Thursday, October 31, 2013

McDonald's Limited Edition Burger [Black Diamond] / マックドナルド一日限定期間バーガー 「ブラック・ダイアモンド」

This is my local McDonald's in Sangenjaya.  Why are there so many people lined up for a McBurger?  Because McDonald's Japan was doing a special promotion.  On three consecutive Saturdays, for one day only, McDonald's was offering their gourmet 1000 yen burger.  Being the burger fan that I am, of course I had to go.  This is the promotion's second week.  I debated about eating the first in the series which was called the [Gold Ring] but it included a grilled pineapple as one of the toppings.  Pineapples just don't belong on burgers (or pizza for that matter) but that's just my opinion.  On this particular Saturday, the featured burger was the [Black Diamond].

ここは僕の近所のマックドナルド。なぜマックの前にこんな行列があるの? その答えはマックで高級バーガー「クォーターパウンダージュエリーシリーズ」で3週連続の土曜日のみ限定販売してるからです。バーガー通の私も気になってマックまで足を運びました。今日紹介する高級バーガーはシリーズの第二弾「ブラック・ダイヤモンド」。先週もマックに行きましたが、「ゴールド・リング」を買うつもりだったが、行った時にはもう完売でした。第一弾はあんまり興味はなかったから別良いんです。なぜと言えば、一つのトッピングに焼きパインアップルがあったからです。パインアップルはバーガーの中にはあり得ない!ピザの上も駄目だ!それをおいといて、「ブラック・ダイヤモンド」の話に戻ります。

I opted for the set.  The gourmet burgers are packaged very nicely as you can see by the fancy take out bag they come in.

セットを注文しまた。 バーガーが入ってる袋まで高級感を出す日本のマックドナルド。

Isn't the suspense just killing you?


So what exactly is the [Black Diamond] burger?  It's called "Black Diamond" because one of the main toppings is a sauce made from black truffles (which French gourmand Brillat-Savarin described as "diamonds of the kitchen" - courtesy of Wikipedia).  Along with the quarter pound of Aussie or New Zealand 100% beef patty, the burger is topped with grilled mushrooms and onions and Emmental cheese on a brioche bun.

ブラック・ダイヤモンドってどういうバーガー? それは”トリュフソースの深く華やかな香りと味わい”。 バーガーを買う時に具材の説明書がついてる。次の文章は貰った紙に書かれたことです。

Okay okay, enough with the talk.  How about showing us the burger???


What you have been waiting for.


As to the taste?  It wasn't bad.  But was it worth spending 1000yen for this particular burger?  No.  One, the ads all said it was a black truffle burger.  Wouldn't you expect black truffles in your burger.  But no, that was misleading.  The burger is topped with a black truffle sauce in fond de veau style.
Great marketing.  Nice packaging.  But the burger is definitely not worth the 1000yen price.   And yes, I went to McDonald's the following Saturday for their third gourmet burger - [Ruby Spark].  But that will be another post.

味の感想? 普通に美味しい。でも1000円の価値があるがどうかは別。¥1000の価格はパッケージ代にあると感じた。だって宣伝で黒トリュフと何回も使われてるのに、実際バーガーを買ってみると、黒トリュフではなく、黒トリュフソース、フォン・ド・ボー仕立てですから。アメリカならマックを訴えますよ。〝トリュフ トリュフっと言って、結局トリュフソースじゃねーか!”っと。もちろん次の土曜日もマックに行きました。第三弾の高級バーガーは「ルビー・スパーク」。でもそのネタはまた今度。

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Van Halen "A Different Kind of Truth" Japan Tour 2013 / ヴァン・ヘイレン日本ツアー 2013

If you take a close look at the date on the ticket, you will notice that it says its for Tuesday, November 27, 2012.  I was really looking forward to this show when that other announcement came - due to Eddie Van Halen having surgery, the concert has been postponed.  Customers can get a refund for the ticket or hold on to them for the new date, whenever that might be.  Being a fan of Van Halen with David Lee Roth singing, I decided to hold on to my ticket.  And after a six month wait, the show was to go on - Friday, June 26 at the Tokyo Dome.  This caused me a second headache as I had just left my job of twenty some odd years at the beginning of May and started a new job near the end of the month.  This means, I have no paid days off.  It would take me about an hour to get to the Tokyo Dome from my new place of employ which was in Kawasaki.  I figured I would probably miss the first few songs but decided to leave work at exactly 6:00pm on concert day.


