LATEST BLOG (Sep. 2015-)
In January, we made a trip to Amanohashidate in Kyoto for my wife's birthday. We made a new travelogue video, which we upload on April 1st, our 13th wedding anniversary. Check it out!
Last month, my wife, my mother-in-law and I went to a food event at a local
department store. It wasn't very interesting and was very crowded. The
only item that caught my eye: a man was wrapping strawberries in adzuki
bean paste and mochi. The treat was called ichigo daifuku. I said, "Let's get some of those." My wife didn't think I would
like it but we came to a compromise and got in line to get three of the
That night, I bit into my piece and a big smile formed on my face. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. When my wife and her mother ate theirs they broke out laughing. You see, they both thought that I was crazy for wanting to get three. Daifuku is a traditional Japanese sweets but it was never made with strawberries in them until late 20th century. My wife told me that she had always thought that strawberries were an unnecessary and ill-matched addition to the already delicious traditional sweets and had never tried ichigo daifuku before. My mother-in-law told us that not all ichigo daifukus were good. She said the ones we got were incredible. We looked the maker up on the Internet. It's SUZUKAKE in Hakata, Fukuoka.
We went back two days later for more, but there were none left. They told us that they have a permanent booth in a department store in Shinjuku. Next time we go to Tokyo, we're getting nine of them.
We uploaded a new video that features dogs in Yokohama.
Have a look.
A happy new year!
The new year opens with our latest Jazz Japan video from Nikko.
We visited there in November last year to enjoy the colors of autumn.
The weather was exceptionally warm and perfect for seeing the falls and the beautiful Lake Chuzenji.
Last week, my wife and I were watching on a NHK broadcast satellite channel
an extremely engrossing documentary about what America is doing to whistle
blowers. It's called Silenced (2014). It was about three very intelligent and patriotic people who worked
for the CIA, NSA and U.S. Justice Department respectively. One whistle
blower revealed and spoke out against U.S. millitary's water-boarding.
The NSA whistle blower, on the other hand, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance
practices on American citizens before Edward Snowden. In the middle of
watching, at about 9:35 p.m., a phone call interrupted us. My wife answered
and it was the Yomiuri Shimbun's political pollster. A live woman, not a machine. The poll was basically
about prime minister Abe's various policies. The woman's job was to give
multiple choice questions. For example, "Should a reduced sales tax
rate be applied to: 1) only the perishables; 2) both perishables and processed
foods?" My wife answered, "Who in the world wants any tax on
the food we eat anyway?" The pollster woman answered, "So, it's
more like choice 2 then." My wife said, "Is it?" Then the
woman said, "I'll put your answer down as #2."
The results of the poll were printed on December 6. Sixty-one percent of the respondents chose #2, which was much higher than the 21% that answered #1. The paper said that 55% was in favor of applying reduced rates to items outside foods, while 33% was against. Fifty-eight percent was for the introduction of reduced rates, while 31% was against the idea. My wife was never asked these last two questions.
This was the first time she was bestowed the honor of being a randomly chosen respondent. We had known by watching public opinion poll results on TV that there had to be a certain amount of bull shit in the way the questions are conceived, but my wife's experience proves that these polls can be quite deceptive.
We went back to watching Silenced, and found that America's mainstream media bashed the three whistle blowers, making them look like criminals. One of them was sent to prison.
In the last 5 years, about ten people from different parts of the world contacted me with questions about mostly dead musicians with whom I used to play decades ago. Most of them said that they were writing biographies about those musicians. Some of these people turned out to be professors or editors of magazines. What strikes me is that they either have a very low level of investigative skills or are too busy sending a query from their i-phones to check out my website before contacting me. One of them said to me after I answered his questions, "What instrument do you play? Guitar?" I kindly sent back to him a link to my website and told him to find out himself.
These would-be authors come to me because they have some information, probably from unreliable online sources, that needs to be verified. They usually don't explain who they are in detail, reasons why they are bothering me with their questions, or if I'll get a copy of the book if it's ever published. They certainly have no intention of paying me for taking time to answer their meaningless questions. I can't help but feel sorry for the people who pay to buy their books. I'm sure they are not getting their money's worth.
We all have to watch out for inaccurate information that looks like the truth. The world is full of it.
In a 2011 blog, I talked about the 1992 comedy, "The Distinguished
Gentleman" (with Eddie Murphy). In it, he is running for President
of the U.S. The main joke in the film was that he was for "change".
He never said "change what". Later, as we know, Obama became
President using the same joke. He also didn't say change what. Now I've
just seen "Machete Kills" on TV. In it, Charlie Sheen plays the
President. He had been elected by promising and completing a giant wall
at the Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out. Sound familiar? Is
it possible that presidential candidates are so unimaginative that they
have to get their ideas from silly movies? I think so.
I'm playing at Body & Soul in Tokyo on December 28. Hope to see you then. For reservations, click here.
I love living in Japan and I have very few complaints in my daily life,
but here is one. Almost every bicycle has a little bell on it and no one
ever uses them. The bicycles are usually ridden on the sidewalk here in
Japan and I never know when one will come up behind me. Use the bell!!
Since the launch of this renewed website, some of the old links have been closed. Please revisit your favorite pages at their new URLs to renew your links. Sorry for the trouble.
Welcome to my new website!
Please enjoy our latest work, OUR WONDERFUL WORLD.