Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

driving a tank

last week i got the pleasure of driving an old russian military tank. Now I'm not one for violence or war, but the thought of driving a tank really interests me. so I'm glad that Jocelyn was able to help make this happen for us. we both got to check another thing of our lists.

just a few tanks lying around

a typical day at the gas station

inside the gunnery

me inside, driving the tank

me inside, driving the tank

no hands!!!!

after my drive, what a ball

bang bang, shooter

me and the guy we referred to as "the belly"

just loungin'

completely inappropriate

it's coming right for us

jocelyn and me having fun on deck

happy people

wheels on the tank go round and round

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sheep Head extravaganza

last weekend I went on a weekend getaway to Gun-Galuut ( with a few people from UB. During our stay the topic of food came up (as it usually does with me) and I asked a Mongolian about local cuisines and where in UB to get them. One such dish was sheeps head. Lkhama said she could and would make it for me. Somehow this morphed into a cooking event where we'd all cook something from our heritage or a fusion of old and new world techniques. What started with maybe 4 or 5 people turned into about 20 people and became a contest of sorts. There were some very tasty dishes that came forth. Some of my favorites (besides the sheeps heads) were the bacon wrapped livers and Katherine's tzatzki. I don't love peanutbutter too much so the bacon and peanut butter sandwich didn't do it for me, however many people loved that. I made a sauerkraut using cabbage, radish, beets, garlic, ginger, plums, onions and garlic scapes. It actually tasted pretty yummy when I was done preparing it, and am curious to taste it in a week. The japanese have a bunch of tsukemono dishes that are essentially krauts pre fermenting and thats what this basically was. I also went into an elaborate story about the history of krauts and talked in detail about my process. In the end we voted and I tied for second with my amazing host, Jocelyn. One of the highlights indeed was my getting to eat sheeps brains as well as sheep eye (you don't eat the actual eye ball, but everything around it is fair game).

boiled sheeps head

Gala showing off the boiled sheeps head. party hat and all

chomping at the bone.. or cutting at the head... either way

I get a little frisky sometimes

the jawbone meat was so tender and tasty

going for the eyeball

eye in hand

eye in eye

eye in mouth

here's looking at you kid. the eye in the socket

Jocelyn's awesome banana and peach flambes

The final score

Ramen in UB

So UB has tons of korean restaurants (sort of random, right?) but they also have some other restaurants from cuisines around the world (well some parts of the world). one such cuisine is ramen. their are apparently two ramen shops and i found one. It was good for ramen in Mongolia but that's about all I can say about it.

the ramen

the shop

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Climbing Mt Fuji

Before leaving Tokyo I was fortunate to find a group on that was climbing up to Mt Fuji overnight to catch the sunrise. There was about 50 of us in total, some of us from the organizer of the trips company and the rest were couchsurfers. One of the things that was really nice about going up with a group is the sense of community that we had from the beginning. I originally thought about going this alone and am so grateful that I had the people I had to summit with.

The hike itself wasn't too bad, and we made good time. The hardest part was probably dealing with the cold. When that wind was blowing, every part of your body felt it. There were times when I almost was blown over from the strength of the wind. We arrived on top a bit earlier than planned and looked for a place to rest, unfortunately they were hard to come by and some of us ended up resting on benches, convulsively shivering and reminding ourselves that "we will get through this, we will get through is." It was a cold cold night. but........ as the sun began to be seen, the base station on top was opened up and inside one could purchase a few essential items one of which was a bowl of ramen. SCORE!!

The sunrise was beautiful and we were all glad to have made the trek. The hike down was actually much worse than the hike up. Probably in part because the moment of excitement was passed but also because you are walking down a sometimes very loose and steep dirt path for what seems like a rather long time. It isn't very comfortable and if you fall it may hurt a bit (i somehow didn't, woohoo!)

Following the hike we went to an onsen for a little which was very comforting however it's a few days post hike and my upper quads are still a bit sore.

Fuji from the bus

The group before climbing fuji

Me before the hike

This was my core group of climbers. we were all pretty tired and cold at this point

miso soup at base station 7. it cost 400 yen (about $4.50 US) but the salts from it as well as the warmth provided were well worth it.

the sun starts to show

beautiful colors

as the sun began to rise, the top station opened up and inside they sold a few things one of which was ramen. i've almost never welcomed ramen more in my life.

the sun rising in front of a torii gate

i just love how i look here.

here's the sun

i've learned to harness the power of the sun


the sun and the land below

looking down into the crater of the volcano

claiming the mountain in the name of the US

the lines form as people begin to descend the peak

i loved the color contrasts of the rocks on top

inside the crater


I loved how the clouds looked in the background. Harumi did not quite understand the artistic approach i was going for but that's ok.

don't ask me what I was doing here