Our trip to Kochi was partly accidental; it started with a flat tire that I needed to replace. Kochi was the largest city around, we had thought about going earlier, and I knew there would be an open tire shop there if we hurried.
The local >Autobacs was indeed open, so while I negotiated for a pair of Dunlops, Nam used my laptop to look for a good hotel online. We stayed in the Comfort Hotel (related to the comfort Inn chain) in front of Kochi Station, which I would link except that their air conditioning really sucks (I think this is a large factor in how they keep their prices down), and this is an unforgivable sin in the heat of the Japanese summer. They are a new hotel and a deluxe double went for 8,000 yen, so I might try staying there in the spring or fall.
Anyhow, we checked into the hotel and went looking for a likely place to eat and wind down. Lo and behold, there was a little robata-yaki place next to our hotel, where you are served by the hosts with a long wooden paddle. The food was excellent – local and fresh.
Story continued in the extended entry…
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Note: I finished editing photos from our trip to Kochi prefecture today, but don’t have time to write the post. This photo didn’t really fit in with the others, so I’m posting it alone first. This poster was inside a sealed bulletin board in front of a police station. Needless to say, whoever designed it must have been smoking crack. Then again, maybe that’s the whole point… Not.
Just got back from a long, long day in Nagoya at the sumo tournament. It was a wonderful experience, but the long drive home through stop-and-go traffic and a lightning storm has left me exhausted.
I will post more pics as I get around to editing them (got the backlog from last weekend, too). But for now… Time to sleeeeep.
One of the rites of passage in an Asian American household is fighting with your sibling for the eyeballs of the fish served up for dinner (assuming one large whole fish shared by the whole table, as opposed to smaller fish that provide eyeballs for each person). What I definitely do not remember is fighting over fish balls. Must be a SE Asian thing.
Photo taken in the Thai Town area of LA.
Following their animistic roots, Cosmic Buddha went to the Miwa Grand Shrine as first documented in this post. Since then, I repeatedly forgot about some of the other photos waiting to be uploaded, but suddenly remembered today. So without further ado:
This lovely illustrated guide tells you how to cleanse yourself before entering the sanctuary.
This is one of the five samurai on site for the celebrations. He was smoking a short Hope (US equivalent: Camel straight). There were supposed to be 300 samurai. Kansai Timeout, you suck (unless you published a link to this site as one reader reported, in which case you rock, doodz).
This old guy cracked me up. He had more energy in those old bones than anyone else at the festival.
The moment of truth! The mikoshi is carried from the shrine to the outer sanctuary in a flurry of oioiois and yoshas.
OK this is classic. I thought my picture taking went unnoticed but look at the ” what a perv” expressions on these miko. I tell you, real virgins wouldn’t have such fire in their eyes. The one on the left is straight out of a Tale of Genji woodblock print. Now that’s a virginal pose…
I have this strange obsession with wooden footwear… It’s just so cool.
Today is the last day of work during this “baching it” period for the Cosmic Buddha. Goddamn, how time flies. It seems only yesterday that I started off eating strange chili concoctions out of the pan and declaring atomic jihad on the world. Fast forward through two blurry weeks of the flurried singledom that defines my bachelorism process to this morning, where you find me eating kimchi & eggs w/leftover pork out of the same pan.
Sometimes using my pan as a plate and the spatula as silverware makes me yearn for the good ol’ dormitory days at Tenri U… Then I remember finding rotting fish carcasses half-flushed down the crapper by the Chinese students, constant hazing by karate club senpai that left one Korean-blooded boy brain damaged for life, heinous Japanese lessons from moronic gaijin teachers (forever mentally entrenched in a time when they were revered as gods A.K.A. the “impale yourself on white penis” period of Japan), and all the other bullshit that defined daily life then. I’m much better off now getting paid to deal with similar shit. But as far as life in Japan goes, shit is a constant that must be dealt with or duly ignored. You know what they say, “Same shit, different flies.” Wow I went from food conveyance to waste excretion in one paragraph – truly a healthy movement, no?
Anyway, anyway – My girlfriend is coming back on the 2nd. I must clean the house enough not to get yelled at. I recently discovered that we have been out of laundry detergent from before she left. I will no doubt forget to buy some on my way home tonight, and will be forced to use dishsoap or baking soda or another “field expedient”. Also, I am at a loss as to why indoor plants are so GODDAMN WIMPY. What’s two weeks of drought to, say, a cactus or dandelion in the wild fer chrissakes? These limpwrist plants up and died on me, man! And they died rather grisly deaths, I fear – their twisted, brown, hardened skeletons are a karmic vote for my next life as an abandoned ficus. It ain’t my fault, I say; nobody told me they weren’t self-watering! Just great. Now I gotta find similar ones at the nursery and transfer them to our planters. (I wonder if this will darken any future experiences I have switching a healthy goldfish for a bloater for my kids. Maybe I’ll just tell them about death right off the bat, despite any crying over dearly-departed Nemo, nightmares about an ominous beyond, and sleepless nights of hand-holding solace… Nah, scratch that. I’ll replace Nemo with sea monkeys and teach them about evolution instead.)
Note: Thanks to my truly adoring fan Jen (even if she is one of my friends having a great time impersonating a truly adoring fan at my expense, although I will kick your ass soundly if this is the case) for the link that enabled the photo editing.
I went after photos of a matsuri at Miwa Jinja today. It turns out that I like the photos of the grounds more than the ones of the actual festivities. Recently I don’t like taking photos of people as much as I do taking photos of things. It’s interesting: On one hand I find myself wondering if this somehow has a deeper psychological meaning and on the other, I really don’t care if it does or not.
I almost never feel guilty taking photos of random things, but human subjects sometimes cause me worry or even grief. This stems partly from the Japanization of my perception and values over the past decade, I’m sure. I still don’t bow when I speak on the phone at work to clients, although this is somewhat of a conscious effort not to do so when it’s a really high ranking executive who could affect our bottom line to any significant extent, or have my head by expressing displeasure at the tone of sincerity in my transactions.
I have determined that my Vaio U3’s screen is just too damn small for me too edit photos effectively when I’m drinking. I’m really curious as to how this photo will look when I’m sober, because it looks absolutely brilliant right now.
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.