Japan

A few more days and we'll be leaving for Japan. We are all excited but I think my youngest son, Sam, and I are the most excited about the trip. I thought it might be interesting to make a list of the things that I am most looking forward to now and then compare it with the things that I enjoyed the most after our trip is over. It's been six years since we were last in Japan so I imagine that there will be some surprises in store for us. 

In no particular order the things I am most looking forward to.

  • yakitori
  • tonkotsu ramen –the best kind of ramen if you ask me
  • Ichiran and Ippudo ramen
  • meeting up with old friends
  • visiting my old stomping grounds
  • walking around Fukuoka City
  • hanami–cherry blossom viewing party
  • karaoke
  • onsen and sento
  • Japanese bathtubs–my in-laws have a great tub
  • gardens–even the small private gardens in people's homes
  • tiled roofs
  • traditional architecture–especially the old, wooden houses
  • all the crazy buildings in the city
  • saké
  • convenience stores
  • bookshops–I am going to buy a ton of manga
  • riding the trains
  • the service
  • eye candy
  • tatami
  • sleeping on a futon
  • visiting shrines and temples
  • eating at yattai in Fukuoka
  • sashimi
  • Mosburger
  • visiting our old apartment in Iki no Matsubara
  • yakiniku

 

Books Read 2016

Another year and another year's worth of books. I did meet my goal of reading fifty books last year, which isn't very many to be honest. I did a poor job of keeping track of them and managed to leave a few off of my list. I am all about big goals this year, so for 2017 I am aiming to read 100 books. This will include listening to audio books and reading comics if they are of sufficient length; think more trade collections not single issues. I am off to a great start. I listened to an excellent BBC reading of T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland by read by Jeremy Irons on New Year's Day. A fitting poem to start this year for Americans. Anyways here's the list for 2016.

  1. All The Light We Cannot See 1/5/16
  2. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 /12/16
  3. Bamboo Blade vol. 1 3/9/16
  4. Usagi Yojimbo saga bk 1 3/10/16
  5. Usagi Yojimbo saga bk 2 3/12/16
  6. In Praise of Shadows
  7. Usagi Yojimbo saga bk 3
  8. Usagi Yojimbo saga bk 4 4/5/16
  9. Tokyo Vice 4/10/16
  10. Summerland 4/25/16
  11. The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs 5/2/16
  12. The 47 Ronin 5:21/16
  13. Revenge 5/22/16
  14. The Man Who Gave Up his Name 5/24/16
  15. Legends of the Fall 5/31/16
  16. The Night Parade 6//6/16
  17. Kendo: Culture of the Sword 6/10/16
  18. Usagi Yojimbo Saga vol 6 6/10/16
  19. Usagi Yojimbo Saga vol 3 6/19/16
  20. Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians 6/23/16
  21. The Thief 6/26/16
  22. Skink No Surrender 6/27/16
  23. Skin Tight 7/3/16
  24. Lucky You 7/9/16
  25. In the Heart of the Sea 7/22/16
  26. Hannah's Winter 8/15/16
  27. Barbarian Days A Surfing Life 8/20/16
  28. Before The Wind 8/23/16
  29. Big Trouble In Little China Vol 1 8/24/16
  30. Big Trouble In Little China Vol 2 8/27/16
  31. Big Trouble In Little China Vol 3 8/28/16
  32. Hilda and the Midnight Giant 8/30/16
  33. Hilda and the Black Hound 9/8/16
  34. Hilda and the Troll 9/9/16
  35. Barbarian Lord 9/14/16
  36. Razor Girl 9/19/16
  37. Odd and the Frost Giants 9/23/16
  38. The Everything Box 10/5/16
  39. The Northlanders Vol. 1 10/7/16
  40. H Is for Hawk 10/21/16
  41. The Creepy Case Files of Margo Mako 10/21/16
  42. The Volsung Saga audiobook
  43. The Mouse Guard: The Black Ax 11/10/16
  44. The Forever War 11/26/16
  45. Usagi Yojimbo Saga vol 7 11/29/16
  46. Demon 11/29/16
  47. Tower of Treasure 11/29/16
  48. 47 Ronin 11/30/16

Books Read 2015

I didn't do as well last year in many ways as I had hoped. This includes the number of books I read in 2015. The total came in at a measly 38 books. Yes, I included graphic novels in this list. I also listed individual volumes as multiple books. For 2016 I am aim to read at least 76 books.

Fourteen of the books I read were fantasy. My favorite fantasy new read was Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen. 

