20 January 2009

Who DOES that~!!?

Recap list...and...GO~!!!

5 Jan 09:
Didn't go to school, rather, the other place.

6 Jan 09:
At the other place again. Talked to a dude that wanted to meet me because he read my profile in the town magazine or something. Said he's always wanted a foreign friend that shared the same hobby that he did. Interesting. I like how my supervisor told him all the places I work AND where I live. Thanks a lot. The dude invited me to his house to play taiko. Hope he's not a freak. He kinda looks like Jackie Chan.

11 Jan 09:
Met up with Asako in Osaka. Met her husband, Goh, and her baby, Mio! She's SO cute~!!!

16 Jan 09:
Finally decided to meet up with Kazu, the taiko dude in the town over. Before hand, I decided to go to Uji to get an omiyage, thanking him for having me over for dinner. I was torn. Buy something inexpensive vs. something expensive. That was until I got a text from him.

"What do you think of this? I want to give it to you." or something like that. Attached was a picture of shime daiko...NO WAY, seriously? Maybe his English is not working for him. Maybe he's giving me the PICTURE as a gift.

Bought the more expensive omiyage JUST IN CASE he was going to give me a drum...but yeah right...right? Text #2.

"Did you see the photo? I'm giving it to you as a gift." I KNEW it. He's giving me the PHOTO as a gift...that HAS to be it~!!! If that's the case, who DOES that~!!?

Was picked up. We drove to his house. Before going into the main house, he asked me to step into his office.

"See this? This is my shime. Play it. Go ahead, it's ok." I played it, had a nice tune, awesome shime. "It's yours."

"What~!? No, I can't~!!!"

"No, I insist."


Then his wife came out and told us that dinner was ready. I also met his baby girl. They have a cool house! We had sushi and Japanese fried chicken for dinner, all washed down by beer of course - Japan's water. Afterwards, did a little demo on a VERY young sounding drum. Got tired, so the misses drove; Kazu and his baby girl sat in the back. But before getting into the van, he ran into his office to grab the shime daiko. I TOTALLY didn't say anything about that!

Finally got to my house and thanked everyone for the meal and the ride and TRIED to book it up stairs. Kazu, however, yelled out of the van,

"Don't forget your drum!"

"Oh man, thank you SO VERY much~!!! This is such an AWESOME omiyage, thank you~!!!"

In my mind, I was like, "Who DOES that~!!?" But now, I can honestly say that I own my very own drum, now! Awesome~!!!

Btw, he invited me back to his house next Friday.

My First Taiko: Taka-chan

18 Jan 09:
Went to 三十三間堂 (Sanjūsangendō) to watch some older people and high schoolers do 弓道 (kyūdō - Japanese archery). It was awesome!

This guy's FIERCE, man, FIERCE~!!!

Check out Obaasama~!!! She's friggin' AWESOME~!!!

The Boys

The Girls

Girls Finalists

PAY DAY, BABY~!!! Gotta save for my trip to snowman land. Man, on Thursday, I have to go to the kindergarten here. Then next week on Tuesday, I go to the other kindergarten in the town over~!!! I hope I'll be ok. After all, they're but mere babies.

Oh yeah, I'll be meeting up with my taiko mentor, Kinoshita Sensei, from Canada Saturday in Osaka. I'm excited~!!!

Like I said, gotta get ready for my trip WAY up North~!!! SNOW LAND HERE I COME~!!! Crap, gotta put in my nenkyu soon.


03 January 2009

俺の冬休みだ - Let's ring in the New Year J-Style~!!!

Ok, it's time for another list blog...thingy~!!! List-like blogs are so much easier~!!!

Christmas Eve 08:
Totally did NOT work on Christmas Eve, you crazy~!!?

Christmas Day 08:
MERRY CHRISTMAS~!!! There's DEFINITELY no way I'd work on Christmas Day, either.

