12/31/09

Tokyo Graffiti

People often ask me if Japan has graffiti. The answer as you can see is yes. The graffiti above can been seen in several places around my neighborhood and was likely done by some bored teenagers. The Kanji can be translated as, "Hoax" and I find the meaning kind of amusing.

December 31, 2009

December was an unusal month this year. Not only were there two full moons, but the second full moon fell on New Years Eve.

Coffee Break

Forex trading can involve long hours. That's why we use "For Business Use 50" coffee at our office. Though I have no idea what "Business Use" coffee is, I'd imagine it has some sort of Japanese productivity enhancement in it. Which would in turn explain why I now only need 5 minutes of sleep a night.

12/27/09

Strange Signs II

"Please abstain from abandoning your stoned pets here."
Tokyo, Japan

A Sexual Harassment Space and its only $100, awesome.
Ikibukuro, Japan

And that would include?
Vietnamese Train, Vietnam

Yes, I would like the green pizza please.
Halong Bay, Vietnam

It's hard to see, but it appears as though LG is donating Sony flat screen TV's to Vietnamese Museums.
Hanoi, Vietnam

2009 Adventure, Vietnam

The Vietnam, Laos mountain boarder crossing.
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Downtown Saigon

A lizard and I at the Cu Chi Tunnels, Near Saigon
dNo, for once I didn't try it.
Halong Bay
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Halong Bay

Halong Bay at sunset

Monument to Confucius, Hanoi
The dragon was made from individual plastic flowers.
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Hoan Kiem Lake, Downtown Hanoi

A typical Hanoi Apartment Building

12/26/09

Somewhere in Tokyo

The organized madness of Tokyo never cases to amaze me.

Every two minutes a train arrives at the station. Pedestrians spill out onto the sidewalk in every direction. On the street countless taxis rush their passengers about. Above innumerable office workers pound away on computers and flush unimaginable amounts of water through the sewage system. All the while pipes and wires endlessly rush along the vital staples of the metropolis bellow. Yet somehow the trains run on time. People know where they are going. Taxi drivers navigate the unnamed streets. And all that dirty water and data gets to where its going.

Go Go Curry II

Say you just met a girl at a party. Now its time for your first date. How could you test this girls level of "coolness"? Well you could take her bungee jumping or sky diving or rock climbing.

OR, you could attempt to convince her to down $10's worth of curry rice, tonkatsu, tempura, and cabbage in front of you.

Cardboard Christmas

When your Mother and Sister send you Christmas presents, but you don't have a Christmas tree what do you do? You use the cardboard from the box the presents were sent in and some twist-ties you had in the closet. Then to add some Christmas cheer, you attach a piece of last years Christmas tree to the bottom. And walla, you have a Christmas tree, or at least something that functions as a mildly suitable stand-in.

Oji 駅


Correction

Please scroll down past McModel to view pictures that were previously not viewable. Sorry for the inconvenience.

12/1/09

McModel

Part of it was curiosity, part of it was vanity, and part of it was the lure of an easy paycheck which lead me to sign up with a modeling agency.

After weeks of the agency sending out my picture, I finally got a reply; McDonald's was looking for a model for a new Western themed ad campaign. My agent met me at the train station and escorted me to where the test shoot was being done.

Once inside it was quickly obvious I was out of my league. However it wasn't my looks that were soon to fail me, it was my lack of modeling experience. Though it is true that you just stand there and let them take your picture, the skill lies in how you stand there. I was soon to be a deer in the headlights, but it really didn't matter, because I really wanted was to see what a modeling shoot was like.

My test shoot was done in less than a minute and I soon found myself walking back to the train station in the company of one of the "professional" models who showed up to the shoot. As we talked it turned out that we had a great deal in common. He had spent is 20's bumming around the world making money by modeling, while I had spent my 20's bumming around the world making money by teaching English.

As we parted ways at the train station it dawned on me how similar we were. Though our jobs were different in the end we were using some aspect of our westerness to pay for our adventures around the world.

Shinagawa Garbage Incinerator

11/29/09

Shonandaira

Hiratsuka as seen from the top of Shonandaira.

Hiratsuka Beach

The white speck way off in the distance is Mt. Fuju.
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These photo's came about when I decided to take pictures while running around in the surf.

Locks of Love

What are covering the walls of this viewing platform?

Locks of all shapes and sizes. This tradition is not unique to Japan; I have seen it throughout my travels. Couples typically write their names and a few wishes on a lock and then lock it someplace where the view is impressive and there is something to attach it to (typically a fence). The locks are then either left their until they are removed or until the couple breaks up and one of the two returns to break the bond.

I just have one question. How did anyone get a lock outside of the fence? If you look closely at this picture you will see that there are three locks outside of the fence. Your guess is as good as mine on this one. However this being Japan, personally I suspect ninjas.

Inarichan's Cousin II

His name Cookie-chan
Hiratsuka, Japan

11/18/09

Another Sunset Over Tokyo


After cloud filled Saturday afternoon the sun made a brief, but spectacular appearance.

The Toden Arakawa Line


This train line is the sole survivor of Tokyo's once-extensive Tokyo Toden streetcar system.

A few weeks ago a friend and I took a little tour along this line (one-day pass ¥600). Today the line is used primarily by Tokyo's elderly residents and stops along the streetcars route reflects that.

Sugamo, known as the Harajuku for old people, gave us a chance to explore the older side of Tokyo. Along Sugamo's main street were shop after shop selling only the most fashionable granny wear and delicious snacks. Nearly everyone on the street was at least in the 50's and everyone seemed to know everyone else.

It is no secret that Japans birthrate is falling. Outside of places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro a stroll down a side-street will show you just how many elderly people there are in Japan. Even in Oji you can notice it when a group of people gather while waiting for the light to change.

Having a large elderly population is not a bad thing. Some of the funniest conversations I have had with my newly acquired Japanese, have been with people in their 60's and 70's. Japanese However I often wonder what Japan will look like in another 20 even 10 years.

However the Japanese have already set their course and rather than wonder about the who and the how, I take a moment to wander through these aging streets before they disappear.

新大久保

Shinokubo on a Wednesday afternoon.
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Shinjuku as seen from Shinokubo
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Shinokubo looking towards Takadanobaba

Keihin Tohoku 線

Nothing beats ridding the train late at night.

Tokyo Sky Tree Tower


In 2011, this tower will become Tokyo's new digital broadcasting tower; replacing Tokyo Tower. Currently it stands at 333 m (1,040 ft); about half of its final intended height of 634 m (2,080 ft). iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Because of the growing number of high sky rises in Tokyo, Tokyo Tower will not be tall enough to broadcast a digital terrestrial signal throughout Tokyo. For that reason construction on the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower has begun and is its completion will coincide with Japans plans to switch to digital TV in 2011.

Cannabia Beer


This is an amusing beer I came across in Roppongi.

It is made by mixing hemp in with more traditional ingredients such as hops, malt and yeast. Although this beer does contain very small amounts of the chemical found in cannabis, one would have to consume more than 3,000 litres to feel the same affects as smoking cannabis. But after consuming that much beer, that sort of affect would lilely be greatly muted by ones level of intoxication.

11/5/09

Twice

A Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster.
Base price: $710,000.
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This is the second one I've seen in a month; the other one was purple. If thats not enough, take a closer look at the picture. Thats not any SLR, its the 2009 772S version. This car is one of only 150 available worldwide.

Tokyo Blue II

Roppongi, Japan at sunset