Yokohama Daitou – Vegetable Tanmen and More

On Friday, I had some fairly average tasting Chinese food at Yokohama Daitou (横浜大唐) in the Shonan Fujisawa Tokyu Store.  I had the Yasai Tanmen (野菜タンメン).  It was a light flavoured ramen with vegetables and pork.  It tasted decent, but the serving size was quite large.  It came with a half serving of fried rice.  That was good, I thought.  This was all for 680 yen.  In addition to that, I also had Ebimushi Gyoza (海老蒸し餃子), or steamed shrimp dumpling.  It came with soy sauce and Japan’s very spicy mustard.  It was also good.  That was 300 yen.  All of this was too much food.  I was very full.

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This is a food court restaurant.
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Vegetable tanmen.
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Fried rice.
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Steamed shrimp gyoza.

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Sneaking in another sneaky teaser for my SF world

As I’ve mentioned before, the world I’m basing my books on is orbiting a star that actually exists.  Now, I’m going to give some extra technical information about the star to give you some more clues about what it is.

It’s a G0 V star, meaning it’s a G-type star, somewhat similar to our sun, and it’s a main sequence star.  It’s slightly larger and more luminous than our sun, as well.  However, it is younger, at about 3 billion years old.  It’s less than 30 light years away, and is the brightest star in its constellation.  However, it is not the alpha star in its constellation.  As I said before, the star does have an Arabic name, though it’s not commonly used.  Please check my previous post about this for more information.

So, does this help you?  Any idea which star this is?  Can you guess the name of the planet, too?  Leave your guesses in the comments!

Costco – Bulgogi Bake

For my first restaurant food review, I’m talking about a food that’s not even from a restaurant.  Actually, it’s from Costco’s cafeteria.  This particular Costco is in Kanazawa Ward of Yokohama.

The cafeteria is much like its North American counterpart, including the very cheap 1/4 pound hot dog, pizza, and drink.  What I had was Bulgogi Bake, which is a long bread filled with bulgogi beef.  Bulgogi beef is a Korean food, which is mainly grilled beef with a sweet soy sauce and garlic based sauce.  The bake is very heavy.  It’s quite dense, and provides a good meal.  I love bulgogi beef, and the Bulgogi Bake is very good.  At 400 yen, it’s more expensive than other foods in the cafeteria, but I highly recommend it.

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That’s a regular sized plate. They’re big!
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A closeup after I took a bite.

Dramatically Mundane – The Bus

This is the first in my Dramatically Mundane series of flash fiction.  In this series, I will make the mundane more interesting.  The main character is named John.  That’s as generic a name as you can get in the English language.  He’s meant to represent anyone.  Please note that I do not edit these vignettes.  I post them as I wrote them.  I’ll read it after I write it, but I won’t change it.  This is how a first draft would look from me.  Comments are always welcome and encouraged.  So please tell me what you thought.

The Bus

As he stepped on the bus, John glanced around the boxy vehicle. No one looked at him. Several people read books, some looked at their cell phones, a couple had a quiet conversation, and the rest looked outside through the slightly tinted windows.  John wanted to sit down in a seat in solitude.

He stepped forward on the floor, which was covered by a grooved rubber. He sensed the texture through the soles of his shoes as he shifted his weight from his heel to his toes. Each step propelled him forward to his ultimate destination. It waited for him somewhere in the cavernous bus.

There it was. That glorious seat. It was situated on his left, third row from the back in the elevated aft section of the bus. His heart quickened as he stepped up the lone step. He could anticipate the incredible relief he was about to experience.

John stopped at the seat and felt great joy at finding this structure that comforts and supports the human body in a seated position. He turned around and slowly slipped sideways into the seat. His knees bent and his body lowered gently onto the luxurious felt upholstery that covered his fantastic prize. His hand touched the seat and it gave him brief insight into the happiness he would experience.  Finally, his buttocks settled onto the surface of the bench-style seat, and he enjoyed an intense bliss through his entire body and mind.  He was at peace.

But then, a rather large, sweaty man sat next to him, spoiling his paradise.

The appeal of longevity

My mom’s uncle Johnny died yesterday.  He was a month short of 98 years old.  When he was 96, he was still curling and taking care of his farm.  He was healthy until he had a heart attack 2 weeks ago.

It seems that longevity runs in my family on both sides.  All of my grandparents lived into their 80s and one into his 90s.  It’s pretty impressive, I think.

