The view from my room.
The view from my room.

The view from my room.
The view from my room.

I can't be totally sure, but I think the one on the right lifted my wallet.
I can't be totally sure, but I think the one on the right lifted my wallet.

Grilling my wagyu.
Grilling my wagyu.

I'll try it before I leave.  I promise.
I'll try it before I go. I promise.

Every Sunday and holiday, Ginza Dori is closed off to vehicle traffic.
Every Sunday and holiday, Ginza Dori is closed off to vehicle traffic.

Um...see, they're, uh...
Um...see, they're...uh...

Fans of Sumo Monkey Man impatiently await the opportunity the opportunity to receive their signed copy of the hero's memoirs.
Fans of Sumo Monkey Man impatiently await the opportunity the opportunity to receive their signed copy of the hero's memoirs.


Where the Spartans hang?
Where the Spartans hang?

Kabuki Theater.  I would go if not for the fact that the average performance runs about a day and a half.
Kabuki Theater. I would go if not for the fact that the average performance runs about a day and a half.

The combined forces of Forkhead and Spoonhead guard the entrance to Ukai-Tei
The combined forces of Forkhead and Spoonhead guard the entrance to Ukai-Tei

The last time I was in Tokyo, I snapped a photo of a monk in an internet cafe.  Two years later, I walk by the same cafe...
The last time I was in Tokyo, I snapped a photo of a monk in an internet cafe. Two years later, I walk by the same cafe...

Greetings from rainy Tokyo! Despite the wet weather, my spirits remain undampened – although the same can’t be said for the rest of me as I was strolling through the side streets of Ginza when I got caught in the downpour.

Today, I had lunch at one of my wife’s favorite places – a Korean restaurant named Daigo which is tucked away in one of Ginza’s seemingly innumerable malls. I ordered the wagyu (Kobe beef) which I grilled at my table, as well as a bowl of spicy ramen. “Motto karai!”my waiter warned. Yeah, yeah. He was talking to a guy who has dedicated the entire top shelf of his refrigerator to hot sauces. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to restaurants and been told “It’s very spicy!” only to be disappointed. So I had the “Motto karai!” ramen. And how hot was it? Well…pretty fucking hot! There was a point late in the meal when I was skirting the fine line between endorphin rush and passing out. I could just imagine my waiter walking by and finding me face down on the hot grill, sizzling somewhere between rare and medium.

From there, I wandered the side neighborhood, eventually locating my next target – The Pierre Marcolini Café and Ice Cream Shop – only to discover a line-up outside! Rather than wait, I decided to continue my walk and come back at a later date. Armed with my map and portable GPS, I made my way down Harumi Dori and scoped out tonight’s dinner destination, Ukai-Tei. As I stopped to snap a shot of the display out front, an elderly Japanese man stopped to chat. I explained “Sukoshi hanasemasu demo zenzen wakarimasen!” (I speak a little but understand nothing!) but that didn’t dissuade him from chatting away, especially when he learned I hailed from Vancouver, Canada. He insisted I go check out some kabuki and then, while I was trying to thank him for the recommendation in stammered Japanese, he simply walked off. “Arigato gozaimasu!”I called after him, finally finding the words.

A somewhat sleepless night last night. I was out at 10:30 p.m, then up at 3:30 a.m., then out at 5:30 a.m., then up at 9:30 a.m. I would have been up a lot earlier but since today is a national holiday here (thus the line-ups at the high end chocolate shops), the Tsukiji Fish Market was closed. I figured, hey, if I can’t have sushi for breakfast why bother having breakfast at all? Instead, I slept in, got in a work-out (the hotel has some gorgeous facilities – a beautiful pool and spa, and great cardio equipment, but a surprisingly dinky weight room comprised of dumbbells no heavier than 10 lbs and one of those universal gyms that resemble an all-in-one medieval instrument of torture.

More strolling and snacking this afternoon. Tomorrow, I branch out and check out some of the other wards. I’m thinking maybe Roppongi Hills, the Beer Museum, that new wave tonkatsu restaurant that serves limited quantities of Spanish Iberico, and the Absolut Ice Bar following dinner at Hamadaya.

Not one but two videos today: the promised Tokyo Toilet Tour and The Weird Food Purchase of the Day: Tokyo Edition. Today, I sample something called Pocari Sweat.

105 thoughts on “November 24, 2008: Tokyo Trip Day #2, Tokyo Toilet Tour, The Weird Food Purchase of the Day: Japanese Edition

  1. Hi Joe,

    Nice pic’s from Tokyo! Have you tried sarki? Its suppose to be surved at 30c. I tried it but didnt like it! I thought it was a cross between whiskey/vodka & something I cant put my finger on.

    Eastern toilets are quite weird! Thats all i’ll say! Especially for women!

    Glad your having fun times in Tokyo!

    I had some bad news the other day I found out that my uncle Baz has brain cancer & has 10 months to live & his wife aunty trina has throat cancer & has to be fed with a tube. I dont know what to do! I wouldnlt know what to say to them! I should probably compose myself & visit them.

    Take care & happiness always!

  2. Hey, nice view! What floor were you on? 20- something/ 30? (judging by those buildings in the background). Is it very busy in Tokyo?

    Japanese toilet- hmm, amusing :>
    Weird Food Purchase of the Day- yay, it’s back! Ew.

  3. Bwahahaha! This reminds me of my trip to Tokyo about 4 years ago. Pocari has a slight (to me) grapefruit-ish flavor. It’s called “sweat” because it’s the Japanese equivalent to Gatorade (you probably already know all that). Try Aquarius, it’s better.

    My friends and I stayed in Shibuya. It took us 20 minutes to find the flusher for the toilet because it wasn’t on the control panel. It was on the counter by the sink, completely away from the toilet.

  4. G’day. Looks like the holiday is starting out great. I think I would spend all day trying out the dunny.
    Anyway, have fun.

