Mintia ミンティア Reviews Part 2

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So there shall be a part 2 (and probably a part 3) to my Mintia ミンティア reviews, mostly as I’m completely addicted and there just seems to be a plethora of obscure flavours available if you keep an eye out for them!

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Mintia – Relax Shower

Honestly I’m really unsure as to what this flavour is supposed to be, they are certainly one of the mint based varieties of Mintia however the flavour is weak up forgettable.
Lets just say if Relax Shower was a going to a Mintia Hollywood party it would be the one to arrive after all the coke had been finished and their was already a dead stripper floating in the pool. Oddly enough it’s vaguely spicy at times but not in a good way.
To its credit the name Relax Shower did amuse the Daniel. Still Fail.
2/5

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Mintia – Miracle Cherry
ミラクルチェリ

Now these I had high hopes for based on the fact it has miracle in the title and the shininess of the packaging, donning holographic stickers, sparkles and the promise of rekindling the joyful memories of ones childhood.
Unfortunately the mints themselves tasted like something more akin to the cherry candies that kids tend not to like as they taste like something akin to cough syrup.
Also as a side note some of them have little Sakura shapes imprinted into them but for some reason oddly not all….
That said their not horrible, just kind of a meh and deflated weak artificial cherry taste. Whats worse their kinda gritty to the point it feels like your eating flour at times, needless to say they certainly don’t live up to their implied promises of unicorns and rainbows, leaving my childhood vigor unkindled.
3/5

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Mintia – Honey Ginger

I love EVERYTHING about the Honey Ginger Mintia! I truly believe these could possibly be my favourite, which makes me a little sad seeing as they are quite hard to come by!!
Anyhow to begin with the packing itself is a pleasant opaque mustard colour matching the feel of the flavour.
This is one Mintia that dominates in an area where most others fell short, it has the perfect balance of a subtle sweet honey flavour whilst occasionally a secondary ginger note finds its way through. Hardly seeming like a mint at all the experience is more akin to eating candy, and so I find myself vacuuming these delicious honey treats up!!!
If you come across these bad boys BUY BUY BUY!!!!
(Daniel hopes a Mintia marketing manager will come across this post and send him a crate of these)
4.75/5

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Mintia – Dry Hard

Now these fiery little balls of pain have got to be if not the strongest mints I’v ever tried then at least strongest Mintia flavour.
They also have this written on the front of the pack
カフェイン・カフセル配合
which translates to caffeine formulation, so the kick they give you is not just the insane amount if mint but also a Caffeine one also, just how many mg each brings to the table I can not tell you as it is not written on either the pack or the website. I often put a couple different flavored Mintia in my desk at work and chuck one of these in as a minty Russian roulette of sorts……. Yeah I get bored.
3.5/5

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Mintia – Cassis Orange
カシスオレンジ

Cassis Orange is one of the more pleasing Minta flavours, very sweet and addictive not entirely unlike the Aqua Sparkle ones and so often find myself devouring one after another!
Underneath the name on the front it reads オレンジ果汁+オレンジアロアビース配合
apparently this means blended orange juice and orange aroma beads were used in the ingredients.

The pills themselves have a nice pink colour fitting to the flavour, however although I enjoy them thoroughly and will certainly buy them again they are still nothing to write home about.
Just as a side note Cassis is the French word for black-current which the Japanese adopted, I only mention this as it was months before I worked what the hell cassis berry were myself XD
4/5

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Mintia – Lemon Ginger
レモンジンジャー

Unfortunately unlike its other Ginger cousin Honey Ginger these do not pack anywhere near the same punch.
I found the ginger to be all but a frail aftertaste and the body to be nothing more than a weak lemony taste.
Although not entirely unpleasant these wouldn’t even make it into my Top 10 Mintia flavours.
2.5/5

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Merry Christmas From Nihonomnom!

