Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thanks Ola

I would like to tell you that tonight was one of the best nights in a long time. I have been living in Tokyo, Japan for 4 months and I have not had a Murphy's Irish Stout since I arrived, nor have I had a Murphy's in many months. But, it is hard to find a good Murphy's in the US or Japan. I find Guinness and others but no Murphy's. So last night I decided it was time to have one, the only one I have left.

Last night I went to the closet and pulled through the books and clothes that have been stuffed away and found what I was looking for. I knew that I was in for a good night tonight and wanted to be prepared if I needed something extra to help me out. I continued pushing and pulling shit out and finally, there it was. Looking at me. Cocked to the side against the dark, dry wall in the corner. It was a gift from an old friend. While traveling, she thought of me when she saw this beautiful can. She picked it up and packed it away and planned to give to me when she arrived back in Warsaw. When she gave it to me I was extremely happy and said I would keep it forever. The date was April 2005. Don't forget.
This can sat on my window sill in and out of the sun. Cooking, cooling, warming, freezing and collecting dust for months and years. It started in Ireland and flew in a small bag to Warsaw. It lay dormant for 3 years and then traveled on a boat to Tokyo. I was not suppose to send it in my shipment. But, it was something special. I took it from the shelf and rolled it up in a towel and stuffed it away. Deep in the bottom of a box it set waiting for Japan.

After months of traveling back home I arrived in Tokyo and settled in. The Murphy's was safe and sound. I placed it in the closet and left it. I walked passed it many times thinking Should I drink this or let it sit? Time passed and I realized today that it was was time to move on from my past. I was thirsty and needed something special. I thought about bourbon. Nay, doesn't feel right. Then I remembered that cant that was sittign in the corner... WAITING. It was like a drug that was begging for a user. It sat. WAITING. Until last night......
Until, I placed it in the fridge to cool down. Bringing it to the appropriate 42 degree temperature that is the desired drinking temp for a solid Murphy's Irish Stout. I arrived home after a good day of work, relaxing with some colleagues, drinking beer, eating sausages and a nice train ride home to find 4 Japanese beers in the fridge. And... one lonely Murphy's WAITING.
I drank 3 of the 4 Strong Seven beers from Japan's Kirin Brewery and decided it was time.

Click clack pop. The sound of a good beer being opened. You all know the sound and I don't need to provide a picture or video. I poured it into a nice tall pint and let the head settle. The layers of stout rolled to the top of the glass showing off it's dark muddy foam. Slowly calming down. Then, presenting itself in a glorious manner to....ME.

I took a good long drink and...

Saturday, November 22, 2008


For the past month or so I have been planning an organizing a ASIJ ELC RUGBY NIGHT for my school and parents. It started out as just a notice to see who was interested and it turned into this great big community function. I decided that since so many people were interested I could make it a step better. So, I designed a Japan, USA Rugby Jersey just for the special night. While living here I have met some quality people but by far the best has been a good friend named Eijero or AJ and his manager Ai (pronounced I ). They have shown me some finer sides of Tokyo that I could never have seen without them. But, that is another blog. Anyway, AJ has a printing company that happens to make Rugby Tops. So, with Ai and I's design we came up with the design and it turned out great.
Heading into the match we had a little over 90 people all together and the response from everyone was "this was a great night". It truly was. The US team jumped out to a quick lead with in the first 2 minutes of the game and looked to be the dominating team on the field. It would last too long. Japan answered with a try of their own and the score was tied at 5. Japan kept putting on the pressure as well as US. Lots of quick kicks and fast players cutting through the lines and next thing you know, Japan is up two tries. The Japanese team is not that big but they are fast. Japan went on to win completing the sweep of the American team on tour to Japan. Tough loss but still a good match to be apart of.

After the match was over we searched for a close bar but ended up going back to Roppongi to Legends for some beers. We had about 12 people all together and sat down for a good time. So here I was in a bar with a bunch of my parents from my class. Now, this does not happen in the US. I remember avoiding them but now I enjoy hanging out with them and having a good time. After a few rounds of drinks and them buying me beers in walks the USA Rugby team. Leading the pack was Todd Clever and man this guy is big. Check out this big hit he puts on this guy. I would not want be taking this one.

