- 12:45 PM, Friday,
May 20th 2005:
- Mt. Fuji
from the train ride back from
amazing that a place so foreign to me can
now seem like "home". I'm looking forward
to my tiny room in Shinjuku with a private
bathroom and free internet access after
lugging my laptop all over Kyoto searching
for a friggin' hookup. In the strangest of
ways, Tokyo feels like home.
assured however, it is not - and there's
only one way that I would ever truly
consider moving here as I spoke of
before. At least a year of japanese.
I know you can get by without it, but
I'm done feeling like an absolute
stranger. If I were to live here,
even for a couple of months, I would
absolutely want a solid grasp on the
language. It would make situations like my
second night in Kyoto a lot more fun. You
know, there's a lot of little stories that
have been skipped over because of the
unbelieveability of the rest of the days
events. Zipping through Japan on the
shinsaken seems a perfect time to tell a
few. I love having a
- I was well rested, and slightly restless
around 9:30 PM and remembered seeing a
bar/grille during my walkabouts in Kyoto
so I thought I'd hit it up. It was a
smoky place with about 10 people in their
20s drinking and laughing it up. I of
course sat by myself at the bar.
I wanted some Asahi, I wanted
some Sake and I wanted to
did I get my wish. It wasn't but 15
minutes into the sake that everything, and
I do mean everything, became
HILARIOUS. Every word, every face, every
mannerism...it was awesome. It was like
I was back home, staring at my glass
of beer when I'd look up and have someone
SCREAMING some alien language in my face
to the person behind me. It took
everything I had to not laugh my ass
off. I did eventually, it was a
jovial bar and they knew I was
getting shit-faced. They had a good time
with me. They tried to make me eat Chicken
Ovary. I chose little strips of sirloin
instead. I ended up getting quite
giggly and finally stumbling back to my
hotel while singing Harry Connick Jr.
songs in the streets and thinking of Jess.
Very strange little adventure I must
- As I was walking back to my ryokan
yesterday afternoon I saw a little girl
getting on her bike and I smiled at
her. She looked almost confused and
slightly frightened so I tried to give her
a really big reassuring smile as
I passed. She looked down and to her
right concentrating...and in the tiniest,
cutest voice imaginable said: "No, thank
you..." and proceeded to get on her bike.
It almost didn't register. "Did she just
say that?" I thought... I
realize her parents probably taught her a
few english phrases to use in such
situations (she couldn't have been more
than 5) but I was just horrified that
she had to delve into her little head to
some emergency english phrase to use in
what she thought was a dangerous situation
when all I did was smile. Made me
feel horrible. It seemed very robotic, and
something I noticed about the women
my age and younger. They seem to be almost
forbidden to make eye contact with
anyone...ever. I've noticed many will look
at you right away because you're so
different and then immediately turn and
put their head down as if on auto-pilot.
It's noticeably different than any other
culture I've been in.
I feel so bad for this poor little
girl who concentrated so hard to almost
whisper those words as if I was somehow
offering her something she didn't want.
Then again, she probably meant to say "Sup
sup DAWG!" and picked the wrong phrase.
- Another thing in Kyoto I never
mentioned - no sushi bars, except for of
course "THE INCIDENT" which will not
be spoken of again, to be found. Finally
today I saw one at the train station
but in the entire city I couldn't
find any. It was all noodles and whatnot.
And like 5 McDonalds. I really think
it's because Kyoto is such a big tourist
attraction you only see things that most
Americans / Europeans wouldn't mind
eating. Total bummer though.
in a sense, so was Kyoto. It felt really
commercial when it's all said and done. Of
course the temples, shrines and castles
were awesome - but they were inundated
with shops selling crap like it was a
friggin' ride at Disney World. "You saw
the big Buddha? Now buy your own little
buddha". And near every temple within the
city of Kyoto - lines of shops selling
religious trinkets. Every shop with the
same manufactured stuff, but again - just
out of place. I'm not religious, but it
seemed wrong even to me to see so much
commercialism around such incredibly
sacred monuments. As I said before,
I guess that's just what's to be
expected by the people in that city. It's
normal evolution in a commercial society
to try to find a way to profit from the
millions of people coming to your city.
Hey, at least everything is still
nothin' beat the Deer Park...
There was a crying baby on the tour bus
that slightly annoyed everyone. Guess
who's sitting next to me on the train to
Tokyo? (sigh). I'm not sure you can
comprehend the chances of that. There's
about 25 trains to tokyo everyday. There's
15 cars with 20 rows each. I actually
changed my ticket and took the an earlier
train... yet they are in my row. LOL.