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Yo guys, I apologize post have been scarce lately as I returned home for the holidays and Australia really isn’t the country to inspire interesting, thought provoking blogging ideas. I figure most should be enjoying the festive season and not be reading my constant stream of consciousness anyway XD

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Regardless I have been busy getting into the holiday spirit…… as much as an Australian Christmas will allow. That said keeping to traditions is for those born prior to WW2 so alas I present to you the gingerbread castle of House Takoyaki!! Inspired by ‘A song of ice and fire’ which I am ever so obsessed with I couldn’t bring myself to make a simple house, that’s for regular jackoffs! Anyhow after sever hours of designing and baking the pieces yesterday morning, then enlisting the help of family last night, within 12 hours what was simply a figment of my imagination became a delicious Christmasy stronghold!

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Honestly though I couldn’t be happier to be back at home with my family and friends for the holidays, everyday I see posts from friends back in Kobe who decided to brave the holiday period without jumping country and its really just a tad depressing.

The Japanese seem to really have no grasp of what Christmas is or what it means for those who hail from countries where it is celebrated indigenously. Not that we really celebrate Christmas down under in all so much as what Europeans might consider a traditional sense but at least Aussie kids know the difference between Santa and Jesus 😛

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Anyhow wishing all my readers a happy holiday period where ever you are in the world and hope you have a delicious day ^______^

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I leave you with Fuji-san rocking his much appreciated Christmas bone!

-たこ焼き

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 10 – Kaki Mochi 柿餅

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Welcome to Chapter 10 of the Mochi Diaries, Kaki Mochi 柿餅!

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During a recent trip to Nara I picked up one of these boxes, having quite the affinity for anything Kaki 柿 (Japanese Persimmon) related I was quite excited to have a nom these guys.

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Now firstly upon opening them I was completely taken aback at the intricate detail that went into producing every single mochi in the box!

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Made to resemble the fruit of which they are flavored the mochi consist of four separate ingredients.

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I translated the important bit of the diagram above that came in the box explaining what they are made of.

Essentially they are mostly kaki flavored mochi filled with a core of kaki an 柿あん (persimmon flavored red bean paste).
The leaves are made of dango 団子 held in place by a thin piece of konbu 昆布 (dried sea kelp), honestly the konbu is some what annoying since you must remove it before eating each mochi being inedible.

So you ask, ‘but Daniel what is the difference between mochi and dango?’
Well they are pretty much the same thing, the only difference being in the technique used to make them.

When making mochi, you begin by grinding glutinous rice to a paste which is then steamed and l finally pounded into a sticky dough.
Dango on the other hand is made from rice flour that has been mixed with hot water to make a dough, before being boiled in salted water.

Anyhow beyond the novelty of the mochi, the taste was just ok, that said it was more than made up for by the awesomeness of the presentation of the sweets!
3.75/5

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 9 – Mochitsuki Special Edition 餅搗き増刊

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 11 – Kagami Mochi 鏡餅

Next ———>

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan

I came across this recently and couldn’t help but share, after returning home to Australia over the Christmas period, I have been nothing short of amazed at just how ignorant my fellow countrymen are regarding the country in which I reside!

Without further without further ado, an extremely insightful Cracked article into what Japan is really like, 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan!!

#5. Everything Is Frightfully Low-Tech

Quick question: When was the last time you had to use a fax machine?*

*”What is a fax machine?” is an entirely acceptable response.

“Some sort of … sex toy?”

Well, you should try moving to Japan if you want to recapture the magic of the fax machine and other 1990s technology. I actually use one about twice a month to send out my work invoices, because many of the Japanese companies that employ me do not accept paperwork by email. The rare ones that do require that my Word/Excel files be compatible with their 1998 version of Microsoft Office, which is sort of like requiring your Avengers Blu-ray to play on a Betamax machine.

My point is, on the surface Japan seems like the closest thing Earth currently has to a moon base, what with their stock exchange being entirely computerized and wireless Internet literally coming out of their vending machines.