There were quite a few of the other players out too Chad Erskine, Mike MacDonald, Shawn Pittman, Gavin DeBartolo and several others. We kicked back grabbed some beers and watched Australia and England play. Being around the world class athletes was pretty amazing. This is one of those times when you realize that living over seas is a great thing and teaching in Japan has allowed me to meet some pretty amazing people. After a couple rounds of drinks and hearing a couple of stories about their travels I remembered I had a jersey that was made special for this match. I pulled it out and had them sign it. It was a nice reward for me to have after planning this social function for the past month.
They were so impressed with the jersey that they asked to have some made and sent to them. So looks like I will have to get on that. I don't mind giving them away either.
Hopefully it will build some kind of friendship and get a chance to see them again. Good group of guys and definitely a fun bunch to be around. I wish I could have went to the next place with them. I must say that yesterday was the best day I have had in Tokyo. Good rugby, good beer and good times. Hard to beat that with a bat. Farewell and talk soon.

Tokyo Tower and Halloween

Been a busy week or two in Tokyo. Been working hard with the kids...try not to laugh. I finally had a chance get to Tokyo Tower. What a great piece of architecture. Honestly, when approaching it at night you see this amazing glow of orange from kilometers away. The yellow lights at night blends so well with the red paint and turns the mammoth metal beast in to a glowing dream. I have mentioned in previous post how efficient the Japanese are and how well lines work here. After living in Poland for 5 years, I thought the concept of lines did not exist. The Japanese can really make a 20 minute wait pleasurable. With posters, lights and music it's hard to realize you are waiting with 1,000 other people in a line. Food, drinks and more snacks along the way. It really is a great little experience. The long line to ticket box split into 3 lines after getting tickets and it was very apparent that the three lines to the 3 elevators were spaced out exactly the same distance so the moving time was the same no matter which line you chose. Ushers moved you along the way to the elevator and as you enter the waiting box is the same size as the elevator and you enter with plenty of space to move and look out the windows as you rise up to the top of Tokyo.

We were not able to go to the top observation box but we did get to the mid-level box and enjoyed Tokyo by street and traffic lights. Absolutely beautiful! Seeing the small city, yes small city from above was a treat. It was hard to believe that looking in all directions there were 36 million people living and walking out there. I leaned against the glass and could see the ground. I was actually hoping an earthquake would happen while up there just to feel how stable the structure really was, but now luck. We were safe. (My weewee was safe too, Mark. Thanks for the help.)
On the way down we realize how beautiful this night was and decided to check out the neighborhood and ran across this reflection of Tokyo Tower in a Nissan. This car looks just like my Toyota I had in Poland and it brought back some great memories of Warsaw and driving. We headed back and I was off to get ready for my Halloween Party.

Now this night was going to finish in one of the best ways possible with me winning best costume. For those of you who really know me you can attest that I love this night. I tend to go a little overboard and do as much as possible with the least amount of money. I scrounge and dig around the house to find what I can make. I walk through the 100 yen shops (dollars store) and search for hidden treasures. I find a rooster beak! OH the costume has been discovered. Next, I find feathers, a white knitted skull cap, some red tights, red shoes, white shorts, blank white tee, iron-on letters and red glasses. So about 4,000 yen down the drain I have it. I piece and poke the feathers into the skull cap. I take the iron and put it on low and lay out some letters. Place them down on the white tee then... it turns into one of the best costumes I have made in recent years. It ranks up there with The Sperm and The Banana Man. You remember the Banana Man Salena? Oh yeah the Cock Fighter was born. I added some things from home like a World Championship belt and a silver cape. I tossed on some biking gloves and I was set to knock'em out. The COCK FIGHTER has arrived.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tsukiji Market

