A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Rydin' the Wave

Tokyo told in Pictures

overcast 70 °F

A lot of our time here in Japan was with the Rokudan Choir, a bunch of old, powerful guys from Toyko who like to sing. Apparently, the former Prime Minister of Japan is in it, as well as Kent Gilbert, who was allegedly in the original Godzilla movie. I don't know about either of those, but my "buddy", the guy I was paired with to help learn correct Japanese pronunciation, was awesome. He is a professor of robots, basically. He told me he is currently working on the kitchen bot that will guide people through the process of cooking meals. Besides being a genius, he's a really nice guy. Oh yeah, and his name is "Yeah-sushi"!

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At some point in Tokyo one of Oki's dad's friends treated us to dinner at the Hyatt Tokyo. It was a blast! Also, coincidently, the guitar-flute duet that serenaded the space with played three songs in the Alley Cat rep in a row: In-wood, Chuga, and On the Street where you Live.

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Couldn't tell ya what this is, but I liked it a lot, thus I took a picture.

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A peak at some of the Hyatt's cool architecture.

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We also performed at a Buddhist Temple. So cool! We had to wear slippers and everything.

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When Sho, Lahn, and I went exploring in Tokyo, we hit up his favorite Japanese food place. That's what I ordered. Actually, now that I think about it, it was the only thing on the menu.

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Father-Son Pic on some famous crosswalk. (No homo)

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A typical street in Ginza District of Tokyo

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Italian food in Japan is strangely delicious.

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On night, the girl I sang "Is that the Way You Look" was especially beautiful, and the audience was loving it. In fact, when I said, "excuse me, miss", everyone gasped, and then started cheering. After the concert, our contact, Kenta, came up to me and said, "Do you know who you sang that song to? She's a famous model here!" That was cool, but what was even more awesome was that the next day, I ended up seeing her on the subway to Harajuku!

Our first day in Tokyo was long, rainy, and miserable.

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It took an 8 hour bus from Kobe that left at 6 o'clock in the morning to get us there in time to rehearse with the Rokudan. When we finished, we all met with our homestays. Except for Sho's and mine, who apparently couldn't make it out. It turns out that was because he lives super far away. Thankfully, he left us directions in broken English, complete with photos of landmarks to guide us along the way. But the time we finally arrived at his door around midnight, we were soaking wet, starving, and physically exhausted. All we wanted to do was sleep. But, because he's a freak, he made us "showa first". After our mandatory showers, he hands us this document:

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The next morning, we wake up promptly in time for 7 am breakfast. We were THAT hungry. But, to our dismay, we were politely asked to "showa first". That's how it was for the next couple of days. I complain, but in the end he was a really nice guy. He just had issues.

That about sums up my time in Tokyo. Off to Fukuoka tomorrow!

Until next time,
Ryder-San

Posted by Rydin' the Wave 11:11 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Photofu

A lot of our time here in Japan was with the Rokudan Choir, a bunch of old, powerful guys from Toyko who like to sing. Apparently, the former Prime Minister of Japan is in it, as well as Kent Gilbert, who was allegedly in the original Godzilla movie. I don't know about either of those, but my "buddy", the guy I was paired with to help learn correct Japanese pronunciation, was awesome. He is a professor of robots, basically. He told me he is currently working on the kitchen bot that will guide people through the process of cooking meals. Besides being a genius, he's a really nice guy. Oh yeah, and his name is Yeah-sushi!

DSCN0418.jpg

At some point in Tokyo one of Oki's dad's friends treated us to dinner at the Hyatt Tokyo. It was a blast! Also, coincidently, the guitar-flute duet that serenaded the space with played three songs in the Alley Cat rep in a row: In-wood, Chuga, and On the Street where you Live.

DSCN0412.jpg

Couldn't tell ya what this is, but I liked it a lot, thus I took a picture.

DSCN0411.jpg

A peak at some of the Hyatt's cool architecture.

DSCN0404.jpg

We also performed at a Buddhist Temple. So cool! We had to wear slippers and everything.

DSCN0398.jpg

When Sho, Lahn, and I went exploring in Tokyo, we hit up his favorite Japanese food place. That's what I ordered. Actually, now that I think about it, it was the only thing on the menu.

