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Fast food news, reviews, and discussion

2008.06.15 19:41 Fast food news, reviews, and discussion

The /FastFood subreddit is for news, reviews, and discussions of fast food (aka quick-service), fast casual, and casual restaurants -- covering everything fast food from multinational chains, regional and local chains, independent and chain cafeterias and all-you-can-eat restaurants, independent and chain diners, independent hole-in-the-wall restaurants, convenience store and gas station prepared food, food trucks and food carts, the neighborhood taqueria, street vendors, etc.

2023.06.02 03:41 harry-jg Best VPN for Bard AI

In a world gripped by the fever of AI, tech behemoths are scrambling to unleash their latest chatbot brainchildren. In this mad dash, Google declared its entrant in the race, Bard, in the sprouting days of March 2023. A mere two months later, Bard started its digital tour, gallivanting across a whopping 180 regions. However, a slight snafu occurred in the grand plan – European nations were nowhere to be found on Bard's travel itinerary. Every EU dweller hoping for a tête-à-tête with Bard would instead receive the digital equivalent of a "Sorry, we're closed" sign: “Bard isn’t currently supported in your country.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the silver lining here is the ease with which one can invite Bard into the EU. Google plays Sherlock Holmes, investigating your IP address to discern if you're browsing from an EU country. So, with the right digital props, you can impersonate an IP address from an approved location, tearing down Bard’s regional walls as easily as one might tear a page from a book.
Enter stage left: Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. These services have the magical ability to convince Google you're sunning yourself on a beach in Miami, not trudging through snow in Stockholm. Not just a one-trick pony, VPNs also encrypt your online activities, turning them into unintelligible gibberish to any nosy parkers or the too-helpful owners of your favorite cafe's Wi-Fi. This guide is your backstage pass, your secret map, your golden ticket to getting access to Bard within the EU.
The Great Bard Caper: Tricking Google's Chatbot into Thinking You're Anywhere But Here
Want to invite Bard into your digital living room regardless of where you're sipping your coffee in the real world? Here's a simple step-by-step choreography to the Bard dance:
First things first, cast a discerning eye over the VPN market and select a service that values your security as much as a squirrel values acorn. NordVPN frequently stars in our recommendations, but you're the director of this little performance.
With your chosen VPN in hand, proceed to download, install, and log in. It's a bit like getting the key to a secret clubhouse, only this clubhouse allows you to be anywhere in the world at the click of a button.
Next, choose a server from your home country (or whatever non-EU location is nearest). It's like choosing a costume for a masquerade ball – you want to pick something that conceals your identity, but doesn't make you stand out too much.
By doing this, you'll be switching your IP address and thereby pulling the wool over Google's eyes, who would otherwise deduce that you're beyond the boundaries of Bard's jurisdiction.
Last but not least, waltz on over to Bard’s website. As soon as you accept the terms of use, you should be able to chat away with Bard as freely as a kid discussing his superhero aspirations. And there you have it, a magical, yet practical guide to using Bard from wherever your heart, or rather your physical self, is located.
Playing hide-and-seek with Google's Bard from some sun-soaked piazza in Europe? Let NordVPN step into the role of your savvy accomplice. Boasting servers in a not-too-shabby 60 countries, some even pulling the late shift to dodge the stringent barricades of online blocking, this is the VPN equivalent of a digital Houdini.
Not only does it take the top podium spot in the sprint race of VPNs, posting a cheetah-esque average speed of 190 Mbps in our stopwatch trials, but NordVPN also juggles a laundry list of streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+. Plus, it's got a heart big enough to secure up to six of your devices simultaneously. And should you ever find yourself in a pickle, NordVPN has round-the-clock customer support standing by like a digital cavalry.
A VPN's raison d'etre is to make your online activities as clandestine as a classified operation. NordVPN rises to the challenge with a potent mix of encryption that would put Fort Knox to shame, an array of digital shields like leak protection and a kill switch, and a no-logs policy as stern as a Victorian headmaster. True, it stashes away advertising IDs on mobile gadgets, but it kindly gives you a cheat sheet on how to wipe them clean. Toss in some fancier gizmos like Onion over VPN servers, automatic tracker-blocking, and a MeshNet tool for securely linking your devices even if they're scattered across different continents, and you've got yourself a swanky VPN package.
No matter your device's operating system - Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android, or iOS - NordVPN has an app for it. And for those wielding a router, it's got a manual setup guide to turn it into a NordVPN conduit. All in all, NordVPN is like a digital chameleon, helping you blend into the online world while you enjoy your chat with Bard from wherever you might be.
In the aquatic realm of the VPN universe, Surfshark swishes its digital tail among an impressive crowd of 3,000+ servers, dotting the map in 100 countries, many of them lounging comfortably outside the EU's borders. Unlike many of its compatriots in the digital ocean, this service boasts a swanky resume of geo-blocked platforms it has conquered: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, to name a few. So, the challenge of sneaking into Bard's restricted zone is about as difficult as eating a piece of cake for Surfshark.
Blessed with Olympian speeds and an open-door policy for the number of devices you can connect (an online cornucopia, if you will), Surfshark is the perfect digital wingman for families who have a thing for streaming. And with a customer support crew buzzing with activity 24/7, you're never more than a few clicks away from your digital life-raft.
Surfshark is a veritable digital fortress when it comes to safeguarding your data, equipped with encryption that would give Alan Turing a run for his money, a kill switch that would make MI6 proud, and leak protection that is about as watertight as the Titanic was supposed to be. It also takes its no-logs policy seriously, a claim verified by independent auditors. Plus, it’s adept at swatting away ads, trackers, and malware like pesky digital flies, and can even switch up your IP address every so often to keep your online identity as elusive as Bigfoot. Toss in an antivirus, a privacy-focused search engine, and a data-breach monitor (not part of the basic subscription, mind you), and you've got a serious contender for your VPN affections.
With apps crafted for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux, Surfshark is ready to hitch a ride on any device. And for the router-savvy among you, a manual installation guide stands ready at your disposal. Surfshark really is the ideal VPN: a veritable Swiss Army Knife in a digital ocean of butter knives.
ExpressVPN, a steam-powered engine in the digital realm, whizzes along the virtual track at astonishing speeds, gracefully bypassing servers in more than 90 countries. Not only can it poke a hole in Bard's geo-restriction bubble, but it can also cloak your torrenting antics, offer a secure browsing tunnel in the deepest trenches of online restrictions, and stream your beloved TV series from all corners of the globe. With a user interface as uncomplicated as a three-piece jigsaw puzzle and a support team that never sleeps, ExpressVPN is the perfect travel companion for any VPN newcomer, or for those who simply prefer their digital services without a surplus of bells and whistles.
As a digital toolkit for accessing Bard, ExpressVPN carries everything you'd need: The Fort Knox of encryption methods, 256-bit, a kill switch (which abruptly halts data traffic if your connection acts like a petulant teenager and drops), and safeguards against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. It also boasts the ability to give certain apps a hall pass to sidestep the VPN, or to switch on auto-connect when on a network you don't recognize. ExpressVPN doesn't jot down any data that could unmask you and has undergone an audit to vouch for this. And for those digital privacy enthusiasts who wish to pay in Bitcoin, ExpressVPN gladly accepts your digital gold.
From iOS to MacOS, Android to Windows, and not forgetting Linux, ExpressVPN has an app for almost any device. Moreover, it's the only top-tier provider with its own blueprint for router firmware, simplifying the process of fortifying every device on your network with a VPN shield. ExpressVPN: like the bullet train of VPNs, only without the pesky physical limitations.
Behind the Curtain: Unveiling the Bard VPN Selection Saga
Deeming which VPNs are the cream of the crop for specific endeavors is akin to navigating through a digital labyrinth. A myriad of services, all wearing similar façades, are in reality, as different as chalk and cheese when you pop their hoods. That's why, to shine a light on the most reliable contenders, we rolled up our sleeves, delved into a plethora of providers with Bard, and subjected them to a battery of tests. We meticulously examined their offerings across a spectrum of categories:
Geographic Mettle: Bard is a bit of a wallflower in EU countries, meaning providers must offer a healthy sprinkling of locations that give it the green light, such as the US and the UK. We also rummage through the closets of providers using virtual servers since these can muddle the waters about which country's legalities preside over your data.
Speed and Sturdiness: Our stopwatch is always at the ready to see which VPNs have their running shoes on, and how their sprint has altered over time. A hat trick of tests per provider (three locations at thrice different times) helps us strike an average, curbing some of the fickleness and ensuring services with unflinching speeds lead the pack.
Versatility: Despite your primary hunt being a VPN to unblock Bard, your digital pursuits might expand to secure streaming, torrenting, or gaming. Hence, we conduct a variety of tests that mirror the average Joe's usage, giving the boot to any VPNs that can't keep pace.
Security and Privacy: One of our key missions is to ensure that VPNs come equipped with the digital arsenal necessary to keep your traffic concealed from digital peeping Toms. We search for encryption that would baffle even the most cunning of codebreakers, safety nets like a kill switch, and any superior tools such as stealth mode. We also scrutinize their logging policies and audit history, so you're not left taking a company's privacy claims on a wing and a prayer.
User-friendliness: We have a soft spot for VPNs that roll out the red carpet for newbies. This entails offering a multitude of apps, transparently described settings, and an accessible customer support hotline. Other cherries on top include task-dedicated servers, a lack of connection restrictions, and auto-connection gadgets.
Pricing: Although it shouldn't be your North Star, price is a worthy compass. We pit services against their similarly priced adversaries, while also keeping an eye out for any money-back assurances, free trials, or seasonal discounts, so your digital wallet doesn’t feel any unnecessary strain.
submitted by harry-jg to topvpn [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 21:54 Spectrobits FAQ/MEGATHREAD - Minion Land @ Universal Studios Florida

Hello, everyone. Please feel free to reply to this post with questions, meet-up requests, or anything else related to Minion Land at Universal Studios Florida. I will provide helpful links and information in this main post that will be updated as more information is released and verified.
As requested by you all, this will be a light megathread. We won't go as in-depth here as we did for Super Nintendo World at USH, but we also still hope you'll be able to make more informed travel decisions by reading the main post here or asking questions below it.
If there's something you'd like us to cover in this area that we haven't yet or if we missed a detail on something we've already covered, please reply to this post or send us a ModMail with that information.

Land Overview
Minion Land is a soon-to-be-open area inside the Universal Studios Florida (USF) theme park, which itself is a park inside the Universal Orlando Resort (UOR). It consists of two attractions (Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem), four dining locations (Minion Cafe, Bake My Day, Pop-A-Nana, and Freeze Ray Pops), two merchandise shops (Evil Stuff and Super Silly Stuff), and a meet-and-greet area (Illumination Theater).
Note that Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Stuff are already open at Universal Studios Florida. The UOR website still lists them as part of the area, however.
Universal Destinations and Experiences has yet to provide opening dates and admission details for this new area. It is still slated for a summer 2023 opening, but please keep checking back for further updates and specifications.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is a simulator attraction themed to the Despicable Me franchise. It is already open at USF.
Guests are welcomed into Gru's house to be turned into Minions to work for him. Gru's three adopted daughters, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, are tasked by Gru to train the guests ahead of their new careers. Guests are visiting on the anniversary of the girls' adoption, and though Agnes has a gift for Gru, he is too preoccupied with villainy to accept it. After being shrunken down and turned into Minions, guests are taken through Gru's hideout and wacky Minions-invovled hijinks ensue.
All guests must be at least 48" tall to ride on their own and at least 40" tall to ride at all. Guests between 40" and 48" tall must ride together with someone at least 48" or taller.
This attraction is compatible with all Express Pass types.

Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast
Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast is a yet-to-be-opened attraction themed to the Minions franchise. It is slated to open sometime in summer 2023 alongside the rest of Minion Land. It is located in the former site of the Shrek 4D attraction.
While not much is known about the attraction (it isn't yet open anywhere else in the world), the key art depicts guests standing up and using light guns. We expect this to be a gallery arcade shooter, potentially with dark ride elements. Please check back in the future for further details.

Dining Options
All four dining locations are slated to open in summer 2023 alongside the rest of Minion Land.
Minion Cafe will be the main dining option. Looking at the key art, we are not sure if it is a QSR or sit-down or hybrid. The menu is also not known, but we expect it to have a similar menu to the Minion Cafe in Universal Studios Hollywood. That menu can be found here in full, but in short, it mainly consists of American food involving cheese, like mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and loaded nachos with chicken (which are covered in cheese).
Bake My Day, from the key art, appears to be a QSR serving baked goods. Nothing else is known about the location, but we will post the menu when it is available.
Freeze Ray Pops and Pop-A-Nana don't have concept art viewable by the public. We presume the former will sell ice cream or frozen treats and the latter will sell popcorn. As with the other dining options, we will post their menus when available.

The information for this post at the time of writing comes from the main page on the land on UOR's website, which can be found here:
submitted by Spectrobits to universalstudios [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:26 Olivesplace Copycat Rondele Garlic & Herbs Cheese Spread

Copycat Rondele Garlic & Herbs Cheese Spread
You’ll Need
One 12-ounce tub Philadelphia whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon McCormick Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Place half of the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, sprinkle the seasonings over the top.
Whip briefly to incorporate. Add the remaining cream cheese, whip again, briefly.
Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
submitted by Olivesplace to Olivesplace [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 17:52 robertsonjasmine403 8.

submitted by robertsonjasmine403 to u/robertsonjasmine403 [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 11:07 ifailedmaths Trip Report: 14 days end of spring trip, 9 pax, Tokyo and Hokkaido!

