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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Here Comes The Nighttime

I had a festival this weekend so we're delaying the licenses episode until next week. Sorry!

     I probably haven't mentioned it but I write articles periodically for my school's website - and town newsletter for that matter. They dubbed it "Joshua's Corner" and this week I wanted to share what I wrote. I'll also throw in some pictures!

Note: I write these in English and they're later translated into Japanese.

     The festival season is here! Summer festivals are one of the best - and most unique - parts of Japanese life. Every now and again this time of the year can become too hot to want to do much but it’s never so bad that I would skip out on these celebrations; they’re one of the things I look forward to the most here. These events touch upon so many of my senses that they’re instantly memorable no matter where I am. The cry of the cicada provides a wonderful soundtrack to accompany vendors selling their wares both of which become lost in the laughter and joy of children who run about. Seeing people walk among the crowds in their colorful Yukata creates a fantastic backdrop against the illuminated night. The smell of the foods lures one from stall to stall, filling up on delicious treats. Above all else, nothing beats watching fireworks at night with friends, when the sky comes alive. This is summer in Japan.

You want it, they'll fry it.

It's going to get a lot more crowded soon.

Me watching everyone watch the dance performances.

I think that lady is taking a picture of me.

Starting to pick up a little bit more now.

Nowhere other than a festival would I pay 500 yen for that.

Plenty Of Message

Niku Maki Cheese. Amazing.

Mitsuko's go to favorite: Bucket o' fried chicken.

Stacked and ready to serve.

Awaiting the next performance.

Seriously, this is the best food.

Starting to fill up now.

Not pictured: Anyone's face.

I think that lady in the middle looked at just the right time.

Waiting for fireworks off to the side.

Taiyaki after the fireworks were over.

Really wanted to try that lemonade, but we were out of money.
I really want a professional camera now.

 So that was it for the Hatano Matsuri. Still not sure if it was Hatano, or Hata No... Anyway, it was a good time and I was able to see a lot of my kids all throughout the day. A few of them even sat with us so we could watch the fireworks together. It was a great night, and not even that hot at all, which made it all the better. The humidity was also extremely tolerable, neither of us were muggy the entire night.

Next weekend there are more events but I do promise to get an episode of the podcast up by then. We'll talk about festivals most likely after licenses are done.

See you,


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Songs To Ride Trains To (Vol. 1)

     Hello again. I passed my license test, which we'll definitely be talking about next week on the podcast, but for now I thought I would drop off this playlist of music. It's the first volume of what I have called, "Songs To Ride Trains To," and it really is exactly what it sounds like. I imagine that many people out there will be getting into a bit of traveling around this time of the year and hopefully some of these songs will keep you company wherever life takes you. I slapped together some artwork as well in the event that you collect these pieces and wanted to make an album out of it. Much as I am a stickler about track lists, this one is free form. Cater your mix to your liking, and don't forget to season liberally.

Here are the songs and links if I have them:

Irresistible - Deafheaven (

Traveling - Tennis (

Cannons - Youth Lagoon (

A Walk - Tycho (

Algiers - Calexico (

Impossible - Shout Out Louds (

The Wind - Cat Stevens (

Snow Tip Cap Mountain - The Octopus Project (

Fake Empire - The National (

Winters Love - Animal Collective (

Feel - Brothertiger (

Vagabond - Beirut (

Dance Dance Dance - Lykke Li (

Let's Get Out Of This Country - Camera Obscura (

Golden Wake - Mutual Benefit (

Dancepack - Volcano Choir (

USA III: Rail - Dan Deacon (

Here's that album artwork I mentioned as well in case you wanted it:

Happy listening. I'm out!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Into The Frying Pan

Episode 05 - Matcha Milk

Mitsuko and I run through a couple of updates on things in our lives but shortly afterward we get straight to the meat of it. This week is all about "The Day I Arrived," which is a day many current, soon to be, and yet to apply, JETs ponder over and over again. We both share our origin story in Ebi and Akasaki respectively and throw out a few tips (maybe) on what one should probably know ahead of time. After that we started up a couple of new segments: Music Recs and Foodies! Music recommendations are simply that; I'll make one new album recommendation a week and toss out a song that I feel is particularly earworthy. Foodies is a segment where we'll be recording live from a restaurant that we love to eat at (or even a new one) all while shooting the breeze and maybe talking about the  food as well!

Show Notes 

- Matcha Milk has my stamp of approval. Try it! . . . If you can find it, that is.

Small but tasty
- The guy I sat with on the plane wasn't Matt Rogers. You're an awesome guy too Matt (Rogers)! But it was Matt Frazier!

- Kishi Bashi is his name, look him up! And make sure to give "Q&A" a listen:

And you like it buy his music! 

- Pictures galore from Foodies!

The time which was.... FAST.... by 1:25

It's like makeup for your food!

Hot enough to grill an Okonomiyaki in 8 minutes

Twin Spatulas

It comes pre un-mixed

One side down

Yakisoba from the same place

Onigiri with fish flakes

Baby birds making residence outside

This is the place

This is also the place

Here's what the Matcha Milk looked like inside

- I also told Koebi about my failure to get a license for a second time and this is what she had to say about it.
Much rules. So strict. License enough?

Thoughts, suggestions, comments, ideas for future episodes?!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

March On

Episode 04 - Calpisu Water

Now that we're more or less back to health and back on track to regular living it's high time we got back to the core idea behind this podcast. Episode 4 opens up with a quick update on my experience getting a wisdom tooth pulled, then we switch gears and talk about what it was like the day we found out that we were accepted into JET and were going to Japan. This week also features a special reading by Spencer Dillehay recounting the day he found out.

Show Notes 

-Thanks again to Xanthe! Remember to check out and support Bermuda!

-Another big thanks to Spencer for sending in that great reading. You can follow his blog at:

-Calpisu Water is something I probably mispronounced many times over the course of this episode because I was stuck between the old and new way. In any case, here's what it looks like:

Hardly looks like water

 -Here are the cups I mentioned in the show

I have a whole set
-I think there was too much to bite into for this episode, so we'll likely be talking about smaller chunks and emphasizing those aspects of what it was like to first come to Japan. Maybe we'll do application stuff again in November. Next week the plan is to talk about what it was like arriving at our new homes.

-Finally here's me right after the dentist:


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Monday, July 7, 2014

It's A Wrap

Episode 03 - Milk Tea Pt3
This week we waste no time and pick up on the cliffhanger from last week. Mitsuko takes over most of the conversation for the rest explaining what happened in the weeks leading up to her eventual release. Next week we'll be back with the topic originally intended for the debut along with a new drink of choice!

Show Notes 
-Seriously, come talk to us about what it's like to be treated in a hospital in Japan. The basic notion is that if you can fight through pain, you'll be the better for it.
-Thank you to everyone who stopped by (or wrote/called) and brought treats, gifts, cards! I lack the words to thank you properly, but we'll never forget your kindness.


Here it is. The saddest face in the word. 

Bad birthday present levels of sad

The latest trend from Paris

This is that "walking cast" that we mentioned. Unlike it's namesake would suggest, it was supremely ill designed for walking.

I thought he was trying to tell me something. . .
In a final weird note. This is the cake that Mitsuko's former principal brought to her when he came to see her on the day she was released. We didn't open it until we got home. As such, it was all the more hilarious.

Thoughts, suggestions, comments, ideas for future episodes?!
Send them to