So what is the appeal of having a long life?  I can’t speak for others, but this is how I feel.  I’ve often said I want to live until I’m 124 years old.  It’s a very specific age, isn’t it?  At that age, I will have lived in 3 centuries.  I will turn 124 in the 22nd century.  But why do I want to live so long?

I have many reasons.  I think one of the biggest reasons is that I want to see how everything changes.  I want to see the changing dynamics between the world’s nations.  I want to see how far technology advances.  I want to see humans return to the moon and walk on Mars.  I want to see my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow up and have wonderful lives.  I want to spend it with my wife.  I want us to travel the world.  I want to read hundreds or thousands of books.  I want to write many books.  I want to experience so many things.

So, can it be done?  With the advances of medical technology, many people think it’s quite possible.  I often look to science fiction and see that longevity is a common theme.  People live well beyond 100 years and continue to be very healthy and active.  Much of this is through genetic engineering, some kind of anti-aging therapy, or some other treatment.  I understand that the number of times our heart cells can divide limits us to 120 years.  Research on test animals has shown that they can significantly lengthen their natural lifespans.  I’m pretty sure it can be done for humans.

In the science fiction books I’m writing, people will live longer, mostly due to medical advances.  I don’t know how much longer they’ll live, but it will be a significant amount.  It takes place in the 22nd century, and I’d guess that we’ll see people living to 150 years regularly.

I leave you with a question.  If you could increase the length of your life, how long would you like to live?  What would you do with all that time?

My SF world teaser

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve worked for a long time on a world for my science fiction series of stories.  I’ve got a bit of news about it.  It has a name!  I’m not going to say the name, but I’ll give you a bit of information.

The star is real, and it’s a G-type star similar to the sun, though only 3 billion years old.  It’s the brightest in its constellation, and is a candidate for the search for Earth-like planets.  It is known by its Bayer designation, though it has a lesser-known Arabic name.  I will be using the Arabic name of the star for the sun’s name.  I have a list of names for five of the planets at this time.  The names of the planets are linked to the historical and mythological story of the constellation. The feature planet’s name comes from the alternate name of the constellation.  The name has already been used for a minor body in the solar system, so that may or may not give you an idea what it is.

Can you guess the name of the planet or star system?

What does an earthquake feel like?

Living in Japan, I have to expect to feel an earthquake every once in a while.  There was one a couple weeks ago that was close by, but still was just a minor quake.  But today, there was a big one.  Not the big one, like last year.  But this one was in the same area, and it was magnitude 7.3.  Being a few hundred kilometres away from the epicentre, I’m pretty safe.  There was a lot of movement, but nothing earth shattering.

So, what does an earthquake really feel like?  If you’ve never experienced one, it’s hard to imagine the ground moving, and you moving along with it.  It’s a very unusual sensation that isn’t easy to describe.  Some earthquakes give a very sharp jolting shaking, while others are a milder rocking movement.

Today’s earthquake was a long, but soft rocking movement.  There was no sudden shaking.  It started off slowly with a side to side movement, and over time, built up momentum.  It got stronger.  At its peak, I could see anything hanging from the ceiling swinging back and forth vigourously, but I didn’t feel it as strongly.  Imagine standing on a raised platform that’s supported by massive springs and a movement damper.  Without the damper, the movements would be too strong to approximate the feeling of this earthquake.  Now, the side to side movement isn’t a rhythmic movement.  It’s quite random.  You can’t predict how the ground moves during an earthquake.  It’s also not like being on a boat (however, it can be like that in a tall building).  I was on the ground floor of my apartment building when it hit, so I felt the direct movement of the ground.  While the ground is moving, your body feels the movement, yet your brain gets conflicting information from your eyes.  You don’t see the movement, but you feel it.  This causes some people to get motion sickness.  Thankfully, I don’t experience that.  As the earthquake wanes, the movement becomes slower and slower until you can’t perceptibly notice the movement unless you lean against a wall to steady your body. However, toward the end of the earthquake, I could still hear the building creaking.

This description shouldn’t be applied to every earthquake.  I’ve been through some that had much stronger movements, particularly the one on March 11, 2011.  Earthquakes that are nearby have much more intense shaking, while this one didn’t shake, it rocked slowly.  Earthquakes that shake are loud.  This one wasn’t loud, but I could still hear it.

If you haven’t felt an earthquake, can you imagine the feeling now?

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.