Monday, October 11, 2010

Hey, look what I just found.

This is pretty cool.

He later found out that its NOT actually the worlds longest, but still pretty cool.

And as an added bonus, I'll show you all what it's like going up it. Not as good as actually being there, but you get the idea.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Photobucket Bandwidth

I know while I was there, I exceeded my bandwidth on Photobucket, so from now on I'll be hosting all my pictures on Much easier to use.
The Photobucket pictures are back to normal now, but I wouldn't be surprised if they exceed bandwidth later this month. I'll switch those links over to Imgur one of these days.

Already a Week!

It's already been a week since I got back and it went extremely fast. 
While I was in Japan, time just seemed to slow down. I'm not complaining or anything, though. I'm finally over my jet lag and over the mild cold I got from the plane. 

I've been picking away at the videos I filmed while I was there, so I'll soon have a DVD made with all the pictures and videos if anyone wants one.

I was curious the other day and I checked plane ticket prices on just to see what they were at. They were under $1000! And even the website that I bought the tickets originally from were still over $1000. It's crazy!

I have been reading through my Lonely Planet Japan book and finding things that I didn't get a chance to do while I was there. Next time I go, I'm hoping to spend at least a month there. Perhaps the end of July to the end of August. We'll see how life is going at the time, but I definitely want to be in Hiroshima for the Lantern Floating Ceremony next year. 

I've noticed my sleep schedule has changed quite a bit. I used to get to bed around 3am or so and wake up around noon or after. Now I'm in bed around midnight and get about around 9. I like it. And all but one of my classes are before noon, so that should work out quite nicely. 

For those of you who don't know: my neighbors suck at life. I'm living in a townhome/duplex sort of thing and these immature morons on the other side of the wall are so LOUD! They'll go out drinking every night, come home about 2-3am and start slamming things all over the place and stomping. They have two untrained dogs that they lock in the bathroom while they're gone. They've been living there for about 6 or 7 months or so and, as far as I know, they have not payed their trash bill once.

Well, I think they finally did pay it, or at least some of it, because right now at the end of their side of the driveway is their trash barrel and about 30 bags of trash surrounding it. (I say "some of it" about their trash bill because garbage day was last Wednesday and I think the garbage man only took what was in the barrel).
And, from what I understand, their garage is even worse. Ugh, I can't wait for them to move out. I can't believe I can't smell it from over here. Just ew!

And they have dog crap all over their yard...

I'm going to bed, my contacts are drying out. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ugh, I think I caught a cold or something on the plane ride. I'm all congested and blocked up. It pretty much SUCKS!

And I've still got jet lag. I keep waking up at like 0500 and can't get back to sleep. I'm always ready to pass out around 1800 while at work. Ugh.

But the good news is I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

I weighed myself this morning when I woke up. I lost 10 pounds while I was in Japan. I am now down to about 150. Sweet. I feel so skinny.

I also picked out some of my favorite pictures, went to the little picture printing kiosk at Walmart and printed them out. 68 pictures for $20. On 4x6's. Wasn't too terrible.

I also bought Disturbia while I was there. Still an excellent movie.

It's currently 0615 and I'm pretty hungry. I could go upstairs and toast a bagel with some jelly, or I could have a bowl of cereal. Or both?

Yeah, both sounds good.

I have to work today, again. I hope I can stay awake for the whole 12 hours. :(

But at least they'll have free cookies today. I may have to stock up.

I also need to claim 2 on my taxes. I had put 0 when I changed them back from 9. Oops, too much taken out. Ouch. Hell, maybe I could claim 3.

I'm gonna go have breakfast and start my day right with two scoops of raisins.

Or toast.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm now home.

I'm home now! Finally! I thought It'd never make it.
And yay, all my blog links are in English.
They were all in Japanese since it was Japanese internet. That was fun.

Wow, what an interesting trip, though.
I left my sweet hotel and started my half mile walk to the train station with all my bags in the sticky humidity. I had to wipe sweat from my face every 2 minutes. Bleagh.

Anywho, I got to the station, got my ticket to Narita Airport. 1000 yen. Ouch. Oh well.
While standing in the station, I found a trash that accepts pets...

I know I saw it move a bit...

Anyway, I got to the airport early. Probably at about noon. So I walked around, got some food. I had some delicious "Ethnic Chicken Rice"
Just chicken and rice with some peppers in it. Mmmm. I even ate it with waribashi. (Disposable chopsticks).

I finished eating and wandered around some more. Saw group of flight attendants, so I had to get their picture. :P

That was fun. And pretty random.

