Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spoiled??? Who? Me???

Mama and papa have been adding chicken breast to my food for the past few months. Since we were running low, papa made me some chicken today. First he boiled the chicken, then he tore the breasts into small, bite-sized pieces by hand. As you can see, I was very helpful in supervising him...
After that, he divided them into small, 1 day packets which are frozen and thawed out as needed:

Papa calls me spoiled because I get hand made food and he says that I eat better than him. I doubt it...

We've been having so many problems with Windows Vista lately. It is so user unfriendly...the usage is often counter-intuitive and the only parts that have improved are the parts that Microsoft ripped off from Apple. The world would be a much better place without Microsoft so that everyone would use either Linux (papa uses Ubuntu Linux) or Apple. We especially love how Vista corrupts priceless photos when downloading them from a camera and saving them to an external hard drive. Anyhow, papa is going to upgrade mama's laptop from Vista to XP.

Anyhow, time for a nap. I can't help feeling that I might have fleas or ticks...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Season's Greetings!!!

We hope everyone has a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year! I had a good Christmas this year and got a lot of presents! Mama and papa bought me a few shirts and sweaters, and my aunt in Canada sent me a stuffed animal toy to play with. I love the toy and wouldn't let anyone touch it for the first hour I had it until I broke it in. Anytime papa came near my new toy, I growled at him and then ran away. After all, what's mine is mine...and what's not mine is still mine :-)

I plan to get a lot of sleep over the holidays and spend time with my friends!!!

Papa is off work for 2 weeks now and he promised to take me for long walks and also to dog runs to play with other dogs.

2 days ago, mama's parents came over for turkey. They really like turkey but it is not really a popular dish in Japan. The turkey was 3.5 kg and was almost as big as me. In fact, I was worried that papa would make a mistake and I would end up in the oven.

Last evening, mama and papa went to visit their friends who just bought a new condo nearby. They said the place was really nice (on the 12th floor) and a lot of the furniture was new and looked great. As for me, well, as you can see, I just chilled at home and caught up on my sleep...

Papa has a new hobby. He has started making his own tsukemono. Actually, nukazuke to be exact. It's only been a few da
ys but papa seems very excited about it. He got the nukadoko from his mother-in-law and has already made pickled carrots. Because the nukadoko is new, the carrots were very salty so papa has to adjust the timing. Today he added more carrots and some cucumber. Tomorrow he is planning on adding eggplant and cabbage. I don't think mama believes that papa can take care of the nukadoko because it has to be cared for daily by mixing it to oxygenate the base and keep the nuka-bed ‘live’, meaning that it contains a culture of active single-celled organisms, mostly lactobacilli and yeast. If papa doesn't care for it daily then the nuka-bed can go bad and get moldy.

Here is a fashion show featuring...ME!!!

Sporting a casual velor jacket embroidered with a skull featuring the words "Bone Eater"...

Wearing a knit sweater to keep me warm on those cold Tokyo winter days...

Looking cool in a gangsta style hoodie...hey, you lookin' at me??? I said HEY, YOU LOOKIN' AT ME???

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Love NY...but not in winter...

Papa's back from his business trip to NY. He went to meetings in upstate NY and then stayed for a few days for meetings in Connecticut. Unfortunately, the hotel he stayed at in upstate NY was terrible. Most of the people present couldn't believe that the company would make them stay in that miserable place. There was barely any hot water and some of the windows wouldn't close all the way...not a good thing when it's about zero degrees Celsius outside.

In NY city, he stayed at the Muse Hotel which he said was excellent!!! Every evening between 5pm and 6pm they have a free wine tasting in the lobby. The decor was modern - very similar to a W Hotel. He had dinner last Thursday at Kittichai (beware that this restaurant's site is extremely slow) and Friday at Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central Station. Both restaurants were very good. Kittichai was a Thai/American fusion restaurant with a good wine list and an interesting menu made up of American style dishes with a Thai twist. Cipriani Dolci had a good selection of traditional Italian dishes but, even with a reservation, papa and his friends had to wait 15 minutes.

After dinner on Friday, papa and his colleagues went to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. It was nice to see the tree and the people skating in front of it, but it was so cold that they could only stay for a short time before retreating to the warmth of the hotel. For a Canadian, papa doesn't handle cold weather very well.

Earlier on Friday evening, before dinner, papa and his friend went to see the window displays at Macy's and a few other department stores. They are getting more and more sophisticated.

