June 21, 2009

QR Senbei

Here is a great example of Japanese technology's bleeding edge catching up with the ancient traditions, or perhaps vice versa. These delicious senbei crackers, individually wrapped of course, had designs printed on them in (hopefully) edible inks. They were all traditional icons like a spinning top toy for children, a "shi-shi" (lion-god) costume and so on. The one that grabbed our attention was the QR code printed directly on the cracker. You capture it with your cell phone and it takes you to a website (for mobile phones only) with promotions or other information. If you are interested, the link is http://m.daimaru.co.jp. The "m" is for "mobile" and means the page won't display on a regular computer.

June 15, 2009

Sakai Apartment

Events with both family and friends took us to Sakai, Japan (just south of Osaka) for six weeks in April and May. We got set up with computers and internet access there and were able to continue working on projects, too, if not always as smoothly as we had hoped.

Here is the view from our second-floor apartment, facing west. The Nankai Koya line passes under the overpass on its way to Namba station. The sound of the commuter trains is somehow very comforting, especially when echoing over a warm spring night.

Kitsune soba for breakfast! Slightly sweet deepfried tofu in dashi soup with buckwheat noodles. And many salads with about one hundred ingredients each, including shredded crab, tiny translucent fish, bamboo shoots, cucumber, spinach, seaweed, sesame seeds, and skinny mushrooms.

Mario from Caffé Rustico gave us a pack of espresso ground coffee when he heard we were going away for six weeks. We thought of him and his wonderful café every morning when we brewed up our cappuccinos.

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