I'll try to be as brief as I can, otherwise this post will become an essay of me trying to promote Japan as the best vacation destination I have ever been to.
TLDR; Japan is great!
The trip took place from 13 May 2023 to 27 May 2023. 9 people, ages ranging from late 20s to mid 60s, family from both my side and my wife's, took part in this trip. The 4 youngest members, including yours truly, planned for everything in this trip which includes the hotels, places we visits, international flights, domestic flights, meals, routes to take. It also helps that our youngest member is fluent in Japanese, while the rest of the youngsters can understand simple Japanese, thus YMMV.
Tokyo (13 May - 18 May 2023)
Tokyo was probably the most hated part of our trip as it involves a lot of walking. And the 5 old people were definitely not keen on walking much. So we really had to spend a lot of time looking for places to chill after half an hour of walking, which really slows us down. Even in train stations, we had to look for elevators since they were unable to climb stairs. There were really a lot of stairs in Japan.
Anyway, for the most part, we stayed in Kyobashi in Tokyo. We chose this area as it provides direct access to Haneda Airport via trains. It was also really convenient as every location we went to in Tokyo was accessible from Kyobashi Station, requiring little to no transfers.
A short review of places we went in Tokyo
Asakusa - It was crowded on a Sunday. Sensoji was nice to look at. Lots of street food around the area if you explore west of Nakamise Street. Kappabashi Dougu Street sells kitchenware and handmade crockeries, which are slightly pricey but good additions to my dining set. Spent around 5 hours here.
Ueno Zoo - Oldest zoo in Japan. Houses many animals that we don't see in Singapore, like the snow monkeys and shoebills. Pandas were definitely the main attraction. We queued for 15 minutes just to see them for 3 minutes. There is a system in place so that panda viewing is not overcrowded. In total, we spent almost 5 hours here.
Ameyoko Street - Shopping street. We just walked through this stretch after Ueno Zoo when everyone was tired. It was quite a touristy place where we did not find it interesting.
Meiji Shrine - Very beautiful shrine. Everybody enjoyed the walk from Harajuku Station to the shrine. The canopy provided shade on a hot day. Coupled with the cool weather, the walk was pleasant. We were also lucky enough to be able to witness a wedding ceremony happening at the shrine while we were there. Get your Omikuji (fortune slip) for JPY200. It comes with English translation.
Harajuku - Very hip shopping street. We were just here for Marion Crepes, nothing else. But if you are into fashion, feel free to spend time shopping here. The clothes are relatively cheaper as compared to places like Uniqlo.
Shibuya - A lot of construction projects are happening now at Shibuya, so it was slightly harder to get around. We went to a planetarium, and sat down for a "show", which was all voiced in Japanese, no subtitles. Very cool even if you don't understand anything as the start of the show basically placed you right in the heart of Shibuya, and allowed you to see the skyline. The youngsters also had a chance to go to the Pokemon Centre and Disney Store to do some light shopping. Go if you like these kind of things. If not, I would recommend skipping them.
Tsukiji Market - A local, slightly more touristy fish market. A lot of fresh seafood to try. Uni (Sea urchin) was in season. The most popular items were the tamagoyaki (rolled egg omelet) and hotate (scallops). We also ate at a local sushi restaurant and I had my first horse meat sushi. The chef even advised me that I should eat it without soy sauce. Very cool experience, probably something I'll never try if I did not go to Japan.
As you can see from above, we didn't go to many places in Tokyo as the oldies were pretty much restricted by their physical abilities to take long walks. I should also share that eating out is more expensive compared to Singapore (where we are from), with each meal costing around JPY1500 or more per person.
Hokkaido (18 May - 27 May 2023)
Hokkaido was really the highlight of this trip. It was clear that everyone enjoyed Hokkaido more than Tokyo. For the domestic flights, we flew via Air Do. To get to Hokkaido, we flew from Haneda Airport to Asaikawa Airport. To get back to Tokyo, we flew from Hakodate Airport. In addition, we rented 2 cars to fit 9 people, with 10 medium to large sized luggage. The distance between each city was usually about 2 to 3 hours drive. Essentially, we went from the west of Hokkaido to the east. So.. That definitely took a long while. so I'll break down the locations by cities.
Monbetsu (18 May - 19 May 2023)
Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park - A tulip park recreated to make you feel as if you were in The Netherlands. Very pretty place especially when all the tulips were in full bloom. We spent about 2 hours here just taking pictures and taking in the view.
Takinoue Shibazakura Park - A park where everything is pink! I have never seen a place so pink. We missed the sakura season in Tokyo but managed to catch the blooming of Shibazakura instead. It is really a sight to behold. In the park, if you are able, I would recommend climbing all the way to the bell to get a stunning view of the whole place. There is also a 3 minutes helicopter ride for JPY600 per person to get an aerial view of the park.
The tulip park was the reason why we drove 3 hours to the small town of Monbetsu. I think the drive was worth it if you like looking at flowers in full bloom. On a separate note, I have been to Monbetsu on another trip in 2019. There is a crab claw statue, a sea ice musuem and a seal sanctuary to visit. The town is not as boring as one might think.
Asahikawa (19 May - 20 May 2023)
Ramen Village - Just a place where 8 ramen restaurants set up shop. I highly recommend eating shoyu ramen in Asahikawa since that's what they're famous for.
Otokoyama Sake Brewery and Museum - It's in the name! Go here if you like sake. There's free tasting. The museum portion just showcases equipment used in the brewing process. It even shows how it was brewed in the older eras. There is also a tap where anyone can collect the spring water that they use to brew the sake. So.. BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLE!
Takikawa Canola Festival - We were just in time for the event. Canola (oil?) is the main export of the town of Takikawa. The festival only runs for 2 weekends. We were lucky to have been able to see this. Anyway, the festival was packed with people. So to alleviate overcrowding at the fields, the organisers did not allow people to go to the fields directly. Everybody is required to go to the festival location and take a shuttle bus to the fields. The bus timings were about 10 minutes from the next one, so even if the queue was long, we didn't wait too long. With any festival, there will always be snacks and other merchandise. Feel free to buy them and support the locals.
Furano (20 May - 21 May 2023)
Ningle Terrace - I think there were a total of 18 small craft shops in the area. Anyway, it's a place where you'll want to go after it turns dark. That's when the fairy lights come on and make it look magical. Personally, I wasn't into the crafts. But I bet they will be good decorations for your office desk or home.
Farm Tomita - A farm famous for lavender. It was raining heavily when we were there. So.. It wasn't a great experience. Coupled with the fact that lavender wasn't really in season, we could only see a small patch of purple. Potatoes here were great though! I would recommend getting some potato wedges or croquettes as snacks.
Furano Cheese Factory - We went there on a weekend. So, there was pretty much no production viewing. But no loss, since we were actually there for the pizza! The whole complex, including a pizza cafe, ice cream shop, factory and museum is nestled in a small woodland area. So you get to enjoy pizza and ice cream in the great outdoors! I highly recommend the pizzas.
Sapporo (21 May - 23 May 2023)
Tanukikoji Street - Shopping street! There's a Mega Don Quixote if anyone's interested. Otherwise it is really just another shopping street. What's cool about it is that there is also an underground mall that's linked to Susukino Station. So, you can shop above and under ground.
Nijo Market - A fish market just like Tsukiji Market but on a smaller scale. It was already past noon when we reached so most shops were closed or closing. The local shopkeepers here were friendlier though.
Odori Park - We took a 15 minutes walk from Sapporo Station to this park. It was not very impressive without sakura blooms or festivals. The iconic Sapporo TV Tower was at the head of the park. We chose not to go up the tower as we went somewhere higher.
JR Tower 36 - I believe this tower is taller than the Sapporo TV Tower. It costs JPY600 per person to ascend the tower. It offers a 360 degrees (more like 90 degrees x 4 sides) view of the city. On a clear day, you might even be able to see Otaru from the tower. You can also see the trains leaving and entering JR Sapporo Station.
Mount Moiwa - Unfortunately, it was foggy the night when we wanted to go up the mountain. So, we decided not to go. From what we researched, it offers a very pretty night view of the city.
So.. In Sapporo, we ditched the car and travelled via trains and legs, like how we did in Tokyo. Parking is expensive in bigger cities. It was a shame that we didn't get to go up to Mount Moiwa as I personally wanted to go up there. But.. There is always an alternative (maybe even better).
Otaru (23 May - 24 May 2023)
Sakaimachi Street - The biggest shopping street in Otaru. The road is lined with shops of various sizes on both sides. Highlights include a glass warehouse, the Romankan (Romance House) and the windchimes on the river. At the end of the street (or the beginning depends on where you start), is an iconic clock tower. I think it rings and blows steam out of its top every hour. Under the clock tower is my personal favourite, LeTao! Their bestseller, the cheesecakes, is the best! But I love their chocolate biscuits, The Noir, better.
Otaru Canal - You may or may not know that Otaru was a port town. The warehouses that line up beside the canal has since been transformed into shops. According to my wife, it is supposedly a pretty place to go to at night, when lights brighten the canal. But when we were there, it was a sad sight. The lights barely lit up the canal. So.. GO IN FEBRUARY when the snow light path festival is happening! There is also a gondola ride on the canal if anyone's interested. We were not.
Sankaku Market - A really small market beside Otaru Station. We had our crab lunch here! 3 crabs totaling 4.6kg for JPY45000. I think that the items sold here are relatively more expensive as this market is catered towards tourists.
Lake Toya (24 May - 25 May 2023)
Mount Usu - A volcano which last erupted in the year 2000. We took the ropeway up. Trust me! It is worth the trip. There is a terrace right beside the ropeway station where you can enjoy beautiful scenery of the lake and surrounding mountains. The youngsters also managed to climb 320 steps to go closer to the caldera of Mount Usu. While you don't see any lava, you can definitely see some smoke.
Meisui-no-Sato Rest Station - This is not really an attraction. But I wanted to give it a shoutout because it was definitely the most beautiful rest station I have ever seen. A suspension bridge links the rest station to a small forested area. And in that area is a spring! It was unexpected to see everybody enjoying a rest there and drinking spring water directly from the mountains.
The Lake Ko no Sumika - Our hotel for the night at Lake Toya. This hotel resort is situated right beside the lake. The hotel is also part of the Toya Sun Palace. If you stay in Ko no Sumika, you get access to the onsen and facilities of both hotels. But it doesn't work the other way round. So it definitely feels more exclusive. The Lake Ko no Sumika has the onsen on the 8th level, giving you an unblocked view of the lake and its beyond when you're taking a bath. For those who don't know, from April to October, a fireworks show happens every night between 8.45pm to 9.05pm. The fireworks show takes place on the lake, starting from the pier near The Lake Toya Nonokaze resort, ending in the middle of the lake, right in front of my hotel room. Did I mention that there is a balcony in every room that looks out to the lake? That's where we enjoyed the fireworks show. There is also an onsen bath in every room of the hotel for you to enjoy if you are shy about going nude in the public bath. To summarise, The Lake Ko no Sumika was luxury on another level. I highly recommend this heaven.
Hakodate (25 May - 27 May 2023)
Onuma National Park - It's actually a quasi-national park. Not sure what the difference is. But it is a beautiful park where there are bridges that link small little islands together. It'll take around 1 hour to walk the longest route and 15 minutes for the shortest. Honestly, I love this park. It was picturesque and it was also amusing to see young couples (the guy) struggling to row a boat.
Mount Hakodate - Boasts the world famous night view. While I agree that the view is beautiful, it is too packed for anyone to enjoy. Everybody is holding up their cameras and crowding near the railings for anyone to take in the scenery. Of course, to counter this, you can always pop by the restaurant or cafe and hope that you'll be assigned a seat by the window so that you can enjoy the view. I recommend that to go right before the sun sets. At the top, you'll have to choose if you want to see the sunset or the night view. Because there is no way that you'll capture both since everybody will crowd to one or the other. It'll always be more crowded when the sky turns dark and everybody is rushing to get off the mountain. So.. Be prepared to wait! Good luck!
Hakodate Morning Market - The morning market is awesome. You have access to fresh seafood and other produce. You can even haggle! We spend our 2 mornings there for breakfast. Amazing place to get delicious and slightly cheaper seafood. There is also a stall which lets you catch your own squid and they'll grill it for you. Long queue though. For reference, we had 2 crabs, weighing at 4.2kg in total for JPY37000. They'll lead you to a restaurant where they'll cook the crabs for you, for free! Don't be afraid to haggle and discuss with the shop owners.
Goryokaku - A fort turned into a park! The famous star(?) shaped park is a beautiful place. When we were there, we saw wisterias and fresh green trees. There is also a structure, which I believe was the residence of someone, which you can pay to enter. Nothing to rave about. But if you want to see some architecture in the middle of a park, you can see it here. Come here if you enjoy walking around a big park. If not, give it a miss.
To sum things up
It is safe to say that all of us enjoyed our trip to Japan. For my parents, it was their first time in Japan. Our itinerary could have been more optimised to cater to the old folks but we planned what we could. Everything else was pretty much on the fly.
While most Japanese don't speak English, they do have some basic understanding if you speak slowly and give them time to process what you said. Alternatively, learn some simple Japanese phrases. It'll make life a lot easier there. For the most part, we relied on Google Maps and Navitime apps to get around Tokyo. We googled for Mapcodes for our drive in Hokkaido.
Hope you enjoyed this lengthy trip report!
submitted by ifailedmaths to JapanTravel [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:56 forgot_about_her I romanced my boyfriend with homemade bread, and life feels like a video game.

