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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Perhaps he’s dead, I’ll just make sure…

For the better part of two years, my wife has occupied a “desk job” in Japan. Long hours, lots of sitting, and dealing with jackanapes on a minute to minute basis make Wifey a dull gal. As such, I try to get her outside and “aired out” as much as possible.

On one such occasion, I took her to the local park a few miles from our house. The picture above is from the park in question. I know, not the best that I could do. But doing my best isn’t the point here.

Point of fact? It was fucking hot that day and I was standing in full sun. The only “camera” that I had was my phone. Which means that I couldn’t see a damn thing when I took the photo. All I could do was point the lense in the general direction and let fate take over.

If you take a closer look at the left and right sides of the tree, roughly the middle of the picture, you’ll see some unnatural looking lines.

Those are spider webs.

That’s right. The tree is deader than a door-nail and it is chock-a-block with spider webs. To answer your next question, hell no I didn’t get any closer.

I just wanted to let you know that if you thought that American wildlife was gangsta, Japanese wildlife is twice as gangsta.

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.