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Josh Totman 's blog
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Josh is a simple man. Normally either in the kitchen cooking up a tasty meal or watching the latest anime that not too many people like. Being more of the old timer of the group. He has now been watching, collecting, and consuming anime since 1994. He now resides in Washington state, since moving from the cold tundra of Alaska. Where, at one point, started an anime convention up there that ran for three years before shutting down. Before that, he also had an online anime store that he tried starting up on eBay. Other then that, he tries to do whatever he can to help the anime industry by trying to relearn the written English language for reviews and articles. English is his second language, he is still trying to find his first.

Boy, it feels like forever since I have written anything for the site. First off I'd like to say that I have been doing fine, for the most part, since my departure. I'm happy to see that the site is thriving so much with all the new writers and readers! Sure do miss you guys...

Anyways, I'd like to take the chance to tell you that I'll be having a food/snack/cooking panel at Sakura-Con again with the up and coming cooking talent AK Pirate Prince from Cooking with Sanji. We will be going over a couple of dishes on how to make them, how they taste, and other ways of making them. Along with that, I'll be talking a bit about some interesting Japanese snacks that I have come across with examples.

If you're good and tell me that you're a fan of Japanator, I might sneak you some thank you snacks when the panel is over.

Saturday, April 19th @ 
3:15 pm
Room 4C-4 (4th floor)

[font=Helvetica, Arial, lucida grande, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif](Times and room subject to change without notice)[/font]

Josh Totman
12:26 AM on 12.26.2011

Ah the holiday season. Time for parties, food, gifts, family, and drinking.....lots of drinking. Which brings me to my next drama. When you go to a bar, who is your best friend? The Bartender. He is the one that will be taking care of you there. Mixing your drinks to your liking. Being a friendly ear. Offering advise on what is troubling you. A good Bartender is a good well rounded person. Now I know that some of you the browse this site are either too young to drink or don't drink for whatever reason you have. For the young, there are plenty of life lessons that you can learn from this series. Just ignore the alcohol parts for now. The people that don't drink, you should watch and learn how mixing some simple alcohol can move just about anybody without the need for getting drunk. Also for those people out there that say that they just don't like the taste of alcohol, please keep trying. To me there is a alcoholic beverage for everyone out there. Take me for example. I can not stand 99% of the wine that is out there. I can smell the separation of alcohol and the grapes. Which will only make me smell and taste rubbing alcohol. But that does not deter me from trying any wine that is put in front of me. I have been able to find some that are drinkable to me. All I am trying to say is try drinking alcohol for the refined taste of it. Not for the memory loss inducing properties.

Now I'm getting thirty. So belly up to the bar. Time to review Bartender!

Year: 2011
Genre: Drama, Drinking
Episodes: 8

The story revolves around Sasakura Ryu. Played by Aiba Masaki from the band Arashi. Sasakura was one of the best bartenders in the world. A rising star in a sense. When one day he makes a small error and is fired by his mentor. Feeling down, he quits bar tending and goes back to Japan. He is then tracked down my a magazine writer, Kurushira Miwa. Who wants to know why he left bar tending and to get him to work for her grandfather. Her grandfather owns luxury hotels in Tokyo and wants to find the right bartender for his newest one. What he wants is for one of the competing bartenders to make the Glass of God. You'll learn more on that as the show goes on. Sasakura while trying to find out what it means to be a true bartender helps others along the way. He also helps in other ways too. As you will see.

The story as a whole is pretty solid. Not too much weirdness or why did they put that in there moments. As of the characters, most seem a little flat overall. Some of the main cast you will care about but the other side characters are pretty forgettable. Most don't last but the one episode. Then there is Sasakura's rival. Kuzuhara Ryuichi. Who just oozes evil. Right down to his haircut. He is a man that strives for perfection in every glass he serves. That's why they call him Mr. Perfect.