So when my boyfriend (21m) and I (F19) started hanging out more (predating) I was heading back into a baking phase that had previously let up like three months ago. I wanted to make him something, even though gift giving had never been one of my love languages. So I baked him a loaf of bread... and then another... and then one more for good measure. I had baked this man three rustic loaves of bread, that I gave to him before one of our dates.
When asking him what date made him really feel that he wanted to start a relationship with me, take a guess what date it was? That's right, the date that I had given him three loaves of bread. A coincidence? Maybe. It was a really great date. Honestly made me feel like I wanted to start dating him too, but I like to think the bread had something to do with it too.
I had started playing stardew valley around Christmas time, and I wasn't much of a gamer at the time, honestly, I'm still not, but I really liked the concept of romancing somebody you were interested in with things that you make. So this is when me and my mom started making the joke that I was romancing my soon to be boyfriend just as I was in the video game with Harvey, the meek, and honestly very sweet doctor with an amazing mustache.
So guess what I did? That's right, I baked him more things so I could romance him.
Things like Lemon curd cookies, a vanilla bean cake, chocolate chip scones, an iced lemon loaf, and strawberry cookies with cream cheese frosting. I romanced the absolute living hell out of him with my amateur baking skills.
And it worked, he asked me to be his girlfriend a month or so later. And even though I'm in a relationship with him, I still bake him things almost weekly, and now even his mom looks forward to my baking, and I sometimes make things specifically for her.
Tl;dr: I gave my boyfriend baked goods so he’d fall in love with me. And it worked.
If you want to express interest, or get someone to become interested in you, try making something for them. You could win them over with either the treat, or the gesture:)
submitted by forgot_about_her to happyrelationships [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:32 mrspwins MSC Meraviglia - NYC - May 7-14 Review

Hello! My husband and I went on our first-ever cruise on the MSC Meraviglia earlier this month and it just occurred to me that it might be nice to post a review. Since the biggest questions I see people ask about with MSC are "how is the food?" and "why do people hate the food?" I thought I'd do a food review. Obviously I can't compare it with any of the other cruise lines, but we like to eat out and are willing to spend money on a great meal so that's what I am comparing it to. We've eaten at Michelin starred restaurants and typically avoid chains but on a normal day we're making spaghetti with meat sauce or dumping frozen garlic chicken pasta into a pot like the average American.
Before I get started with this, I need to note that I have been dealing with a health issue that makes me constantly somewhat queasy and have little appetite. While I've lost a bunch of weight I do not recommend this method. However, some days I feel better than others, and I had a couple of good days on the trip, enough to try a couple of specialty restaurants, but not enough to try everywhere I wanted to.
So MSC food is *different*. It's like when you go to Europe and the food isn't really unfamiliar, but you don't find the stuff you're used to eating. They don't really have fried food, they didn't seem to have bags of chips or candy. On days I didn't feel well, I ordered a chicken sandwich from room service. It came on thin-sliced white bread with no crusts, with sliced roasted chicken (not deli slices), tomato, and darker greens. The potato chips were hand-sliced potatoes and tasted like potatoes pan-fried with a little salt. There was a small side-salad too, again with darker greens, not iceberg or romaine, dressed with a little vinagrette. I got chocolate-chip cookies for dessert, and they were crisp and the size you'd get making them at home, not the giant size you usually get here. And it was all delicious! Hopefully that helps to clarify what I mean by "different".
My husband ate at Kaito Sushi by himself, and I joined him at Butcher's Cut and Ocean Cay specialty restaurants. He said the sushi was good, not spectacular, but at least as good or better than we get in our Midwestern city (which has a well-respected food scene). He liked it enough to eat there twice. At Butcher's Cut, I had bone marrow with parsley sauce for an appetizer, filet mignon and crispy fries for the entrée, and lava cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The steak was done perfectly medium-rare, per my request. I didn't try the sauces on the steak because it didn't need them. The scoop of ice cream with the lava cake was small but rich and creamy. Best, though, were the fries. OMG the fries were the most amazing thing I have ever tasted! I cannot express how much I loved them. Steak fries, perfectly crisp and lightly salty with almost a caramelized crust on the outside, perfectly soft and almost melty on the inside. If I could only eat those fries for the rest of my life, I would die happy. This was as good a meal as we would get at a higher-end steakhouse, and definitely worth buying the package.
At Ocean Cay, I had the crackling fennel salad (very good, and a large portion), the roasted lobster tail with bourbon vanilla cream and pureed carrots (very surprising and delicious flavors, not sure that I would have roasted lobster again) and crème brulée (large portion, very rich, so much that I couldn't finish it though I sure tried). I tried my husband's crab cakes - they were tender and seasoned fine for me but he thought they were a bit bland. His tuna steak was good, though. The waitstaff there were particularly attentive and helpful. Worth it with the package, though I got the lobster off the regular menu.
We are not drinkers so did not get an alcohol package. I got a glass of wine with supper at both specialty restaurants, but there were surprisingly few choices by the glass. They were both nice wines but I would have liked a few more options. BTW, there are AA meetings ("Friends of Bill W") every evening in the "library" - more a corner with some bookshelves - in case you need them.
We only ate in the main dining room once for supper. I would say it's like eating at a mid-range restaurant, maybe like a local chain. Not the best meal ever, but far from the worst. This is where you're most likely to find food that is closer to a typical American restaurant - they had meatloaf and potatoes as one option the night we went. Again, the staff is fantastic and are happy to give you more cheese or pepper or leave off the sauce, etc.
We ordered continental breakfast every day but one (it was free with our Fantastica experience). Pain au chocolate every morning, with fresh fruit! The only bad part was that I couldn't get a diet coke delivered with it - my husband ran up to the buffet to get some for me every morning. He said his coffee was great, though, plus he got big bottles of Sanpellegrino all day, so he was happy. We tried eggs and bacon one morning, but it wasn't that great. I had pain au chocolate with a little peanut butter and fruit the rest of the time and was quite content.
The buffet was big and very busy whenever I went to it. They had multiple stations for the more popular items, but I don't think everyone realized that. The pizza was, in fact, very good, but again it is not much like American pizza. The slices were large but had thin, flexible crusts that were not greasy and did not have tons of cheese or tomato sauce. There were pepperoni slices when I was there, but also white pizza and different kinds of veggie slices. The one closest to plain cheese was either pepperoni or one that had small slices of zucchini scattered on it that would be easy to pick off if you didn't want them. If you have a picky person in your party that intends to rely on pizza for their meals, please reconsider - it really isn't even like the Neapolitan pizza I've had here. They didn't have peanut butter out anywhere but they had it available. They had a grill section for burgers and hot dogs (I didn't get a close look, so not sure what else might be there but I didn't see chicken nuggets). They had lots of salad fixings and pasta salad and fruit and a rotisserie chicken station. A wide variety of tasty bread and rolls and real butter. Desserts were usually small - two bites - pieces of cake in different flavors, not necessarily plain chocolate or vanilla. ETA: We just put together a charcuterie plate with french bread and prosciutto and salami and fresh mozzarella and pears, etc a couple of times. Highly recommended.
The chocolate place served an absolutely divine hot chocolate with whipped cream, and the gelato was stellar, but they are extra. Budget for them, both in cash and calories.
My husband gained two pounds even though he mostly lounged around and he ate constantly. I'm sure it's possible to gain a lot more but the smaller portion sizes and dearth of heavy sauces and fried food definitely helped. Neither of us felt deprived at all.
So TL;DR: MDR food was fine, specialty restaurants better and worth the package prices, but picky eaters or fried-food lovers may not be happy with food options.
submitted by mrspwins to Cruise [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 22:55 alobaby do you ever eat a new hyperfixation or safe food and suddenly you never want that old food ever again and it makes you feel sick to even think about?

i don’t know if it’s a hyperfixation of just a safe food because i only ate it when i ate at my job bc i work at the mall. i would eat panda express, orange chicken and white rice ONLY every single time. never anything else unless i had to get fried rice.
then one day i decided to eat sbarro’s and now the only thing i want is their pepperoni cheese pizza and white cheddar mac and cheese. i never want to eat panda express again, it’s so weird. is that normal?? why does that happen?? it’s gross to me now
submitted by alobaby to irlADHD [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 19:38 Formal_Ad1928 All my fast flowering photos ending week 2 of veg theirs a Purple Goat Cheese from @goatgenetics, Snow Panda and Grapes an Cream from @atlasseeds, and Strawberry Banana from @canukseeds

All my fast flowering photos ending week 2 of veg theirs a Purple Goat Cheese from @goatgenetics, Snow Panda and Grapes an Cream from @atlasseeds, and Strawberry Banana from @canukseeds submitted by Formal_Ad1928 to CannabisGrowers [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 03:33 Icy-Paper1384 Royal Queen Seeds

Royal Queen Seeds
So I ordered 2 seeds at first (sundae driver feminized & watermelon autoflower) and they gave me a northern lights autoflower and a F1 Orion. I started to germinate all these seeds by letting soak until they no longer floated and then straight into moist soil in 5 gal fabric pots. While I waited on those to sprout I got excited and went ahead and ordered 3 autoflower bubble kush and they gave me another northern lights autoflower for free. The first ones never sprouted (and still haven't) so I went ahead and germinated the 3 bubble kush the exact same way as the others and all 3 have sprouted and look really healthy. I contacted customer service about this but have got no reply so far (5 days). Idk how I should feel about this, they seem to be legit but I can only say 50% good. What should be my steps I take? Do I just chalk it up to the game or do I press the issue? This is my first year buying seeds online, I've only grown bag seeds before this and I'm in Texas. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you
submitted by Icy-Paper1384 to GrowingMarijuana [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 20:31 FarmWhich4275 Everyone Loves Uncle Bernie

The tension hung heavy in the air as it was finally realized that peace talks were collapsing and war was inevitable. Tyraxis, Hive Prince of Corsica faction had gathered here for a modicum of peace hoping to avoid the losses of his men. He sat in his chair opposite his former brethren with his two Praetorians flanking him, plasma spears at ready. His human diplomat, Johnny was desperately trying to ease tensions. Arborean, the Crown Prince of Hive Arrakkis sat proud at his seat, his purple skin glistening in the light of the room.
Arborean was so certain of his victory he had the barefaced audacity to carry his human concubine with him. His human diplomat Martinez was unamused by tensions as he cast passing glances to the Praetorians flanking his employer. Arborean made sure to prominently display his most prized possession with the woman sitting on his lap.
"Surely we can find a way around this? There has to be a way to sue for peace. At least for this battle. Perhaps we can exclude some ships from the roster and at least make it an even fight?" Johnny could sense he was getting nowhere, but he still had a few angles.
"Sure... we can sue for peace. AFTER you hand over the system! Those Gehennan spice mines are ours and you damn well know it!" Martinez slammed his hand on the table.
"You and I both know that if that fleet goes to battle it would be an absolute slaughter! If your master was half the warrior he so claims he is, he would agree to roster the battle to make it fair!" Johnny blasted his opponent.
Arborean whispered into his diplomats ear. The shame tactic and personal attack worked. "A point made in anger but still a point. We will agree to the standard galactic Ship Points Allocation system. However... No holds barred. Last man standing rules only." Martinez said with a certain sinister grin.
Tyraxis hung his head in shame. The Queen would have his head after this one way or another for this, but at least it would give his men a fighting chance. He gave a nod to Johnny and sent him a note on his wearable data manager. "Fine. If we win, you will not come back to this system. The point was proven, tactics ruled the day. If we win, you leave and don't come back!"
Arborean thought for a moment then nodded his head. "Deal." Martinez said, extending a hand out.
Martinez and Johnny shook hands and started drawing up paperwork as Arborean began to greedily fondle his prized possession, much to the blistering rage of Tyraxis burning eyes. Suddenly the door flung itself open, a human marine barged through the door.
"UNCLE BERNIE'S HERE!!!!" He yelled with unimaginable excitement, and charged back out again.
"Uncle Bernie!?" All three of the humans said this at once, and all three, suddenly got up from where they stood and bolted to the exit with such speed it made everyone's heads spin.
A few moments of awkward and stunned silence followed this occurrence. "What the hell is an uncle Bernie?" Arborean asked, as if expecting an answer.
"Well... Uncle is a human term, it means the brother of my father. Bernie is I believe someone's name." On of Tyraxis' Praetorians said.
The two princes regarded each other for a moment longer before one of Tyraxis' Praetorians broke the silence as his communicator beeped. "My Prince... every human ship in the system has disengaged!"
"WHAT!?" Both Princes yelled out in unison.
"Warp signature detected! There is a battlecruiser class vessel entering the system!" Arboreans Praetorian warned.
"What treachery are you planning Thraxis?!" Arborean lashed out.
"What are you talking about? This is YOUR doing! How much did you bribe my ambassador hm?"
Just then, an interruption. Every communications unit on the station suddenly came to life. It was some kind of... song? Silly, whimsical. Catchy.
"Are ya lost in space?
Need pie in your face?
Come on down to Bernies!
Do ya need a drink?
Well thats a sinch!
Come on down to Bernie's!
Bernies Bar and Grill is now open, active servicemen get a beer on the house!"
All of the Hivers on station and on their ships stood with absolute bewilderment as to what the flaming hell was going on. In the meantime, a very familiar looking ship warped into the system, drowned out by a cheering crowd as all of the twelve human made ships in the system swarmed it and docked as soon as it was safe.
Thraxis stood from his seat and made his way to the exit. "And just where do you think you are going?" Arborean said with annoyance.
Thraxis moved down the concourse ramp to his shuttle and waited as his Praetorian Guard, and hastily at their heels, Arborean and his guards, caught up and sat down. Thraxis called the robotic driver to go to the Human ship 'Uncle Bernies'. The driver, a machine, let out a happy beep for some reason and with careless abandon charged his way to the ship.
Uncle Bernies was a battlecruiser class. The six Hivers took careful note of its exterior. It was several times larger than most Human warships, and ten times more heavily armed. Mounted in various spots were storage tanks that looked like distilleries and one could clearly see the ship had its own hydroponics and protien synthesis bays built into the hull. The human support ships had been completely emptied by the time the shuttle made it to one of the airlocks.
The robot driver let out a mechanical "Woohoo!" as it hopped out of its car and hastily wheeled its way into the ships maintenance bays. Even the machines were entranced by this ship. The six hivers made their way through the clearly marked hallways into a massive restaurant. Immediately they were surrounded by humans of all classes and types who immediately reacted to their presence with a loud "AHOY MATEY!" of approval before returning to the meals they were enjoying.
The restaurant had over two hundred humans in it, but could comfortably seat a thousand more. The place was a massive circular arnoretum, surrounded on every corner by restaurants, eateries and even a quaint little gift shop.
"What in the Queens tits is this place?" One of Thraxis' Preatorians thought aloud.
"I can answer that my man! Welcome to my humble restaurant and bar!" A human suddenly spoke up from behind the group.
The six turned around to the sight of a grey bearded human with a large midsection, a toolbelt with cooking utensiils in a strange uniform with a funny hat. "Who are you?"
"Im uncle Bernie! Shut yer holes and drink a beer! Activer servicemen get one free beer!" He excitedly said, then jammed a purple aluminium can into everyones hands.
At this point Thraxis was what humans would call 'done.' so, he took a taste of the beverage. "My goodness!" His expression instantly changed to one of happiness as he drank more.
Arborean timidly took a sip of his own can of beer. "By the Mother!" He exclaimed, then chugged the rest of it down with a fist raised high.
Bernie regarded his new customers with a hearty smile and lead them all to a table before serving them a pizza. Within a few moments of them sitting down, Arboreans concubine Jessica returned to her masters lap with flushed cheeks and a silly giggle. The two ambassadors arrived as well, carrying a family size two cheese pizza with mushroom, onion and smoked ham. Jessiica showed them how to eat a pizza by grabbing a slice, then squealing in delight as she tasted the slice. Martinez and Johnny likewise did the same, sighing in happiness as though it was their first christmas.
The hivers tentatively took their own slice of the delicious smelling confection and took a small, cautious bite. Thraxis gave it one taste and threw decorum to the wind and began to aggressively scarf the slice down. The four Praetorians likewise did the same, followed by Arborean who had Jessica feed it to him.
Thraxis sat back in his seat, carefully considering a small fact he suddenly noticed. This place was rather... empty. Uncle Bernie approached and smiled his usual moustachio'ed smile. "Can I get ya anything else boys? Theres plenty for all!"
Thraxis suddenly perked up. "Yes... Olokarn." He looked at his all too happy Preatorian guard.
"Yes My -burp- Prince?" He said.
"Hand me your communicator, patch me into the fleet."
Olokarn did as commanded. "This is Thraxis, Prince of Hive Khathorn. All ships are to immediately disengage operations and report to Uncle Bernie's for lunch." He stopped, after Johnny handed him a piece of napkin with something scrawled on it. "And also... anyone who does not leave a tip, will be shot."
Arborean followed suit, commanding his own substantial naval forces and military to stand down, placing several thousand take-out orders for the planet and station at Martinez' instructions.
Within minutes, the ship was flooded with a thousand Hivers from both factions. To Arborean and Thraxis' astonished shock, Uncle Bernie was there to meet them. All of them. Thraxis noted this and asked Martinez what the hell was going on.
"What, My Lord?" Martinez asked, confused.
"Th-theres Uncle Bernie. And there! And there too! Am I seeing a strange genetic anomaly or is this man a clone?" He said bewildered.
"Well... yah. Thats uncle Bernie there. And there. And there too. And thats... thats Frank actually. Hes Uncle Bernie too but he likes to be called Frank." Martinez said, gesturing to the chefs and cooks of all the various restaurants.
"Care to elaborate? Please?" Arborean said as he held a sleeping Jessica in his arms.
"Uncle Bernie, My Prince, is a human that owned and operated a restaurant at an old shipbuilding yard before Sol was lost called Jupiter Drive Yards. After about twenty years on the job with that very rerstaurant, the company gave him one of our old Refurbished Munificent Class Ornament ships. Thats what this ship is. Its based on an old Trade federation Munificent class in old Star Wars movies." Martinez explained, sitting down with a new can of beer.
"MMmyes, a lot of other restaurants and food franchises exist, but none come close to Bernie's. He turned that ship into a roving restaurant and was there when Sol collapsed. Hes been everywhere. Just roams the stars, feeding and hydrating anyone he comes across at an absolutely rock bottom price. He even caters to machine consciousness because the tech cults have a presence on this ship. All in all, Bernie is just a nice guy, who just wants to own a restaurant. And damn does he do a good job!" Johnny responded in kind as he helped himself to a hotdog.
"And in order to ensure I can provide the service that is needed, nay, demanded of my establishment, I opted to do some cloning and mind copying, just to keep it all running how it needs to be! We share somewhat of a gestalt consciousness too so... it makes things a lot easier. Now, perhaps I can interest anyone in our dessert menu?" Uncle Bernie said, firing up the ice cream makers and waffle irons.
In the end, with all that had happened, neither side was ready or willing to engage in warfare. Both sides were either too full, too sleepy, or too drunk to do any fighting. When the hangovers and bellyaches passed, there was a strange feeling of contentedness between the two factions. Both of them essentially forgot why they were fighting and were too stuffed, happy or filled up to bother asking.
Martinez and Johnny drew up plans for the conflict anyway but they were never used. In all, Arborean and Thraxis agreed to a fifty-fifty split o resources in the star system ultimately benefitting everyone. Especially Bernie. One of the conditions of peace talks, was that Bernie always come round at least once every three months for a good booze up.
Because after all, everyone loves Uncle Bernie!
submitted by FarmWhich4275 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 02:04 Peanip Cutting out dairy completely vs decreasing intake- please help.

