Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kansai Rainbow Pride in Osaka, Japan, 2011: Stonewall Japan Reunion

Event: Kansai Rainbow Pride, Osaka
Date: Saturday, November 5, 2011
Time: 12:30pm
The square located just east of the rose garden at the east side of Nakanoshima Park, Osaka

Copy and paste this address into your phone.

If you have an iPhone, you'd definitely be doing yourself a HUGE pre-planning favor if you dropped some pins into these venues, and save them in your map bookmarks.

If you get lost, or wanna meet up, or just want my number so you can call and ask if my refrigerator's running,

it's 080-3939-5046

And here's the link to a map of the meeting place.

A link of the information from the source.

And here's the Parade Route, but in Japanese.

PRE-PARTY: Friday 10/4 Dinner and Hitting the Gaytown

Here's a link to a list of Girl Bars in Doyamacho, Osaka's gay district, located by Umeda Station.

Here's a link to a list of Gay Bars (mostly men, but some mixed) in Doyamacho.

#12 The FRENZY bar was recommended as a great place to go for a lively atmosphere, men/women/gay/straight/everyone friendly, and has free karaoke and wifi. It's also the only gay bar owned by a foreigner in all of Japan. Apparently, Lady Gaga karaoke'd to herself there in 2009.

View Larger Map

FRIDAY 11/4 LOOK ME is a girl's party happening the Friday before the Pride event at Club Explosion.

Here's a link to Explosion, Osaka's gay nightclub/bar. In the past, there have been pride mixed men and women after-parties at this venue.

The Day of the Parade:

From 2pm to 7pm, there will be a mixer party at COVENT GARDEN. Here is the map and information about the venue. For 1000 yen, you can enter and have all you can drink soft drinks, karaoke, and rainbow cake. The venue also sells food and stiffer drinks. Here's the address 大阪府 大阪市西区北堀江2-5-10 松枝ビル1階, add it to your phone if you're interested.

From 8PM, there will be a party at FRENZY. Here's the info:

The FRENZY bar was recommended as a great place to go for a lively atmosphere, men/women/gay/straight/everyone friendly, and has free karaoke and wifi. It's also the only gay bar owned by a foreigner in all of Japan. Apparently, Lady Gaga karaoke'd to herself there in 2009.

View Larger Map

Hotel Kansai has singles and double under 5000 yen a night. All of the information is in English, so you won't have any trouble booking the room. And if you do, just call them and reserve as soon as possible.

And here's the map to the hotel from Umeda Station.


This link to Willer Bus Company allows you to book buses in English. It's also pretty cheap.

The average cost of a night bus from Tokyo to Osaka, which usually arrives after sunrise, is about 5000 yen. The average Shinkansen Bullet train cost is 13,000 yen. Both fees are for 1 way. If you go to a ticket window around a station, you may be able to get discounts.


The second year I attended this event, the JET Stonewall organizers gathered us together and made an announcement. They told us that in our JET contracts, it says that we are forbidden to participate in any political events. The organizers said that this was a political event, and those organizers chose to forego marching in the parade, and encouraged the others to do so as well.

I wasn't shocked by their announcement, as it probably is true, and something of which to be aware. Perhaps the warning to not give any statements to the press or interviews with NHK would have been more appropriate. However, to not participate at all sounded ludicrous to me, especially since there's a section of the parade which doesn't allow photography in order to protect people's privacy, where we could have easily keep hidden. (Though even that seems terrible to me.)

About half of the Stonewallers followed their serious-toned announcement, and met us at the end of the parade. It surprised me that so many people would travel all the way out to Osaka for a pride event, just to sit it out. Also, why would the organizers organize, just to not participate? It was a really weird moment for me in my Stonewall life.

Anyway, I just wanted to inform you of what has happened in the past, and something you might want to be aware of. Also, I guess you also got a dose of my opinion about it as well. Ya, i think it's ridiculous. It's pride, for Fug's sake! Be Pride-y!



Autumn Leaves Viewing (kouyou or Momiji-gari) will be happening around the beginning to mid-November in the Kansai region. One of the nicest places to view it is about a 25 minute (290 yen) ride away from Umeda Station at a place called Minoh Park.

Mino Park is a short walk from the north of Hankyu Mino Station. From UMEDA in central Osaka, take the Hankyu Takarazuka Line from Hankyu Umeda Station to Ishibashi Sation (15 minutes) and transfer to the Hankyu Mino Line to Mino Station (5 minutes).

Another closer place to enjoy some nature and autumn leaves is Osaka Castle Park.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to make Your Own Delicious Cheese in Japan

This cheese comes out as a crumbly, creamy cheese perfect for salads, toast, and any dish that you could imagine putting a cheese with a consistency of feta. The final product tastes very creamy, and you can add to the flavor by adding salt and spices of your choice. For instance, some of the cheeses have added salt, pepper, basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, garlic chips. It's really up to you. You can follow this recipe, but there are also lots of videos on Youtube about this process.

