logo version 4.0
This Dude in Japan

(01/29/2005; 12:24am) - Thailand Vacation Part II -Tsunami

December 26th

"OH SHIT", we both saw the wave coming straight for us or rather straight for the hotel, and it definately was going to reach the second floor. I slammed the glass balconly door, grabbed Hiromi's hand and we ran out of the room. As we reached the door I heard the glass balcony door shatter behind us. Their was a maid in the hallway screaming for everyone to go upstaris to the third floor, but I barely heard her cause I was already on my way. Once we got to the third floor everything was a little more calm. The hotels maids were crying and apoligizing to everyone. Most people the people here weren't injured to bad, but there were some bad cuts and the air was starting to smell like the blood. Blood was everywhere on the floor as injured people began to make their way up to the third floor. There was a lot of nervous energy in the air, but most people had stopped crying and everyone was talking and speculating. At this point we still had no idea how serious an incident this was. We could only wonder whether the wave was isolated to Phi Phi or had it hit other parts of Thailand, we had no idea what we were still in the middle of. I wanted to check out the condition of our room, but I was hesitant, and wanted to wait for a little while. More than one person commented how they had felt and small, but long earthquake during breakfast, but no one had thought about the connection between tsunami's and earthquake. I didnt even feel it, so its understandable that no one would have expected such a large tsunami. After about thirty minutes another wave hit the island, smaller than the first, but huge and very deadly. After about another thirty minutes I felt it would be ok to check out our room. We had been packing so all of our things we together and off the floor. I expected everything to be wet, but everything was fine. The floor was covered with broken glass and sand, and the furniture had been moved around a little, but we had all of our things except for our sandals which we would find in the hallways of the hotel......far from our room, and our passports which were in the hotel desk on the first floor...were they were 'safer'. Actually now they were somewhere in the ocean. We couldnt believe how lucky we were as we brought our things up to the third floor. We didnt have a scratch on us, and we had 99% of our belongings, as the vacation continued we would realize that we had to be in the top 10% of Tsunami victims.
When we got back to the third floor this big Australian...I think his nickname was jaws asked me to help him move a guy to a medical triage that had been set up on the third floor of the other building in the hotel complex. He was moving quick, maybe a little too quick, but was one of the MVP's of that day. We couldnt move the guy until someone looked at him so I found Hiromi. She was talking to a Japanese lady who was holding a baby, but whose husband and son were missing. Me and Hiromi went next door to the triage to see if we could find them. The people on the triage were a lot more injured than those on the third floor of the hotel. These were the people who were on the beach, and had to make a run/swim for it. The guy in charge was the black guy named C.C. . He was the only docter available at the time. He was a psychiatrist. Hiromi started talking to another Japanese couple. They were newlyweds and this was their honeymoon. The husbands leg was badly cut, and his wife's neck was badly cut, in fact she was the most injured on the triage. I went back to the first Japanese lady's room with the baby to tell her I found her husband, but we hadnt located her son yet. At this news she started crying and I tried to tell her not t to worry, I'm sure we would find her son, in my elementary Japanese. I went back to the triage, and Hiromi went back to her room.
The tsunami hit the island around 10:45, now it was about 2:00 pm. We were really lucky it came in the morning, less people injured and more light to get things done. Their was no electricity or running water. C.C. and some of the hotel staff were organizing things while we waited for news of rescue and Jaws was kinda a freelance maverick, but and M.V.P. nevertheless. He asked me to help him get the guy out of some rubble so we went away from the hotel complex to the island. Their were about six other guys helping remove this guy and we were in the way so we went deeper into the island. We saw a body covered on the pavement of an old lady as we made our way to the main street The streets that I had walked the night before were a disaster. No open space just narrow walkways through the rubble. 7Eleven was caved in, the restaurant were I ate dinner the night before was an empty room with no entrance wall. After about fifteen minutes we smelled gas so we turned back, and went to 7Eleven to get some kind of supplies. The store was caved in so our shopping choices were limited, we were able to get water, juice, and Jaws grabbed a carton on cigerettes which I thought was kinda funny, but I think the people on the triage wanted the cigerettes more than the water. When I got back Hiromi was with the first Japanese ladies husband, and the son had been found. While I was away she had moved our stuff to their hotel room which was on the third floor, and still in perfect condition. Her son was ok, just a little scared and scratched, her husbands back and chest was really bruised, but he had the best bed on the triage...and little wicher