Support Tohoku Earthquake Victims!

Do you want to support the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and at the same time know exactly where the money goes? The Tohoku Donation page was created to do just that, support the victims of the earthquake/tsunami but also enable donators to track where the money goes.

Breakfast

Summer time is around the corner in Tokyo, and that means time to eat cold somen (noodles).


20140629-094243-34963387.jpg

We usually have it for breakfast with okra, myoga, leak, shiso, ginger, sesame seeds and a bouillon made of water, katsuobushi, mirin and thin soy sauce.

All natural without any chemicals. Just love, which is all you need ;-)

Yummy!!!

Boat to Na Pali Coast

On Friday we made an impulsive decision to take a boat trip to the Na Pali coast. We picked the Blue Dolphins cruisers since we’ve been in contact with Naiya and Roy before, and they helped us get booked for a morning trip were Roy was captain.

So today we woke up early, got to. Port Allen and got on the boat. First we made a brief stop to snorkel. The water was clear and I did some dives to the bottom 6-10 meters below but had really big problems with my ears. Very painful. So I got out of the water and rested on the boat. Unfortunately for me was that as soon as I was out of the water a big sea turtle showed up. Chie could have a close look but I saw just a bunch of snorkelers from the boat :-(

Halfway to the Na Pali coast we were joined by a large pod of spinner dolphins. The cruised along in front of the boat for a while and then left us. We all enjoyed their company a lot.


20140505-205507.jpg

On our way back from the Na Pali coast we saw something rare. A Hawaiian Monk Seal at the surface, eating an octopus. It is rare because there are only 1100 of them (one of the most endangered species on earth) and only about 35 of them around Kauai. And they are nocturnal. But not this one, or at least not today. We spent around 10 minutes watching him eat, and then we had to continue our trip back to Port Allen.


20140505-205442.jpg

Afterwards we went back to Kiahuna where we ended the day by relaxing on the beach and playing in the waves.

Halftime…

Today we got a note on our door, halftime cleaning :( Not to the cleaning but to it already being halftime. Well, can’t be negative… Just enjoy the time here :)

Today we spent the morning at Salt Pond. For some reason it was cloudy, and somewhat windy. The temperature was a bit too cool to get into the water, but it was perfect for a nap. I slept deeply for an hour or so.


20140429-214900.jpg

At around 1:30 pm we drove to Kiahuna. There the sun was shining. We played in the waves (yeah, you can still play in the waves even at 45 and beyond).

In the evening we had crab cream sauce pasta at “home” and it was delicious.

25 Million

Met Koichi-san from Kobuchihama and Sachi-san, Shiho-san and Toru-san today. We talked about many things, but most of all about life after 11.3.11.

If the great earthquake of Tohoku and the following tsunami would never have happened… Then we would not be sitting here together. In fact, we would probably never have met. Though the earthquake was a disaster, there is always something good coming out of something bad.

Also got to know that the small, private volunteer group we joined have collected donations and arranged flee markets to collect a total of 25 million yen. All of it went into things for Kobuchihama and Fukukiura.

EXPLOSION… Of Sakura

Since I’ve been away on a business trip the cherry blossom (sakura) has gone from nothing to full bloom. It was wonderful to ride the bike to the office in the morning. Like floating under clouds of flowers. Forces you to be happy, even though you are heading for work :-)


Cherry Blossom

BizTrip to San Francisco, Napa and San Mateo

Departed Narita on Sunday afternoon and arrived in San Francisco on Sunday morning. First thing I did was to put my bag in a locker and jumping on the first BART for San Francisco’s Union Square. The weather was great and I enjoyed walking around, relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere.


Union Square
By 4:45 pm I was back at SFO and had arrived at the rental car offices. There I met two of my work colleagues as we had planned, they had arrived later than me.

Once we got a rental car we were off for Calistoga in Napa. That’s where this year’s Open Source Think Tank was held. But before arriving in Calistoga we had a stop in Napa where I had a Buffalo Burger – tasted just like a normal burger though :-(

The Think Tank was good, but not as good as the previous years. However, I attended a side track the first day – Community Leadership Summit by Jono Bacon. Great!

Tuesday in the afternoon of the second day there’s usually a social activity and I had signed up for the bike ride. However, it was raining so it was cancelled. Instead I went out for a run in the Napa valleys. Beautiful run. Though I had a plan to take the Oat Mill Hill Trail but I decided not to when I read the sign at the trail head… Warning rattlesnakes may be on the trail and mountain lions may attack humans, don’t go out on the trail alone. Well, I was alone and though it was not a day for rattlesnakes to be sun tanning on a trail I kind of thought it was best to take a safer route. And so I did.

After a 7-8 km run and a shower I was back at the conference where I joined with my case study group to finalise our presentation on the role of open source in the Internet of Things for Automotive.

At 6 pm we all were loaded into busses and shipped to a nearby vinery where we had dinner. The vinery was built as a castle in an old Spanish style, though it had an Italian name (Amoara or something like that) and many of the staff spoke English with an Italian accent. The food was great and I had a chance to talk lot with a super-long distance runner (50-90 km) from Red Hat. Nice guy and interesting talk!

Oh, across us were a Korean couple. She was a teacher back in Korea, dinner etiquette teacher. Perfect for us simple people as we could ask her how to use all the forks, knifes and spoons that they had lined up at each table seat :-)


Vinary
Wednesday at lunch time the Think Tank was over. We spent some more time at the conference place to talk with Black Duck Consulting about an assignment they are doing for us. Good meeting and we decided to meet the next day in San Mateo for lunch so that we could finish the discussion.

Before heading to San Mateo we had a lunch in Calistoga. Then a 2.5 hours drive passing by Oakland, Coliseum (home of the Oakland Raiders) and the Half Moon Bay Bridge. Once checked in at the hotel we had a quick dinner at Redwood Shores, then back to the hotel for some sleep.

Thursday we spent at our office in San Mateo that is now at the same buildings as PlayStation. So there’s a lot of monsters hanging around the complex to promote PS games :-) Most of the day we spent in meetings. Very good meetings.

However, the evening we had off. And we headed to Stanford Shopping Center for some serious shopping. Well, I did actually not buy anything for myself but I bought a lot of things for Chie. Just as it should be, according to her ;-)

Friday morning I headed to the airport again. Spent some time in the Delta Lounge, eating breakfast and watching some videos on my tablet. Relaxing. Then it was a looooong flight back to Tokyo, without much sleep.

Saturday evening and I am back in Tokyo again. Arrived at home and was welcomed by Japanese hoe cocked food. Life is great!