Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shit Happens.

I tried to load some pictures the other day, but something was weird, and I ended up not doing it. Oh well, I will try again later.

Other shit?

After spending most of yesterday distributing CDs for my producer job (actually, I just translate for these two guys that I met on the street a couple weeks ago. They were looking at a map, and I asked them if they were looking for something, and it kinda goes downhill from there), I decided that I would go looking for a bar or club or something to do to waste away my friday evening. I don't really know how to choose were to go, so I was just wandering around in Ebisu (just south of Shibya, home of the beer Yebisu, and the jeans Evisu) and I came across a bar.
What was outside the bar? Bikes.
Who was inside the bar (and outside too)? Messengers.

I had run across a bar frequented by bike messengers! I recognized some of the guys from the race I did over the summer, and we chatted for a long time, and met some cool new people, and heard about somemore races that I will do!

I am talking to this one guy, when all of a sudden, he asks: can you read Japanese?
me: yes
him: there is a guy coming who you should talk to.
me: ok, why
him: just do, he is a cool guy.

little later, this guy shows up, and I get introduced to him. I got a business card, and I go to meet them on monday.

They were hinting about a job.

But this becomes a problem. I could probably make it ok to start after I turn 18 and get a working visa, but, it doesn't really change the fact that I had kinda sorta planned to go back and finish high school, start chinese, and teach English in China like Alex, but I here I pretty much get offered a job just by walking into a bar.

I know it has always been a dream of mine to be a bike messenger, and I think it would be amazing to do it in Japan, which I had always really enjoyed (until my little stint in high school), but now I am meeting the people I want to meet, doing the things I want to do, creating relationships that I think I want to have last. However, I am a highschool dropout, and if the messenger thing falls through, I don't really have anything.

But wouldn't it be good to live a dream at least once in your life? I had a lot of problems here up until now, but I think I finally found something that I want to make happen, and it is highly possible!

I don't know what will happen on Monday, but...

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I just got back from calligraphy, and I felt that it went really well. I gave my teacher the brush, and she seemed very pleased. We had a very pleasant conversation for most of the session, as well as going well into after the lesson.

Oh right, I am back in Tokyo.
Tokyo is...?

I will give a recap with lots of pictures probably tomorrow or something.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

旅 tabi trip

I am on the road, currently logging in from a netcafe in Hiroshima.
I spent several days with the professor in Okayama, saw some sites, and then went to Hiroshima, where I am staying at a youth hostel. I have one more night there, and after that I will probably go home.
I can't really describe the things that I have seen and done because there were some really really amazing things.
I am thinking about doing a bunch of short trips in Japan staying at Japanese youth hostels hopeing that I get the good luck that I had with them. Spend the whole time talking with Japanese!
My travel companions:
Yuko, female, 22, goes to school quite near me in Tokyo.
Ken, male, 36, photographer from Kobe.
I was walking around the big peace park after I got into town, but before I went to check into the hostel. I had put my bag into a locker, so I was fine. I was taking a picture (with the analog) of the peace torch, and Yuko walked into the frame in the background. 'No biggie', I think. I put the roll into a 90 minute developer, and go to check into the hostel. (I walked all around the park and into the museums, and had some really nice converstations with some Koreans, all in Japanese, which was kinda weird, mostly due to the incredible truth and profoundness of what they said, but I wont go into detail.) I check in, and decide to go eat something (okonomiyaki!) walking down the hill to the station, and who is walking up? The girl who walked into my picture! I eat, get my pictures, and go home. I meet her in the lounge, and gave her the picture, we start talking, talk for a long time, and then Ken, who I was sharing a room with, comes in and joins the conversation. We all talked for a long time, and decided that we would all go together in Ken's car to Miyajima, and see all the things there! We go to the island (yesterday) and it was just amazing. I can't really describe a lot of the things that we saw, and even photos wont do a great job. I will post some pictures later. That takes the whole day, we go out to eat okonomiyaki. Come home, sit in the lounge drinking for about 2 hours.
Today, Ken drove us to the station, where Yuko and I got out, I said goodbye to Ken, and Yuko and I (she would later meet him again, he is driving her up to Kyoto, just past where he lives) got on the train to go to out destination. We get to the station, and we parted, because she was going to the maritime museum, and I was climbing a mountain to go to the brush museum! We are going to hang out again back in Tokyo.
It took a damn long time to get to the museum, but it was awesome! Spent about 2 hours there, and bought some brushes. That area is very famous for brushes, probably because of the number of animals that live in that area, but I dont know.
I bought 6 brushes for 15550 yen (120 US)!!!
I plan on giving 1 of them to each of my two teachers ( I bought special ones for them) and then got 4 of different types and sizes and all sorts of different things most people dont know about.

gotta go get some money so that I can eat more okonomiyaki!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Out of the loop.