sofa, which he would remain on until we put him on a helicopter later. Everyone else were on blue mats that we salvaged from the hotel. Me and Jaws had got a few mats from a storage room in the hotel. We didnt have a key so he asked me to get a fire extinguisher to breaks the door so he wouldnt hurt himself, by the time I broughtt it back he had already kicked the door down, but his limp only lasted about twenty minutes. About this time we got information that the first boat was coming. We decided who was the most hurt and we loaded them onto the boat. The Japanese lady with the cut neck would be the first to go. However we would find out later that she didnt make it. We tried to get her husband on the same boat, but he wasnt as hurt so he was put on the second boat. Normally carrying people would be no problem, but my right had was still injured so I had to be careful of that, but many times I was forced to use it. Lucky I didnt reinjure it, actually the docter said it was stronger than he expected when I got back from vacation. I spent a little time loading some boats with injured people, then C.C. asked me to walk through the hotel again just to check for anyone. While I was in the hotel I heard the first helicopters looking for a place to land. No one was there, but this one older guy who was ok, he was just chillin in his room so I went back onto the triage to check things out. Most people were gone from the triage by then, and me and HIromi went to the Japanese's family room on the third floor to breathe. We talked about our situation, and how lucky we were then we went back to the triage which was deserted except for Jaws and the older guy from the hotel who had a radio he was listening too. They told us that most everyone went up into the mountain to ensure their safety, and the others were next to the basketball court were the helicopters were landing. I went over to the new triage by the basketball courts. It smelt like shit. I don't know why, but it did. I saw the Japanese family and I helped put the husband on a helicopter, before his wife and two children got on his wife gave me their room key, because our suitcases were in their. This was around 3:30pm. For the next six hours I would load injured people on boats and helicopters, and on a few occasion walk into the island to help carry people to the rescue points. The helicopters dropped off some supplies and a few nurses but we still needed more. The people at my hotel were the luckiest they had the best view of the ocean, the best headstart, and were the first to get off the island. Most injured people from my hotel got off the island before dark. The rest of the island was more devasted, more injured, and had to be carried further and wait longer to get off. I saw a few cats on my trips into the island so that comforted me about the unlikelyness of another wave, but I was nervouse just the same. On at least three different occasions I was helping carry someone and a false alarm of another wave, sent us rushing toward higher ground. One one occasion me and another guy were carrying a guy with a hurt foot to the boat dock, as soon as we reached the dock about a hundred people rushed at and past us yelling wave. I had commented earlier that if the guy was lighter I could just carry him on my back. It ended up with me running with him on my back, for a false alarm, and my thigh hurting for three days as a result. I didn't see a lot of bodies on my trips, the old lady that was covered up though laid there all day, and in the evening blood was seeping from under the blanket. Later that night while I we were putting some people on the boat I got my cellphone wet, which I had stupidly let remain in my pocket. This guy had a 30 40 foot boat and he was offering to take people to Phuket, his boat got stuck in low water so we had to push it out, as we did the water raised from our ankles to our bellybuttons, thus ruining any electronics that we, or probably just I had in my pockets.
Everyone was helping, but occasionaly tempers would flare for different reasons and people would argue. I remember one guy telling his girlfriend that she couldn't leave yet because she was injured and she could either help people with him or go to the mountain were the others were, to which responded too by crying and saying she wanted to do niether. All he could do was walk off with a look of exparation on his face. I turned to Hiromi and thanked her for being strong and sensible. That night me and Hiromi went to the Japanese family's room. I was proud of myself for thinking to gather bottled water to take a shower with, but angry for not thinking to find a flashlight when I went walking through town, we did have about six lighters though.
While in our room we heard some guys in the hotel and they came too our room and we talked for a while. These two guys had a scuba diving business on the island and they were in the water during the tsunami. They told us that the tsunami took them on an underwater rollecoaster ride, and they had no control of their direction. They also said that everyone from their boat was not accounted for, and that their shop was destroyed. One guys bungalow was no longer in existence, but the other guys bungalow was in perfect condition, if he had been home he could have slept through the tsunami unharmed. They considered going back to their shop, but it was dark and they didnt have a flashlight so they went and found a room to sleep in. The room was hot and the mosquitos were biting, but we were clean uninjured, and had soft beds.

