Thursday, December 28, 2006

and here comes another one

These years. I tell ya. Its a blur, one year and then another piled on top of another. I tell ya. The weather has been freaky recently, really rainy and warmer than usual. I'm on new years brake and Evan and his friend Beth are up here visiting. Its fun and a stretch of my small room. We have futons angled around like a puzzle, but I'm happy that we figured it out and got us all settled down in my tiny messy studio appartment. Hint hint. I think I will open a hotel in my room, or atleast a hotel for my friends. Come on over! And oh yeah, I have new pictures up. Woo. 11 shots of random glory.

Monday, December 18, 2006

photo madness

Yeah, thats right, a dip into photo madness! I havent had anything better to do, so I took a billion photos in the last week or so. I went through the endless shots, and uploaded 16 juicy pictures (and a few videos!) and I welcome you to check them out (after you click the link just click next, in the upper right corner, to see them all.) And if you havent noticed, look around, I'm tweaking things on this main diary page and making it more "modern" so Enjoy!
Today it was brisk and cold. When I came home I turned on my heater and left it on. My electric bills going to be expensive this month. Flashback time! since thats what blogs do a lot and I dont do that enough and I need to connect with my audience (of two) ... so yeah, que backflash music... I remember when I was little, we had a wood stove with a pipe that ran up to the chimney. We didnt have centeral heating, and I remember watching my mom put little peices of a log into a little compartment, and watching the flames lick and eat the wood until it became engulfed. She would then poke the little metal door shut with another peice of wood, and I would stand near the stove soaking up the heat. Those were the days. The days of shaggy carpet toilet bowl covers, and candy cane christmases, and snow powdery winter mornings. Ahh, returning from backflash. Reality, or whatever this is, returns.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm a big dork

So I feel like the grinch or something. I have been such a grumpy antisocial person these days, I need to work on my attitude. I feel like maybe the city is slowly taking away my Soul. For example, Kayo invited me to a christmas party yesterday but I just said grumpy things to people who talked to me most of the time. Whats wrong with me? These days, I have felt so bad about my bad attitude that I've been doing things like giving my chair in the train to tired people, and letting others go before me in lines in an attempt to regain my karma. I'm wondering if its part of the whole getting used to living in Japan again thing. I was away for awhile, and Japan is a strange place I guess. I wrote a paragraph complaining about different things, and then i realized i am still being mr.grumpy if i think that way. mr.grump needs to go on vacation or something, so I deleted that, yeaaah! I need to look on the positive side of life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

red leaves

crop size click for bigger set of picturesSometimes its hard to express culture things in words, but I want to somehow express a short trip I went on a few days ago. I went to a state near Fuji-san, and checked out the red leaves. Watching the red leaves (momiji) is a Japanese culture event in Fall. In correct manner, its a bit orchestrated and even scheduled on TV and what not, but the beautiful leaves capture something beyond all the setup of this natural event. There is something poetic in the moment of transmission from vibrant life, to a red crimson last-shine before they fall and become part of the soil which encourages more life to grow. I cant really capture it in words beyond these that I tried to share here, so I guess I will let pictures do the talking. Heres the link for the photo set of the best pictures I took. There are about 20 of them, just click the next link (in the upper right) from this picture to see all of them, enjoy vibrant colors of nature. I also took three good videos including the view of Fuji-san in the morning. Moments in time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

nice people & etc

So I was thinking I should act like my blog is a "time capsule" and I should just fill it up with those baasic day to day things that are maybe boring, but they are my life at the moment. So I was coming home today, and I was tired from teaching and so I fell asleep on the train and dropped my ticket (which I had been foolishly holding) so when I got to the ticket counter I thought he'd make me buy a new one (because foreigners have been pretending to loose their tickets so they have gotten more hard on people about lost tickets) so I went up to the train guy and said (in Japanese of course) "oh I want to buy a new ticket." and he asked where I came from, and I told him the truth, even though it was far away, and he asked me how much I had paid, and I was like "uhm... like I think 310YEN." and I apparently got it right, or he felt sorry for me, because he said "well, today you can go through with no ticket, but dont loose it next time." I smiled and rushed off. I am wishing now I had thanked him more, it was cool to have a "nice" moment inside this busy mean big city.
And I thought I would also mention a habbit of mine that I was thinking might be a little odd. Recently I havent had time when I am getting ready in the morning, and if I am eating noodles instead of rice, I boil my water and put in the noodles, start the shower, and then take the bowl of noodles into the shower and eat while starting the first rinse. I saves time, and makes sense to me (I hold the bowl out of the stream of water so it doesnt get mixed with shower water) and I dont think I will stop this habbit soon, but I'm wondering how odd it might be. Before I run away I thought I should share a smile or two, so heres a freaky video from old Japanese TV; rainbow man fights with silver faced freak.

Friday, November 10, 2006


inside Takadanobaba station - click to see big
Seasons turn in cycles, I spin, the days continue. I am alive and enjoying my days, but finding my mind slowly pulled into the "day to day" burn of a regular job. My creativity seems to be disapearing, something that I dont like. I need to work on more projects, do more things, be more creative. 2006 was supposed to be my year of collaboration, but none of my friends had the time or desire to collaborate I guess. So I guess 2007 will be my year of personal creation. Make some cool new ideas and send them fluttering off into the world. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

hand language

I walked home tonight, in the dark cold rain. Thoughts in my head. I'm sitting on my messy floor now, infront of my laptop, the speakers playing Creedence Clearwater Revival, "I set out on the road, seeking my fame and fortune..." The voice grinds on, and I pull up the event of the day that I'm looking for. It was this afternoon, it was still raining then too. I had ducked into a McDonalds near my house for a hamburger. The lunch-rush was in full swing, the staff running up and down yelling (with manners) at their customers. I was standing in line behind these two old women, they were having an animated conversation with their hands. Something about going somewhere (all that I can get, I'm still basic verbs and salutations) but the moment that hit me was what came next. The women got up to the counter and ordered with sign language. And the amazing, and hard to explain thing, was the change that came over the counter staff. She stopped talking, and just swayed her hands to indicate various things they were communicating about in basic sign language. I had a vision of a whole world communicating with their hands, wonderful visual symbols etched in the air, and yeah, noise pollution would be greatly reduced; the thought came to life and I could imagine the whole shop communicating with their hands. And then the whole country. It was a beautifully silly and cool idea. The young staff woman broke the silence with a strong "Thank you for your order please come again" to the two old women (who of course didnt even notice) and this broke me back into the noise of the room. Cash registers, people, a litteral ocean of sound.

