The second issue of my comic book series, Dark Matter, hit the shelves today.  Did you pick up your copy?  Have you read it yet?  If so, what did you think?  Were you shocked by the surprise ending or did you see it coming?  Do tell?


1. Do not eat chocolate in bed unless you are washing the sheets.

2. Japanese mustard is NOT the same thing as Western mustard.  It is actually closer to wasabi paste, with an explosive, sinus-clearing, eye-tearing, throat-constricting kick waiting to surprise anyone stupid enough to pop some into his mouth.

3. If I sample something while shopping, fifty percent of the time I will buy the product.  As a result, I should avoid sampling.

4. The Japanese like their paper currency in pristine condition – crispy and clear as if it just came off the printing press.  I have no idea where all the old, folded money goes.

5. Most Japanese women can be quite shy and unassuming – unless they happen to be bathroom attendants in which case they’ll brazenly stroll into the men’s room and refill the soap dispenser unruffled by the guys lined up at the urinals.

Well, it seems I spoke to soon.  Akemi is only halfway to getting her permanent residency.  Apparently, the second part of the process has yet to be completed: final approval on the part of the embassy in Tokyo.  And that could take another 6 months.  So, positive news but the wait continues…

We were scheduled for a late 3:30 departure on the shuttle bus to Narita (for our 19:10 flight to Vancouver) and, despite having a half day to work with, Akemi felt she needed most of the time to pack and shower (after stocking up necessities like okonomiyaki sauce and dried seaweed).  And so, rather than go out for lunch, we stayed in and enjoyed a few items from the Mitsukoshi basement food shops…

Akemi had a fruit sandwich from the little fruit shop near Chuo Dori.
I had the Maisen katsu sandwich that was surprisingly crispy and moist with a hint of sweetness delivered by the accompanying Maisen sauce.
I also had some shishito tempura (love these tiny Japanese peppers).

I also had a yube and broccoli and mushroom and Japanese sweet potato and lotus root salad – and a chocolate cornet for dessert.  And –

This ultra-rich and decadent dark chocolate creation from Frederic Cassel.

Some final images from my Tokyo trip:

Banana dispenser in one of the Tokyo subway stations. When a Coke just won't do it.
Don't know what she's selling, but I'm buying!
Don't know what she's selling either, but I'm also buying. As long as it's not the hat.
Mmmmmm. Collon cream.
Apparently, some of the supermarkets offer a handy sweetness scale for fruit.
Also - want to know where your produce comes from? Well, in this case, meet the farmer who grew the crop you're about to purchase.
I wonder what spurred them to erect guardrails on the subway platforms. Too many drunken salarymen ending up on the tracks?
Riding the subway
I prepare to eat my crispy pork sandwich before passing through security in the however unlikely event they choose to confiscate my dinner.
And my Hattendo cream bun too.
The underground shortcut to Gate 43.

Back home and exhausted…

43 thoughts on “February 8, 2012: Tokyo Day #13! The Longer Longest Day! And Dark Matter #2 hits the stands!

  1. Japanese mustard sea story!

    Outside the Main Gate in Yokosuka was a little hot dog stand. They sold hot dogs on a stick, and corn dogs. Just a tiny sliding window in a wall, with a tiny ledge. Probably other foods too, but I never noticed. A corn dog on a stick is just the thing to bridge the early evening drinking in the Club Alliance on base, to going out to the many small bars on Honcho Dori. Good greasy food to protect the belly!
    Friday night, a group of us sailors from the ET shop were out on the town, We’d had Happy Hour in Club A and were ready to hit the Honch. Corn dogs first, of course. The stand had two huge jars of condiments, ketchup and mustard. You were supposed to use the spoons to dip it out, but it wasn’t uncommon to just dip the dog. We’d all been drinking enough that our blood alcohol content would kill any germs.
    We adorned our dogs with ketchup and a little mustard. Nasty (real name, Natchske), the young stud, dipped his corndog into the mustard, all the way down to the stick. He then tilted his head back and tried to bite the whole thing off the stick. Show off. Ah, but then the mustard kicked in and the fireworks began. He turned red, he turned purple. I swear, steam shot out his ears. To give Nasty credit, he did not puke. But we had money on it almost immediately. I won.
    Nasty never ate another corn dog. Ever.

  2. So glad you are home safe and sound! I am sure the dogs were ecstatic to have you there.
    Hopefully the Tokyo embassy won’t take the full 6 mos (one can dream about efficient bureaucracy, no?).
    I hope the sales clear out the shelves faster than last time even!

  3. Welcome HOME Joe and Akemi! I bet the furry gang was pleased to see you. Something tells me there were lots of tail wags, sloppy kisses and wet nose rubs.
    When my cats are in the mood, I too receive such sugar. Although when accompanied by flexing claws (their ecstasy), against my unprotected skin, well, ouchies.

    Bummer about the residency issue. Dealing with bureaucracy can be such an aching burden.