So, on Friday, June 21, at 6:00pm, I clocked out, walked quickly to the bus stop that would take me to Kawasaki Station.  Timing was perfect today.   One train to Tokyo station, change to another, get off at Korakuen and once I'm get out of the building, I would be near the back end of the Tokyo Dome.  No problem getting in, had an employee show me to my seat, and I swear, the minute I sat down, the lights went down and the show started!  Impeccable timing!!

そして6月21日、金曜日。仕事をぴったり6時に上がり、バス停を急いでいて、丁度バスも来て、乗りました。川崎から東京方面に行き、乗り換えて、後楽園着。駅から出ると目の前に東京ドームが。入るのも問題なかった。席に案内されて、本当に座った瞬間にライブが始まった! 凄いタイミングだった。

It may not have been the best seat in the house and most everyone knows the acoustics in the Dome really suck.  But since I knew almost every song the played it didn't really matter.  David Lee Roth definitely isn't in his twenties anymore.  No high jumps or kicks and some of the high notes were not being hit.  But hey, its Van Halen...with David Lee Roth.  I don't mean to sound like a broken record, so if you already know my story of when I first saw Van Halen, just bear with me.  I saw them open for my favorite band - Black Sabbath (when Ozzy was still singing with the band).  It was the "Never Say Die" tour and I saw them at the Seattle Center Colisseum on September 29, 1979. 

良い席とは言えませんが、ドームなんで、音もひどい。ほとんどの曲を知ってるから別に気にしてなかった。だってデビッド・リー・ロスが歌ってるの。やっぱり年とったな。ハイノートは行けず、若いごろの派手なジャンプや走りはなかったな。聞き飽きた人も居るかも知りませんが、僕が最初にヴァン・ヘイレンは遠い昔。彼らは一前のアルバムを出したころ。そして、超メージャーで超大物のバンドの前座を務めた。時は1979年。ライブのヘッドライナーはなんとまだオジーが歌ってるブラック・サバス! 「ネバー・セイ・ダイ」ツアー! 懐かしいな。
The minute the lights went down and Van Halen came on stage and started their show with "Unchained" from their "Fair Warning" album I knew I was in for a good night.  And the second number - "Runnin' With the Devil"!!  Just listening to these tunes reminded of me of my high school days when I would be out driving cranking out Van Halen at an extremely large volume!  
Not sure what the silly film in the middle of the set was about but it was amusing - and starred Diamond Dave!  Below, you can find the complete set list.  And of course they played a few tunes off their new album - "A Different Kind of Truth".

座った時点でライブが始まって、最初の曲はフェア・ウォーングのアルバムから「Unchained」。今夜は良い夜過ごすんだなと感じた。2曲目はファストから「Runnin' with the Devil」。や~、青春時代思い出すわ。当時はドライブしながらヴァン・ヘイレンのカセットを爆音で聞いてたな。ライブの途中でわけ分からないショートフィルムが上映された。もちろん主演はデビッド。タイトルも「外人仁侠伝」。KONISHIKIも出てるよ。You Tubeでも見れますよ。興味ある方はどうぞよろしく。 下記はコンプリートセットリスト。(セットリストは日本語に訳すしませんよ。) もちろん新作の「A Different Kind of Truth」の曲も何曲もやりました。