Friday, October 20, 2006

day to day

bikes and crates in the early morning infront of the local 99yen shopWell, I've been told my blog is getting too philosophical lately and that I should shift it back to a log of what I'm doing... work, life, that sort of thing. The problem is I dont want to have a blog about work. I dont think I'd get fired for that (although my Japanese friend got fired for commenting on her friends blog entry about a bad boss, talk about bad luck, everyone got fired, I guess it was true... he was a bad boss!) I just dont really want to mix work with my blog too much. Kind of like trying to mix salt into my cocoa or something. Salt is important but its a whole different thing than cocoa... or something like that. But other than work, my life is mainly just filled with meeting people or sitting around my room most of the time. Not the most stimulating of topics for blog entries. If I find something, I'll post about it, otherwise for now its going to be mostly philosophical-ish rants. And in other news, I've had videos and tons of photos streamed to my korean site for years, but very few of my unkorean friends visit that so I've decided to try out that Twango service to bring even more media to unkorean viewers. Of course I have my original feed that is sent from my cellphone. And I started a new one of large photos taken with my new digital camera. For an extra bonus, I even have a channel of videos taken with my camera which should help you feel like you are walking around Tokyo with me... or something odd like that. Stalkers Paradise. Enjoy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

circadian rhythms

Last week, I was coming home from a bookstore in the evening. I got out of the station, and I was greeted by a typhoon. Thick rain, blown strongly in heavy waves. People were trying to walk home with their umbrellas, only to have their umbrellas ripped out of their hands or violently turned inside-out. A woman next to me screamed as her purple umbrella twisted and shuddered under the strength of the brutal wind. It then sucked the umbrella back, as if pealing a purple banana. I was so wet when I got back to my house, 10 minutes away, that I looked like I had taken a shower in my clothes.
The next day, it was hot and sunny. It appeared like sunshine and rain had fought for power of the sky, their battle leaving literally hundreds of umbrella carcases on the sidewalk leading to and from the station. Mostly cheap 100yen umbrellas, snapped, twisted and used; flapping in the breeze as the sun shined down ignoring yesterday's weather.
The weather was like many apparent victories of history (or even those of our mind), where the vanquished slowly regains control, so gradually that the approach is hardly noticed. Our sunshine was bright and beautiful, but slowly the heat faded from the days, the violent weather of winter slowly sinking its teeth into the last gasps of summer until with out noticing I needed a small coat today, even though the sun (in its proxy position of apparent power) continues to shine.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

happy birthday

My friend (he doesnt use his name on the internet so I guess I wont either) recently posted a feelings about his birthday video post on his blog. After seeing that I thought I would comment on my feelings about... my own birthday! It feels weird to think about time, and its rapid unfolding. I was looking around trying to find old pictures of myself, and I found my oldest website again. I used my geek skills and reconstructed it (many image links were broken since it was so old) but its very geeky and makes me feel old to think this page is still on the net (in a broken form) ...a webpage that is from 10 years ago... a TEN year old webpage. Its fun to read it, like looking at a time capsule or something. Some of the things I was into, like encyclopedia making and film making are still some of my interests, but other things that I was into (some really geeky ones) show typical passing youth-interests. This page shows a mellow me, after any youth anger, a year before I headed off to college, a place where of course my life changed. I think I blogged about it before, so I guess thats about all I have to say about that. But really, life is a strange thing. A few more years, and it will mean that I have been overseas longer than I was in college. I need to take some time to think about what that all means, but I feel a little brain dead at the moment so I'm not sure what to add here. A comedian is streaming off the net, people laughing, while outside this room a driver is going by selling sweet potatoes from his car, his selling song echoing into my ears. Time continues.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

fightin' words

I consider myself to be a person with a fairly mild temper. Honestly, I think about the only things that usually piss me off are racism and sexism. So I was walking home from the station, looking up at the sickle moon in the dark sky thinking about how beautiful it looked hanging above my little town. And I come up behind two middle age guys, one pushing a bike, and the other walking along beside him talking to each other in Japanese. I couldn't get around, so I walk behind them for awhile, but they are slow and I am tired, I want to go home. So I say "Excuse me!" but they just keep talking, ignoring me, so I say with not enough tact "You're in my way." and they step aside but the fatter man, who was walking alongside the man pushing his bike, mutters in Japanese "Noisy foreigner." and I couldnt help it, I had to retort with "Shut the hell up." (In Japanese of course.) Because maybe I'm noisy, but does he have to bring the race issue into it? As I'm saying that and walking past him, he lurches out and digs his fingers into my chest and flings me against the rock wall on the left-hand side. Swearing loudly and twisting out a brutal command for me to shutup if I know whats good for me. I dont like to be threatened or attacked by idiots, so I dont back-down, I yell back "Racist bastard, get lost." And he lifts his hand up to hit me and says as much, so I yell something about the police and kick my foot out against his leg, not in a violent way (that would have only started it off more) but in a "dont hit me" kind of way; not painful, but strong enough to let him know I wasnt interested in a knuckle sandwich. His friend is urging me to get out of there, to go home, and so the older fat man takes up on that and tells me to "go back to america, pig" or something of the sort, and I tell him again he's racist. He acts like he will get violent again, but I dont want to tell this guy its OK to harass foreign people so I just yell "racist asshole!" at him (which I guess isnt the smartest idea for my long-term health). The short fat-man starts swearing at me in bad English, and so I join with a few English swear words, but I dont want to turn this into an empty-anger macho festival. His friend by now is frantically making motions of "drinking" when his friend isnt looking (doesnt want to piss him off, I guess), trying to calm down the situation. So I guess he's just some drunk dork (or atleast thats a good enough reason for his social backwardness) and so I bark something sharp, and head off with the fat man streaming insults behind me.
Kind of creepy to think this happened at my station, I hope I dont get some fat-gangster stalking me or something. Racist freaks.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

magic airwaves

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (arthur c. clarke, author) I feel a bit like I'm in some sort of magical land. I bought a laptop yesterday; boot it up and it starts instantally sniffing the air and finds 7 local net gateways, three which have unlocked doors. pop snap crackle, I'm on the net... endless data-streams... for free, through some magic voodoo called wi-fi. coolness. more to come later. its now time to go to work... woo!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

my place in the world

I've been thinking a little about my relationship with this world I exist in. (I have a lot of thinking time with no real TV, no computer and not even a radio. Cant wait to get a PC!)
Me and Japan. I dont feel like a "Japan Geek" and in fact tell myself I am not crazy about the country. With that said, I feel myself disagreeing in my head, with many of the foreign teachers about Japan. (And I'm sure they might read this, so to be clear that wasnt meant in a really negative way.) For example, semi bugs (cicadas) are hated by many of the teachers because of their shrill buzz in summer. I heard several conversations about how they cant understand how Japanese people can appreciate the bugs. But I like the noisy sound of those bugs. Yeah, its annoying but it connects me to all my other summers and reminds me how quick summer always really is. I could go on about these bugs, but the main thing I wanted to point out was my difference of opinion.
Me and dreaming.
I think of myself as being almost always half lucid when I dream. (Lucid, if you dont know for some reason, means that you are aware that you are asleep while you are sleeping.) By saying that I am half lucid, I mean that somehow I always have a sort of awareness of being in my "night movie" and its like an adventure through a land that somehow I know is a dream, even if it isnt as clear as that while dreaming. I sometimes have full lucid dreams, but not as often, so I recently used some information on the internet to try to push my dreams into full lucidity more often. The opposite has happened so far. My mischievous subconscious has used the information to "pretend" to have lucid dreams, that are still only half lucid. For example, last night I thought I woke up (that was part of the dream, unknown to me) and could feel myself being dragged back to sleep. I told myself (who was actually dreaming at the moment) that this was perfect timing for having an incubated lucid dream, I would just stay aware that I was falling asleep while I fell asleep and I would be lucid. I thought I fell asleep, although it was still a dream, and the "lucid" dream was washed out and not vivid (like its supposed to be) so I thought it was my mischievous subconscious messing with my "dream view" because it knew I was falling asleep. It was more twisted than that, my subconscious tricked me into thinking I was having a lucid dreaming when instead-- wrap your head around this one-- I was dreaming that I was dreaming lucid. Eventually after several attempts at dream-control didnt work right, and instead of seeming lucid the reactions seemed like what happens when you are in a dream (random and bubbly), my mind got a little confused, I suppose you could say I had a lucid moment inside my dream of being lucid, and so I decided to wake up and reset the process. This time when I woke up, I really woke up, and I could think clearly enough to realize the first time I hadnt really woken up and the following had been a mischievous trick I had played on myself. Yeah, its a true story, I have a very odd way of thinking which shows itself in my dreams I suppose.