December 27th

Early the next morning we went back downstairs to the triage. More injured people were coming from the other side of the island, and the helicopters had begun to come again. As the morning went on however the helicopters dropped food, (nice curry) supplies and more proffessionals. The day before they were only about five proffessionals, but this morning they were about twenty to thirty proffesionals on the island. Also people were begining to come down from the mountain. Some of these people got on boats and left immiedetly, but some helped at the triage until the proffessionals took over. The situation wasn't good, but it was definitely a lot more under control now that proffessional rescuers were on t he island Around one me and Hiromi decided to go. The dock was crowded, and I prayed that it wouldnt collapse. Some boats small boats were being loaded with bodies. Me and Hiromi got on a middle sized boat which took us too a larger boat that was nicer than the one we originally came to the island on. They gave us orange juice, coffe and muffins. Banana nut if I remember correctly. to be cont.....

(01/05/2005; 09:58am) - Thailand Vacation Part One -Warm Christmas-

Dec 22
Me and Hiromi left for Kansai airport early on the Wednesday morning of December 22nd to catch our early afternoon flight. Very happy indeed. No work in the near future, not even the fact that my second bike had recently been stolen, and also my friends bike which was going to be mine after vacation was also stolen. Being bikeless in Osaka is wack, but let's not drift off on tangents. The international flight to Bangkok was nice as expected. Hiromi wasnt impressed, but compared to U.S. domestic flights Thai air was great. The short flight to the island of Phuket was also nice. Through my scanning of Lonley Planets guidebook of Thailand I had absorbed several bits of information that would prove to be useful and true. One thing the guidebook noted was Thai transportation on the island of Phucket will more often than not try to steer you in the direction of a business that gives them commission for herding tourist. So I was only momentarily surprised when the taxi van that promised to take us to our first hotel made a stop that had not been noted earlier in the itenirary. A stop that was in a town that none of our hotels were in. Tired from our mutiple flights, the passengers that shared the van were none too happy when were brought to a travel agency to be grilled on our plans and hotel reservations on Phucket. They didn't have a right to know they just wanted to see if they could persaude us to do business through them. However Hiromi and I had all, but one of our nights booked, and their business practices made it impossible for us to consider them as an option. We did make it to our first hotel later that night, about and hour or more later than necessary. Our first two night we spent on Karon beach at Casa Brazil. Very small beach town with only about two blocks of business, but Kata beach was only a ten minute motorbike ride away, and it was a much larger town. Casa Brazil was cheap, nice, and simple. One thing that bothered me when we first went out late that night was all the businessmen and women constantly requesting that I come into their shop. Literally I couldnt walk more than ten steps without my prescence being requested. At first I felt pretty rude, and I tried to keep my shunning as polite as possible, but over the days I became jaded, and I was able to walk away from the most agressive shopkeepers easily.

Dec 23
Nervous, nervous, I had hurt my hand in Japan so it was a little unwise for me to rent a moterbike so I rode on the back of Hiromi's. It was thrilling, but I didnt like it, couldn't totally relax which is essential for vacationing. We rode to Kata beach to take a look, and then we decided to check out the town. We were stopped by two girls that were offering prizes to couples, but when they found out we werent old enought they quickly snatched back their scratchoffs and motorbiked off. About 15 minutes later another two girls stopped us with the same scratchoffs. This time we lied about our age, and I won a T-shirt, and Hiromi won the 'big prize', which we had to walk to a nearby resort to claim. Once at the resort we were told we had to endure a 90 minute presentation to get our prizes. Since the ''big prize' was either $300, a digi camecorder, or a dream vacation, we stayed. Basically the presentation was on joining a vacation club, and it took a lot longer than 90 minutes and we were irritated. I felt for the guy since I've worked sales before (big shout outs to Cutco Knives, and Kirby Vacuum Cleaners!), and his presentation was textbook,(I even told him that, I think he found it insulting). We were polite on both sides, despite mutual irritation, but when the told us it cost $11,700, and the first payment was $2,000 it was easy to say no. The club is called QVC (Quality Vacation Club). and they seemed legit, I will definitely investigate them further in the future when I'm ballin a little bit more. Hiromi won the dream vacation which also seems legit, but due to some of the technicalities it might be a little hard to take, but its worth a try. Also it just hotel fee covered not airfare. After the presentation we ate at a mediocre Indian restaurant in Kata. When we left we found our bike had been chained...we parked on the wrong side of the streets, the parking side alternates on different days. We went off to find a policeman and stopped in a travel agency...their's one every 50 feet. And made reservation for the next day through a pleasant girl who was helpful, and we hoped she got a good commission. After the travel agency we found our bike unlocked, but we rode about seven kilometers to the police station anyway to pay the fine just to be safe. How or why the bike was unlocked...I don't know. On the way back to Karon beach we stopped by this Thai market. It was an open air market partially covered by umbrella like tents. It was a little smelly, but it had some nice cheap merchandise. After finishing up at the market we made our way back to Karon beach to give the small town a more thorough walkthrough. This day had two long distractions, but we salvaged it in the end with a Thai oil massage....word.