But the truth is, many things are still being done in painfully old-fashioned ways, a phrase which here means “by hand and on paper.” Actually, having seen the amount of paper a typical Japanese office goes through, I feel safe in assuming that the entire country has declared a shadow war on both the information age and trees.

How can this be? Well, Japan is still mainly in the hands of the older generation: Over a fourth of the population is over 60, and they’re in no particular hurry to adopt new technology (particularly not Apple products, because as far as Japan is concerned, Steve Jobs can go fuck himself). Institutions like banks, the postal service and government offices still keep all of their records on paper, maintained and filed by superfluous personnel who could easily be replaced by an old Soviet computer (which incidentally is more or less what a friend of mine at a Yokohama municipal office was using at his workstation as recently as 2010).

Many businesses still don’t even accept credit cards. A Japanese airline can get you to any corner of the globe without a hassle, so long as you’re paying in cash, even if the tickets come up to a few thousand dollars each (and I wish I wasn’t speaking from experience). This is made even more difficult by the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 24-hour ATM anywhere in Japan.

“We’re proud to announce the launch of a new debit card, usable only in this room and only for the next 11 minutes.”

That’s right; most banks in Japan keep their ATMs indoors, which means that once the banks close (typically around 6 p.m.), so do the machines, utterly defeating their entire purpose for existing. It’s another extension of that technological resistance — pretty much anywhere outside of Tokyo harbors a deep generational resentment for automation. They don’t want the ATMs operational while there aren’t any bank employees around to help in case something goes wrong (although outside of users being clubbed with a thermos and robbed, the list of possible mishaps is embarrassingly short). You can always try an ATM at a convenience store (the number of which currently exceeds the national population), if you don’t mind the variable transaction fees that seemingly change at random. And that’s only if your ATM card will even work in machines outside of your bank, which it almost certainly won’t.

The damn thing even looks like a 1980s fever dream of the future.

Of course, the best time to find out whether the 7-Eleven around the corner accepts your card is after 1 a.m., when all of the public transport has stopped and you desperately need money for a taxi. Basically, if you’re planning on doing anything at all besides going to and from work, you need to keep fistfuls of cash either on your person at all times or piled under a mattress in your freezing apartment.

Wait, why is your apartment freezing? Because …

#4. The Houses Have No Heat

Japan is constantly depicted in movies and TV shows as a technological wonderland of science and innovation, to the point where you would expect every toilet to resemble the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, complete with a not-quite-real-or-fake-enough Patrick Stewart screaming “Make it so!” in a Japanese man’s voice. The reality, however, is that your house or apartment will most likely lack such basic things as central heating and thermal insulation, and you’ll be forced to burn that Ghost in the Shell poster your mom would never let you hang up just to stay warm.

Behold, the wonders of the Far East.

Traditionally, Japanese houses have always been built to let as much air flow through them as possible, because the summers here average somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees. Unfortunately, this piece of architectural brilliance will betray you come wintertime, as there is nothing at all in place to keep frozen winds from bursting into your house and dragging warm air off into the night like the werewolves from The Howling. But as most foreigners in Japan learn firsthand, you’re sort of expected to just tough it out.

You can pick up an electric AC/heater, if you feel like throwing down hundreds of dollars to pay for both the unit and the required professional installation, but even then it’s only enough to cover one room. The Japanese simply do not heat more than one or two places in the entire house — they never have, and they aren’t likely to start before you move here. Your only other option is a kerosene heater, which you can’t really leave running overnight unless you’re trying to burn and/or suffocate your family to death. Of course, having one also means keeping several cans of kerosene around the house at all times, so the “burning” thing may eventually happen on its own.

“It’s cool, plastic isn’t flammable.”

Newer buildings like those in the middle of Tokyo probably have central heating systems strong enough to microwave a chicken just by shutting all the windows, but considering that land and building costs in Japan are still some of the highest in the world, the only people who can afford to live in new homes are those rich enough to insulate the walls with unicorn pelts.

