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Everything posted by NoFakie

  1. So it's so long, farewell, and BOOK NOW! You should be is apologise and be censed issue! My first and last use of that glorious expression. So much time, so many memories. If we're looking back, Echineko (!) and the fantastic wit that was badmigraine for me. "Captain Stag" for the best username. Special thanks also to Markie who kindly bought me a curry and kebab at Indi Momo in Hakuba, back in the day when they did lamb versions of both. Good luck to the SJ peeps with whatever the site is going to do. And to everyone else, one last chance to say that skiing and boarding in Japan rocks. If you're living here, you're spoilt. Get out there and don't take it for granted. If you don't and haven't been here, come and see for yourselves. Just don't book now. Hold onto your shekels for a bit because it looks like Mr. Abe has some plans that involve the Japanese yen and a flushing toilet.
  2. Here are some legendary foreign musicians talking about an even more legendary Japanese musical instrument. [media=''] [/media]
  3. If you have the time, Okinawa is well cheap at this time of year. The south end, Ishigaki in particular, will still be warm enough to swim in the sea. Japanese people stuck in "Summer is August" mode won't be swimming, but the sea will be warmer than the Med is in early July and the beaches will be deserted. On sunny days, air temp will be 26, 27C I guess. It'll only feel cold if its windy. Okinawa has loads of resort hotels with big rooms and the breakfast buffet. I reckon you could go there for four nights for about fifty odd thousand, flights and car rental included.
  4. Paying for accommodation cranks up a whole new level when you have kids. Sometimes its the crappy places that charge for them and the quite nice ones that don't. Last year we went with our two youngest (5 and 1 at the time) to the ANA hotel by Niigata Station. It was about 14,000 room charge for b and b. The breakfast was a big hotel buffet with the guy there making omelettes to order. The room was very big. It was actually free because we had ANA points off a credit card we had to use or lose. Most pensions would have much smaller rooms and charge for a 5 year old. There won't be that many where you can stay b n b for 14,000 with two small kids. The breakfast will also be much smaller and won't be as good.
  5. I can't say I noticed. Its up very high and has got a massive view window, and I might have been distracted by that. I'm not a hotel bar person at all, but that one was an experience. It would be a good place to take your missus on an anniversary. If you don't have three kids, that is. It's hotel bar prices of course, but I wasn't paying.
  6. I stayed at the Washington Hotel in Shinjuku for a couple of nights last year. It's a business hotel, but was full of Korean and Chinese tourists. It's next door to the Park Hyatt, famous for the "Lost in Translation" movie. You can have a drink in the bar like Bill and Scarlett without being a guest. The room was very small, but the window was basically filled with the Tokyo Municipal Building. Its a great building and the view of it was epic. I ate breakfast in the non-buffet restaurant both times and it was pretty good. On a single tariff it was 12000 a night.
  7. Against Newcastle, Liverpool had a lot of possession but a good chuck of it was just knocking it across their back four. That's great when you have a two-goal lead, but Liverpool were never ahead in the game. They only had two attempts in the Newcastle box, one of which was from a corner. Newcastle were poor too, and the game was so dire that the chance where Coutinho was ruled offside was shown as a highlight. Chelsea might be the best team for Liverpool to play because they definitely need to wake up and raise their game.
  8. Black Mountain, on 04 November 2014 - 04:52 PM, said: What they were showing were the more decorative/ornamental wooden bits that people pay a shitload of money for. It looked really beautiful, even if it doesn't add anything functional to the house. One Japanese show that I don't mind watching is the Before-After renovation show. The shitholes that some people live in are amazing... I get the feeling that they aren't the type of people who need/deserve to live in the really nice houses the show builds for them but oh well... A proper washitsu with shoji paper screens, tokonoma alcove and ranma carved decorations is beautiful. Not many folks put them in now, and unfortunately the traditional builders who are best at them will probably know very little about insulation and draught proofing. So you get a beautiful house that has to have a kero stove burning in every room. To Japanify your home, second-hand screens and ranma can be bought very cheaply because very few people want them. Only very high quality ones are worth anything. The normal quality ones should be impressive enough for most people. The before-after show is good tv, but they usually spend at least double the stated budget, with all the bathroom fittings and kitchen being donated by Toto etc sponsoring the show. They often build walls of built-in storage too, which are great but cost as much if not more than furniture. The mystery "what's he making?" fold down table that reverses into a bench thing the designer comes up with is "yarase" from the programme makers. Some of them won't be very durable in actual use.
  9. Citeh lost against both W Ham and Newcastle last week, so they're definitely struggling. At 11 v 11 though, De Gea had much more to do than Hart. Ten games in, its been a weird start to the season with Liverpool, Man U, Spurs, Everton, and Citeh all failing to impress. Everton got 72 points last season and only fifth, but it looks like that many will get you third this time. Van Gaal is lucky the other teams aren't performing, otherwise he'd be getting the same treatment as Moyes. Moyes got 34 points in the first half of the season, but was already on sack watch. Van Gaal needs 21 points (seven wins) from the next nine games just to catch up.
  10. Citeh doing a great impression of a team that doesn't want to win this game. Considering that they've won the league twice, it's amazing how slack they are.
  11. The good carpenters are really good. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter so much how beautifully or intricately you join two bit of framing any more, because you really should be adding bracing to the frame and metal bolts or brackets to joints for earthquake resistance. It also makes more sense to have the framing and joints all cut by machine in a controlled environment in a factory than doing it outdoors on a muddy site.
  12. What specific things about Japanese houses did they say were sugoi?
  13. I wish I'd seen that. Sounds like my kind of thing.
  14. They announced yet more loose money yesterday, so the yen's down to about 112 to the USD. 180 to the pound. Anyone with a big car should fill it up because that will be going back up again very soon.
  15. Its a big day for the big man. More prices to go up tomorrow and he's gone and torched the yen into the bargain. Onwards and upwards!
  16. Big Shinzo has come through and as of next year, phones sold in Japan should be unlocked! An Abe-tastic result! http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/31/uk-japan-mobilephone-simcards-idUKKBN0IK0EV20141031 fwiw, I think the reporter at Reuters may be talking out of his arse with "freeing customers from twenty-four month contracts", because that's the nature of a sales contract and is not technically related to what sim locking a phone achieves. Apparently my provider Umobile has gone a bit potty and starts offering unlimited LTE data for 2500 a month tomorrow. Add a phone number and its 3000. It's an amazing deal, and I suppose we'll just have to see if they have the bandwidth to support it.
  17. They should use an existing system like pasmo, felica, waon, or edy. If its affordable to install that kind of system in a drinks vending machine, I'm sure a ski lift can afford it.
  18. NoFakie