Dec 24
Patong is the largest town on Phucket, and its were you go if you want to boogie. We had one night to check it out, because we had reservations in a resort on Phi Phi Island on Christmas. We stayed a Tony's Hotel and Resort in Patong. Nice place...two pools TV in room..Casa didn't have one. First we went out to Ocean Plaza to do some Christmas shopping...if you want to know were your gift is...I gave it to you mama. Then chilled at the hotel for a minute. Later that night we ate a great Thai restaurant, the waiteress was trying to hustle us, and get us to order recognize game and I didnt hold it against her. After that we did some unintentional shopping so we had to go back to the room to drop off our new purchases. Finally we were back on the main strip to how how Patong represented for Christmas. Crowded and crazy, street peddlers, inviting doormen, their were guys shoving photos of dancing strippers in me and Hiromi's face as we walked on the overpacked sidewalk trying to get us into their clubs. We finally decided on a place call the Tiger Bar.They were playing hip hop. Thier were some go go dancers behind the dj, and sometimes they would come dance on the floor. It was a cool scene. Hiromi was starting to feel some 'traveling sickness' symptoms. I read in lonely planet that useing tap water to brush teeth, and salad bars was a good way to get sick. Of course we had been involved in both. We were able to still party though and had a good night.

Dec 25
After waking up an exchanging gifts Hiromi's 'traveling sickness' was at red alert, but our taxi to Phucket town was coming at 7:30, and their was no place open to buy drugs. I was feeling a little ill myself, so niether one of us could enjoy the hotel breakfast. We caught our taxi van which brought us to Phucket town on the southeast coast of Phucket were we would catch a boat to Phi Phi. The boat was pretty big, it probably seated about 200 250 passengers, but the ride was long bumpy, as we were going against the waves. You could imagine how this left our stomachs feeling. I saw about a dozen people making use of makeshift barfbags. Once we reached Phi Phi and got off the bought we were immiedetly accousted by people trying to get us to come to their hotel or give us a taxi ride(Their are no roads or cars in on Phi Phi island, the taxi were wooden moterboates to take people snorketling.) Our first piece of business was finding a pharmacy and buying some drugs that Lonely Planet had prescribed. After coping the drugs we made our way to the hotel which was a short walk away. We had made reservations at the Phi Phi Cabana Hotel, which was the nicest place on the island. When we checked in they requested to hold onto our passports which was slightly unsettling, but I joked "they're probably safer down here anyway", to which the desk attendent nodded a strong yes.* Finished with the formalities we headed up to see our room which was the nicest so far on the trip, and as soon as I sat down on the bed I was 80% healed. We had a room on the second floor and we had a decent view of one of the beaches and the the hotels tennis and basketball courts, yeah they had a basketball court...instant five star in my book. After settling down we grabbed some food to go, and went snorkeling through a taxi that we secured through our hotel. It was my first time snorkeling, and I really like it. As a role model I reccomend snorkeling to the kids. After snorkeling we took a walking tour of the island. Phi Phi is very small, and most of the shops are snorkeling or scuba diving related, but they do have a 7Eleven. Before it got dark we played a little basketball, and then went for another walk through the town It had been a very good tropical Christmas. I slept happy and content.