#3. The Hospitals Close on Evenings and Weekends

The good news about health care in Japan is that your insurance is accepted pretty much anywhere. The bad news is that most hospitals keep shorter hours than a Blockbuster Video. Generally speaking, Japanese hospitals are only open from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and are usually not open at all on the weekends. So if you lop off a digit at a family barbecue, you basically have to wrap your stump in a Pikachu towel full of ice, wait for Monday to roll around and hope your severed finger doesn’t get freezer burn.

“Attention horribly injured people: The hospital will close in 15 minutes. Please continue clinging desperately to life.”

Even then, it’s no guarantee you’ll get to see a doctor, because outpatients are usually only admitted in the morning. If you don’t get to the hospital quickly enough, you’ll have to wait another day (oh, and good luck using all that personal time in a country where missing work is considered a form of light treason). Also, first-time patients can’t make appointments at most medical facilities, so you pretty much just have to show up and hope somebody dies in a car accident on the way to the hospital and frees up a slot. And make sure to bring cash with you (see above), because while the majority of hospitals have ATMs, you really don’t want to play “Will my card work here?” while you’re bleeding from the face.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to visit the ATM before we attach the second oxygen cylinder.”

If you do manage to make it into a doctor’s office, make sure that you bring someone with you who can speak Japanese, because not many doctors or nurses speak English. Which actually brings me to my next point …

#2. You Will Always Be an Outsider

Since this is the Internet, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Engrish.com and Japan’s many hilarious (hirarious?) failings with the English language. But honestly, Japan is an industrialized nation full of well-educated people, and English is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet. Zany out-of-context Internet photos aside, how alienating could it really be over there?

The short answer is very.

The long answer is more rambling and incoherent.

Simply put, the country just isn’t very accommodating to people who can’t speak Japanese. Without the language, you will barely be able to buy food or get around, let alone establish any kind of permanent living situation that doesn’t involve keeping a bilingual girlfriend/boyfriend/hostage on hand 24/7 to translate every commercial that comes on the radio. You can’t just exchange shouts with people and come to a working understanding like Han Solo and Chewbacca. Real life doesn’t work that way.

So how is that different from moving to any other country where English isn’t the native language? Well, for starters, Japanese is one of the hardest languages for Americans to learn, requiring 2,200 hours of study if you want to be considered truly proficient. This is partly because of the difficulties of learning a new language as an adult, and partly because English and Japanese have about as much in common with each other as Halloween and Halloween III.

Dear God, imagine what their text messages must look like.

That being said, once you actually got the whole language thing down, you might expect to finally be able to integrate yourself into Japanese society and thrive, right? Well, here’s how it was with me: I’ve been coming to Japan for nearly a decade, my wife is Japanese, I speak the language fluently, I know the culture inside and out, and yet I’m still “that foreign guy” to most people here (even the ones who have known me for close to 10 years).

“Hi! My name is Vanillaface McCheeseburger! My hobbies include ‘not being Japanese’!”

Japan is one of the most homogenous nations on Earth — roughly 98 percent of the population is ethnically Japanese. No matter what you do to try and fit in, you will always stick out like a sore thumb in a room full of people who have had their thumbs removed by rototillers.

For instance, one of the biggest hot button issues in Japan concerns people of Korean ancestry who live in the country. In most cases, these are people who were born in Japan, have Japanese names and speak almost exclusively Japanese, but because of their Korean lineage, they are still legally considered foreigners and as such face several restrictions (such as the inability to vote or hold management positions in the public sector, a law that the Supreme Court actually upheld in 2005). The government literally decided that all Koreans are dastardly shitheads who are not to be trusted and mandated it to the entire country.

Take your incredible goddamn barbecue & piss off!

So now ask yourself this — if the Koreans in this example (who by all rights should be full Japanese citizens were it not for ethnic prejudice) are given the same treatment as convicted felons, what chance does a white kid in a Gundam T-shirt have to not be considered a complete outcast?

