Yokohama Days

Saturday. 14 June 2008

Felt my first earthquake this morning. It was a 6.8 or so, however being about 150 miles away, it did nothing more than gently sway the building around for 10 seconds or so. If I had not been sitting motionless on the 5th floor of a high rise, I could not have felt it at all. Makes you really hope these Japanese engineers figured out this earthquake stuff long ago.

Spent an evening on the town with the US Army. They have a curfew so I ended up playing darts with a Japanese bartender at a little hole in the wall called “Party Animals”. It was founded 20 years ago, and has stayed true to the 80’s. It still has Spudz McKenzie proudly displayed and had some great late 80 / early 90 music on the dvd. When is the last time you saw the videos for “U Can’t Touch This” and “Ice, Ice Baby”- back to back? Anyway, I kicked butt at darts. Seems 4.5 months of no practice has actually helped my game. Wish that was true for my pool game………..

Sunday. 15 June 2008 Happy Fathers Day

Had my first major oversleep of the trip today. Got to the rally point about 31 minutes late. The Army boys gave me 28 minutes. We just missed each other. Probably blew by each other on trains headed in opposite directions. Spent a few hours searching their likely locations but trying to find 3 white guys in Japan is not as easy as it would seem. Especially outside a major naval base………..

Anyhow, as I had some free time today, better learning Apples’s iMovie seemed to be a good use of time. After several hours of adding music, titles, and editing out all the bs, I have determined that video has been a highly underutilized medium thus far on my little trip. Maybe I’m just sentimental, but putting some good ole’ rock music to a few short movies really adds some emotional kick.

I am sitting on the roof of the hostel. 6 stories up, 11pm. I have a borrowed stool from the front office, a Coleman folding table (‘found’ in the stairwell), and a little sample of Japanese Whiskey…. instant rooftop office. Only thing missing is electricity, wi-fi, and a hot secretary. The view and cool breeze make up for all that is lacking.

There has to be some sort of old folks or veterans home in the neighborhood of the hostel. There are countless old men wandering around- all day and night. It must be a Veterans home because it is all old men. Lots in wheelchairs. Occasional eye patches and walking sticks. A lot needed to see a good Psychiatrist a long, long time ago. There are some crazy old dudes hobbling around here. I hope one of them doesn’t have a WWII flashback and put a cap in my #ss……….

OK. Just had two more tremors. Quick 2 second bursts, but still earthquakes. There are no subways or other shake inducing features near my location.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Failed to rendezvous with the army boys once again. This no cell phone stuff blows- makes one wonder how we got along with out them. Caught part of a Japanese baseball game this evening . Finding a bunch of white guys in a stadium is not as easy as it would seem. Oh well. Anyway, I procured a standing room ticket in the visiting team’s bleacher section. The game itself is identical, but the fan customs are quite different. They have cheerleaders, and yell leaders in the bleachers, complete with drums and some horn players. The yell leader dude calls out a cheer, and the whole bleacher section goes with it. And the entire bleacher section on the left field side was cheering for the visiting team. The redeeming item of note is that beer in the stadium is cheaper than in some bars near the stadium.

Went to the Tokyo Photography Museum today. Good inspiration. A famous Japanese photographer, MORIYAMA Daido, had a 2 floor exhibit. All black & white. His mantra for a few decades was “coarse, shaky, and blurred.” Taken not with a fancy SLR or large format camera, just a simple viewfinder type camera, more like a point and shoot. Spent the first 25 years of his career trying to define photography…. He finally came up with “a fossil of light and time”. Anyhow, I was inspired, so the Yokohama photos are in black and white, with an occasional artistic coloration…..


First theft of the trip has occurred. My cooked meal of the day (for this week) is eggs, sausage, and potatoes. As they don’t sell Tabasco at the local grocery, I settled for a ground chili pepper. Someone pinched it from the hostel kitchen. This violates one of the most basic rules of life- “Never mess with a man’s lunch” - That meal may be all he has to look forward to for the day. I bet it was the crazy old lady who walks around the hostel in a t-shirt and panties and doesn’t lock the bathroom door. I have been visually scarred for life. There is a reason they don’t keep knives in the hostel kitchen………

At least it was a pepper shaker and not the MacBook……..

Which bring me to total trip casualties:
- 4 pairs Sunglasses
- 1 Trekking Pole
- Approx 6 Blue Ink Pens
- 1 Leatherman Micra- with no blade (New Zealand TSA)
- 1 Utility Knife- with no blade (Australian TSA)
- $20 overcharge for beers, lost despite best efforts of interpreters……

Yokohama Random Thoughs:

Question of the day:
Is it a good thing when a Japanese lady says in broken English, “You are like Robin Williams” and a minute later compares you to a kung fu master?? Too bad she was married with a kid.

Thought of the day:
To sum up Nepal, my friend Shelli, from the Everest hike, said “when I’m having a bad day at work, all I have to do is stop and think of that trip, and it makes everything better.”
Amen. Makes me want to go be a Sherpa Guide.

To quote Aaron Tippin:
“You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string.”

“If I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it.”


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