And finally, a word of warning...never, ever ask papa how his flight was...unless you are ready to get an earful. Usually, papa flies on United Airlines to North America but this time, the flight to and from NY on American Airlines left no doubt in papa's mind why the airline industry in the US is in trouble. On the way to NY from Tokyo, papa was upgraded from business class to first class. Unfortunately, first class on American Airlines is far inferior to economy class on Singapore Airlines (and most other airlines for that matter). The seats were broken and uncomfortable, the so-called entertainment system was pathetic. After choosing from a very limited movie list, you have to request an 8mm video tape from the flight attendant and play it in an archaic system that fades in and out at random. The movie was not clear and often skipped parts in between the static. Papa thinks that as a cost savings measure, AA has its employees go to movie theaters and use video cameras to record the movies for the flights. That fits in with their strategy of using 30 year old technology to play the movies. Such was the quality of the movie. We won't even begin to talk about the "food" on the flights. Papa was so disgusted he said it wasn't even suitable for me...whatever the heck that means...

And if things couldn't get any worse, they certainly did on the way back. Papa didn't get the upgrade to first class so he was in business class where the "food" was even worse. He was told that "dinner" was beef but what they didn't tell him was that the "beef" would have the consistency of chewing gum and the taste of...well...nothing...but papa is very grateful that at least he didn't get food poisoning.

Papa could not believe that any airline, even American, would offer such a poor level of service and such unacceptable facilities. The US based attendants were incredibly rude and abrasive, the food was not even fit for me (apparently), and everything from the seats to the entertainment system was not even close to what one would expect even in economy class. Papa would not recommend American Airlines to transport horse manure let alone people. That was the first and last time papa will ever use American Airlines...what a disaster. How could anyone ever be proud to work there???

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stars in Tokyo

On Monday, the folks at Michelin confirmed what we in Tokyo already knew - that Tokyo is the undisputed culinary capital of the world. With a total of 191 stars, the other major cities don't even come close. 8 restaurants received 3 stars, 25 received 2 stars and 117 received 1 star. By comparison, Paris and London only have 148 stars combined, with New York falling far short with only 42. To be fair, it should be mentioned that Tokyo has over 160,000 restaurants compared to 20,000 in Paris and 23,000 in NY. Of course, that doesn't stop all the critics from whining that Michelin was too generous with stars in Tokyo, but I would wager that the complainers have never been to Tokyo to eat at the city's finest restaurants. One trip to Tokyo would convince even the most die hard critics that Tokyo boasts one of the finest culinary experiences anywhere in the world. Japanese chefs are perfectionists when it comes to food, sourcing the freshest ingredients and completely committed to producing the best dishes possible while paying excruciating detail to presentation.

Mama bought the English and Japanese versions of the Michelin guide today and we weren't surprised to find that many of the restaurants they have been to have at least 1 star. Kyubei, the sushi restaurant which I wrote about a few days ago where papa took mama for her birthday last week, even claimed 1 star!!! Conspicuously absent from the list was Gordon Ramsay's restaurant at the Conrad Hotel where papa took mama for her birthday last year.

Tomorrow is a national holiday in Japan so mama a
nd papa are taking me to see the leaves change colours! On Sunday, papa has to go to NY for a few days on business. He said he's not looking forward to going to NY because it must be so sad and dark there with so few stars... :-)

Last week we went to Yoyogi Park and, as usual, I tried to beat up the big dogs...

...until I came across one who was just about my size (I'm the one on the right...I think...)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy birthday, mama!!!

Today was mama's birthday! Happy birthday, mama!!! Papa came home early and prepared some of mama's favorite foods like gnocchi in a cream and cheese sauce (made from mozzarella, gorgonzola and parmesan), grilled lamb chops and an appetizer of sushi...yes, it was a bit of a strange combination...papa called it Italian/Japanese fusion...whatever the heck that is...

As for me, well, it was a little cold today so I found myself a nice place to relax and just chilled out...
And then played a little soccer (which papa hates...he says it's a wimpy game for people who aren't tough enough for hockey)

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tomorrow is mama's birthday so yesterday, papa took mama out for her birthday dinner to Kyubei in Ginza which is one of the most famous sushi restaurants in Japan. It was founded in 1936 and was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal. Mama and papa said the sushi was excellent and the atmosphere was very relaxed - the chefs were great and the conversation was lively. The owner, Yosuke Imada, even came to greet mama and papa, as well as the other customers. The chefs pay such great attention to detail, ensuring that everything is perfect. It was a great experience...I just wish that dogs were allowed...

