Saturday, October 30, 2010

Typhoons and Apple Butter - 台風とアップルバター

With a typhoon currently passing through Japan, I had some time on my hands and decided to make some apple butter.   Apple butter is basically a concentrated for of apple sauce where the sugar in the apples caramelizes and turns dark brown. It gets its name from the fact that it has a thick butter like consistency. Apple butter is pretty easy to make. You essentially just simmer some apples, sugar and spices until the the apples start to turn dark and then puree them. In addition to being easy to make the apple butter is really good.


  • 8 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple juice


  1. 1. Fill a pot with diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, syrup, and salt. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and dark golden in color.
  • 2. Puree the mixture.
  • 3. portion for immediate use can be Placed in jam jar or mason jar and store in refrigerator.
  • 4. You can Pack the unused portions into small, freezer-safe containers leaving 3/4 inch space at the top. Store in the freezer.
  • Footnotes

    • You can add a dash of nutmeg if you like as well


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    Inafune leaves Capcom

    Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune has left Capcom, one month after revealing his Mega Man Legends 3 Project for 3DS, six months after being promoted to Global Head of Production and 23 years after joining the company. He was also the CEO of Capcom's online games subsidiary Daletto. 

    According to his blog post announcing the departure, Inafune declared he had no more "stairs" to climb within Capcom. "It would probably be good for me to sit gracefully in this seat and become a leading figure in the industry," he wrote. "However, I cannot do this. Settling down means death for a creator. As long as you are a creator, you cannot settle down." Inafune has been particularly unsettled lately, making frequent, harsh criticisms of the Japanese game industry, and (in what seemed like a frustrated joke at the time) declaring that he hated his job.

    I think I know what happened here: It wasn't that Capcom higher-ups, uh, encouraged him out for his critical statements, or that Inafune received a more lucrative offer from one of the Western publishers he has become so fascinated with -- it's just that his Mega Man Legends 3 character design got last place.

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    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    面白話 A Funny Story











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    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    IS03 aka I must have this phone!

    Everyone knows I am a huge tech head so it is natural for me to want a smartphone. The problem is I have never been a fan of the Iphone so my only option, living in japan, have been mostly windows mobile os type phones that lacked the basic functions which make Japanese mobile phones so great.  

    It took Japan’s handset makers and carriers a while, but interest in Android is picking up steam over here. Sharp, for example, announced two Android tablets for release later this year just last week. Earlier this year, the same company presented the IS01 (full details), an Android-based smartbook distributed by Japan’s No. 2 mobile carrier, KDDI au.

    And today both companies announced [JP] the IS03, an Android-powered cell phone for next month. And the device boasts some pretty impressive (and quite unique) specs. It’s basically the first smartphone that meets the specific demands of Japan’s spoiled cell phone users.

    Here are the main specs:

    • 3.5-inch screen with 960×640 resolution capacitive touchscreen (same as the iPhone 4)
    • world’s first “combination LCD” that combines a main display and a memory LCD (which shows the time and battery life even when the main display is off)
    • 1GHz Snapdragon processor
    • 9.6MP camera with CCD sensor and auto focus
    • Android 2.1 with Flash Lite 4.0 support
    • Wi-Fi IEEE802.11b/g
    • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
    • ports: microUSB, microSD/microSDHC (32GB max.)
    • apps for YouTube and Twitter pre-installed
    • battery life: 200 hours standby, 230 minutes talk time

    What’s interesting is that the IS03 marries smartphone features with those that have just been made available to Japan-only feature phones so far. These specific features are the main reason why a lot of Japanese iPhone users, for example, still keep using their old feature phones.

    The IS03, however, also comes with these features:

    • e-wallet function (for offline payments, for example at McDonald’s or in convenience stores)
    • digital TV tuner (supporting Japan’s mobile TV standard)
    • decoration mail function (critical especially for teenage users)
    • KDDI-specific mobile email address (KDDI users can switch to the IS03 without changing their address)
    • business card reader
    • direct access to KDDI services like online music service LISMO or the KDDI au one market (limited to feature phones so far)

    Sharp seems to have designed a real winner for the Japanese market, but the company hasn’t said yet if the IS03 will ever hit international markets, too (it’s a CDMA device, at least).

    This video (shot by DigInfoNews today in Tokyo) provides more insight (in English):


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    Wednesday, October 06, 2010

    The Mi Zong standing meditations postures

    The Mi Zong standing meditations postures from the Lotus Health Institute

    1. Earth - Wu Chi (spine)

    1. Earth - Wu Chi (spine)

    Start by doing the standing exercises for five minutes a day. After three weeks, increase this to ten minutes, three weeks later, increase to 15 minutes and 20 minutes after a further three weeks. Stand with your feet a shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, either parallel, or turned slightly outward; unlock your knees. Let your hands hang loosely by your sides and drop your shoulders. Imagine that, like a puppet, your whole body is hanging, suspended from your head. A string holds your head from a point at the top of your skull, directly in line with the tips of your ears. Feel yourself sinking down, relaxing, as you hang from the string. Breathe calmly and naturally through the nose. Stand quietly, allowing your whole system to calm down, for up to five minutes. As you do this, mentally follow through the points on the illustration, starting at the top of your head. Your eyes look forward and slightly downward; drop your chin so that your throat is not pushed forward. Release any tension in your neck. Relax your hips and belly. Let the bottom of your spine unfold downward so that neither your belly nor your bottom is sticking out. The dantien lies 3-6 inches below your navel, one third of the way into your body. It is in line with the suspension point at the top of your head. From below your kneecaps, your roots extend downward. From your knees upward you rise like a tree, resting calmly between the earth and the sky. Your weight is evenly distributed between your left and right feet. These roots sink deep into the earth. The weight of your body rests in the middle of the soles of your feet. Return to these points again and again until you are able to assume the Wu Chi position naturally and perfectly.

