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2017/06/27

Luxurious Thai Cuisine

Isn't food just wonderful.

An update from me who finds happiness in delicious food.

This time I would like to introduce a delicious Thai restaurant here in Takasaki, Gunma, known as Nippa. It’s a restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Thai cuisine.

Lately cilantro has grown exceedingly popular, and there are certainly a lot of fans of Thai cuisine. I get the feeling the combination of pungent, spicy, and other flavorful ingredients into a harmony of taste has an appeal somewhat foreign to Japanese cuisine.

I especially recommend their green curry and water spinach stirfry. Green Curry is made using coconut milk so it may not appeal to everyone, but this restaurants green curry is luxurious!!! The sweetness of the coconut milk -> the spiciness of the spices -> the tantalizing aroma of this dish produces many layers of enjoyment.

The water spinach stirfry is flavored with Thailand’s “sweet and sour soybeans” (I guess it’s sort of beany) that goes perfect with the crisp water spinach for an intense flavor!!!

During lunchtimes they have all you can eat and are always packed. I suggest you get there early.

From Creampuff Fingers

2017/06/21

Gratitude for food

Both Grandma and my son wanted to buy watermelon seeds so I tagged along.

I have fond memories from my childhood of watermelon as a special dessert and the luxurious outdoor eating methods we used and so was glad to let them put seeds in our garden. This year we bought three different kinds of seeds hoping to have fun comparing their tastes.

While shopping I started thinking to myself maybe I should plant something as well. I don’t like goya, I don’t really like tomato, I don’t very much like eggplant either, I wondered as I wandered. I came to realize I’m a rather I picky eater. In the end I decided to try growing some of the green onions I like so much. I brought some seeds home and fed them into a planter but really didn’t understand the instruction written on the back. I found myself wishing they’d write instructions an amateur could understand, but ended up getting along fine thanks to Professor Google.

Six days after planting the seeds little buds starting popping out. Ah! These are tiny green onions aren’t they! Small as they were they have the definitive smell of fresh green onions.

I’m not good at flattery and horrible at daily tasks, but have been diligently giving my green onions water daily before going to work. Thanks to my effort they’ve grown into respectable little onions.

Green onions planted to be eaten. Seeing them come this far fills me with emotion, making me want to let them keep on growing as they please. If I do that thought I’ll miss their peak growth… I plan to soon enjoy them to the last bit.

We should really feel that way about all of the food we receive, don’t you think.

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident

2017/06/13

Minicars and Die casting (special edition)

Remembering Roger Moore

On May 23, 2017, the famous actor Roger Moore passed away at 89.

Roger Moore was well known for playing the third generation 007 James Bond. Amongst several actors he played Bond the most at a total of 7 titles, and is still the favorite of many 007 fans. As a fan myself I have a hard time picking favorites amongst the dandy Sean Connery, the muscly Daniel Craig, and the sweet talking Pierce Bronson, but I’ve always been a fan of the manly and humorous 007 that Roger Moore played.

Of course we cannot forget all of the gadgets from the 007 movies that peaked everyone interests including the Esprit, flagship of the English company Lotus. This is the car we saw Bond driving in the 1977 film “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Fleeing from bad guys the Esprit dives into the sea. Glancing at the girl in the passenger seat, Bond nonchalantly opens the dashboard and flips a switch, causing the Esprit to change into a submarine, launching a missile to blow up the enemies helicopter. As an elementary student at the time that movie had me daydreaming for weeks.

Introducing the Esprit that Roger Moore loved so much. The car that we see in “The Spy Who Loved Me” was released the year prior in 1976 as the Esprit Series 1, and of course did not turn into a submarine, lol.

The car in the upper left is a Hot Wheel by the American company Mattel which I found at a convenience store last year. The car on the right is a Japanese Tomica from 1979. The car on the bottom left is the submarine type from the 1970s English Corgi that I found attached to a can of coffee packaged with a “007” Corgi though it’s clearly an Esprit series 3, so that’s a Tomica I don’t fully understand. In the middle left is the Esprit Series 2 from “For Your Eyes Only,” though it wasn’t talked much about in the movie. There are even skis attached to the roof. Even just looking at these Tomica brings up fond memories of each of their movie scenes. The next time I find one will surely have me remembering that famous smile of Mr. Roger Moore. May he rest in peace.