  5. I.
    Hell…o! That’s a magnificient view, I’m scared about the height just by looking at the small pic.

    I so want a toilet like that, they’re even better than the korean toilets in Seoul!!! o_O

    Pocari Sweat, for a Moment you got me! Sneaky! 😀

  6. Well…have fun on your adventure in Tokyo, Joe!
    Thank you for the weird food purchase of the day. I’ve missed this segment and the belly laugh I get from watching it! I seriously doubt I would have ever thought about drinking sweat…that’s just weird.
    As for the toilet…please tell me you finally worked out the symbols on the control panel…you know, the ones that look like something from a Chinese take out.
    If I’m correct, the first symbol means everything down…lid and seat. The second is lid up and the third is lid and seat up.
    I want that toilet…it’s the lazy mans toilet!! My kinda toilet…oh wait…does it clean itself??? If so…I’m ordering one tonight!
    Travel safe Joe!

  7. Hey Joe, I think that those 3 buttons on top with “chinese take-out symbols” are used to lift up or drop the toilet seat and lid 🙂

  8. Tokyo, The only place you can go where you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to operate the toilet (Not even the great Rodney McKay could figure that one out :P)

    Also, Am I the only one here, Or do those Forkhead and Spoonhead statues at the entrance to the Ukai-Tei look like they’re taking a leak on the building?

  9. Bottled Sweat!! Erm eww
    Joe I am so envious of you being in Japan, it’s one f my dream destinations.
    I look forward to seeing the pics from the rest of your trip. ave fun 😉

  10. Wow, interesting vids… lol
    Nice pictures, I hope you and Fondy enjoy your trip.
    How do you find those weird food stuff?

  11. What exactly does the massage function do??!! Check it out!! I need to know, so I can finally “Pimp my toilet”.. ;-))

    Maybe they spelled it wrong… maybe it´s Message… so go ahead – leave a message!

    Have fun!

  12. Questions for Martin Gero:

    I adore Search and Rescue, its my favourite episode of the entire series 😀 So thanks for writing it.

    One of my favourite scenes was the opening one with Sheppard and Teyla, it totally took me by surprise when Ford showed up! Do you consider Ford to be Shep’s greatest regret or just the start of guilt issues since coming to Atlantis. If not Ford, what would you consider to be Sheppard’s greatest regret? This also brings me to the scene in the sick bay where Sheppard talks about not being able to save someone, I’ve heard a lot of names banded about as to who he was referring too, including Ford, Weir, Holland, who was it that intended for him to be talking about?

    I also really enjoyed First Contact this season. Did you go into the episode wanting to introduce the asgard or did you want to introduce a new alien race and later decided it was going to be the asgard?

    I heard that you paired Daniel up with McKay because you thought people would be expecting him with Sheppard. Have to say that I was completely expecting him to be with McKay, if he’d have been with Sheppard I would have been surprised, even more surprised if he’s have been with Teyla or Ronon! So why did you think that way?

    Thank you for writing some of my favourite all time episodes of Atlantis, I really enjoy the epic stories you tell while managing to keep the character moments intact 😀

    However, you have almost ruined the season for me with Brain Storm. I can’t stand the relationship between McKay and Keller; I find it creepy and nauseating. Why did you make this relationship canon instead of the numerous pairings that actually have chemistry? There are many pairings in Stargate that fit miles better than this one, Jack/Sam, John/Teyla, Daniel/Vala, John/Elizabeth, Ronon/Teyla, McKay/Katie, Ronon/Keller, heck I’d even prefer to have John/Rodney on the show and I don’t see Sheppard as being gay one little bit! Hopefully I’ll manage to watch the remaining episodes and the movie but I may have to wait for a version with McKeller edited out, this has made the cancellation easier to take.

    Cazz x

  13. Thank you for giving me the motivation for going to work today. I wasn’t feeling up to par, but watching your explorations of Japanese plumbing, and your selfless ingestion of Pocari Sweat for the sake of your readers has inspired me. Looks like you’re having a great time, and I hope you will suffer no more lines between you and your culinary goals for the rest of the trip.

  14. Ib that the Beer Museum in Ebisu you’re taking a trip to? It’s brilliant. They do a nice little sample selection of 4 very nice beers at the end. Also I wholeheartedly recommend picking up some ‘Yebisu Premium Malts’ Beer Jelly from the shop on the way out.

    And as for Pocari Sweat. Oh dear. I gave that a try before and hated it. It’s definitely an acquired taste.

  15. Hi Joe,

    It’s always nice to see that you are having fun!

    I can’t believe though that you rather try Pig’s sweat before pushing the buttons on you toilet and btw, those two or three that you don’t want to touch, I think it’s to lift the toilet seat(s), or close them.

    Have fun and hey! don’t forget to bring some treats with you to share with us 🙂

    Take care… and by that I mean no snake soup at the airport,


  16. Hey Joe, first-time poster, long-time reader.
    Activating my nerd-powers, I note that the two redheads are dressed as a character called Asuka from the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. You don’t have to thank me; it’s reward enough to know you’ll be able to sleep better knowing that.
    If you’d like a suggestion for a future Weird Food Purchase, I’d suggest Calpis.

  17. Cool toilet… I think the bowls of Chinese food on the switches refer to the position of the toilet seats.
    Why not try it out? What’s the worst thing that could happen??

  18. Oooohhh… said a bad word!!

    (I can totally understand the “hot” warning. Good thing to know if I ever get to Japan.)

    Love the pictures!

    And the toilet. (Although the concept of “oscillating” is a bit, well, frightening.) My guess is that the seat goes down by itself! What a concept!!

    Have a fun adventure….I’m really enjoying this, & looking forward to the Ice Bar!

