About Me

I'm Phil! American living in Japan. Teacher. Ex-independent professional wrestler. Student of Japanese. Traveler. Article writer for Mythic Scribes. Also written four manga, novels, and various short stories and poems. For my fantasy-related blog, check out http://www.philipoverbyfantasy.blogspot.jp/.


Drill Bits: random thoughts, bloggy stuff
Japan Hammer: topics about Japan
Story Time: stories I felt like posting

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan Hammer: Japan, Home, Life, Future

Seems like every couple of years I post one of these. "My life has taken a new direction" or "Time to change things." Well, for those who know me, I live in Japan. For those who haven't been under a rock, things have drastically changed here.

I won't go into a lot of details about what I think about the disaster here. People have went on about it and probably better than I ever could. But I lived in Fukushima. Kumi's family is from there. I made some friends that live there.

Sadly, I don't think it will ever be the same. Just like after Katrina, things never seemed to be the same.

I take pride in living in Japan. The people are kind. It's a beautiful country. The culture is respectful and honorable. But even before this disaster happened, I had second thoughts about making it my permanent home. I now know that it will always be my home. Even if I leave here.

I'm not going to make some far-flung statement about how I'm going to reinvent myself or find another career or something along that line. I plan to continue teaching, wherever I am.

I started to write an angry blog about how lots of people have pissed me off with their flippancy and self-centered viewpoints about this disaster. I was going to rant about it, but there's no point. Stupid people will always be stupid. So I don't give a shit what they say.

I'll soon have a wife and therefore will no longer be responsible only for myself. My purpose first and foremost is keep her safe and healthy. If that means ultimately leaving Japan, then that is what we'll do. I won't be happy, but I'll do it.

In the midst of all this chaos, I also lost a friend and brother Billy Tackett. He was always kind to me, a great guy to be around. His love and passion for wrestling and his family shined through. He may not have realized it, but he was in a lot of ways an inspiration to me. I realize life is too short to not appreciate your passions in life. My passions are Kumi, writing, and wrestling. Those will be my focuses.

I feel I can no longer wrestle. My back and neck are shot. I have to get another MRI done tomorrow to see why my body feels like it is shaking. But I want to continue to do something in wrestling. And I will do that.

I've made more of concerted effort in my writing. I'm submitting places and working on old pieces. In my future, that will be a hobby of mine, no matter if I am widely published or not. I take comfort in creating. Whether it's mindless crap or my master opus.

It sounds cliche' and stupid, but it is always good to follow your dreams. My dreams are to be safe, healthy, and happy with Kumi, involved in wrestling and writing.

In Japan or elsewhere. My heart will always be in Japan though. No matter where life takes me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Japan Hammer: Top 5 (Moderately) Fast Food Places in Japan

Traveling to Japan? Looking for fast food? Want to eat something good? And cheap? Well, I got some news for you! You're in luck! I'm going to make my list of the top cheap, good, and fast places to eat in all of Japan. These are my personal opinions, so if you think there are better places, feel free to comment.

5. Sukiya/Yoshinoya/Matsuya

If you want the cheapest, easiest, fastest food in all of Japan, look no further than gyudon (beef bowl) fast food chains. I spent the first 3 months of my first stay in Japan eating pretty much nothing but Sukiya. If you are too nervous to eat other Japanese food (sushi, sashimi, soba, etc.) then gyudon is the way to go. It is probably the cheapest food you will find as well at about 250 yen (about 3 bucks) for some of lower end stuff. It's all good though. One time I got my gyudon in literally 1 minute. It's amazing!

And one of my favorite Japanese idols Suzanne used to do commercials for them. This isn't it, but she does other awesome commercials like this:

4. McDonald's

Yes, it is American. But McDonald's has some pretty distinctive Japanese style burgers as well. And it's pretty cheap. And their french fries still taste spectacular. They have been doing a series now of "Big American" burgers which look like monstrosities. Like the Idaho burger (which I tried) which has some sauce and a piece of hash brown on it.

Or the Miami burger which has salsa and chips on it.

But they did have "Nippon All-Stars" series as well. Which dealt with shrimp burgers and burgers with egg on them. I don't understand the fascination with putting eggs on hamburgers.

Overall, McDonald's in Japan has weird marketing strategies. Like showing sexy models looking like Ronald McDonald.

Or this popular one with children screeching shrilly over Sponge Bob.

They are way too excited. I've never been this excited in my whole life, except that time I got Street Fighter 2 for Christmas.

3. Kappa Sushi/Sushi Ondo/any kaiten sushi place

If you like sushi (I know I do) you can get relatively cheap sushi at kaiten sushi places. These are the ones with the conveyor belt that goes around and around.

I actually prefer these places to the higher end sushi places, because you can eat a lot more for a lot cheaper. The quality isn't the best, but it's the most bang for your buck. Plus if you don't know much about sushi you won't know the difference anyhow.

2. Any "cheap looking" ramen place

Ramen is super cheap and super filling. I can get a bowl of ramen for about 500 yen here and not eat anything for the rest of the day. Here's what REAL ramen looks like.

Plus there are tons and tons of "cup noodle" you can buy in the store which are far superior to the ramen noodles you would eat in college. It buries them. Kills them. Eats them.

1. Saizeriya

This place is relatively fast, pretty good, and you can get a variety of Italian food. It is the choice of most foreigners because you can get decent pizza, pasta, and other pseudo-Italian food. The food by no means matches real Italian food or even the crap we have in America, but it is a good substitute. I eat here any time I want something decent, cheap, and fast. Plus you can drink wine! Woo...

Here are some real Italians ranking what they think of Saizeriya. It's all in Japanese and Italian, but you can see what the food looks like.

Well, that's my list. I'm sure there's tons of things I'm leaving out, but that is the best, cheapest, and fastest food to get in Japan. If you want other stuff, like yakiniku or okonomiyaki, you have to wait a while. And it can get really expensive.

Especially with lots of beer!

Ichiro approves!