July 25, 2007

Community Input お願いします

So I have been updating this blog for about 7 months off and on, and now I think it is time to ask you guys and girls what you would like to see. You listeners have been growing, well at least that is what feedburner is telling me, but the interaction that I have been hoping for hasn't reached its full potential.

This might be due to the rather irregular and varied content. So to cut a boring post short, would you like more videos showing parts of Japan, vlogs in Japanese, posts in Japanese, more pictures of Japan, more stories, and/or resources for studying Japanese. Oh yeah more podcasts? Remember those? I put out three of them in the beginning and recorded about 2 more but never edited them. (ah the memories)

I think I would like to narrow the focus of the blog so give me some input by leaving a comment our email me at gaijinguide@gmail.com


July 19, 2007

Short Travel Essay

As the train slingshot around Lake of Geneva, the mountains slowly swept down the shoreline to kiss the water. A side of Geneva I had not seen in my first month was revealed to me. Like the under side of a ball that has been in the yard for the past month, it was earthy and wet. The rustic and crumbling fishing villages were a continuation of this natural feel as they nestled into the hillside, but were soon gone as the train turned South towards the center of Northern Italy, Milan. With the fresh picture of Geneve fading from my mind, the vistas of Northern Italy opened a new window to a land only previously glimpsed in film. This was the sun drenched land of wine and olives that I knew only in my mind`s eye. Italy had taken me to her bosom, and was feeding me the treasures it had been longing to bestow on the lone traveler who had only a foggy image of a land so great painted by the memories of parents who had been there long ago.
The train roped its way through and inside of the green mountains that opened their valleys to my travel. The lake of Stresa came to great us with a breath of cool air and left me with a sense of longing and a wish to return. Connecting the dots of cities on a map was hard work and I rested in Milan to replenish my spirits and prepare my thoughts, before I turned my eyes towards the destination, which I had been to all along. I was meandering towards the city that floats in the water, the city which never traded boats for cars and where the feet are happy to take you wherever you wish to go.
As I arrive, with each step time seems to shed the trappings of the modern world, reminding me that we can and sometimes still do live a life that is in rhythm with the tides and the changing of the seasons. Where nature is your clock and you are but pieces of sand on a beach by the water.

July 18, 2007

Moving in Geneva

Here is a little change from all the Japanese stuff on the site, it is an email that I wrote about 1 1/2 months ago when I was changing residence:

So today was quite a trip. It started off good as I checked out of the hotel, but left my suitcases as I had to work. {The reason I wasn't able to drop them at Mandat International earlier in the week was because the Italian girl working in the office at the time said, "she didn't want the responsibility".} So at least I didn't have to take these behemoths to work that would have been a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, This afternoon I went to the hotel to get the small whales aka suitcases. I get outside and apparently the bus stop in front of the hotel doesn't run to the tram I need, so I decide to walk to the closest tram stop. Now was that smart? not very. What normally takes 10 minutes with my little work briefcase took....Well I'm not sure but lets say I had to stop multiple times to rest and switch hands and by multiple I mean take the number your thinking of and multiple it by 3.

So I get to the tram and one comes fairly soon. Awesome? Not really. Yes that great time of day called "rush hour". So the train is packed there is a lady with a stroller in part of the zone with no seats and as I drag my whales towards the other half a short smally built man saunters in front of me into the "if you have luggage stand here zone". I was seeing red. To put a cherry on top at the next stop another mother with a stroller comes on.

Great now I'm blocking the stairs and keeping a mother and baby hanging half-way out of the tram while the door bell buzzes, and the short smally built man who I want to kill leans against a railing looking out the window.

I make it to my stop and try to locate the spot where the free shuttle from Mandat International will pick me up. Scratch that, as I wait where I think it will come I whizzes past me. Oh nice this is going to be fun.

I find the "V" bus that will take me fairly close to where Mandat is. Maybe "V" will mean victory? Nope this bus runs hourly.

I get on the bus after waiting in the heat. Some people actually help thank God for Italian tourists.

I get off at the right stop. Sweet. I find out that Mandat is 1.5 miles away. Not Sweet. Some of it is up hill. More un-sweet.

I start going and finally turn on to the path that leads to Mandat. {if you don't know, Mandat is an old French style Manor House that is in the country and has been turned into a "welcome center" for various NGO diplomats mainly from 3rd world countries or indigenous peoples. In other words it is subsidized and has cool people. It also has a 1.2 km driveway through the woods. Not so much fun when you have a 28kg suitcase and a 16kg hangup bag and a backpack with books and a computer in it. Halfway through the bugs were biting and skin was actually coming off my hands. Some people drove by in cars but none stopped. They did offer me a nice smile though :).

I make it to the house. Thank God now I just have to check-in. I want to shout with joy, but why is the reception room dark? "What is this" I say the hours say from 7-9. It is 7:20

So now I am in the computer room typing you this.

I hope your day was grand. Mine sure was, I mean still is very interesting.

July 9, 2007

Bass Climb

He may look like a punk rocker, but he is all ロックンロール (rock 'n roll). I grabbed this shot will in Osaka-jo koen (大坂城公園 ) during hanami (花見). This group of classic rock 'n rollers would grab the set and go at it for about 40 minutes and than take a beer break while their friends filled in their spots. They played great covers of American Rock 'n Roll in both English and Japanese. These die hards kept the myth going that when something comes to Japan it becomes timeless and unchanging. All I can say is Rock on you Gods of rock m( _ _ )m Rock On!

In less awesome news, I updated my Flickr! account with new photos. They are definately worth a look.

July 8, 2007

Homeless Living Conditions in Japan

Filmed in Kamagasaki, Osaka (the most concentrated area of homeless in Japan)
Edited by me. Stick with it to see some interesting aspects of Japan's homeless.