As you can see, it's a little cold in Tokyo now but I am hard at work helping papa with my blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We lost...again...

As you can see, I've been following the world volleyball championships these past few weeks. Japan was 6-2 going into today's match against Cuba. Unfortunately, we lost...again...

We won the first set but then lost the next 3. The coach for Japan, Yanagimoto, is one of the worst coaches ever. He is like a tyrant and makes so many errors that it's surprising he is still the coach. Papa thinks he should go to Cuba with the Cuban volleyball team because Yanagimoto has a lot in common with Castro. Yanagimoto runs his team like Castro runs Cuba.

But in all seriousness, it's so unfortunate because Japan has some outstanding players who have a tremendous amount of passion for the game. Too bad they have no leadership. One of Yanagimoto's biggest faults was highlighted today when, inexplicably, he called a time out after Japan had won several consecutive points. By calling the time out, he effectively disrupted the flow of the game when his team had built some momentum and they went on to lose the next point and were never able to recover, losing the last set 25-20. He is one of those coaches who do things automatically without thinking, like when he changes players. He switches certain players in and out according to their position on the court without thinking about the situation of the game. That's just poor, stupid coaching. Every time he made a player change, Japan invariably lost the next point. A great coach is a great leader, motivating the team and adapting to each situation based on experience, constantly refining strategy and bringing out the best from each member of the team. Yanagimoto does the exact opposite...and that's why a great team has become an average team...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bourne Again...

It's been a while since we posted a blog and, as you can see, we are both hard at work. I am the brains behind the blog and papa provides the manual labour (and mama provides the camera...). It's tough work for me but I really enjoy myself.

Today, mama and papa went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. It seems that they really enjoyed it because they keep talking about it. Papa says it was the best one in the series so far, although he really liked The Bourne Identity too, which was the first movie in the Bourne series. The Bourne Ultimatum was great from start to finish with fast-paced action, exciting car chases, and an interesting story line.

I found a new hobby...I love chewing the material on the bottom of the sofa. Unfortunately, mama and papa don't find it very funny and get a little upset with me when I emerge from under the sofa with a mouth full of material. Sometimes I'm a bit afraid to come out so I just hide under there...

On Thursday, mama and papa went out for dinner with 4 friends to the new Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Tokyo. Papa had the 16 oz rib eye and mama had the 8 oz fillet with shrimp. It must have been good because they were pretty happy when they got home...and looked a little fat :-)

Today, November 11, marks the 13th anniversary of papa coming to Japan. He said that time has really gone quickly in the sense that it doesn't seem like he's been here that long, but in another sense, it feels like he has lived 2 lifetimes. Over the next few weeks, he said he would share his thoughts with me about life in Japan so I will keep you all posted...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The 2007 Formula 1 Champion: Kimi Raikkonen

We've been waiting a while, and Kimi Raikkonen finally won the F1 title!!! Way to go, Kimi!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Roots , Rats and Fame

Mama bought me a new training collar and leash today! It even has my name embroidered on it (ROOTS, not HAFFMAN). Green is my favorite colour so that's what mama got for me. The collar is supposed to help me not pull too hard when we go for walks. I tend to pull the leash and try to walk faster than mama and papa which they say is really annoying. Unfortunately, we couldn't go for a walk today due to typhoon number 25. It's pretty windy outside and the rain is coming down really hard. Luckily, I got my exercise today at obedience school. During today's agility class, I had papa sweating pretty hard. I'm pretty good at running through the tunnel and jumping the bars, but I still have trouble with the slalom and see-saw.

Last night we watched Ratatouille. What an excellent movie! It reminded papa of when he worked in a restaurant many years ago. The movie was quite an accurate portrayal of what's it's like working in a kitchen and being in the hospitality industry. There is so much pressure to create original dishes while satisfying the palates of customers. I liked the movie even though papa said that I look like Remy (the main character).