My LO is 3.5 weeks.
I had a C-section and some bleeding/blood pressure issues so my milk was slow to come in. She also has a tongue and lip tie so she has had problems feeding so she has been mostly BF with formula supplementation mostly by the bottle or me hand expressing into her mouth trying to encourage breast feeding despite her latch issues.
She has had increasing colic episodes that last upwards of three hours at a time-mostly in the evening with a lot of reflux, a distended belly, diarrhea, peeling rashes and nasal congestion. Gaining weight great and no blood but looks so uncomfortable for long stretches of time and completely inconsolable.
Before we were worked in with our pediatrician the lactation consultant first mentioned CMPI and told me to cut dairy and soy out- I’m a big dairy eater at baseline. Her father ran out and got some nutramigen to supplement and the first night we saw some improvement.
Today the pediatrician seemed unbothered by her rashes and congestion, prescribed pepcid and told me she suspects an intolerance and that I should “cut back” on dairy. When I asked her if I should avoid anything cooked in butter or processed goods with dairy in it she seemed unbothered and told me not to eat a ton of cheese or ice cream.
My milk has finally come in this week and i want to breast feed and bottle feed with my milk as much as possible while we have a dentist evaluate her ties but her father and I are so worried because what I’ve read online is that I need to cut all dairy out and it will take some time to clear my system. So I’ve just been using to formula and storing my pumps. Seeing her in pain and feeling like I have caused it has kind of been devastating to me and I’m feeling so lost in the meantime while being scared to follow the instructions I’ve been given.
Wondering if anyone has had experiences where they can mindfully decrease dairy intake and their LO can tolerate their milk? I have food restrictions already due to Crohn’s disease and I’m worried if I needed to be completely exclusionary on dairy and soy I wouldn’t be able to keep up but I really want to breast feed my little lady if it doesn’t make her miserable.
Thank you for reading this far.
submitted by Peanip to MSPI [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 05:26 EntrancedForever Some old DLC stage ideas I thought up a year ago to go with some fighters (and echo fighters). Keep in mind, I did not make these with competitive play in mind, I'm more focused on just having fun in Smash. Let me know what you think, or which ones are just completely broken.

submitted by EntrancedForever to SmashBrosUltimate [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 23:10 toastmuncher500 Best Crab Rangoon in Columbus #60

Best Crab Rangoon in Columbus #60
Hello fellow 'goonthusiasts, and welcome back to 'Toastmuncher Thursdays' where I hunt for the best crab rangoon in the city. Feel free to comment any recommendations.
You know the drill. Link to the map where I have all locations recommended to me and color coded categories based on my rankings is here. Full data spreadsheet is here. Link to the hub where you can access all of my previous reviews is here.
This week, I took the recommendation of many many of you and went to Pickerington to try Thai Paradise. Let's see how they stack up!
Thai Paradise -
Filling: 8/10
Wrapper: 10/10
Sauce: 8.5/10
Value: 4/5
Overall: 30.5/35
Filling: This was one of the most unconventional fillings I have ever sampled. It was not the typical cream cheese filling but rather a cheddar cheese fill with crab and, of all things, corn! The corn added a fun textural element, but its flavor was lost among the strong cheddar goodness. This filling reminded me vaguely of cheddar mashed potatoes which sounds weird for a rangoon but was awesome. They were very delicious, well salted and super cheesy. My only complaint is that the filling itself wasn’t all that complex. It was very delicious, but the cheddar cheese was mostly what I tasted. I wish the corn and crab had been more prominent. Great, but fairly one note flavorwise.
Wrapper: I never thought I would see a new type of wrapper, but Thai Paradise surprised me with this dumpling style wrapper. These wrappers were cooked perfectly and made room for lots of filling. They are closest to the triangle wrapper, but their rounded edges are much more like a dumpling than a rangoon. A perfect oil level and a great saltiness, and this wrapper was so delicate that it was flaky and melted in my mouth. This wrap is a truly perfect wrap.
Sauce: Pairing an unconventional fill with an equally strange sauce is a bold move, but it paid off. These rangoon were paired with a sweet peanut sauce rarely seen with rangoon. This peanut sauce had an almost brown sugar-y flavor with hints of ginger, a great mix of savory and sweet that had me literally eating it with a spoon. Where it will lose points is that the strength of the flavor overpowered the filling when dipped too heavily. I found that with a veeery light dip, a delicious flavor balance of peanut cheddar sweetness was reached, something that sounds odd, but was very delicious.
Value: At 1.23 each, these get a 4 for value. Metrics on my data sheet.
Overall: Which means… we have a new winner! Thai Paradise is now our number one, followed very closely by Sushi Time and Typhoon Bistro both ranked just a hair below at 30/35. I think this score is well deserved. For one of the lowest price points I have seen, I had some of the most delicious rangoons I have ever had. These crab rangoon were unique from start to finish with a cheddar corn filling wrapped dumpling style and dipped in a sweet ginger peanut sauce. They may sound strange but I have rarely eaten a rangoon I liked more, and when you add in a nearly perfect value score, these rangoon take the title of current best in the city. I think everyone, regardless of how far Pickerington is from them, should make the journey because these rangoon are truly one of a kind.
submitted by toastmuncher500 to Columbus [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 21:14 Large_Bat_6229 Baby overeating

Long post warning. TLDR: 1 month old eats until he spits up a ton of milk. Will he learn to self regulate?
Do babies learn to stop feeding when they're full? My baby is 4 weeks tomorrow, he's exclusively breastfed. He receives an occasional bottle of expressed milk, maybe once or twice a week.
My supply was a little low and he hadn't met birth weight by 2 weeks as expected. That weekend though, he gained 4 ounces in four days and the pediatrician said we won't need to supplement with formula as discussed unless he isn't gaining as expected at one month (we go for a weigh in on Monday.)
My supply this week has skyrocketed. I feed him enough to get him milk drunk and sleeping for 4-6 hours at night, plus another ounce from the best he fed from and almost 4 ounces from the other (via pumping.) There's also more fat conten in my milk now, before there was almost no cream in my expressed milk.
I am so grateful for this change. My baby though, eats and eats and never unlatches. I pull him off when I notice less suction or longer streches where he isn't suckling. He feeds 30-45 minutes which is about how long I am getting milk from the pump. I'll burp him and put him down, and then he spits up a ton of milk. It's not spit or "cheese" as we call it, so I suspect his tummy was too full and he just rejects the excess.
Will he learn to stop when full? Should I try pulling off earlier and burping more during feeds? He doesn't seem overly gassy or in pain. It's mostly just a big mess when we don't catch it in time.
I don't want to under feed him or risk undersupply again.
submitted by Large_Bat_6229 to breastfeeding [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 17:34 alternoia RS girls: how conscious are you about physical contact in your male relationships?

[tried posting this on a new alt but got nuked, pls mods don't nuke this one too]
I'm bored and traveling so it's spergin' time (sorry about bad title)
I'm in my early 30s and happily married, and I have noticed a strange uptick in the physical contact that I receive from other women lately (hugs, touching, etc). I'm usually good at reading facial expressions, but I can't read female body language very well, so I'm asking you to explain to me what is going on, seeing as I am dense. Basically my point is that I'm not attractive or buff or whatever, so I can't figure out where this is coming from. It's a noticeable increase with respect to the past. Some examples that occur to me: - wife invited female friend over for dinner, I used this as an excuse to prepare something a bit daring we wouldn't do for ourselves alone because it's a lot of work (parmigiano cheese ice cream, if you are curious). When I tell this friend, she gets all excited and hugs me tight - like an all-body hug, fully wrapped around myself, lingers for a while. Wtf - I was out in the pub with my wife and some of her colleagues/friends and I'm sitting next to this girl. She's vegan but not an arse about it, so I keep teasing her playfully about it until she starts cracking up. She has laughing fits and whenever she does she leans heavily on me with her body and puts her head on my shoulder. I'm weirded out but my wife is sitting on my other side, laughing along witnessing this and she doesn't give me any look. Dunno - Out again in the pub with a friend of mine and his fiancée, who brought two female friends. One is a funny woman that tells stories, but she keeps touching my arm throughout; I figure she's just doing it for emphasis. The other friend is a big drinker and when she's drunk she leaves her handbag with me and my wife (we were smoking) to go dance a little. When she comes back I tell her her bag is safe and once she processes this (in her haze) she grabs my face gently and starts giving me a long string of kisses on the cheek - but dangerously close to my mouth. I shoot my wife a look that says "what the fuck is happening" and she's just as puzzled. The friend realises and goes over to my wife to give her a few kisses too for good measure, then goes back to the dance floor - That same night, just a little later, my wife goes to the toilet and another drunk girl approaches me to ask for my lighter. This girl turns out to be a real rs girl because she leans in and keeps asking me repeatedly if I'm jewish, even if I keep telling her I'm not (just vaguely mediterranean with curly hair). She just wouldn't believe me lol. While she does this she keeps touching my arm, stroking it a little; really bizzarre interaction. Luckily my wife comes back and rescues me
What is going on? Have women changed what they consider an acceptable amount of physical contact with a man lately?
submitted by alternoia to redscarepod [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 19:25 KingR12 Panda Express - "Broccoli Beef"??

Okay y'all, I'm really freaking out about this one. I usually go to Panda Express about once a month and have since I was a little kid. It was ALWAYS "beef and broccoli" or even "beef n' broccoli". Well, turns out I go today and suddenly one of my go-to's is "broccoli beef" and, after reading some news articles, has been since at least 2014??? Tons of residue of the old way with copycat recipes and what not. But no official announcement from Panda or anything. Would appreciate if you guys could help out.
Link to official Panda Express site:
submitted by KingR12 to Retconned [link] [comments]

2023.05.23 21:28 Trash_Tia I just started as a... sort of new student at a private boarding school. There is something wrong with the students here.