For several decades Tsukiji Market has been considered the best fish/seafood market in the world. Daily auctions bring thousands of merchants from all over Tokyo, Japan and around the world. The auctions begin around 04:00 which is before many of us consider getting out of bed and before some of you get home from the clubs. They sell thousands of pounds/kilos of Black Tuna, Tuna, octopus, swordfish, seabass, mussels and so much more. When you arrive at the market the first things you see are hundreds of trucks and mini-trucks or forklifts that zoom around.
You must be very aware of these men because they are
there to do their job and if you get in the way *BAM* you get hit. I have heard of times when tourist are hit because they are paying attention. It's part of the risk of going into someones workspace and messing it up. Because that is basically what all the tourists are doing. We are in someone else's office. Could you imagine if people came to your job, took picutures of you working, got in your way and believed that they should be there. I would be pissed too and if someone got hurt, I wouldn't care. If you plan on visiting, be respectful of the workers or else you deserve what you get.

Around every corner is something special and new. Fish and seafood I have never seen befor. I felt like I was swimming in the sea. Except I was walking and the fish were all dead. Well, at least most of them were about to be dead. If you want fresh fish this is the place. Men will be slicing giant pieces of frozen tuna and swordfish with large bandsaws.It sounds like you are in a lumberyard instead of fish market. Other men are using giant swords to slice large chunks of thawed tuna. The knives are so
sharp that with one pull it cuts through the flesh like a blade cutting through water. Amazing to see. I have heard stories from my japenese frieds about fights in the stalls of the Tsukiji Market between the workers. They talk of times when the men are too cold and angry to deal with problems so they take these sharp hooks used for pulling tuna around and slap them into each other's calves and rip them back out again. It is a bloody and nasty mess. Men are carried out on carts and return months later and many times they never return. Men will lose half of their legs because of the infections, never walk again or die because of several slashes and loss of blood. It is not a place to mess around. These guys are businessmen but take there livelyhood serious as well. So my advice is to visit in the Spring, Summer or Fall when all of the dockmen are happier. NOT THE WINTER, PLEASE, FOR YOU SAFETY AND MINE.

If you want to get fish here you can't. You have to buy it outside of the market where there are stalls with hundreds of little shops selling the same thing for a slightly marked up price.Outside each of these shops are little tables with samples. Some samples of sashimi (raw fish) not sushi (raw fish with rice) and some with vegitarian item for free. They are here to get you to come in and buy. You can actually get pretty full just trying everything as you walk by. But the best part about waking up at 5am or so to go the Tsukiji is the eat the fish. There really is nothing like eating sashimi or sushi at 7am. It is such a refreshing taste and you can feel the difference in the texture of the fish and the taste when it is merely hours old. Plus you get to wash it down with a beer. Ahh the morning beer. Reminds me of college and waking up to a cold beer in the cooler from the night before. Talk about the good life...this is it. And to top it off this market is only a 15 minute walk from my house. So nice to get up early on a Saturday and walk for fresh fish anytime i want. So when you come visit me soon I will make sure to get you there. I've been a couple times with friends and alone and really love the fish and nice walk along the Samida River at 6am to begin the day. See you soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

To the top of Japan and back

Sunday I woke up at 4:30 at sea level. Outside my house is the Samida River. My apartment is left of the small building that is lit up nicely in the middle. And next to the river is a nice river walk in which i run, bike and just hang out. Well, there is monument that marks sea level, directly in the middle of the photo. This point is the historical marker that represents where Japan measured sea level in Japan and around the world. So, it is safe to say I live at 0 ft. or sea level. My plan Sunday was to take a train to Shinjuku from Hotchobori (my station) and then catch a bus to Fuji. By now you have realized, or not, that I planned to climb the tallest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji. Mt Fuji's summit is at 3,776 meters (12,388 feet to you Americans). We finally arrive to the mountain after a 2.5 hour bus ride. It was nice because I met some really nice people and hopefully they will become friends after our trip. We got the the trails at 9am. I picked up a hiking stick that usually is used for the trip down to help with pressure on your knees. This stick can be marked for all the stations you pass with brands, however the mountain is officially closed due to repair of safety stations and amount of ice and snow, but we went anyway!! So needless to say there are no mountain men to mark are triumphs at each station. We jump several gates and barricades to get to the path to take us up the mountain.

