what can i say? i’m greatly enjoying my hiatus. not saying i hate blogging; not at all. but i am enjoying my extra free time, which is spent by hanging out with friends, reading, and just relaxing. i must say, it’s kinda nice. eventually i’ll go back to blogging more regularly, but for now, i want to stop and enjoy the scenery.
i’m taking a break from pool as well. i actually missed the swannee tournament a few weeks ago; i only watched about 15 minutes of it online, and that was it. i heard the finals was quite epic, but oh well. after watching pool for so many years, sometimes i feel like all the matches are blurred together, a sign of me turning indifferent. better i take a break.
for some reason, i’m slowly getting back to playing video games. i don’t play nearly as much as when i was younger, but i am picking it back up. speaking of which, the playstation vita just came out.
i had a very brief hands-on at a game store. as far as the hardware goes, it’s pure geek candy. the five-inch OLED screen is big and bright, and sports 960 x 544 resolution. the control scheme is quite trippy, however. it has the usual playstation buttons: your start/select/home, the directional pad, two baby analog sticks, four face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. but it also has a touch screen, and a big touch pad on the back of the machine.
the touch pad changes function depending on the game. i played the soccer demo, and the touch pad was used to aim your shot. pretty weird. with so many controls, i felt like i needed ten extra fingers to utilize all the functions. my gripe with the vita, however, is that the machine is pretty flat, meaning it doesn’t conform to your hands. so with the touch pad on the back, you’ll accidentally hit the pad and make unintentional moves. on top of all that, the machine is quite heavy for a handheld. the result? uncomfortable gaming experience. so the vita is total eye candy, but it has a lot of rough edges. i think it’s actually more comfortable to play games on my phone, which is not saying much at all. for now, it’s a pass.
a hiatus is not complete without food. so i tried another ramen shop. below is the pork-broth ramen, or tonkotsu ramen in the native tongue.
i ordered the spicy pork ramen just to give it a try. basically, it’s the pork ramen finished by adding a ladle (or two or three) of chili oil. (the chili oil is the red stuff in the above picture.) you mix up the oil with the broth, and you have the spicy ramen. the pork broth itself was quite good: thick and rich with piggy flavor. the abysmal amount of pork slices was laughable, but at least the flavor was quite right. this shop served thin ramen noodles, which i liked. there was the standard soft-yolk egg, a must in my opinion. the chili oil at this shop had a sour kick to it, which i found pleasing. it helped to cut through the heavy broth, and provided heat at the same time.
normally, a spicy dish in a japanese restaurant is not spicy at all. but this particular ramen actually had decent heat to it. it’s not quite like this . . .
. . . but the heat was satisfying without being painful. note to self: perfect winter dish. eat when weather is cold. (btw, i don’t recommend orochon. the shop discovered a gimmick and became famous for it, but the ramen itself is average at best.)
my combo came with pan fried pork dumplings, also known as gyoza. i was quite shocked at how good they were. these weren’t headliners, but they stole the show. the texture of the wrapper was a perfect chewy softness. the filling was porky and meaty without overplaying its role. the whole thing tasted like soft pillowy clouds of porky perfection. the texture is such that i think it is mandatory to eat these gyozas right after they come off the griddle. this is not a dish you eat cold.
as far as the portion goes, the combo is pretty filling. next time i’ll try the ramen by itself with the extra noodle option. i’ll continue to take it easy on the blogging front, and put up random posts in between. until next time, gentle readers.