DSCN0397.jpg

Father-Son Pic on some famous crosswalk. (No homo)

DSCN0394.jpg

A typical street in Ginza District of Tokyo

DSCN0381

DSCN0381

Italian food in Japan is strangely delicious.

DSCN0380.jpg

On night, the girl I sang "Is that the Way You Look" was especially beautiful, and the audience was loving it. In fact, when I said, "excuse me, miss", everyone gasped, and then started cheering. After the concert, our contact, Kenta, came up to me and said, "Do you know who you sang that song to? She's a famous model here!" That was cool, but what was even more awesome was that the next day, I ended up seeing her on the subway to Harajuku!

Our first day in Tokyo was long, rainy, and miserable.

DSCN0365

DSCN0365

It took an 8 hour bus from Kobe that left at 6 o'clock in the morning to get us there in time to rehearse with the Rokudan. When we finished, we all met with our homestays. Except for Sho's and mine, who apparently couldn't make it out. It turns out that was because he lives super far away. Thankfully, he left us directions in broken English, complete with photos of landmarks to guide us along the way. But the time we finally arrived at his door around midnight, we were soaking wet, starving, and physically exhausted. All we wanted to do was sleep. But, because he's a freak, he made us "showa first". After our mandatory showers, he hands us this document:

DSCN0370.jpg

The next morning, we wake up promptly in time for 7 am breakfast. We were THAT hungry. But, to our dismay, we were politely asked to "showa first". That's how it was for the next couple of days. I complain, but in the end he was a really nice guy. He just had issues.

Until next time,
Ryder-San

Posted by Rydin' the Wave 11:11 Comments (0)

Japan, Part 1

A Quick preface:

At first I thought my home stay father was merely very traditionally Japanese, but now I know he’s just plain weird. He makes us take showers whenever we get home because “everyone has their own unique scent”. The other old men in the choir we are performing kept coming up to Sho and I asking how the homestay was—it turns out that everyone in the choir knew he was going to be like that, but they couldn’t turn down his offer to host us out of respect. I really shouldn’t complain… he is very accommodating. He paid for our dry cleaning; bought us 5,000 yens worth of public transportation pass credit, and things like that. The only problem is he is missing the human element. There is no sincere warmth in here, and it makes me miss home a lot. The Portuguese have a word for what I’m feeling, saudade. It’s a deliciously specific word, and the English language doesn’t have quite anything comparable to it.

But now that I’ve vented (it’s my blog so I’m allowed to do that), I can write something lighter!

Seven things I’ve learned about of Japan since I got here

1) They have really cool vending machines. They’re more like space ships with soda in them, really. If a robot alien had to choose how to inconspicuously hibernate on earth by shape shifting into some device alla Transformers, it would surely decide to become a Japanese vending machine.
2) The people are eager, earnest, and efficient. Everyone in Japan takes great pride in providing excellent service. In our hotel restaurant, our waiter last night handed me the menu and waited patiently as I surveyed the menu and made up my mind. As soon I as ordered, he sprinted back to the kitchen to get it whipped up.
3) It is clean. Verry Clean. There is no litter. When people are sick, they wear surgical masks. They wipe down handrails. Unbelievable.
4) The toilets are fancy. Lots of buttons. (Note to self: don’t press the wrong one. Unless you want to get a surprise from a robot water gun.)
5) When the Japanese speak their language at normal volume, it sounds like they are yelling at you. I don’t mean yelling in an angry way, but there is a marked intensity in their voices when they talk.
6) A corollary to that is when they whisper, it sounds like they are trying to sound sexy.
7) The people are skinny because it’s impossible to eat any substantial amount of sustenance with chop sticks. It’s like trying to eat with giant toothpicks. It is very frustrating. The physical and emotional effort put into securing one bite of food usually offsets the calories of the nibblet of food. Regardless of the hassle it brings, food is an interesting and beautiful part of the Japanese culture. It is polite to slurp your noodles. In fact, it is impolite not to. It’s okay if you don’t though. The Japanese have this rule that is (phonetically, and wrongly) called Jheeshu Smash, which is basically an unwritten law that states that all foreigners are excused from being ignorant to Japanese culture.

