Friday, June 30, 2006


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Originally uploaded by sleepytako.
I won a free Guinness shirt! WOW!
Thanks Izumi!

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Originally uploaded by sleepytako.
The view from my new room in Sanda.

I just moved in, will post more stuff soon. All is good.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Senjyu no yu (千寿の湯)

Senjyu no yu (千寿の湯)is a newish looking super-sento off a major route in Sakai city, southeast of Osaka with easy access from Hatsushiba station (初芝)on the Nankai Koya line.

Price: 600-700円

Included: Body soap, Shampoo/Rinse, Hair dryers.
Towels are for sale from a vending machine in the changing room: 120円

Shower, footbath, sented bath, nice wooden ofuro, typical Jet baths, cold water bath, dry sauna, wet Sauna, outdoor bath with some Jets, and hard pressure waterfall like bath that you sit under which I don’t know what to call yet. They also have an air dry room that was a new experience for me.

There is a ticket style kitchen in the lobby

Two TV’s, a tatami sitting area, massage chairs, massage service, smoking room (the entire onsen is non-smoking), gacha-gacha.

Lock your shoes using a 100円 coin (it is returned when you get your shoes back). Buy an entrance ticket from the vending machine, present the ticket and the key from the shoe locker to the check in person who will give you a locker key. Enter the baths. Enjoy!

As a newer super-sentos go they sometimes they leave me with a strange un-friendly feeling, this one was the opposite. The staff and clientele all seemed very nice. I did get a few curious looks as this part of Sakai doesn’t seem like many gaijin lived there. The baths are great, very clean, and in good working order as are the washing areas. The room is wide with a high cealing and good air. The outdoor area also offers a great view of the sky and many different seating places in, and out of the water, with many natural plants. Two odd thing about the baths is the cold bath is situated so that its hard to ladle water over yourself with out stooping over, and outside there is a simulated electronic bird chirping noise that I found distracting.


Senjyu no yu home page
Supersentou. com review

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Wheeler Peak

Originally uploaded by sleepytako.
One of my Japanese friends on Mixi wrote about how nice it is to go to the mountains. I agree. This photo was taken in what might be my favorite mountain range. Wheeler Peak is 3,981m (13,063 ft) making it is the second tallest mountain in Nevada near the Utah border in Great Basin National Park. Although the smallest of the National Parks, Great Basin is one of the best because of its size and remote location. It also has the beautiful Lehman Caves that you can tour.
Great Basin National Park @ USNPS / Wikipedia

Sunday, June 25, 2006





Saturday, June 24, 2006

A rant about *some* gaijin

Yesterday I got up and went to my old school Konan to see my favorite office people ever, and my three good friends from the school. Before the body of this post let me tell the rest of the Konan people... Wow the summer people have it easy. Their B class would have been behind our A class. Ok but, the meat of this post comes from what I don’t like to see in Japan: stupid gaijin. When I see people who are angry and frustrated due to their deficit view of foreign cultures and languages I wish they would have their passports revoked. Waiting for the train there was a white guy complaining rather loudly and animatedly (for a perturbed dork) to his apparently Japanese girlfriend who was nonchalantly eating a teriyaki burger from McDonlad’s. He was complaining about some sort of miscommunication about meeting the girl I assume, but all of his complaints were of his own mistake it occurred to me. Of course I’m just reporting what I overheard of the argument and can’t be sure of the whole situation at all. He seemed to be complaining about not being able to understand how to read the names of the train stations and having the count the stations to get from one point to another. This is just stupid. I cannot read all of the Kanji of the station names, but I can remember what the symbols look like, also there are the station names written in romanji throughout the trains and the stations. Counting the stations between stops is a good tool to use for navigation, but relying upon it solely is laziness. A second complaint is that he did not know of Namba station. Now, he looked somewhat like someone who has a job here, but even a small attention to ones surroundings in Osaka will make you very aware of Namba one of the towns 4 largest train stations. His third complaint was about the supermarket and its two isles of food. This struck me as just silly as, thanks to the map I carry with me, I knew there was a decently big market just on the other side of the station. Also the guy’s way of getting his point across to his apathetic girlfriend was repetition and increasing the volume of his voice. This guy, who looked like he never was able to pull a girlfriend in his native country, was crying. It was an adult cry of “everything here is different and I cannot cope with it through the me first English-only worldview that I have burdened myself with.” It makes me sad to see a 30 year old man crying like a little baby over stupid easily solved and understood cultural differences like this. Instead of learning from the differences in this foreign culture compared from his native culture and using those differences to build frames with which to live he instead has chosen to cry. I don’t feel bad for the girl, she could be training him or keeping him stupid on purpose to maintain control over him, and then outbursts like this are part of the game and her attitude towards him is the sign of her knowhow. It is stupid to get angry over things that can be so simply solved, but to make these things simple it takes a change of the way one views a foreign language and culture from an exclusive to an inclusive one.