  19. Nice pics! You must tell us more about the massage feature on the toilet. What the hell does it massage?

  20. My friend drinks Pokari Sweat. Some of the stores here in Adelaide import it. I haven’t tried it yet but I plan to.
    Apparently it is a sports drink. Most Japanese people don’t read the English, and even if they do they don’t forn that connotation with body sweat that we do when we read it. It is named Pokari Sweat because of the association between Sweat and hard work.
    I hope you have fun in Tokyo, I want to go there one day 🙂

  21. Wow looks an interesting place, are those TV and radio controls on the shower? neat! it beats my battery radio option hands down!

  22. Joe those three symbols on the toilet that look like take-out are controls for closing and opening the lid of the toilet. starting from the right that is both the lid and the seat. next is just the lid, and third is closed. Too bad it couldn’t order take-out

  23. Glad you arrived ok, thanks for the great pictures & vid.
    Yeah watch out for the red headed girls and automated toilets.

  24. Nice 300 bar – for a good time, run in and scream, “Tonight, we dine in hell!!!”

    I’ll guess that the “chopsticks” on the toilet buttons are the seat and lid positions.

  25. OK…I figured out your Chinese Fast Food toilet symbols…

    It’s the toilet seat position! The left one is totally closed, the middle is up, like you had it in the video and the one on the right everything in the upright position….

    I think you have to be very adventurous to try everything listed on that toilet seat!

    Have a great time! I’m enjoying Tokyo all the way from Scottsdale!


  26. Videos no workie Joe! They are “currently unavailable”.

    Domo arigato and ohaiyou gozaimasu.

  27. “There was a point late in the meal when I was skirting the fine line between endorphin rush and passing out. I could just imagine my waiter walking by and finding me face down on the hot grill, sizzling somewhere between rare and medium.”

    😆 THAT was a beautiful image to wake up to! Grilled Mallozzi, in a spicy ginger sauce.

    I love hot stuff, too…(Busha Browne’s wet herb jerk seasoning, various cayenne and habanero sauces, wasabi, Todd…) 😉

    “…soft pressure to fire hydrant…”


    Sorry, that toilet is too intimidating to me. Especially the takeout buttons…

    Pocari Sweat is a sports drink. All sports drinks taste like sweat.

    “The first part of the name, Pocari, is from the word ぽっかり [pokkari], which is a mimetic adverb glossed as ‘lightly’ (e.g. 雲が空にぽっかりと浮かんでいた, “a cloud floated across the sky”).

    “Sweat” was apparently intended to suggest diligence and its fruits—the idea intending to connote to the user that Pocari Sweat works to make one feel fresh and relaxed.”

    You must learn to google, grasshopper.



  28. Hi Joe,

    Happy traveling!

    1. Loved Brainstorm. I think the McKay/Keller dynamic works and makes Rodney so much more human. That said, I’m hoping for some non-cut Sam/Jack in the coming SG-1 movie.

    2. In my hobby of Taekwondo instructor, our school traveled to S. Korea this summer. Pocari Sweat was very popular with the teens. The name is outrageous, but the kids understood that it was a sports drink. Reminds me of the big car companies trying to sell the Chevy Nova in Mexico (No Va in Spanish means Doesn’t Go). Didn’t sell. I wonder why.

    3. The other thing about S. Korea was how much it reminded me of Vancouver! I’m not kidding. My husband and I were at the March ’07 Creation convention and the area around the hotel was very similar in feel to some of the areas in S. Korea we were in. It really was a little disorienting. However, Vancouver didn’t have an international Taekwondo tournament, but it did have Stargate!

    Hope your trip remains safe and ever so yummy.


  29. @ Cathie – So sorry to hear about your aunt and uncle. Not sure how close you are to them geographically, but if you can’t physically visit them, I would find the most beautiful card you can, and write them a note, just saying how much they mean to you. A card is something they can read over and over…unlike a conversation that sometimes is never heard, especially is the mind is too distracted. At times like this sometimes all people really need is a ‘hug’, and that hug can take many different forms…a loving note, a visit, a helpful deed. Right now, they need to know that they are loved, and that they made a difference in your life. If they did, do not hesitate to tell them.


    @ EricaHP – 😆 Joe should do that – but only in full costume, sword and all! 😀 Considering the anime characters he ran into, I’m thinking Tokyo is just one big ComicCon – you probably could dress up as just about anything, and no one would notice.

    Hmmm…I wonder if they have any Wraith roaming around, or is that only in Germany?

    RE: Oscillating & massage – What’s the confusion all about? Doesn’t anyone here have a Waterpik Twin Turbo handheld showerhead? 😉


  30. Looks like you need a Masters degree in science to operate the bathroom!

    Very nice view from the room, though.

  31. Now I want to go to Japan just to experience the high-tech bathrooms. Thanks for the videos!

  32. Joe,

    OMG, you HAVE to try out all the features of that toilet and report back! That was awesome. Do it for those of us who have to lift and lower the lid ourselves.



  33. Oh, Spicy ramyen, how I miss thee! I used to love the ramyen at the Kimbap Naras in Korea. Along with the chamchi kimbap.

    Those fancy toilets caused many humorous mishaps–at least yours had some English translations (albeit of questionable helpfulness). The first time I used one in Korea, I couldn’t figure out how to flush the toilet. I was warned of the various buttons that would shoot water everywhere, and didn’t want to make that mistake. (Hey guys! Why am I soaking wet? Oh, you know, it was raining in the bathroom) turns out the ‘flush’ button was the one button hidden behind the toilet seat. Who knew?!

    My Korean co-teacher would not believe me when I told her that American toilets have ONE ‘button.’ Then laughed hysterically when I told her that Americans can never figure out how to use those fancy toilets.

  34. Oh yeah…and Pocari Sweat. Ew. Never acquired a taste for it (and was given about 50 bottles of it on my school’s Sports Day). I’m reminded of this other drink everyone used to have that weirded me out…Some sort of vitamin drink in a little-ish bottle. Vita500, I think.

