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2014/12/25

Thai Ramen

 The inside of Thailand's Suvarnabhumi International AirportDid everyone have a good Christmas Eve?

 This has nothing to do with Christmas, but as I promised last time I’d like to talk to you about Ramen.

 I don’t know when it started but I love ramen. There are soy sauce, miso, salt flavors, etc., and different kinds of noodles, but I like anything called Ramen. No real specific favorite, it’s kind of like when someone says they just like baseball in general.

 The ramen at Suvarnabhumi Internation AirportThis time I had some work to do in Thai for one week. Whenever I go abroad I am often deprived on my once a week present of ramen, and start to get homesick (actually I’m just ramensick…). One week is quick though and before I knew I was headed home.

 Last time I had ramen at Thai’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport I had the very rare experience of ramen I didn’t much care for, and so was unsure of my intentions for lunch. Last time, having not eaten ramen for almost two weeks last time with the added fact that all ramen should be delicious I calculated that even with all of that going for it last times ramen was not tasty meant I could be in for real trouble.The additional ramen I enjoyed. Regardless I decided to try once more (this time at a different restaurant of course).

 This time my hopes were set on a flavor that would outweigh my simple need for ramen and give me something I could enjoy. My end reward? a delicious bowl beyond my expectations that I ended up finishing to the last drop.

 Preferences are to each his own, and I certainly believe one’s mood can have an impact on their senses (would last times ramen have tasted the same this time around?).

 Thanks to a fresh intake my resitance of ramen was weakened and I induldged in a cup-ramen I found nearby.

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident

2014/12/18

Science Fiction?

 Time DilationRecently I went to see the new movie Interstellar. I love science fiction movies and books as they often bring new images into the mind that we may have never imagined before.

 In this case the main subjects were gravity and time. Strangely gravity and time are known to be somehow related to one another. When gravity changes it can cause time to move differently. This is somewhat similar to how changes in speed can change the flow of time as well.

 For example if a flight attendant flies 8 hours a day, five days a week, for 50 years they would actually be 0.00013 seconds younger than everyone else! Amazing! Well maybe not that amazing, but it’s true.

 This brings up a lot of questions like what is time? or what is gravity? And the truth is, we have no idea! You can’t see or touch either of them. How does gravity reach out from the sun and keep our planet in orbit? There are no arms, there is no contact, and yet it works! We’re alive! Yay! Speeding with our planet through the universe at over 250km per second. Per second! And here I thought I was having a bad hair day. Such small worries.

 Let’s keep our dreams big, and our eyes open as we move into the future. Who knows what’s waiting just around the corner.

From Postman

2014/12/12

Ultra-Manly

 Over the past year and a half I’ve been frequently stopping by [Otokoki Ramen, Akagi] in Kiryu city (Otokoki means manly, or chivalrous). I go out for ramen quite a bit, but steadily frequenting a shop for this long is the first time in my life.

 I will leave out the shops particulars. It’s a little far but a shop I’d like all to visit without fail. Basically they only have two flavors, black soy and red soy (spicy), both from chicken based broths. The shops selling point is large portions so though you may be tempted to add lots of toppings I suggest you take it easy on your first visit. Even holding back, your stomach will find content.

Black Soy Ramen: shredded green onions, boiled cured egg, extra thick bamboo shoots, and lots of garlic.Red Soy Ramen: Death Level 1: shredded green onions, boiled cured egg, extra thick bamboo shoots, chopped onion

Black Soy Ramen: shredded green onions, boiled cured egg, extra thick bamboo shoots, and lots of garlic.
Red Soy Ramen: Death Level 1: shredded green onions, boiled cured egg, extra thick bamboo shoots, chopped onion


 Lately I am working through the shops point card system starting with the [Manly Card], which levels up to the [MAX Manly Card] whose holders gain access to the hidden menu’s [Power Soba]. 5x5 card, 25 stamps, 1 time is 1 stamp, so eating 25 bowls you can level up to the next card. Starting with the [Manly Card], [Ultra-Manly Card], then the [Pure-Manly Card] I now need only 1 more stamp to attain the [MAX Manly Card].

The Manly CardsBackside. Only one more bowl to the goal!

The Manly Cards
Backside. Only one more bowl to the goal!

 At last the final dash. I’m aiming for the end of this week. Then the next time I will be able to endeavor the highly sought after [Power Soba]. Getting to the [MAX Manly Card] means plainly that I will have eaten 75 bowls of ramen. I may need to prepare for disease in my golden years (or is it already too late?) but I shall press on undeterred.