Friday, August 25, 2006

trip to Niigata

Walking down from where the castle used to be. I gave my camera to Kayo and she took this picture. Click for big version. Kayo and her sister Mari invited me on a "one day trip" to Niigata. We left late at night, using a Youth 18 Ticket and got to Niigata in the early morning. Mari is a big fan of Japanese History so she talked us into going to a place where a Japanese Castle used to be. We took a local train (with me opening the window and hanging out as we zoomed past deep green rice fields) to a small station where we could walk to the site. We asked the local train station man if there were any restraunts in the area and he laughed at us, too small for that. We asked about atleast any convience stores and he said "I've heard of one over that way, although I've never seen it myself." We headed over that way, and found a small convience store where we got tons of food and ate it outside while watching ants scurry below us. Then we hiked up through a green mountain, along old overgrown paths. Semi bugs hummed in the trees, the summer sun burning our skin and sweat drenching us. At the top there was nothing but the top of the mountain, the castle was removed in the Tokugawa era long ago, but the view of the city below was beautiful. Glittery small town buildings cluttered together with puffs of green trees, leading to an endless gray-blue sea on one side. After that we made our way to a rocky seaside in litterally the middle of nowhere. Our guidebook said there was a bike rental shop, but it had closed years ago. We wandered around, seeing a few sport fishermen in the river leading to the ocean, and some huge electricity generating windmills. We stopped at a large local soveniour shop and got some drinks and sat and watched the ocean while drinking. After that we took the local trian back to Niigata for a wonderful sushi dinner. The only badmark on the vacation was the fight we got into about having fights. Its an ironic thing to have a fight about I suppose, and there were many causes, with the biggest being our sleep-deprived minds. It was quite a scene, two Japanese and a foreigner screaming in a sushi joint. That calmed down and we walked back to the overnight train and took it back to Tokyo. A blur of memories that arent quite captured here in the words I've thrown out of my head.

Monday, August 14, 2006

hot day trouble

Its super hot today, my brain is melting. I came to the internet cafe and the lady said all the seats were taken in Japanese, and so I said I'd wait, and she seemed surprized and said in a heavy English accent that the place was full. I said I'd wait. Her boss came over and told me to go away in Japanese because the seats were full, and I was busy checking my cellphone e-mail so I snapped at him without polite markers in my Japanese something like "shutup, I'm waiting" and so he asked me to leave the store. I said no, I was waiting to use the internet. He put his arms on me and pushed me to the door. I dont like people to touch me if they dont know me, so I pushed his arms off me and said something to the effect of "bugger off creep, dont touch me" in Japanese and he said he would call the police. I said something like "I'm not doing anything wrong so go ahead" in a very rude way because I was annoyed with this guy, and I dont like to be pushed around. He goes off and I hear him calling the police... I was surprized because I thought he was bluffing. A seat opens up, so the staff gives me a ticket to sit down and I do. The boss comes back and gets mad at her for letting me sit down for whatever reason, I suppose because it makes your argument weak to the police if I'm quietly using the PC in the corner. I use the computer. The police actually show up, one wearing a bullet proof vest and hand hovering over what I presume is a stun gun. I kid you not. The boss-man tells them that he's sorry but its all over with now. They leave, annoyed they didnt get to bust anyone. Wow. I almost got trashed by some Japanese cops.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

living in the future

Sometimes I get a little silly and feel like I'm living in the Future so to speak. Although I'm aware of time as something more complex than that bonehead statement, it felt a bit like that today. First, I got a free phonecard from my company that I programmed into my cellphone, and this morning I called direct to America to talk to my mom. Direct from my cell phone to half way around the world for a couple of cents (uhh, I mean yen), that was kind of cool when I thought about it long enough. (As a side bit of info, my mom wasnt home. I didnt recognize who answered so I asked who it was, he refused to let me know on the basis that I had called there instead of him calling here, so I said who I was and he introduced himself as my little sisters boyfriend and stuff. Time flies...) And another bit of feeling like I live in the future happened later today, Kayo is visiting Australia for a few weeks, and for no real reason I called her with the TV-phone option from my cellphone. Pres a button and up pops Kayo in Australia standing next to her host-dad, and then a bit of a backyard and some other people in vivid video. I dont know, maybe I'm being a bit old fashioned, but I thought that was cool. (as another side note, I couldnt hear much of what was being said because a train came by on my side, right when she answered. Thats the disadvantage of "use anywhere" technology I suppose.) And as a bit of final from the future thoughts, I want to make sure everyone knows my cellphone is the "keitai" that is referenced in the scroll graphic on the sidebar. So yeah its pictures sent direct from my cellphone to an online album, please check it out as much as you want. Oh yeah, uh huh uh huh.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

work and such things

And yes. I am part of the rat race again. I am a worker bee... only not female... and bigger and stuff. Okay. You got the idea. I'm getting off track here. I like working again, it feels great to be back in the room with students teaching after about an 8 month pause of nothing. Of course the company I'm going with doesnt offer too many options for full teaching, but so far I'm really liking it. They got new books, which are better than the old ones and really make it fun for the teacher and student if used right I guess. My coworkers seem good so far, the students have been a blast, and the work area is cool. Thats about all I have to say about that I guess, dont hit your head against the floor with boredom please.

14th vlog - my old cellphone

14th vlog - 19mb - click for file! ignore the file name it really is the 14th vlof!! ohyeah!
This is my old Japanese cellphone. It's about 6 years old. I pulled it out recently and recharged it. It still works fine, although it has one small visual glitch on the display. I decided to play with it, and heres the true result. And yes, that's me screaming like a dying cow.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

13th vlog - tanashi

click for video, 15mb, quicktime, its not the 14th vlog its the 13th... ignore the file name byaaaach!
Yeah, its been awhile. I heard the cries of the people who didnt want to spend the time downloading boring video logs, so my video blogging took a lunch brake. But I was thinking about it today, and if you dont want to download one of my video blogs, just dont do it. You dont have to download this, its your choice! I'm going to continue to videoblog from time to time, when the urge strikes me. In fact, I plan to upgrade to even larger files as soon as I get my hands on a better camera. Big! Big! Oh yeah oh yeah ... So anyway, about this vlog... I was walking in Tanashi with Kayo and Mari and I decided to do a sudden attack of nonsensical video blogging. So here it is, a blog walking the streets of Japan. We get to see a taxi, my friends hiding from the camera and someone ride past us on a bike. And thats (mostly) me talking in drunk sounding Japanese. Oh, the excitement!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

