And our love become a funeral pyre.

I have learned something about myself since I’ve come to Japan. When it comes to dealing with heights that border on astronomical, “heights” and the danger that the “heights” hold, will awakes make me their bitch.

This decline in the ability to engage gravity in a round of fisticuffs actually started at my sister’s house. One day, my family and I were departing her company and I had noticed that she had some weeds growing out of the seams of her chimney. After we had made comments about it being the only house on her block with such an adornment, I eyeballed the roof, got her ladder out, and began my ascent.

Once I got on the roof, away from the ladder, I fully saw that the pitch of the roof was actually deeper than it appeared from the ground and that to ascend further would be like watching a cat ‘free-climb’ a wall using only their claws.

I was fucked.

My sister, and my wife and children, were on the ground looking up at my ample backside as all of the macho bravado was pinched out of me, like air being pinched out of the throat of a balloon.

I wasn’t really fucked.

Not wanting to back out of the “commitment” I had made to my sister, and not wanting to look like a total fool in front of my family, I began my snail-like crawl to the smokestack and decimated the offending weeds.

With respect to Japan, being on the edge of vertiginous heights seems to be a way of life. And with good reason: Japanese men and women aren’t stupid. They know where the edge is and they know what awaits them on the other side should they step in the wrong direction. That’s why they tend to live longer than us: because they don’t engage in Macho derring-do.

I’ve been to Skytree twice since I’ve landed in Japan. The first time that I went was for a field trip that had me chaperone two of my kids.

The second time was with my wife. We went all of the way to the Tembo Deck.

The Tembo Deck is the topmost part of the tower that is open to visitors. Parts of the Tembo Deck are constructed in a parabolic fashion. Meaning, you step up to the railing and you see that the safety glass is curved, giving the walkway an almost tub-life feel to it. The affect is that you get not only an unparalleled view of most of downtown Tokyo, but also a bird’s eye view of God’s asshole.

When my wife and I exited the elevator, we walked up to the rail that wasn’t choked with tourists. As she took in the view, I let out a long sigh. “That’s enough of that shit,” I said, and proceeded to hug wall until I saw that it was safe.

And thus, I concluded: If we were meant to be that far from the ground, we’d come pre-loaded with wings.

The only way that I would have been able to get the whole tower in was if I was lying on my back. I tried (my wife wasn’t having it). 

Independence Day.

Feast your eyes on what a fireworks display looks like in Japan. Granted, this was on American Government property. It looks like any damn fireworks show.

Yes, I’m one of those troglodytes who can go to a fireworks show like the one that you see below, sit quietly and patiently, absorbing the ink black sky being punctuated by man made star bursts, and still remain positively dead inside.

Fireworks just don’t do it for me. If there was some overall point, like someone issuing a proposal for marriage using strategically placed roman candles, or if there was a skeet shooting competition where the rifles were replaced with bottle rockets, then my interest might be peaked.

So, why am I showing you this side of me? Why did I go to a fourth of July celebration at all this year? For the same reason a husband/father does anything: my wife told me to, and she told me that I had to take the kids.

While I was loathe to participate, this matrimonial decree was not worth eschewing.

So, I took the kids, fought through the sweaty masses and accomplished my betrothed’s polite request. Not for nothing, it was nice watching my kid’s face’s light up.

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In the shadow of the steeple, I saw my people.

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The above picture was taken from Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world. The first time that I had found myself there was due to the fact that two of my children were enlisted in a Tokyo Culture class that was offered through our school system. 
And yes, I sign my kids, all of my kids, up for things to do during the summer that are generally educational in nature. Why? Because I see a lot of asshole kids who aren’t duly occupied and I have to exercise a lot of restraint to not run them over with my car.
I digress.

The picture above? That’s only a small fraction of the view Skytree offers. Makes you wonder what’s down there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Ten Inch Record.

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.

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For the record, there were three female elephants on the other side of the pen trying to stay way from poor old Babar.