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2008 October 27 Monday thru October 31 Friday.

Ghoul_slidingdoor

The final countdown into the month of November. 

As such, the rain is getting colder, the wind is getting stronger, and the snow is beginning to fall onto the streets of this city.

November is a season between seasons.   

Not enough snow at the ski grounds yet to have any fun, but just enough snow on the streets to make driving dangerous.

The key word for winter driving is GO SLOW.   

It is easy to drive fast in the snow, but it is not possible to stop in time, to avoid a fender bender.

I got my tires changed from summer to winter on Thursday. 

I let my friendly TOYOTA dealer in SueHiro 末広 take care of that for me.

I have neither the tools nor the time to do it myself.   

I leave it up to the experts, to get the job done right.

Not only did they change the tires, and store them at their location, they did a full chassis and engine inspection including oil change, plus a car wash both inside and out.

The only thing they don't do, is windows, from the inside.

I can't complain.  I'll do it myself someday, when I finally get around to doing it.

As you already may well know, October 31 of every year, is known as HALLOWEEN among urban dwellers. 

The origins of Halloween are pretty much an open secret, but if you haven't thought  about it for a long time, you might enjoy reading my essay while listening to a PODCAST of me, reading out loud the very same essay.

When I was a kid, I loved Halloween more than Christmas.

Why was that?  Because there is FREE CANDY!!!

If you are an adult and reading this BLOG, your candy may be different from the sugar laden crap that most young kids like.

Your favorite CANDY might BEER or Japanese Rice Wine.   

Or, whatever.If it tastes good, eat it.   

If it smells good, drink it.   

If it feels RIGHT, do it.   

Are all slogans from the not too distant past, but it is ALWAYS TRUE, because that's just the way IT IS.

See ya again soon, on the POWDER SNOW side of the HILL.   

The Crystal Hill.

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2008 October 20 Monday thru October 26 Sunday.

20081026jpnmaplered

It is steadily getting colder but the sun was out for much of the week. 

During the weekend there were some very sudden and violent rainstorms, with thunder and lightning.   

For those of you who were caught out in the rain without an umbrella, I hope you didn't catch a nasty cold out of the deal.

I didn't go anyway this weekend, even though I am running very low on Korean Dried Red Chili Pepper Flakes.   

An essential ingredient for me at almost every meal.  Especially with soups and curry.

One of my favorite snacks between classes, is to eat pre-cooked curry packets with brown rice.   

There are many varieties of curry packets for sale at any super market in Japan.   

They range in price from 70 yen up to 400 yen for just one 200 gram foil package. 

Some of these brands taste better than others, but none of them are any where near spicy enough, for me.

That is why dried red chili pepper flakes are so important to me.   

I usually add about one heaping レンゲ soup spoon full of red pepper for every packet of curry that I heat up in the microwave oven.

First, I heat up the curry sauce in a domburi bowl.   

Then, I add the hot and spicy red stuff, stirring it around well so as to mix the flavors together.   

Then the bowl goes back into the microwave again for a second heating.   

When the chime rings, I take the bowl out of the oven, mix it around again, and then add two or three scoops of freshly cooked brown rice on top of it all. 

Yum yum.

20081026riverbankwalkway

The brown rice provides a lot of bulk, fiber and minerals, and the wicked hot curry sauce provides the zesty flavor that I need to make it all worthwhile.

Considering the large amount of red chili flakes that I use almost every day, I need to go to Western Supermarket and buy huge bags of imported Korean red chili.   

The tiny little bags of it that they sell at the next door Seikyo Supermarket aren't even enough for one meal, for me.   

Am I hooked on this stuff???    I guess so.   

I wonder if most Koreans eat as much of this stuff as I do?   

I guess I'll have to ask one some time.

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2008 October 14 Tuesday thru October 19 Sunday.

2008oct19goodraku

Lots of nice weather this week, along with some sudden thunder storms and heavy rainfall, especially early Saturday morning.

On Wednesday after my last lesson was finished at 21:00, the two students in that private lesson and I, went to a Live House and Karaoke Bar called Good Luck (Good楽)that is located right across the pedestrian mall from SanBanKan 三番館.

I have never been here before but my private lesson students have, so they introduced me to the owner and his wife, who have been operating this very nice place for about 3 years now.

Not only do they have the latest Karaoke equipment, but they also have a band set with drums, bass guitar, many other guitars, and maybe even keyboards.

I like these kind of hangouts, because I get to hear a lot of local musicians play lots of good music, and I myself even stand in as a singer or bass guitar player from time to time.

The prices here are reasonable, the place is new and clean and the owners are very friendly.   

It is located at 旭川市3条通14丁目 in the 越知ビル2F.   

Their web site is located at http://fhp.from.jp/goodluckisa/

They are open from 11:00 - 16:00 for coffee and lunch time, and then again from 18:00 - 25:00 for a cafe and bar with live music by whomever wants to play some music.   

I know for sure that I will be going back again and again.   

If you love live music as much as I do and have never been to this place, please give it a try.   

I think you will like it too.

2008oct16kinkaro

On another topic of conversation, Thursday October 16 was Me and Ikuko's 14th wedding anniversary.   

Fourteen years sounds like a long time, but really it's just the blink of an eye when you have a happy life together.

I let Ikuko choose the restaurant for our dinner and drinks celebration, so she choose KinKaRo 金花郎 located on 1 Jodori and within easy walking distance from our home.

This restaurant is very very popular and is usually packed with people, but on Thursday night is had a lot of open tables so we didn't have to wait at all.

The food of course is very good and that is why it is so popular. 

The price is a little bit on the high side, but it is well worth the experience. 

If you like Korean Style BBQ and have never been to KinKaRo before, I think you will like it too.

They have two locations that I know of.   

The one in the photo above/left is the one we always go to which is on 1 Jodori at about 4 Chome, and the other one is just off of 1 Jodori at about 18 or 19 Chome.

Both places have exactly the same menu and the same good flavors. 

They don't take reservations so if you want to go on a weekend or holiday, you better get there before 17:00, and be the first in line.

Good products and good service at a reasonable price is all an MBA needs to know about having a successful business.   

Let the bean counters argue over the nickels and dimes.

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