What are you doing on Aug 18th?

Good morning everyone,

What can I say about the weather today? Please read yesterday's blog-the forecast is exactly the same! Ha ha! But, if you haven't got time to read yesterday's blog I'll lay it out for you. Today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the next day will all be 35C (or higher) mostly sunny and insanely humid!  I've decided to give tomorrow's run a miss because of the dangerously hot weather, so if I can't get my PB (that's runner's lingo for Personal Best; which means my best time) when I enter my three races back home, I'm blaming the Japanese weather! Ha ha!

So, what are you doing on August 18th? I don't know about you, but I'LL be having a beer at Aletta-out on the beer terrace, with 15 of my closest friends!
If you check back to my blog last Sunday, I gave a review (and showed some pictures) of the restaurant. If you are too lazy to go back and look, I'll give you the reader's digest version.

This is the best beer garden I've been to in Hiroshima. I've heard about one or two others that are pretty good and I'll definitely check them out someday...but until then, this one is standing head and shoulders above the ones I've been to. I've been to the ones in Mitsukoshi, Hachobori and Ekimae Fukuya, and above the old movie theatre on Aioi Street-the building has now been torn down. None of them can hold a candle to Aletta.

It isn't cheap. It costs \3800, but it's all you can eat and drink for 4 hours!

And the food is great too! They call themselves the "King of World Buffet" because they offer dishes from all over the world and it's prepared by people that can actually cook, rather than high school kids standing in front of a deep fryer...ha ha! There are salads, pasta and all sorts of dishes from around the world! 
aletta buffet
At a typical beer garden we can find fried chicken, fried cheese, french fries, some soggy lettuce and fried rice. At this place, I actually made three or four trips to the buffet and not ONCE did I come back with fried food on my plate!
aletta dessert
The only bad point for me is that they have self-serve soft ice cream...it's very dangerous for me! I couldn't resist having a huge bowl last time, but I'll try to give it a miss this time.
I was able to reserve only 16 seats, so it'll be first come, first served. You can call me, email me, comment on this blog or write it on a \10,000 note and mail it to me-however you do it, the first 15 people to get in touch with me, will be able to come!

The place is called Aletta, it's on the 9th floor of the old Tenmaya building and it'll start at 6pm on Aug 18th (I'll be a little late, but don't wait for me!).

Have a great day!

A $100 hot dog...

Good morning everyone,

Ok. Remember last week when I was saying that I'd like some different weather for a few days so I could appreciate the weather we were having? Now that wish has come true and I'd be happy to return to those warmer days. It was freezing on the ride home last night. I was actually thinking that I should probably wear longjohns for the rest of the week. And it was so hard to get out of my nice warm bed yesterday and today...The good news is that on Saturday it'll get back up to 9C (which is average for this time of year). The bad news is that it'll be the warmest day we can expect over the next week or so. In fact, next Wednesday they are calling for a high of only 4C! Luckily, there is no snow in the forecast other than the occasional flurry that we see this time of year.

Talk about inflation! In Vancouver there is a shop that is selling a $100 gourmet hot dog. It's called the 'Dragon Dog'. It's a 100% pure beef sausage and topped with  Kobe beef and lobster. What do you think? Would you want to try it? I'd try it for sure, if someone else was paying! Ha ha!


So, out of curiosity I checked the world's most expensive foods and 4 out of the 10 come from Japan! No wonder why I eat so much junk food here-it's too expensive to eat healthy! Ha ha!

Can you guess what the four foods from Japan are?

4. Matsutake mushrooms--they are so expensive because they only grow under a certain type of oak tree and those trees are dying out making them extremely rare. Price: $250/kg

3. Kobe beef--while wagyu beef is raised around the world, Kobe beef is still king. Cows are rumored to be fed beer and massaged daily to ensure the beautiful marbling. Price: $2800 for a full ribeye. (last week I ate a ribeye for $10, one from Australia)

2. Dansuke Watermelon--the famous black watermelon from Hokkaido. There were only 65 produced in the first harvest this year. Price for one : $6,100.

And the most expensive food in Japan...

1. Yubari melon--I remember reading this in the news somewhere...a pair of these cantaloupes were purchased in  2008 for a record high. Price $22, 872. Hmmm...I'll stick with regular priced melons. That's more money than I make in a year! ha ha!

Have you tried any of these? I can say with 100% certainty that I have NOT and after seeing the prices, I probably never will! Ha ha! I don't feel nearly so guilty for eating a $2 cup of Haagen Daz ice cream anymore...ha ha!

Have a great day!

I know it's early...but,

Good morning everyone,

Well, there is absolutely no change in the forecast for the week ahead. Mix of sun and cloud everyday with highs ranging from 9C to a balmy 13C next Wednesday. Lows will continue to hover around 0C. There seems to be an outside chance of some kind of rain next Wednesday or Thursday but that is a long way away, yet. I'll keep you posted...