I might seem a bit harsh and mean to the guy in this post, he might be a nice person. Who knows. It is his manner that I am critiquing which made me see problems in his adjustment to Japan, and maybe his choice in girlfriends too.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Returning to Japan

You’d think that having to get up at 4:00 in the morning to drive to LAX to catch an International flight at 7:40 out of one of LAX’s more getto terminals would suck--right. Well you’re totally wrong. What a great flight. I took Air Canada flight from LAX to YVR (Vancouver, BC) then YVR to KIX (Kansai Int’l) and loved it. Many reasons come up, and some short comings. Some of this might just be luck. While the flight out was in one of LAX’s least nice terminals it was close to the runway, no long taxi times, also it wasn’t like super Jammed up either! Yea the line for the baggage check lagged, but that happens in every baggage check line. The flight to Vancouver was basic, nothing special. I read some of my book, newspaper and watched the Canadian news on the TV’s. I love the CBC. Then I arrived in the beautiful Vancouver airport. I’ve heard good things about the airport but not seen many photos. Wow. Giant waterfalls, smells, great shops, beautiful signs, bright lighting due to the nearly endless windows. I’ve never been in a better designed airport ever. It would be worth it to fly this route to Kansai just to stop over at this airport. On to the flight to Kansai, what the plane lacked in a personal entertainment system it made up with great service and really great food. The flight attendant who was serving my drinks seemed very happy to share with me the different types of Canadian beers they had on board. Two of which I tried for the first time, Pacific Dry an Asahi-esque beer I didn’t care much for, and Sleemans Cream Ale which I found really tasty. The food was great, I mean they had things like capers and rosemary in the dishes. What made the flight even better was that it was a little empty and I had a two seat row next to the window all to myself, so I took a sleeping pill after the food service laid down and passed out till right before the second food service.

Getting through the customs and stuff in Japan was a breeze, I got asked a few more questions than usual, but everyone was very nice. Actually, somehow, I was able to be like the second person to the visa check people no long line though customs.

It was raining pretty hard, and rather humid in Kansai yesterday. I got the brunt of it too. Without an umbrella, or elevators I got all my luggage from the airport to my hotel changing trains four times. I took Nankai instead of JR out of the airport and that was a mistake. Lugging one suitcase at at time up the stairs then leaving it there as I lugged up the second was the theme of my trip to my hotel. I must have done that five or six times. Bleh.

Well I got to my hotel fine and what a hotel, it’s like the Happiness Hotel from The Great Muppet Caper. There’s writing and paintings on all the inside halls in many languages. The guests are from like everywhere. Everyone says hi in the halls. The owner has a fro and wears hawaiian like shirts. Yea, it’s a bit out of the way, and not too clean, but it’s got a great atmosphere. Oh yea, there’s a long bit of CAT-5 hanging from the wall for the free internet. For ~170USD a week, how can I go wrong!

Anyhow its like 4:00AM local time, I’m going to try to head back to sleep for a bit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I will be going to Camp Westgate today, Wenesday 21st to meet with my cabnet conserning future planning on the Western front.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stupid link of the week.

This one kind of comes from my camping post, well I found it doing that post... The California City police log. Super fun seeing what the cops get to do out in the Mojave.

I also recommend, although not as convent, the crime log from Laguna Beach, CA thanks to the Laguna Beach Independent. (Click on the "Section A" button, warning PDF file.)

