Battle Goats!

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When we first arrived in Japan and everyone had gotten past the jet lag and the culture shock, my wife had mandated that we go and visit the local IKEA, as it was only a 15-minute drive away from our home.

When we were stateside, we were never a respectable distance from any of the IKEA stores that are presently peppering our country of origin. As my wife is a modern young woman, this proved to be a bit problematic when the other females within her social circle would wax ecstatic about the novelty of going to IKEA.

We went once when we were living in Cleveland, It was the mid 2000’s and she was pregnant with our second child. The closest IKEA was in Pennsylvania. To my knowledge, we weren’t going for something specific. We were more or less ‘going to go’.

So we got in my three door Saturn and ‘went’. 1.2 way there, the eldest child puked. On top of that we found a dining table and chairs that she really liked.

It was a cramped and smelly ride back home.

The Tachikawa IKEA is, indeed, 15 minutes from where we presently are living. AS it is a main attraction for the city, it is strategically located within walking distance of the city monorail and the JR (Japanese Railway). What connects the JR and IKEA is a big promenade. Next to the promenade is a field. In that field, the above-pictured, handsome assemblage of goats resides.

I all ready checked: there are no death metal bands in the area. And no, the goats don’t end up as food. Said goats are used for field maintenance only. Someone, somewhere decided that it was more economical and more bio-friendly to employ the goats rather than your average itinerant work (in this case, me). Whenever I see the goats, I am reminded of the time that I reconnected with a married couple that I have known since we were all kids, and not married.

They acquainted me with their goats.

It was also the first time I had ever seen a goat shit.

Upon spectating said act of expulsion, I said with all sincerity “Maaaan that kinda looks like the inside of a pomegranate, don’t it?” Because when a goat shits, it does, for a split-second look like it’s pushing the inside of said fruit out of it’s backside.

Strange how oddly placed things can remind you of home.

Doing Everything a Particle Can…

 

IMG_7808.jpg“… Gosh that was a lot of stairs. Bet those Tengu spirits never had to deal with stairs and inclines, and sweatiness. They probably could just think of where they wanted to be, blink, and then be there. Wonder if one of them ever tried it, got it wrong, and wound up shitting themselves? Boy it’s hot! They really ought to install an elevator on this mountain. I like cats. Ha Ha would never let me have one because she secretly hated me. But she’s gone now and I’m a man. I’m getting a kitty as soon as I get down off of this damn mountain.

Blue Skies.

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Looks nice, doesn’t it? For the most part, this is what lower, central Japan, looks like during the winter.

This photo was taken during the first week of February. Hence the dead-ass trees in the background. Another clue that it’s winter, is that the soil is being worked, and no other growth.

Fun fact? this is right across the street from one of the school my children attend.

Want to know a fact that’s even more fun than that? It’s a little known fact about the environment of our current geographic location.

Japan, during the winter time, gets really damn windy. Like, mime walking against the wind (only you’re the mime, and the wind is real, not imaginary), windy. On windy days like that, do you think all of that nice, flat dirt stays put?

Fuck. No.

My entire neighborhood gets blanketed in a gentle brown courtesy of the ensuing Grapes of Wrath-style dust storm. That blue sky fades into that muddy color you used to get in art class when you thought it would be a great idea to mix all of the paints together. Children walking home from school resemble Bedouins by the time that they reach their domicile. Dogs and cats start sleeping together! MASS HYSTERIA!

The lesson? Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it won’t try to kill you.

Sound of Da Police?

Once upon a time, I was a green American, still getting used to living in Japan.

Then one day, my wife said, “You’re taking me to the Strawberry Festival”. After details and logistics were squared away, I learned that the festival was to be held in the warehouse district of central Yokohama.

SPOILER: it wasn’t really a ‘festival’ like most American’s think of festivals ala Lollapalooza. The Yokohama Strawberry Festival is a big ass tent that has food vendors (who sell strawberry themed confections) and almost the entire population of central Japan. It was my first experience with the phenomena of Japanese crowds. The strawberries were good though.

Never having gone to a ‘city’ in Japan yet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After embarking on a long ass train ride that was filled with what felt like an insane number of transfers, we had finally gotten to our destination.

I couldn’t have given less of a fuck about the strawberries. I had finally gotten to see what a Japanese city was like. Pretty. Fucking. Dope.

Crazy architecture!

The Bay of Yokohama (The first time I had seen a significant body of water since we had left the states)!

People sleeping on benches in the train stations because it’s easier/more affordable than turning on the heat during the day in the abode!

A man out of his vehicle, yelling at the cops (who were in their vehicle, behind him) who had pulled him over for some reason.

Wait: what?

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That’s right, what you’re looking at is a quick photo I managed of a Japanese man tearing the cops a new asshole and not being put in a choke hold for it.

In case you were wondering, yes: I completely felt like I was in a foreign country when I experienced this guy going after the cops as hard and as loud as he was (we heard him from a block away, before we saw him).