Some time ago, I mentioned that I had a photo shoot to appear in a magazine. The magazine was issued recently and mama and papa appear with me in the photo! They're kind of shy so we edited the photo a little, but it doesn't matter because I'm the main feature anyhow. This issue of the magazine is full of tips for training puppies as well as things to do and not to do with your dog. Since I was a little freaked out by the camera flash during the photo shoot, I only appear in one photo. I think I was supposed to be in 6 or 7 shots playing with toys. It worked out well though because mama and papa got to be in the magazine with me instead of only me playing with toys. I'm on the brink of hitting it big!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Head

When papa came to Japan 13 years ago, Halloween was almost non-existent, except among gaijin. This year, wherever you go there are signs of Halloween. Papa calls me Pumpkin Head now, whatever the heck that means. Mama bought me a cool orange toy that looks like a pumpkin and I love playing with it but papa says it looks like me. Halloween is still a little different in Japan than in North America. Kids here don't really go trick-or-treating to collect candy, but many stores sell Halloween candy and other related products. In any case, I'm not holding my breath for any candy...apparently it's not good for dogs..but I will go trick-or-treating for some tasty chicken snacks! Papa cooked 2 chicken breasts for me today which should last me for 2 weeks.

This morning, we had some work done on the condo. In fact, we had to have the whole living room re-wallpapered. From the beginning, the wallpaper here has been the worst. There have been so many mistakes made by the builder (Tokyu Kensetsu) with respect to the wallpaper. From the first inspection until now, we have had to have the wallpaper fixed 3 times. Papa says it's very shoddy workmanship by people who don't take pride in their work. Anyhow, the whole living room was done today so we'll wait and see how it turns out. It still doesn't look very good but the guy who fixed it said that it will take 2 or 3 days for the wallpaper to set after which it will be fine...papa is very skeptical...

After the wallpapering was done, papa took me to Yoyogi Park for a few hours. There were so many dogs there! In the dog run alone there must have been well over 100 dogs, including about 10 Jack Russell Terrorists! I ran around for almost 2 hours. My favorite trick was annoying dogs that were 5 times my size and then hiding behind papa when the big dogs got angry at me. Papa let me stay in the space reserved for big dogs because the small dog area was full of poodles and other assorted yappy dogs. Besides, I'm not really that I??? I can hold my own with a German long as papa is somewhere nearby.... :-)

Mama couldn't come to the park today because she's not feeling well and has a fever and sore throat. I hope mama gets well soon!!!

Tonight is the final F1 race of the season. Good luck, Kimi Raikkonen!!!

Also, good luck to Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching game 7 of the American League Championship tomorrow! Go Bosox!!! If he needs help, then put me in
- I'm ready!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Easy Game 2

This game is way too easy...56.62 seconds!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Easy Game

Papa's friend posted this easy game on her one was able to do better than 20 seconds but papa said it was child's play and was able to to do 36.939 seconds on his fifth try...this game is too easy...

In case there are disbelievers...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

I am now 1 year old!!! My birthday was on October 11 so we celebrated it today. Mama and papa bought me a lot of treats and toys. At first, I knew they were doing something on the table but I couldn't quite's tough having short legs :-( I tried my best to see what was on the table but to no avail. Finally, Mama and papa let me check out my birthday gifts...Mama bought me a big bag of treats and a birthday cookie with my name on it! I also got a baseball. Papa told me to learn how to play ball and earn a salary like Matsuzaka...whoever the heck he is...

Waiting to eat my birthday cookie! Or at least part of it...apparently I am getting fat...

I had my first agility class today! There were 4 events: jumping, tunnel, see saw and slalom. I was obviously great at all of them...almost...ok, ok, I wasn't really good at most of them...yet! I loved the tunnel and kept running back and forth through it, and I also loved jumping over the bar, but the see saw was a little scary so I didn't quite make it to the top. This training course is 4 weeks long so hopefully I will improve over the next few weeks. Papa is afraid that once I become good at these agility events, I will be able to jump over the barriers he puts up in our house so that I can't get into the places that I am not supposed to go into, especially when mama and papa are not home...and he's right to be worried...hehehe ;-) Today, mama was my handler but she was pretty tired by the end of the class so next time, papa will be my handler and we'll see what the old man has got! When we race at full speed, we are pretty evenly matched now so I am thinking I'll be able to take him soon. He keeps saying that he's in his prime now so we'll see... :-)
We got some of my treats today at a place called Dog Days. There were a few poodles there, and guess what...they were yapping like crazy...have I ever mentioned how much I hate poodles??? Well, I do. The words "urusai" and "yakamashii" were invented for poodles - probably by poodle owners! I can't believe how loud they are!!! I'd rather chew on tin foil while shaving my head with a cheese grater and scraping my nails on a blackboard than listen to yappy poodles...