Now many people believe that since so many people climb Fuji that it is easy. I am here to tell you it is not. People die up there. Falls, slips. depleted oxygen and many other reasons. It is a high mountain and needs to be taken seriously. If you plan to get the top in October then you need to be prepared for many changing temperatures. Hot, Warm, Cool, Rain, Ice, Snow and just friggin cold. All in a few hours. So layers are essential. I think the temperature was about 10*C when we began. The hike started out great. Beautiful day with no wind and very few clouds. Picturesque view of the smaller mountains below and a grand lake resting in the distance. We started the journey up the mountain at a good pace together with about 30 people. The pack quickly separated and us faster climbers moved on ahead. We were given oxygen cans to help with the acclimation of the climb into higher altitude. You may laugh but if you don't use the could begin to lose you mind. You climb too fast with out taking in oxygen and you are done. They will have to carry you done the mountain.

At time the pathways up were quite easy but most of the time is was zig-zaggin and I was climbing straight up to make it to the next station. Now, like said it is not an easy climb but it is not difficult either. You have to pace yourself and give yourself the right amount of time to make it. At times I doubted that I was going to make it to the top, like everyone else on the trip. You bust you ass up the first 4 hours and realize now it gets hard. SNOW, rain, ice, and sleet slap you in the face. Ice forms on your backpack and flakes off when you reach for water. Looking up makes you feel like you have gone nowhere and gives you a quick feeling of dizziness and forces you to look down again. At times for me I felt strange. I could hear and feel my heart beating outside my coat and that was with 5 layers of clothing on. It was tough but worth every bit of the mental strain and physical. Sometimes I swear rocks were growing legs and walking away. That meant I needed to get some more O2. After the 3000 meter mark I felt like It was going to be no problem. I thought only 776 meters to go. Easy, right? Wrong! Then the rocks and the steps came with ice, wind and more snow. Finally it all paid off. They final gate was just ahead and then if felt like a surge of power came over me and I knew I was at the top. What a beautiful feeling it was. The view was not good at first cause there was
only about 20 meters of visibility. So we had to wait for the clouds and snow to clear to see the crater at the top of Fuji. We went on to the summit after viewing the crater and that was the pinnacle. I brought along my Emporia State University Pennant to show props to my university. I may be one of the only ESU alum to climb Fuji.

Next was the the hard part. Coming down. Because for everything that goes must come down. You may think that coming down is easier but it's not. Gravity does help but the pressure you put on your knees, quads and hips is intense. Not to mention that we had to be at the bottom earlier that expected. So that meant we had to run down. Yes... run down. Not an easy thing to do for a fella with bad knees and hips. I kept singing Jane's Addiction while running...."Coming Down the Mountain" it reminded me of a road trip with some fellas from Warsaw. We were told we had to get down in 2 hours from a point in which it usually takes 3 hours. Of F*** we said and that's when we took off in leaps and bounds never straightening our legs for 2 hours. We stopped a couple times to rest and many times I felt like staying on the mountain and really had no will to continue but I knew i had to get down or I would miss the bus. We all were in the same boat and just pushed each other on until we finally reached the bottom. But, the wait was not over.

We found out the bus had been called and was going to be late because some people we hurt and too far away. One woman had to be carried down the mountain piggy-back on Ricky, the organizers back. So we waited in the cold wind and freezing rain. Now heat and standing still. Toes beginning to get numb and body shutting down from 8 hours for intense strain. All layers of clothing soaking wet but not from the rain and snow but from the sweat. Drip, Drip, Drip off my brow. My stocking cap was like a leaky pipe. I couldn't take it off cause it was the only thing keeping my head from freezing. We waited 1 hour and 20 min for the bus. I was pissed off cause there was no need to run down the mountain. I was going to pay for running the next couple days.
When the bus finally arrived I felt like I was in high school again. It was just like finishing a football game on a trip to Beloit,Kansas knowing you just played you heart out and now you have to sit for 3 hours to get home and rest. But this time it wasn't my 18 year old body recovering. It's a damn near 33 yr old body (Oct 9). But like I said before, it was worth the pain I am suffering today. One of the best things I have ever done. And I met some great people along the way that I know I will see again. Thanks alot Ivo, Mike, Andy & Tim. It was a great trip. Now back to Sea Level.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Finally Back

