9/30/09

Slightly Distracted

While singing a made up Enka ballad and riding my bicycle up a hill, I heard a siren. It was an ambulance.

While singing a made up Enka ballad and riding my bicycle up a hill, I saw an SUV. It was white.

While singing a made up Enka ballad and riding my bicycle up a hill, I saw a man. He was flying.

For you see, when the women in the SUV turned onto a side street, to make room for the ambulance, she was not paying attention to the man crossing the street. The man who was crossing the street was looking at the ambulance and not paying attention to the SUV.

The man got up, the women stopped. The man was upset, the women apologized.

As for the ambulance, well it stopped and the paramedics went to work. However, I had to wonder whether there was anymore room in the back of the ambulance.

9/16/09

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Look familar?

9/14/09

Shosenkyo Valley, Japan

A temple gate above Sengataki Waterfall
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A Tourist Herb Garden

Grape picking with my classmates

A grape orchard in the Shosenkyo Valley
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Catching up with an old friend

9/13/09

えええじゃないか

えええじゃないか、either means, “ How Great,” or crazy roller coaster at Fuji Q Highlands*. In my case it meant both at the same time.

First allow me to explain the layout of this roller coaster, or jet coaster, as they are known in Japan. To start with the seat is backwards, then as the car approaches the first hill a computer readjusts the seat so you are lying on your back. At this point the only thing you can see is the sky; you have no idea where the hill ends, because you have not point of reference.
Imagine going down that drop headfirst on your back.

After the first drop the madness just continues, for each curve and loop the computer continues to adjust your seat so ensure you are at the most insane angle possible. Surprisingly unlike many insane modern roller coasters, the computer-adjusted seats on えええじゃないか kept the madness coming, while not upsetting my stomach.
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Though I had to wait a ridiculous 2 hours to ride this engineering marvel, the ride and listening to my friend Jhongbien screams of death made it all worth it.
*Fuji Q Highlands is an amusement park about two hours outside of Tokyo. Sitting at the foot of Mt. Fuji it is packed full of great rides, as well as half of Tokyo’s population.

9/8/09

2009 Adventure, Indonesian Jungle Trek

Of the 600 or so pictures I took during my trip, this one is my favorite.
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On the morning of the 3rd day of my trek, I was walking along the river bank. By accident I came across this Indonesian man just as he was pulling this eel out of this river. My guide asked if I could take his picture. The man agree, quickly posed with his eel, and then continued walking down the river bank.
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Click on this picture to enlarge the image. Then take a closer look at where he was looking and size of his hands and feet.

Amusingly this type of ant, which was about half the length of my pinky finger, did not bite or sting.

Because salt is hard to find in the jungle, the bee's took to licking it off of me

This Monitor Lizard was about 6 feet long and lived very close to where we camped.

Can you see the frog?

Another frog

A millipede that was about 10 inches long.

My bathtub after a long day of hiking.

A male Orangutan.

A women harvesting rubber from a rubber tree.

*Theses pictures were taken in the Bukit Lawang Nature Reserve in Indonesia in March of 2009. This is one of the last natural habitats for Orangutans in the world. However during my trek from time to time I could hear the sound of chain saws coming from just outside the reserve.

9/7/09

Kirin Free

Nothing says I’m a responsible raging alcoholic like buying a nonalcoholic beer (or two) at the expressway rest stop. The only thing more amusing than seeing this, was imaging the meeting the marketing department at Kirin must have had before decided to sell this beer at expressway rest stops. It likely went something like this: “Imagine it’s your day off, all you really want to do is get blind drunk, but oh wait the family wants to go somewhere. To make matters worse you have to drive. What do you do? Well that’s where our new product Kirin Free comes in play. You see with Kirin Free you can pretend like your drinking and not only avoid those pesky DUI tickets, but also avoid being reprimanded by your wife for being drunk on yet another family outing.”

9/6/09

Tsukuba Circuit

It’s funny how a trip to the emergency room can turn into free Pit Passes to a Historic Car Race.

For you see after having, shall we say a minor accident, which resulted in the skin bellow my knee being cut to the bone, I had to go to the emergency room. While being stitched and stapled back together again by a doctor who spoke excellent English, motorcycles somehow came up. From there the conversation somehow drifted to cars and racing. It was about then that the good doctor invited me to come watch him race one of his two Porsche's.
Fast forward two months and I found myself at Tsukuba Circuit, in Tsukuba, Japan. The weather was wonderful and the level of car porn was far beyond XXX. Having access to the pit allowed me drool over countless modern as well as historic cars.
It also gave me a chance to marvel at the damage a little carelessness in a corner can cause.
The doctor (wearing the powder blue jump suit) had a great day the races and in spite of having to deal with an 8-minute handicap, still managed to take second place in the Endurance category.

Though I walked away with a bit of a sun burn the entire experience left me wondering if maybe I should frequent the emergency room more often.

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