The Milk:
I just learned the other night that milk in Japan is often pasteurized at a higher temperature than some other countries, which is why it affects the flavor. News to me. However, if you find a milk with a lower temperature, it will be creamier and thus, your cheese will be more delicious. Have fun choosing your milk.

The heating of the milk:
Warm the milk on a low heat in a pan until a slight film forms at the top. When the film covers the surface, that's when you know it's time to pour in the lemon juice.

Putting the lemon in:
It's probably best to squeeze the juice from 1 lemon into a bowl before you heat the milk. Mix the milk as you pour in the lemon.

The Curdling of the Milk:
Soon after you pour in the lemon juice, you will notice the chemical reaction separating the solids from the liquids. The solid, white chucks are called the curds, and the yellowish liquid is called the whey. Yes! Curds and Whey, just like the stuff Little Miss Muffet eats!

The Cotton Stuff:
It may be hard to find cheesecloth in stores of Japan, but a good substitute might be this netted gauze (which is not gauze at all) which can be found at Daiso 100 yen shop.

The Net all ready for pouring:
Set up the net above a pan that can hold the contents of the curds and whey pan.

Pour it in, Pour it in:
Pour slowly, allowing the netted gauze to catch the curds and drain the whey. If it gets clogged, you can scrape the bottom with a spoon.

Wrap it up and push it down:
After you let the whey drain out of the net, you need to wrap it up and squeeze the excess whey out of the cheese to give it a solid, cheesey consistency. You can set up something like this and place a heavy object to create pressure on the cheese wrap.

Eat it up:
Before you take it out and sprinkle it on your food, feel free to mix it with salt, pepper, or the other spices listed above.

Enjoy your cheese!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Who is Goshi Hosono and why should you care?

Goshi Hosono, a politician in the Democratic Party of Japan, House of Representatives, recently became the Minister of the Environment. He has been one of the key middlemen between government officials and TEPCO since the Fukushima Nuclear crisis. He is now is also in charge of developing the compensation packages for the victims of Fukushima. Hosono has recently been promoted to the position of Japan's Environment Minister after Prime Minister Noda replaced Kan. Before the March 11th earthquake, he represented Shizuoka Prefecture District 5, which houses the Hamaoka Nuclear Plant, deemed unsafe for operation soon after the Fukushima accident. He graduated from Kyoto University from the Faculty of Law. With a strong background in law and politics, and not nuclear science, many critics question whether he can make the best decisions regarding nuclear policy.

In his first interview as Environmental Minister on September 4th, Hosono made some controversial remarks. 「福島の痛みを日本全体で分かち合うことが国としての配慮だ], which means "everybody in Japan must share the pain of Fukushima". Within the same article, he also talks about Fukushima's local government refusal to house the storage facilities of the radioactive waste within the prefecture. His remark does not explicitly say that officials have decided to store the radioactive waste in other prefectures around Japan, however, his nuance and its relation to other topics reported in the article suggest that is what might come to be.

As Hosono's debut interview as Environmental Minister began to receive both national and international attention, NHK News pulled the story from their website. Luckily, the news cannot be erased from the newspapers which was released on September 4, 2011. Below is the report.
[From NHK News Japanese (4:42PM JST 9/4/2011):

Minister of the Environment Hosono said in the September 4 press conference that "it is the consideration of the national government [or as Japan as the nation] to share the pain of Fukushima by everyone [or everywhere] in Japan", reiterating his intention to create a final processing facility outside Fukushima Prefecture for debris and dirt contaminated with radioactive materials from the nuclear accident.


The September 4 press conference was his first as the Minister of the Environment. Regarding the disposal of the contaminated debris and dirt removed by the decontamination work, ex-Prime Minister Kan told Governor of Fukushima Sato last month that the national government was proceeding with the plan to create a temporary storage facility in Fukushima but it had no intention of turning this facility into a final processing facility.


In the September 4 press conference, Hosono said of the temporary storage facility, "We won't proceed without consulting the local people in deciding the specific location and the duration of the storage", indicating the details will be worked out after consultation with the local people.


As to the final processing facility, he said he considered it separate from the temporary storage facility, and said further, "I believe it should be the consideration of the national government [or Japan as the nation] to share the pain of Fukushima by everyone in Japan [or everywhere in Japan]. It is my intention to stick to the plan that the final processing facility will never be built in Fukushima", reiterating his idea of creating the final processing facility outside Fukushima Prefecture.]

Recently, many news articles as well as youtube videos of Japanese news reports have disappeared from the internet, including multiple articles accusing the Japanese government of hiring private companies to scan through news websites, private blogs, and twitter and expunge unfavorable news regarding the Fukushima meltdowns.