on my way to Japan

Pan Star Dream - boat to and from KoreaI was having one of those love the world moments on my way back to Japan. That was mixed in with my grumpy reaction to most service people in Korea. (Something I noticed always happens to me while in Korea for some reason.) The train ride back to Busan (Pusan) was brilliant, lush green hills with slender bridges, rushed past my window and before I could write more than a couple of poems about it, I was already on my boat back to Japan. Last time, I couldnt get on to the main deck because the door from budget class was locked. This time I figured out that the door from first class was open, and I walked around the deck. It was wonderful, a hot summer sun with a strong ocean breeze. Perfect blend. And endless deep blue sea, endless, litterally dark blue stretching to every horizon. Standing up on the deck with the wind in my hair, I thought silly thoughts about how everyone becomes a foreigner when on international boats, because there is no imaginary boxes countaing our countries when far out at sea. Later that night I couldnt sleep, and I went out on deck again. The air was still warm, the wind was still just right, but now the stars were out. I've seen movies of people out at sea with brilliant stars but I thought it was a bit of movie magic, but its more than that. The stars, with out interference from cities and people, were sparkling solid chunks in the sky. They litterally looked like frozen fireworks hanging in the sky in a interwoven mess. I leaned against a life vest box and just looked up for a long time. Pretty stuff. Like I said I was in a love-the-world mood, which didnt change as I got on my bus to Tokyo (I decided to take the daytime bus because it was only $15 more expensive and I could sleep in my own bed if I did that) and it was so fun to watch the countryside roll past. The sun was out still, glowing on the endless bushes. In places I could see the wind blow patterns in rice fields, as we rushed along on huge highways cut litterally through mountains. Good times. Today I went in and got my assignment at work. I am stationed at Kita-senju. (I'm using army lingo if you didnt notice, pun intended.) I start work the day after tomorrow. Here I go!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

in korea

fruit market, click for bigger versionIt seems like I have finally got my visa. I went to the Japanese Embassy today and the application process was very fast. I filled out a form, stood in line behind an angry Iranian (who Japan wouldnt give an entry permit) and when it was my turn I gave my paperwork to the woman and I was told to come back the next day. Easy as that. One thing I noticed is the Iranian guy and the French guy in front of me all said "thank you" to her in Japanese when they were finished. I noticed that she was Korean, so I thought that was kind of odd, so when it was my turn I said thank you in Korean when I was finished and she seemed to appreciate that. The picture above is an old woman selling fruit at a small station in the middle of nowhere near where I got my paperwork package. I will be a working zombie again soon!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

youth hostel thoughts

Click for bigger version. Evan in a restraunt.Its weird to stay in this youth hostel again. All the other times I've been here. (Including the three months before I worked here.) It blends all together, and being here seems to mix with the other times. This now is like the other nows (I mean, the other times that felt like now that arent now but were now) ...all very tripy ideas I guess. Meeting people, exchanging thoughts, moments passing.

While I was here Evan came from Japan to hang out. (He can be seen in the above "artsy blur" picture with my friend Young Im. Shes the one who was getting married last year, and so I waited in Korea to go to her wedding.) It was fun to hang out with Evan and show him around Seoul. I had a lot of fun, lets hope he did too.

I still havent got my Japanese working visa (my reason for coming here) so I hope that happens so. I dont have much time left.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

going on a boat

In not too surprising because of the season news: its HOT! About half of my balcony plants have passed away due to the extreme heat. Often my little one room apartment turns in to an oven and starts to cook me. I can open my windows to improve airflow but its hot outside too. I can use the air conditioner (or as they say around these parts "aircon") to cool down my room, and it works magically, but that thing sucks energy like a depressed alcoholic drinks and I dont want a big bill. I gotta keep reminding myself I prefer too hot over too cold. In other news, I'm about to take a boat from Japan to Korea later this week to make my Japan work visa. A freaking boat as my mode of international travel. Cool Cool!
Some cool links:
Some of you (can you have "some" when talking about just two regular blog visitors?!) might know I'm a big fan of B movies. Well, check out the movie trailer for Negadon (via Japanese language page) The Godzilla (gojira, for you true diehard fans) influence is very clear. It also has gundam influence, and if you are like "huh whats gundam?" then let me say that gundam robot geeks are locally equivalent to starwars geeks in the supposed Western world. Nonetheless, I will buy this on DVD when it comes out. Without a doubt.
And how about a link showcasing my linguistic geekyness now? Personally I prefer the sound of the Cantonese dialect of Chinese, but mainland Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) is kind of cool too. And how about a 100% free multimedia site designed to teach the world Chinese, brought to you by the Chinese Ministry of Propaganda, my bad joke, I mean the Ministry of Education (is there much difference between the two?) It might seem like I'm taking the air out of this site (, but I'm not trying to. Cool stuff. Click Chengo for multimedia fun. Quick review: when I played with it the site was slow and a little glitchy, but the education methods were innovative and captivating. No one would argue the usefulness of Chinese in the future (well, someone might but I think they are silly so I'm not counting them!) I will be a heavy user of that Linese site once I get a computer again.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

police box

Yesterday at about 1 in the morning I went out for a walk. (Something Ive been doing a lot recently.) I came upto a koban. This is hard to translate, its often translated into the odd English "police box" and its basically a mini police station. Mostly the cops in koban give directions to crazy old people and stupid foreigners. I think they can process small time villains too, but nothing major. Anyway, as I came upto the koban I realized no one was inside. The door was half open with a sign on the inside table that said (in Japanese ofcourse) "currently out on patrol" I stepped inside and took the picture that should be included with this post. I felt kind of like a vegetarian at a Meat Lovers BBQ so I didnt stay inside. I continued my walk. (Incidentally I've seen alot of late night "on patrol" koban, and even this one was still empty an hour later on my way home. I wonder if its really a patrol issue or a desire not to say "nobody's home right now.")

Monday, June 26, 2006

geeky glimpse

My computer is still in Korea. My friend is suppose to send it to me, but he still hasnt. And even though its broken, I miss it. Apparently I miss it so much that my mind has produced several grief reduction dreams. Each dream is roughly the same: mailman comes with a computer box shaped package. Hmm who is this for? he wonders aloud. Its mine! I declare ripping open the box and plugging in the computer, and it works! Watch out world, PC power is once again mine! {evil mad scientist laugh} OK yeah I know this is so pathetic that its almost scary.. .

Monday, June 19, 2006

airport incident

My real last day in Hong Kong was an early morning trip to the airport. And if I was keen to believe in luck, I'd say what a seemingly unlucky trip it was.
I woke up early and decided to take the bus. Both because it is cheaper and offers a better view than the airport express train. It was 5 in the morning and I put a HK$100 bill into the bus money slot. Then I remember HK isnt like Korea, no change. From a HK$23 trip up to the same price as the train. Oops. I went up to the top deck on this double decker bus, and watch Hong Kong slip past. I'm still glad I took the bus instead. Some of the views almost defy words. We were on a highway just as the sun was almost awake, but not yet in the sky. The sun was still below the horizon but its impending arrival had turned the black sky to a deep vivid blue. At about that moment we took a long lazy curve onto a massive bridge over hong kong bay. The thousands of cargo boats glittered below, coming and going. And then we were gone, tropical trees rushed passed the window.
I got to the airport and the staff were helping people use the self-check-in machine. (Yes I thought it was weird to have help doing something I was supposed to do myself to save time.) The lady scans my passport and asks me her routine questions. She seems to get worried when I say no to "Do you have an onward ticket for after your arrival in Japan?" She points to the main desk and tells me to talk to her manager. Her manager curtly tells me they cant let me on the airplane with a oneway ticket. I tell her that if thats true they should have told me before they let me come to Hong Kong. She tells me to buy another ticket, I tell her I didnt bring enough money with me. She says that if I dont have an onward ticket she wont let me on the airplane. (If you're lost, she means even though I bought a roundtrip ticket from Japan, if I dont have another ticket to exit Japan at a later date after I get there, then she wont let me on the plane.) She tells me if I wont buy another ticket she cant help me and I will have to go home. I point out I dont have a home in Hong Kong and dont even have enough money in my pocket to stay in Hong Kong so she is dooming me to being homeless in Hong Kong. She says "I'm sorry sir, I cant help you." and walks off. Ouch. I decide to wait in the normal line. Its slow. I get to the counter and the lady prints out my ticket and is just about to hand it to me when something beeps on her computer. She asks me the question. I suddenly remember the round trip boat ticket I bought in Korea to Japan. She says it doesnt count if I dont have a ticket with me. She writes "void" on my ticket. I only have 30 minutes until boarding. I get noisy. They ignore me. I get very noisy. (For those of you wondering what "very noisy" means, I refused to leave the line. I stood infront of other customers, telling them "I'm sorry, I need to talk to her." and then repeated "I must have a ticket. I am the customer. I bought a ticket you must give it to me." to which I was told many times "I cant help you sir" to which I repeated my mantra over and over again. I know thats not nice, but being homeless in Hong Kong wasnt a good option.) Anyway, to make a long story short, I sign something, let them call some of my friends in Japan, and they let me get in a special staff door and run to my plane as the final call rings. Almost a big problem, with a happy end. (Incidently, the electricity was bad in the airplane I got on to, all the lights flickered and went off several times during the flight. I remember thinking I would be the most unlucky person in the world if I had forced me way onto a flight that crashed.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