  35. Wow, what a couple of jammed packed days.

    I am not a spicey fan. Was given something spicey once (probably not by your standards) and didn’t know it and all my eyes did was water through the whole meal. That was not what I called enjoyable. So, I run the other way when it is spicey.

    You are making friends already, that is nice. People just attract to you (lol).

    Can’t watch the videos until my sisters are gone from work, but I am sure they are interesting if you are involved. The bathroom one already has my curiosity.

  36. Joe,

    Absolutely loved the Tokyo Toilet Tour…it’s a must-do for our next trip. I especially enjoyed the pictograms that came with the buttons…just in case you weren’t certain which body part to put in place for cleaning.

    Have a great time and thanks for the fun posts…I feel as if I’m vacationing vicariously.


  37. During the tour of the toilet video, I have no idea how you managed to keep sure a steady voice and hand (seeing as we couldn’t see your face). That is one nifty, spectacular toilet! Although, I’m not sure I’d use any of the functions, even out of curiosity haha.

    And yay for the WFPotD! Even you drank… sweat. Interesting.

  38. Joe I’m just waiting for you to casually guzzle something down, and then for you to just collapse around 3 seconds after ingesting it….

  39. coucou joseph!

    ahh contente que votre séjour ce passe bien!!! Snif moi en ce moment j’ai pleins de travail!!!

    Superbes ces photos! j’adore comment les japonais s’habille^^!!

    mouhaha XD oui c”est vraiment trés fort ces toilette XD! Ils sont fou ces japonais lol^^!!

    Bon je doit aller faire mes devoir!! A demain!!
    Gros bisou!

  40. Thank you for the delightful start of our “vacation.”
    Loved everything you’ve shared so far….this is priceless!
    Eat, drink, explore, try everything, enjoy – and we are right “beside” you.
    Hmmm, I guess that could be scarey for you to have all of us along side…lol.

  41. Ok, the girls went for a cigarette so I got to view the videos.

    Interesting toilet. I believe those pictures are to lift the seats if push them. Oh my on the rest of the options. You should just push them all to see what they do just be ready to run.

    Sweat, well who would want to drink anyone’s or things sweat. Just not good.

  42. I was a nanny for a family a couple of years ago and they had toilets like that one in their house. The dad spent way too much time (in my opinion) explaining its various functions. As far as I was concerned, anything that has instructions more complicated than a stereo should not be critical in waste disposal.

  43. I guess Chemistry like Beauty is truly in the eye of the Beholder. I found the McKeller Chemistry just jumps out at me.
    It is just so sweet.

    It is not the fault of the writers, if it doesn’t appeal to you.

    Even tho Jack/Sam is canon, that chemistry never worked for me. I just accept that it just doesn’t work for me and I let it go.

  44. *waves*

    Loving the pics and the vids. How can you not have pressed all those buttons yet? They’re like little neon says that say ‘press me’ 😛 I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes without touching them. 😆

    Can’t wait to see the tub one… and the massaging one for the toilet, is that supposed to vibrate or massage your butt? 😆 So cool. hehe

    And as for that Pokari sweat… can I just say… eeeeewwww.


  45. Was that a phone I saw next to the toilet controls? Does that go straight to the Toilet HelpDesk, or can you indeed order take-out from there?

    GeekBoy said yesterday “There’s nothing as disappointing as being disappointed by food.” He was terribly disappointed with Panda Express, which somehow he didn’t realize was going to be the equivalent of McDonalds, only Chinese. I pointed out that the fact that the building looks exactly like Wendy’s, including the drive-thru window, should have clued him in.

  46. Hey Joe!

    That toilet is freaking neat, one could spend atleast an hour or two in there trying the different modes on it. Is that a phone beside it as well? Can’t wait to see the Tokyo Tub segment, and I’m glad to see that you’re enjoying your trip!

    Being a fan of public transit, have you tried the public transit system in Tokyo yet, or do you walk/drive/bike, etc. to your destinations?

    Eww, sweat. Now that is a great drink to start the weird food purchase segment again. 😉

    Thanks as always, and enjoy day 3!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  47. I was at Roppongi Hills one year ago! Love the architecture. Please check out my perfect-for-your-new-series theme song, “SG-1” at:

    While you’re at it, you might also get a kick out of the track, “Space Invaders” as well.

    Arigato gozai mashita,
    ~Josh Garey in Berkeley, California

  48. hmmm I wonder if their curtains match the carpet?? and the internet is how the monks stay celibate so long 😉

  49. Nice view from your hotel! I’ve very happy for you that you didn’t get the dreaded “view-of-the-air-conditioners” room.

    Your pics have me wanting to go back to Singapore. Only about 8 more months! I know it’s not the same as Tokyo, but still…

    Thanks for the videos!

  50. Sounds like you are having a great time so far. I’m really enjoying all of the pictures that you have been posting – love the view from your room. Sadly I will never make it to Tokyo, but I have to say that reading your blog right now is almost as good as being there myself.

    Have lots of fun. Be safe.


  51. Mentioned your Vid de Toilette to my Mom [one who has christened many a loo…] – she says Whoopie apparently has something similar… [she also an avid VIEW watcher]. Personally, I’m more concerned about the chances of electrocuting oneself if one should “miss” or overdo the ass rinse thing… Better wear the rubber soled socks!

    BTW, you should keep some chocolate candies or such in your pockets to counteract the 7-alarm spicy food [works better than water!]

    Oh, FYI, from the various pics that people have been posting of the Burbank Convention this past weekend, Jason is looking pretty good – was sporting shades that covered most of the damage – but nothing really noticeable was showing. The man’s a saint to have managed to get through the day of signing, posing, and putting up with some “stupid” [when the man says he doesn’t want to say anymore, *don’t* ask him again several times!!] fans. Anyhow, he appears to be doing well. And Hewlett has a new haircut… But that’s a story for another day…

    Get some rest, Joe. Remember, this is vacation, not The Amazing Eating Race. Take a moment to “digest”!