Have you ever woken up inside a school you don’t remember going to?
Jetlag must have seriously had my ass. I’m not sure where my mind had been wandering at that moment, though it must have been far across the galaxy because I found myself standing at a breakfast bar which could be likened to brunch from how elegant everything was. It wasn’t jet lag. I knew the effects of jetlag, and I was pretty sure memory loss wasn’t a symptom.
Partial memory loss, because I could remember everything about myself and my life except how exactly I had come to be in this school.
Several thoughts twitched in my head as I dragged my luggage, a bright pink suitcase, towards a table strewn with rich-people food.
Looking around and drinking in my surroundings, I appeared to be in a school cafeteria. Private school, judging from everyone—and my own—uniform; a white shirt and plaid skirt with a blazer thrown over the top.
It felt weirdly comfortable, already bizarrely my size. Like I had worn it before. I wasn’t sure why, but standing in that room gave me Deja-vu. I felt like I knew the mini water fountain stood proud in the centre. And the coffee-machine station near the entrance.
I knew the exact combination of numbers to get an espresso and trick the machine into giving me another for free.
I knew that bacon and maple sandwiches were popular—and you had to fight for double chocolate chip brownies which were always gone first.
Except I didn’t know this place.
This school was alien to me, and yet my memory was telling me otherwise. It was the first day jitters, I thought. Surely. Temporary memory loss existed, right? My aunt had hit her head during a confrontation with a mall-employee a few years ago. She forgot her name for a while, after falling headfirst into the fountain, not before cracking her head on cold marble. Though this was… different. How was it possible that I had completely forgotten not just my journey to the school, but choosing it, as well as saying goodbye to my parents.
So much was missing, and the more I was thinking about it, the progressively more panicked I was starting to become.
The room itself was huge, filled with small picnic-like tables to eat on, and a lounging area with beanbags and what looked like the latest games consoles. Wide windows looked out onto the school grounds where cherry blossom trees stood, groups of kids sitting in groups and spread out on their blazers and picnic blankets under a late afternoon sun. There were no lunch ladies or bland school food. I was looking at chocolate filled pastries, donuts and mini sandwiches and nibbles; baskets full of every soda I could think of, and a whole section at the end of the table with flavored, fizzy and scented bottled water.
It felt like dreaming, but when I reached forward and grabbed a toasted bagel and smeared it with cream-cheese, cramming it into my mouth, the food tasted real. I downed half of a mimosa from a tray of them sitting on a golden platter—and the drinks tasted real too. The only thing which patented this place to a fantasy were the students themselves. There were a group of them sitting closest to me. Four guys and two girls. They looked normal from first glance.
I caught pieces of their conversation, something about a TV show they had all been watching. I had been watching one girl delicately put her sandwiches into a makeshift Jenga tower, when the guy next to her suddenly slammed his head into the table without warning. The impact made me cringe, the cream cheese bagel beginning to creep its way back up my throat.
It was… odd. The way he did it. It was during a conversation where he seemed reasonably okay, before lifting his head and slamming his face into his own plate of food.
After several more times, and I was starting to see bruising around his right eye, his lips split, blood smearing his temples. This guy had done serious damage to his face and yet he didn’t even seem to notice it himself.
He didn’t notice the way his head twitched almost inhumanly to the side, his arms seemingly having a mind of their own. But he continued to smile and talk with the others who didn’t react to him almost splitting his head open. The girl started laughing about something, and he joined in, unfazed by pooling red spurting from his nose and lips. He showed no signs of pain despite his body trembling under the table, and his shaky hands when he took a bite from his own sandwich.
None of them were commented on their spilled drinks or ruined lunches, or the amount of blood splattered on the table. I had half a mind to announce I would get the school nurse. But I had no idea where the nurse’s office was. The rest of the cafeteria didn’t even look his way, and the guy had definitely made noise. Half of his lunch was on the ground, and when I looked closer, there was an ugly crack in the hardwood table. Still though, no reaction from his friends who continued talking like their friend hadn’t just given himself a mild concussion out of nowhere, quite literally speaking through blood staining his teeth and filling his mouth. I had found myself completely transfixed by this guy’s pain endurance as he paid no attention to the state of his face, when another guy strode over to the brunch table, filling his plate with pastries and purple macarons.
“Sooo, you’re the new girl, huh.”
The guy stood with his back to me, his attention on the food. I didn’t blame him. It was practically a banquet. Wearing the same uniform, an untucked shirt over black pants, a loose tie, his blazer awkwardly hanging off his shoulder, he delved into the feast. I could tell from the fancy looking watch on his wrist, his parents had the kind of money he could throw away on several hundred. Though I couldn’t speak from an outsider’s perspective. My mother was the head of the board of education of our town, and my father had a high-paid job in the government. Not that I knew what it was. What I know is that it could give me a sheltered life. So, it’s not like I was surprised I had ended up in this school.
But it was the why and the how which was confusing me. The boy’s accent was refreshing in a room full of Americans, a cocktail of British and aussie. I could barely see his face, just a simple facial structure, as well as dark hair sprouting from a hat nestled over his head. Though I could just about make out Asian American features. When he turned to an awkward angle, he became more of a silhouette than a human being, late afternoon sunlight completely drowning his identity. “Yep.” I said, keeping my eye on the boy who had surely given himself concussion.
I was expecting him to collapse from blood loss, or maybe suddenly start screaming, becoming aware of the state of himself. It could have been a delayed reaction, which would explain his lack of attention.
However, it didn’t explain the other’s. Who happily chatted with him, completely ignoring how much blood he was losing.
I turned away from the food, intrigued, and slightly horrified by the guy who now appeared to be playfully flirting with the girl next to him. She had attracted my attention from the almost plastic look of her. If that was even the word. Everything about her was… shiny, and superficial. Her uniform was way too small for her, clinging to the perfect figure. Though it hugged just a little too perfectly, it looked like a squeeze to get on. Her hair was unbrushed, hanging in clumpy golden rat tails in front of her face, makeup scrawled over her face like a preschooler had used her face as their own personal canvas.
A doll. The girl reminded me of one of my own abandoned dolls back at my mom’s house. I stopped playing with dolls when I started middle school, but mom refused to throw them away. I found a box of them last summer, amused by the way I had treated them as a little kid. I had ripped and torn at their hair, drowned them in the kitchen sink, and given them “hair transplants” with my mom’s scissors. And that is what the girl reminded me of. One of my abandoned dolls. Her appearance wasn’t bothering anyone to my surprise.
This was a private boarding school for kids with parents with serious cash, and nobody, and I mean nobody, was commenting on the girl who looked like she hadn’t showered in half a decade. The guy’s nose had stopped bleeding, thank god. But I found it hard to believe the girl seemingly did not care. The two of them pretended to kiss, laughing with the others. When they embraced jokingly, he smeared blood all over her cheeks and lips—which she didn’t comment on. The girl didn’t cringe or cry out. Her eyes were bright, lips pulled into a grin which was definitely flirting back.
Was this school crazy, or was I?
“Hellooo? I’m talking to you.”
The guy still wasn’t facing me, picking his way through the food, side-stepping towards the chocolate fountain.
“What is this place?” I found myself asking him.
“Eaton Academy.” He said. “You know, the school the elite send their bratty, misbehaving kids— also a dumping ground for kids they don’t want anymore.” He sighed, sniffing a mocktail and pulling a face. “Especially if they’re divorced and can’t even stand to look at each other. Mom disappears to some exotic location claiming its PR, while daddy ships you to boarding school.”
Well, that sounded personal.
“But… why don’t I remember coming here?”
The guy stuffed a cupcake in his mouth. “I dunno,” he said, spraying crumbs. “You could be jetlagged—or maybe you hit your head?"
He finally turned to face me, and suddenly, I found myself unable to breathe. It wasn’t his appearance, dark brown hair pinned by a pair of raybans, amused eyes drinking me in. No, it was something else; something I couldn’t put a finger on or even reach out for. This guy had set all of my nerve endings on fire, and I didn’t know why, or how. I knew what a crush was. The type of butterflies in your gut crush which twisted you from the inside out.
This wasn’t a crush though.
This wasn't a romantic attraction, or a stupid crush. Instead of making my heart flutter, this guy’s face was setting my body into fight or flight. It was just like the coffee machine, and the strange sense of Déjà vu I had felt inside the cafeteria. I knew this guy. I recognised the tinge in his accent.
I knew that he hated purple macarons, but ate them because he liked to taste the artificial flavouring. That he hated horror movies, was a clumsy drunk, and despised his family for abandoning him. But I didn’t… want to know him. Something inside me wanted to get as far away from him as possible. It didn’t make sense that I knew about him, I knew his face and accent, but I also didn’t know him. The guy must have seen my expression, his brows furrowing. “Are you okay?”
“Yes.” I lied.
“Uh-huh.” Abandoning his plate, he leaned against the table with his arms folded. “So, what do you go by?”
He rolled his eyes. “Duh. Your name.”
My attention flicked to another guy standing at the food table. This kid was more put together than the guy in front of me. Instead of the blazer, he wore white shirt and pants combo—without a tie. His hair was tied back in a ponytail people like him could only pull off. Private school’s birthed rich, attractive-looking students.
This guy was no exception. At first, I thought he was unsure what to get, before he lunged forward like an animal, stuffing food into his mouth. I watched him cram four cupcakes and six sandwiches, followed by chocolate coated strawberries and fruit pastries. He was making a mess, knocking the chocolate fountain over with trembling hands, before carving his fingernails into a whipped cream cake sitting on perfect silver. When he dropped to his knees and pillaged through a mountain of mini cupcakes, I started to feel nauseous.
He wasn’t stopping. I watched him tear chicken directly from the bone and pour the whole bowl of potato salad into his mouth before moving onto every other food in his vicinity. It was almost animal-like. His eyes were blank as he sat on his knees, gnawing on crushed cupcakes and frozen yoghurt.
His lips were smeared with food, chin dripping with icing and potato salad, and chocolate and strawberry frosting. I looked around for someone to help him, for someone to tell him to stop—but just like the guy who had slammed his head into the table multiple times, nobody seemed to notice. Even the Aussie kid still leaning against the table, didn’t even glance at the boy who was starting to turn a shade of green I didn’t know existed. I could see his body’s reaction to the food, that it was trying to stop him, his stomach revolting.
And he continued, his lips set into a pained grin. This wasn’t normal. It was… inhuman. This kid was going to burst, I thought dizzily. “Becca.” I managed to answer the Aussie’s question. Something hit my face, sliding down my cheek. A wet piece of onion from the potato salad flying in every direction. “What’s… wrong with him?”
The Aussie frowned, his gaze flicking to the boy who was now sticking two fingers down his throat, forcing all the food back up which came out in an undigested sludge. His smile didn’t disappear as he continued, grasping fistfuls of food and stuffing it into his gaping mouth. “Huh?”
The kid blinked, seemingly looking straight past the mess on the ground, and the feral-like state the ponytailed kid was in. Looking directly at me, his eyes seemed bright and alive, but looking closer, it was almost like there was a barrier in place stopping him from seeing what was going on. It was either that, or I was going fucking crazy, and was hallucinating some pretty fucked up shit. “Oh, that’s Bulimia.” He shrugged, smirking. “Why? Do you like the look of him?”
His words didn’t make sense in my head—and the name sounded like some kind of sick joke. In a school full of private school kids, I could understand name-calling. This, however, was a whole other level. Just like the boy who slammed his head into the table, and the girl who seemingly didn’t know hygiene, nobody was noticing or commenting on them.
I could see the blood vessels in the ponytailed kid’s eyes starting to bulge and burst, rivulets of dark red seeping down his chin, joining the sludge of food. He let out what sounded like a choked sob, before reaching for another cupcake and forcing it into his mouth, already bulging a variety of sweet and savoury. I had seen hunger before. I had seen binge eating and even bulimia when I was a kid.
But this wasn’t it. This was way past an eating disorder. From the jerking way his hand was moving, twitching towards his mouth like a doll, it almost looked like his hands had a whole mind of their own. I felt sick to my stomach watching him, knowing from the look in his eyes, he was in pain, and he wanted to stop—but he couldn’t.
“What… what did you just call him?”
“Hm?” The Aussie almost slipped in the mess on the floor, though managed to keep his balance. “Oh, Bulimia? Well, that’s his name.”
He stuck out his hand with a grin. “I’m Hot Stuff.”
His name took me off guard, and I almost laughed. I was being pranked—surely. Though this was a little too fucking far for a stupid prank.
I had to force myself to look away from the boy who had stopped eating once more, violently throwing up bloody mush behind me. “You’re… what?” I shook my head, struggling not to cry. “I’m sorry, but are you not going to help that kid?”
Hot Stuff inclined his head like I was the crazy one. Like I was the one slowly eating myself to death. “Why?” He chuckled. “He seems alright to me.” He turned to the boy, amused eyes sparkling. “Yo. Bulimia. New girl wants to know if you’re good.”
To my confusion, the kid eating himself to death nodded with a laugh. “Yeah dude, I’m good,” he paused, lifting his head, and I had to avert my gaze before I threw up myself. I wasn’t seeing food anymore. Instead, there was just blood pouring from his mouth. His body had rejected all of that food, and from the pallid look of his skin, he needed serious help. Even he, though, seemed unfazed by what he had done, instead shooting me a grin through pooling red. The boy got up, and stumbled out of the cafeteria. Even from a distance, I could still hear him violently tearing through another cupcake he’d stuffed into his pocket. Hot Stuff watched him go with a blank look on his face and turned back to the ruined spread of food with a smile.
A smile which seemed permanently glued to his face.
“So, Becca!” He spun on his heel, taking a bite of an apple. “Where are you from?”
“Cleveland.” I said, in a daze. I had so many questions, and most of them were threatening to come out in a shriek I wasn’t sure I could control. “Was that guy okay? Did he go to the nurse?” I had to swallow bouts of hysteria clawing for a way out.
“Bulimia?” Hot Stuff shrugged through a mouthful of apple. “He looked okay to me? Though I get it.” He grinned. “Bulimia Is a good looking guy, I can see why you’re interested, Becca.” He inclined his head, his gaze finding the stain of red on teal green tiles. His eyes darkened for a moment, expression twisting. I thought he was going to snap out of this… trance everyone was in, forced to look through rose tinted glasses and blind to the reality around them. Instead, though, he shook his head and tipped his head back with a sigh. “Buuuuut, I think our boy is taken. I’m not sure by who, but yeah, he’s probably spoken for.”
“No.” I said in a frustrated hiss. “That guy was… he was making himself sick—and he didn’t even seem to care,” I gestured around the room. “None of you seem to care! Even you! Don’t you think that’s weird?” I took a step towards him, and Déjà vu sprung again. I had done this before. I had shouted at him before—and he had pulled that exact same expression.
Amused, with a smidge of pissed. I even somehow knew his reaction would be rolling his eyes and tipping his back with a groan. Shaking away intense feelings coming over me like ice-cold water, I let out a breath. “Did you even see him spewing his stomach lining? The guy was bleeding, and all of you… you just pretend it’s not happening? How is that not seriously fucked up?” Now that I had his attention, I couldn’t stop myself. “Where are the teachers?” I hissed out. “I don’t even fucking remember coming here, there are zero teachers, and you’re all acting like watching someone barf their insides out is normal!”
Hot Stuff looked confused, again, like I was the crazy one. He opened his mouth to speak, before a voice rang out across the room, startling me.
The buzz of white noise and chatting around the cafeteria came to a sudden halt when the girl I had been watching earlier, who still had her boyfriend’s blood all over her face, jumped onto a table, waving her arms to shut everyone up. And they did. As if she had some kind of hypnotic control over them, every face turned towards the girl. Now that I was seeing her up close, this girl looked even worse. Her skin didn’t look like… skin. It glistened artificial light. Almost like I was looking at a real-life doll.
Smiling widely like everyone else, with that same oddly blank look in her eyes, the girl started to talk about things I didn’t care about—because I was getting out. There was no way I was staying in a school where the entire student body just existed to be grinning, mindless robots who acted like NPC’S.
However, even when I was backing away slowly, ready to find the nearest exist, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of dread coiling in my gut, stopping me from leaving. Slowly, I turned back to the girl who was talking about the cheerleading team needing more members, and there was a missing laptop reported by an underclassman. Hot Stuff was like everyone else, casually leaning against the brunch table, and smiling at the doll-like girl.