last day in hong kong

neon signs are what hong kong is all about, tsim sha tsui, click for bigger version.I love this city. Hong Kong is vibrant, and alive, crushed with so many people it quite literally astounds the mind. I think what I like most is the dirtiness of this city. New buildings and shopping centers can be found almost everywhere you turn, but they are matched with more than the same amount of quite simply shabby, dirt crusted old buildings. And I dont say that in a negative way. This gives a kind of history to the place, it makes one aware of older times, of times before the current day, it seems to help stretch Hong Kong into a deserving continuum of past with present. The dirtiness is hard to explain unless it is seen, so for those who are only floating on my words, let me try to explain that it isnt an 'unclean' kind of dirty, it is an old faded paint with a history kind of dirty, and thats one of the things I really love about this city. But its more than that, something about this city really pulls me. I think I'll live here someday even though its so small.
Today, I didn't do much, I woke up early and met my college friend Polly to eat lunch with her during her lunchbrake. It was awkward. If somehow me and her were exlovers it would have been about the same sort of awkwardness, but oddly we are simply college friends. However for some unknown reason she has grown so cold recently. We met, sat down, and ate lunch. She exchanged hardly any words with me, beyond "I gotta go now" before leaving. Its not like I didnt try to talk to her, but anything I said was only followed by head nodding. I remember once talking to Polly about how hating someone was really showing a lot of love towards someone (the intensity of the emotion and all), and she had agreed. I had said that it would be truly evil to just not have any emotion towards them, she had also agreed. So I guess thats what shes doing, just being cold and cool for whatever personal reasons I am not aware of. She misunderstood me though, I didnt mean I would find it evil, I think I ment it would be evil for the heart of the person doing it. I dont feel upset or angry at her, just a bit confused and sorry for her. I hope whatever she is going through isnt too bad. Yesterday after hanging out with Tom for hours, I actually met Candace (American friend from college, I thought I wouldnt be able to get a hold of her but finally did yesterday), and that is how friends should meet. It was warm, friendly, and although quite brief, for sure the highlight of this trip. Too bad we didnt have time to do a bit of exploring Hong Kong together.

I wish I could put my thoughts and impressions in a bottle and cast them out to my readers. I guess that sort of thing will be closer when I get a high-res video camera or some sort of thing, but it wont be ever quite possible I guess. In any case, Hong Kong is alive at this moment, the noise, the smells, the thick hot humid summer air mixed in with the spirit of the city.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

quick stop in Hong Kong

old man with washington apple box on his bike, hong kong. click for big versionI have flown to Hong Kong... again! I just left a few months ago, but I need to refresh my Japanese tourist visa so here I am again, just for a few days.

The first thing I noticed was the heat and the super fast escalators. True to form, I was back in Hong Kong again. I hadnt had time to check for a place to stay before I came to Hong Kong so I went to the information booth at the airport. I got a general idea about where to go, and headed downtown (tsim sha tsui) at about 11 at night. The area is crouded with the sort of people who have 8 "special" rolex watches on their arm, and they try to sell one to you. That kind of area. I walked around for a few hours, but couldnt find anything that seemed cheap enough. Finally around 1, I decided to try a random "guest house" that had a slightly English sign. The lady who greets me speaks broken English, and I end up with a HK$150 (15EURO or US$19) room that is litterally the same size as the bed. No joke. You pull the door open to the hallway, and step up onto the bed. Cars thunder past the window endlessly all night. The only perk was the tiny private shower room that was attached to the side of the room. About a third the size of a normal broom closet, it was small but nice to have a shower (since the heat even at 1 in the morning makes anyone sweat very bad). So then it was off to bed (after jumping up and down naked on the bed, of course) but I didnt get much sleep. Even with my head sandwhiched between two pillows I couldnt cut out the noise of the city.

Today I met my HK friend Tom, and I'll meet my other HK friend Polly tomorrow for lunch. My American friend Candace is in town visiting, but I cant get ahold of her so I guess I wont get a chance to meet her. I'm also leaving the day after tomorrow just 5 hours before my other American friend (priscilla) comes to Hong Kong. I'm so unlucky, if only I had a different ticket! Anyway, tonight I moved to a nicer room in a new place at Mong Kok station. A few more dollers (although about the same price) but it seems like it will be a little more quiet... I hope!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

couple of moments

A couple of moments from the last couple of days.
Watching TV with Yuka. I see the Japanese minister of foreign affairs and find out that he has a name that sounds like a profane English word. I proceed to pretend I am meeting him and laugh about it with Yuka. Yuka's mom hears us and asks us whats funny. I explain that the Minster of Foreign Affairs has a name that sounds like a "bad word" in English. She nods and then goes back to the kitchen. A few seconds later she begins repeating the word over and over again as if she has some sort of horribly focused turrets syndrome. Me and Yuka laugh sheepishly and tell her that she doesnt really need to memorize that word.
The other day, I went somewhere for a job interview. I'm early, so I go for a walk. About 20 minutes before my interview, I decide that its best to not have a full bladder when having an interview so I go to a convience store. I ask to use the toilet, go in and do my business. After I finish, I turn around and grasp the door handle to go out and it falls off into my hand. I try to put it back on but for some reason thats hopeless. Even if I hold the broken door knob up to the stub on the door, turning it does not open the door. I bang on the door but they are playing music in the store and upfront they cant hear me back here. I swear in Japanese. I imagine missing my interview stuck next to a stinky old toilet. I pound harder on the door. Still nobody comes. I yell at the top of my lungs "please help me!!" Finally a young woman from the front counter comes and says nervously through the door "What is the problem, sir?" Its at this moment that I'm very happy I can communicate in this country's language because I know she wouldnt let me out unless I explain my situation. I tell her that the door is broken and I cant get out. She lets me out and I get to my interview just in time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

memory backflash

My balcony window is open, outside thunder rumbles in the distance, mixed with the sound of traffic streaming past on the big road outside. I have another interview soon, but I dont want to get nervous so I think about the past as rain begins to pelt the ground, making an off-beat rhythm as it hits the rail on my balcony.
About 6 years ago. Me and my good friend Taro had hitch hiked to Joetsu, the week-long experience is well worth a story. Sleeping under bridges, mountain tops, crazy typhoons. I got to tell that story again sometime, but not now. We were almost home, tired and wiped out. Only about 5 hours from the nearest train to take us home. (A very bright flash of lightning interrupts my memories. The rain is pouring down now. The drops falling so fast it almost sounds like natural whitenoise. I try to refocus on the memory.) We stand just past the entry to a highway. A car stops but they are just looking at us, they drive away. The hot sun was beating down on us, sweat pouring down and making our clothes sticky. Finally an old man stops to give us a ride in his mini SUV. He's the first one during the whole trip who can speak any English, so I talk to him as we speed down the road. It turns out that in the 1970s when he was in his early 20s, he had flown to America and took Greyhound bus all around the country for a few months. I was surprised and interested to hear his stories. We stoped at a rest area and he said "Just a minute, I need to go fishing." It takes me a second to realize he means that he wants to go pee. I smile, and me and Taro laugh while he's gone. I've never heard that one before, but it makes sense. Finally we get to a faraway train station. We put in about 400YEN and collapse, as the train takes us home.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