I got to my gate, gate 25, and sat around until it was time to board the plane at 3.
As I was trying to figure out where the end of the line was, I met a really really awesome girl, Yukiko. We stood in line and talked about everything. She goes to college in Iowa, and she's 22. She's been studying English almost all of her life; it was pretty good. And she's pretty cute. :P
We boarded the plane and went to our seats (Yukiko and I weren't sitting next to each other)
I ended up sitting next to these two Australian women who were going to be traveling around the US. They were pretty fun.
Well, finally, 3:55, our departure time, came and went. We sat on the plane for a good hour after the captain came on and said, "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. Kohneecheewah..." (I laughed pretty hard at that and made fun of him the rest of the flight). "...we are currently experiencing some problems under the aircraft. There is a clamp that seems to be broken. We're currently in contact with Minneapolis trying to get it fixed, but if we can't get it fixed, we will need to switch planes. Sorry for any inconvenience."

Needless to say, we had to switch planes.
They gave us coupons for $10 for any vendor in the airport and 2000 bonus FF Miles.
Yukiko and I sat near our new boarding gate, gate 24, until we were able to board.
They just HAPPENED to have an extra plane of the exact same model just LYING around. Somethings fishy. They probably just moved the broken clamp plane to the new gate. Oh well.
We finally took off at about 6:15PM.

The inflight movies were pretty good. They played Disturbia with Shia Lebeouf (or however you spell it). I thought he did an excellent job. He's a pretty good actor. Maybe someday I'll be in a movie with him... and show him how it's done. :P

About 9 and half hours later we arrived at LAX where the people are just so gosh darn friendly. Yay.
Took about an hour to get off the plane, get luggage, get through customs, and get in line to get a new flight to MSP. Since I saw the one I was supposed to be on take off.
Yuki and I stood in line, got new flights, went through baggage check, and parted ways. My flight was in about 10 minutes, while hers was a few hours later. We exchanged Emails and parted ways.
I found her Facebook, here’s a nice picture of her:

I got home around 10:30pm, unpacked, and slept.
Gotta get used to the new timezone. Ugh.

Well, that's all I've got for today.


Thursday, September 30, 2010


YOU will NOT believe what I FOUND in my LUGGAGE!!!

Silly cat. You’re not clothes, get out of there!

Anywho, I left Kyoto this morning at about 11:30 and started on my two hour train ride back to Tokyo. WEEEEEEE.

While on the train, I FINALLY saw Mount Fuji.
These were the best shots I was able to get. I did do a bit of Photoshop work to enhance the colors of them.
Hope you like em

I'm back down to the Tokyo Metro. These subways are MUCH cheaper than the ones in Osaka and Kyoto. Don't know why.

Empty Station Kind of

While on the subway, all the doors between cars were open.

And here's the shot of the train controls.

I checked into my room and so far, I think this is my favorite room. I wish I stayed here when I first got to Tokyo.
Here's a view from the hallway.

Gotta take off your shoes when you walk in.

The bathroom is right on the right.

And here is my living quarters. I like it. The bed is actually pretty comfy. And if I fall off, which I have been known to do (Especially on bunk beds), it isn't as far of a fall.

There's even a sweet closet with a fridge and trash underneath it

The windows slide open. There's glass behind them, don't worry.

I even get my own AC

I dropped off all my stuff and headed for Shibuya, a HUGE shopping district.
Watch this trailer of Lost in Translation. The part where the Dinosaur is walking across the giant screen is in Shibuya.

I highly recommend that movie. I'll probably see it differently the next time I watch it. "Hey, I was there!!!" or "I did that!"

Anyway, here are pictures of the Shibuya screen (from right to left)

I tried to get as high up as I could, this was the best that I could do. Not the greatest shots, but it shows ya what it's all about.

Here's a couple more shots of just the screen

They were playing this music video throughout some of the streets. Ugh, I strongly dislike this song. (Notice how I didn't use hate!)

If you haven't heard it, this guy took the beat of the "Stand By Me" song and put his own lame lyrics into it.

Here are some more shots around Shibuya.

A guy wearing a face mask. Guess he doesn’t wanna get SARS.

These Lawson stores are EVERYWHERE!
They are the second largest convenience store in all of Japan. (7-Eleven is number one)

What? Pachinko? NO WAY!!!

Throughout my travels, I've probably come across a good 50 different Pachinko parlors. Most of them are right across the street from each other. It's CRAZY.
And if you go inside, it's really loud. I played it once, couldn't figure it out, then left.

You're not going to believe the store that I found. Needless to say I bought them out of stock of everything.

Finally, before I left Shibuya, I got a few shots of the screen while it was a bit darker.