26 Dec 08:
Left Kyoto @ midnight. F**kin WORST midnight bus experience~!!! This dumb young dude with orange hair kept leaning on my back on the damn bus. No matter how many times I pushed his ass away, he'd end up sleeping ON me somehow - I FELT him BREATHING on me~!!! Not to mention that ALL the seats of the upper deck were filled with sleeping bodies and the windows were blocked by thick-as-hell curtains which TRAPPED the heat from the heater and the body heat of the slumbering, smelly people in the oven I mean the bus~!!! Did I sleep? I wish~!!! Thankfully the bus stopped every 2 hours. Btw, rest stops in Japan are SUPER clean...and like small shopping centers.

Made it to 新宿 (Shinjuku) at around 8:00am-ish. Met up with Yoli and Saiki at the station and messed around Tokyu Hands. Oh, check this dude out; I think he's a Keebler Elf.

Where yo COOKies at FOO~!!?
YEAH he's wearin' that sweater~!!!

Tricia called, finally. We then headed to 原宿 (Harajuku) together to mess around. Had lunch at Shakey's Pizza. Hadn't eaten pizza in a LONG ass time! It was delicious for what it was.

Bellies full, we walked around the area before heading out to 渋谷 (Shibuya) to bum around. Ah, the night life and city folk.

Finally headed to the hotel (it was in 蒲田 [Kamata]). Btw, this specific train station had SCARY ass station music~!!! It reminded me of murderous doll music - if you don't make it onto the train by the time the station music finishes, you'll get killed by Chucky.

27 Dec 08:
Day trip to
横浜 (Yokohama). Went to 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chūkagai - Yokohama Chinatown). It was nice. Bigger than the one in 神戸. Did Chinese 食べ放題 (tabehōdai - buffet style). It was pretty tasty-times.

After just shootin' the breeze, we headed to みなとみらい21 (Minato Mirai 21 - Harbor Future 21). It was a pretty metropolitan area, though small. Went to a mini amusement park called Cosmo World. There, Yoli, Saiki, and I rode the Cosmo Clock 21, a ferris wheel. The view was sweet, as well as the ride. Crossed the street to a mall for dinner (Mexican food...not great) and for some snacky-poo-poos.

Of Course - Need to get my Taiko on~!!!

Before heading back to the hotel, we saw this weird sculpture (called the Mokumoku Wakuwaku Yokohama Yo Yo) and some crazy-light stairs. Took pictures there. I even forced Yoli and Saiki to race up and down the stairs; caused a small crowd of onlookers. It was a nice day in Yokohama.

I'm a STUD, man~!!! Get it, get it~!!!

28 Dec 08:
Headed to
秋葉原電気街 (Akihabara Denki Gai - Akihabara Electric Town). It was cool, but I didn't buy anything surprisingly. Anime and electronics filled streets, not ONE thing was purchased (aside from food).

Later on, we went to 浅草 (Asakusa). I initially wanted to buy taiko goods, but the stores were closed because of the upcoming New Year's celebration...DAMN IT~!!! Oh well. Decided to just meander around 浅草寺 (Sensō-ji) where the famous 雷門 (Kaminarimon) is. Totally went omiyage shopping.

Yeah...LAMB Raisin...the hell...

For dinner we went to, of all places, Yoshinoya. I guess we were all too hungry to give a crap where we were eating. Toward the end of our meal, we felt someone staring at us from the door - IT WAS ANDREW (a good friend of ours from the L.A./Tokyo Orientation). He said he noticed a thick-bearded guy sitting next to a black girl; figured it was me and Yoli. AHAHA~!!! He was with some of his boys from the U.S., so we ended up going back to 渋谷 for some sexy 飲み放題 (nomihōdai - all you can drink) times and karaoke. What a crazy night, that was.