I went camping. キャンピングをした。

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Last chance to go camping for a long time I thought. So I rushed out of my house on Wednesday morning, exactly one week before I will return to Japan, in my sister’s car with a cooler full of beer, a sack, my radio, and some other crap. While disappointing in many ways, it was nice seeing California.

I chose to head up to a place called Miracle Hot Springs along the, as I learned, deadly Kern river just east of Bakersfield. It looked rather tempting in my guide to California hot springs so I thought it would be worth a try. I began to get concerned when I pulled into the adjoining Hobo campground and found it empty and partially flooded by the high waters on the Kern--due to planned release of water from the dam creating Lake Isabella upstream because of questions about the dam's current state. Then I got rather dismayed talking to the camp host who’s dress hung as loosely to her body as her aged skin. With two packs of USA brand cigarettes on the table of her trailer with her black El Camino out front she explained to me how the “orientals” messed up the whole place, people are naked out there, and how the pool was a few inches deep. She was right about two of those things at least. Sadly I didn’t meet any “orientals” the entire trip--I wanted to practice some Japanese! Anyhow I hiked the 10 minutes or so along the river to the remainder of the spring. The place use to be a hotel and everything back in the day, now all that exists are a few concreted up pools reinforced by plastic bags full of sand and rock. The only exposed pool was truly only a few inches deep. 足湯らしくないよ!

The other pools that I could make out were too inundated by the river water that would typically cool off the water so that I could only tell the hot water got to the pool by the sulfurous smell. If the river level was lowered this could be a better place I guess. Well I got naked--why not--and splashed some of the water over me. It was ok. Downstream there was another hot spring and I decided to check that one out the next morning.

Walking home I almost got sprayed by a skunk! Another great thing about this trip was all the great wildlife I saw. Skunks, lizards, tons of birds, mice, tadpoles, and a wild cat of some type! Yay!

Remington Hot Spring proved at least a bit more appealing as I could soak in it at least. Consisting of an small upper pool of concrete and stone and a lower pool like that at Miracle, I was able to get a soak in the upper pool, although the lower suffered from the same problems as Miracle. But what a wonderful looking place. The people who care for and installed the infrastructure really had a good time with it. There are little stones, dice, and marbles stuck into the concrete binding together the rocks that make the tubs and stairs around the spring. A very pleasant place with cheerful people it seems. At least the hippy couple I saw there seemed cool. If only the river was lower this place would be amazing!

The rest of Thursday I spent driving around Lake Isabella, finding the campgrounds uninviting or closed and upon asking the help at the ranger-station if I could swim in the lake they looked at me like I was a freak said it was cold and advised me to wear a life jacket. Getting tired I pulled into a campground back on the river named Sandy Flat found a decent site and took a nice nap. The rest of the evening was uneventful with me exploring, and listening to a bunch of shortwave radio. The silly ultra-right-wing Radio Liberty on the shortwave radio is glorious and super fun to listen to. Besides the shortwave I always try to catch anything being broadcast locally. The local commercials on the small Lake Isabella AM station were equally enjoyable. I love getting a feel for a town from the low budget advertisements for the local hardware, candy, and roofing shops.

Driving home I was super tired and got back to Laguna at like 11:30, super good timing. I wish I had taken better photos, and my mediocre photos from this trip are up on my flickr for all to see of course! I also should have taken that side trip to see California City, or photo the truck stop city of Mojave again that I was considering. I went up there to take some photos that were to be some of my first that I developed and printed all at my home by myself and thought it would be cool to retake a photo of a house I took maybe 8 years ago. I’ve uploaded the original in my flickr also. I didn’t sleep well in the back of my sister’s car, it’s nothing like the futon I had in my truck. The car did drive like a dream however, all time four wheel drive is really nice on those windy country roads. :D