Long time since I have had time to write. So much has happened since then. I had a good friend visiting from Chicago. If you of you have read write ups from the past you will remember Yvonna my close friend I met in Chicago. She and her mother arrived here at the beginning of September and stayed for two weeks. We spent a lot of time together visiting places and trying new foods. Having some fun everywhere we went. Most of the time they were on their own while I was at work with the kids. I would come back to a home full of people. Now my flat is not big but it was so nice to have someone to come home to. It's been a long time since that happened. That's another write up. Anyway we visited the beaches in Kamukura. It was a place I mentioned in a Tokyo Dream...I think. We met up with a friend from work named Anastacia. She and I became friend and spend time together when we have a chance.

Anastacia showed us around her home town area and some great places to get free food while walking around. There were pickle stands, yes, pickle stands to try different types of pickled veggies. Then there were nut stands too. Different flavored nuts. Ha Ha Mark I know, keep it clean you dirty mind. We checked out the surfers and wind-surfers. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time.

I then took them to Akihabara, Electric town. Oh yeah one of my favorite places. I have been there so many times I can go there in my sleep. I love the Japanese way of buying stuff. Instead of giving you the discount they give you points on top of the discount. Then when you want to go back to buy more stuff you can use points for instead of cash. Brilliant! I bought a TV, 42 inch that is, and DVD player and stand and in return I got about 50,000 yen worth in points. That got me a new Karwin-Kardin Ipod player that rocks. It got me a new Ipod for my classroom and more. And I still have about 25,000 points left. About 250 usd. So it's a good thing. I get top of the line stuff at cheap price and stuff for free. I love it.

Now on one of the last days of Yvonna and her mother's visit, we met up with AJ and Ai. These are some friends i met here. Aj took us to a great sashimi place. I love sashimi. It is pieces of raw fish. No rice just fish uncooked. Love it. We had some great stuff. Things i never thought i would eat. Not because of taste or thought of the taste but of the political incorrectness behind it. It wasn't planned on my part and I do feel bad about it but it happens. Anyway, after eating out we went back to the house for a bit to clean. We then decided to head out and we were stopped by the locals for a Bom Adori. Which is a dancing festival. They pulled me out on the dance floor and I had a good time. Yvonna later came out we circled around the group as the only Gaijin (foreigner. Here I am after with the elders and the mayor who looks like he is throwing up some gang signs. They men wanted a picture with Yvonna cause she was so beautiful.

Ok. I need to go. I will catch you up on more in a bit. I got some blogs about Tsukiji Market and Mt. Fuji to write about later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well I am sure you are wondering what Washoi means. So, let me hit you up with the story but 1stI will fill you in as the day went from beginning to end so the answer will come but not until you read a little.

Here I was walking down the street in my neighborhood, Shinkawa, in downtown Tokyo. It was Saturday morning and I was on my way to see Noriko my good friend from Emporia State University. She had agreed to take me to Kamakura, a beautiful little city South of Tokyo on the Eastern coastline. I was running late and was not sure where I was going. But I had a good map. As I got close to tuning the corner I noticed four girls and a man walking and taking pictures. The girls were dressed in some kind of traditional dress and so was the man. So I took out my camera to take a picture. Before taking it I was interrupted by the gentleman saying, "Hey, are you a tourist?" My reply was, "No, I just moved here and live there" pointing to my new place. He was surprised and then asked me another question. "Do you want to participate in our celebration tomorrow?" HELL YEAH, I thought but replied with, "Sure, that sounds like a great time, what do I need?" He told me I would need to get some traditional dress for men and then all would be fine. But, he needed to ask the elders first. He approached them and they looked at me, smiled and said in Japanese, "He will need the proper clothing and shoes" AJ, the man I met asked, "Can you meet me back here at 5?" I knew i could so I got his number and off I was to meet Noriko.....late still as I mentioned.

