I've gotten several inquiries from kind readers about the status of this site, which hasn't been updated much, as well as the status of JustBento, which hasn't been updated in 2 years.
The fact is, I have been having more health problems again. This past July I almost died, for real. I suddenly collapsed at home and an ambulance was called, but apparently my situation was so precarious that I could not be moved for several hours. The ambulance came in the early afternoon, and it was past sundown (I'm not exactly sure of the time, since I was barely conscious) before the ambulance could move me. That night I had emergency surgery to remove a huge and very fast-growing growth in my small intestines. By huge, I'm not kidding - it measured about 20cm by 28cm by 15cm, and weighed more than 2200 grams - the size of a smallish newborn baby.
The growth turned out to be a very rare sarcoma. Sarcomas usually don't grow in the small intestines, and small intestine cancer itself is not at all common. I always knew I was unique. ^_^;
So the upshot is, I'm facing 2 years of chemotherapy to kill off the rest of the sarcoma. This cancer is not a metastatis of the endometrial cancer I was diagnosed with in 2011, but well, another one.
This has affected me in a lot of ways as you can imagine, mentally and physically. On the food front, the most serious issue I'm dealing with is that for some reason my tastebuds have been badly affected. The first few mouthfuls of most foods are fine, but after that a lot of things have a terrible bitter taste - the bitter taste seems to coat the middle of my tongue, as if I'd been sucking on an uncoated pill. I have to really pick and choose what I eat - some fruits are okay, most vegetables are okay, some cheeses are okay. Most meat tastes really bad after the first few mouthfuls, and I simply can't tolerate any kind of processed food anymore - it's like I am tasting any chemicals in there amplified. As a lifelong food lover, this has really gotten me down. I've had to learn to adapt, and rely on those first precious 'normal' tasting mouthfuls.
The fatigue is an issue too. If you are a healthy person, it's really hard to describe to you what that dragging, heavy fatigue feels like - the fatigue that hits you so suddenly sometimes during the day. If you have a chronic illness, or are undergoing some kind of long-term medical treatment, you know what I'm talking about.
So, have I stopped writing about food? No - but my output is quite lower than before. However I am still out there, writing. I still write a monthly column for The Japan Times, called Japanese Kitchen. And I still regularly update my Facebook Page - it's somehow easier to write there than here, although I should write more in 'my' space I know. My Facebook Page is the best place to see what I'm doing actually. I'm also slowly working on another project, which I hope to be able to talk about eventually.
And...there's now a German edition of The Just Bento Cookbook! It is called Bento für jeden Tag: Kreative gesunde Mahlzeiten zum Vorbereiten und Mitnehmen. If you have bento or Japanese cooking friends who prefer German to English, please let them know! ^_^ (Amazon.de affiliate link.)
So there it is. I don't plan to end either JustHungry or JustBento just yet. I'm planning to get better. In the meantime, I'm also mulling the idea of writing more about non-food topics, for which I don't have to rely on my rogue tastebuds. I am posting fairly regularly to my Funassyi site, since Funassyi just makes me happy.
In any case, I'm still here. ^_^ Thanks for your patience.Type: blog Filed under: personal cancer rec_no
Funassyiland is having a Christmas sale right now, with many older Funassyi items discounted very deeply. The assortment above for instance of 10 to 15cm tall Funassyi dolls originally retailed for around 1,200 to 1,800 yen each, but you can get all 5 for just 1,058 yen plus tax. Clockwise from top left they are: Funassyi in a Chinese style silk dress; Funassyi in a Han Ahn Soon designer denim dress (from his AneCan magazine fashion shoot); Talking Funassyi Version 2 (press his tummy to hear Funassyi’s real voice say one of 5 phrases); the standard Funassyi as himself with the sunflower on his head leaf; and French Funassyi complete with a beret and a baguette. Check out their other sale items too, which include things like 50 (!) Funassyi shaped erasers to put in all your Christmas stockings. Remember that to shop from Funassyiland online from overseas you will probably have to use a shopping service such as Buyee or White Rabbit Express.
Here’s a video of Funassyi’s first stage appearance on Saturday at the World Character Summit in Hanyu, Saitama, from EMI2743, who is the best fan Funassyi videographer of them all in my opinion.
The stage show starts at around the 4 minute mark, and is preceded by a promo appearance by the event organizers at Funassyiland with Funagoro, Funyassyi and host character Mujinamon in attendance. There’s also look at some of the decorated vans the gotouchi chara travel around in, which is quite interesting. A Funassyi van is not there though - he probably has to travel in a plain unmarked van.
The weather in Hanyu was quite miserable on Saturday, but Funassyi and his frequent sidekick Iisa King are as chipper as usual. The topic of the day is doing imitations - Funassyi has some hilariously wrong imitations of various Japanese entertainers on his 274ch site, and Iisa King has done several of his own, including one of Funassyi. Both the do imitations of Chicchai Ossan, although I have to say Iisa King’s is a bit better. Even the mayor of Hanyu, who appears on stage later on, does a Chicchai Ossan imitation. Funassyi does some reminiscing about his history with the Hanyu event, which means a lot to him. You can read about his first appearance here.
