7/28/09

7/27/2009

Monday nights sunset.

Japanese Style Construction

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Nothing like lifting several tons of steel a few feet away from passing cars and pedestrians. Then again with space being a rather scarce resource in Tokyo how else are they supposed to do it?

7/26/09

Amature K1 Tournament

When my friend Hikari told me her brother had entered a fight tournament where winner would become a professional K-1 fighter and that she had tickets, I was ecstatic. We arrived early and found that our seats were ringside. Before the tournament most fighters got warmed up and or spared with one another.
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Finally the real fighting began. After two fights, it was Hikari's brother's turn. The fight started out great as you can see.
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But after taking a hard punch to the face his nose began to bleed and the doctor called a time out. Luckily some ice and a towel stopped bleeding and he was able to win his first flight.

After a number of other fights, it was time for Hikari's brother to fight in the second round of the tournament. His opponent had already taken a number of hits the right side of his face. So when Hikari's brother got a good punch to the left side of his opponents face, the doctor called a medical time out. Since his opponents left eye began to swell, the doctor opted to call off the fight. However rather than giving the win to Hikari's brother, the judges opted to judge the fight from the small bit that had already been fought. Unfortunately for Hikari's brother, the judges ruled that his opponent had won.

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All in all watching a live professional fight for the first time was a wild experience. There was a great deal of blood, a neck that was nearly broken, a few choke outs, and lots and lots of bruised faces. It was level of violence that television could never deliver. So it is understandable that some of the more delicate members of the audience preferred not to watch their family and friends being, pummelled, bruised and beaten.

7/23/09

Tanabata

The city of Hiratsuka (平塚), Japan was the first foreign city I ever lived in.

Returning there this year for the festival you will see in the following pictures, reminded me of how I felt like newborn baby. I needed help with everything. Where’s the bank, where’s the post office, where’s the supermarket, is this thing I just bought at the convenience store edible or fantastically poisonous, and why does this toilet have all these buttons? These were just a few of the thousands of questions I barraged my roommates, coworkers, and anyone else who appeared to understand English with.
Being rendered completely illiterate and effectively mute overnight changed the way I interacted with the world. No longer did I read labels at the supermarket. Rather I examined pictures, smelled this and that for familiar odors, and if all else failed shook and squeezed the contents in an attempt to determine what I was about to purchase. Though it was trying at times, each day brought a brand new set of adventures.
After having lived in Hiratsuka for a little over two months, I began to notice unusual decorations showing up here and there.
When I asked my roommates about them, they told me they were for a festival. That festival was Tanabata and though I did not know it at the time, Tanabata festival marked the true start of my transformation from whining American to seasoned world traveler.
Though I have solved most of the mysteries, like what is that man cooking?
Living abroad continues be an adventure and still occasionally turns my idea of reality on its head.
If you would like to know more about the Tanabata Festival, as always wikipedia is there to guide you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata

7/20/09

Gold Fishing

As you read this, an old man in Toyko is fishing for goldfish. That’s right, the people in the picture above are fishing for goldfish about the size of your hand. No, they are not going to eat the goldfish; here you may fish the fish, but not eat the fish.
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It costs nothing to enter the park; the city foots the bill. And though some may wonder what’s the point, I just want to know where I can buy a 105 Yen fishing pole.

A Room With a View

The sunset as seen from my apartment window.

Kinniku Man


This is Kinniku Man, a popular Japanese comic book character, holding a press conference outside the Tokyo Dome for his upcoming wrestling match.
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7/14/09

A week in pictures

Resturant Window

Pigon bus stop

Rice in early summer

Just a Picture

A picture of a moonlit river is the final product of:
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The night I needed a bicycle for my friend to ride. The abandoned bicycle found in the bicycle-room of my apartment. The Leatherman used to pry the lock from its back tire. The night of frogs and temples that followed.

The blown out tire on my way to school. The old two-wheeled friend that had to be retired. The abandoned bicycle that came to the rescue.

The night the policemen stopped me for ridding without a light. The lies about where and how the abandoned bicycle and I had met. The call to the police station to confirm my lies. The odds I beat when my lies checked out as the truth.

The abandoned bicycle left haphazardly in the middle of a dark sidewalk to take this picture. The old lady who gave me a piece of her mind because of this carelessness. The moment of calm when I finally take this picture.

7/6/09

TSUKIJI

Can you find the whale sashimi?

Ice-cream Claw Machine

You are looking at an ice-cream claw machine!
(Imagine a freezer with a claw machine on top of it.)

Hospital Cafe and Bar

Most people try rather hard to stay out of the hospital, so why dine in a hospital themed restaurant? The answer, because your in Japan.
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Though the restaurant does not go as far as to have its patrons dine while reclined in hospital beds, the overall theme of the restaurant is quite medical. Like most places in Japan you remove your shoes upon entering the restaurant and put on, I assume, slippers similar to those one would wear in a Japanese hospital. You are then led to your table by a “doctor” or “nurse”.

The menu contained proper descriptions of normal food and drinks, unlike Kagawa. However at the back of the menu there was a special section, from here “patients” could order medical services. Though I was tempted to order the full medical check, its price of about $15 and the restaurants strict no sexual harassment policy changed my mind.

Since I had already had dinner at a normal dining establishment, I merely ordered a drink. The drink I chose was the mystery drink. As you can see it came out looking very medicinal; though the yellow liquid in one of the beakers made me question the odd noises I had heard coming from the kitchen before my drink came out.

While enjoying my mysterious drink, the “nurse” brought a few photo albums to my table. Inside were various photos of the restaurants staff. Though culture changes a few things, awkward teenagers experimenting with odd clothes and piercings is the same the world over; though Japanese teens seem to do it little more strangely and fashionably than their western counterparts.

Before leaving the ingredients of my drink were reviled to me; the yellow liquid alas was merely ginger ale. After paying the bill the doctor handed me my prescription, which contained a few cough drops and two nice little note; one in English another in Japanese asking me to have a good night and come back again soon. Smiling, I said thank you and knowing I had a long train ride home I slipped off to use the restroom.
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Blessedly it did not involve a catheter.