In this article from the Japan Times, Mr. Hosono is introduced as strong leader, who is going to reshape nuclear policy. If you'd like to hear more from Mr. Goshi Hosono himself, feel free to read through his blog written in Japanese.

As time continues to pass from the initial disaster, and as the clean-up efforts progress, there are still a lot of serious decisions that will be decided by officials, led by Mr. Hosono. The radioactive waste needs to be stored somewhere, and the time is coming when the decision needs to be made as to where. In fact, 76 cylinders of reprocessed radioactive material returned to Japan today from Britain, according to an article from the Japan Times. Protesters greeted the shipment with signs that said, "Keep Nuclear Waste Out". Although the final resting spot of the waste has not been determined, it is now sitting in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture. 900 more of these cylinders are scheduled to be transported between Japan and the UK within the next 10 years. Where will they end up? Is the transport of these materials secure? How many prefectures will have to "share the pain of Fukushima" by housing these cylinders of nuclear waste scheduled to arrive?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Favorite Ted Talks

[How does it feel emotionally to be wrong?

"Dreadful, thumbs down, embarrassing"

No, no, you're answering another question, that's how it feels to REALIZE you are wrong.

It does feel like something to be wrong, it feels like being right.]

If only I could watch this everyday. I wish everyone could watch this everyday.


How Great Leaders Inspire Action

It's a very rare type of person who holds the qualities of a good leader. I was impressed by the new ideas I heard in this Ted Talk.


The Link between Creativity and Play

Trying Something New for 30 days

This Ted Talk inspired me for 30 days.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Expressing Your Feelings in Japanese Part 1

By learning the 気 idioms, you're learning 2 words for the price of 1. You can study not only the literal meaning of the 気 partner word, but also the idiomatic meaning when used with 気.

You probably already know what 気 means, right? It means feeling, mind, sensation. It's the "ki" in genki. Now look at how many of your feelings you can express by learning its idiomatic expressions.

The "気 ’s”

ある  to have       気がある to be interested in
ちる  to scatter     気が散る to be distracted
はれる   to clear     気が晴れる to feel relieved
はりつめる to stretch     気が張り詰める to be fully alert
はやい   fast     気が早い to be hasty
ひける  to pull back    気が引ける to feel ashamed
めいる  to go down     気が滅入る to get depressed
おおきい big      気が大きい to be generous
おもい    heavy    気が重い to be depressing
すすまない to not proceed  気が進まない to not be in the mood for
たっている  standing    気が立っている to be on edge
つく    to become aware  気がつく to be attentive

The "気 に’s”

なる  to become      気になる to feel uneasy
さわる   to interfere    気に障る to offend
する   to do     気にする to do
やむ   to be sick     気に病む to be worried

The  "気 を’s”

吐く   to spew, throw up  気を吐く to be elated
ひく   to pull      気を引く to attract
くさらす to rot     気を腐らす to be depressed
おとす  to drop     気を落とす to be disappointed
ゆるす  to trust     気を許す to let one's guard down

Friday, September 09, 2011

Forest Fired

Something to play while I share my dream.

It's not usual for me to feel uneasy in a woody setting. I'm usually at home in the forest, though I will sometimes get a little "antsy" around insects. I was hanging around the front of a cabin with my brother and his cronies who were planning a robbery. However, this robbery was so elaborate that they needed to ignite a forest fire in order to distract local residents and authorities from their actions. At first, I was curious about what they were up to, but after overhearing something about charcoal and gasoline, I decided that I'd rather not know. I was warned that I ought to stay close to the shore of the lake because they weren't sure how fast the flames would travel. They put their plan into action quicker than I had anticipated, because suddenly I felt hot and realized the trees around me were on fire. It was quite a run from the lake, and I headed toward it. I had to run through fiery bushes, and my pants had caught fire when I finally reached the lake. I tripped, but luckily it was one step before the edge of the pier, and I fell awkwardly into the lake.

As I looked back on the burning forest, I worried about my brother's safety. The next thought of doom that entered my head was that my iPhone was in my pocket! Motherfucker!

Suddenly, I was being questioned by the police. They had reports that it was arson. I said that I had no idea what happened. They returned a little later and asked to see my fingers. I remembered the coal that they were unloading from boxes. I had thrown a couple back into the box. I had some black smudges still on my fingers.
I decided to stick to my story.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Yes, We Scan!

QR codes are the all the rage here in Japan. It's a type of barcode that has a variety of uses. You can put it in magazines, party flyers, posters, advertisements, and even on your business card. This bar code allows somebody to use their cell phone to scan and quickly get the link to more information on the internet.

I saw a coworker use it with their Japanese cell phone, and I was amazed. However, when I learned that there's a free iPhone app that also scans these codes, I grew very excited. These bar codes had been a mystery to me for so long.