  52. Hey while you’re away a meteor went down in Canada (I believe it was Saskatchewan) and some guy is offering $10,000 for a piece of it.

    Awesome toilet tour. Perhaps you should offer it to the hotel for any puzzled visitors.

    Re: weird food purchase. So glad it’s not really sweat. I wouldn’t want to know how they got it.

    Cheers, Chev

    p.s. you dress very nicely on vacation.

  53. Hey Joe,
    Loved the toilet tour, but you need to show everyone the public toilet, you know, the hole in the floor. When I was in Tokyo I went to a mall bathroom, looked in the stall and saw nothing but a hole in the floor. Fortunately for me, some elderly Japanese woman, seeing the look of dismay on my face, walked me over to the far side of the bathroom where there were “Western” toilets. I was so greatful to her.

    Have fun on your trip, try to stay dry.

  54. Arghhhh!!!! *shakes tiny fist* The videos won’t play for me! 👿

    And I think I’m coming down with some horrible flu-thing.

    I guess I can look forward to the toilet and *sweat* food videos?! Maybe Jeremy can make ’em work when he gets home.

    As for the spicy food… I don’t like spicy at all. So I can’t imagine eating something that’s so spicy it makes me *almost* pass out.

    But that’s why we need Joe Mallozzi in the world. To eat the food that can physically harm you and live to tell us about it! 😉 That and the humor.

    Now excuse me while I try to take a nap and pretend that my gray matter isn’t pounding fiercely inside my skull.


  55. Hi Joe,

    I am in a very special fangroup on GateWorld and I am the lucky one who was chosen to ask this question I am about to ask. It may sound weird, but, YES there is a fan-thread for Martin Wood. We really adore his work and we were wondering when his birthday is. Can you give us a hint, please? We are not only fans, we also love to make graphic arts and especially birthday presents 😀 I really hope you can help us 🙂



  56. You know, you didn’t really finish part one sufficiently. I want to full report, Mr. Mallozzi.

  57. Hey, what can I say, I like Pocari. Best served ice cold! Do try Calpis if you spot it … pronounced cow-piss. Kinda sorta.

    MOS burger … I lived next door to a 24 hour MOS burger at one time. The fries are thick, the coffee shakes alright (best at 3 am after staggering home). The burgers are mostly soy, my favorite is the Teriyaki burger drenched in teriyaki sauce, topped with a thick wad of lettuce and a dollop of Japanese mayo. I was never a fan of mayo before and never dreamt it would taste so good with teriyaki sauce, but MOS burger made me a believer. Do not let the burger get cold, then you must have swilled a minimum of three beers before you try it. This time of year they may be serving corn soup. I swiped a really nice ceramic corn soup cup from them … did I say that out loud? It has two dancing men holding up burgers and is printed with: “I like burgers. You know, MOS burgers.”
    MOS stands for Mountain Ocean Sky ….

    Oh man, I am soooo homesick.

  58. Finally the WFP video worked.

    It’s the clear liquids that can be the scariest because you can’t look at it and go “Hmm, it’s red, so it’s PROBABLY going to taste like raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blood”, in order to narrow down the possible tastes to hit your buds. When it’s clear, it’s an unknown quantity.

    Joe about your neat wardrobe…
    It needs someone to run in, move it all around, steal the suits and leave behind some obscure anime t-shirts. Clothes to help it feel like holidays. And I think your tux would be too big for you now!

    Keep on having fun and I personally do not want to find out what a toilet massages. I have enough mental images to repress in my head, I don’t need to add to the backlog.

  59. Hiya Joe,

    Awesome photos and video like always. Glad you are having fun in Tokyo.

    After seeing your photos, make me think of the Osaka/Kyoto trip my friends and I took 2 years ago. We had walked everywhere, and visited almost every temple in both cities. But mainly we were there to see the maple trees. (I have no idea why I say yes to the trip, since I can see the maple tree here as well)

    And about Mos Burger, may I recommand their rice burger. They use rice as bun instead of normal bun. Its good. I always eat that every chance I got when I go back home. ( to Taiwan)

    Anyway, enjoy your trip, and be safe.

    Anne ^^

  60. Oh, and I noticed there was a phone in the “water closet” [a sign of a good hotel room!]… let me guess, toilet support help is on speed dial!

  61. Oh, I am SO-O-O enjoying my virtual Japan tour!
    That Mos Burger place looks more enticing to me than where you plan dinner tonight, Ukai-Tei, er, oh, you probably already ate by the time you read this.

    Funny, funny toilet adventures…lol… I’d bust a bladder wide open trying to figure out all those buttons. I guess simplicity in Japanese culture, doesn’t apply there. You know, it could have been worse, what if you found one of those robotic simulacrum’s waiting behind the glass door, eager to assist with yanking your pants down and then perches you on the seat! Shakes me up just imagining that…

    Looking forward to the bathtub/shower combo demo.

    Aren’t you lonely traveling solo? What was Gero’s excuse in not joining you Joe?

    Quick question: will Joel Goldsmith also be on board SGU? I spent some of today enjoying the great tunes of SGA on my MP3 player at work. What a marvelously talented composer is Joel!

    Be safe in your journeys Joe,

    Carol Z in NJ

  62. Questions for Martin Gero:

    I would just like to say that I found Search and Rescue, First Contact and The Lost Tribe to be way better episodes then Brain Storm because they had Teyla in and Sheppard and Dex in more then one scene.

    1. If you were given the opportunity to write a future Stargate Atlantis movie would you?

    2. What would you say are your top 3 favorite Atlantis characters to write for?

  63. My sister emailed me this today and, given your current location, I just had to pass it on. You have been warned!!

    An American salesman checked into a futuristic hotel in Tokyo, Japan . Realizing he needed a haircut before the next day’s meeting, he called down to the desk clerk to ask if there was a barber on the premises.