Dec 26
The next morning I felt great and Hiromi said she was at 80% so we went and enjoyed to breakfast buffet. It was good..nuff said. After that we went for another short walk through town. Our boat wasnt coming until 3pm, and checkout was at 11 so I felt we should stay in the room and enjoy it while we could because we would have plenty of time as homeless to enjoy the island before the boat came, plus I was tired from getting up so early for breakfast, so it was naptime. After a short nap we began packing up our stuff. We went out to our balcony to take a few last glances at the view, and we noticed a guy running toward the beach and yelling at us in Thai. Then we noticed that the water was raising steadly, and it had gotten about three feet deep on the courts. I thought this was kinda interesting to I took a photo with my cell phone. After about five seconds we noticed a loud noise and water approacing out of nowhere that was definitely going to reach our second floor balcony."OH SHIT!" To be continued.....

(11/05/2004; 06:17am) - Meaty Halloween

Saturday night when I returned from Okayama me and Hiromi went out for some Halloween partying. Being that that Saturday was Oct 30th. I was a Thai kickboxer, and she was a policewoman...the sexy type. We got in free at Underlounge because or our costumes, and on the way out the doormen gave Hiromi a 200ml bottle of Bailey's. When I asked where mine was they said it was only for ladies.....Bullshit! Its ok I will just have to drink Hiromi's. Bailey's is doing some serious advertising here recently. Big signs just poppin up. On Sunday they is a costume party on the Japan Railway Loop Line that a lot of foriegners participate in. I didnt make it cause I went to Kobe iwth Hiromi and ate at this Brazilian restuarant. It was located in the place called Kobe Harbor land which is on the seashore, just shops and restuarants. Too get there we had to walk through Kobe Chinatown which seemed to be just a long street full on food vendors. We were really hungry, but our mission was the Brazilian restuarant and it was worth the walk and the wait. It was the most meat I ate since I been in Japan. All you can eat buffet with guys coming to your table every 3 minutes with a skewer of meat and a big ass knife or should I say shortsword. The servers were all in a great mood cause they get to walk around with two foot blades and a skewer of meat. Kobe is popular for resturaants, but it is also famous for shoe shops, and there were a ton.

Oh yeah I played Pachinko today....I lost.

(11/05/2004; 05:51am) - Okayama

I 've been trying to work a little overtime at ECC these days. Since I showed interest personell called me with a business trip that would give me 90minutes of overtime, and it would be doing them a big favor. One of the teachers in Okayama had left so ECC needed his shift filled Thursday and Saturday. My schedule is perfect for this because I substitute anyway on Thursday, and on Saturday I only have Free Time Lessons, which anyone can easily sub for because they require no preperation. Okayama is about 50 minutes west of Osaka by shinkansen/bullet train. I was pretty happy cause ECC paid for the bullet train and the hotel. The fact that they didnt give me any money for food cancelled out my overtime bonus, but the trip gave me a chance to experience a few aspects or Japan for free. The bullet train was pretty cool. Being inside of it reminded me a lot of a plane going down the runway. Especially since my ears popped just like on aireplanes. It only took me about one and a half hours to get from my apt to ECC in Okayama so the commute wasnt much longer than some of my regular shifts...thanks to the shinkansen. Thursday and Saturday I taught some Free Time Lessons and some group classes, which I hadnt been trained for, and wasnt supposed to be in that situation, but I guess ECC was desperate to get someone out there. Whatever a lot of training is unneccessary I think, and that was just one example. Friday is my day off so I took the opportunity to explore. First I took a train to Kulashiki, which a little town outside of Okayama that is famous for its traditional architecture. It was almost like going back in time, but they were a few cars and bicycles. It was still very cool nevertheless. After I got back to Okayama I rented a bicycle for the day. It was very cheap only 300 yen, which is about three bucks. I took a short ride to see Okayama castle which is the first castle I've seen so far. Everytime I plan to go see Osaka castle something happens. Okayama was built about 400 years ago. It burned down in WWII, but was rebuilt in 1966. One of the teacher recommeded I didnt go inside because the castle was authentic, therefore not really worth paying for. She did recommend I see Himeji castle which would be on my way back to Osaka, but I wanted to get home as quick as possible on Saturday night. She said HImeji castle was much bigger, and authentic.Saturday before I left Okayama ECC called me to offer some real overtime in Osaka on Sunday, and that hurt cause I was tired, and had made plans for Sunday, but its aight no biggie. Before I left Okayama I purchased some Kibedango, which is a rice sweet that can only be bought in Okayama supposedly. Its pretty tasty, and I bought a decent share of course. So I left and got home just in time for some Halloween partying.