So, I get to the Tokyo station and after wondering around in a huge place full of people I find Noriko. We catch a train and head off to Kamakura. Now let me set up how this place looks. It was a hot and humid day like always in August. This humidity is nothing I have felt before. Now, you know I am from Kansas and it gets humid and hot. I've been to Houston and it still is not even close. New Orleans.....closer but not the same. We take the air conditioned train to the town stop and walk a see the temple that hold one of the two giant Buddha in the area. We walk up several stairs looking at ponds, trees, caves and shrines. Some shrines dedicated to children lost during the pregnancy and other shrines dedicated to money and wealth or safe driving.

We arrive at the top of the hill and there is this beautiful temple holding and amazing Buddha. I couldn't talk any photos of it because it was not allowed but it was huge. 30 to 40 feet high and bright, shiny gold. Amazing! We looked toward the coastline to see the people on the beach and then headed down to get some food.

We continued on to our next spot and that was another shrine with a larger Buddha and outside for all to see. This time I was allowed to take photos. I was even allowed to climb inside, which was a bad idea. Remember I said it was hot and humid....well inside that place it was about 20 degrees hotter and 20% more humid. Making it about 125 degrees felt like that. So got the frick out of there. I stopped at the local gift shop and picked up a key chain for my new place and we headed down the road to the next stop.

This time we were off to meet some friends in Kawasaki. My friend Noriko wanted me to meet some local friends to spend time with after she went back to L.A. We had a nice time drinking and talking. I practiced some Japanese with the kids and then had to get back to meet AJ.

Train ride back alone and there is AJ waiting for me. This time I am on time. I didn't want to miss getting the clothes for the festival. So, to hurry things up......I got the clothes...found the size 13 shoes and was set. This is what I got to wear. But there is more!!! AJ decided to take me out to dinner with his 2 daughter and two of his work colleagues. Which I think they want me to try and date. But that is another story. They took me to a traditional Japanese place not far from my apartment. You get to sit and cook your own food on a large teflon grill. It was very good and so much fun. Part of the traditional meal is that the women pour the drinks for the men. So I held out my glass and it was full again with beer. ( Video coming)

The Omikoshi (portable shrine) needs to begin to move at 6:00am. I woke up at 5am and went down for some sticky rice and some soup to begin the day. I was told I needed lots of energy for carrying the 1,500 pound Omikoshi. It had four 20 ft poles attached to the bottom of the omikoshi. It would take about 40 men to carry this thing for 18 kilometers. That's about 12 miles. We began the march at 7:00 and walked in short, tiny steps saying with men blowing whistles to keep the rhythm. WASHOI! (beep,beep) WASHOI! (beep,beep) for 13 hours. Yeah 13 hours. Now, I didn't carry it the whole time but I bet I was under the poles supporting the massive weight of the omikoshi for have the time if now more. I can remember seeing 3 sets of people leave while i stayed marching. You can't put the shrine down to switch people. You look for the sad, tired face and make eye contact. He jumps out and you jump in. This goes on all day long.

This festival was known as the water Omikoshi Water Festival with 57 shrines. We had 400 people in our group. There were 56 other groups this size, smaller or even bigger. The festival is only the third largest in Tokyo. The Omikoshi is marched around town to cleanse and wash away the bad spirits. People are everywhere lined up and down the streets waiting to throw water on us. The festival only happens once every three years. So I was very lucky to participate and I was one of only 3 gaijin (foreigners) that I saw. But, I didn't just get to carry the shrine peacefully. We stopped, spun it around and shook it up and down, up and down and up and down again then held it high above our heads while people plashed us with water and firemen sprayed us with streams of water 50 feet high. Needless to say, I could not bring a camera so I don't have pictures, but AJ did make a video that is an hour long. He also has some pictures and I will get them on here as soon as I can get them from him. His camera was waterproof so they are some fun pics.

