Welcome To Back


Over the past couple weeks I have landed myself hospital a couple times with anaphylactic shock, seems my body decided the humble age of 26 was a good enough time as any to develop new shellfish allergies. Had a really scary couple weeks not knowing exactly what I was allergic to whilst waiting for the test results.
When I eventually returned to school after a couple days off in the hospital my favorite third year class decorated the black board with messages for Athough half the boys are terrors to teach they cute lil things at times, needless to say I was quite touched by the gesture.


Our Japan

Just wanted to share this really amazing video I came across, it presents a really heartfelt and beautiful view of Japan. In addition it features quite a few shots from Kobe.

oj-2 oj-3 oj-14

Please enjoy!

Fuji-Q Highland 富士急ハイランド

Last weekend along with couple friends  l headed up to Fuji-Q Highland 富士急ハイランド for some roller-coaster enjoy.


Situated at the base of Mount Fuji, Fuji Q is Japan’s premier roller coaster theme park sporting several of the world’s most intense rides. The park boasts dozens of rides and attractions but there are four coasters which the park is round for, several having held Guinness world records at their release, each delivering a unique costing experience.

Fujiyama @ Fuji-Q Highland

Fujiyama 高飛車 : 79 metres tall, 130 km/h, it was once the world’s tallest roller coaster. I fondly named it the rough bang out <3

Dodonpa ドドンパ: 52 metres tall, 172 km/h, it was once the world’s fastest roller coaster but still has the worlds highest acceleration from 0 mph to its maximum speed, 172 km/h, in 1.8 seconds! Reaching up to 2.7 G’s, it’s pretty much like being shot from a giant cannon!

Eejanaika ええじゃないか: 76 metres tall, 126 km/h, is only the second “4th Dimension roller coaster” ever built, it is the roller coaster with the most inversions in the world and can rotate 360 degrees forward or backward in a controlled spin.

Takabisha 高飛車: The steepest coaster in the world, it contains a 121° freefall, as well as seven major twists over 1000 metres of track, and a drop of 43 metres. This ride is a total troll going insanely fast then suddenly pausing for before the drop!

Here is a cool POV video of a dude riding Takabisha!


Since Kobe is a long way away from Mt Fuji the way we managed to make it there and back in a single weekend was to take a night bus there and back. Ridding in a long haul bus in Japan is a fairly horrible experience, primarily since every 2 hours they typically park at a rest stop for anywhere from 30-60 minutes for some reason. To add salt to the wound during this time, all the lights on the bus are turned on, seriouslyyyyyyyyyy ಠ_ಠ

That said our tickets were only about 12000円 including admission to the park, so with a some good company, a beer or 2 and some stupid next level selfies the trip wasn’t so bad.

In addition to the awesome roller-coasters, Fuji Q also has the worlds largest haunted house the Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear 戰慄迷宮. Set in a haunted hospital the walkthrough totals 900m in length and takes an average of 45 minutes to complete.

Inside the haunted hospital are dozens of rooms and containing actors dressed as zombies, as one makes their way through one creepy room to another the actors will pop out from behind and attempt to scare you.image

Although rationally in your mind you know its all fake and despite the manly front I put up, I can honestly say there were a couple moments where zombies popped out that gave me a fright. This place is seriously creepy, I can imagine if you ever went through on your own the experience would be that much more terrifying.

Now having been a huge Neon Genesis Evangelion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン fan since the original aired, I was incredibly excited to visit Evangelion World. It is a walk through exhibit containing life sized 3D models and has numerous fun photo opportunities where visitors can insert themselves into iconic scenes from the anime.




Buying a Phone in Japan 2014

A couple weeks back I passed my 2 years in Japan milestone, and why is that exciting exactly? Because it marked the date in which I could purchase a new phone, with my old contract having ended.

For my first 2 years in Japan I owed an iPhone 4s, for the first year it was great….. then iOS7 came along and crippled the device to the point where it was almost unusable. Towards the last few months I used the iPhone it would constantly crash every 2 minutes or so even when I was doing simple activities like writing posts on FB. Not to mention the fact I was forced to carry an external battery every where I went as the iPhone would last 3 hours at best. In sort……


But this is not that kind of blog, so I’ll leave that there.

When the end May rolled around it was time to decide upon a replacement for my brick of an iPhone, at that time realistically there was only 2 choices considering I wanted nothing less than the best model on the market.maxresdefault

As it turned out Japan made up my mind for me since the HTC ONE M8 is still yet to be released here, so I decided upon the Samsung Galaxy S5 and have never looked back.

