Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atami, Japan

Atami is on the Izu peninsula, directly south of Mt. Fuji. It's ranked as one of the top 3 hot springs in Japan for some reason. Must be nice!

A little over developed to put it nicely.

To put it a more honest way, this resort area is covered with cement. The tetrapods lining the waterfront matches quite nicely with the rather generic hotels that cover every inch of the hillsides.

Being a "famous" place, though, expect some cheesy tourist attractions. There's a ropeway that takes you to an erotic museum.

There's also a castle up there, but the old, decrepit adult museum is classic. Classic in a sad way. Classic in the way that the beggar sleeping on a park bench has grungy toe nails.

But you should know by now, if you read what I write, that I love this shit. Take this shrine for example. At most shrines you can write your wishes on small pieces of wood. Outside the adult museum there is a shrine... well it's not a shrine in any official way. I don't think any Shinto priests ordained this. Anyways, the image is supposed to be two rings connected to each other.

A placard costs 5 or 6 bucks. I smell shenanigans!

But if you look at the statue of the rings... it's not romantic at all! It's totally someone hanging their head in shame!

Ok, moving on. There is a local story about the Omiya no Matsu (Omiya's Pine Tree). To sum it up, this girl is in love with some guy, but she goes for the rich guy instead because of a gigantic diamond ring. So under this pine tree, her lover kicks her, saying "Get the hell out with your big ass diamond!"


Yep, it's a monument dedicated to beating the shit out of your girlfriend.

Those aren't Nikes, they're some hard wooden geta. And he's not even fighting her, he probably slapped her to the ground before laying down the pain. Wooden shoe to the knee!

Go to this museum!

The MOA is a decent collection of Asian art. I think the highlight is the architecture... it's breathtaking.

There's a garden and a Noh theater there too. The entrance way is about 20 stories of escalators going up through multicolored lights and stars and... well my photos of it aren't good so just take my word. And take some drugs if ya got em.

Oh yeah, Atami also has tons of hot springs, so hop in if that's you thing. I went to an outdoor one where people driving down the toll road could easily see my ding a ling! Celebrate!

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Cold... and Sumo.

Summer is hot in Tokyo. I mean disgustingly humid and nasty. My apartment (shoebox?) has a fancy new air conditioner with a ドライ setting to keep the air dry. But once you step out it's a wall of hot vapor. Happens every year.

Then... I should have expected it... it's cold as hell. It goes from possible to hike Mt. Fuji to suicide in a matter of 2 weeks. It's also the time I get my motorcycle. Memories of riding through the alps in a snowstorm aren't yet forgotten.

Anyways, I'm going to take a couple days next week and go to Mt. Bandai. Last time I went there... hold on... let me find a picture.

Ahh... memories.

Anyways, here's some shots from Sumo last week. If you haven't heard, three Russian Sumo wrestlers were banned because of their involvement with some marijuana. It's technically doping, because the extra weight gained from all the extra snacking gives them an advantage.

Miso Chanko... it's what the wrestlers eat every day. Some guy sitting next to me asked if I could eat the green vegetable. You will get that a lot in Japan. If something is indiginous to Japan, a lot of people think it is deadly to foreigners.

Backstage in the entrance wing.

The thug stare.

Love the cobra.

Hakuho in his honorific knots. He is the highest rank, yokozuna. Each yokozuna has their own knot pattern.

The final bout of the day. Hakuho won in a reverse decision from the judge. The crowd erupted and everyone threw their seat pillow onto the ring. It's cool though, you are allowed to do that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Bike, The CB1000

A preview of the new toy. I pick it up tomorrow. A Honda CB1000. I drove a CB400 on my adventures last year. So it's like the exact same bike, just much bigger. Mmmmm, I can taste the speeding tickets now.

The red and white color scheme that is common with the bigger Honda CB bikes.

More to come...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cow Parade in Tokyo

I was heading to Ginza to go drink expensive beer, buy expensive clothes, and hang out with expensive people. Yeah, that Ginza. But I wasn't on the right metro line, so I found myself a 15 minute walk away, in the Maranouchi area. What's all this then?

Apparently the Cow Parade is in town.

I saw a couple little girls with a map to all the cows, so I asked them where they got it? Giggling and hiding behind Daddy was the obvious next step. Daddy reached into his man-bag and handed me his copy. The hunt is on!

I've never really walked around this area before. It's the spot next to Tokyo station. Why bother with department stores near Ginza, when you can go to Ginza. Actually, why bother with department stores in the first place. Remember, my motorcycle jacket is an American large size, but a Japanese 3XXXL. Things just don't fit here.

Anyways, I saw maybe half of all the cows before I just got tired of the whole thing. Many were hidden inside buildings, creating a pseudo-consumerism experience. Hooray for Elmo and his capitalist ways!

Hooray for slutty deconstructed style cow too!

Anyways, it will be here until October 19th. Read all about it on their website. www.cowparade-tokyo.com.

P.S. - Mad props to Ramen Cow.