(10/28/2004; 12:04pm) - Hey Ladies

For any that find my blog entertaining. i apologize dearly for my lont haitus. Really I have just been living. I haven't done anything really noteworthy lately. Maybe I can just put down a few thoughts and observances that may be interesting to some. Let see.
I don't think women have equal rights in any country in the world, but they do have some advantages, and I think a girl that is smart and beautiful is very dangerous indeed. Japan is no different, but women here do have some unique perks. One common practice is for salaryman to give all his money to his wife, and in return she gives him an allowance. It works because this way he doesnt spend all his money at bars, and izakayas(type of bar with extensive food menu), or soaplands if thats his thing. Also if he is working crazy hours everyweek he doesnt have the time or the willpower to balance a family budget. Its good to be a lady here on Wednesday. All movie theatere have ladies day on Wed, and offer discount tickets. Some clubs offer free admission, and some restaurants offer discounts on Wednesdays. Many trains also offer a ladies car during rush hours so women don't have to be exposed to men. I rode this train by accident once of few weeks ago. I didnt even notice until one of the conducters told me my error. I guess I'm used to being around girls so I didnt even notice I was the only guy on the train. Also I talked to one girl, and she was really friendly. I guess she wasnt used to seeing guys on the ladies train.
Capitalism is a little charged up over here, and image is very important. What jobs women can get seem to be based a lot on their looks. I wont say all, but Japanese women take fashion and cosmetics very seriously. Borderline obsessive, and that's being nice. Its common knowledge that ugly girls can't be flight attendents in Japan, or any Asian airline for that matter. Actually Japanese airlines are a little more lenient in the looks department, and I have heard women complain about this. Also I dont think I have ever seen a nonattractive girl as a sales clerk in a department store. One of my friends hypothesis was girls don't want to buy clothes from ugly girls. Image? Another one of his observation was groups of girls usually seem to be the same level of attractiveness, I think I have noticed this myself. I rarely if ever see a really ugly girl and a really beautiful girl walking and talking together. I would see that reguarly back home.Image? He also said he really felt sorry for ugly girls, because their money making potential is severely handicapped. Hostessing is always an option for any girl of decent attractiveness. Also for both sexes many employees want to see a photo along with an application. I don't think that shit would fly in America. Yeah employers are quicker to higher attractive people in the U.S., but they have to be a little more discreet about it. I will have another blog coming soon, actually I'm in the middle of that experience presently, I will keep you posted...oh yeah by the way... I went to Underlounge two weeks ago for a special event. Saw Kid Capri do his thing.

(09/07/2004; 05:54am) - Earthquake Cherry

While me and Hiromi were in Kyoto this past Sunday their was a really big earthquake around 7pm. The epicenter was close to Wakayama, but underwater so no destruction, but it was a big quake. I didnt feel the earthquake in Kyoto, but our train back to Osaka was a couple of minutes late and they made an announcement. Later that night I was in my apartment with my friend Ian. He was telling me how he felt the earthquake in his aptartment, and since he lives on the sixth floor it was pretty intense. The higher up you are in a building the more you feel the quakes...I've been told. Ian was talking to me, and then he paused..."Yo! feel that...wait? wait, cut of the music feel that? Shit..that's it its another earthquake! My apartment is on the first floor so it wasnt too intense, but I could feel it. My first earthquake. I wasnt really scared, becuase I'm an optimist and I live on the first floor so I could jet quick if need be. Also thier was a really big earthquake in Kobe a few years ago so the Kansai area isnt really due for a huge earthquake. Tokyo however is due for the bad mama jama...I'm glad I visited there already. The quakes did throw a damper on our evening because they closed the club we had been planning on going too, so we had to go to a lesser establishment. There was another earthquake this morning around 8:30, I was out riding my bike, and I didnt feel it. I feel cheated, three earthquakes, and I only get to feel one. I did get off work early today because a typhoon is coming. The typhoons havent really been so, bad....actually its kinda fun riding your bike in the strong wind, but I havent really seen anything to serious I guess.