I’m not saying that every single person in Japan hates foreigners, but if you live here, you will be constantly reminded that you are most decidedly not Japanese, nor are you likely to spontaneously become so. Still, it’s a small price to pay to live in a place as outlandishly crazy and fun as Japan, right?

Yeah, about that …

#1. The Country Really Isn’t That Weird

I’m guessing that one of the top reasons people want to move to Japan is because of how eye-poppingly insane everything here is. Japan is the patron saint of the Internet — everything is either batshit crazy or adorable (or both), with the sole requirement of being impossible to explain in any conceivable context.

For example, this is food.

Man, I’m about to destroy a lot of illusions.

To start, let’s talk a little about Japanese TV. You may have seen clips of some X-rated Japanese game show floating around the Internet wherein an audience full of young women eagerly compete for the privilege of having sex with some random guy on stage in front of hundreds of people (if not, you’re probably searching for them right now). Here’s the shocking truth behind those videos — they are porn.

We know, it’s easy to get thrown off by the high production values.

As in, they are professional pornographic videos dressed up to look like a game show, because … you know, just because. Does porn need a reason? There’s a Simpsons porn out there featuring people sweatily groping each other in jaundiced yellow body paint, for Christ’s sake. Nobody is posting clips of that on the Internet and claiming it’s the new season … well actually, somebody probably is, but nobody would seriously believe that.

The porno game show I’m referring to is called Kobe Surprise, and it is every bit an actual game show as Walt Disney’s Pocahontas is a historical documentary. Just like those goofy “true life” pornos MILF Hunter or Bang Bus, nothing about it even approaches reality, yet all you apparently need to do is tell everyone it’s from Japan and suddenly people think it comes on every night after Wheel of Fortune.

Amazingly, this has never aired on network television

Don’t get me wrong — there are some daffy game shows in Japan, and there is definitely erotic programming on late night TV, but the country isn’t full of shamelessly sex-crazed lunatics who have stopped trying to measure the immensity of the shits they no longer give.

“So what about those infamous vending machines that sell used panties?” you might ask. Well, they do exist, but they were outlawed nearly 20 years ago. You can still find one from time to time, but they are illegal as fuck and usually hidden in sex stores or fetish clubs, and not in a bus station next to the Mr. Pibb machine.

That’s where they sell the pure strain gold.

I shook my head particularly hard when I read about the Japanese fundraiser that allowed people to squeeze some hot girl’s breasts if they donated money to AIDS research, because every website that reported on it wrote about it like it happens every Tuesday in Japan. It doesn’t. The event was hosted by a freaking porn channel — that’s like if Hugh Hefner held a topless car wash at the Playboy Mansion and the BBC told the rest of the world that there was one next to every McDonald’s in America.

But maybe you dream of living in Japan not because the porn flows like water (it doesn’t, at least not any more so than in any other country where the Internet is a thing), but because of your love for anime, which is so popular and widely accepted among Japanese adults that you could enjoy your obsession in peace with the approval of your peers. Even though we’ve moved on from porn, don’t put those tissues away just yet — you may need them for the next paragraph.

After all these years in Japan, I can honestly say that animation (major studio productions notwithstanding) is still mainly considered kids’ stuff. There is shockingly little anime on television, and most of it is unapologetically meant for children. The only adults who really get into it (referred to as otaku) are usually perceived by the media as overweight, unwashed weirdos who are probably child molesters. Sound familiar? You’re bound to spend just as much time hiding your Trigun DVDs from company here as you would anywhere else.

With the added burden of the traditional Japanese Head of Shame

Japan does have its eccentric side, but at the end of the day (and especially outside of Tokyo), it’s pretty normal and boring. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from moving here (because I live here and I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon), but if you are really considering buying a place in Japan, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Because if you step off the plane armed with nothing but what the Internet teaches you about this country, chances are you will be arrested before you make it out of the airport.