    Cho-yummy things

    I'm sure some of the appeal comes from the draughtiness and lack of insulation in many Japanese homes. Something hot will be much nicer than some rice, grilled fish, and pickles that's gone cold while it was being nicely arranged in them little bowls. There are some genuinely good nabe though. Nabe is an easy way to make the veggies that are cheap and available in winter taste quite good. fwiw, the kind of crappy, less flavoured ones (mizutaki etc.) taste way better if you get yourself some decent ponzu and not the cheapo chemical MIzkan one. It also helps if you actively choose to have nabe and add nice stuff rather than just doing it as something to use up that wilted hakusai in the fridge. The shabu shabu dippers, good ponzu with momiji oroshi (daikon with chili) and the thick sesame sauce, are both well yummy. PS. Good oden is fantastic and a million miles from whatever stale crap might be on sale in the conbeni.
  19. Hokkaido has the longer winter so I would go there second. March in Niseko will also be cheaper than Feb and will be winding down with fewer pesky foreigners, I would have thought. After mid winter in Hokkaido, you might be disappointed with early spring snow quality on Honshu, regardless of how big the terrain or parks are.
  20. I'll have to have a look when I get some time on her computer and phone. The password isn't the same as the ITunes account one, and kept asking for a special character and number. Rakuten have announced their own mobile service on the docomo network, which is 2GB and 30 minutes of calls a month for 2200 yen. They're selling a phone made by Asus, but they are just a virtual operator (mvno) on docomo's network and any docomo phone should work. Another big reseller on the docomo network is actually NTT themselves under the OCN brand, so even NTT are using docomo infrastructure to undercut docomo. More competition means lower prices and bigger players mean more exposure to ordinary mobile users, so it's all good.
  21. NoFakie

    Used Cars

    You see the "Rider" pimped versions of Nissans quite often but I've never that pimped X Trail. I like the grilles without the company emblem on them. A minus with limited edition or less popular colours is that it is harder to get bodywork in that colour if you have a little prang. Replacing bodywork is much much cheaper if it doesn't involve respraying. Some parts just clip on so you can do it yourself.
  22. NoFakie

    Used Cars

    I had a look and that's the Autech model, isn't it? With kind of blingy bodywork, grille and alloys that make it look quite different to a regular X trail (and would cost a fortune extra were you ordering it new ). I think the yakuza prefer black BMWs with blackened windows, but still, nice and showy. Two-tone seats by the looks too. It looks cool and a lot of fun.
  23. My wife's Iphone 6 doesn't have her contacts in it. I backed up her Iphone 5 on a macbook but when her and her mate tried to restore the backup, it kept asking for some Icloud password which must contain a number and a wacky character. I have no recollection of making any Icloud settings when backing the phone up. I don't know why anyone would want private info about other people on the cloud anyway. It seems like a strange thing to force onto users.
  24. NoFakie

    Tokyo Sky Tree

    I've kind of driven past on whatever part of the Tokyo expressway goes from Ginza toward MIsato. It gets you pretty close. That visit was only one night, but we stayed in Yotsuya and the car navi took basically past Shinjuku station going in after dark early Sunday evening and then out round the Imperial Palace, past the new Kabukiza and down the main Ginza street going out the next day. It felt like I'd been on a tourist bus, instead of driving my own car.
  25. NoFakie

    Beer 2014

    Seiyu's got a 2 for 280 yen offer on their 330ml British beers, so they're effectively 200 yen for 500ml again. Just above happo-shu price.


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