It's always been OK before. It will all be OK. Don't worry. I'm the sort of person to walk down the road of life with little or no worry at most times. But its maybe time to start some of that worry stuff. I have very little time on my current visa and very little money left to my name. I went to a job interview at a cool company, but no word from them yet. In my home country I could be trying to get government assistance to eat. Here the very sober reality is I would be illegal if I ran out of money. I need a good job, and I need it soon. Either that or I need a nice box and a dry bridge to sleep under.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

my favorite season

It seems that theres always some day in each season when the weather is so perfectly matched with my mood and environment that I foolishly declare that season my favorite, even though it will doubtlessly be replaced. Today was one of those perfect days. Spring is dying in a violently beautiful way, the last gasps of this cycle manifesting in pleasant wind that plays with the blue sky. Summer has began the introductory dance and hot direct heat blaze any space not clothed by shadows. I lay on my floor, the sliding glass window leading to my small balcony is open. I'm reading a short story published more than 100 years ago about time travel. As I read I stretch out my hand and pet my potted plant that is growing happily on my balcony. I suddenly get a further idea on a five year old concept that I have for an engine-device. I open a notebook designated for such things, and scratch down the idea. I go back to reading the story on my tiny cellphone screen. Its times like this that some sort of appreciation for time travel echos in my mind. I decide Late Spring is my favorite season.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

odd foot website

Changing gears from the previous serious entry, I present a weblink. A very odd weblink. I think it is meant to educate the user about how to give a foot massage. But the feedback voice, although meant to be cute, is really creepy. Anyway, I wont ruin the fun by explaining it any further. Check it out here. (You have to click "enter" and then pick a massage "tool" from the right side, if you pick the pencil or brush you will mostly get no feedback besides screams or giggles.) I think this website might just give you nightmares. [Source a Japanese web design magazine]

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

American war crimes

Before I continue, let me point out that I am fully aware that Japan had a bad history in World War 2 for some really nasty war crimes. But what I think a lot of people don't really know about is the war crimes of America. Beyond the atomic bombings, there were endless other crimes. One of the biggest was the fire bombing of the civilians in Tokyo which killed more people than the atomic bombings. For me, I have mostly read books in English about world war 2. So recently when I was reading a Japanese (only middle school level) book about the fire bombings it was an odd experience to hear from that point of view. I realized that this view isn't often presented in English, so I decided to translate the short story. Its rough, has some mistakes I'm sure, but I offer it here for you to read.
The Voice Inside the Flames

Monday, May 08, 2006

porn shop downstairs

As I mentioned before, I live above a porn shop. One thing I didnt mention is that its a weird porn shop. I havent been inside, but all the classic Japanese fetishes can be seen from the windows. But the owner also proudly displays a shelf of real Disney cartoons. Even more odd, most of them seem to be the Jungle Book story.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

golden goddess

click to see this in all its bigger glory
I once, not by my own choice, was a member of a religious cult. (A fact I dont think I ever wrote about before. This shows my growing compassion, or maybe disregard, for my few faithful readers.) At that time we learned the story of the religious leader Moses taking his people out to the desert to party. He decided to get some rules from three-part god, left everyone behind and went up a mountain to hangout with god. Well, everyone got bored when DJ moses wasnt around to keep the party hot, so they made a big golden cow to worship, because everyone knows cows are sexy. The story continues on (Moses comes back and gets pissed off because he's bovine phobic, etc.) but the point is (as you maybe guessed by the illustration) my new home station Tabata decided to do better than a cow. They got a golden naked lady to worship. Yeah. I think its freaky too. Worship service starts at 9:00.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

limited time offer

Yes, you heard that right! In an effort to expand my reach, and as a way to slow down on my bombardment of the same 5 people, for a limited time only I am prepared to offer the Free Postcard Program, while supplies last. Heres how it works: you want a postcard. You e-mail your address to me. A few weeks later you and your family are enjoying a fine hand crafted postcard in the privacy of your own home! Or even in your car, while you golf or even while drinking a martini at the country club. I enjoy making a postcard from Japan. You enjoy reading it, no strings attached! This offer is not only valid to those who know me, it is open to anyone, even random web surfers. Please contact me via email address on right bar. This offer only valid while supplies last, on planet earth, and its surrounding 8 planets. please load image - this post is a joke No gurantee is expressed or implied as to the quality or promptness of postcards. Supplier will not be held responsible for misuse of product. Your information will not be sold or given to another party, unless said party asks us to dance, buys us a drink, slips something in our drink and then steals our bag. An ability to understand parody is required. As (not) seen on TV!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

international city

click click
I should note first that this was orginally sent from my cell phone, so please pardon odd format mishaps. I am living near "downtown" Tokyo these days. Compared to just 6 years ago Tokyo seems so international.
People from all over the world living together in one vibrant city.
Some random observations of foreign people:
An American woman is waiting for the train, eyes nervously scanning the Japanese people around her. She seems to be a new conversational English teacher. The train comes, but it doesnt stop infront of the arrow she was waiting behind. She sighs, frustrated. She doesnt realize the train lines itself to the arrow that matches the amount of cars it has.
A korean tourist, with a big camera around his neck, waits in line to get into another train. He looks at the Japanese guy infront of him. He seems confused that he's waiting for the passangers to get off before boarding the train. Watching foreign people helps me realize how hard it is to live day-to-day in a country where you weren't born. In other news, my new place is nice. A little small and old, but its really cheap. Its 10 minutes from Tabata station, on the Yamanote line. Its on the second floor, below a shop thats closed in the daytime. At night, metal walls
roll up and it transforms into a soft-core porno shop of sorts. I seem to have some good local bars and restraunts around me. I'll have to check those out soon!