The only real bad thing I can say about it is that some may be turned off just by it being about bar tending. If you are interested in such thing then this will be something that you might enjoy. Characters, like I said, are a little flat. I cared about some but not most. This might be because of the low episode count. We don't really have enough time to keep the main story going and give everyone a good back story. It does pace itself well for eight episodes. To me, it's a nice short series with really pretty drinks.

Overall the real thing that I walked away with is a desire to mix cocktails. It was nice to watch and did enjoy it, but now I need to find a cocktail book and find the nearest liquor store and buy them out. Cocktails, anyone? Cheers!!

Well it was bound to happen. Might as well get it out of the way. Now I will be giving this series huge compliments because this is one of my favorite j-dramas of all time. I'll try and keep it low thou. No promises. None what's so ever....comments are fair game. You have been warned. Moving along, this drama was a huge production. With a very large cast, props, locations, and many many hours of filming to create this series. I don't know off hand of many others that was larger in the overall sense. It seems to me that everyone on the cast gave it there all when portraying their characters. But hey, what do I know. I'm not a Japanese acting critic. I just know what I like and I like this. Let's dig a little deeper on why this series is so beloved by everyone.

Say it with me! Densha Otoko!! KITA!!!!!

Year: 2005
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Otaku
Episodes: 11 +SP

This is a pretty simple story. Boy Otaku saves beautiful woman on the train from a drunken old guy by getting his butt kicked. Boy falls for girl. Boy goes on 2ch for help. Boy slightly gets girl then loses her. Girl and Boy make up. Then lose again over something small. 2ch helps. Gets Girl back to lose her again. 2ch helps more. Boy gets girl again and so on and so on. You get the idea. So let's meet the two main characters. Ito Misaki as Aoyama and Ito Atsushi as Yamada (densha otoko)

Getting into the main two of this show. I found them very loveable. Misaki's Aoyama so sweet and innocent and caring. It just makes you want to smile at her for no reason. Atsushi's Yamada is, what I am guessing, is a pretty spot on interpretation of what a Otaku is in Japan. Dorky, excitable, under fashioned, creepy, not being able to understand woman at all, and willing to go to great lengths for their hobby. Oh, and they also go to maid cafes.

One of my most favorite things about this series was the way it was able to bring a forum to life. The direction they take was brilliant. It made you feel for each and everyone that was posting. You got to see reaction, emphasis on the post, and understand more of where they were coming from. One thing I will give away is how they did it. The order that they did everything was to record the audio first and then have the actors play it up while their dub was playing. All 35 of them.

Sometimes I do think that there might of been too many characters in the series as a whole. But looking back they all had their place. When the forum parts come up in the series some might get turned off by it because of the quick pace. It can be hard to keep up with for some. Also why was there women on the single guys rant forums anyways? That's about all the bad I can come up with or anything that would be too annoying for some. Ok, his room is too mecha for my taste.

I can't recommend this show enough for anyone that might of missed it. It has a bit of everything. Comedy, drama, love, Otaku references, Otakus everywhere, people almost dieing by standing out in the rain (you'll understand this one more when you watch more j-dramas. Japanese + Rain = Almost Death), heart, creepiness, and much more! After you finish the series, make sure that you watch the special. It looks at the series from more of the forums view of things. It was a really nice change up. So I am going to leave you now to go watch this wonderful show. But not after this.

Moe~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ...........don't judge me.........

From time to time I really enjoy a good J-drama. It's a good chance to take a break from all the anime watching. Finding a good J-drama, well, it can be tough. Most of the time the synopsis is usually junk and any review on the site you find it on will mainly be "OMG I heart this show so much!!!!!". This is where I hope to come into play and give you a more honest opinion. Now yes, all the shows I will be putting up here are good ones to my eyes but I will not write a review that way. I'll be mainly writing about what's it's about, the good points, bad points, and who I believe will enjoy this.

I think J-dramas need some more love. Don't you agree?

First up.....Akihabara@DEEP.