29 Dec 08:
Checked out; headed to Tricia's place in 群馬県 (Gunma-ken). Mid-trip, though, we stopped off in 熊谷 (Kumagaya) to meet a friend of Tricia's who invited us to his restaurant. "The Master," as he was called, was this big-bear of a man that owned a noodle shop. It was SO bomb~!!! His wife and daughter were working at the time, too. Had hand-made 餃子 (gyōza), 油そば (abura soba), and つけ麺 (tsukemen). SO filling, and COMPLETELY free~!!! I need to send The Master a thank you letter, seriously.

Made it to 渋川 (Shibukawa) by dusk, and we all just wanted to unwind the rest of the night.

30 Dec 08:
We still were pretty bushed from the previous days. We decided to just chill out for a day.

New Year's Eve 08:
Headed to
東京ドーム (Tokyo Dome) to have lunch at CPK - yeah, pizza again - and to shop around. Tricia and her friends wanted to get attend this New Year's concert hosted by some effeminate J-pop boy-band, so Yoli, Saiki and I parted from them.


Made our way to お台場 (Odaiba), an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Didn't spend too much time there; went to Decks Tokyo Beach and hit up Joypolis. Took some pretty nice pictures of Rainbow Bridge and...the Statue of Liberty? The hell? Oh well, it was still beautiful.

Took the 首都高速道路 (Shuto Kōsoku Dōro - Shuto Expressway) toward Tokyo Tower.

Then headed to 増上寺 (Zōjō Temple) to prepare to ring in the New Year. Mitzi (also a good friend from the L.A./Tokyo Orientation) and her younger brother, Jun, met up with us at the temple. Ate food/drank sake from the vendors, bought charms, and chilled till around 8:30 when we cued in line to get our wishing paper (pentagon shaped).

Around 10pm, we fell in line again, this time for balloons to tie our wishing paper to. It was cool. To be more eco-friendly, the balloons weren't plastic, rather, they were made of rice~!!! How dope's that~!!!

Ok, hold on a minute...
"Balloon exchange for the
wishes of tickets is required"

Still 2008!

After assembling our wishing paper to our rice balloons, Tricia met up with us (no concert for her I guess). We walked toward the mochi making area to eat our mochi before New Year's. T'was DE-LE-JUSS things.

Noticed people making it toward the center of the temple grounds. COUNTDOWN SUCKAS~!!! SO f**ckin' packed, and some jerks kept pushing hard, vying for a position closer to the countdown clock near the giant temple bell. Ended up getting split up. Seriously, it was SO crowded that I literally relaxed my entire body but didn't fall because I was being supported by everyone around me. It was SO hot, SO tight, I couldn't breathe, almost lost my balance a couple of times, thought I was going to die - IT WAS SO MUCH FUN~!!!

My main concern in the midst of the mosh pit was to be able to get away from a tree we were stuck under so I could properly release my rice balloon. Luckily, with all the shoving, we made it away from the furthest reaching branch. Then...3, 2, 1...

New Year's Day 09:
HAPPY NEW YEAR~!!! FLY BALLOON, FLY~!!! Man was it a sight to behold~!!! All these rice balloons filled the night sky! Rockin'!


After the crowds started to thin out, we were able to leave. Yoli, Saiki, Tricia and I crashed with Mitzi and Jun at their hotel (man, was THAT cramped, but luckily we had a place to sleep). THANKS AGAIN MITZI & JUN~!!!

For lunch, went back to Shakey's in 原宿. Walked around until Mitzi, Jun, and Tricia had to go. Yoli, Saiki, and I went to 新宿, and we parted ways with Yoli who was catching a bus from somewhere else. Saiki and I were leaving from the same area, so we just chilled until it was time for us to leave. It was strange cuz we saw the Keio Plaza - to think we were just there in July of last year...crazy.

Saiki left before I did. My bus came maybe half an hour after hers. Thankfully, I bought a ticket for a more spacious bus! I had 2 seats to myself at the front of the bus - and yes, I was able to sleep. I was so traveled out by the time I got home. I didn't want to do anything when I finally got home. Just slept.

THANK GOD IT'S OVER~!!! I had fun though. Good food, good friends, good times. Done.