Archive for the ‘Culinary’ Category

Canned Yakitori

March 24th, 2010

Say whaaat? That’s right. Yakitori, in a can. (It was put there by a man in a factory downtown.) I guess I’m still working the whole yakitori thing out of my system. I saw this next to the canned tuna and crab at the store, and had to try it. Surprise, surprise. Tastes just like you’d imagine.

……assuming that you imagine it’d taste pretty bad. It’s just wrong.

Culinary, Customary Drivel, Humor

Deas in the News

March 14th, 2010

One week ago today, I gave a talk about my monitor tour at an International Fair in Imabari City. The local media came out and did a story on it. Here’s my amateur slapdash attempt at translating the newspaper article that was published in the morning edition of the Ehime Newspaper last Tuesday. Many thanks go to reporter Fumihito Tawa for coming out and covering the event. I’d also like to proffer my thanks to the photographer who snapped that incredible “A-ha!” finger pointing gesture. The team made me look good! :-D Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.

Caption: Mr. Richardson (right), an American whose theme was using foods like yakitori in a plan for promoting tourism in Imabari City.

Enjoy Imabari Even More

Increase the amount of foreign language information on websites to promote short-stay food tourism

Proposed by a sightseeing foreigner

Let’s rediscover Imabari’s tourist attractions from a foreigner’s point of view. The International Fair hosted by the Imabari City International Exchange Association (ICIEA), took place on the 7th at the JA Saisaikiteya farmer’s market, where the townspeople were able to learn about local attractions as well as ideas for drawing foreign tourists to the area.

The ICIEA received a request from the city, and so set out on a project to have 7 foreign residents undertake monitor tours from June of 2009 to February of 2010. The fair was designed to showcase the results of these tours for the people of Imabari CIty.

Deas Richardson (26), an American assistant language teacher, said of food tourism with a focus on Imabari’s famous yakitori, “Of course it is not really a reason unto itself to visit, but it could easily be a reason to stop (here) on the way to another destination.” He expanded upon his ideas, putting emphasis on using short term stays centered around culinary attractions to bolster tourism to the area.

He also raised the example of websites which anyone can edit (wikis) and are frequently used by foreign travelers, citing the fact that the city’s English and Chinese language information was scarce. He encouraged the audience, saying, “The Japanese page introduces yakitori, but there is no explanation in English or Chinese. Since anyone can contribute information as a volunteer, I would really like us to try to do so.”

Mr. Martin Samoy (44), a Belgian photographer who has lived in Imabari for 15 years, presented some of his pictures of scenery around the city. Mr. Samoy’s acquaintance and coworker, Ms. Mizumi Ide (5), also of Imabari, said “I was moved by the way that he photographed landscapes so familiar and ordinary to Japanese people with a fresh perspective.”(Fumihito Tawa)

Culinary, Customary Drivel, Media, Photos, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語

Final Monitor Tour Videos

March 9th, 2010

Well, folks, my tourism project with ICIEA has finally come to a close. It was a lot of fun, and I’m thankful for the experience. I created a video to precede my talk to the crowd gathered at the international fair we held on Sunday last weekend. It was a pretty fun time. I enjoyed looking over the posters and photography from other monitor tourists before showing my DVDs and then getting up to speak. Those videos have been arranged in a playlist and embedded above. The first 2 in the playlist are available in full 1080p HD, so don’t miss out. The remaining 4 have been previously featured on this site.

Anyhoo – I was asked to deliver a bilingual speech, so I frequently repeated myself, I’m afraid. I’m fairly sure that both the Japanese people and the English speaking foreigners in the crowd were able to follow me reasonably well. My take: Imabari should play up its unique food heritage in a play to put itself on foreigners’ radar. I explained the concept of food tourism, and how most foreign people who go to Hiroshima go there in order to take in the history, the museums, and the sights. But they’d be foolish to miss out on some okonomiyaki while they’re there. (Am I right?)

Imabari is the crosspoint of 3 major arteries of transportation, yet people no longer stop here on their way elsewhere on Shikoku. I urged them to think about the slogan thought up by my friend Harry; “Shikoku Starts Here.” Great slogan! If only we could get some people to take a break from their travels, spend a night here, and eat some yakitori. That’s right, yakitori. Imabari is currently the #2 city in all of Japan for yakitori, and it has a unique take on it, at that. In Imabari, shops make yakitori on sheet metal griddles and handheld steel plates instead of on skewers over charcoal. It’s said that this type of yakitori started because Imabari people are impatient and they want their food lickety-split. (It’s also likely that the ship building industry’s presence meant that loads of scrap steel plates were readily available…) DELICIOUS, by the way.

