be considered gyoza, but one would never eat them as a part of a meal like gyoza. They certainly are made with portability in mind, however. Gyoza No Manma doesn’t even have garlic, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about your breath afterwards.

I guess you could say that Gyoza No Manma is to regular gyoza what Nicorette is to cigarettes. It’s a great substitute for gyoza addicts who may suddenly find themselves needing a fix in an airplane. That in itself makes these a great little snack!

Now, we only need to find out where to get some...

Have a great day!

I'm glad McDonald's in Japan lets adults buy Happy Meals...

Good morning everyone,

There's not much change in the weather this week, we can expect daytime highs in the low 20s and skies that are a mix of sun and clouds all week. I'm hoping that next Sunday will be cool in the morning...(I've got a half-marathon that day).

McDonald’s in Japan is unlike any other country’s, as they are seriously good at coming up with exotic new flavors and campaigns that keep us coming back for more. It probably has something to do with the company president who is not only from Canada, but also graduated from the most amazing university EVER! (meaning the same one as I did...ha ha!)

Their newest promotion sees the company collaborating with Mario, the most famous plumber in the world, to bring us a whole slew of limited-edition toys. Included together with their trademark Happy Meals, these ten toys will definitely keep young ones and even adults entertained.

While these toys can be amusing in their own right, their entertainment potential really shows when played in a competitive setting.

First up is a Mario Goal Pole Game, where players have to press a red button to make Mario jump and knock the red flag down.

▼ Players with the least amount of button presses will be deemed the winner.

▼ Next up is Mario Roulette, which involves players hitting a yellow block to
align three similar pictures in as few hits as possible.

Mario’s brother makes an appearance in the form of a Luigi’s Fireball Game, where players set a fireball disc into his hand and attempt to launch it into Koopa Troopa and Goomba cutouts.

▼ Burn those baddies to the ground before your rival does.

The Yoshi Dash Game lets players shoot a Yoshi figure toward an egg and an apple using a pair of tongs. This one is all about accuracy, and children will have a ball of a time making the world’s most lovable dinosaur dash towards his favorite items.

▼ Will you be able to harness Yoshi’s boundless energy?

Peach’s Spin Game is the perfect activity for a finger workout, as children race to see
how fast they can spin the lovely princess to fill up a star meter.

Peach’s Popping Game lets players bounce colorful stars and heart pieces into
two open pipes using a lever in as few moves as possible.

Mario’s Magnet Adventure Game is all about pulling a Mario magnet and pushing his Koopa shell to the end point faster than your rivals.

▼ There’s even a trick jump at the end to watch out for.

Speed is of the essence in a cool Mario and Luigi’s Double Maze Game, where players tilt a board to guide a Mario capsule to a hole. When flipped, it switches to a Luigi capsule in his own maze.

▼ Double the fun in a single toy.

▼ Launch the shell and see how many points you score in the Green Shell Pinball Game.

Mario’s Cube Puzzle Game requires manipulation of a foldable puzzle to try and line up the cubes according to whatever is shown on a drawn card.

▼ Great fun for those with inquisitive minds.

Aside from the toys, the Happy Meal box also rocks a Super Mario Halloween theme that allows kids to cut out Mario’s mustache and other items to stick onto their drinking straws.

▼ What an awesome Halloween collaboration!

The promotion begins on 19 October and will last about a month, allowing McDonald’s and Mario fans plenty of time to collect all ten of these limited-edition toys. So head on down, grab a Happy Meal and a box of spicy McNuggets while you’re at it, and duke it out Mario-style with your friends.

Anyone want to take me on in any of these games? I dare you! Ha ha!

Have a great day!

NHK cutting its fees, but...

Good morning everyone,

This is good weather for running, isn't it? Actually, it's great for doing almost anything outside...well, except maybe sunbathing. I'm going to be getting out today for sure!

The head of NHK said Friday the Japanese public broadcaster aims to lower its subscription fees, possibly from fiscal 2019, after a government panel made it a condition for the company to start simultaneous online streaming of its television programs.

The move announced by NHK Chairman Ryoichi Ueda would affect most people in Japan as national law requires people who install a TV receiver to sign a subscription contract with NHK, also known as Japan Broadcasting Corp.

In July, a communications ministry panel gave the green light to NHK's simulcasting service, while stipulating in its report that reviews of subscription fees and business operation as well as coordination with commercial broadcasters are mandatory.

NHK intends to launch the new service in fiscal 2019.

The broadcaster is trying to position itself as "public media" and retain viewers who are leaving for unpaid or paid video streaming.

So, do you think this means that we'll be paying less? Don't count on it. The next announcement will be NHK asking everyone whose phone can stream tv to pay or everyone who has internet connection to pay. That way, you'll be paying 2-3 times as much as you are now.

I'm sorry, but I still can't believe that this system exists in the 21st century. They expect you to pay for a service whether you use it or not...that's like me delivering a pizza to your house and asking you pay even if you didn't order it. Does that sound fair? If they want financial support, just add it to our taxes and we'll save the government millions of yen in having to pay the guys who go around collecting fees.

Have a great day!