Friday, October 9, 2009
You may ask what a typhoon day is and I am here to tell you. Now, I've had snow days, ice days, birthdays (that's today), played hookie and days off to honor the death of the Pope. But, I had never had day off work for a typhoon. Thursday morning I woke to an Email saying "school is closed due to Typhoon 18 or Melor, the English name. That means no kids but I still have to try and make it in if it is safe. You see Tokyo has not been directly hit by a typhoon since 2007. That year there was enough rain to flood several metro tubes and shut down several train lines. This typhoon missed Tokyo by a 100 miles of so. So, it was not a direct hit but is was some nasty weather when I was on my way to work. I saw limbs down and people walking sideways to keep from falling over. > Umbrellas were mangled and destroyed on curbs or flying down the road. I had not experienced something like this since a stiff wind blew threw the flat plains of Kansas. Lots of schools, trains and all of Tokyo's factories were closed to prevent injuries and keep people safe.
I went to work and I was one do 4 people who showed up. It was quiet, peaceful and ended up being a beautiful day after the storm. It went from being a cold, dark and grey Polish day to a wonder, warm and blue Japanese morning. How the weather can change in a moment. I was happy to be alone in my room with the sounds of Dave Matthews, Bob Marley and friends. I worked on my room and this blog too. Anyway, just some thoughts for the day and now I am off to celebrate my 34th B-day in Manila. Thank you Mom for giving birth to me 34 years at 11:58am. I love you, Mom.
Talk to you all soon.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
This weekend was one of the most amazing weekends while living in Japan. Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the next to last day of the Sumo Grand Tournament. We had great seats and great friends to sit with and enjoy good Sumo. Today, however was the Grand Sumo Final and it came down to Asashoryu (Asa) who is a Yokozuna and Hakuho also a Yokozuna. Yokozuna is the highest level of wrestler and to have two at the same time is extremely rare. Asa has been champion 23 times and his record is 14-0 until today. Hakuho's record was 13-1 and they had to go head to head today. If Hakuho wins they go into a playoff round. Hakuho beat Asa today making their records equal. Both Hakuho and Asa leave the arena and get their hair fixed. Yes, get their hair fixed. I believe it is the only sport where you get your hair done before fighting again. So Asa came out ready to become one a legend of the sport. He was defeated in the first round by Haku quite easily but the second round, the playoff, was to be Asa's round. Hakuho didn't have a chance and Asa walked away the Sumo Grand Champion for the 24th Time. Things legends are made of. He raised his hands in victory in the Dohyo (ring), which is very disrespectful, and expressed his joy. He most likely will retire because to be so disrespectful to the traditions and ways of sumo by pumping his fists after winner could cause some problems for him. But who knows. He is a Mongolian fighter and he has left the dohyo the best of his time.
To make this night even better was to be invited to a party to celebrate and contribute to another Sumo stable called Shikoroyama stable. Homasho is the most famous and best wrestler in the stable and his coach Terao "iron man" as he as knows as for 23 years of wrestling. I was lucky enough to meet them both tonight and talk them him briefly. They are huge. We drank, excepted gift and donated money to help the stable continue to function and grow. Especially to feed the big boys.
After leaving the party we happened to be in the same hotel as the Grand Champion. Yes, Asa was there. We saw him and I was only two feet from him. Being this close to Asa in Japan is like being next to Michael Jordan after winning the Final. Asa is a legend and the best and turned 29 today. How about that? Winning Grand Sumo Champion for the 24th time on your birthday and I was right next to him. Here is the video of him and me. It is a short one but a good one. A Yokozuna only 5 feet away. Pretty amazing.
Great day. Happy to be in Japan and experience these things. Please come visit when you can.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Well, it has been a long time for me to write and update the Wayfaring
Writer. Traveling around the world during the months of June, July
and August limited my computer access. Plus, I really just didn’t
want to sit in front of the computer for a couple hours wasting
valuable time instead of being with friends and family. However, now
being back in Tokyo, I have a lot of time to think back and reflect
I left Tokyo on June 13 for my around the world flight stopping in
Warsaw, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas and Kansas. Then
returning to Tokyo to add up 18,940 miles or 30,480 Km. But there
would be some changes in there and adjustments to my plan and more
miles added to my frequent flyer miles.