Sorry, I was living in a small, cold house on the edge of the forest in the super boonies of Tokyo with some architects, and I didn't have acess to a computer. It was amazing. I will go back and live with them some after I get back from my trip.
I get there, and we are sitting around in the living room surrounded by their library.
Norie, opening a magazine: I found something I want you to look at.
Me, looking at the magazine: OK
Norie: well?
Me: You want me to enter an architecture competition.
Norie: yeah! this one looks right up your alley.
Me: ok.

I am designing a zoo for a competition sponsored by a glass company.
The head judge? Ito Toyo. Wow. Look him up.



Sunday, February 11, 2007

The extent of my freedom.

I feel bound by obligation to be with the Fukuda's at most times. I of course go out during the day, but morning and night I am in the house. I was going to go to a club tonight to see this:
but decided that I wouldn't go because I thought that I should probably be at home. I don't want to be at home, I want to go out, but my despondency isn't helping that very much. I don't want to make plans, I just want to relax and do what the mood feel likes, but I can't even give myself a chance to relax because I feel an obligation to someone to do something, and not waste the time I have in the country.
Monday from about 10 until 4 is Kabuki. After that I will try to go get my youth hostel card, but not really sure why.
Tuesday I was making plans to hang out in the evening with some kids, but havent heard from them.
Wednesday nothing
Thursday I leave for Okayama. I don't know why I am going. I don't really want to go, to the extent that the teacher who has invited me seems like a very nice man, but I will be honest and say that I haven't found myself interested by anything he has had to say. I will be in Okayama from the 15 to the 18, and then I might go to Hiroshima, but don't really feel like doing that.
Aside from Paul Fukuda, the last truely interesting conversation I had was the day I got my hair cut. I went and rode my bike 50 kilos in the morning and ran into a friend of mine from the bike race I did in the summer! We rode along and chatted and that was great. Before that it was the girl at the art gallery. I fucking hate being young! I hate being myself.

I went to some flea markets today. I bought an old magazine about two contemporary Japanese authors, and a Japanese history book from just after the war. Those I bought at the antique market at Yasukuni Jinjya, where I also saw a large Yakuza meeting, which had something to do with trying to be friends, after the 4 shootings last week.
I also bought a camera at the flea market in the Tokyo International Forum. It is a Minolta x-70, which is the Japanese version, and it came with a 200mm lens. I haggled the price down to 20 bucks. I then took it a camera store and got batteries and film, and put it all together how I thought it went, and then went and took a bunch of pictures only to discover that I know nothing about cameras, and that I had done something wrong and lost lots of pictures including: some pretty scenary, kids playing in the park on a beautiful day, lots of busy people, a Japanese style wedding, and other things that I would have loved to share.
I went to a different camera store to inquire about other lens, because a 200mm lens is a bit long, but who wants to spend 3+ times the cost of the complete thing for a lens? Plus, I also have to buy tickets to Okayama and Hiroshima and back, and that will be about 300 bucks.

Freedom is lonely.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


My butt hurts. I just got back from 4.5 hours of kabuki! And that was just half of the play! Paul Fukuda took me to see Chushingura, which is usually translated into English having something to do with 47 ronin (however, there were only 41 on stage at the seige of the mansion. one of them can be accounted for because he died earier on, but comeon, what about the other 5!?!) Anyway, we go back on Monday to see the rest.
I was gonna try to go to a club after that, but I had a very pleasant conversation with him instead. I think I might try to go hangout tomorrow night.

I go to Okayama on the 15th.

I am despondent.


Friday, February 09, 2007


I got my hair cut.

I was walking down the street afterwords, and there were these two foreigners standing looking at a map. I asked if they needed help finding something, and we started chatting, and I played interpretter for a little bit. Two guys from London.
Somehow, I just got a foot into the producing business.




I finally got around to going to a library!
I didnt hae a whole lot of time, but this is the International Children's Library in Ueno Park, and it is totally awesome!
I asked at the front desk about trying to get a librarian exchange program going, and I got to go and talk with somebody in the office, and had a nice chat with him, but they said they didn't have the space or funds to do it.
I would have taken more pictures of the building, but you cant take pictures of the inside.
The building was renovated in 2000 with the help of the famous Japanese architect Ando Tadao.

I hope this was kinda ok!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A former exchange student.

My exchange program is done, and so, I am not really an exchange student anymore. This post is about things that I could have/should have done/tried to do.