Year: 2006
Genre: Action, Comedy, Otaku
Episodes: 11

This is a story of six otaku. Page, Box, Taiko, Izm, Akira, and Daruma. They come together under the guidance of Yui. Their online guidance counselor so to speak. After they are brought together by Yui something unthinkable happens. Now our group comes together to create Akihabara@DEEP. A problem solving service to Akihabara. No case is too big or small for this group to solve to save the place that they and all Otaku love.

Actually there is more to it then that. There is a continuing story going on the whole time through the show. What happened to Yui and why is this Gundam Otaku, president of Digital Capital, trying to destroy Akihabara? Well, that's something I can't tell you or even go into without giving something away. So here is a picture of Yui.

Let's get into some good points of the show. For one, the characters. Each of them is lovable in their own special way. From Page's stuttering to Daruma's cosplay antics. It's all fun in a creepy sort of way. They do come together to make one sweet Otaku headquarters.

Also all the anime references. If your an avid Otaku then you will pick up on lots of it right away. It's a nice blast from the past moment is some instances. Another aspect that I enjoyed was that they would always meet up in a maid cafe. That Akira works at mind you. Hell, they even have a maid battle episode! Joy! The whole thing come in to a nice Otaku package that most should enjoy.

If you are not an Otaku or just a generally not into J-dramas in general. I would say skip this one. There are loads of references in here that if you don't get you will get bored pretty easy. There is not enough of a deep story happening here to keep you interested. Unless you like this.

All in all it's a fun little show that has a meaningful back story throughout the show. It's aimed for the hardcore Otaku. Personally I enjoyed the show for what it is. It's not a masterpiece by any means. It's a fun little romp down Akihabara lane.

Rating: 6 out of 10

No I didn't make a portal cake. It's a lie. Anyways, I just wanted to give you guys and gals on here a heads up that I am staging a comeback soon! Just need to get settled more in my new place in FW, Washington. New recipes will be coming sometime in the near future and I will also be working on a cookbook as well. On top of that, if everything works out, I'll be hosting a Japanese food panel at Sakura-con 2012 in Seattle.

So fear not hungry otaku! I shall return to the kitchen!
Eat and enjoy! Dozo!

I try to keep with finding more traditional dishes for my writings. Something easy to make and is very good for you. Comforting. When I came across a recipe that can be called "Mother's Specialty" well you can't get more comforting then that can you? In a nut shell it is vegetable beef stew, chunky style. Large cuts of vegetables and bit size pieces of meat in a simple soy broth. This dish is hardy enough to have in the dead of winter, but still feels light enough to be eaten during the summer. Like when you are feeling a little under the weather. It's also easy to pair it with rice as a side dish. I wouldn't recommend it on top of rice. The broth will be way too overpowering for that. Also it's a little sweet. You could also save the broth for some udon or soba noodles. That would be pretty good!

Enough of me gabbing. Get your pot out. Time to make some Niku Jyaga!

Lets gather our ingredients:
1 lb. Top Round Steak (any steak would do)
1 Lg. Onion
1 Lg. Carrot
1 lb. Baby Potatoes
3/4 C. Frozen Peas
1 Tbls. Sugar
1 Tbls. Mirin
1 Tbls. Sake
5 Tbls. Soy Sauce

Prep time! Wash the potatoes and cut them in half or more if they are a big baby potatoes. Put into a bowl of cold water. Slice the carrot into rounds and the onion into strips. Then cut the beef into bit size strips. Remember to cut the beef against the grain to get more tender beef.

Add some oil to the pot and saute the onions and beef. Cook till there is no pink left.

Add in your potatoes with a little more oil onto of them. Let cook for about a minute to let the oil soak in. Then add in you carrots.

Pour in enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in the sugar, mirin, soy, sake broth. Cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Take a potato out and check it's doneness. If it's cooked you are good to go!

Ladle out some in a bowl. Don't forget to put a little broth in at the bottom. It is a little powerful for a soup broth. So tread lightly.

Serve with rice or as is. This will make enough for about four people with rice. Two without.
Eat and enjoy! Dozo!

Also if you have a Facebook account make sure you like my Cooking Otaku fan page!!