From Naotyn

2014/12/05

The Champion of Sports

 [Of all the sports, that most deserving of the title of Champion is surely no other than skiing.]

 Words spoken over 100 years ago by the Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, a 1922 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

 [No sport trains the muscles, makes the body supple and resilient, nourishes dexterity, heightens attentiveness, strengthens willpower, and refreshes the body and spirit like skiing does.

 Putting on skis and sliding into the forest on a cloudless winter day... Could that there exists something so pure and healthy. Could there exist something so precious and serene as the profound nature of the forests and mountains covered in deep snow. Could there exist something so fresh and exhilarating as sliding down the steep slopes of timber like a bird in flight.

 Brightly crossing the taut winter atmosphere, twigs grazing your face, folding your brain, then your muscles tightening, as you fend off some unknown sudden obstacle. The day to day life of ‘culture’ gets wiped from your mind, as you go far beyond the dirty air and all. We become a harmonious one with the skis and the environment. Skiing does more than just strengthening the muscles, also nourishing the mind with a deeper significance than is awarded it by the majority of onlookers.]

 The world of sports has changed drastically over the past 100 years and calling skiing the ‘Champion of Sports’ nowadays may not sound right. Lately, the popularity of skiing has been dropping, especially amongst youth who are not interested in visiting the snow-capped mountains. When you think about it, getting up early to drive far away in the coldest of weather to a snowy mountain is not a great motivator. Even I understand that. Any sport, and especially skiing, is not very much fun until you know what you’re doing. Yet for those who are willing to overcome the initial challenges, many rewards await as stated in the quote above.

 Skiers take these words to heart as they head to the snowy peaks. As do I. Not far off now that season approaches.

From 3+

2014/11/27

Takasaki Pageant of Starlight

 How are the days treating you as they grow slightly colder? A big attraction for each year here in Takasaki the [Takasaki Pageant of Starlight] has begun. This year is the 21st time with a theme of [Takasaki Flower Lights] showing beautiful winter flowers during lunchtime and then a collaboration of flowers and lights at night.

 The Illumination will be taking place from November 11 through December 25 from five p.m. to 10p.m. and is a great chance to enjoy the illusion-like intertwining of lights.

 Speaking of which, why do you think we always have Illumination Festivals when it’s cold out? The truth is, temperature plays a big role. The warm weather in the summer causes humidity which interacts with the light keeping it from travelling very far. In the winter when it is cold, there is much less water in the air to interrupt the travel of light and lets us enjoy it more clearly.

 Why not pay a visit the festival while you still have a chance!

 This year, you can get 30 minutes of free parking out front of the Takasaki Station.

From Aqua

2014/11/21

2014 Die Casting Convention & Zinc Die Casting Convention

 Recently the [2014 Japan Die Cast Congress & Exposition] took place at the Pacifico Yokohama. I was able to visit various booths and attend several presentations on the second and third days of the convention this year. As mentioned previously a member of our staff presented a case for practical on-site improvement on the third day which I attended with a slightly different curiosity than with other companies presentations.

 Changing from the past, this time there was a Ladies Seminar, as well as a number of female staff throughout the booths at the convention. There were even female presenters from other companies at the forum. The eagerness for more female political figures of late seems to be similarly taking place in the world of Die Casting.

 The week after that the Japan [16th Triennial Zinc Die Casting Competition] took place at the hall of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Machine Industry. In the world of zinc this is an important competition organized by the Japanese Die Casting Association that takes place once every three years. In recent years, due to the diminishing demand for zinc die casting, the event feels rather lonely when compared to the Die Cast Congress.

 There were four speeches given this time, and I was proud to present one from our company on practical improvement methods. I was nervous before presenting, having practiced and prepared the documents up until the day before. Speaking in front of others can be quite an ordeal.

 I’m sure getting "used to" speaking is possible, but how many times does it take? When listening to others presentations I will try and experience it from the speakers point of view.

From 3+

2014/11/13

Autumn colors

 We come to the season where the changing of leaves makes its way down into the valleys. Amidst the plentiful mountains of Gunma, there are many places to enjoy the autumn colors. I should like to present one of my favorite such places, located on Gunma`s famous Mt. Haruna.

 The vividness of Mt. Haruna’s fall leaves wrap around the Ikaho hot springs, especially the Kajika Bridge at the top of the famous Ikaho stone steps, whose autumn night illumination is exceptionally beautiful. Whether viewing the bridge from the nearby rocks or enjoying the leaves from the elevated center of the bridge, being surrounded by 360 degrees of red leaves is a moving experience indeed.