My biggest problems are that I am indesicive and a coward. I would get stuck trying to decide between two things, and then I would end up having done neither.
In the beginning (and for all of the time, in fact) I could never decide whether I wanted to study, or try to make friends. I would usually try to make friends, but I wasn't sure what the hell to do. My (insert million horrific adjectives here) homeroom teacher would always let us out of class late, and so when school was over, there was nobody left at school, and the kids all around, my class, the ones who I would have thought would have been my closet friends, would go home and study, because thats just about all they knew. I was beginning to think that everyone was like that, because thats all that I saw, but I didn't want to believe it. So then I would be stuck, alone, right after school, with the decision to go home to my first hostfamily, and be alone there and study, or try to go out and meet people. I would go out and try to meet people, but I had no idea (and I still don't) what the hell to do. So that left me with no friends, and nothing to show for my nonexistant studies. My teacher once even got mad at me because I wasn't 'trying hard enough'. Do you honestly expect me to me able to do the same as the kids in the advanced class?! This cycle kept going on and on, and keeps going on. I could have, and I sort regret not doing so, studied kanji (chinese characters) much harder, so that I could read much better. I still read some, but there are always characters that I should know, but there was no real motivation for me at that time to do so. The thing with calligraphy is that I really had no chance of reading it ever, because it is mostly Chinese, not Japanese. People often said to me 'even Japanese can't read it' Are you trying to tell me that I can't read it because I am a foreigner? Fuck you! The only one of my teachers who never complemented me was the homeroom teacher, and all of the other teachers said that they had never met an exchange student who did this well. Look at the other exchange students, it appears to me that all they ever do is go out and drink. I don't drink, but at least they are having fun. What do you mean that 'you aren't supposed to have fun. You should have lots of difficult experiences as a kid*'?!?! Thats why all of your children kill themselves!
Thats all I can think of right now, of all the things that really wound me up.

Now here I am, free, not an exchange student. But I am even lonelier, and have even less motivation to do anything.
I am sick of going to museums and temples, sick of spending whole days with no human interaction except for the receptionist at the museum, sick of being a coward and not talking to people, and sick of not being happy in this country.

People ask me why I remain here if I'm so unhappy?

It's because I want to be happy. No matter what happens, I am still learning things, so it is still important. Not reasonable is it? And if you think it is unreasonable, I don't really care. Because I am 'too self-centered**'.

*Actual quote. A conference with my homeroom teacher:
Me: I was kinda hoping that my time would have been a bit more enjoyable.
Him: It's not supposed to be fun! During your childhood you should have lots of difficult experiences!

**Actual quote. At the meeting about my extension with my counselor.
Him: Do you want to know why we didn't give you the extension?
Me: yes
Him: Are you sure? It might be a little difficult to take:
Me: Please tell me.
Him, in English: You are too self-centered.

They also told me that I was unable to except foreign cultures, because I always asked questions and kept asking questions, and everytime that someone said something that made absolutely no sense, I would ask why that was, and they give a lame answer, and I would ask again, and get another lame answer, and this would go on and on until I was so wound up that something would happen and then people told me that I was 'unable to except foreign cultures'.

And now its up to me, and as usual, I probably won't be able to make the best of my time here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Me: Whoops, I forgot! How about dinner.

Her: no.

Looks like I am going clubbing tonight.

Who goes to a trance club on a tuesday night?

Logging in from the Apple store in Ginza.

I bought a oneday ticket for the subway thinking I was gonna get a lot of use out of it today, but I ended up going to this one gallery and talking with the girl who worked there for like 3 hours. And then I left without asking her to dinner! I don't think that I can go back very easily righ tnow and ask her for dinner, but I dont really know.
Anyway, I have been to some galleries and museums recently, and think that I really really really want to continue calligraphy, go to China, study there, but then I was at this calligraphy exhibit today, and found that I have a big problem with it all. As beautiful as it is, nobody can read it, and so all of the power of the words is lost. I will post later about not being able to read things, but that falls into things that I could have done while in the WYS program. I will have a big post like that soon, but right now I am deciding if I should go ask the girl to dinner, or go to a club again tonight.

There is nothing wrong with going to dinner with a women 8-9 years older than you.


Monday, February 05, 2007


I couldn't get out of bed this morning until about 10:30. Then I couldn't get out of the house until about 12. And then I went for a walk and decided that I couldn't do it and went home. And so, I find myself inside at 1 in the afternoon on a beautiful monday afternoon in a foreign country full of things to do and I can't bring myself to get out the door.
I went to the Photography museum yesterday. Yesterday was really the first day that I have spent all by myself, and I'm not looking forward to another month of those.

