Monthly Archives: February 2012

JOB update

OK I know I said I would update the blog when I got back from Los Angeles but I’ve been busy/lazy.  However I do have some new news as of this weekend.

As some of you may know I have been volunteering for the past month teaching Sunday School at church to 5th and 6th grade.  Also I’ve been working in the nursery with two through 5 year olds.

After a month of this I got a recommendation from the nursery and the church for my contact at the company.  And now as of Friday my paperwork has been sent to the office in Nagoya.  Now I just have a two or three week wait while my paper work is looked at in the head office and decided on whether or not I should be hired.   So now is the time for prayers.

But I believe that everything has worked out according to a greater plan thus far in such a fantastic way that in can only continue to work out.

Also I have a new camera a Nikon D5100 and it should be here Friday I believe.  I also picked up a 35mm f1.8 lens.  So soon I’ll have some nicer pictures and video for the blog and youtube channel.   I’m looking forward to playing around with it this weekend.

Thanks for following me everyone.  Welcome to the new followers.

BIG things coming…

Categories: Prelude to Japan | Leave a comment

Family Game Time

So the family got together today for lunch and after lunch we broke out and old table top game. “Skittles” Well I’ve called it that for 25 years after a little research today I find out that might not be what its called.

(Taken from

This game is thought to have been originally a Western European game – it’s still played in France and Benelux where it’s known as Table à Toupie and Toptafel, respectively. Nowadays, however, it seems to be more popular in North America where it’s usually called just ‘Skittles’. The idea is to spin a top into the game where it buzzes around the game surface and into the rooms. Points are scored AND deducted by knocking over skittles – whoever collects the most points wins!

And a shot here from their website of a top and a skittle.

I also have a picture here from that is thought to be a table made in 1820 and to have belonged to French royalty.

Here’s a few shots I took of our table and the rule card thats on the front of the table.

And then a shot of the card on the front of the rules.

And then I managed to take some video of a few rounds being played.  Then made a short video.  So here it is.

Categories: Prelude to Japan | Leave a comment

Cog Blog #3

I didn’t think I’d be making any more of these until I was in Japan, but I had to ride.  I need to loose weight and stay active.  Plus I was just getting used to being on a bike all the time.  So I heard that Wal-Mart had a $100 fixie.  So I went to check it out.  Not too bad.  Its a little small for me but it will do.  The cranks are shorter than I’d like and the bars were meh.  The pedals were junk and the tires need to be replaced.  So your thinking to yourself whats good about it?

WELL it does barspin a 700x35c  HAHA.  Seriously though I’m probably not going to be doing any 15 mile rides on this one so now that I’ve changed the bars to the ones I had on the last bike, and put my other pedals and straps on it. And swapped my pivotal setup onto it, its not too bad.  Longer cranks would complete the package but I guess you can’t have everything in a $100 bike from walmart.  Sadly the parts total worth is more than the bikes.

Anyway here’s a few snaps of my sister tooling around on it.  She rode it around the neighbor hood then decided to start practicing fakies…

These shots actually came out better than I thought with the camera on the phone.  I was just snapping them quickly.  So they aren’t the best.  This is before I changed the handle bars.  I should do something about the tires to make it a little easier to ride, but considering the tires are another $40/pair at least for the ones I want and its suppose to be a budget bike I can’t justify it.  Kids around here love the tires.  And its gets a lot of looks.  Not as many as the other bike.  But still quite a few.

Categories: Cog Blog | Leave a comment

Choclate Wonderfall?

This isn’t really a cooking post but its food related.   I went to eat with the family at Golden Corral.  For those of you not familiar with the franchise its a buffet that offers pretty much everything.

Lately I had heard that there was a “Chocolate Wonderfall” basically a waterfall of chocolate.

I’ve seen them at weddings or other special events.  Its a pretty cool contraption.  Its awesome if there are lots of little items to dip under it.  BUT there was a limitation yesterday.  For some reason it was Valentines themed.  And that simply means that there were some pink macaroons with lots of coconut (eww).  Although not too bad if you can get past the coconut, but there was a lot of coconut in them.  There were pink heart shaped sugar cookies.  Strawberries were available (the best option at the time). Rice Krispy Marshmallow treats, and also some kind of smores contraption that my Mom liked.

Now last time I tried this at a wedding I got a little extreme with it.  I dipped pineapple (very tasty), marshmallows, strawberries, oranges, watermelon slices (very interesting), and a few other things I forget in fountain.  But on this occasion there won’t all these options and there were two ladies standing behind it preparing deserts watching it like a hawk.

BUT, while I was sitting I was joking with my brother that the selection of item to dip was lack luster and that I bet my pork steak would be better dipped under the  Wonderfall.  My Dad laughed at me.  So I cut a peice off aquired a skewer from a strawberry and dipped it and two more strawberries.  Here is a pick for the non-believers.  It wasn’t half bad.

Categories: Cooking, Prelude to Japan | Leave a comment

Tempura Udon

So I’ve been sitting on these dry udon noodles and I’ve finally decided today was the day we were going to cook them and make udon.  Perhaps we got in a little over our heads.  We decided we were gonna do Tempura Udon.  My grandmother and I had never cooked Tempura either.  We decided to do chicken since she had already taken out some breasts for lunch at breakfast time.

Well this isn’t your normal Udon since I didnt’ have any dashi stock unfortunately.  And since I didn’t have the items available to create it within a one hour 1-way drive it just wasn’t an option.  So we made our own chicken broth from scratch.


I also cooked the noodles aside from that and then washed them in cold water and set them aside for the time being while we were preparing the veggies and chicken for frying.  I divided it into three portions for the three of us.

For our veggies we decided that we would fry cauliflower, snap peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  These were all cut very thin like french fries I suppose.  I wish I had taken a picture before hand but I didn’t think to do that.  Unfotunatly the finished product isn’t the prettiest, but it is very tasty.  we left the veggies kind of clumped together, but maybe our batter was a little TOO clumpy and so it came out a little thicker that some might like.  However it was very good.

I don’t have a picture of the chicken alone, but I do have the next picture of the finished product.  I added some chopped green onion tops and chili powder and also a little soy sauce as well as an egg.  The finished product…amazing.  I do look forward to the real thing.

I have another set of noodles left that I set aside in the fridge which I plan to use tomorrow with a dipping sauce.  I’m not sure what its called when you do it with Udon, but I had Zaru Soba that way and it was fantastic, so I’m sure cold udon with a pork dipping sauce will be good.

Categories: Cooking | 2 Comments

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