(09/07/2004; 05:46am) - Monkey Mountain

Well this past Sunday me and Hiromi went to Kyoto. My first time to Kyoto actually. I had been told earlier that you could visit monkeys in Kyoto so I requested Hiromi to take me there. The name of the monkey mountain is Alashiyama. It cost 500 yen, which is about five bucks American. It took us about twenty minutes to climb the rock steps that surronded the small mountain/big hill. I didnt know it was such a hike so I only brought one shirt which was smelly after five minutes of humid hiking. I smelled the monkeys a couple of seconds before I saw them...kinda reminded me of a couple of you guys...dirty hippies. Anyway the top of the mountain was flat and their was a little house were you could sit in airconditioning or use the restroom. Also if you wanted to feed the monkeys you had to be inside the little house. People were inside sticking fruit through a fence to the monkeys. The monkey were pretty chill. I was nervous at first, but the monkeys were well behaved. Unlike you monkeys. I saw no monkey evil. The mountain overlooked Kyoto and they had pay scopes, but I didnt use them. Just took a few photos, and peaced out with Hiromi. Walked around Kyoto a little, bit, but the only other thing I can tell you about Kyoto is that it is cleaner than Osaka.

(08/08/2004; 04:40am) - Summer Sonic 2004

Yesterday I went to Summer Sonic with Hiromi and our friend Lia. Summer Sonic is a really big two day concert that starts in Osaka and ends in Tokyo. We only bought tickets for one day because they were really expensive, and lucky for us everyone who we wanted to see performed on Saturday. When we get there we go stand on the left side, because our tickets were for the left side...heh. The stage had huge bigscreens on each side so if you couldnt see the stage you could still see some of the performance. I had never heard of the first band, but they were pretty cool. Rockin and rappin with some good record scratchin. I think they were called 'Beauralis' After that a rock band started, and we used that as an opportunity to check out the foodstands and the portapotties. The portapotties had Japanese style toliets. Their was also another bigscreen on the side of a truck so that all the foodworkers could still see what was going on onstage. After the rock band...'The Lost Prophets' I think, Jurassic 5 performed for about 45 minutes. They did a good job, and the crowd was really hype. After Jurrasic five we took a quick break, and got back into line for the front section. The way the concert operated was the stage crowd was split into left and right, with each section having a front and back. After each act most people would leave from the front section, and those waiting by the gate would be let in until the front section filled up again. The reason we got into line so quick was the next act was N.E.R.D and thats who we came to see specifically. When the gates were opened it was a mad rush. I' m serious, I saw a girl get knocked over, and she looked up like who's going to help me....and nobody did. I wanted to help but I was being pulled and I was pulling my friends, and plus if you get knocked shouldnt be in the rush in the first place. Hate to be mean, but hey. So Pharrell and that other black dude in N.E.R.D did their thing, and Chad was nowhere to be seen. We stayed in the front section after N.E.R.D, because right after they performed Nas had a performance. He did a lot of songs from his first album as he should, and he plugged his new CD, as he should. Kelis was backstage as a tease to anyone who recognized her because she never came right out onto the stage. After Nas perfromed some Japanese rock band performed. One new concert experience for me was that all the acts started on time. Right on time by the minute. I never seen that shit happen in America. I must go to more concerts in Japan to see if this is how it usually goes down. After the Japanese rock band .'Mad Capsule Market' I think they were called. The Beastie Boys performed. The had really cool bigscreens on stage showing videos and lights as they performed. They also did a good job of rapping over samples. They were the last act on the main stage so as they wrapped up we left. Their were three other stages, but we did not even check them out because Hoobastank was the only other name that we recognized that performed on the smaller stages. And thats pretty much that.

