Thursday, September 02, 2010

Summer Camp in Niigata (it gets random)

Remember last year, when I spent all of August in Hokkaido, touring around on the motorcycle and volunteering at an organic dairy farm? The drawback of an epic month long vacation from freelance work is that you actually spend money, while not making any. So this year I jumped at an offer to do children's summer camps for the month.

The camps were pretty normal, it's the bits before and after that are rad / funny / fucked up. Let's go!

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The Yamanote train line in Tokyo was delayed 3 minutes at 5am. This led to me missing the 5:12am train out of Ueno station. Thus I arrived at this spot, let's call it "hella middle of nowhere" at 8:30 instead of 8:15. So now I can't take the 8:24, I have to wait for the 9:47. The chain reaction goes on, and I missed my hotel bus. But life is worth living! Whats up out here?

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Focus!

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Beautiful Echigo-Yuzawa. There's a primo sake tasting museum in the station. No time though, as the delays required me to take a taxi to the hotel.

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Focus!

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Unfocus!

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Meanwhile, at camp, you can do a plethora of wondrous activities. Like bobbing for watermelons.

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Or riding the "Exciting Roller Luge". Actually, the roller luge was exciting as fuck, and we spent many of our free times luging it up.

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There were some freaky looking goats outside my hotel window. Seriously, those eyes are demonic!

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After the week was up, I hitched to local Tsunan station.

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You know its countryside when the genkan (place people put their shoes before entering the house) is full of potatoes.

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I managed to make the Iyama (maybe?) line with a minute to spare. Freshness, cause if I had missed it, it would have been another 3 hours for the next train.

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This train was the randomest I've been on. Not only was it only 1 car long, but it snaked along a riverside at about 20km/h. Then this massive group of old people from Osaka came to talk with me. They were cool, and all part of a Japanese archery club. When they got off, the remaining 20 people were all visual-kei fans. Viz-kei fashion is super slutty meets goth meets hello kitty. So it was me and all these viz-kei girls. But they were inaka viz-kei girls. I'll let you make your own deductions about what that means. I'm sorry I didn't take any of their photos. Do you have any tips about how to take candid street shots without ending up in jail?

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Anyways, in Nagano, this lovely lady poured us tons of sake to go with....

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John Lennon toast? Seriously, John Lennon visited a bread shop once a hundred km from Nagano, and they created a dish to honor that occasion.

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It was pretty good though. In related news, the RZA will be on hand for a John Lennon tribute in LA. But you probably already knew that.

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Sake also goes with insects and their larvae. Yum!

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Later Nagano! See you again in a couple weeks. Then again in October. Then again when there is snow. I like Nagano.

2 comments:

Kurt said...

hehe .. 9,570yen!! .. unfocus!!

Ine said...

Love your blog! It's real interesting!!