From Lotus Fanatic

2017/06/05

A release of pressure

Professional female golfer Aoki Serena from Gunma-prefecture has won her first tour. (The Yonex Ladies Golf Tournament from June 2nd to June 4th)

Congratulations.

I’ve enjoyed following women’s golf lately though by day two it seems despite their skill a lot of the younger athletes won’t make it to the final day. I had a feeling Aoki was one of those but was proven entirely wrong.

Unfortunately the tournament was not broadcast locally. It was only offered on satellite. I turned on the TV on Sunday look for it, but it was not available. I’d appreciate it if they’d broadcast it on the cable next time. I hope she is able to win a few more before the year ends.

On an entirely different level, we had a golf tournament with several local companies at which, rather than skillfully, I was able to uninterestingly take first place. We have several gatherings throughout each year that get leveled out with increasing handicaps. I go golfing a decent amount though had way too much handicap and am pretty bad on the spot. There was a weird pressure pushing on me.

Winning this last time my handicap dropped extremely. It’s 90 to par play. My personal best is… 91. It’ll be tough for me to pull another win so far under.

From Naotyn

2017/05/29

I just like vehicles

My family has been in farming for generations.

Since my father stopped being able to work the fields around 5 years ago I’ve been fumbling around with his tools enough to maintain only the rice field. Once our tractor broke down it turned into a crisis I was no longer able to continue. This happened right before the time when rice is best planted and ended up being a very busy time at work for me, causing the weeds to grow out of control into quite a problem.

The clutch was stuck down from several years ago, oil was leaking, and the key wouldn’t turn the engine save for a miracle. Still, rather than sending it out for repairs we had been able to keep the machine running for years, but at last my heart was broken.

I paid my respects to a machine older than myself, my father bought the tractor 15 years ago as a 30 year old machine, and vowed to continue farming.

I bought a 20 year old tractor.

I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be buying a tractor and had a rough time searching for one, but ended up finding a quite clean machine with the amazingly low mileage of only 216 hours. If comparing it to a 20 year old car it’d be like when the Eunos Roadster went from the NA body to the NB body.

Comparatively it still feels new, or at least I convinced myself so as I bought it.

I got excited searching for a vehicle for the first time in a while, and when the tractor showed up I was almost as happy as when I bought my motorcycle.

I was reminded that really, I just like vehicles.

From Pumping both wheels

2017/05/01

Mini-cars and die-casting Part 2. Prosperity, extinction, and rebirth

When were mini-cars die-cast is the first place? For that matter, when were model cars create in the first place? The answer is rather obvious, but to be blunt, we do know for sure they were created after the first cars (haha). Evolved from horse carriages, steam engines began to run about, and soon after the first cars appeared. The first cars had their engines and frame built by the car manufacturers while the body and interior were shaped by professional that had honed their skills with carriage production, styling an interior to match the driver with a unique product for each driver. During this time a car was like a castle, an individual’s pride and joy. When cars switched into mass production most of those interior designers lost their profession, but a handful of them went on to become the makers of expensive handbags and other brands we still use to this day. In the first years of unique cars there were no mini-cars. There were however car shaped toys handcrafted by the bending of tin plates.

When die-cast mini-cars first appeared is said to be in The United States 1915. It is said the first was a zinc die-cast Ford Model T. The Model T was, as you know, the first car mass produced by Henry Ford. The Model T began sales in 1908, though the mini-cars of the Model T are recorded seven years later. Did you figure it out? Does it make sense now? That’s right, it was children that first wanted mini-cars with their “Dad, I want a toy just like the car you drive.” They wanted a toy version of the cars they got to see in the city streets. As is the natural progression of things, they mini-car was produced to meet demands shortly after. These were produced using the same method parts for the Model T were being produced, with die-casting.

