“… 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.“
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
Here, have some colorful animals out in the wilds of Japan.
Really, the girl is my youngest, and yes: I know that I could have done better when it comes to the taking of pictures. As I have mentioned before, I generally try and keep posts like this somewhere between absurd and ‘dad joke’ territory. My reasoning was that I shouldn’t be like every other shill on the internets. What purpose would that serve anyone in the long run? It’s not like we’re all a part of a chorus here.
It’s more dissonance than anything else.
My initial thought with the included photo was to try and take a crack at an internal monologue from the point of view of the fish. Maybe have the punchline fall somewhere in the realm of a fart joke and how fish don’t have to worry about the smell.
Then the real reason I hung on to this photo dropped in my lap.
What is she thinking there? Maybe it has something to do with all of the strategic colors?
I know what I am thinking: she can be about as pleasant as a bag of dicks to be around sometimes but it’s nice to see her smile.
This picture is from Shinjuku Gyoen National Park.
Parks like these are to be plentiful in the Land of the Rising Sun. Of course you have to pay to get in (this one was only $2 USD). But as you can see, it’s worth the price of admission. With the general over-population of the Japan as a country, combined with tourism being the main money-maker at most city centers (Shinjuku, included), I’m sure the head honchos make a killing.
Conversely, having to pay for admittance also keeps the homeless out.
I’m not making some big statement about helping the poor. I’m just pointing out the contrast of entering a public park in Japan while it’s own less fortunate citizens have taken residence outside of the park gates.
As I am an American one of the first things that I noticed when I started exploring my urban environment was the aeration of clothing and linens.
As I am also a fan of airing things out, I didn’t think anything of it the first few times I saw it. The more I saw it, I noticed how intricate it could get. Fact: it is a standard that most new Japanese homes come with a clothing rack built into the house or yard.
Then, one day, my beautiful and intelligent wife to pointed out to me the size of most of the dwellings.The lightbulb went on over my head as soon as I was done doing the cultural mathematics.
To have something like a washer AND a dryer in Japan is a status symbol.
I have never been a fan of zoos.
Prior to living in Japan, I hadn’t given it that much thought. There could be any number of reasons.
Maybe I’m one of those bleeding hearts who believes that all animals should be free? Not likely. Aside from dealing with assholes such as myself, I’d have to say that those animals have it pretty good considering that their life expectancy is generally double in captivity.
Maybe I’m (subconsciously) ethically opposed to forking over cash for essentially going for a walk in the park? Closer, but not relevant.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m the only one who can see that, anytime you go to a zoo during peak business hours, the animals aren’t the ones who are on display.
The below pic was taken at Ueno Zoo. I only had to spend 6 USD (for myself), cheaper than any other zoo I could’ve gone to back in the states. The price of admission paid for itself when I pointed out (to at least two of my kids) that elephants only have four legs, not five. My kids and I got a good chuckle out of that.
For the record, there were three female elephants on the other side of the pen trying to stay way from poor old Babar.