How did I feel, you may ask? Unbelievable is all I can say. I had be thrown into the Japanese culture feet first. I have not had not had that much fun in a long time. After it is all over we go back to our shrine put it down and take a break at Noon. Then go back for another 5 hours after a 30 min lunch break.

Finally when all over and the shrine is put away to dry.....WE DRINK BEER!!!! I met some great people. Maki, Hero, Baxter and others. We talk and sing and have a good time. The locals saw me and were happy I was there. They welcomed me into the community and I was proud and honored to have been apart of their traditional and sacred festival that has gone on for more than 300 years. Thank you, AJ for asking me to be apart of you family's celebration.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tokyo Update

I have been in Tokyo now for 10 days. I have spent a lot of time looking for items to fill my small apartment and make it livable before my things arrive from Warsaw around the 25th of August. So, that means at least 10 more days without my bed and my things. However in the meantime I have found ways to keep myself busy.

I went to a area pub called the Hoggobblin to enjoy the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The place was packed and filled with people of all nations. Several times in the evening people would scream out as their countries flag entered the Birds Nest. It was an amazing display and the Chinese put on a wonderful show.

I have learned to my great pleasure that Tokyo is very easy to get around in and is much smaller than I expected. With all the great subway system it is easy to go from one side of the city to the other in a very reasonable amount of time. The first few times I was on the trains there were not that many people and I did not see what the big deal was about. However, after a few more trips and a couple more days out in the city I soon saw why it is important to be rude and pushy when trying to exit. The cars are packed for a people. Not so much that I have seen the people with the white gloves push others in but I have seen doors close on people and need to be pulled out before leaving. It is definitely something that you don't want happening to you. Because if you get pulled out everyone yells at you for delaying the train and you lose face. Which in Japan losing face is the worst thing that can happen to you.

Walking the streets you see lot's of people and lots of skyscraping buildings. Everywhere you look there are people and rarely are you alone on the streets of Tokyo. The city is amazingly clean and very orderly. Very rarely do you see drivers behaving like idiots. Unlike other countries I have lived in. I don't have to worry about crossing the street because when it is the pedestrians turn to cross the cars don't try to rush through the lights to get ahead.
On the streets you see some amazing fashion styles and some quite boring styles as well. Most businessmen only wear white shirts with black pants.
Last Sunday I did have a chance to be a tourist for most of the day. I visited Asakusa-Jinja, one of Tokyo's most important matsuri which is known as a portable shrine. This place was packed for of people. There were several shops selling item, food and drinks. Besides the obvious attempt to exploit the shrine and make money people were there to pray and to purify their spirits. It Japan there are many places to clean you aura. So, I decided it was a good idea to do it as well.
While at the shrine I decide to get a Fortune for myself. I took this brass can and shook it as hard as I could until a stick came out of it. It was No.16 which was written in Japanese. So I had to look up the symbols to find the right box but, luckily an old japanese pointed out where my special Fortune Box was located. I opened the box an pulled out a paper. Initially I saw the words written in English, No. 16 GOOD FORTUNE. This is what I wanted. Because it is possible to get a BAD FORTUNE. If so you must fold it up and hang in on a wire, tree, branch or anyplace to get rid of the BAD FORTUNE. Here is a young woman hanging here BAD FORTUNE. Now since I did get a GOOD FORTUNE I think it is good to share it with you. My Fortune read as follows:
"Repent what you've done so far, and you should hope again. Then you will find happiness in future with a help of you seniors, everything will go well you'll be satisfied with better position and wealth.
*Your wishes will be realized.*A Sick person will recover.*The lost article will be found.*The person you are waiting for will come.*Building a new house and removal are good. *Making a trip is good.* Marriage and employment are both good."

So I got all that going for me!

Talk soon