    ‘I’m afraid not, sir,’ the clerk told him apologetically, ‘But down the hall from your room is a vending machine that should serve your purposes’.

    Skeptical but intrigued, the salesman located the machine, inserted $15.00, and stuck his head into the opening, at which time the machine started to buzz and whirl. Fifteen seconds later the salesman pulled out his head and surveyed his reflection, which reflected the best haircut of his life. Two feet away was another machine with a sign that read, ‘Manicures $20.00’.

    ‘Why not?’ thought the salesman. He paid the money, inserted his hands into the slot, and the machine started to buzz and whirl. Fifteen seconds later he pulled out his hands and they were perfectly manicured.

    The next machine had a sign that read, ‘This Machine Provides a Service Men Need When Away from Their Wives, 50 Cents’.

    The salesman looked both ways, put fifty cents in the machine, unzipped his fly, and with some anticipation, stuck his manhood into the opening. When the machine started buzzing, the guy let out a shriek of agony and almost passed out. Fifteen seconds later the machine shut off.

    With trembling hands, the salesman was able to withdraw his tender unit…………..which now had a button sewn neatly on the end.

    I was tempted to make the appropriate adjustments to the text, but I resisted the urge. Aren’t you pleased?

  64. Is Mos Burger actually hamburgers, or “fake” burgers? I haven’t been able to figure it out. My internet is kind of limited at work.

  65. Hi Joe:

    How important is it to learn Japanese if you want to visit Tokyo? Could a regular noob do okay with a few basic phrases? Do many servers in restaurants and stores speak English?

    Patricia (AG)

  66. Glad you are enjoying your travels. I look forward to checking out the videos tonight at home, where the internet goes a little faster than the snail’s pace it drones along at here at work.

    I’m also getting to be a fan of the hot’n’spicy. Just indulged once more in a nice, spicy serving of vegetarian Grandmother Tofu for lunch (I love it so much I restrict myself to no more than once a week).

    Funnily enough, I went by an Asian Grocer last night on the way home (picked up some Bamboo and Fungus Rice Rolls for dinner, and some Red Rice & Chestnut ‘Dumplings’). Had my usual scan of the shelves to see if there was anything interesting I should try (and hunting in vain, as usual, for more Almond Tea) when I discovered a box of Pocari Sweat sachets – to make it up at home yourself. I considered buying it just to stick on the windowsill (alongside the bottle of basil seed drink, which looks like tadpoles suspended in liquid), but convinced myself that was $3.29 better spent on the dumplings.

    You know, although I’ve never tasted it I’d rather drink something called ‘Pocari Sweat’ than Coke any day.

  67. Thumbs up on the cute Japanese girl photos. Very nice.

    That monk must be a regular. Or, he’s been mediating in the same place for 2 years now. You never know with those monks. They’re also bulletproof, I’ve heard.

    Hahahahaha! Those videos were hilarious! Actually, with the knowledge of what those “take out” buttons are, it seemed pretty obvious that they were for lifting the toilet seats.

    And in the Weird Food vid, it seemed that you were steadying yourself before you took a sip. Like “bring it on!” or something.

    Keep ’em coming! Can’t wait for the secrets of the bathtub to be revealed!

  68. I am pleased to see that you are thoroughly enjoying yourself.

    The whole idea of a toilet plugged into an outlet that is lower than the toilet water level is quite disturbing.

    But you know, 220, 221, whatever it takes.

  69. Pocari Sweat is famous all over the world because it has an odd name that makes you think you’re drinking someone’s sweat, although this product contains no sweat. What it really is a refreshing sports drink that puts various chemicals back into your body that you lose while sweating. (Pocari comes from the Japanese word pokkari, which means “floating like a cloud”). Now you can enjoy this great drink in powder form. Just add the powder to a liter of cold water and you’re set to go. The most popular sports drink in Japan now available to you!

    Thank you,!

  70. @ Perragrin – Just finished watching the All Blacks v Wales match – and I am literally out of breath! Excellent game! So quick paced, I almost thought it was a league match…lol. (BTW – do you prefer the union or the league game? I like both, but lean towards the union game because that’s the first style I was introduced to).

    About this match – I felt a bit bad for Wales with two players down on the pitch, right before NZ’s first try…it almost seemed unfair, considering. I realize they weren’t life threatening injuries, but still…the one guy had been down for a while, and I couldn’t believe the ref didn’t call stoppage, but instead they all played right over the poor guy…lol. But the AB did dominate the second half – I think no matter what, they were destined to win this one.

    @ sulien – Almost missed you the other day! *hugs* back atcha! 😀

    @ Joe – Any update on Jason, or are you unlikely to hear anything until you get home?


  71. You know, I heard about those toilets…but I thought they were actually kidding…how much energy does their butt massages take up I wonder????

  72. Now that is one fancy toilet! I’d probably be too afraid to actually use that thing.

  73. Hello Joe!
    Looks like you’ve got a few “long time reader, first time posters” coming out of the wood work for your Japanese entries.

    Like James S. said earlier, it’s a character named Auska from It the sort of anime that breaks your brain at the end and expects you to say thank you.

    As for Pocari Sweat, it’s not tooo offensive is it? It’s a bit like Propel, yes? I’m always amused by the “science” behind it. There’s all sorts of propoganda about it having the right specific density, ph and electroylte and mineral balance for rapid absorbtion.

    I know you’ve probably already tried it, but have you tried any Ramune or the ubiquitous Pocky?

    Bit of a random question, but do you watch No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain?

    Anyways, sad about Atlantis but I’m glad you’re keeping busy.

    Thanks for keeping the foodie and Stargate nerd that I am amused with your blog and projects.