Sweet baby though when she's
The concierge, Tani, at my 2nd ryokan knew
some english but was also 1/2 deaf with
these massive hearing aids hangin' out of
both ears. So what ensued every time
I would come or go would be easily
the most comical moments in Kyoto. LOL. He
was excited to talk, and I was happy to
try and help him, but I didn't know
if I needed to speak up or choose
different words. That's been the way of
communication out here. Like when asking
about internet connections I'd say
"Internet? Wifi? LAN? Computer?" - usually
the combination would trigger something.
But with this guy, he could very well just
not actually have heard me so it was a
combination of yelling, rewording,
yelling, laughing. Good times.
- Man, I can't believe I never
mentioned this. Tokyo and Japan in general
have to be 2nd only to China in the amount
of bicyclists.Nothing is more amazing than
watching a 70 year old man run along side
his bike to gain speed and then jump on
it, weave around an oncoming car and back
onto the narrowest sidewalks filled with
people and other bikes. As well the
sidewalks are LINED with parked bikes
with these self contained locks on them.
In the states those puppies would be
stolen in a heartbeat, but it's as if it
doesn't even cross the minds of the
citizens here. It's also probably because
the bikes are so cheap and not worth
what's bound to be an insanely stiff
penalty. Who knows. Still glad
I wasn't caned for taking a picture
in Shogun's Castle. ;-)
- Man even more stuff. Can't believe all
these little things I missed.
I may not have found my soul in Kyoto
but I damn sure found my pillow. In both
ryokans I stayed at they had these
pillows filled with hundreds of tiny
hollow plastic balls. About twice the size
of a pea. The support it allows is
incredible. What was great was I could lay
on my side and not put any pressure on my
shoulders as the plastic balls had less
give than a normal pillow. I gotta
find one of these puppies in the
- The water pressure here is un, friggin',
believeably powerful. Like almost
painfully so. I felt like a civil
rights activist the first time I took
a shower. (oh that's angry emailer fodder
for SURE - LOL) And hot? SCORCHING.
Immediately. Turn on the hot water first?
You will MELT your skin off. It really is
something. I wouldn't be devoting a
paragraph to it if it didn't surprise me
every time I hop in a shower here. Strange
considering how conservative they are with
energy you know? But they probably have an
amazing recycling system, and of course
this is an island. No need to have a water
crisis (AHEM California).
on, gonna show this Japanese guy next to
me the "Kabuki-No" video...
This should be a Top Nine List like back
in the day. Aha! That's what it'll be!
Anyway - he dug the video and we started
to talk. He knows some english. It
was a riot getting to talk to him. He's
about 24, was dressed in his business
suit. EVERYONE dresses in black
business suits here. It's
after the video he asked what I did, and
we trudged through that exchange. Hell
I can barely explain it to americans,
let alone someone from Japan. Luckily I
had my laptop with me and I was able
to show him the site. Then of course the
funny part: "Is your band in the other
cars?". Train cars mind you. LOL. It was
so funny to explain to him they were all
me. He really didn't get it. I'd say it
but then he'd point to G and look
confused. Finally he understood and
laughed and laughed. So of course
I had to give him a DVD. And being
that he has a band, plays clubs, and can
help me translate when I come back...
well this is officially a business trip.
;-) He was so excited about the DVD.
Exchanged email addresses and wants to
hook-up in LA at some point. Very cool
indeed. Too bad he was only staying in
Tokyo on business.
- I had
a paper I was reading that talked
about things going worse than expected in
Iraq and he saw my disdain. He asked if
I agreed with Bush and I said
no. He asked if the American people
agreed, and I just replied that we
voted for him, so we must. Then
I asked him about his Emperor.
I think it's Akihito? Sorry if I'm
wrong there. He goes: "Fuckin' Akihito..."
and I said: "Yeah! Yeah!
Fuckin' Bush!!!" It was quite the bonding
moment. LOL. He tried to explain exactly
why he had hard feelings but it was just
too difficult to find the words.
I feel YA buddy. ;-) It should
be interesting to see how our email
interractions work out. I really want to
learn Japanese now...
what a cool entry! Everyone will skip this
because it has no pictures, but there's
some cool little tidbits in here. Here you
go. One picture I took tonight is
- I know
I have my stereotypes wrong here, but
something about kittens in a picnic basket
seems rather wrong don't you think?
LAST FULL DAY TOMORROW!!!!!
Expect adventures in subway
- PS -
Finally, a way to use some of the clips
that I couldn't fit into the entry
videos. Here's 9 more randoms...