Posted by Rydin' the Wave 10:00 Comments (0)

Knock Knock. Who's there? SNAKES!

rain 86 °F

Dear Abby,

As I make the seven-hour long flight to Guam, I can’t help but have mixed feelings about this next leg of my journey. I know only two things about Guam. 1) It is a U.S. Territory. 2) It has snakes. Lots of them. In fact, from what I hear, birds simply do not exist on this island because the snakes ate all of them. Now that I mention it, I am pretty certain Guam is Micronesian for “Island of Killer Snakes”.

I am not usually scared of snakes, but given the circumstances diligence is warranted. AKA I am staying on a fruit farm. Filled with fruit trees. And I can only assume that these fruit trees are filled with Brown Tree Snakes.

That’s right, the invasive species of snake that happened to infiltrate the island of Guam is called the Brown Tree Snake. Allegedly, these creatures are not poisonous. But they specialize in hiding in trees, and eating babies, which means they are by default terrifying. I would be lying if I didn’t feel a little apprehensive about being in potentially close proximity to thousands, perhaps even millions, of scaly, sneaky, snake monsters.

Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Guam besides commiserate/ruminate over the snake infestation…right? I mean, it is an island; there must be beaches. It also had some significance in World War II, so I’m sure we can find some bunkers or battlefields to explore. That is, if the snakes don’t call them home.

Sweet snake-free dreams,
Nervous in the Pacific

Posted by Rydin' the Wave 07:19 Archived in Guam Comments (0)

11 Steps to having a great final day in Hawaii

How to have fun in Hawaii:

1) Wake up as the sun rises; it’s just easier that way. Pull back your shades before you fall asleep and let the natural light trigger your inborn circadian rhythm. Science says so. Therefore it is true.

2) Get breakfast at Cinnamon’s. It’s a bit of a local secret. By that, I mean it’s trashy on the outside, but delicious on the inside. Start of with a cinnamon roll; it’s only natural. Then, order the gava chillion pancakes, with a side of honey butter. If you are feeling particularly adventurous try pouring some coconut syrup on there. Drink a lot of water to wash it down. You have a busy day ahead of you in the hot Hawaiian sun, and you don’t want to ruin it with dehydration or heat exhaustion. (One of the Cats unfortunately was ushered to urgent care early this morning for this, although it is possible he got food poisoning.)

3) Hop in the car, and run by your friend’s house to pick sunscreen, towels, and more water.

4) Find a nature hike. They are everywhere in Hawaii. Ideally, pick one with an awesome waterfall at the end of it. Take the hike, but not to fast. It’s muddy, and you don’t want to miss out on the sheer natural beauty of where you are. Breath in the slightly humid air. When you are faced with a fork in the road, or more accurately a stream with strategically placed rocks or a beaten path, take the stream. Just be careful. Take your shoes off if you would like. The water feels really good, and you get more traction that way.

5) When you arrive at the waterfall, don’t let the frigid water discourage you from wading up to the rock face.
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6) Jump off waterfall. At mine, there were three levels where you could jump. Take the first. No need to ruin a perfect day with unnecessary danger. Then, sit with your buddies on top, taking time to appreciate your company and admire the natural beauty.
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7) After a while, jump off the waterfall one last time, and pack up for the hike back.

8) Hit up a local sushi place. Get the dynamite sashimi. It is the only tolerable form of raw fish and seaweed.

9) Arrive a Waikiki beach. First, just walk up the shoreline, soak in some rays, look out into the distance, and people watch. Only then should you wade into the water. Hang out in the water for an hour or so, and then get ready for your evening commitment.
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10) After a long fun day, head to a Japanese restaurant and order whatever you want. You won’t have to pay for it. Talk and laugh with old and new friends.
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11) Head back to a friend’s house, watch some crappy television (Monster Quest is a great choice). Get dropped off a little before midnight, and fall asleep within 10 minutes.

An Addendum

How to not have fun in Hawaii (as observed, not experienced)

1) Chew on a “koo-koo-ee” nut. Lots of swelling, tears, and overall discomfort.

2) Eat octopus tentacles. (Actually, I did fall victim to this.)

3) Get burned to a crisp trying to get tan.

Posted by Rydin' the Wave 07:05 Comments (0)

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