Sunday, 24 April 2011

It's official I am a shortlisted JET candidate!

The wait has been a toughy to endure, but I am awash with happiness and relief after learning that I will be placed somewhere in Japan as an ALT with the English teacher and cultural ambassador program, JET. I want to thank all my friends that took such genuine interest in the whole process and I would also like to shout out to all the lovely people from the JET forums who have reached out and formed a friendly supportive community online. I look very much forward to meeting all of you guys at Tokyo orientation and perhaps some of you in whatever prefecture I end up in.

So it is a massive relief that I can now call myself a JET and be able to have the opportunity to write about the experiences that I will have first hand. There is a ridiculous amount of information about it online, so reiterating it here is a little redundant. What I will do however is post something about my interview experience and perhaps even upload my statement of purpose essay for the reference of tomorrow's hopefuls. Until then またね!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Making Yaki Udon Dan's Version! ダニエルの焼きうどんを作ってみました!(In English and 日本語で)

 A pleasure to be bringing another cooking blog to the boil. I have had yakisoba (焼きそば) a few times already and have helped making it at a few international BBQs in Brissy, but, it was only until recently that I tried yakiudon (焼きうどん). I love soba and udon, but for my money, I would always go for udon because of it's thickness and texture and all round pleasure to eat. The first yakiudon I ever tried was soo delicious, that I had to go home and try cookng it for myself. Dan's version replaces the traditional seasonings with black pepper, oyster sauce and sesame oil.



2 breasts of skinless chicken
2 packets of udon
Ginger and garlic
Cabbage (quarter will suffice)
Half a red capsicum
2 carrots
1/3 of a leek sliced thinly (Dan's version)
3 eggs
Black pepper
Soy sauce
Oyster Sauce (Dan's version)
Sesame oil (just a 'hit' of)
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Instant udon is convenient and tastes excellent
Slice carrot and ginger into small rectangular slices
                 材料 (3人分)
鶏胸肉: ~400g
インスタントうどん: 2パック 
ショウガとニンニク: お好みの
キャベツ: 1/4
赤いピーマン: 1/2
ニンジン: 2
西洋にらねぎ: 1/3 (薄くスライスした)
卵: 3
水: 100ml
黒胡椒: 少々
醤油: ~6大匙
カキ油: 3-4大匙
ごま油: 最後に少々入れてください
植物油: 3


The procedure is dead easy, the only vaguely tricky part is in the timing of the addition of ingredients.
1. Chop carrots and ginger into small rectangles. Garlic can be roughly or finely chopped, your choice.
2. Slice cabbage into thin sheets, about half a centimetre thick.
3. Capsicum can be roughly chopped into 3x3cm portions.
4. Leek should be sliced on the diagonal about half a centimetre thick.
5. Flash boil (5-10secs) instant udon and then run under cold water. Carefully loosen to separate.
6. Beat 3 eggs and grind black pepper into the mixture.



1. In a deep frying pan or wok, heat oil on high and add chicken, garlic, carrot and cabbage. Cook for about 3-4mins
2. Now add leek and capsicum along with a third of a cup of water, cook for 1-2 mins
3. Add udon and a good covering of soy sauce (about 6 tablespoons). The soy and water should work together to steam the udon and vegetables. Stir fry for another 2 mins.
4. Next add some more water if needed and add some oyster sauce, about 4-5 tablespoons (don't be shy!)


4.好きなようにもっと水を注いで約大匙 4-5のオイスターソースを入れて(尻込みしないでください!!
5. Finally add the beaten eggs and pepper and stir throught the mixture so it clings and binds to the ingredients.
6. Check the firmness of the ingredients and if the veges are the right texture it is time to serve. OPTIONAL: You may want to add a small dash of sesame oil to finish it all off.
Enjoy! It is good with a draught beer!

Well that wraps up another cooking adventure. I will endeavour to start cooking some Australian recipes for future installments. Until then, happy cooking!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

What is a dropbear? + Thanks for the feedback, logo has changed!

The logo is finalised! Shoutouts to Maru from Lang-8 for the onsen Koala idea, Yuki from Facebook who told me to make Kappa look less evil :P, and an honourable mention to Dan also from Facebook who said I should put in the fictional Drop Bear! I didn't think it was identifiable enough, and I ran out of room, but to make up for it I will let you dear readers know exactly what the Drop Bear is.

The "Drop Bear" is a fictional Australian animal that was created in order to amuse Australians and confuse and scare tourists (all in good fun, mate!) Though the animal is mostly described as a fierce Koala-like creature, an ad campaign run by Bundaberg Rum in recent times, sees a new, fun interpretation. In the ad there is a small group of female backpackers camping out in a tent. Just across the way, there is a group of Australian guys camping with the mascot for Bundaberg Rum, a giant Polar Bear (named the Bundy Bear). Now the group of guys scheme together on how to errrm, 'gain the company' of the ladies, and they end up warning them that they should be wary of Drop Bears. The backpackers are taken aback, asking what on earth a drop bear is and the men tell them that they are like big Koalas that live in trees and drop down on tents..and bite your head. Just as the girls are thinking, "hey this is a bit fishy", the Bundy Bear drops down on their tent, making the girls flee into the safety of the boys' camp. The Bundy Bear takes a quick "you owe me one" glance at the lads before they return to their site all smug looking with the knowledge that their scheme has worked.

You can check out the original advertisement here:

As always thanks for reading. またね~ Daniel :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Any day now... Also, new site logo for the win!