    I am impressed by the photos of spotless subways. NYC could take a lesson. You see, I can say that because I was born and raised in NY, though am now in NJ. Nice to see you in some photos, not always the photographer.

    What do you think of the new TV show Grimm?

    G’night and again, welcome home.
    0 0
    = ^=

  4. Joe and Akemi

    Thanks for taking us all on a trip to Tokyo. Think of all the money that you have saved all of us.

    Give the pack a cuddle from me.



  5. 1. Suuuuuuure it was chocolate. Whatever you say, Joey, whatever. you. say.

    Hmmmm…was this perhaps after you ate that raw chicken? 😉

    2. In the West they call it Colman’s. So says my Brit pal, Simon.

    3. Ya know, the way you go on about those salesladies, I’m surprised you’re not coming back home with a dozen barely-legal Japanese girls packed away in your suitcase. Ya ol’ perv, you. 😉

    4. Where has all the money gone, long time passing?
    Where has all the money gone, long time ago?
    Where has all the money gone?
    Forgetful tourists took it home.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Hey, Joey…check yer pockets!

    5. Face it, Joe…they just wanted to find out if the rumors about Italian men were true. Did you notice if they peeked or not? If so, did they snicker? Worse yet…did they squint?



  6. Wow, that didn’t seem like a very long trip, but welcome back! I’m sure the dogs are thrilled to see you.

    About the permanent residency status…. once the embassy in Tokyo gives the final approval (and I’m sure they will), doesn’t Akemi have to stay in Canada for a certain period of time? If you decide to move to Japan, won’t she lose the PR? I would hate for her to lose it, so just be sure you know what the rules are before you make any big decisions about moving.

  7. I don’t think that I will ever have the opportunity to travel to Japan, so many thanks again for taking me and us with you. Sleep….

  8. Wow, those buns are HUGE! The cream buns, I mean.

    Anyway, great to hear you made it back safe and sound. How did the dogs respond? (I’m hoping for video…) How’s the jet lag? I always find traveling East much worse for that.

    As for Dark Matter #2, I’ve got it downloaded from the Dark Horse site, but haven’t read it yet. (Just about to, though.)

    Thanks so much for including us on your trip to Tokyo!

  9. I’m attempting to find Dark Matter via the Dark Horse iPad app, but for some reason the app isn’t showing any Dark Matter issues at all — nor ANY recent releases, for that matter (nothing that’s come out since about a couple months ago). I may have to trash the application and reinstall it or something when I get some time. So bear with me. And no spoilers, please!

  10. Just finished Dark Matter 2! Interesting ending! I did not see that coming at all. Oh, and that kid is rather creepy.

  11. So I didn’t make the same mistake as last month, and picked up the last copy of Dark Matter that my local shop had. I love the surprise, and I don’t want to have to wait a month til the next issue! The sneak previews you’re sure to post will help though! Nice work!

  12. Welcome home, Joe and Akemi!

    Haven’t read volume 2 yet. I just got an email from TFAW that volume 2 of Dark Matter shipped today! Hurrah!

  13. I love the picture of you and Akemi riding the subway. Must be your big smile and the beautiful girl hanging on your arm. So cute! Didn’t hear you mention any knife weilding dark men chasing you through the subway in your dreams this year. I guess ninja Akemi protected and took care of you and those dreams went away. Sounds like you ate your way from the hotel onto the plane. Welcome home.

  14. Bon Voyage and welcome home…or in the language of Hawaii –

    Cool concept of vending machines and fresh fruit.

    As others have said – thanks for taking us along, it is always a pleasure to travel with you and Akemi.

    YES….please, vids of the kiddies on your return.
    now to go look for food…

  15. So happy to see your remaining Japan photos…always a treat to see them. Love the final shot at the airport. It was quite a trip. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are home safe and sound. How did the pups do while you were gone?

  16. 4. The Japanese like their paper currency in pristine condition – crispy and clear as if it just came off the printing press. I have no idea where all the old, folded money goes.
    i knew that from the bboards. many countries (mostly in asia, it seems) won’t take paper currency unless it’s nearly perfect.

    BTW; you’ve been going over there for years & just now found this out?

  17. Joe, Welcome Home! It sounds like you had a great time and a good emotional rest. I am glad you did. I am just curious: what do you like to do on the plane? Are you able to sleep any? On such a long flight, how do you pass the time? Any tips you can give to help me on my next flight? What do you do in the airport to pass the time? I am never able to sleep, no matter how tired I am, no matter how comfortable I can try to get. I even take sleep medication and then sleep an hour at most. any tips on getting over jet lag?

  18. Read Dark Matter #2….Great comic! Even better than the 1st issue. Like gforce, I did not see that ending coming. Can’t wait for issue #3!

  19. Congrats on the 2nd issue.


    Guard rails. Good. Platforms can get crowded. Crowds get pushy.
    Banana dispenser. I’m all for it.
    Sweetness scale. Yeeesssss!
    Look the farmer in the eye. Can’t hurt.
    Strawberry sandwich. No. You can’t. You just can’t.