At the moment the Galaxy S5 is available with both Docomo and AU however I decided to go with the former. Now the way new models are released in Japan is kind of stupid, instead of simply coming out when they are available in the rest of the world, phones in Japan are held back until the beginning of a new season so they can all be released together…… frustrating if you are waiting for that new model to say the least.


Above is the 2014 Docomo Summer Lineup, as one can see the Galaxy S5 is the standout model of the bunch (only in Japan would a Disney phone be a popular model ^^;)

If you would like to see more info about the plans available with Docomo for the Galaxy S5 you can find it HERE.

Now I ain’t no tech reviewer so I’ma leave that up to CNET but I can simply say that after using it this past month the Galaxy S5 is a work of art,the screen is beautiful, it takes amazing photos, battery life is great and its the most powerful phone on the market…… yeah it seems I have become an Android fanboy.


Also as a fun lil note exclusive to Japan the Galaxy S5 comes in a pink model, needless to say I passed on that option.

Ok so on to the meat of the story. I headed over to a large Docomo store bright and early on a Saturday morning, having heard an English speaking staff member worked that particular store. To my dismay it was her day off but determined to come home with a shiny new Galaxy 5 that day I fleshed out my options.

Now my Japanese has progressed to the point where I can have basic conversations however the technical words one might come across when discussing contracts were way over my head. Fortunately DoCoMo in fact has a very convenient translation service, the lady at the desk called up a translator for me upon my request.

The service was extremely efficient with  guy on the other end of the phone negotiating all the details of the contract and explaining every aspect of it to me.

There are a wide array of services you can mix and match to suit your needs, they can be found on the DoCoMo website HERE.

If you intend to keep the device and stay with Docomo for Type Xi Plan Ninen will come with lower monthly charges than the basic Type Xi Plan.

When signing up you must select a monthly data download package of either 2GB or 7GB with the later only being an additional 1000円 per month (おすすめ). In addition you can also choose whether you would like to pay exorbitantly if this cap is exceeded for additional data while retaining LTE speeds or be throttled to 128kbs with no charges (this will make your smart phone…… dumb till the data resets).

There are a good half dozen charges that stack on top but at the end of the day with 7gb download, handset repayments, insurance and no free calls expect to pay about 7500円 a month for this model. This is quite reasonable all said and done, considering DoCoMo foots 85% of the bill of the 110000円 handset simply for being signing up as a customer with them.

Homemade Kaisendon 海鮮丼

image Took a shot at making homemade kaisendon 海鮮丼 (various sashimi on rice) today, think it turned out fair legit. I’ma show you a just how easy it is make your own too!

imageNow this recipe is actually different from the super pretty one I made above but its all the same. Most supermarkets here will stock kaisendon sashimi kits, they basically just include サーモン (salmon), まぐろ (tuna) and 鯛 (sea bream) that have been cut up into bite sized chunks. Unlike the super fancy kaisendon above this one only set me back about 400円 for the fish. imageI picked up a packet of Kaisendon no tare 海鮮丼のたれ (soy based seasoning for the kaisendon) while I was grabbing the fish, it can either be used to marinate the sashimi before it is placed upon the rice or pored over the top once it is assembled. imageHere is one of the little packets of the sauce. Tare たれ is used in a huge array of Japanese dishes from nabe to sashimi to yakiniku, and is essentially flavored or thickened soy sauce with added dashi, vinegar, etc. That said each variation is a little different depending on the dish it is to be used with. imageI really like sushi rice so I decided to make some to go underneath the fish. Its super easy to do, this is the 米酢 (rice vinegar) that I like to use, you simply add it to the freshly steamed rice with a little sugar and salt straight out of the rice cooker. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Sushi-Rice But i don’t need to get into that. imageAnd here is the finished product, garnish with some shredded nori 海苔 (dried seaweed) and a little wasabi, Enjoy!

Kobe JET Leavers Video 2014


It’s that time of year where our old JET’s are leaving our community to make way for the new arrivals coming in August.

Annually we hold a large event to farewell our friends prior to their departure and this year I was on the leavers party organizing committee. We decided upon a venue in Harborland called Cafe Fish, a wedding reception that could hold the 100 or so guests of the evening.

The party is always an emotional event, this year in particular it is with a heavy heart we are saying our farewells to many of the great pillars of our community. Although we encountered a few hiccups along the way, more or less I would consider the event a great success.

A tradition alongside the party is the screening of a farewell video during the midway point of the event, I took it upon myself to make the video this year. It was a labour of love taking months of effort accumulating over 1000 photos and editing them together. I am very proud of the results, and it was with great relief to see it well received on the evening.

Without further a due, please enjoy the 2014 Kobe JET Leavers Video.

If you’re interested the leavers videos from 2012 can be found HERE and and 2013 HERE :)