It was when her plastic-looking fingers went to her hair and began to tear it out, did my stomach start to twist itself into knots. She didn’t just touch her hair, running her fingers through strands of fake-looking locks. Instead, the girl started to tug at her scalp, ripping out chunks of hair with a wide smile. It was when smeared red started to appear, first on her forehead, and then her neck and cheek, as she fisted handfuls of hair and tore it straight from her scalp, when I realized I was staring at an actual doll with human-like features. It wasn’t just her arms and legs. Her face looked plastic.
The hair stained deep, dark red stuck between her fingers was fake. Not like hair extensions, like actual doll hair I had memories of tugging my Barbie brush through as a little kid. Something ice-cold crept down my spine. I was paralysed to the spot, watching her claw at her head until half of her hair was gone, what looked like shredded skin, something fleshy and pink caked under perfectly manicured nails. “Is everyone excited to speak to Abigail tonight?” She shouted out into her audience of transfixed faces.
They couldn’t see it, I thought. Glancing at Hot Stuff, his expression wasn’t even twitching as this girl ripped at not just hair, but her scalp, the tips of her fingers dripping scarlet. His head was cocked at an angle, lips forming a smile of appreciation.
Not even the girl noticed what she was doing, continuing her speech about a pep rally they were all excited for. I found my voice somewhere between stumbling into the brunch table, and falling to my knees, before diving back to my feet, every instinct telling me to turn and run away from what I had found myself stuck inside. I was still curious, however.
Part of me wanted to know why splinters of me knew this school—why I knew Hot Stuff, and why I was transfixed by this girl ripping herself apart in front of a silent mass of hypnotised kids staring at her like she was the second coming of Christ. “Who is Abigail?”
I barely heard myself. I almost felt like I was speaking into a void, my voice more of a breathy murmur.
Hot Stuff’s head whipped around suddenly, his lips twitching into a scowl. It was the way he moved, his expression darkening, which sent my heart into my throat. His voice was too loud, and the room had gone deathly silent. Hot Stuff’s lips curled into a snarl. I could sense him stiffening up, his hands falling into fists. Almost territorial. “You don’t know who Abigail is?”
“No.” I said in a breath, eyeing the exit. Because this guy had gone from dazedly smiling and trancelike, to feral animal in a matter of a second. “I just got here.”
His lips contorted into disgust, and before I could back away, he was grabbing my arm, and throwing it up. “Becca wants to meet Abigail!”
Hot Stuff jumped up and down like an excited kid. It took me a moment to realize it, a sudden, unexplainable agony curling my lips into a silent screech. But then I was staring down at the boy’s fingers wrapped around my forearm—and my flesh bubbling underneath it, my skin turned an unnatural shade of red.
With words I couldn’t coerce choking on my tongue, I wrenched my arm away from him. The flesh of my arm was burned. Not just burned, it was charred, already melted through my blazer and shirt. The pain was nothing like I had ever felt before; vicious bolts of electricity singing my skin. I grabbed a bottle of water to douse my arm before another hand caught it. I lifted my head to find the doll-like girl standing directly in front of me. Her smile was too wide, her teeth far too white to be natural. “Do you really want to meet Abigail?!”
She spoke in a shriek, and the room of kids seemed to mimic her.
I couldn’t speak, my attention on my arm, and then Hot Stuff. He couldn’t have been that hot, right? Not hot enough to burn straight through my skin!
“Hey!” The girl poked me in the forehead, and her finger felt like straight-up plastic. I fought against cringing away with every eye on me, including Hot Stuff, who’s lip was curled. “What’s your name?” She frowned. “I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”
“Becca.” I whispered, writhing in pain.
“Hi Becca!” The girl waved cheerily. “I’m Barbie!” She leaned close to me, her breath tickling my ear. “I can’t wait for you to meet Abigail tonight!”
I got out of there fast. Hot Stuff’s blank grin was driving me crazy. Every time I caught his eye, I wanted to know how exactly he had managed to do that to my arm. Though his unseeing eyes and lack of brain cells turned me off. Luckily, I did find a nurse’s office with an actual adult who managed to clean me up and bandage up my arm. When I was sitting on an observation bed, swinging my legs, the woman was applying ointment, she tutted to herself. “You would not believe how many kids I have coming in here after spilling scalding coffee all over themselves,” she chuckled. “Please take care when handling hot beverages.”
“It wasn’t coffee,” I whispered, “It was one of the guys.”
The nurse straightened up, her lips twisting into a frown. She was pressing far too much pressure on my arm. I tugged away with a hiss. She apologised with a gentle smile. “I’m sorry, are you saying another student has thrown coffee all over you?”
“No,” I hissed out. “His hand!” I leaned forward. “That’s what I’m trying to tell you! He grabbed my arm, and I think… I think he burned my arm.” Shaking my head, I hissed out a breath. “There’s something wrong with them. These kids. They’re crazy!”
She hummed. “Do you think he intended to hurt you?”
The nurse wasn’t getting it, and I couldn’t be bothered trying to explain what I was sure had been a seventeen year old kid almost burning my flesh from the bone. When the nurse first saw it, she called an ambulance and told me I would be taken to an emergency room. Which never happened. I don’t know if she forgot, or maybe she had some kind of memory loss, because she sent me to my room with a bag of candy and a bottle of water.
I thought I’d have trouble finding my room, though I found it easily, navigating the ancient and yet modern aesthetic of the school. The stairs to the girl’s dorm were practically crumbling, but modern architecture made up the dorms themselves, wide windows and doors with mechanical locks on them. When I dragged my luggage through a fancy wooden door with an ornate handle, my stuff was already set up, my clothes in the wardrobe, all of my books and my comics stuffed into a shelf by the window. Even my laptop had been set up on my desk.
I made a mental note to thank my roommate, a curly blonde, who was standing in the middle of the room staring at me like I had grown a second head. When I made a move towards her, she stumbled back, eyes widening with fright.
Her side of the room was strangely empty except for a blanket, some books, and one stuffed teddy bear sitting awkwardly on her pillows. It almost looked like she was the new girl. Ignoring her look of horror as I strode over to my bed and flung my luggage down, I plonked myself down on my comforter. I shot her a smile. “Thanks for unpacking for me, but I’m not staying here.”
The girl frowned at me before hurrying over to her desk, grabbing a pen and a notepad, and scribbling something down, before holding it up.
I'M SORRY, BECCA. She wrote something else in a frenzied squiggle. “I CAN’T HELP YOU.”
Something in my chest tightened. “How do you know my name?” I whispered. “Did someone tell you?” When she lifted her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, I couldn’t stop myself asking the question nobody seemed to want to answer.
“What the fuck is going on?” I hissed out. “This school is psychotic. Why am I here? Why can’t I remember coming here?”
The girl looked torn for a moment before shaking her head. Instead of using the pen and pad, she took slow, stumbling strides towards me before opening her mouth.
I thought she was showing me her perfect teeth at first—teeth which were unnaturally white just like Barbie’s. When I looked closer, though, I realized what she was pointing at with the tip of her index finger. My roommate didn’t have a tongue. Or she did, but it was barely that of one, just a slither of something which had managed to hang on. Her tongue had been severed from the trauma in the back of her mouth. Yanked out. I think that was the point I thought fuck no. I wasn’t staying there.
I didn’t even wait for my roommate to close her mouth. I’m not sure how I got from A to B so fast, I think it was the adrenaline. I passed kids who smiled widely at me, and I wondered if their tongues were gone too. Once I was outside, however, my shoes treading on tarmac under my feet, in a dizzying and confusing flash of light, I was back in my room in front of my roommate. Now that I was looking at her, really taking her in, freckled cheeks and an oddly shaped nose, hair she was constantly tucking behind her ears because it always got in her face, I knew her too.
She held up her notepad and told me to stop—told me there was no point. I didn’t care. I tried again. And again. And again. Every single time, I barely managed to step over the threshold before I was back inside my room, screaming and clawing at my own hair in frustration. On my third or fourth attempt, I did manage to see a gate. An open gate. So, there was a way out.
Except every time my shoes touched the outside, cool air grazing my face, I was exactly where I started. Sitting on my bed with a slowly building migraine. My roommate, who seemed the sanest out of everyone, handed me a bottle of water which I downed half of before throwing the bottle against the wall. “What is going on?” I whispered in a shriek. “Why can’t I get out of here?!”
The girl scribbled something else.
“Don’t go to sleep tonight.”
She shook her head. “If you go to sleep, you will join them.” She drew a sad face, which made me feel maybe a fraction better.
I grabbed a cushion off of my bed, squeezing it to my chest. “What’s your name?”
The girl frowned. She wrote down, “Did you forget?” her expression seemed to change for a moment, her eyes turning hollow, which aged her way above seventeen. Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, she scribbled over that, writing: “My name is Josie.”
“Josie.” I said. “Why can’t I fall asleep tonight?”
My roommate’s gaze found the ground before she hesitantly picked up her pad and pen.
“I already got my punishment.” She had written, gesturing to her mouth. “I spread a lot of false rumours, and….” She hesitated, the pen on the paper. “It’s not like I agree with my punishment. But I am glad I no longer have use of my mouth.”
The twisted and contorted legs of a spider wriggled their way down my spine.
“I’m better now.” Josie wrote down with a smiley face. “We’re all better now!”
I thought she was finished before Josie scrawled down something else, holding the notepad up, a smile curving on her lips. I recognised that exact gleam in her eyes. It had sparkled in Hot Stuff and Barbie’s. Josie’s eyes weren’t quite blank, but I couldn’t call them coherent. “I can’t wait for you to meet Abigail!” she wrote, her handwriting progressively harder to read—like she had ignored her own warning. Josie spent hours writing to me about Abigail, though halfway through the hour mark, my roommate’s writing became nothing but a confusing smear of black creeping across the page. I saw the same feral look twisted in her eyes, identical to the boy who had almost eaten himself to death, and Hot Stuff when I admitted I didn’t know who Abigail was.
This was blindly worshipping someone I didn’t even know. Josie didn’t stop until the pen had run out, and she was using her fingernails instead. When I grasped at her hand and told her to stop, she shoved me back with strength I didn’t know she had.
Suffice to say, I did sleep that night.
There was nothing else to do but freak out and attempt to break out of the window which surprise, surprise, had bars on them. I wasn’t sure when I fell asleep, but I woken up with a familiar scalding hot and clammy hand slamming over my mouth, gagging my screams. Hot Stuff. Next to him, to my surprise, was the boy with the ponytail, and Barbie. This time, his touch was blistering. When I screamed, he removed his hand, and ordered me to get out of bed.
I did, falling face-first onto Josie’s beaded rug. I was dragged to my feet, the three of them dragging me from my room. Before I could speak, a blindfold was wrapped around my eyes, and I had to bite back a shriek. Hot Stuff’s fingers singed the back of my neck, his breath like steam, making me shiver. Stumbling in the dark, I fell twice, only to be tugged to my feet violently. Something about the way I was being pulled, my bare toes trailing across carpet, then wood, and finally freezing cold stone, sent waves of déjà vu taking my mind once again.
I knew this route. I knew the uncomfortable feeling of marble tiles on the soles of my feet. I knew my own stifled giggles as we attempted to hide from teachers on the prowl looking for kids sneaking out after curfew. Blinking through the blindfold, I knew the hypnotic glow of candles at the corner of my eye as we took slow steps in our descent. But all of these times locked in my memory, unreachable pieces of myself which had been torn away. I had been on the other side.
I wasn’t the person being dragged roughly, their trembling hands bound behind their back with tough rope.
I was the one dragging them.
I had dragged multiple kids down these exact stone steps, laughing when they cried out for their mommy.
When I was shoved onto my knees, the blindfold was finally tugged off. Candlelight hit my eyes. It was enough to transfix me, the warm glow bathing me, and everyone around me in a heavenly-like allure.
Around me, I could sense them. Kids dressed in black on their knees. Next to me, Hot Stuff and Ponytail knelt, blank, heads tipped back, unseeing eyes glued to something... when I lifted my own head, I found myself staring at... gold. No, not just gold; a mountain of gold, silver, cash and riches, watches and anything of worth, anything tinted with diamonds, underneath a single swaying corpse pinned to the wall.
It was a girl. Or it had been a girl, her face wasn't much of a face, flesh peeling from her bones, lips stretched into a wide, skeletal grin. Abigail. Something inside my mind... snapped. I had been drowning in fog for the last several hours, stuck inside a school I didn't know with strangers bearing faces I did. When my gaze found Abigail, however, I knew exactly where I was.
And I knew who she was.
I knew who I was.
The deep crevices where her eyes had been burned into me, as my purged mind was given clarity. I saw a flash of Bulimia grasping hold of a flailing girl with wide, terrified eyes, and forcing food into her mouth, his lips cruelly twisted into a look of mania.
When she did force down the food, he crammed another cupcake in her mouth, squeezing her nose so she was forced to swallow it down, her eyes filling with tears. Another flash, and this time I was seeing a classroom. Hot Stuff wielding a knife glowing orange, and pressing it to the girl's flesh, making her scream and cry out, trying to get away. But he just shoved her down, pressing harder until the burning blade was melting her skin. Barbie joined them, clawing at the girl's hair, a maniacal grin twisting her lips, drawing all over her face with eyeliner. “We’re going to make you look sooo cute, Abbie! Like a doll!”
Finally, my last memory; a startling agony starting to build in my chest. Abigail sat on the edge of the well outside of the school grounds. Hot Stuff and Bulimia held her down. Barbie stood several feet away filming everything, with Josie next to her, giggling. This time it was my voice which sounded out. "Do witches float? Let's see! Abbie, sweetie. If you sink, you're a witch. But! If you're innocent, you'll float! How does that sound, huh? Sound fun?" Before she could open her mouth, I was thrusting my arms forwards, and shoving her into the dark, my own lips curved into a grin. "Sink." I said with a laugh.
“Siiinkkkkk!” Hot Stuff hollered, with the others joining in.
Abigail reached out for me, grasping hold of the collar of my shirt, and something changed in her eyes, a glitter which made me stumble back.
"Get off of me!” I shrieked, shoving her forwards. “Fucking witch!”
Coming out of the memory, I knew exactly who these people surrounding me were, and I knew the power which had taken over them.
Hot Stuff was Roman, a Korean diplomat’s son.
Bulimia. Cal, whose mother owned a well-known fast-food chain.
Barbie. Mari. The mere presence of her family sent shockwaves through anyone brave enough to get to know her.
But… There was one person missing.
I saw glimpses of him in the memory. When I had shoved the girl, I freaked out, trying to get one of them to help me. But they just laughed. Jared, my boyfriend, wrapped his arms around me and swung me around, the two of us laughing, entangled in a kiss. “Just pretend it didn’t happen,” he murmured into my ear, before shouting at the others. “Understand? It was suicide.” He pulled a cigarette from his pocket and lit it up, taking a drag. “The girl was never going to fit in here, anyway.”
Blinking rapidly, I searched for him. Roman had quickly gotten to his feet after being handed something sitting on a velvet cushion, before dropping to his knees in front of Abigail’s corpse. He started to chant in a low murmur, the others surrounding him joining in, their minds and bodies taken over. When I crept towards him, trying to squint in the candlelight, I realized it was a head. Jared’s head.
I could still see hair sprouting from a decomposing skull. Which I had already seen snapped off of his body by a Cas, and Mari thrusting a gilded knife through his skull. I remembered screaming, and being dragged back, a knife pressed to my throat. And a promise by Abigail, spoken through Mari’s lips which trailed across my neck in a kiss. At the corner of my eye, hundreds of threaded dolls with my classmates' faces stood against the wall.
Four of them were torn limb from limb, blood like string pouring from their heads.
She would take a piece of me.
Like I had taken a piece of her.
That promise was held, as once the chanting had stopped, I was forced onto a bed of stone, the cruel, cold blade of scalpel slicing into my flesh, my screams gagged by a hand which scalded my lips, sending my thoughts into a dizzying spiral of nothing. But I didn’t fall asleep. Abigail didn’t let me. Instead, I was forced to watch them delve into the meat of me, slowly, so I would feel everything, and take a chunk of me away. I saw it in their hands smeared in slithering red and glistening gore.
When I woke up, screaming, back inside my dorm-room, I thought it was a nightmare.
Until my gaze found bloody sheets, and under my shirt, clumsy stitches barely holding my stomach together. When I blinked, there she was at the corner of my eye. Smiling that same skeletal grin. I tried to get out again, but I am stuck with her.
I am stuck here with Abigail implanted inside of me. She is everywhere, and I can’t escape.
I know I am a bad person. I did something awful, and she is making me pay for it rightfully so. However, Isn’t this going too far? How is it even possible to take control of the school like this? How can this girl have so much power over everyone—and most importantly, why hasn’t she killed me? I don't even know how I can get an Internet connection. I knew she was weird. But this is way beyond anything I have even heard of.
Witchcraft. But this isn’t the type we caught Abigail doing.
It’s different.
I am a disgusting human being.
But. If you have anything. Literally anything. I am begging you.
Help us.
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2023.05.23 15:10 blackkettle Five Week Trip Report: April-May; Kansai, Kanto; Previous long-term resident family