So I have been addicted to the official JET Forums of late, and it seems that the results for the JET Program have all but rolled out to most of America. This has made my wait doubly painful as I read all the short-listers waxing about their elation and how everything is pretty and shiny in their lives......grahhh, I want to be doing the same right now!!! So Australia and the UK are keeping it old school by informing applicants by ye olde snail mail (Americans are told via email), so we have to just hang in there. Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand (among others that aren't repped strongly on the forums) seem to be still waiting in the wings, so we have been consoling each other somewhat through continuing cheesy forum word games and the like.

In the spirit of keeping distracted I have finally gotten around to making the site logo into something that I like. It is pretty cute, yeah? I want to litter some iconic mini pics around it such as a little Mt. Fuji, a little Uluru etc.

So what do you think? Can you give me some suggestions of Japanese and Australian icons to pepper the site logo with. I will give you a shout out in an upcoming post if you give me an idea that I use!! Ganbatte!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Japanese Mini Lesson 1: How to use "Zuibun" / 随分の使い方

随分  /  ずいぶん  /  Zuibun

Zuibun is an adverb and na-adjective meaning very, extremely or considerably. I mostly see it used as an adverb and often paired with time expressions.

例 文  /  れいぶん  /  Reibun (Example Sentence):
彼はカラオケボックスで、 随分遅くまで歌いました。\
Kare wa karaoke bokkusu de zuibun osoku made utaimashita.
He sang at the Karaoke Box far into the night.

Literally--> Regarding him at the Karaoke Box, very late until sang. Literal translations like these are useful for you guys coming to grips with the order of verbs and objects etc. in Japanese sentences.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The 1st MOS Burger for Australia!! Reviewed!

I was terribly excited to hear the news about a month prior, that MOS was opening it's maiden store in Sunnybank, Brisbane. According to MOS Burger spokesman, Paul Su, the restaurant located in Sunnybank will serve as a good test store "because of its high Asian population" and that ''it will give us the chance to start localising the menu for the Australian market.''

He then went on to say that another 4 stores are planned for the city by year's end. Delicious progress indeed for my home city. So about 2 weeks after it's opening, I and a few friends headed on to see what was all the fuss. For me, this was my first MOS experience, so I was quite excited. On arrival, we got to enjoy another bit of Japanese culture, waiting in a long line, haha. Even at 2ish weeks following it's opening, the restaurant was still bulging at the seams.

Anyway, a small wait later and in we are trying the:
->MOS Burger (Classic/Original/Vanilla)
->The 1000 Vegetable Burger (Warning: contains meat)
->Yakiniku Rice Burger



1. Mos Burger
Ok, delving into the flagship model first. The first thing that I noticed on biting into this one was the epic size of the tomato, something that seems to be a MOSism. The onions and sauces gave the burger a very pleasant barbeque grill taste. This in addition to the tasty meat patty made this a nice burger. For a fast food item, the meat patty was very flavoursome and has much more character than the ones on a McD's burger. Bad points were that the tomato I got was really flour-y and the bun tasted a little stale. So overall, I would give this a 7/10.

2. 1000 Vegetable Burger
This burger did not have a thousand vegetables on it so it lost points straight away with us, haha. Anyway, this time around, we got a beatifully soft and sweet bun with all components being super tasty and fresh. I assumed that the 1000 would have meant 1000 island dressing or something, but the sauce, though the right colour for it, tasted better than that. So that still remains a mystery, please comment if you know the answer. Everything was delicious so for fast food standards, this gets a solid 9/10.

3. Yakiniku Rice Burger
The manifestation of West meets East, the rice bunned-burger containing delicious marinated beef. This was pretty darn good, the meat was tasty and the rice bun was nice. It wasn't anywhere as near as crispy as the pictures seemed, so that was a little disappointing, but nevertheless, a tasty burger worth 8.5/10

Overall, I was impressed by MOS burger Sunnybank. The food was pretty good and the service was great. The line moved fast and the friendly staff gave us menus and took orders in advance to keep the line going. I was also thrilled that the manager understood my "ご馳走様 でした" (thanks for the feast) as we left the store.

Here's hoping we get a Freshness Burger in the near future to add to the growing asian influence in Brisbane.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Introducing: Kanji by Kappa. Edition 1 導入している:カッパの漢字、第一。

Welcome to the first of my planned regular articles. As the name suggests, this section is all about Kappa introducing his favourite Kanji. Follow him as he introduces his tricks on how to memorise Kanji and Kanji words. Take it away, Kappa.
Greetings land-dwellers and welcome to my Kanji clinic.
Today's Kanji word is 恥ずかしい (Hazukashii; Ha-zoo-ka-shee). The English equivalents for this word are embarassed, ashamed and shy. In it's function of "embarrassed" I have a special mnemonic using the two ideographs in the Kanji.
First, on the left side of the Kanji, we have the radical representing 'ear' and 'hearing':
Secondly, on the right side we have the radical representing 'heart':

OK, so if you can imagine an embarassing situation, what can you HEAR your HEART doing? It is thumping really hard isn't it. So next time you see 恥ずかしい、think of the ear hearing the heart, and you will remember this with no problem.

Peruse my example sentence:

Purensenteeshon no aida ni, zubon ga totsuzen, ochichatta node honma ni hazukashii ni narimashita.
During the presentation, my pants suddenly dropped to the floor so I became very embarassed.

This concludes the first edition of Kanji with me, Kappa. I must get home now before Kangaroo eats all my cucumbers. Until next time, 又今度!