Monday, June 12, 2006

CocoRosie live at the Troubadour 6月10日

Last night I was treated to a live performance by CocoRosie at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, a wonderful performance. The band, two sisters Sierra and Bianca, were onstage with two backup singer/beatboxers and a bassist. Behind the players was a projection of videos taken by the band of Sierra wearing a mildly creepy plastic geisha face mask riding trains and walking around. I had three thoughts during the show.
While watching the band a few comparisons came to me, notably His Name Is Alive, another band known for its mashing up of two genres and giving them that undeniably american feel. The second was merely on the Sierra singer’s voice reminding me of Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance.
The interaction between the beat box boys and the two girls seemed distant at first, as if they were just hired to do this one show in LA. They sat in the back of the stage next to each other almost stiff as boards, spill-over from the projector painting their heads when not , er, beatboxing but, other aspects of their performance betrayed that initial feel of mine. The beat boxers were able to fit in and follow the songs so well, their in-between song interaction with the girls, and later in the performance they all got up and danced with the girls so I was generally left confused. If the former was true it would have been an odd job them to say the least. At the end it seemed that everyone had a good time.
Strangely, perhaps because what seemed to be the use of lots of effects and filters on the voices and other noises made on stage nothing seemed to synch up right. Of course this music doesn’t to that either, however watching the girls lips as they sung almost made me think they were pulling an Ashley Simpson thing up there--and that wouldn’t surprise me if my evil theory is true. It’s the same theory that creationists like to use, human life is too complicated so it had to be made by some outside power. Applied to CoCoRosie, both of these girls have such complex identities taking from such a broad range of sources one could think they are the pet project of some evil hollywood music producer. The whole thing is a sham. All of it was lip-synched. CoCoRosie are merely having there first indie shows for street cred before the marketing hits. Oh, if only it were that easy. The mind likes simple answers and that would be a simple answer to CoCoRosie but in reality they are a confusing, post-modern mish-mash of complex personalities, musical tastes, inventiveness, and pure beauty that would be well beyond the ability of any producer-type to invent. The girls were as real as the living drum machines that backed them.

Overall, a must see live show if you get the chance.
Thanks Flora for the ride!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


It just rained a little here in the Sonoran desert. The great smell of water on the dusty streets and sidewalks of the little town that was my home for so many years fills my nostrils with every breath. I'm lucky that I can smell this before I head back to Japan in a few months. This smell can only be had here and ones one of the most important smells in my life. What are your most important smells?

University of Arizona webcam

Tucson weather

僕今ツソッンで旅行をしている。今月には珍し天気がある。雨が降った!雨後でとても大好きな匂いになられる。世界の中に同じ匂いがない。 ツソッンだけがあるわけです。その匂い僕にとって大切匂いです。あなたにとって何匂いが大好きですか?


Phoenix is full of brick buildings and chain stores.

Jared lives in a cool house next to the train tracks about a 1/4 mile away from the ASU campus in a 3 bed room house with to brothers as roommates who seem like really cool people. We played badminton in his back yard and the Tucson team, Ed and I, got beat 21-12. The sad. Before that we went to Ikea for lunch... Ed HAD to go... It was gloriously Swedish. Jokes were made.
After lunch we walked around the campus shopping district all done in a mandated brick construction with your average selection of chain family restaurants, coffee shops, and hipster clothing. Ed bought new green undies that seemed like they’d give good support at the American Apparel store. We went to this cool oyster bar/normal bar to have a few drinks. It was the tasty. Ed compared the Tucson CoOp to the Tempe CoOp and concluded: “Suck.”
I got a yummy Itoen brand tea, something they don’t sell in the same packaging in Japan, and a yummy kombucha tea.
Now, as I type this post, I am at a cool all ages cafe, gallery, and venue in a low-rent part of downtown Phoenix called The Trunk Space. Seen one band and I’m on the second. Both have been good. The first had a great Modest Mouse feel this second one is just rocking out with beat boxing breakdowns. I miss places like this, I haven’t found anything like it in Japan. The art is really well done too. All the frames have a button that turns on some light inside illuminating the collaged dioramas inside. The imagery is mostly religious of some sort.
After this Jared is going to take us to a restaurant that he recommended called My Florist. Great place, I had a yummy cobb salad and we all shared a bottle of wine. They were showing local short films on a screen which became great fodder for us. Ed didn’t eat anything as he wanted an In-and-Out burger on the way back. We got home around 2am bleh. Ed had to open the CoOp.
I slept like a baby in Ed’s room, there’s something great about that house. Today I’m going to UA to talk to some people concerning my graduation then its off to dinner with my uncle. But I’m posting this from Bentley’s after having a yummy cheese and avocado sandwich. Fun stuff. More photos up from yesterday, more to come later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tucson Trip Post #1