    2. Moon - Monk Gazes At The Moon (brain)

    2. Moon - Monk Gazes at the Moon (brain)

    Slowly bring both your arms upward and forward to form an open circle in front of your face. Visualize holding a full moon or a crystal ball.

    3. Mercury - Air (lungs)

    3. Mercury - Air (lungs)

    Stand like a crane with arms extended and fully stretched from shoulders. Hands raise no higher than shoulders and hang limp with fingers pointing to the ground.

    4. Venus - Water (kidney) Stand by the Stream

    4. Venus - Water (kidney) Stand By The Stream

    Imagine that you are standing in a stream with the current flowing toward you. Bend your knees, and sink down about 4 inches. Imagine that you are suspended from the top of your skull and that your wrists are supported by an invisible strap that runs from the back of your neck. Two balls float on the surface of a running stream, you remain motionless, steadying them. Your body sinks down so that your feet and calves reach down into the soil of the bed of the stream and take root.

    5. Sun - Fire (heart)

    5. Sun - Fire (heart)

    Raise palms to face outward at shoulder/ heart level.

    6. Mars - Fire (blood) Stand Like a Candle

    6. Mars - Fire (blood) Stand Like a Candle

    Raise your hands outward so that the backs of your hands are level with your cheeks. Make a pyramid with your arms with your face in the middle. Imagine that your wrists are supported by a strap that runs around the back of your neck. Your open hands hold an imaginary balloon in front of your face. Press gently outward on the balloon as if to guide it away from you, but do not tense.

    7. Jupiter (liver) Standing Like a Tree

    7. Jupiter (liver) Standing Like a Tree

    Slowly bring both your arms upward and forward to form an open circle in front of your chest at about shoulder level. Your open palms face your chest. (The distance between the fingertips of your hands is 6-9 inches. The tops of your thumbs are no higher than your shoulders. Your wrists are as wide apart as your shoulders. Your elbows are sightly lower than your wrists and shoulders. The inner angle between your upper arm and forearm is slightly more than 90 degrees.) Imagine that you are holding (resting on) a large inflated balloon between your hands, forearms, and chest. Your armpits and upper arms rest on two small balloons. Your thighs gently hold one balloon in place. A huge balloon takes you weight behind you, like a beach ball on the sand. The weight on your feet remains slightly forward.

    8. Saturn - Monk Holds a Bag of Rice (spleen)

    8. Saturn - Monk Holds a Bag of Rice (spleen)

    Begin in wu chi, turn the palms forward, lift the hands until they are at hip level and parallel with the ground as if holding a big bag of rice.

    9. Return To Earth - Wu Chi Posture to Complete the Cycle (Sacred Nine)

    Stand until calm and relaxed.

    Points to remember:

    • Keep eyes open, tongue on the roof of the mouth.
    • Relax while holding the correct posture, check for tension over and over again. Use your mind to travel through your body from top to toe, relaxing every joint, tendon and muscle. Imagine creating more space between the bones at each articulation point.
    • Women: increased blood circulation may make menstrual flow heavier, therefore decrease standing time during menstruation.
    • After completing the cycle, rub your hands over your face, as if you were giving yourself a wash, this increases the flow if chi in your hands and the circulation of chi through your facial skin.
    • General sensations most commonly experienced by people in the first six weeks of training include numbness or tingling in some parts of your body; aching, sometimes associated with old wounds, and muscle fatigue; warmth; shaking or trembling (just continue to stand, this will subside); asymmetry, one side of body or one limb feels longer, hotter, higher; comfort/relaxation, this is the goal.

    The Inner Smile

    An inner smile radiates powerful healing energy. Starting with the eyes, practice the inner smile by closing your eyes and smiling sincerely into them. Relax and let a deep, loving smile shine through your eyes. By relaxing your eyes you can calm your entire nervous system. Continue by smiling down the front line (from the eyes down through your vital organs towards the genitals effortlessly like a waterfall): into the face (especially the jaws), neck, heart and blood circulatory system, the lungs, liver, kidneys, adrenals, pancreas, spleen, bladder and genitals. The Middle Line: Smile down from the mouth to the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum, simultaneously swallowing saliva. The Back Line: smile down the inside of the vertebrae of your spine, one by one.

    Get more information at the Lotus Health Institute website.

    L. "Taz" Hicks
    OnMugen Productions

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    Saturday, October 02, 2010


    Up early Saturday with the kids!

    The Fall Undokai運動会 and Lion won his race!
    We got second in the Parent/child race.

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