We are a family of three. I previously lived in Japan for about 10 years. My wife is Japanese from the Kansai region, and we have a 6 year old son born and raised abroad, but who speaks/reads/writes Japanese at a native or near-native level for his age. My wife and son traveled back to Osaka several times during Covid, but I did not join them due to the additional logistics requirements at the time, and the sense that it would not be particularly enjoyable. Prior to covid we would typically spend about 4-5 weeks a year in Japan, but this was our first long day-in-the-life trip together in the past four years.
It was a phenomenal trip, and I wanted share what we did. Our trip is probably a little bit unconventional compared to most of the reports here as we all speak Japanese and are very familiar with Japan having lived there for quite some time in the past. Our main goals for our trip were to provide our son with immersion opportunities, to meet family, and to visit with old friends. We lived for many years in both Osaka and Tokyo and I have relatives in Shizuoka. We also love craft beer, games, and quirky museums; I think our trip itinerary reflects all of this.

General Pre-trip Preparation:

Our son is a second-year kindergartener in Zurich, Switzerland, but he also speaks Japanese and attends a Japanese school part time. He's very outgoing and enjoys new adventures (probably because we have been dragging him around to San Diego or Osaka almost every year for most of his life). This year we thought it would be interesting if he could experience a real Japanese elementary school during our stay. To this end about 2 months before we left, my wife contacted the local elementary school near her parents house in Osaka and inquired about the possibility of doing a short 'study abroad' (体験留学) at some point during our stay. To our surprise she received a prompt reply from the school principal, who was very enthusiastic about the prospect, and happy to arrange all the details upon our arrival. Apparently he had previously worked at an international school and had a very positive outlook on this sort of interaction. Final details were to be determined on site in a short family interview in order to get a sense of our son's Japanese ability and disposition.
We typically spend our long-term stays with our relatives but this time we decided to break our trip up into several stages: Osaka at Home, Osaka at Large, Return to Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka at home. The remainder of the report is broken up accordingly.

Part 1: Osaka-at-Home I.

The first week we flew in to Osaka KIX from Zurich via Seoul, and took the Hello Kitty Express :-) directly into Umeda where we met up with family and went straight to a Yakiniku experience at Yakiniku Toraji on the B2 floor of the Lucua building at Umeda. At first we planned to make the journey home to drop off our luggage but after we realized that the airport express now drops you off at essentially the Lucua B1, we decided to just head straight to dinner. Needless to say, it was epic. We grabbed some bread and pastries for the following morning and headed home with mom and dad.
Masks; Even on first arrival it was clear that we made the right decision to come after the covid restrictions finally lifted. Everything was open, and people were out. Roughly 90+% of people were still wearing masks everywhere, but this percentage steadily declined over the duration of our stay to, I would say, 65%-70% by the time we left on May 20th. We chose not to wear them, and my MIL/FIL were also not wearing them. At no point during the trip did I feel there was any concern about this in either direction. Anyone traveling in the near future should feel completely free to go whichever way you prefer.
During the first week we sorted out our jet lag, and spent a lot of time roaming around conbinis and the supermarkets remembering all the little delicious nothings that Japan has to offer. We stayed with mom and dad in Ebie, Fukushima, right on Yodogawa. This is about 5 min bike ride from Nodahanshin station, and 10-15min ride to Fukushima station or Umeda. We made all these rides many times during our stay! We made some mellow probing adventures:
Prepaid SIMs. I still have to answer emails and typically work on-and-off during these trips. One of the reasons we are able to do it is because I work in IT. This means it's always important to get a good prepaid SIM. On my last visit, four years ago I was able to find a great deal on a prepaid SIM at Yodobashi in Umeda, so one of my first orders of business was to repeat that experience this time. However after discussing with the sales and purchasing a SIM with 50GB for 1mo @ Y8000, I found out that it did not permit tethering. This was stated as a 'possibility' in the fine print and when I asked at purchase time the sales person said they couldn't guarantee it but thought it should work. I gambled and lost. This was quite annoying given the main purpose of purchasing a high volume prepaid SIM was for tethering to my laptop. Anyway as a result I discovered the eSIM tech which was also supported by my iPhone 14. I ended up buying another eSIM plan using Ubigi and this worked great and supported tethering without issue throughout my trip. It also worked great for our short return stop in South Korea. I'll never go back to prepaid physical SIMs and I still cannot believe that Docomo is still blocking tethering in 2023. Completely ridiculous.
Exercise: I am an avid swimmer and cyclist. Since we typically stay for around 1 month I like to be able to continue my swim workouts while we are in Japan. Cycling isn't a problem since we end up biking and walking all over the country anyway. I always join the Konami Sports Club network for 1 month as a regular member the first day we arrive. They provide a bunch of different plans and most of the Type III and Type IV gyms in the network have a 25SCM lap pool. If you join the network you can use any of facilities anywhere in the country, which is great if you spend time in more than one city. The Type III and Type IV facilities all have really great bath house areas as well, with multiple sento-style baths and usually a big sauna. You need to make sure that you join and quit on the same day (or at least in the same week) so that your membership will be properly cancelled at the end of the first billing cycle. This might be tough if you don't speak Japanese well, but if you do the staff is super accommodating and will definitely help you make it happen. In addition to the exercise, one thing I really like about doing this is that it gives me another day-in-the-life experience; it's like living there again; doing things that locals do. The Kitahama facility in Osaka is particularly nice; It's a new one and it's my favorite.
Internet Cafes: I worked on and off during the trip and usually do work days at local internet cafes. The three I liked best during this trip were:
Cycling: We keep a couple of momma-charis at my in-laws place, including one with a kid-seat on the back. We did plenty of riding and my son loves the unique-to-him experience of riding on the back of the bike. We considered getting him his own bike this year, but eventually decided against it due to the complex traffic. Osaka is pretty easy to get around in by bicycle in terms of terrain - there are very few hills in the city proper, however the traffic is a little bit gnarly. Midosuji street is a great example of this. It runs in a mostly straight line from Umeda/Osaka station, across Oebashi and Yodobashi past Osaka city hall, and down through Dotonbori to Namba. It's a cool little ride if you have the time and inclination and it is mostly flat. It runs only in one direction for most of this length however many Japanese cyclists seem to not be aware of this fact. I was surprised/amazed/terrified by how many people I encountered riding against the flow of traffic on this quite busy street. Plenty of mama-charis with kids on back as well. It's pretty chaotic and not for the faint of heart! That said I enjoy the rides and the people watching and the adventure that a little chaos can provide as long as you keep your eyes open.
As I mentioned, we love craft beer, and we particularly love Hazy IPAs in all their various forms. We made it a point in this trip to explore this aspect of Japan as it seems to have really exploded in popularity since our last visit. We followed (hazy_mmy)[] for some great ideas outside the brewpubs.
We wrapped up this mini pub crawl with a walk through the Kitahama/Yodoyabashi area in the evening. This is more of business district but it actually has some interesting novel historical sites. There are a number of cool Meiji Era buildings with large explanatory placards. These are predominantly in Japanese and maybe a bit obscure, and you also won't be able to enter most of them, but if you are into this sort of thing it's can be a fun bonus. I'm guessing google translate in photo mode can get you most of the way through the placards:
there are a bunch more, these just happen to be the ones that caught our eye as we passed by on our mini pub crawl.

Part 2. Osaka-at-Large

We spent roughly our first two weeks in Osaka, but in order to get a change of pace and give our family a break, we opted to spend the second week in an apartment-hotel near Umeda. This was a great decision and a lot of fun. We were able to host friends, had even better access to Umeda and could relax and enjoy the city from a fresh angle.
We spent 7 nights in the rooftop luxury suite at Minn Kita Umeda and it was epic. My wife booked this about 6 months in advance and it was worth every last yen. The room was spacious and quiet with two large comfy beds. The bathroom included a deep Japanese style bath. There is a large rooftop deck with a jacuzzi overlooking Lucua/Umeda/Osaka station. This view at night was phenomenal. At present there is also a ton of highrise construction going on behind Grand Front which my son got a kick out of (and me too). The apartment has a large kitchen and living room space as well, and we used it to host some visits from friends.
I ended up working most of this week so we only managed one major adventure.

Part 3. Return to Tokyo

For our third week we returned to Tokyo to visit old haunts and old friends, and take in the even bigger city. We headed up early on the Nozomi shinkansen after checking out of the Minn. We bought bento in Shin Osaka station and our son picked out a shinkansen shaped Ekiben box to bring back for school lunches.
We previously lived for about 7 years in Jiyugaoka, and planned to spend time there meeting friends, but we decided to stay in an area we were less familiar with in order to get a fresh perspective on the city. We spent 6 nights at the Blossom Hotel Hibiya which is about 5 min walk from Shimbashi station. It's a highrise with the hotel on the top. We had a room facing Tokyo Tower with a great view. The rooms themselves were clean and comfy with the external wall composed of a single huge bay window. The city scape was amazing night and day.
I ended up having to put out fires at work again during this week even though I had tried to take it off, and this put a little bit of a damper on some exploration plans, but we still managed to see all our friends and make a go of the time. Also since we already spent almost 10 years in Tokyo altogether, we didn't feel nearly as pressured to check out multiple tourist sites and focused on eating, drinking, and meeting with friends.
Tokyo is overflowing with great craft beer these days!