After that die-casting started to spread through Europe. In 1932 France Soldes showed up, in England Dinky, in Germany Marklin, brand names well known even now started to produce die-cast mini-cars. Most common amongst the desires of children of the day were in fact trains, which quickly became the focus of such manufacturers. A good size for kids to play train with proved to be between 1/43 and 1/45, and eventually became the now standard size for most mini-cars, 1/43.

At first mini-cars were a simple replica of the chassis and body, later on the wheels were added, then in 1950 manufacturers started to further pursue realism. The first clear plastic windows added to a mini-car are to have been the English Corgi. Shortly after the interior was produced, doors and a bonnet that could be opened and closed, just as the automobile evolved so did the mini-car.

Now, amidst all of this where are the Japanese mini-cars? The answer starts in 1959, the Asahi Toy Manufacturing put out the first Japanese produced mini-car. In the Spring of that year the president of Asahi Toy Manufacturing visited Europe to see their toys. Surprised at the quality of the mini-cars he returned and in the Autumn of that same year put out a replica of the Toyopet Crown. Here, we bump into an astonishing fact. First sight was in Spring, a sample from overseas was obtained and studied, their own cars were studied and measured, schematics were drawn, molds were created, samples were produced, fixes were applied, mass production was engaged, finishing touches were added, painting, assembly, and packaging all were achieved within six month. Do you think that is something we could do nowadays? Back then they of course had no computers nor automatic machining systems, nor proper data from the car manufacturers. The schematics would have to be hand-drawn on a drafter. The mold would need slides in four directions, probably a splitting flow as well. The skill and dedication of the people of those days is inspiring. Where was such a mold produce? Where did such die-casting take place? Looking through books and the internet I have not found the answer to that. Asahi Toy Manufacturing had already produced car toys pressing tin plates in press-molds in Tokyo it seems, so perhaps they had connections through that network that pointed them to die-casting. The press molds of the time were probably an alloy of Zinc. This period of Japanese die-casting history should definitely be researched as soon as possible. The people that could be interviewed who were working in these fields at that time are probably very few remaining.

On a side note, the first Japanese die-casting is said to have taken place in 1917. The first die-cast mini-car was however in 1959, showing a gap of 42 years. It is obvious that Japan went through a very dark period before mini-cars made it into the hands of Japanese children. Coming out of the harsh period after World War 2, Japan moved into a period of longevity and then into the 3 C’s of the 1950s. Cars, color TVs, and coolers, finally bringing about the call of children asking “Dad, I want a toy like your car,” or “I want a toy like the cars in town.” It took 44 years for Japanese children to reach the same desires as American children.

This is currently the least complete aspect of in game features with still a lot of planned content, including skill and damage locks, movement puzzles, secret areas, and so on. Bottomless mines and topless towers are also currently in development.

PS: The first Japanese mini-car the Toyopet Crown was sold at a price of 240 yen (as seen in a catalog from 1962). A fresh college graduate of the times made an average 17,130 yen per month, a cup of coffee was 60 yen, so I suppose the mini-car wasn’t hard for parents to buy for their children at the time. Er, more interesting maybe that coffee was apparently expensive.

Here is a picture of the English Corgi with its clear plastic windows , fancy interior, as well as doors and a bonnet that open and close, which afterwards become normal practice in mini-car production. The Camaro next to that believe it or not has a lever that lets you detach the tire. Both 1/43 scale.

The first mini-car sold in Japan in 1959 the Model Pet. 1/43 scale. This was the first Crown. It has a die-cast body with a tinplate chassis, no interior, but with clear plastic windows for a simple product. In 1961 an interior was believed to be first added into this beat up model. By the way the sign that came with it here in the picture is believe it or not a die-cast model as well.

The third picture is the Model Pet No. 2 Crown Master Line. 1/43 scale. Apparently it was labeled a cheap imitation compared to the foreign mini-cars of the time, but it has a nice flavor showing the skill of the producers at the time.

From Lotus Fanatic

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