Koenji, the world and elsewhere

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The Galileo of Gardening

My parents gave me this all-in-one tomato plant kit for my birthday. As I was in the hospital until November I didn’t get a chance to plant it in the summer (or whenever tomato planting season is). I went to three different garden centres asking for some growing tips, etc. All three full-time gardening professionals told me “No way! You can NOT grow a tomato indoors in the winter. You are insane! It is IMPOSSIBLE! NOOOOOOOO!” (Perhaps they were not THAT passionate about me not growing tomatoes in the winter, but they were certainly 100% against it.)

I did not believe any of them, as I had read hundreds of millions of gardening websites that some people, somewhere in the world, had in fact succeeded in growing tomatoes indoors in the colder months. It sounded crazy, but I thought “What the Hell? You only live once or twice.” So I threw Japanese caution to the wind and opened the ready-to-grow tomato kit and put those seeds in the soil, added some water, put it on the windowsill and … waited. That was in December. It took a couple weeks to sprout and has been growing ever since. We just ate the first ones today.

There is a lesson in here somewhere. I have proved Japan’s Gardening World wrong and may consider submitting my incredible achievement to select horticultural periodicals. It’s like I’m the Galileo of Gardening or something.


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No chili on the chili dog

I’ve often wondered why some people or businesses even bother trying. If you are going to do something, or make something, and ask other people to pay you for it, do it with at least some degree of effort and pride. If you own a hotel, have clean sheets, if you run a coffee shop, make a decent cup of coffee (or offer free wifi), and if you sell chili dogs, make them with fucking chili.

I am generally quite pleased with the sandwiches, service, prices and coffee at Victory Café in Asagaya. So it was with some quiet rage and disappointment that I tried their chili dog for the first time last Monday.

A chili dog basically requires three things: a bun, a wiener, and chili. Simple. An effort to master but also a tough one to screw up. But Victory Café did an exceptional job of the latter. Their chili dog process is somewhat like this:

Wiener? Check.
Bun? Check.
Spicy ketchup with onion bits? Che-… Wait. What did you just say?

I’ve had some fairly mediocre chili dogs in my life. This can be due to bland chili, too many beans chili, or not enough chili. But they’ve all had one thing in common: chili.

Dear Victory Café: please rename your chili dog to spicy ketchup dog.