Part 4. Shizuoka

After our stay in Tokyo we started making our way back to Osaka for the last segment of our trip. On the way stopped off in Mishima for one night to visit my relatives. Here we stayed at the Toyoko-Inn Fujisan Mishima-eki. This is a no frills spot but it had nice clean, quiet rooms and a surprisingly good breakfast buffet. We wandered around Mishima in the afternoon then had a big Yakiniku family dinner with my relatives at Anrakutei Yakiniku. I tried Horumon for the first time and actually enjoyed it!
The next day we headed to Mochimune for one of our long planned trip highlights:
It rained heavily in the evening and all through the night, but this made for a fun trip to the nearby 7-Eleven, and a good excuse to just hang out and tap the keg while watching Doraemon reruns on the big screen TV in the room. In the morning the weather had cleared up so we took a long walk on the beach which is just a few minutes from the hotel. The walk from the hotel back to Mochimune station is also quite nice if the weather permits. Truly amazing experience. Also requires booking several months in advance.
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2023.05.23 01:11 GringoMenudo GVA-IAD Polaris Menu

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2023.05.22 14:03 AnderLouis_ Hail and Farewell (George Moore) - Book 3: Vale, Chapter 7.1

Today's Reading, via Project Gutenberg:


As soon as the applause died away, Yeats who had lately returned to us from the States with a paunch, a huge stride, and an immense fur overcoat, rose to speak. We were surprised at the change in his appearance, and could hardly believe our ears when, instead of talking to us as he used to do about the old stories come down from generation to generation he began to thunder like Ben Tillett against the middle classes, stamping his feet, working himself into a great temper, and all because the middle classes did not dip their hands into their pockets and give Lane the money he wanted for his exhibition. When he spoke the words, the middle classes, one would have thought that he was speaking against a personal foe, and we looked round asking each other with our eyes where on earth our Willie Yeats had picked up the strange belief that none but titled and carriage-folk could appreciate pictures. And we asked ourselves why our Willie Yeats should feel himself called upon to denounce his own class; millers and shipowners on one side, and on the other a portrait-painter of distinction; and we laughed, remembering AE's story, that one day whilst Yeats was crooning over his fire Yeats had said that if he had his rights he would be Duke of Ormonde. AE's answer was: I am afraid, Willie, you are overlooking your father—a detestable remark to make to a poet in search of an ancestry; and the addition: We both belong to the lower-middle classes, was in equally bad taste. AE knew that there were spoons in the Yeats family bearing the Butler crest, just as there are portraits in my family of Sir Thomas More, and he should have remembered that certain passages in The Countess Cathleen are clearly derivative from the spoons. He should have remembered that all the romantic poets have sought illustrious ancestry, and rightly, since romantic poetry is concerned only with nobles and castles, gonfalons and oriflammes. Villiers de l'Isle Adam believed firmly in his descent, and appeared on all public occasions with the Order of Malta pinned upon his coat; and Victor Hugo, too, had inquired out his ancestry in all the archives of Spain and France before sitting down to write Hernani ... and with good reason, for with the disappearance of gonfalons and donjons it may be doubted if—My meditation was interrupted by Yeats's voice.
We have sacrificed our lives for Art; but you, what have you done?
What sacrifices have you made? he asked, and everybody began to search his memory for the sacrifices that Yeats had made, asking himself in what prison Yeats had languished, what rags he had worn, what broken victuals he had eaten. As far as anybody could remember, he had always lived very comfortably, sitting down invariably to regular meals, and the old green cloak that was in keeping with his profession of romantic poet he had exchanged for the magnificent fur coat which distracted our attention from what he was saying, so opulently did it cover the back of the chair out of which he had risen. But, quite forgetful of the coat behind him, he continued to denounce the middle classes, throwing his arms into the air, shouting at us, and we thinking not at all of what he was saying, but of a story that had been floating about Dublin for some time. A visitor had come back from Coole telling how he had discovered the poet lying on a sofa in a shady corner, a plate of strawberries on his knee, and three or four adoring ladies serving him with cream and sugar, and how the poet, after wiping his hands on a napkin, had consented to recite some verses, and the verses he recited were these:
I said, A line will take us hours maybe, Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought Our stitching and unstitching has been naught. Better go down upon your marrow-bones And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones Like an old pauper in all kinds of weather; For to articulate sweet sounds together Is to work harder than all these and yet Be thought an idler by the noisy set Of bankers, schoolmasters and clergymen, The martyrs call the world.
The poet advanced a step or two nearer to the edge of the platform, and stamping his foot he asked again what the middle classes had done for Art, and in a towering rage (the phrase is no mere figure of speech, for he raised himself up to tremendous height) he called upon the ladies and gentlemen that had come to hear my lecture to put their hands in their pockets and give guineas to the stewards who were waiting at the doors to receive them, or, better still, to write large cheques. By virtue of our subscriptions we should cease to belong to the middle classes, and having held out this hope to us he retired to his chair and fell back overcome into the middle of the great fur coat, and remained silent until the end of the debate.
As soon as it was over criticism began, not of my lecture, but of Yeats's speech, and on Saturday night all my friends turned in to discuss his contention that the middle classes had never done anything for Art. AE pointed out that the aristocracy had given England no great poet except Byron, whom many people did not look upon as a poet at all, and though Shelley's poetry was unquestionable, he could hardly be considered as belonging to the aristocracy, his father being no more than a Sussex baronet. All the other poets, it was urged, came from the middle classes, not only the poets, but the painters, the musicians, and the sculptors. Yeats's attack upon the middle classes, somebody cried, is the most absurd that was ever made; the aristocracy have Byron, and the peasants have Burns, all the others belong to us. Somebody chimed in: Not even the landowners have produced a poet, and he was answered that Landor was a considerable landed proprietor. But he was the only one. Not a single painter came out of the aristocracy. Lord Carlyle's name was mentioned; everybody laughed, and I said that the distinction of the classes was purely an arbitrary one. It was agreed that if riches can poison inspiration, poverty is a stimulant, and then leaning out of his corner AE remarked that Willie Yeats's best poems were written when he was a poor boy in Sligo, a remark that fanned the flame of discussion, and the difficult question was broached why Yeats had ceased to write poetry. All his best poems, AE said, were written before he went to London. Apart from the genius which he brought into the world, it was Sligo that had given his poetry a turn of its own. Everybody knew some of his verses by heart, and we took pleasure in listening to them again. The calves basking on the hillside were mentioned, the colleen going to church. But, somebody cried out suddenly, he took his colleen to London and put paint upon her cheeks and dye upon her hair, and sent her up Piccadilly. Another critic added that the last time he saw her she was wearing a fine hat and feathers. Supplied by Arthur Symons, cried another. As sterile a little wanton as ever I set eyes upon, who lives in remembrance of her beauty, saying nothing, exclaimed still another critic. And the silences that Yeats's colleen had observed these many years were regretted, somewhat hypocritically I think, for, as AE says, a literary movement consists of five or six people who live in the same town and hate each other cordially. But, if we were not really sorry that Yeats's inspiration was declining, we were quite genuinely interested to discover the cause of it. AE was certain that he would have written volume after volume if he had never sought a style, if he had been content to write simply; and all his utterances on the subject of style were repeated.
He came this afternoon into the National Library, John Eglinton said, breaking silence, and he told me he was collecting his writings for a complete edition, a library edition in ten or twelve volumes.
But he is only thirty-seven.
He said his day was over, John Eglinton answered ... and in speaking of the style of his last essay, he said: Ah, that style! I made it myself. And then another, Longworth I think it was, said that he failed to understand how anybody could speak of a style apart from some definite work already written by him in that style. A style does not exist in one's head, it exists upon paper, and Yeats has no style, neither bad nor good, for he writes no more. AE thought that Yeats had discovered a style, and a very fine style indeed, and compared it to a suit of livery which a man buys before he engages a servant; the livery is made of the best cloth, the gold lace is the very finest, the cockade can be seen from one side of the street to the other, but when the footman comes he is always too tall or too thin or too fat, so the livery is never worn.
Excellent! cried Gogarty, and the livery hangs in a press upstairs, becoming gradually moth-eaten.
AE regretted the variants: he knew them all and preferred the earlier text in every case, and when literary criticism was over we turned to the poet's own life to discover why it was that he sang no more songs for us. We had often heard him say that his poems had arisen out of one great passion, and this interesting avowal raised the no less interesting question—which produces the finer fruit, the gratified or the ungratified passion. It was clearly my turn to speak, and I told how Wesendonck had built a pavilion at the end of his garden so that Wagner might compose the Valkyrie, and how at the end of every day when Wagner had finished his work, Mathilde's wont was to visit him, her visits inspiring by degrees a great passion, which, out of loyalty to Wesendonck, they resisted until the fatal day when he read her the poem of Tristan and Isolde. After the reading they had stood looking at each other, as Tristan and Isolde stand looking at each other in the opera. Later Minna, Wagner's wife, intercepted a letter which she took to Madame Wesendonck, and the interview between the two women was so violent that Wagner had to send his wife to Dresden. The first letter of the many that he wrote to Mathilde Wesendonck tells the miserable dawning of the day he withdrew from Switzerland to meditate on suicide and his setting of some verses of the well beloved. Regret nothing, he writes from Venice, I beseech you, regret nothing. Your kisses were the crown of my life, my recompense for many years of suffering. Regret nothing, I beseech you, regret nothing. Minna had no doubt as to Richard's guilt nor have we, but the translator of the letters, Mr Ashton Ellis, and others, have preferred to regard this passion as ungratified, and it is evident that they think that the truth is not worth seeking since the drama and the music and the letters cannot now be affected thereby. For better or worse you have the music, you have the drama, you have the correspondence. What can it matter whether an act purely physical happened, or failed to happen? Everything, I answer, for thereof I learn whether Wagner wrote out of a realised or an unrealised desire. As we sat round the fire I broke silence. Love, I said, that has not been born again in the flesh crumbles like peat ash. Yeats's love for Maud Gonne, said AE, has lasted for many years and will continue, and I know that it has always been a pure love.
A detestable phrase, AE, for it implies that every gratified love must be impure. And from that day onward I continued to meditate the main secret of Yeats's life, until one day we happened to meet at Broadstone Station. We were going to the West; we breakfasted together in the train, and after breakfast the conversation took many turns, and we talked of her whom he had loved always, the passionate ideal of his life, and why this ideal had never become a reality to him as Mathilde had become to Richard. Was it really so? was my pressing question, and he answered me:
I was very young at the time and was satisfied with.... My memory fails me, or perhaps the phrase was never finished. The words I supply the spirit of sense, are merely conjectural.
Yes, I understand, the common mistake of a boy; and I was sorry for Yeats and for his inspiration which did not seem to have survived his youth, because it had arisen out of an ungratified desire; and I fell to thinking that hyacinths grown in a vase only bloom for a season. But if it had been otherwise? On such questions one may meditate a long while, and it was not until the train ran into Westport that I remembered my prediction when Symons had shown me Rosa Alchemica. His inspiration, I had said, is at an end, for he talks about how he is going to write, and I told Symons that I had noticed all through my life that a man may tell the subject of his poem and write it, but if he tells how he is going to write his poem he will never write it. Mallarmé projected hundreds of poems, and, like Yeats, Mallarmé was always talking about style. The word style never came into Mallarmé's conversation, but, like Yeats, his belief was that the poet should have a language of his own. Every other art, I remember him saying, has a special language—sculpture, music, painting; why shouldn't the poet have his? He set himself to the task of inventing a language, but it was such a difficult one that it left him very little time for writing; and so we have but twenty sonnets and L'Après-midi d'un Faune written in it. Son oeuvre calls to mind a bibelot, a carven nick-nack, wrought ivory, or jade, or bronze, and like bronze it will acquire a patina. His phrases will never grow old, for they tell us nothing; the secret meaning is so deeply embedded that generations will try to puzzle through them; and in the volume entitled The Wind among the Reeds Yeats has written poems so difficult that even the adepts could not disentangle the sense; and since The Wind among the Reeds he has written a sonnet that clearly referred to a house. But to what house? AE inclined to the opinion that it referred to the House of Lords, but the poet, being written to from Ely Place, replied that the subject of his sonnet was Coole Park. Mallarmé could not be darker than this. But whereas to write a language apart was Mallarmé's sole aestheticism and one which he never abandoned after the publication of L'Après-midi d'un Faune, Yeats advocated two languages, one which he employs himself, another which he would use if he could, but being unable to use it he counsels its use to others, and has put up a sign-post: This way to Parnassus. It is amusing to think of Mallarmé and Yeats together; they would have got on famously until Yeats began to tell Mallarmé that the poet would learn the language he required in Le Berry. Mallarmé was a subtle mind, and he would have thought the idea ingenious that a language is like a spring which rises in the highlands, trickles into a rivulet and flows into a river, and needs no filter until the river has passed through a town; he would have listened to these theories with interest, but Yeats would not have been able to persuade him to set out for Le Berry, and the journey would have been useless if he had, for Mallarmé had no ear for folk, less than Yeats himself, who has only half an ear; an exquisite ear for the beauty of folk imagination, and very little for folk idiom. Are not the ways of Nature strange? for he loves folk idiom as none has ever loved it, and few have had better opportunities of learning it than he along his uncle's wharves in Sligo Town and among the slopes of Ben Bulben, whither he went daily, interested in birds and beasts and the stories that the folk tell. As pretty a nosegay as ever was gathered he tied on those slopes; there is no prettier book of literature than Celtic Twilight, and one of the tales, The Last Gleeman, must have put into Yeats's mind the idea that he has followed ever since, that the Irish people write very well when they are not trying to write that worn-out and defaced idiom which educated people speak and write, and which is known as English. And it is Yeats's belief that those among us who refuse to write it are forced back upon artificial speech which they create, and which is often very beautiful; the beauty of Pater's or Morris's cannot be denied, but their speech, Yeats would say, lacks naturalness; it is not living speech, that is how he would phrase it, and his thoughts would go back to Michael Moran, the last of the Gleemen, who, he thinks, was more fortunate than the two great writers mentioned, for Michael wrote (it would be more correct to say he composed, for it is doubtful if he knew how to write) living speech—i.e. a speech that has never been printed. Yeats' whole aestheticism is expressed in these words: A speech that has never been printed. Yeats's whole aestheticism is expressed in these words: A speech that has never been printed, and the peasant is the only one who can give us speech that has not appeared in print. But peasant speech limits the range of our ideas. A pure benefit, Yeats would say; we must purify ourselves in ignorance. But peasant speech is only adapted to dialogue. To this objection he might answer with Landor that Shakespeare and the best parts of Homer were written in dialogue, and it would be heartless to reply: But not the best part of your own works, Yeats. Your mind is as subtle as a Brahmin's, woven along and across with ideas, and you cannot catch the idiom as it flows off the lips. You are like Moses, who may not enter the Promised Land. He would not care to answer: Even if what you say be true, you must admit that I have led some others thither. I beg pardon, there; and he would fold himself up like a pelican and dream of his disciples. His dream was always of disciples; even when I met him in the Cheshire Cheese he was looking for disciples; he sought in vain till he met Lady Gregory. And a great day it was for Ireland when she came over to Tillyra, and met, whom do you think? Yeats, of course. Here I must break off my narrative to give a more explicit account of Lady Gregory than the reader will find in Ave.
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2023.05.21 21:12 True-Boysenberry7054 CRUMBLish Cannoli Cookie recipe!!!

CRUMBLish Cannoli Cookie recipe!!!
I have coined a new term:
"CRUMBLish" = cookie in the style of CRUMBL, but in a flavor that CRUMBL has not produced
And... introducing my first CRUMBLish cookie... the Cannoli Cookie! recipe
These cookies have complex flavors; cannoli shell cookies with a hints of orange, cinnamon, and marsala wine. The whipped Ricotta and cream cheese frosting is subtly sweet. Mini semi sweet chips and a sprinkling of pistachios add to the cannoli experience.
If you try my recipe, please let me know how it turns out, and if you have any suggestions!
Visit our spreadsheet of recipes in our community- crumbl_copycat_recipe

CRUMBLish Cannoli Cookies
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