Speaking of long ways away. I know that we haven't even had our Christmas Party yet, but I need to start thinking about the New Year's party. I've decided to hold it at the end of January. That way, everyone can recover from their busy December (including me) and then we can enjoy a drink and dinner to bring on the new year!

So, I was originally planning on having it at Akakara because the food was pretty good last time. However, if we want to have it on a Saturday, we can't get a discount and the price would be \4000. While that isn't out of our price range, I feel that for that amount of money, we could find a much better place.

Hmmm...and a quick glance at the Hot Pepper website tells me that not only is it possible, it'll be pretty easy. In the downtown area alone I could find about a thousand places that offer an all-you-can-drink course with food for \3500 or less. I'm sure we can find someplace fun and a little bit unique with good food out of all of those-don't you think so!?

Anyway, I'm open to suggestions, so if you have a favorite place, let me know as soon as possible because I'll probably have to make a reservation as soon as the new year starts.

Which also means that I'll need to know if you can come or not. It'll be on January 28th and it'll start at 7:30 and it will be somewhere downtownish-Hachobori, Nagarekawa, Tatemachi, Hondori area.

Have a great day and hope to see you at the Christmas Party this Sunday and/or the New Year's Party next year!

PS You can let me know if you are coming by email, commenting on here or signing up at school. Also, as always of course you can bring a friend!

Christmas Party

Good morning everyone,

That was a great day yesterday, wasn't it? I can't believe I can still get by with just a sweatshirt and jeans and it's already the 7th of December! Anyway, they are calling for mostly cloudy skies today and tomorrow but the chance of rain has dropped dramatically-we might see the odd shower overnight tonight or early tomorrow, but that is all. Other than that, the forecast is looking pretty good-mostly sunny from Friday but a little bit cooler. Highs for the weekend and the beginning of next week are around 10C or 11C with lows around 3C or 4C. Finally, I'll get a chance to wear my new scarf! Ha ha"

Can you believe that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away?! I haven't done anything yet to get ready! I don't know why, but it takes me a bit longer to get in the Christmas spirit in Hiroshima. Actually, I do know. It's mostly because of the weather. It's hard to feel like Christmas when I can still wear just a shirt and be comfortable (and I still haven't turned on the heater at home). It's also because there is no one around me to help bring on the feeling that Christmas is almost here.

Don't worry though! I'm getting ready for the school Christmas party! I've already got a few bottles of champagne lined up along with beer, red and white wine, coffee, tea and juice. I haven't decided what I'm going to make this year yet. Last year's grilled cheese was such a hit that I may make it again this year. It's so good and so easy to make!

Everyone is welcome! You can bring a friend if you like! It'll be on December 25th at Urban English School and it'll start at 3. The party will go till 6 or 7. You only need to bring 3 things. It's a potluck party, so you need to bring a dish of food. There will be a gift exchange, so you need to bring a present with a value of around \2000. And finally, you'll need to bring some Christmas spirit!

Have a great day!

Beer Garden + Yukata = FUN!

Good morning everyone,

If you don't want to be depressed on your day off, whatever you do, don't look outside! It's pouring rain out there and there is no sign of it letting up till...Tuesday! At least I'll be able to do my laundry without having to dodge wet clothes all day on my day off...ha ha! For those of you back home who don't get what I mean-the vast majority of Japanese homes don't have dryers, so if it rains we hang our clothes inside. It isn't very practical, especially when homes are so small. If I have to do it, I usually leave home as soon as I can otherwise I'll be annoyed all day...I suppose I could break down and pick up a dryer, but to be honest, I don't have any place for it. Most people don't have a laundry room either and washing machines are kept in the bathroom...sigh...

I know I mentioned last year that I was thinking about getting a yukata for Tokasan and I never did-mostly because I don't have any time to go out and enjoy the festival so it's kind of a waste of money for me. And on top of that, I was thinking about a way to make the 'Beer Garden' party more fun this year...so I had this epiphany last night and thought that it would be a great idea to make the 'Beer Garden' party yukata-themed! What do you think? I think it would be fun and it's a great excuse to dress up in a yukata! If we do, than I promise I won't forget to bring my camera and take pictures this time!

I haven't decided on a date or place for the party yet-I'm definitely thinking about waiting till after rainy season. Do you think that there's any chance it'll end early this year? I doubt it. Which means, were looking at mid to late July. I know it'll be hot but wearing a yukata will make it feel cool and if you drink enough beer, you'll hopefully forget all about the heat!! Do you think we should go to the same place? Or would you like to try someplace else? Any ideas?

Tomorrow's the big TOEIC test. My advice is don't try to cram tonight. Make sure you have a good night's sleep and eat a hearty and healthy breakfast tomorrow morning. Then, just relax!

Have a great day!