Van Halen Japan Tour Set List

  1. Unchained
  2. Runnin' with the Devil
  3. She's the Woman
  4. I'm the One
  5. Tattoo
  6. Everybody Wants Some!!
  7. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
  8. China Town
  9. Hear About It Later
  10. Oh, Pretty Woman
  11. (Alex Van Halen drum solo)
  12. You Really Got Me
  13. Dance the Night Away
  14. I'll Wait
  15. And the Cradle Will Rock...
  16. Hot for Teacher
  17. Women in Love
  18. Romeo Delight
  19. Mean Street
  20. Beautiful Girls
  21. Ice Cream Man
  22. The Short Film "Gaijin Ninkyo Den"
  23. Panama
  24. Eddie guitar solo (of course "Eruption" was part of it)
  25. Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love
  26. Jump

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day Trip to Nikko (Part 8) / 日光日帰り旅行 (パート8)

Our last stop on our day trip to Nikko before heading back to Tokyo was Nikko Futarasan Chugushi near Lake Chuzenji.


Cow Rock / 牛石

Cute clock in front of the shrine.


Most likely something to improve your monetary fortunes.

Chugushi / 中宮祠

I found statues of six of the Seven Lucky Gods of Fortune on the temple grounds.


Okay, I admit it.  I can't remember all seven of them without looking them up on Wikipedia or somewhere on the internet.



I know this was one is Ebisu!


Cool dragon / 龍がカッコいい
Gate leading up to the mountain.
One of the over 30,000 Inari Jinjas of Japan.


And now for our trip back to Tokyo.

Pepsi Flavored Cheetos / シュワ シュワ コーラ味

Okay, if its weird enough, you know I have to try it.  I had been looking for these but it was my sister who was on vacation here in Japan who found them and she bequethed one pack to me.  She bought a mess load of these to take home as souvenirs to the States.  My sister said they were actually pretty good.  I finally decided to open up my package yesterday and give it the taste test.  The result?  This is one of the most awful tasting snacks I've tried in a long time.  The durian chips I bought from Thailand taste better than this.  My sister is crazy for thinking these taste good.  But hey, it really does have that cola flavor and when you bite into one, it gives off a fizzy reaction.  It is weird but in my opinion - they're still awful!

アメリカには絶対あり得ない味と思う。噂は聞いたが自分も探してみたが、見つからなかった。自分の妹がバカンスで日本に来て、どっかの店で発見。僕に一つを譲ってくれました。妹は大量に買った。アメリカの友達に配る日本お土産で。妹は僕より試食してみて、僕に、”いけるよ、これ”。昨日か一昨日、貰ったやつを開けて食べてみた。私の感想? 確かにシュワシュワするし、本当にコーラ味もする。でもスナックとしては超不味い! 妹よ、なに考えてるの? 信じられない位不味いですよ、これ。まだ半分以上は残ってるな。食べられかな?そんなに不味いなら食べなくて良いと妻にも言われたが、やっぱり妹から貰ったものなんで。でもやっぱりブログネタには最適!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day Trip to Nikko (Part 7) / 日光日帰り旅行 (パート7)

Yes, yes, I know its taking me a while to complete my Nikko Day Trip post but there was the family trip, work of course, and another concert, and watching loads and loads of movie (I've been neglecting reading books).  Anyway, I figured its time to continue my travel post.

はいはい、わかってますよ。日光日帰り旅行のネタ中々進んでません。 いろいろありましてね、家族が日本に来たり、通常の仕事、ライブ、何枚の映画鑑賞など。読書は最近やってませんけどね。そろそろ旅のネタの続き書かないっと。

Kegon Waterfall / 華厳の滝
I came across a couple of interesting characters before heading down for a closer look at the waterfall.  Innovative advertising for fried yuba (made from tofu) and yuba croquette.

 A corridor (and it was really cold going through there) that leads to the main viewing point for the waterfall.


 The wife and I at Kegon Waterfall / 華厳の滝の前の僕と妻
Was it something I ate? / 食べ物に当たったかな?
If you could read Japanese, you would see the humor in this pic.  The sign in front of my friend says, "Ooki Buta-man" which if translated directly would be "Large Pig Man".  Of course "butaman" is actually a hot bun filled with pork.
We then headed to one more shrine before making the drive home.
Lake Chuzenji / 中禅寺湖
The trip continues...(I promise, the next post will be the last post for the Nikko Day Trip)