  20. Hey, Joe!

    Glad you guys made it back safe & sound. Hopefully the reverse jet-lag will wear off quickly.

  21. Okaeri nasai or now it is welcome home! 🙂

    I really need to get myself paypal for all the stuff coming from abroad that I want to order…

  22. Welcome home! I’m ordering the second issue today. The pictures where great! That cream bun looks delicious.

    JeffW: yes, I grew up with addicts and learned early that they will sell out anyone to get what they want.
    Hubby ordered Cooking with Coolio for me yesterday, yay!

  23. Welcome home Joe and Akemi! Thanks for the ride along trip to Japan. Quite the experience. You were so generous with your time to share with all of us. So… THANK YOU!

  24. Cream Collon?? Good gawd…that sounds awful. >.< Too many horrible images come to mind. 😛 Though…those shishito tempura looks yummy! And…that dark chocolate brick thing just made me drool. 🙂

    Congrats on Dark Matter! 🙂 I gotta check it out!

    Joe…I'm the same way when it comes to shopping especially when it comes to shoes. I have to be very careful when it comes shoe stores. If I have to walk by a shoe store I have fight myself to resist to go in, because I know I'll come out with a pair or two.

    Akemi…good luck on your permanant residency in Canada. I hope all goes well for you. 🙂

  25. I think the lady with the mouse ears is selling knock knock jokes. Are you sure that isn’t the shortcute gateway to Gattaca? Cool pic, very futuristic. Love how future-shockish Tokyo is. Have a safe trip and plot that next trip back by all means.

    I’m going to hunt down Japanse mustard; I think it will be perfect for braising meat. I’ve been using regular yellow mustard to bake super tender juicy pork cutlets and chicken. Does it stay hot even after you cook with it or does the punch settle down to a nick little kick?

  26. PS Sorry for the typos; I meant Japanese mustard. Can you catch dyslexia like the flu?

  27. Welcome back home, you two. Thanks for bringing us with you on your trip. Congratulations on Dark Matter #2!

  28. Welcome back. Boy, that was fast! Thanks a bunch for sharing your travels. It was very enjoyable and makes me want to go to Japan even more – not that I will ever get there tho.

    I can imagine your homecoming from the dogs 😀

    Going to see Mystere tonight for my birthday. Whoohoo! First Cirq. show for me. And it’s all new – they just revamped it. Hope it’s better than the movie you watched a few days ago 😛

  29. Welcome home, glad you had a safe trip. But just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t do more weird food purchases. I miss Carl and Rob and the rest of the gang participating in that.

    I just ordered the first book of Dark Matter.I am still trying to catch up on things. I am looking forward to a good read.

    And if anyone is interested in some new music… my buddies at Orange Avenue are releasing their 3rd CD on the 22!!! You can pre- order on iTunes and if you contact them thru Twitter or FB and let them know you pre-ordered they have a freebie for ya! And anyone in the Orlando area, they will be at the Plaza – Live Theater downtown partying releasing the new CD!

    Sorry Joe – a little plug for my band.
    Glad you’re home. Akem, all the best on your residency.

  30. I’m downloading Dark Matter now!
    Without Max there life will be different. Sending hugs.

  31. Gateworld reported that MGM has secured another 500 million $ and is looking into new productions. What do you think? Any chance they’ll dig out those Stargate movies again?
    My guess would be that with at least Robert Carlyle occupied with Once Upon A Time (great, especially his show – he’s such a great actor) it would be hard to revive SGU as a series, but do you think there might be a chance for those movies with MGM being more securely financed now?
    Maybe they could corpoduce with Netflix as someone said in a comment yesterday ^^

  32. Home again, home again, jiggety jog.
    To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
    Home again, home again, market is done.

    ~from The Classic Mother Goose

    Welcome back, Joe and Akemi. Hugs and cuddles to the doggie kidz.

  33. @maggiemayday: You tell the best stories!

    @Joe: my local Japanese market has a bakery (Pastry House Hippo) that sells great cream buns. Now I have a craving and will have to go get a coffee cream bun. Mmmmmmmmm. But I can’t go until Sunday. Sad bunny.

    Now I have to go back to work for a 4 hour evening meeting. What fun. Bye!

  34. @ Susan Malcolm – My buddy Simon brought me Colmans when he visited back in October. We have it here in the States, but I never tried it before. It does have a bite! I’m addicted to the stuff now. 🙂


  35. If you happen to one day think of a way to revive stargate, will you try to work on it and convince studios to do it or have you totally abandoned any thought of continuing the franchise? its understandable if you did of course. Though I know you believe it will one day be back in the future in some form in someone else’s hands but that doesnt have to be the case.

  36. I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and am just now catching up on the blog.
    I’m so sorry about Maximus, Joe. I know nothing really helps ease the grief, but you gave him the best home any dog could ask for.

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