Via: Cracked.com

Post-Apocalyptic Party in the Yamas

So with all the crazy hype about the end of the world prophesied t to be arriving on December 21st, last weekend we had a Post-Apocalypse Party up in Hanayama 花山 (the mountains north of Kobe’s CBD Sannomiya) where many of Kobe’s ALTs live.

As the name implies guests were required to dress up as something with a Post-Apocalyptic theme to it, think zombies or raiders.

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Forget milk n cookies, ima nom your children’s liver and lower intestine whist they sleep

I decided to go with the least classy costume I could possibly come up with……. Zombie Santa! Lets just say that the pretense of the end of the world made for a very very sloppy drunken night……. the occurrences of which will be lost to the world until next Friday when it all ends…….. Apparently

Here are a couple photos of some of the amazing apocalyptic costumes that were sported by the attendees on the night!

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61851_10151129838131148_1077081953_n282848_10151464446762525_1798696318_n276779_10151169968731087_202863957_n74060_10151464446992525_145860446_n2430882_10151464446887525_411806006_n228753_10151464447077525_1656900522_n2481524_10151464446957525_626433760_n2Evidently one thing about us Kobe-JET folk is that we take costume parties very very seriously, in fact I don’t even remember the last party I went to that WASN’T a costume party of some description……. fun times fun times.

Game of Thrones Inspired Dragon Egg Shortbread Cookies!

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In an attemp to get into the Christmas spirit after returning to Australia last night, I baked a batch of Christmas shortbread cookies with mother.

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Although appropriately we made a batch of Christmassy themed cookies, I was never one to settle for such mundane baked goods. Alongside this harbouring a great love for the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, I instantly knew what must be done when I saw the packet of slithered almonds in the pantry.

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Alas here I present to you my prototype ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ inspired dragon egg shortbread cookies.
Here is the dough prior to baking, the scales I created by painstakingly layering slithered almonds one by one.

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And here we have it, shortbread fitting for the khaleesi herself.
In the coming weeks I intend to try this recipe once again but with the addition of dying the almonds black and green to create the coloured eggs of Daeneyrs dragons Rhaegal and Drogon.

The basic shortbread recipe i used is as follows:

-250g butter, at room temperature
-100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
-300g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
-90g (1/2 cup) rice flour, sifted
-Slithered almonds (for decoration)

Process:
Step 1
Preheat oven to 150°C. Using an electric cream butter and sugar in a bowl.

Step 2
Gradually add flour, beating on low speed, once crumbly kneed dough with hands until firm. Dough is then transferred to a lightly floured surface and flattened to 2cm with a rolling pin.

Step 3
Using a medium sized bowl cut 15cm circles in the dough, then shape the sides into an egg’esq shape by slicing off some dough on the upper half of each side. Now you will make your dragon scales, push the slithered almonds into the dough lightly in rows alternating a centimetre to the side so they end up in the centre of almonds in the row preceding.

Step 4
Bake the shortbread in oven, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 40 minutes or until light golden. Set aside on the trays for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fire and Blood!

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I Still Call Australia Home

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I’m always travelin’
And I love bein’ free
So I keep leavin’ the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home.

Im currently sitting on the tarmac at Kansai Kokusai Kūkō 関西国際空港 (Kansai International Airport) in 10 minutes or so I shall be departing homebound for Australia for the Christmas and New Year period.

Honestly I’m met with a flux of emotion ranging from excitement to nostalgia, all in all I just want to be home and out of the cold landscape that Kobe rapidly degraded into.
In fact my biggest fear in leaving Japan is the possibility that my Japanese which is already less than stellar may degrade over the next 3 weeks as I fill my body with copious amounts of food n booze!

Anyhow rather than posting day by day as i usually do, I have prepared a ‘holiday schedule’ of posts I have been writing as a buffer in just in case, so (presumed) loyal readers can look forward to that.
Anyhow ill see you all on the otherside!
オーストラリア 行きで!