Everybody's waiting for the green man signaling go!

HE'S GREEN! Let the crowd surfing begin.
I can only wish.

Well, that's about it.
Tomorrow I'll probably be spending most of what's left in Japan in the airport.
Don't know how many pictures I'll be getting while I'm there. I might get one here or there in LAX. We'll see.

Thanks so much for everyones comments. And if you haven't commented, I appreciate you at least checking out my blog. Leave some comments, though. They make Tony happy. :)

Keep checking the blog, though. Tomorrow, while on the flight, I'll probably pick out my favorite pictures and make computer wallpapers for everyone. Hell, I'll probably print a few of em out and frame em.

And don't forget, I've got about 2 hours of video. Although I'll probably edit that down quite a bit. So an hour and a half or so. I'll be posting those on Youtube and embedding them in here.
Arigatoo Gozaimasu

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Temples and Shrines

I started off my day with a nice breakfast at a small restaurant near the place I'm staying. I had some rice balls and some weird soup. I'm getting pretty good with the chopsticks, although still not super fantastic.

Afterwards I headed out towards Nijojo Castle. It's about 2Km away from the Hostel.

Along the way I saw an "Outside" car wash.

You just park under this thing, get out, stick some money in the side of it, and it goes to work.
It was pretty neat to watch.

A little further down the road, I found a samurai sword shop. Some of these swords cost 1,000,000+ Yen.
I was able to take pictures of these

But she said I couldn't take any pictures of these

Shh, don't tell anyone.

Well, I got to the shrine and you're not going to believe what I found...
A parking lot office

Here's a shrine inside.

There were signs that forbid scribbling. Man, I'm being naughty today.

I met these ladies. The one on the left is 28 years. The middle is 21. And on the right is 30.

Here's another shrine inside.

Here are a bunch of random pictures.

I saw this bird far off and I decided to test out the zoom on my camera.
It's probably about 60 meters away.

Pretty good if I do say so myself.

This is a shell of one of those annoying cicadas.


And here's a birdie

I left the Nijojo castle and headed for Heian-Iingu Shrine.
There was a little stream running through the neighborhood. I wanted to jump in so badly...

As I was walking toward the shrine, I found a gas station that had the pumps hanging from the ceiling.


Here is the entrance to the shrine.

Here's a house off in the distance on the way to the entrance.

Now, I saw a couple of these around here. First of all, these people must be ripped. I should drive one.
Secondly, I cannot understand how these people don't die of heat exhaustion. It's so gosh darn HUMID. Atsui desu nee. I mean, It's about 11:30PM right now, and I'm sweating just laying in bed typing this. Ugh.

And here's the entrance entrance to the shrine from the inside.

Now, before I go any further, I want you all to watch this clip (if you can).
It's a scene from the movie Lost in Translation in which Scarlett Johansson's character is exploring Kyoto.

Okay, now that you've watched that, you may recognize some of these pictures from the video. :P

This is looking inside from the entrance.

Pretty neat!

Off to the side is the entrance to the gardens. Here is a sign right as you enter:

And here are various shots of inside the garden.

The remains of the little engine that couldn't take it anymore.

Small creek running along the path.

Alright, now this spot is in that movie clip.

And this is me in that spot from the movie clip.

Pretty picture of lily pads

Here's a little stream on the side of the path.

It goes under the path to the opposite side.

This is a bridge viewed from the path

While on the bridge there are carp and turtles below that beg for food. I say, someone didn't train them very well.

Back in the main entrance area now, here's a little fountain with some cups. I think you can drink from the cups, but, eh, I decided not to. But I did use the to poor water in my hands to splash on my face.

And finally, here's me in front of the shrine

The next temple is within walking distance, so I began my trek.
The walk is along a river that had a fun fountain in it

Finally I made it to the Nanzenji temple.
This building was in the video

Up the path a little ways (from where those people were walking down in the video)
There's a place to light an incense stick

And then you stick it in a pile of sand

And then say a little prayer or something if you want.

A little further in is this giant water canal that was made in the late 1800s.

And the inside of it

There's a little mini garden inside, too.
Here's a few shots.

Cool little waterfall

Well, I got out of the shrine area and walked through a small neighborhood.
I think this is the same stream I saw earlier that I wanted to jump into, just further up the hill.

I headed back to the train station, hopped on a train and got off at a station near my hostel.
While I was in that station, I found the Stairway to Heaven

And as soon as I emerged from the top, I was dumbfounded on how to pronounce this

Say THAT three times fast!

Anywho, that's all the pictures I have for today. I'm gonna go to sleep. My train leaves for Tokyo tomorrow morning at 11:30.