Finally I arrived in Warsaw after a 15-hour flight and landing at 9:30pm I was met by my good friend Mr. G at the airport with a warm LECH, just the way I like them. We jumped in with my old taxi driver, Marek and headed of to change so I could make it to the Schaffner wedding. With little planning and a map. We were able to find the wedding hall and begin
what would be the first night of craziness for me and would last two
months. Seeing friends and surprising those who didn’t know I was
coming was a great way to begin the summer and kick off the 1st of my
4 weddings for the summer. After partying till the wee morning hours
of 5 and 6 I finally woke to find myself on the floor between two
friends past out. What a way to start the summer.
The following days I met up with several friends from ASW and met some
new ones. While sitting at the beer tents by the Metro Wilonowska
many faces, bodies and smiles kept walking up. Plus, the beers kept
going down. Somewhere in the evening of one of the nights I thought
it would be a good idea to go to London with one of the new teachers
from ASW. So, with my around the world trip ticket in
hand I call the airline and add London to my trip. Adding the flight
to the list cost me nickels and dimes so why not, and so began my
first jaunt and detour of my planned summer. It was only a two-day
trip but it was a good one. Saw many things I had never seen before.
It was my first trip to London (I will write about London in next post) and won’t be the last.
However, after the trip I realized I did a bad thing. I missed out having those two days with Mr. G. I look back now and wish I had my thinking cap on instead of my drinking cap. Sorry G!! I will make it up to you when you make it to Japan.
I returned from London in time to get ready for Tim and Ania’s
wedding. We had a couple of days to prepare Tim for his walk down
the aisle. Several friends gathered at the Eagles stadium for Tim’s
American football game. Yes, they play in Poland. We had so much fun
together and getting back together with those people who are so close
to me. It was wonderful seeing Tim’s daughters Ali, Gilli and Katie.
I couldn’t believe how big they had gotten and how tall Ali was. She
was just as tall as me and now she is taller for sure. I hadn’t seen
them in years. Sitting with them at Tim’s football game was so much
fun. Talking to them about school and Kansas felt like I had not even
left Warsaw. Other friends later joined the gathering at the football
game and it turned into a great day.
For this wedding I would be standing in front of the guest as a
groomsman and the reader of the Paul’s first letter to the
Corinthians. The wedding went of so well and it was truly beautiful.
Leading up to the wedding I had moved in with Solli and spent so much
time hanging out with him and Andrew. We wondered the city and went
to some old places I used to frequent while living in Poland. We were
out to the early morning hours again and got back in time to get some
rest before the 5pm wedding. I knew I needed some sleep because Tim and
Ania’s party would be another all nighter. I prepared myself for
getting less than 6 hours asleep and would continue that for the rest
of the summer. My body was feeling the pressure and the results of
what was now 9 days of boozing, with another wedding to come the
Fletcher and Iza were having their wedding making my third Polish
wedding in three consecutive weekends. This is not an easy thing to
do. I don’t know if you have ever been to a Polish wedding but for
those who have you know how long and crazy they can get. So, for
those who don’t know, let me give you an idea. To get straight to the
point there is a lot of Vodka.
Usually it’s a given that there will
be 1 bottle of vodka for every person at the party. However, since
all three were mixed Polish weddings there was a bottle for every two
people, give or take a few. To go along with the vodka there is more
food than you can imagine. It just keeps coming out all night and
then usually stops with some soups at 5am. Oh, I forgot to mention
the beer. There is plenty of beer, dancing and singing and stops at
5,6 or 7ish. Depending on the couple and often there will be one of
two grandma and grandpas still there.
So much more happened and I hope these photos will give an idea of who
else I got to see and spend time with. Unplanned BBQ’s with friends
like, Iain, Alex, Bas and so many others made my trip back to Warsaw
worth every Zloty, Yen or Dollar I spent and the time it took to get
there. I know there were so many other people I wish I could have
seen but it was so hard to be everywhere at once. So, to those I
missed I say I hope all is well and we have to do better at staying in touch. Miss you all.