This is a test post using remote email to my blog...

Saturday, October 6, 2007


We just got back from our 3 day trip to Izu! Izu is one of the most popular resort locations in Japan, located south-west of Tokyo. It took about 3 hours to get there by car (but only 2 and a half hours to get home...papa has a lead foot when returning from a vacation...). We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Shikinokura located just outside of Shimoda. Shimoda is where Commodore Perry and his Black Ships first invaded...oops, I mean "came to" Japan to "negotiate" the opening of Japan and its ports to the US conquerors...oops, I mean US ships. In 1854, the Shogunate and the US signed a "peace treaty", which effectively ended Japan's 250 years of self-imposed isolation.

We got to Izu on Thursday afternoon and went to a place called Kawazu Bagatelle Park before checking into the hotel. It looks nicer in the photos than it actually was, and at 1,000 yen per person just for the entrance charge, it was a true rip-off. There were a whole bunch of roses (which I would rather eat than look at...), and not a whole lot else...unless you count the 50 or so gardeners...there were about 5 gardeners to each visitor to the wonder it was 1,000 yen to get in. Next time I want to see roses, I'll go to the local flower shop...

After the rose park, we went to check into the Hotel Shikinokura. We got a room with a really great view of the ocean! The hotel has an Italian restaurant, a roof top dog run, a nice deck and another dog run in the forest! The staff there were extremely friendly and and the hotel was really clean. I definitely want to go back there again. We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. The first night, every time I heard a noise, I would bark and make a lot of noise to protect mama and papa from strangers. I woke them up every 1 hour to make sure that they were safe. By the second night, I didn't start barking until 5am to let mama and papa relax for some extra time before waking them up. Papa was so happy at my ability as a guard dog. He kept saying, "thank you, Roots!!! Now shut the f%#$ up and go to sleep!!!"...whatever the heck that means...

The first day we got to the hotel, the staff told mama and papa that there was an onsen (hot spring) for dogs. Mama and papa took me there but I wasn't too impressed...until I saw all the toys! Papa found a ball and threw it into the onsen and, not knowing any better, I jumped after it. Was I ever surprised!!! It was my first time swimming. I jumped after the ball thinking that I was going to land on a hard surface, but instead I sank into the water and had to swim for the first time in my life :-( Papa said my eyes were as big as grapefruits when I found that I was in water instead of on the ground. Mama told papa to help me but papa was too busy laughing to help me so I immediately dog-paddled for the side of the pool and jumped out as fast as I could. Not a fun moment. Luckily, papa put a life jacket on me for my next foray into the water and I was able to almost enjoy swimming...almost...

On Friday, we went to the beach. The weather was perfect. About 26 degrees and sunny. The waves were breaking nicely and papa wished he knew how to surf (and that he actually had a surf board so he could try...). There were a bunch of surfers and we were wondering what they did for a living other than surf and spend time at the beach. Don't they work??? Then again, mama, papa and me were at the beach on a Friday morning so I guess we should give them the benefit of the doubt. The water was cool and felt so refreshing. It was my second time in the ocean and now I think that I'd love to live near the beach! The sound of waves breaking is one of the sweetest sounds in the world. The air was so clean and fresh, especially after the smog that we call air in Tokyo.

We went to a place called Dogs Garden Biwanoki after the beach. I met a new friend named Potato. She was fun to play with but she kept taking my frisbee from me. She was quite good at evading me and I wasn't able to get my frisbee back until her papa got it for me. Papa says I am a loser because I was defeated by a, I hate poodles...

Here are a few more highlights of my first time to Izu:

You ever get the feeling that someone's watching you?

My special vacation dinner on Friday! Beef, potatoes, zucchini and pumpkin!!!

The Spanish run with the bulls...I run with the poodles...poodles are more dangerous (and yappy!). We went to Izu Dogland on the way home. Check out this cool dawg!!!

OK, OK, who let the horse into the dog playground??? He was actually a Great Dane...and he only weighs about 13 times what I weigh... I thought I was risking my life playing with him but he was actually very nice to me. By the way, what does "pint sized" mean?

Home at last!!! Nothing like returning from an adventure and sleeping with a watermelon as a pillow!!!

Oyasumi Nasai!!!