Monday, April 10, 2006

i like bento

click for big version
Yeah. It might not be such a surprize, but I like bento a lot. A quick explanation, for those of you who might not know, bento is Japanese boxed food. And although I'm kind of poor right now because I'm not working yet, so I might not be having so many, I plan to eat a lot this year. In fact, so many I decided to make a different blog dedicated to just that. I present, bento geek in it's early form. For those of you who have been following me from the start of my blogging, you might remember way back in 2003 or so I had a different food blog that basically stopped after about three posts. So lets hope I can keep motivated on this one, because I like the concept of posting what you eat. Regarding the photo that in this post, it is out the window behind me. At about 5 in the morning, a red neon glow mixing with early morning light. Nice!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

hanami and what not

I still haven't really done much about looking for a job yet. I need to get on that. Today I walked around this area, and these trees were blooming. People were doing hanami (flower viewing) and kids were playing, and petals were drifting slowly off the branches in the wind. Perfect setup for Spring to perform it's dance, eh?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

travel in japan: part 2 (plus)

After saying goodbye to Tanya, I made my way up to hang out with Evan for another 2 days. He was working, and his hometown is very small, so I just walked around his local mall, had lunch with him during his lunch brake and then bar hopped with him after his work. The second day we all ended up at one of his freind's house, buzzed as a bee, drinking wine and talking about silly stuff in Japanese. The next day, I got up and went to Hiroshima, next day after that I went to Osaka, and finally went to Tokyo on an 11 hour local train. (The picture below is of the "atomic bomb dome" in Hiroshima, a sad relic of America's violent past.) click for big version
I'm going to now just randomly describe moments from my whole trip, random, from the start to the end. (A lot more happened, but if I chronologically listed it all, it would be way too long to write down here.)

Sitting in the airplane going from Hong Kong to Korea, theres a Korean couple next to me. With out asking he takes my used dishes and gives them to the flight attendent. His girlfriend offers me the uneaten bread from her meal. I smile, feeling the approach of Korea.

On a local train with Tanya, she tells a sick joke and I die with laughter, even though it shouldn't be funny. I can feel laughing-tears come to my eyes.

Another long local train, Tanya offers me a slice of bread and cheese. The train continues on endlessly.

Looking for an old lady's house-hotel near a local station with Tanya. Not finding it. The local police man takes us in his car to her door. The police man drives off. We nock. She doesnt answer. We go in. Shes sleeping. We don't know how to check in, so we leave and she wakes up, stumbling, mumbbling (in Japanese) that shes drunk. She loses her hat, walking in circles. Falling to sleep on soft futons in a large old tatami room.

Evan sits at his computer flipping randomly through Bellingham photos as he tells me stories about when I wasnt there. I feel the years, and connect to the missing moments in some way. Time seems translucent for a moment or two.

In Hiroshima, I meet a couple from Switzerland and two good friends from Columbia. Both females, of the four, have a hard time with English. We drink beer in the hostel, talking about their Japan experiences. I teach the Japanese word for "play" to the man from Switzeland. The Columbian man speaks Japanese well, he's in Japan on a Japanese government Japanese language study scholarship.

In Osaka, meeting a friend I hadn't met for 6 years. Something amazing about that much time between meeting someone. Somehow the past seemed to rush towards me, somehow the past seemed to be not so long ago.

And thats all the moments for now. A few more photos before I disapear.

This (below) is a shinto torii god gateway thing from my Kyushu trip.
click for a big version
Next picture below is Tanya taking my picture at Kumamoto Castle.

And now my day to day life in Japan, looking for a job or whatever, begins!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

travel in japan: part 1

I flew out of Hong Kong, into Korea. In Korea, I got to Seoul really late at night so I crashed at my freind Sung Won's house. He had to work early, and I had to take the KTX to Busan so I left Seoul around 6 in the morning. I got to Busan, sat around in the sun, rode the Busan subway just for fun, and then took the night-boat to Fukouka. The boat was fun, a karaoke room, a video room, and a public bath. The room itself, was a small room with no beds, 12 matresses, and 12 people just sleeping elbow to elbow. Cheap ticket. And now for a breif review of the first part of my travel in Japan, with photos.
click for a big versionThis is the shoreline in Hakata. I saw this early in the morning, as I arrived. As I looked out, I felt strongly "I'm back" and I thought that was funny since I've never really been to Hakata (have been to Fukouka last year though).

click for bigger version I came to the total country-side, and met Evan and hung out at some local bars and met crazy bartenders. Evan has a great blog entry all about the fun moments! Roughly summerized as: beer, food, big cave, curry.
click for big version
I met Tanya, and we headed out on the circle trip around Kyushu. In this picture we stop at a VERY country-side station "soutaro" and saw that there wasnt even a platform, just gravel and a small box chair for the station. Wild. On to more Trip pictures...
Miyazaki had these great tree lined roads, with tiny Japanese style cars.
Sakurajima (in Kagoshima) was an active volcano sitting on an island. It was kind of scary to think that the mountain's hobby was upchucking lava bits.
This is the river (moat?) infront of the castle we went to at Kumamoto. We didn't have the time/money to go in, but it was nice to look from the outside.
I couldn't help but include some of the awesome sakura cherry blossoms at the castle. They were so soft and pretty, blowing down in a cascade of pedals.
Not much blog time right now, so to summerize... we went in a loop. From up near Evan down to Miyazaki, kagoshima, kumamoto and then back to Fukouka. Tanya was a great trvel buddy because she never killed me for all my silly conversations and stuff. It was a lot of fun to see parts of Japan I've never seen. I'm now back hanging out at Evan's house, part 2 of my trip should be coming soon! Woo!

Friday, March 17, 2006

12th vlog - swinging

This is the most personal, and abstract, video log I've created yet. It is me, in a swing, looking at my toes, in Hong Kong. The weather was great and I couldn't resist the ride. You can see an occasional, and shaky, view of the horizon as my swing sways back and forth...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

11th vlog - rewind hong kong

click for video When Kayo was here, we rode around town in an old tram. I took this video out of the back of the tram window. The green trams slide along train tracks, through the middle of crowded streets and under pedestrian bridges. (This event happened before the event I blogged about a few minutes ago.)

singing in the streets

I'm always in for an odd surprise when I hang out with Kayo's high school friend Takeya. He came to Hong Kong with a senior from his school, and his friend Miwa. Yesterday, me, him and Nagayama (his senior) went to wander around Temple Street district. Takeya was distracted several times looking for flesh magazines for his "friend" (his suspicious choice of words!) but eventually we got to Temple Street. It used to be famous for Triad gangsters and the area still holds some of that edge, trash blowing along dirty streets. Stalls selling nock-off items, tourist knickknacks, stone buddha or mao sculptures, and some sort of anti-STD cream with horrific pictures of before the "magic product" was used. Nagayama speaks fluent mainland Chinese, and found us a dirty table on the street, where we could consume large amounts of local beer from large bottles. click for bigger version As we drank, he pulled out his "travel guitar" and began to play. Nagayama can't see very well at all, but he can communicate in many languages. He started with some loud world war two patriotic songs, then went to an Israeli song he knew that has an awesome chorus, a few instrumentals, and then to a Japanese song that Takeya sang with him. He then went onto a Japanese song about lower male body parts, and finally a few Chinese revolutionary songs. By the time he got to the Chinese revolution song he was screeching loud, screaming as he plucked away at his shabby guitar. Some old taxi drivers next to us enjoyed it and invited us over to share their table and food. We talked, or atleast Takeya and Nagayama-san talked in mainland Chinese, and I mainly just listened. The booze continued to flow, until finally around 5 I stumbled into a Taxi with Takeya (who was staying at my house) and made my way haphazardly towards home. (Directory of three sound files of this event.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

10th vlog - buddha in hong kong

click for video - 8.5mb
Kayo and her sister Mari came to visit me from Japan. We had a tourist blur trip around Hong Kong. In this video you can see us at a giant Buddha in front of a living Buddhist monastery. They can be seen as the video swooshes past them to see the big Buddha statue. The video then pans down to the monastery far below and ends with a soft glimpse of hills beyond.

