Dig for Fire.

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Here you see local farmers harvesting fire in order to sell off to the local Kundalini Yoga practitioners.

If there are two pieces of esoteric knowledge that I could share with you, it’s that:

  1. Japan will challenge your internal compass. And,
  2. Japan will seriously mess up your ability to process urban planning.

Example? Coming from the States as I did, I like to think I had a strong sense of compass directions. As the continental U.S. is a gigantic landmass, it’s not hard to figure out where North and South lie if you can figure out where East and West are. What if you started living on an island? Or more to the point, 6,000+ islands?

For the record, I have given up figuring out which direction I am facing when I am exploring this country.

Then, there’s urban planning.

Spoiler alert: there is no ‘urban planning’ as you would understand it. Streets do not follow the traditional grid structure that you would find in the Americas. And with a population that is as dense, how could they plan urban areas effectively? I’m sure that they do, just as I am sure that they have a system in place that works for them.

For the sake of argument, I live in the ‘countryside’. This is a bit of a misnomer because while you may think of farm houses and rolling hills when you think of the term “countryside”.

They do have that here.

But they also have major urban centers located within a mile of most farms. Take the picture above. 

I am pretty sure that they’re doing some form of composting. I’d ask but I am still a bit sensitive about being stared at like the white devil that I am. If it looks like shit and smells like shit, it will certainly burn like shit.

Which is also the only bad thing about living where I do.

Flushed from the bathroom of your heart.

Just to drive my point home regarding the usage of english language in a country that is the owner of an alphabet that is non-romanic in origin, please observe a picture that I took this past winter of the sign posted for the “sightseeing toilet”.

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Said toilet was across the street from a trail head that you can take that will lead you to one of many of Japan’s ice waterfalls. My wife and I were part of a sightseeing trip that hiked to the aforementioned waterfall. To clarify, “ice waterfalls” happen all over the world, for sure. But when you are temporarily living in a foreign country like Japan (like my family and I presently are), you are duty-bound to see at least one ice waterfall.

On this particular trip, said waterfall was still free flowing. My wife and I went anyway.

Free-flowing water aside, what wasn’t properly conveyed to us on this hike was the particular type of hell that we had to hike through just to get to the damn thing. Narrow to no paths, sudden elevation and inclines, erosion and makeshift bridges that offer little to no safety…

I wished for death a few times during said hike.

What made things worse (because I am an egotistical man-child at all of the wrong times) were all of the locals that our group passed on the trail. They were traversing said trail like they were one part Ibex and one part monkey.

By the end of the hike, the real sight for me, was definitely the bathroom.

Leaving on a Jet Plane?

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am, for lack of a better title, an “air force wife”.

I stay at home. I take care of the kids, the homestead, and my wife (when she needs it). My wife puts on the uniform and brings home ‘the bacon.’ Hence how we ended up in Japan.

If there is one chunk of esoteric Japan trivia I’d like to share with you, it’s that the Japanese are somewhat fanatical when it comes to photography.

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Take these gentlemen as an example.

There’s a certain phenomenon here. Every time a new plane stops here, these ‘professional’ photographers reenact the scene in World War Z when the zombies swarm that one wall.

LOOK AT THEM! WITH THEIR PHALLIC LENSES AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR GRAVITY!

Maybe they’re freelance photogs? Maybe this is some sort of kinkThe only thing that I know for sure is that I am constantly amused at the length they will go to in order to get their shot.