Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Calorie Watchers Beware:

After doing some serious futon beating this morning and to ensure we have sufficient energy levels for tonight's hanabi extravaganza...this is what we had for breakky today:

French Toast

Bread (whatever kind you like, slightly thicker is best so the milk can really absorb and go all gooey!)
Milk (if you are into soy, use will still taste spectacular)
Vanilla (if you are in Japan, use essence...if you are in the real world, use vanilla bean pods!)
1 tspn of sugar (or sugar substitute if you are watching the calories!)
2 eggs (use more eggs if you are cooking for more than 2)
Butter for the frying pan (you can also use spray...but it doesn't taste as good!)

In one dish mix the milk, vanilla and sugar. In a separate dish beat the eggs. Cut the bread into manageable pieces and soak briefly in the milk dish, make sure you turn it over. Hold it up over the dish to remove the excess liquid and put straight into the egg dish, following the same procedure...Turn it over, drain etc.

Fry it up until it's golden brown on both sides. Serve sprinkled with fairy dust and cinnamon and a drizzle of honey (maple syrup would also be yummy!).

I think I just made my better half fall in love with me all over again!
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Friday, July 28, 2006

Here comes....Hanabi!

Natsu - summer - is well and truly here...
...and that means just one thing:

Fire Flowers! (Or

Tomorrow night is the annual Sumida-gawa Hanabi Taikai (The Sumida River Fireworks Display). About 20 000 fireworks will explode in a spectacular fashion over the Sumida River...and a couple of hundred thousand spectactors will be celebrating on the riverbank. Most of them will be wearing yukatas and 99.98% will be drinking beer and chowing down on excellent festival food like takoyaki and yakitori...I can hardly wait!

So, if you are in Tokyo...head on down to the Asakusa area by 7:10pm, and be ready to be gobsmacked...

(Photo taken by me at one of last summer's hanabi taikai)
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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stars in my eyes...

Our recent weather may be gray, dull and dreary but the skies are anything it's Tanabata time! Between July 7 and August 7 streets throughout Japan are decorated with these streamers:

Not only are they bright and cheerful, but they make a soothing rustling sound in the breeze too!

"Sasa no ha sara sara
Nokiba ni yureru
Ohoshi sama kira kira
Kin gin sunago"

Businesses sponsor them...the yellow one below is sponsored by Ito-Yokado, one of the largest supermarkets in Japan and, incidentally, the owner of 7-11!

"The bamboo leaves, rustle, rustle
shaking away in the eaves.
The stars go twinkle, twinkle;
Gold and silver grains of sand."

The shot below gives you an idea of the extent of the decorations:

The story behind Tanabata is actually rather romantic...
Two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, were separated from each other and can only meet each other once a year...on Tanabata when the Milky Way allows them to cross the skies to each other...but only if the sky is clear on July 7th!

Given that July 7th is in the middle of tsuyu - the rainy season - it seems doubtful that they'll ever be able to meet!

(Photos taken around the streets near our house)
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's not the Jolly Green Giant's Space Tweezers!

Some very creative answers people...unfortunately, none of them were correct. But I was highly amused!

green plastic thing is actually....

A futon clip!

If you are a proper Japanese housewife, you will air the family's futons daily on your balcony, and to avoid embarrassing situations you must clip it to the railing with the handy tool above. The purpose of this is to avoid mould and dani (pernicious little bugs that breed in bedding and tatami mats). After they've been airing in the hot sun for a few hours, you must beat them with a futon beater. This removes the dead dani and any other goodies that have accumulated in the futon.

That ends your first lesson in Japanese Housewifery 101. Your homework is to post on your blog about a handy tool you use to keep your home clean enough to invite
Martha Stewart around for a bake-off!

Thank you for playing Photoionary.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's baaaack...

Anyone up for a quick round of Photoionary?

What is the green thing below?

Post your answers in the comments...
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Saturday, July 15, 2006


It's been stiflingly hot the last couple of weeks, so we've been eating lots of cold fruit in a fruitless (sorry, I couldn't resist!) attempt to cool down. The plums, cherries and grapes have just been taken out of the fridge...see how quickly the condensation has formed (and note our hardy begonias in the background!) :

Rest assured, they tasted as delicious as they look!

The grapes were incredibly sweet and juicy and the plums were perfectly ripe...

The cherries were the most interesting...I nearly didn't buy them due to their pale colour as I'm used to cherries with a dark maroon skin...

Surprisingly, these cherries turned out to be some of the sweetest I've ever eaten. They were grown in Yamanashi Prefecture (where they are famous for their stone fruit) and I'm so glad I took the plunge!

By now I'm sure you are all convinced I'm obsessed with
spherical food!

What's your favourite way to keep cool in the hot summer months?
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Friday, July 14, 2006

Hello Kitty & Friends:

Below you can see some balloons of popular Japanese anime including the three most famous, Hello Kitty, Doraemon and AnpanMan:

AnpanMan is the most interesting as he is a giant Anpan (which is a bun filled with sweet bean jam - azuki beans)...a very unique creation I'm sure you'll agree!

(Photo taken by me last summer)

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Crazy is as Crazy does...

Are you feeling brave and sure of your sanity? Then take the following foolproof test:

During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criteria was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalised.

"Well," said the Director, "We fill up a bath tub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask them to empty the bath tub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or cup."

"No," said the Director. "A normal person would pull the plug."

"Would you like a bed near the window?"

Now, I'm sure you all passed...if not, feel free to keep it to yourselves! I think I'm in for a long week...

(Cool image came from here)
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Monday, July 10, 2006

A Trip Down Memory Lane...

Indulge me for a moment...I'm in mourning remember...

Happier days when Australia beat Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with John Aloisi in the foreground:

Guus Hiddink - AKA Miracle Worker - embracing the boys after the win:

Lucas Neill leading the victorious charge into the Round of 16:

A poignant (for me) shot of the devastating Australia Vs Italy game:

"We came here as a lowly ranked team, lucky to make it in the eyes of the world, but the world has taken notice, big time, of what Australia has done." (John O'Neill, FFA Chief Executive)

"There are far more positives than negatives...I think we've got a lot of new followers because of the way we played. I think everyone now knows we can match it with the big boys." (
Mark Viduka, Socceroos Captain)

(Photos are from - you guessed it -
FIFA World Cup site)
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Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Another shirt ruined..."

I have been engrossed in Victorian-era Egypt and the charming exploits of the redoubtable Amelia Peabody. I first made the acquaintance of Ms Peabody and her collection of parasols in Crocodile on the Sandbank:

The love of my beloved is on yonder side
A width of water is between us
And a crocodile waiteth on the sandbank.
(Ancient Egyptian love poem)

Fortunately Amelia is able to overcome the crocodile and find her own true love, the irascible Radcliffe Emerson, a man who is as hard on crockery as he is on his shirts! Their adventures continue in Curse of the Pharaohs:

It's a thrilling ride and I'm now anxiously awaiting the next instalment - The Mummy Case!

(Images from
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Pranksters of the Bird World:

Rainbow lorikeets are a popular pet bird in Australia. They are easily tamed, and like to pretend to fall asleep on their backs with their legs up in the air as though they are dead!
We saw these two beauties at Lone Pine in December 2004, they weren't playing dead...they just played house:

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Red Sea:

According to Asian Info, Seoul's population is about 10.3 million:

(Image courtesy of FIFA 2006 World Cup)

It looks as though every single one of the
Korean "Red Devils"
supporters of the Korean national football team)
turned out to watch the World Cup in central Seoul!

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