Friday, February 24, 2006

9th vlog - neighborhood spin

click for video!
Another silent video blog, this time I spin in a circle in my Hong Kong neighborhood. It's a lot to take in, while spinning quickly in a dizzy circle... it ends with an anticlimatic wobble, as if I'm unsure if I should stop the video or dash across the busy street.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

nakayama nado

My friend Nakayama came to visit Hong Kong. It was so cool to see her here too (she had come to Korea while I was there too)... In this picture she's with her good friend (middle) and my new friend Eddie (far left)... The next day the three of us (me, her, her female friend) went to a club/bar downtown. We were playing a game where the looser had to get the attention of someone and make them come over and talk to us, and I lost so I got the attention of a few guys near our table and they came over and talked to us. One of the guys, leaned over and he told me "Wow, its so weird to hear you speaking English, all natural with an American accent, I thought you were one of THEM." (emphasis and weird word choice were his) I looked at him kind of weird because of his odd word choice and because I never thought of myself as looking Asian, which apparently he ment... So he said "well you were all yakiyakinakayaka" (imitating japanese I suppose) "so we thought you were asian." I'm still looking at him weird, so he adds "well like an albino asian guy or something." All I can say is: crazy drunk white people.

A few words about a few other movies you should see (from the millions of VCDs I've been seeing). I really enjoyed a contraversial Australian filmed called "Rabbit Proof Fence" A film that talks about, fairly directly, the racial problems of Austalian history. Its filmed wonderfully, acted beautifully, and paced with many slow lingering shots, which I enjoy. Another movie I saw was a super old (1993?) movie called "future cops"... This movie was horribly good. As in so horrible it was good! Lets let the back of the VCD speak for its self (direct quote) "In the year 2042, the notorious villain is about to be put on trial. His killers decide to go back 50 years by the time tunnel, and look for the judge in his youthful age. They want to program into the boy's mind and alternate his decision. However, the Future Cops follow. They infiltrate into a school and befriend with a slightly retarded boy, who is always insulted and bullied. Who knows he is in fact the judge in the future?" And it's a comedy. I think it's supposed to be one, if its an action film they failed. But its highly worth watching! If you like odd B movie things that is. Anyway, enough from me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

VCDs and shopping list

In my free time (when I'm not reading or walking around my neighborhood) I've been watching tons of VCD movies. It started because my friend loaned me an old laptop with a lot of movies, and then I noticed new ones at the local 24-hour VCD shop are very cheap, and soon I had watched a billion trillion movies. I was going to review them all here, but I forget, so I'll just mention a few I remember at the moment. (Randomly not in any order of significance or anything.) Escape From Hong Kong was an interesting movie, that ended a bit too much like an "after school morality special" or something. The review I link says it was filmed "cheaply" but I disagree, found the filming style refreshing for the most part. The script was just a bit boring after awhile, but very watchable. One of the favorite Japanese movies I saw was Nobody Knows which although not an unknown movie, I would guess its still less than major? None the less, wonderful filming, script, acting, the whole package. Nice movie, although with the fear of sounding snobby, the subtitles dont do the film justice and horribly translate some key phrases. Another Japanese movie I saw was Bounce Ko gals which although interesting view into the "paid dates" of some crazy high school girls, the movie sucks when it tries too hard to be a traditional movie, its best when it goes with the slurry camera work and the unscripted "blah blah" style conversations between costars, and the ending didn't hit me enough... although there are some good points about Japanese culture and world war 2 crimes in the script, interesting. Saw a few trippy Japanese low budget movies about escalators and strange animated plastic dolls, but regretfully forget titles at the moment. I also rewatched "2001: A Space Odyssey" Some people hate this movie, but I am a rabid fan. If you haven't seen it go out and rent it, uncut version. Any movie that starts out with a single held note with a blank black screen for about 1 minute is almost sure to be good. This movie is good because of its out dated classic 1960s future-tech, but also good for its philosophical elements, beautiful filming, awesome sound track and cool trippy psychedelic ending. So go watch it, or wait to watch it with me if you want a cheerleader for the movie! Anyway, I'll post more reviews later, this is getting too long.

In other events, I noticed yesterday I shop like an alcoholic 5 year old. My bag contained chips (crisps if you are one who enjoys British Englishi), cookies, chrysanthemum tea and rum. Yummy, the basic food groups. Anyway, time to wrap this up...

Friday, February 10, 2006

8th vlog - double decker buses

Click here for video - 8.8mb
I find a kind of zen in my pointless boring vlogs. This one has no narration; it is simply a whole lot of double decker buses streaming past (also a tram is visible) ... near Fortress Hill station, in Hong Kong.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

7th vlog - hong kong hills

This is more of a clip than a video blog. A few seconds of me looking out a bus window in the twilight, over the back hills of Hong Kong island.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

lazy days

Today I woke up late, ate some crackers and drank some lemon tea. I went to Kowloon Bay and walked around. I saw cute turtles swimming in a dirty artifical pond. I watched them, swimming and I wondered what a space turtle would look like. I came home, cooked some dimsum, and listened to music. Rewrote "Jonny B Goode"... in Japanese.
Ahh, the life of a jobless freeform being. I'm loving it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

first thoughts

Well, I have only been living here in Hong Kong for a few days I guess. (A week?) But here are a few of my first thoughts... it's interesting how I can instantly read signs quicker than in Korea. Korea had the hangul alphabet which made ANYTHING readable, but the meaning was lost unless I knew the word. Here I can't read the sound of anything, but because of chinese characters that cantonese is written in, I know the meaning of some of the signs.. (of course my Chinese character skills are still quite low, but still, an interesting difference...)
My day to day life has been wonderful. Wake up late (2 or 3) listen to music, read some books while making brunch, and then out for a walk around the neighborhood, write a poem or two, and then back to the house for dinner, and later maybe a jump to the internet room. It's like I'm an old retired dude, but I'm not quite super old yet. It's perfect! Although I should get out and see more of Hong Kong while I'm here. I've made some connections with a tutor or two and hope to learn some more Cantonese also...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In Hong Kong

Click for big version. My neighborhood, busy street, Hong Kong.Something like Yesterday I came to Hong Kong again. I had too many bags, but somehow I managed to get to my new place with the help of my Hong Kong friend Polly. I will be staying in a small apartment by myself for the next two months. The room is on the second floor of a small apartment, behind a big library building. A fairly big window opens up on an artificial hill, with old leaves, and trees growing. The floor is cold tile, and I am sleeping on it (actually thin mat, sleeping bag, and then me), which I guess is good for my back. Polly loaned me a rice cooker and a few plates, and so I'm basically ready to kickback, read books and explore Hong Kong for the next two months. I'm excited. The weather is wonderful, it's winter here which means its about 65 or 70 degrees fahrenheit with a soft wind blowing. The air is alive, with some sort of "city spice" or something, I can't explain it but I always feel like the air is different in each country I visit, and for some reason Hong Kong feels "spicy" to me this time. So I'm here, I'm alive, and thats all I feel like writing today, I must sleep because I plan to meet my New Zealand pen pal tomorrow (who happens to be in Hong Kong at the same time)...! The days curl up, fall into the grip of tomorrow's wind and blow into yesterday.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

6th vlog - korean new years

I went downtown to meet other people at a certain station or something, but the huge mass of people made that impossible. I got out of the train where I could and walked to the action. It was insane, hundreds of thousands of people all shooting roman candle fireworks in the air non-stop. Talk about a safety hazard. It was surreal, watching the endless rainbow sparks shoot into the air, like a tunnel of fire welcoming the new year.
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