This app, called Qrafter, can be downloaded from the American or Japanese iTunes. If you buy the advanced version, you can also use the QR code generator and make your own bar codes that link to websites.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Mornin' Fuji-san!

After a wonderful bike ride to school this morning, riding on the riverside, I searched for a Fuji-song to add to this post for your entertainment.

COINCIDENTALLY, I came upon the SAME music that plays for the 5pm chime that rings throughout my neighborhood. Click here if you want to listen to it.

Now, all I have to do is memorize it, and I can sing along everyday at 5 o'clock!

When I see Fuji from where I live, the full Fuji is blocked by another mountain, Mt. Ashitaka, which blocks my view from its large body. From where I live and work, all I can see is the crown, but it's still quite beautiful.

If you've ever wondered how Fuji was formed, watch this video. It's very cool. At about 3:38 on this video, you can see where the little bump in the side of Fuji came from, as well as understanding a little more about why the Izu area is so rich in hot springs.

I'll leave you with this....
A Japanese tour guide singing the Fuji song in English. Priceless.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

(Follow the leader in Disaster Training)

A taiyaki fish stuffed with 2 takoyaki balls?
Or a taiyaki fish stuffed with Sakura mochi?

Difficult choice, I know. I mean, on one hand, there's the battered octopus balls covered in a sweet and tangy sauce stuffed into another batter shaped like a fish. On the other, there's the strawberry mochi ball option. How cruel of me to make you choose! Takoyaki dinner with some fruity mochi for dessert.


Octopi are a big deal here. Besides being a delicious and chewy source of protein, they're also cute as can be. They're even used in advertising for not only seafood restaurants, but also WATER!!!!
So fresh that it's like a homecoming for Tako-san.


The ice cream fridge in the convenience stores is 10 times as exciting as when the ice-cream man rounded the corner of your childhood home. First of all, these desserts are SEASONAL, so things are always changing. This particular GARIGARI kun flavor is Strawberry Sour. The ice is very flaky and melts slowly on the stick, but quickly in your mouth. Yum Yum. Comes in cola, pear, strawberry sour, orange and blue flavor.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

September Events in Homoland

So September has come and summer fun is becoming but a memory. Well, just because summertime is ending doesn't mean that the good times have to end as well. This September post contains all events that I hear of, or have picked up flyers for in Tokyo. I list events for men, women, mixed, and more. You may want to stop back at this post later, because I'm updating this as the news comes in, and as I pick up more flyers or see events pop up on Mixi or Facebook.

September 17th-19th
Kansai Queer Film Festival
A brilliant event with films from all over the world about sexuality making up its own rules as it goes along.
A must for anyone interested in alternative sexuality OR films.
Here's the English website for tickets
The other schedules are in Japanese, but here's the map. The location is in front of the UMEDA station, the HEP building.
The timetable of the movies is also in Japanese, but could be useful if you are using RIKAIKUN.

At the end of this post, I have a hotel recommendation for those needing accommodation, which I wrote for those planning to attend Kansai Rainbow Pride next weekend.


September 17, Saturday

Goldfinger's "GIRLFRIEND" Party
Here's the website: click here for some girlfriend info action


September 18, Sunday

Nagano Rainbow Festival
This gay/lesbian/mixed dance party, welcoming trans, drag, and FTM is just a couple minutes walk from Nagano Station in Nagano Prefecture. It will feature some drag shows, go-go dancers, and various DJs.
Sounds like a lot of fun!
Here's the information website and map.



Here is the website for the Grande Panache girls' party.


Here's a preview of next month, the wonderful world of October! The Kansai pride's date has not been set yet, but i'll update with the most current information as I get it.


2 minute walk from Yodoyabashi Station on the MIDOSUJI LINE M-17 exit #1

The pride goes Walking down MIDOSUJI ST.


HOTEL-KANSAI, click here for details.
7 minutes walk from UMEDA Station which is 1 station away from where the parade starts.

This is one of the cheapest and closest hotels from the parade and after-parties. This hotel has single rooms, double rooms, triple rooms and quad rooms. If you're on a budget and plan well, you can stay as cheaply as 2,500 yen a night.

For example, the room below is a single and it cost 3,500

This room below is a double and it costs 4,500

If you want to make travel a lot easier, I suggest either taking a Shinkansen down to Osaka, or if you're on a budget, take a bus. Navigating bus websites in Japanese is a bit difficult, so I'd suggest going to your local JR station and trying to make a reservation in the bus office. It's much easier to do those things face to face.
However if you'd like a website that's in ENGLISH, where you can get some idea about times and bus routes, then check out this website.

A little blurb from me, when I was a newbie back in 2006. This was the second gay event I went to including the Stonewall night out at Orientation. I was so new, so unknowing about Japan. Check it out!