Anyway, my other recommendations were for people to get online and add information to the English language Wikipedia and Wikitravel entries. (I also told them they could pay me to do it….semi-facetiously. Got some laughs. The offer still stands, if you’re reading this, guys. Ha ha. ;-) ) All in all, I think my suggestions were well received, and I think the event went well. I want to say kudos to the other foreigners who volunteered their time and to all of the Japanese staff who worked so tirelessly on this project. お疲れ様でした!

I may or may not bring this topic up once more on this blog. It seems there may be some newspaper articles coming up out of this. And it’s also possible that I’ll post a song about Imabari’s yakitori. (No joke. It was made when we were the #1 city for yakitori. Perhaps with the aid of foreign tourism, we can reclaim the title?)

Culinary, Customary Drivel, Media, Photos, Trips, Video

Saisaikiteya Event

March 3rd, 2010

Hey – here’s a post to answer the obvious (and totally fair) question: “Dude, you just said you were back to blogging and went radio silent again. What the heck is up with that?” Well, I’m wrapping up a huge project that has spanned about a full year. It’s a project put on by the city government and the local international association in an attempt to glean some useful information about how we can increase foreign tourism to Imabari City. If you’re in the Imabari area and you’d like to come, you can get a flyer in the city. (I might be able to upload one later, but it’s the same as the images you see.) For those who want to cut right to the nitty gritty, here’s the deal.

Where – Saisaikiteya
When – March 7th (Sunday), from 9 AM to 3 PM
What – Videos and pictures from monitor tours, a 30 minute presentation by yours truly, a slideshow by a professional photographer, a live radio talk show event, a piano “live” performance, a kids quiz & craft bonanza.
Why – To discuss how to increase foreign tourism, of course. But also to receive the free handdrawn English map of Imabari and to enjoy the international cooking demonstration. ICIEA Eco-bags are also being given to those who answer a survey.

Hope I see you there! And hope I can get back online once this mega-project is over! :-D

Culinary, Customary Drivel, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語

Okinawa Video Roundup

September 7th, 2009

Ok, continuing on my attempt to catch up with all of the events of this summer, here’s a quick video roundup from my trip to Okinawa. These are my first vacation videos every shot using an HD camera – and although these videos are not uploaded in HD (thanks iMovie), they still look pretty darn sweet if you ask me – and some of the comment section folks on YouTube. :-) They are pretty long actually – 2 of them come within seconds of the 10 minute cutoff, in fact. But I think they’re fun.

This first video shows a bunch of stuff in Naha and the southern parts of Okinawa’s main island. You’ll see clips from the Peace Memorial Park & Museum, Himeyuri Monument, the Naha Harbor Diner, Shuri Castle, and a bus trip northward to the Nago and Motobu area.

The second video features our visit to the Churaumi Aquarium, famous for having the largest single viewing window in any aquarium on earth (yes – bigger than Atlanta’s) and three whale sharks in the same tank. You’ll also see Cape Hedo, a lovely secluded beach where we snorkeled an afternoon away, a restaurant where we tried raw goat meat (yes…goat sashimi…with skin still attached, even…), and random good times in the area.

The final video is basically a ton of scuba diving. Why? Well, that’s kind of what we did in Okinawa. A ton of scuba diving. I went there hoping for 3 or 4 dives, but we pulled off 7 killer dives in the lovely tropical waters. Lots of seriously old reefs (they are freaking huge, mature architectural structures – amazing, really) to visit, fish to see, and nooks and crannies to explore. We did three dives at the Sunabe Sea Wall, one dive out at Okuma Beach Resort, and three more dives out in the Kerama Islands. Gorgeous. I hope to return and dive in the Ishigaki and Yonaguni areas someday. Perhaps with manta rays or hammerhead sharks.

Which Okinawa video did you like best?

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Culinary, Media, Trips, Video

Horse Meat

June 1st, 2009

Uh-oh, here comes trouble. Some people flipped out when I ate whale meat, and now I’m eating horse. If you’re against it, that’s cool – but please don’t yell at me for it! :-) I get that it freaks some people out. But to me, it’s a culinary adventure. One that’s not possible in North America. Ha ha. Just FYI – I’m slammed this week, so posting may be slight. Apologies in advance! Ok, if you want your say, have it in the comments! Just keep it friendly, folks. ;-)

Culinary, Customary Drivel, Media, Unsolicited Commentary, Video