(08/08/2004; 04:20am) - Nara Represent

This past Friday I went to Nara with my friend Hiromi. She brought me their to see the candles. I go to Nara twice a week for work, but this area I had been to only once before. In this part of Nara their are temples and the deer park is also there. Friday night was the second night of one of the many summer festivals in Japan. In this particular one candles had been lit all around the park and temples. After walking around the parks and ponds we stopped by a Kabosa restuarant ran by this Israli guy. He spoke really good English and Japanese. The restuarant was located down this narrow, but very clean alley. Thats one thing to be said about Nara, its a city, but its very clean. So clean compared to Osaka. The Israli guy had instruments and some people were jamming in the alley while we ate. They had two small drums, (Jambe I think), and two guitars. The restuarant owner broke out a harmonica when he finished making our food. He was pretty good too, you could tell he played a lot. Hiromi pressured me to freestyle, but I wasnt sure if thats what they wanted. She kept on telling me I should so when we finished I busted a little flow in the alley. I was feeling it so I was happy that I could represent a llittle. I thought I was done, but as the guys started a new song, the restuarant owner turned to me and said "you don't really feel this rhythm huh?"Then I knew that I had gotten myself or rather Hiromi had gotten me into a little something. So I did like two more flows in the alley, one of them I think was nice, because I told a story, and thats good for me. This was on August 6th, which is the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. The restuarant owner had said that we should play for those lost, and it would be nice if we played by a pond close to the restuarant. Sarusawa pond was about a two minute walk away from the restuarant. I had been there before during the day, so I remembered that the pond was filled with turtels. Tonight however it was circled by candles, and onlookers. The alley turned into steps leading to the pond and this is where we set up. The resturant owner said he needed to get something from home, and he would be right back. Me and Hiromi joked....maybe he is goiing to bring back a digeredoo. It so happened that's exactly what he brought back. A digeredoo made entirely out of hemp matter of fact. So they started playing, and Hiromi was like freestyle again. Now the digeredoo was really loud, and i didnt feel like yelling so I hesitated for a little while. A van passed and some guys that knew the restuarant owner hopped out.(The road that circled the pond wasn't made for traffice, but like I said before, anywhere that there is room, a car will drive, especially at night) One of the guys had a larger drum, and the other one had another digeredoo. Now we were up to two guitars, two digeredoos, three drums, and one hesitent mc. Their was also two ladies with us and two little boys. One of the little boys was dancing in front of us when whenever we played. At one point he picked up one of the drums and promptly dropped it on the road. The guy playing the other drum grabbed it and said to the little boy "Hey fuck you man." which made everyone laugh uncontrollably even though it was inappropraite. We were also begining to attract some onlookers. At one point I was like F%#$ it. I ain't never scared WHAT! So I did a freestyled loud enough to be heard over all the instruments. I think it was a mediocre flow, but nobody could really understand English anyway, and Hiromi said the Japanese I said didnt really make sense, but it rhymed. After that I started playing with my phone, and me and Hiromi kinda slide off from the band, and slide off outta Nara, back to our hood.

(08/04/2004; 12:14am) - My Birthday

My birthday was this past Sunday,August 1st. It was nice that it was on Sunday because I have Sundays off. On the Saturday before I was surprised when on of my conversation lesson students brought me a gift. She brought me a little keychain from Franc Franc. Anyway on Sunday me and Hiromi went to the beach, or actually a psuedo beach. The ocean around Osaka is very dirty, so to get to a nice beach you have to ride the train for at least two hours. However we found this nice beach pool 45minutes away. The pool was right on the ocean but it was seperated from the real ocean so it could be kept clean, but it was sea water. It was a really large pool, a little bigger than a football field, and it had sand and grass areas for visitors to set up their areas. Thier was also a wave pool at one end of the pool that started about once an hour and lasted for 15 minutes. Everyone around me found it hilarous when I starting doing underwater handstands in the wave pool. So after paying the 12 dollar entry fee we set up our area and got into the mini ocean. As we got into the pool some Japanese dude complimented me on my tan. I could have took it the wrong way, but he had such a comical face that I knew he was a joker. I told him I would keep at it. After being in the pool for about twenty minutes the lifegaurds starting speaking on their speakers and everyone started getting out of the pool. It was stretch time. Everyone had to leave the pool so the lifegaurds could lead us in stretches. Most people just sat down, but some people stretched. Some people found me stretching to be very humorous, I don't know why I wasnt perfect, but I was close. Maybe it was my flexing at the apex of some of the stretches. After the beach we just chilled and ate some sushi. That night I went to Underlounge,and got my dance on a little. It was a good birthday. If you havent sent your gifts because you don't know my address its ok just email me. If you havnt sent me your gift because your not going to.....well its ok too cause your mom can just visit me again.