  74. This post is going to be somewhat long, I apologize in advance.
    I’m back from the Stargate/Firefly convention that was in Burbank, California this past weekend. Absolutely amazing, one of the best conventions I have attended.
    First up was Dan Shea. He was extremely funny. Almost manic, but funny all the same. He had some great stories, the best one was how they almost set Amanda Tapping on fire. All of his stories ended with how they messed up and the producers clapped their hands and said how brilliant the scene was.
    Next was Alexis Cruz. I didn’t catch all of his panel, but he seemed like someone who really cared about all the work that goes into acting. He hosted a panel on acting, which was probably a cool thing for those who had an itch to get into the field.
    Next was Kavan Smith. There was a great fan-made music video salute to Lorne called “The Lorne Identity” that they showed before he came out. All of the fan-made videos were spectacular. Much better than the ones usually shown by the convention. Kavan had some good stories as well, including one about an R rated Outer Limits episode he was in.
    Then came the one of the two highlights of the convention for me. Jewel Staite was there for the Firefly convention. She is so amazingly gorgeous in person. She had some great stories about her time on Firefly, and a few from Atlantis as well. I had a picture taken with her which was great as well.
    Day two started with Gina Torres at the Firefly convention. She turned the tables by asking the audience a question for every one they asked her. First time I have seen that at a convention.
    Then came the highlight of the convention. The big three on stage. First out was Rachel Luttrell. She was great and very sweet. She sang a song that she likes to sing to her son. She has such a powerful voice, she should really put out a CD of music. At the end of her segment Jason Momoa came out and tried to “drag” her off stage since it was his time to be out.
    Let’s have a huge shout out to Jason. After what happened to him, everyone would have understood if he begged off coming out. He came anyway and was completely off the wall. He had shades on because he was sensative to light and he couldn’t see the fans on the left side of the stage very well. But he was gracious and just plain Ronan at many points when he spoke.
    There were great music videos of Teyla and Ronan. But the best one by far was of Rodney McKay set to the song “Macho Man.” I was unable to stop laughing at the video of Rodney running for his life through the forest firing his gun straight up into the air while hearing “Macho macho man. I want to be a macho man.” David Hewlett was great onstage by himself. He had some great advice for a woman who asked for tips on being an actor. But the best stuff came when the three of them were all on stage together.
    There was more can’t-stop laughing moments from the three of them than I have seen in quite some time. Apparently Jason does a great Sheppard impression, but he wouldn’t do it because he said it would be up online tomorrow. And David got bashed several times for the kiss from Duet. Jason seemed to take great pleasure in wailing away(with words) on poor David. Although there was a story where Jason hit David in the face with a water bottle and Jason was terrified by the look on David’s face. There was just so much chemistry and love between the three of them. It makes it so sad that the show is cancelled, I’m just glad I got to see them in person before the end.
    The last person I saw at the convention was Summer Glau from Firefly and currently staring in the Terminator series. I had seen her at a previous convention but had neglected to get a picture with her, which I remedied this time. She is simply stunning as well. This was one of the most memorable convention I have attended, perhaps even #1. So many great actors and so many great stories. I know a couple posters here attended as well, I hope you had as great a time as I did. Bring Back Atlantis!!!

  75. Mos Burger! Natsukashi ne! Try the vegetarian kinpira gobo (burdock root) burger for a change of pace…

    Weirdest drink I had in Japan was white grape juice. Sounds innocuous, no? I was standing on the train platform drinking it, when what felt like an eyeball rolled into my mouth. WTF?! I wanted to spit it out onto the ground, but didn’t want to offend… so I held this _thing_ in my mouth why slowly deciphering the label: hommono-no furutsu haitte iru… contains real fruit. It was a peeled grape, not an eyeball… whew!

  76. Watch those showers in Asia. It can go from completely normal to insane flood like downpour in under a minute as I believe you witnessed. Does kobe beef really feel as if its melting when your eating it? Hope your having a good time.


  77. Awesome toilet, Joe. I think each button lifts/closes the seat and the cover – depending on what you’d like to use it for. The Japanese sure know how to go in style! I can’t wait for the bath!

  78. YESSSS!!! My craving to learn as much as possible about strange toilets has been satisfied for today. Tomorrow, I might want to see you actually push some buttons, though!!! 😉
    In Europe, aren’t the bidet and toilet separate? It’s gotta be a pretty snazzy toilet that function as both!!!

    Ewww… weird food purchase of the day is weird today. Sweat? Urgh… although it’s probably not all sweat, because that would take forever to collect. And wow I’m thinking about this too much…

    We’re all living vicariously through you, dontcha know, so keep the awesome pictures and videos coming!!! And thanks 😀

  79. Haha, that toilet part was quiet amusing. i figured, the “chinese take out symbols” as you described them, are the buttons for closing, semi-opening or full opening the toilet. they resemble the toilet from the side 😉

  80. Hey Joe, I’m glad your having a blast in Japan, sure looks like fun. 😉

    Do the ratings of these last episodes of SGA really matter? Since there’s no next season to care about, and the next movie is already greenlit, what do the ratings potentially affect? Funding for SGU?

  81. Having now watched the videos, I must say my immediate thought on seeing the toilet was that it should be right up your alley! I mean, how ecologically unfriendly can a toilet get? Not content merely to use water for flushing, as well as requiring electricity to power it! Good lord. I’m a simple girl – a straight-forward (and highly visible) flush button is all I require. (Loo paper doesn’t go astry, too.) Like many other commentors, though, I too have fond memories of sheer terror while trying to figure out how to flush the many and varied toilets of Europe. Operating the taps in the sink wasn’t all that straight-forward, either. It shouldn’t be so damn hard to pee!

  82. Hi there Mr M!

    Hope all is well in Tokyo! What a nice hotel!

    Been off line for a while, so was shocked to hear about Mr Momoa. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Vancouver in April both at the Convention and briefly at the bar. He is a very warm caring and generous man. We swapped stories (and snaps) of our kids. What a great guy! I sincerely hope that he is ok and that the facial injury is not serious. I can only imagine the shock of such an attack. I used to work facial trauma for a brief period in my career, those injuries can be nasty. My wife, and girls along with myself wish him a speedy recovery.

