Akashi Kaikyo Park

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They have finally opened the grounds used for the Awaji Hanahaku (Flower Festival) in Y2K for public viewing again. It has been scaled down in size and now esists as a nice place to spend on a sunny day. The number of flower exhibits is much less than before, which is actually nice because it should keep down the number of tour buses trundling over the bridge during the summer. I took my girl and a couple of her visisting friends there today and fought against the dwindling sunlight to capture a few decent photos. I like how they turned out and have put them on a dedicated page because of their cumulative size. Click on the link below to see them.

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Traitorous

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Any person who can defend this despicable shit isn’t welcome here. There is a line that demarcates what is OK and what is not, and although its exact location can be perceived differently depending on who you are, it has clearly been crossed here. My love for my country is deeply ingrained, and I felt deeply insulted when I saw this photo of the war anniversary protests floating around the net.
Just because you have freedom of speech doesn’t mean we must forgive the shit flowing out of your mouth.

Overstocked

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I have no idea why the stalls crammed into overflowing buildings of Namdaemun were so enthralling. It may have been the sheer volume of stuff literally stacked to the ceilings… Or the fact that most of the stores fell into one of the following categories:
– Medicinal/Pharmaceutical
– Leather belts, wallets, and stainless steel kitchenware
– Fake zippos, stunguns, and sunglasses
There were hundreds of stalls on multiple floors of this building… Simply wonderful just to wander around.

Mudgrubber

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On the way home from field archery a few months ago, I spotted this bad boy about to get squished on the road. We took him home for lack of a good place to release him, and I snapped this shot with the Nikon in one hand and steering wheel in the other. (On a scale of difficulty, it was somewhere between eating a Big Mac and changing a CD while driving.)
Anyway, Mr. Turtle got to play in my bathtub for a few hours and he surprised us all by screeching the entire time. Yes, it’s true. Turtles screech. Eeek eeeeek eeeeeeeek. So the next time some hippie starts crying about the trees screaming (as opposed to the Screaming Trees), you can tell him it was probably just a turtle he stepped on.

Classical Thai Dance

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Right now I’m sipping lemon chu-hi at Bill’s Bar and going through my photos from the Thai dance exhibition Nam participated in last week. Pictured here is a Japanese girl who is quite skilled and actually teaches others classical Thai dance. The dance group is comprised of both Japanese and Thai girls, and they perform all around Japan.
I am waiting for the new Nikon D70 DSLR to be released and push down the price of the Canon Digital Rebel so I can buy a digicam that works better in low-light situations than my Coolpix 4500. I love the 4500 but it sucks for night/low-light pics. The Canon apparently does quite well. Hell, if the D70 looks good I might eventually go for that… I don’t know if I can wait for the next generation cameras to come out. After all, the waiting game tends to get tedious for me and with each product cycle my patience wears a bit thinner.
I like photography a lot, but I often wonder if I should spend more time on technique. I think I could really get into it but I worry that it would affect the fun I have now. It’s rewarding to be in the middle of learning the basics and still produce results I’m satisfied with, say once every 200 shots or so. Digital cameras are so liberating for me. I erase at least half of the photos I take before they ever leave the camera, and I don’t think anything of it. If I were using film, I know I wouldn’t take a lot of the shots I experiment with now because of cost.
Why is this so important to me at 3AM? Everyone else here in the bar is wasted or borderline comatose… Time to go now that the police running the sobriety checkpoints have packed up for the night.

Gyudon Pics

At the request of a certain hominid (and I suspect a fellow chowhound), I present borrowed gyudon pics.
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Here we have the gyudon (center), miso soup (right), pickled cabbage (left), and a cup of hot green tea in the blue cup. This is a set meal that was available at Yoshinoya stores in Japan for about 600 yen until the American cows went apeshit or whatever. Basically the only thing missing from this photo is the raw egg. Not very photogenic, I guess.
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First of all, whoever took this photo has to work on their color management because the red ginger looks like shredded carrots. Shame, shame. Please take better photos for me to borrow next time! Ah, well, at least your heart is in the right place… I never even thought of taking pictures at Yoshinoya because I was too busy stuffing my face. This photo was taken at a Yoshinoya in the US. Even without the telltale English text on the placemat and napkin, you can tell by the styrofoam bowl which is used even for “for here” orders in the states. Not as elegant as the Japanese bowls, but somewhat comforting in its assumed sterility. American portions are larger than their Japanese counterparts of course. Also, from the beginning, the American stores have featured a Chicken Teriyaki Bowl and Combo Bowls with oth chicken and beef, items that the Japanese stores still do not feature to this day.
It’s past midnight, and my stomach is rumbling from remembering this stuff.

Why I Love Cali

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This is the beach at Crystal Cove. The sand feels damn good under your feet after getting off a 12-hour plane ride. We are home for the holidays, terrorist fools be damned.
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A Cosbu journey is never complete without some jump pics. Adam is jumping for joy.
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Nam looks happy too.
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Yeah, this is gonna be a good trip.