 The autumn night illumination is taking place this year from October 29th, through November 16th(16:30-22:30) leaving still a few days for perfect timing. It’s an easily accessed spot just 60 minutes north out of Takasaki-city beyond Akiba Die Casting, and highly recommended. If you do plan on visiting be careful that the temperature can drop quite fast in that area, so be sure to dress warm before heading out.

 About last week’s Topix, you’re probably wondering the winners [King of Pasta], so here they are:

Total Visitors: 9200

Total Votes: 5017

Winner: Himuro Pork in lemon cream carbonara w/ fresh chewy spaghetti
CARO
Runner-up: Mushroom clam chowder styled chewy pasta
Shango
Third place: Shimonita Onion and lobster in ginger cream
YouMenTei

 It certainly has become a booming local event. Congratulations to the top contenders! As a pasta lover myself I’m certainly looking forward to try out these new winners.

From Pumping both wheels

2014/11/07

[Pasta City] Takasaki

 Isn't food just wonderful. It makes me happy whenever I'm able to eat something delicious.

 I'd love to introduce you to some delicious restaurants in the local area of our company. We can garner both happiness and prosperity if you come to Akiba for a meeting, as we can go out for good food after our hard work.

 The first on my list of introductions is the well-known Italian Restaurant [Shango]. Recent introduced on television, with a daily line out the door. My personal favorite dish has the restaurant’s name on it: [Shango-style Spaghetti]. On top of the pasta is a large fried pork cutlet, on top of which a hearty helping of their special meat sauce covers all. It’s meat on meat level high volume pasta. *Large servings of pasta in Takasaki consist of a near dangerous amount of food and should be ordered only after thoroughly consulting with your stomach.

 If you have a chance to visit Takasaki, why not try the [Shango-style Spaghetti]? Ah! Don’t forget to visit Akiba.

 [Shango] will also be participating in the annual [King of Pasta] grand event on Sunday November 9th, where the best pastas of Takasaki will be determined. Fifteen of the best pasta restaurants from around Takasaki-city will be participating with their best dishes. Entry is 1,500yen and lets you sample five different pastas, the winner going to whoever sells the most. Getting to try lots of different flavor sounds like fun doesn’t it. The event will take place not far from Takasaki Station at the [Motenashi Hiroba] so be sure to stop by if you’re interested.

From Creampuff-fingers

2014/10/30

Speaking of Festivals

Takasaki Matsuri 2014 I am now in my ninth year as a citizen of Gunma. Mentioning Takasaki-city in Gunma-prefecture I am reminded of the Takasaki Festival that has taken place every year since 1985. The past three years I have enjoyed a beer while watching the portable shrines and various floats.

 Speaking of festivals, the 2014 Japan Die Casting Congress & Exposition will be taking place from Thursday, November 13 through Saturday, November 15th at the Pacifico Yokohama. In the world of Die Casting it could definitely be called a festival, and is a large gathering each time.

 We will not be presenting our own booth at the convention, but on the third day, Saturday the 15th from 15:20-15:50 our staff will be presenting a talk on Counter-measures for shrinkage in aluminum alloy diecasting.

 Some of the talk will compose of an explanation not only about the manufacturing processes that can introduce cold flakes, a common cause of shrink marks, but also about a solid manufacturing plan with which we were able to counter these defects. I highly recommend attendance not only for companies experiencing similar problems, but for all people involved in die casting.

 Next time I want to talk about the ramen I love so much. By the way, I who carries a motto for a bowl of ramen a day, like my noodles on the hard side.

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident

2014/10/24

Thanks to Mother Earth

I love nature. My mind wanders when I go hiking. I look at the ground, touch the rocks, and wonder what kind of metals lie within. We all carry our smart phones, glasses, etc., things made of materials dug up from the Earth having gone through many different stages. I find myself thinking of these things at the precipice. Hundred story buildings, eco-safety cars, trips to space for cash, all in thanks to the materials provided to us readily by Mother Earth whether we are thankful or not.

How about you? How many hands did those things you now use have to pass through before becoming what they are now?

The other day I visited a hot spring in Maebashi. The iron and mineral contents of the water are prized for their health benefits. I certainly enjoyed my visit. Some hot springs have been flowing for thousands of years, and many boast of their mineral properties. In other words, somewhere deep in the Earth flowing through mineral deposits the hot waters take on their beneficial properties before coming to the surface where we can enjoy them. We couldn’t devise such a grand system even if we tried, yet Mother Earth provides them freely here and there. Oops, I’ve looped back to the same topic. Hot Spring novice that I am, I think of these things as I soak.

From Postman

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