Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stickers and Postcards

They are finally here! Gunkler stickers and postcards from Japan are now available. The sticker set consists of 18 heavy duty, fairly large stickers, pre-cut and ready to stick on anything. The postcards are made from the pictures found on this website and my official website. If you are interested in either the postcards or stickers, please let me know. I'll try to hook you up. In Japan, I am selling them for 100yen a piece.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This was easily the best Valentine's day I have ever had and I spent it with 1,600 of my closest friends. Yes, this year I spent my V-day photographing Metropolis Magazine's blow out party at A-Life in Roppongi. For two days prior I worked with the Metropolis crew compiling gift bags filled with Bailey's, No Calorie Coca-Cola, Durex condoms and other products sponsored by major companies in preparation for the event. Then on the evening of, I was graced with a Staff pass and given free access to the entire party. I spent my time taking pictures for the magazine of the sponsor's stalls and of the attending people. The highlights of the evening were watching the pole dancing performance, chilling in the VIP with Chingy and AV idol Sola Aoi, and drinking copious quantities of Jaegermeister and Moet with the beautiful event companions. It was a fantastic night and I hope the pictures reflect it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sapporo Snow Festival

I have been looking forward to this one for more than a year, having missed it due to poor planning on my part the previous year. Finally I have been to Hokkaido and the Yuki Matsuri, or Snow Festival. For those of you keeping score back home, Hokkaido is the northern most island of Japan and, in winter, is blisteringly cold. Thus it is the perfect place to have the Snow Festival, an event where people from all over Japan and world come to build massive snow and ice sculptures. These behemoths are created and displayed in a park that runs the length of the city and people flock here to see these humongous creations. The sheer size and detail of these statues is awe inspiring.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Panasonic Promotion Video

After a nice long wait, it's finally here! My first successful modeling job for Panasonic is up online and running. Though you can't see the video, you can see my picture. Check it out at:

You may need to refresh the page a few times to see me.


Last week, after more than a year of waiting, I finally ate fugu. This was not a matter of a belabored search, as fugu shops are fairly commonplace, or one of rigorous preparation, as all it takes to eat fugu is a reservation, but rather a monetary concern. Fugu is expensive, costing at the least 5,000 yen or fifty dollars for the set. Now, at this point some of you might be asking yourself, "What is fugu?" Fugu is the cute little fish pictured at the top of the page. Fugu means blowfish, but despite this name the Japanese blowfish does not expand or inflate, however, it is harbor to one of the deadliest poison's known to man. Approximately seven people a year die from eating fugu. Upon hearing this quote, my mother tells me that I am insane and insists that anyone who eats this fish is "taking their life into their own hands." This statistic, however, relates only to people who prepare the fish themselves. In the last seventy years, only one person who has eaten fugu in a government approved fugu restaurant has died and was, in my humble opinion, an idiot, insisting on eating five pieces of fugu liver, the most poisonous portion of the fish which is technically illegal to serve. It is this poison, or rather the trace amounts that remain in the dish, that make this dish a delicacy and a worthy choice. The poison gives the fish a distinct flavor and causes the eater's lips to numb slightly. In larger quantities, though, this poison causes the victim to lose feeling throughout their body, eventually shutting down their motor functions and causing respiratory and heart failure. One fugu is said to have enough poison to kill 32 adults. Needless to say, I was dying to try it and with the monetary assistance of one of my previous students in the form of a birthday present, I was finally able to. I had just finished reading "The Year of Eating Dangerously" by Tom Parker Bowles in which he has an entire chapter devoted to eating fugu, and subsequently was equipped with his anecdote for the event. When I told my former student about his and my mother's fear about eating fugu, she was baffled. For a Japanese person, eating fugu is about as dangerous as eating raw fish, the only danger comes from going to a bad restaurant.

Fugu comes in a three course set meal. The first course is the sashimi, or raw portions, consisting of the main meat, as well as the innards. This is obviously the most scrumptious bit and the main reason why people eat this poisonous puffer. I found that the sashimi was much chewier than a fatty cut of maguro, but the flavor was very nice, and perfectly complimented by the ponzu sauce. The innards are fantastic chewy bits of jelly that have about the consistency of gummy worms, but little taste to note. The best part of this course, however, is the tingle that spreads thoughout your mouth shortly after eating it that is both exciting and mildly nerve racking due to this fish's reputation. The second course is a nabe, or hot pot, that is made from the remnants of the fish meat and bones and supplemented with veggies and tofu. I enjoyed this course, savoring the miso based broth and hearty bites of cabbage and tofu, though removing the bones from the meat is a bit taxing for very little gain. The final course uses the remaining broth from the previous course with the addition of rice to sop up the excess liquid. This course didn't impress me much, having a very subtle flavor that neither shocked or awed me. I ended up adding a lot of salt to arouse some kind of flavor, though really no complaints as it filled my belly, something that not all Japanese meals can claim. All in all it was a wonderful experience and despite the lack of any real danger, very exciting.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Saint Valentine's Day is coming soon which means its time for girls all over Japan to rush to the stores and purchase copious quantities of chocolate for all the boys that they have a crush over. Yes, you heard me right. In Japan, on Valentine's Day the girls give presents to the guys! The guys don't have to follow suit until the following week on White Day, when if the love the girl has for them is requited, they also flock to the stores to purchase every available sweet for their new "Honey". Just another sweet benefit of life in Japan.

(BTW sorry the image is polarized.... still not sure why)