Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

This is not really a Thanksgiving post, but I will say that I'm thankful to live in a country where the net sum of our national heroes are not just celebrated in the U.S., but in other countries as well - as this statue of Commodore Perry located in the Japanese port city of Hakodote demontrates.

I had a great time in Japan, but the trip was far too short and I did not want to return. Hokkaido was pretty cold at times, but the weather wasn't too bad. Sapporo is a tiny town (about 1.5 million) compared to the mega city that is Tokyo. It's also pretty new, which means it had a easy to navigate grid structure to the roads. Highlights? The fish and crabs were plentiful and tasty as was the beer and sake. My tongue is not so acute as to notice the difference between fish in Hokkaido and fish in the Kanto area - but Tomoe's was and she was the one that marked the trip as an eating tour. Hokkaido is also known for dairy products and chocolate and lamb. Not things you normally associate with Japan. The milk was exceedingly delicious and I made sure to have some every morning with our lunch buffet. Through the miracle of Japanese cuisine, I stuffed myself repeatedly and still lost weight.

Sapporo has a lot of western influences in the architecture. I wish I'd taken more photos of some of the government buildings and Christian churches. Regardless, there were several picturesque landmarks such as this TV tower.

But you can't go to Sapporo without visiting the fish markets. Oddly, a place like the fish market below has no fish smell and a floor almost clean enough to lick - only in Japan.

Within that market were little sushi stalls.

Check out the generous serving of salmon!

I didn't get any pictures of the breweries there, but here's a diagram of the sake making process found at the Sake Musuem (which was not really a museum so much as a store).

Hokodate is a much smaller town towards the southern tip of Hokkaido - but well worth a visit because of a lot of little museums, convenient street cars and historic buildings (again, with a western influence) like this government building

Not the best of pictures, but you get the idea. There's also the Goryaku, a large western style fort built at the time of the Meiji revolution (1860s) - which we did not have time to visit. Photo from this site.

We took a tour of the harbor and I was pleased to see signs of Japanese military vessels like this destroyer.

And this Coast Guard vessel, which, according to the guide on the ship, routinely plays cat and mouse with N. Korean vessels in the area. This is actually the larger of two vessels which lends helicopter support to the smaller one (not shown).

The rest of the trip was spent in Tokyo & unfortunately I didn't get very many sightseeing pictures from there. But I did get plenty of photos of Tomoe's two nephews - who where not the least bit afraid of the ugly pink-skinned monster.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I`ve been in Japan for the past few days

and have had little inclination to navigate a Japanese keyboard to post - until now. My jet lag has me up early in the morning waiting for Toe to get up. We`re currently in Hokkaido and trying to decide which brewery to tour. I favor the Sapporo brewery where you can cap the tour off with a variety of fresh Sapporo beers and all the Genghis Kahn style barbecue mutton you can stuff down your pie hole. Toe wants to go to the Kirin brewery, which offers a sushi buffet. Sushi has been the main part of every meal here thus far. Perhaps we`ll make it to a ramen place, but I doubt it will be today.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

With a density reminiscent of Dan Rather, Kristoff more or less makes a correction

“First, he denies that he stated that the Vice President's office, not the
CIA, sent Ambassador Wilson to Niger, only that Cheney wanted an investigation
by somebody. But Kristof admits: 'In fairness, though, it is true that Cheney
apparently didn't know that Wilson had been dispatched. If I'd known that I
would have said so.'

"Then he turns to the matter of his column reporting that Wilson had
actually seen (forged) documents on the uranium deal, when he didn't. Kristof
explains: 'Wilson has said that he misspoke when he made references to the
documents to me and to two other journalists.'

“'But it does seem to be true that Wilson claims to have debunked the Niger
deal more firmly than some people remember him debunking it.'”

Translation – Wilson debunked nothing. Close enough, though, for the NYTimes.

Ramadan celebrations spread beyond Paris, beyond Ramadan

Instapundit has a pretty good roundup on riot posts. Drudge has a report that the riots appear to have been planned, according to the French Interior Minister. Hmm. LGF remembers a call to action from an Algerian Islamist organization back in September. (Now why would "French youths" care about an infitada?) Mr. Johnson also relays a report about a disabled woman lit on fire. Thus far, French authorities do not believe Eminem is involved.

A good day for the Alaskan carribou

they're one step closer to getting some relief from ANWR mesquitos.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ramadan festivities continue in Paris

Gateway Pundit has a good roundup. Plus, Roger Simon posted a fascinating letter.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

That was quick...

Bush's new pick has conservatives purring like kittens.

Humorous exchange between Howard Dean & Chris Matthews

Does this qualify as standing up for what you believe in?