Last year, Funassyi made a special guest appearance on the premier episode of a show called Last Cop, a buddy copy drama-comedy. The Flying Pear will be making another appearance on the show this Saturday, November 26 at 21:00 on Nippon TV (NTV or Nittele), and it seems he will be sent flying through the air somehow once again. This is what happened to him last time…can the show’s producers top that? We shall see.
(Edit: I mistakenly wrote Sunday before - it’s Saturday. Sorry about that.)
Funassyi was a guest on 360tv web show Animal Research Squad (アニマル調査団) hosted by Hidetsugu Shibata of the comedy duo Untouchable. You can view the full episode now on 360tv. The theme of the show is that they go out and research various animal related questions, and they view video of that on 360-degree viewers (like the one they’re trying to get on Funassyi in the 2nd screenshot above). The topic of this particular episode is “If an elephant stepped on udon noodle dough, will it have a lot of body?” Udon noodle dough is traditionally stomped on for a couple of hours to make it smooth yet chewy.
You can view the show in 360 degrees too, by clicking and dragging on the screen. You can even see what they’re snacking on on the table - it’s sushi and pizza, a perfect combo of course. Funassyi seems to prefer the pizza.
Funassyi appeared at an event yesterday to promote the upcoming Guns ‘N Roses concert in Tokyo in January. Funassyi came dressed as Axl Rose, and Shigeo Takahashi of the comedy duo Savannah as Slash. Funassyi played a mean air guitar according to reports.
In Japan, events such as concerts and movie openings, especially those of overseas artists or imported movies, are often promoted at press events like this by famous people (or pears) who aren’t necessarily in the concert or movie, but have some kind of connection to it. Funassyi appeared at this event because of his well known avowed love of heavy metal, although his tastes appear to run towards bands earlier than Guns ‘N Roses.
“…Totoro was over there! It’s the truth nassyi!”
The Funabashi East post office, which is in the area where the mythical Pear Hut is located, has a special Funassyi The Postpear* display to promote the special year-end Funassyi design stamps. The display will be for the rest of November.
*The Japanese word for postal delivery worker is ‘yuubinya’, which doesn’t have a gender, so I took the liberty of translating it thusly.
If you have to wear a tie to work, why not make it a Funassyi tie? These will be available starting on Saturday, November 12th at all Funassyiland stores including the online store. The retail price is 1,500 yen each plus tax.
The Funassyi Bousai (Disaster/Emergency Preparedness) Backpack looks like a cute Funassyi bag from the front, but is packed with items that are needed during the first hours of a strong earthquake, a hurricane or the coming apocalypse. It includes a first-aid kit printed with a Funassyi design, a radio-flashlight that comes in a Funassyi-print box (the radio-flashlight itself is plain, unfortunately), a bottle of Funassui (Funassyi Water), a disposable toilet kit, a compact rope ladder, a whistle, a blanket and more. The suggestion is to leave the backpack on display near the front door for example as a cute Funassyi doll, which can be grabbed easily if you need to evacuate your house fast.
The backpack is available on the Grey Parka Service site for preorder, with delivery scheduled in late December. Retail price: 16,200 yen including tax; free shipping within Japan. From outside of Japan you will need to use a shopping service or rely on a friend in Japan.
This weekend, Funassyi will be appearing once again on the late night NHK program Chakushin Onrei! Keiti Oh-giri which airs from 0:05 (midnight) Sunday the 13th or late night Saturday. This is a live comedy show featuring an old inprovisational comedy game in Japan called oh-giri or o-giri (大喜利). The game leader, in this case the program, issues a topic, and the idea is to come up with funny answers for that topic. If your answers are read on-air and deemed to be good by the judge, you go up in rank. I’m not sure if you get any prizes, but you do get bragging rights at least. Here’s a full review I did of Funassyi’s first appearance on the show, so you have an idea of what it’s about.
This will be Funassyi’s third appearance on the show, and he’ll be the “voice guest”, meaning the one who reads the answers that people come up with. His previous two appearances were great, and it’s obvious the show likes him a lot. (I always get the feeling NHK loves Funassyi…I wish they’d have him on a lot more. Maybe a regular program? One can hope.)
The questions for the upcoming show have been posted on the official site. Anyone can write in with answers, even from overseas - but you do have to have the ability to write funny (and often sarcastic) answers in Japanese of course.
In Japan, the traditional New Years feast is called osechi, which consists of various colorful and symbolic foods packed into a tiered bento box called a ju-bako. Grey Parka Service announced this Funassyi ju-bako, which comes packed with Funassyified toy versions of various osechi foods. The black box is a real ju-bako that can be used for real osechi or as a bento box. The Funassyi osechi set will be available tomorrow after 12 noon on the Grey Parka Service website. Edit: The set will retail for 10,000 yen plus tax. (Photo source)