I need to...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A night not to be forgotten.

So, yesterday I went to meet the professor, talked with him for a while. I will go to Okayama with him on the 15th, and stay for 3 or so nights, then maybe go to Hiroshima/do something else.
Then I went to the Calligraphy Museum, which was really really really cool.
Then I went to a temple to try and watch mamemaki, because it was Setsubun. Not that I actually really know what those are, but it was fun anyway. Then I get home, and in my email is a message from Norie, telling me about this fun event going on that night. So, I left the house about 9:30, and ran off to a basement in Nishi-Azabu. She had said club, but it had bar written on the sign. Oh well. Anyway, I go into this bar, and it was totally a really awkward situation for a while, sitting around, listening to the DJ's, watching some various art things going on, and came. So, some people were playing, and a guy asked me in English 'do you want play?'
To which I responded in Japanese, that 'yes, I would like to try' and from that I got the whole talking to people thing down, which is always really hard for me, and then my turn came. But wait, let's see if you can guess what it was. By the way, I wasn't the youngest person there. There was a 9 year old girl there with her mother, who was having a blast!

Ok, I don't really know how we could play a guessing game with this, but what was there was:

I went to a bar in Nishi-Azabu (right next to Roppongi) to play video games. It was hilarious. We played mostly the sports games, because you can play those with more people, and so it is more fun at a bar.

Roppongi, bar, bad performance art, clarinets and beat boxing (at the same time!), 9 year olds, Wii, from Oregon?

I had a sip, it wasn't very good. Chocolate beer? What the hell were they thinking?


Friday, February 02, 2007

I bought something today.

I paid 95,240 yen for a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Minneapolis on the 21st of March at 3:25pm on Northwest flight 20. It is kind of a weird feeling, knowing that I only have a couple weeks left to do what I want, but I haven't really found out what I want to do.

You know you aren't very well off when you can't even give yourself a break.


I went bowling with some friends. I ran into 3 kids from Teikyo outside of school! My world is getting smaller. I keep seeing all sorts of people that I have seen before, even though it is the largest city on the planet. Anyway, speaking of my world getting smaller, I now have the entire country at my fingertips, and have no idea what to do. I have zero motivation to do anything, and then when I do nothing, I get really pissed off at myself for not doing anything productive.
I am supposed to go meet the professor tomorrow, but I don't really care for him, but don't really know why. There are a number of other things I could do tomorrow, but don't feel motivated to go do them.



Architecture tour.

My friend the architecture girl called in sick.
Anyway, Norie, Hiro (her husband) and I woke up at 4, get out the door, and on a very early train. We then went to Tsukiji, which is fun, and saw the end of some smaller auctions on some not so smaller fish. Those suckers are HUGE!!! I then took them out to really good sushi. Then we walked around looking at all sorts of cool things, which I took tons of photos of, but I don't know which ones to put up, and don't really want to go throught the hassle of it right now. We saw: Tsukiji Honganji, The Dentsu building, walked around in St. Luke's hospital, looked over the city from the observatory at the top of St. Luke's, went and saw Nakagin, walked up and down Ginza and saw all sorts of other cool buildings. We went looking for this one photo gallery in Ginza, but we couldn't find it, so we went into another gallery and asked. This gallery had the first character of 'calligraphy' on it, and there was some really really cool calligraphy. There was also some nice photography. Oh, and the woman working there was GORGEOUS! We talked a little about calligraphy, a little about photography, and I got her card! I am going to go back later and see if I can talk with her some more. We then continued to walk around. We went to lunch, and then we went and saw Tokyo International Forum, the Nissay theater, and then we took a train. We went and saw St. Somebody's Cathedral, and then we went and saw the only remaining building designed my Frank Llyod Wright in Japan. We then went and ate dinner, and went home. All in all a great day, and the conversation was really really enjoyable.


For Barbara and all of my other librarian friends.

I would like to apologize. I posted a long time ago about a library post. I took pictures of libraries and went inside of libraries, but I never posted anything. I am sorry. I promise that in less than one weeks time, I will have pictures of at least one library, probably the International Children's Library, and hopefully more.

That is a promise.

I look forward to coming back (to the extent that I look forward to coming back at all) and helping out again in the kids library!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Free at last.

I spent the last couple of days cleaning, packing, and moving, and today, I left my house my bike, went to my host family's place of work to return the key and say good bye, and then, I was off. I rode to the Fukuda's, hung out, then went out again to dinner with Norie, her husband, and one of their friends, whose birthday it was. We had a nice dinner, and lots of fun conversation. I will post more later, but I have to go to bed, because we are going to wake up at 4 to go on an architecture tour!