  1. HP The Half Blood Prince 1/21/15
  2. Krabat And The Sorceror's Mill 2/12/15
  3. The Bone Clocks 2/19/15
  4. White Fang 2/23/15
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic 3/4/15
  6. The Hobbit 3/19/15
  7. The Last Season 3/31/15
  8. A Drifting Life 4/6/15
  9. Escape From Manuki Island 4/17/15
  10. Under The Cherry Blossom Tree 4/15/15
  11. The Grey King 4/25/15
  12. The Complete Calvin And Hobbes Vol. 1 5/22/15
  13. Bridge of Birds 5/26/15
  14. Stormy Weather 6/27/15
  15. Kill City 7/8/2015
  16. Station Eleven 7/19/15
  17. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck 8/8/15
  18. TAOT Red Rackham's Treasure 8/8/15
  19. The Yiddish Policemen's Union 8/16/15
  20. A Wrinkle In Time 8/21/15
  21. Crogan's March 8/24/15
  22. Crogan's Vengeance 8/24/15
  23. T Minus the race to the moon 8/28/15
  24. Go Set A Watchman 8/30/15
  25. To Kill A Mockingbird 9/10/15
  26. Crogan's Loyalty 9/16/15
  27. The Deathly Hallows 10/29/15
  28. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol1
  29. and Vol 2
  30. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion
  31. True Grit 11/3/15
  32. The Water Knife 11/9/15
  33. Wake of Vultures 11/24/15
  34. Wolf Brother 11/30/15
  35. Jade Dragon Mountain 12/9/15
  36. The Map To Everywhere 12/15/15
  37. The Martian 12/19/15
  38. The Buried Giant 12/27/15

All About That Beard

This is what happens when your friend Olivia Kelly recommends you and your fellow bearded writers on Twitter and then follows it up with a humorous hashtag – #AllAboutThatBeard

 

Chorus:
Because you know I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard, 
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard
Beard beard beard beard
Beard

Verse 1:
Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no boy toy
But I can grow it, grow it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that real beard that all the girls chase
All the right hair in all the right places
I see the movie scenes, working that wax so hot
We know that shit ain’t real
Come on now make it stop
If you got whiskers whiskers, just raise ‘em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Pre Chorus:
Yeah, my daddy he told me don’t worry about your hair
He says, girls like a rugged man to hold them tight at night
You know I won’t be no slick figure, manscaped  and waxed Ken doll,
So if that’s what you’re into
Then go ahead and move along

Chorus:
Because you know I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard
Hey!

Verse 2:
I’m bringing manly back
Go ahead and tell them pretty boyeez, hey
No, I’m just playing
I know y’all think you’re coarse
But I’m here to tell you,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Pre Chorus:
Yeah, my daddy he told me don’t worry about your hair
He says, girls like a rugged man to hold them tight at night
You know I won’t be no slick figure, manscaped  and waxed Ken doll,
So if that’s what you’re into
Then go ahead and move along

Chorus x 3:
Because you know I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard

Because you know I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard

Because you know I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard
‘Bout that beard, no stubble
I’m all about that beard,
‘Bout that beard

Updates Michigan

My wife has a new job in Michigan, which it turns out, is a pretty rocking state. She likes her job although she’s a bit swamped at the moment. We decided to let the boys finish the school year at their current school and we’ll move up and join her this summer.

But I’ve spent the last week up in Michigan with her. I was supposed to be looking for houses and interviewing schools for the boys. N had a short-term apartment picked out, ready to lease before we left, but after I took a look at it we decided that it was not safe. So instead of looking at schools I spent the week looking for short-term apartments.

She is now set and I am writing this in the airport as I wait for my delayed flight. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to write now that I am a de facto single dad, but I will make time to write. I am going to finish the second draft of the big book; my excellent teacher has threatened to go full zombie on me if I don’t! I also have an excellent side project in the works with an awesome pal on Twitter. It’s still on the down low, but there will be a lot of stuff going on behind the curtains as we get ready. So just because there aren’t a lot of new posts here don’t think that I’ve fallen off the wagon already. I’m still writing. Even if you aren’t reading it.

A few thoughts on Michigan. The roads suck. No really. If you’ve never been there it is hard to imagine how poor the roads are. Hint —think post apocalyptic. Oh, well I suppose we’ll get used to them.

There are a lot more Japanese ex-pats living in Michigan than there are in northern Kentucky which is pretty cool for us. N is pretty Americanized at this point, but we eat a lot of Japanese food, most of it home cooked, and there are some great Japanese markets with huge selections of everything from squid jerky -try it with ice cold vodka shots–, to curry pan to fresh octopus and more. I think we will be cooking more nihonryori than ever before.

There are also some great Japanese restaurants. We ate at a couple of them. I had tonkotsu style ramen and a beef bowl at the first place. The tonkotsu was pretty good, the broth was okay but a little on the light side and the noodles were completely wrong but it was still pretty darn good. The second place was an izakaya and it felt almost like we were in Japan. If only they had had tatami mats to sit on it would have been perfect. We had the duck hot pot and it was awesome. We’ll definitely be going back again.
More tk.

Kamo nabe –duck hot pot– at Izakaya Sanpei