Zensekai (zen's world under sail)

The sailing adventures of s/v Zen and crew

Saturday, July 22, 2006

にぽんまち  Nippon Machi

Nippon Machi = Japan Town ( Lil Osaka, Sister city to S.F.)

About today's blog from the bay, the only thing it has to do today with sailing is that we didn't, but there is some things about stuff for the boat. It was my original plan to sail out to the Moth Ball Fleet (more on that later) . However later I figured to make a trip into the city. Which is what we locals call San Francisco. First of all let me state I HATE going into the city. Traffic sucks, & parking sucks. Which for many is a way of life but to me, it sucks. ok, moving on. The temps here as of late have been three digits. Yesterday 107 in my area but cooler in the city, were they were complaining about it being high 70's, almost 80 wow! For them it is a big deal, for me perfect, another reason I would not live in the city generally too cold. Winter I freeze even in the summer sometimes night are cold.

but I digress

So, we head out to the city I figure, a stop by this place called "True Sake". I like some sake, the best I found was from Kobe, smooth, soft taste lightly fruity. For those who do not know not all sake it served hot. You can checkout www.truesake.com and get details of you like. Anyway...after true Sake we will go to Japan Town, lunch etc, etc. So not to get too far ahead, I'll backup and fill in details.

We head out about 11:00 already getting warm maybe about 80 degrees here inland. We take the Pickup because the a/c is not blowing anything but hot air in the car. I give it the once over, water, oil , gas and we are off.

First a brief report on the Creative Zen mp3 player. since that is part of the story.
Ipod is big, but I hear some not cool things about it, besides the price. Some of spoke about using it on their boat instead of having CD or DVD's because you can play hours without having a bunch of disk sliding around whenever you tack. So, I'm thinking yeah good idea, so I check into ebay. They are more than I want to spend at this time. However I come across something call, a Creative Zen player. Now of course something with a name like that catches my attention. So I do some research turns out people have good things to say about this little unit. Very good things to say. So the one on ebay is a demo model some company is selling it. It is not the largest at 560 megs, ( also not called a Zen, but a Muvo ???, although listed as Zen, different model ) but that will hold some 200 songs and play for some 13 plus hours or something. Nice. The other thing is I can record from a built in mike. So when Lady Z gives me some Japanese words I need to remember I can record it. Also I can record some conga and bongo/drums sounds beat from over at the Berkeley flea market to use later to play flute and shamisen with at home. Download to the computer and jam on baby.
So I pickup this unit for about 10 bucks hard to beat that with a stick! I figure, I can test run it and if it works out I can by the couple of gig size later (really named zen). I have this fm transmitter which powers off a cig lighter, it sends signals to the radio. So I can take this unit on to s/v zen an play tunes through the stereo , it worked nice!!, I can put it in the car which does not have a CD player, it works!, I can put it in the truck it worked, which brings us back to today's trip.

I downloaded some tunes for today journey it worked great. Since we were headed to Japan town I figured some Taiko drums would be nice. It was!

So we get into Oakland near the Bay bridge, traffic all but stops! Holy Smog breath Batman! I think, this is it! From there on it was wall to wall cars, should I say rail to rail, for the next 45 min to hour. Luckily we had a/c and music.

From the entrance to the bridge we had a good view of the the Bay around Berkeley and the Golden Gate bridge. There must have been several dozen sailboat out, maybe even evk4 was one of them. That was as close as we got to sailing that day. You can not see it from this little picture , but they were there...lots of sails ...off in the distance...really, there is. It is fairly shallow right here.

We finally make it over to True Sake, luck was with us we found free parking only a couple of blocks away. It is cooler there so walking was no biggie. Most likely only one reader, Roya-san of s/v Shibumi has an interest in this, but here it is anyway.
So nice place, lots of Sake on display. Lady Z and I look around then chat with one of the workers. She is also Japanese so she gives us the run down in Japanese, explaining taste and rice milling and stuff. I only got some of it, but knew what she was talking about from reading the newsletter.

Good selection of stuff, all available to ship via DSL to most places in the states.

So we got a couple of bottles, One I had picked out on-line and one for Lady Z who has a different taste in Sake than me. I also said the secret word of the month and got the monthly special for half price.

Sweet. This month it was a gold flake Sake. Yup real gold flakes in the Sake.
When I shake it it floats through the bottle, like those snow bubbles things that show a winter scene. We had some , the Sake not the bubbles, the last couple of times in Japan at my Sis-n-laws place.

Happens that Lady Z like this kind, we'll save it for sometime, maybe special, at least to us. It is the gold flake one in the middle.
On the left is mine light fruit taste. One the right is a white creaming sake. I got it at the Japanese market. Which has a lot of the same things., as far as common Sake, but since most Americans would not go to a Japanese market or know what to buy, True Sake has a niche in the market. Also the Japanese markets will not ship. So ends the Sake report.

Next over to Japan town. We stop at my favorite noodle place for lunch. Yummm, I have my usual, Kitsune Udon ( sweet fried Tofu with some veggies and wheat noodles in a fish broth) and Tuna Sashimi over rice. I try some Shucho to drink. A Japanese liqueur, I hear a lot about it being popular these days in Japan. Ugh! Lady Z says it is like Japanese Vodka . Wow strong, more bitter than I like my drinks. I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to booze. This stuff is ugh, yuk! Lady Z says in Japan it is mixed with fruit juice and made as a cocktail. I can see that would help. But for me, that was my last time trying. I'll stick with my smooth , slightly sweet, slightly fruity, smooth Sake.

Lady Zen has some cold Noodle dinner with Tempura. Served in a boat. This is the closest we get to a Boat today.
(editors note: This statement and the boat keep this blog within the sailing/boating context along with the bit about the several dozen sailboats on the bay today and us not being one of them, otherwise you would not have known about any of this, well if you cared anyway, but again I digress)

Next stop, we head to a Japanese music store. We make a short detour to the Hardware store. I find a Carp Wind Sock. The kind they use for Boys Day in Japan ( Carps are very strong swimmers, this is saying boys need to be strong swimmers in life). Thinking it will a good wind direction indicator I pick it up for s/v Zen. Even if I do not like it, it is only $1.00. (what can you buy these days for a dollar)

Then to the music store. I get some parts for my Shamisen. A bachi ( pick) and a bridge. We check out a few other things in the store since it is more of a gift shop than a music store. Shirt, misc knic knacks from Japan. The owner also has a few used Japanese paperback books. Lady Zen is not into looking at them too much so we move on.

Before heading to the market we stop and have some ice cream. I go for a green tea milkshake Yum. Oshii ( delicious ) The Lady chooses a soft cream vanilla cone.

Next stop the Japanese market, we pickup supplies for the next few weeks. Pickled garlic with tuna flakes, pickled plums, a bottle of plum wine, a couple of small bottles of sample Sake, some misc fish and veggie snacks for dinner and lunch.
Then head back through major traffic to the East Bay.
Did I say the traffic sucked...


  • At 3:16 PM, Blogger Val said…

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Creative Zen MP3 players! I couldnt resist one either. Sleek and black and very "zen" I love it. And so easy to download my latest taiko and shakuhachi CD. See my post 23rd June. Enjoy!

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger royalLD said…

    Jill is into sake more so than I. But we both are getting an good education from the True Sake web site. Thanks for the hook-up.

    The iPod is over-rated. Most folks say iPod when they simply mean MP3 player. I do that a lot. I have a friend in Jacksonville who turned me on to the Creative Zen. Very nice unit. In a few years I will not use a CD player at all.

    Hopefully, the heat will settled down after a while. I hope this isn't the infamous 'global warming' that we hear so much about.


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