    Next up: TOKYO!! Well, has it changed much in the 2 years since your last trip? Love the TOKYO TOILET TOUR (T3!)

    Finally : Silly Question ALERT!!
    Saw The Prodigal…Fab ep. One silly quesiton though, and forgive me if this sounds nit-picky or indeed if someone else asked this already…When Michael was trying to coax Teyla out…Why didn’t he hit the MUTE button on the self-destruct?? We saw this in Quarantine…
    *Sound of Alan McCullough/Marty G/Carl Binder jumping up and down on spot saying..”See I told you some fan would spot that!!!”*

    Enjoy your trip, it’s great that your posting at a slightly more civilised time for us in Europe!!

    Take care!


  83. Hi, Joe! Hope you are pleasantly eating your way through Tokyo. Stay away from raw eel if you value your life.

    My brother and his wife are fond of All Things Japanese. They have an electric toilet just like the one in your video. The heated seat is especially nice. And I strongly recommend trying ALL of the buttons.

  84. @ babs – My husband would have reacted just like you! He can’t eat certain foods – black cherry ice cream because he says the cherry bits are too crunchy, like eating bugs, and chocolate-covered cherries because he says it’s like biting into eyeballs. The bugs, I get – but how he knows what it’s like to bite an eyeball kinda worries me…

    riley said: “It shouldn’t be so damn hard to pee!”

    I agree!! When I first saw that video, I thought…’but what if you have to throw up? Sometimes you can barely make it in the first place…but with this contraption, you have to read instructions just to get the lid open!’

    No – not for me. And what happens if there is a power failure? Whatdoyado? “MOM!! Neighbor’s on the phone! Dad’s peeing in his flowerbed again!”



  85. Joe,

    For the last five years I’ve supported and defended this show from the people who have complained and protested all the changes. I’ve tried to see the positives in every episode and not focus on the negatives. But I have to admit I’ve reached a point where I can’t do it any longer. It’s become increasingly obvious to me that all the writers care about is writing for Rodney McKay – he’s the favorite so he gets all the character development and the best scenes and plots. All of the other characters have suffered greatly because of this – compared to what we know of Rodney and the character development of him the other characters have nothing. I realize now the only reason we got to see more of Teyla last year was because Rachel got pregnant so the writers had to do something with her character.

    Then we get Brainstorm which only served to prove this because it’s obvious all the writers care about is Rodney getting the girl. The plot of this episode was so stupid I can’t find it within myself to find even one positive thing about it. There’s no reason why Rodney couldn’t have said he was working for a top secret government program and that’s why he hasn’t been able to publish. There’s no reason why Keller couldn’t have at least tried to act like she believed that turning on the device was a bad idea. Rodney standing up and shouting that it was his idea only served to prove to the other scientists that he just wanted the credit. If any other character had been there they’d have been able to stand up with Rodney and say that turning it on was a bad idea. If any other character had been there they’d have pushed Rodney to try and call out for help instead of letting him just try to hack the computer which only made him look bad. Sure Rodney got to save the day in the end and got the girl but at what cost? The other scientists still probably think he only wanted the credit because what’s his name got the credit for saving the day not him.

    After having seen what’s happened this last season with the Rodney and Keller romance being emphasized and other plot ideas sacrificed I have to say I’m glad the series is coming to an end. It’s like the writers don’t even care about the other characters any more. You got Keller who’s the perfect girl for Rodney so that’s all you write for now. The worst part is the more I think about this and what’s happened with the character of Rodney I have to wonder what the show would have been like if he hadn’t been brought to Atlantis in the beginning. I only hope that people don’t end up hating Rodney because of this or resenting David Hewlett for being a part of the show. It’s not his fault the writers got obsessed with idea of writing for Rodney and ran with it because it was so much fun to do…

  86. Hi Joe!

    Ha, my dad was trying to find distribution in the States for those toilets — he has one in his house, and he’s promised me another one when my husband and I buy a permanent home. Having used one of those in Japan (though not as fancy), I hated to go back to the “analog” version. The heated seat is extra nice…

    Also, Pocari Sweat? Come on, I can find that in my local store here. Buy something WEIRD! 😀

    Too bad you don’t have time for a performance at the Kabuki-za. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat during the show, and the kabuki itself is quite amazing. It’s my favorite thing to do when I visit Japan.

  87. To everyone who can’t watch the videos. A reminder to check if your version of FLASH player is up to date. Right click on the video and select about Adobe Flash player 9 and check what version is currently on your computer. The current version is

    Click on the player download center link to get the latest version. It’s located just about the Flash player information table. You need to upgrade for each browser type (Firefox, IE Explorer, etc.)

  88. Thanks for the pics Joe! As for that toilet – wow makes mine look postively old fashioned in comparison! 😛

  89. Just stopping by to say that I loved the vid. with the toilet.
    I’ll write later, once I get sorted.


  90. Joe! Does your toilet seat not heat up?!?! That was the BEST feature of my fancy toilet when I visited Japan. And frankly, I’d be a little afraid of “Massage”.

  91. Oh, and I loved Pocari Sweat. It was the only “Japanese” drink I would buy out of their vending machines. Ooh. Please do a “weird vending machine purchase” video for us. (Unless you already have…I’ve been out of town my own self.)

    Oh and completely random side thought. I lived in Moscow for a few months after college. I recently found out that one of the Russian students that I was friends with over there now lives in London and works for the Japanese company that makes Pocari Sweat. It’s a small world.

  92. Am I the only one who think the toilet bowl looks like a Stargate and the water shooting out it like when you open the Starg…. ahh, never mind.

    I cant wait to see the pictures of the used underwear vending machines and you have to go to the taping of one of those crazy game shows they have…

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