Wow, I’m back in Tucson. Its been a long time since I’ve been here... Well only 9 months or so but still. Things are the same but different. It’s all very interesting. Here’s what I’ve noticed

  • Stone is all messed up between Speedway and the railroad. Getting from West University to Dunbar Springs in a car is a pain.
  • Epic cafe has a new menu board thats ohh so Epic. They also have cool shrits with Magnum P.I, on them.
  • I forgot how many cops are floating around 4th. I rarely see cops in Japan, but here WOW.
  • The Grill has the same and new staff. The tables and booths really got beat up however. I still love it.
  • Ed is now like, an adult. He has a cute beard and a cell phone! Wow!
  • The Perry Ave house has a whole new bunch of cool people. I like. However not having Lila here is odd. Also not seeing Tom is really odd. We’re seeing Jared on Monday so that doesn’t seem so weird at all.
  • Last, but most important... NO HANNAH!!!! *CRY* We miss you. Ed and I want to invade China together.

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Today I've been in Phoenix with Jared, we ate at Ikea and played badminton. More later. Some photos up on Flickr!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006



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Thursday, June 01, 2006

デブ デヴ

I am mildly fat. Donno how much... But I have a belly. So I joined a 24 hour gym and just got back from my first experience working out in America. I went to the gym in Konan a few times near the end of the program and liked it so I joined one for a month here. Spent about 2 hours there riding bikes and stuff. I think some like super buff workout like guy said “look at that faggot” or something like that about me. Bleh. I still dig. Tomorrow it is Target shopping day (among other things) for some white socks, workout shorts, and shower sandals. FUN!


I'm back in the USA

Let’s see I got up around 8:15 on Tuesday morning in Japan. I had some last minute packing, and cleaning to do. Yes I vacuumed my room before leaving. No dust bunnies for お母さん to pick up. My last breakfast at home was my favorite, two 梅干しおにぎり and a glass of 豆乳. We rushed out the door, me profusely sweating in my suit, to the bus stop where we hoped to flag down a cab and get to 西北 before the 9:45 bus left. Well, I forgot the keys to my luggage so I had to run back and get them. Thankfully by the time I got back お母さん had stopped a cab driver, but it was like 9:25. We were worried if we would make it on time, however we got the best cab driver in 関西. Serious. He recommended catching the bus at JR西宮 and taking a short cut through a cemetery. We got to the bus stop with time to spare.

Arriving at the airport I found out the fatal flaw in my get there early plans, the check in gates hadn’t opened yet. Which wasn’t bad in the long run anyhow as we ended up having coffee and waffles at the 喫茶店.

Check in was easy however it started late because the scanner was broken and we were re-routed to the one next to it. I was able to request an isle seat, and my bags weren’t too heavy either so no fines.

Still with a few hours to blow お母さん and I went through the stores together, me getting some last minute gifts and a bottle of しそ焼酎 for the family. That done I said an almost tearful goodbye to my super great host-mom promising to have dinner together once I returned to Japan. Maybe because I know I’m returning this whole experience hasn’t been as emotional as I thought it would be.

I had a little trouble going through immigration as I had an unused re-entry permit. All I had to do was sign a form and explain why I bought, but did not use it. That done I was on my way to the Duty-free shops, which were, sadly, unappealing, So I headed to my gate stopping to get a few beers and some takoyaki to much on while I waited and checked my email on the free internet at the airport!

My flight was pretty nice. I helped the flight attendent understand my next seat neighbors drink order scoring me super brownie points with them making the flight even better.
Getting through American immigration wasn’t too bad either, I did have to wait around 1:15 minutes to get my luggage at SFO so I could go through customs, who just flagged me through. It was right around then that the return culture-shock began to set in. Super fun.

I ate a turkey and havarti sandwich.

The flight to LA was gloriously empty. I knew I was coming back to LA because the lady behind me was having a loud, animated conversation with her friend on her cellphone which was only ended by the stern laws of the FCC and the closing of the airplane’s door.

I arrived in LA, got my bags and was picked up by my mom. Now I’ve gotta bunch of stuff to do here before flying back in 3 weeks.