nardical

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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.

Festival at Miwa Shrine

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:
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This lovely illustrated guide tells you how to cleanse yourself before entering the sanctuary.
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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).
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This old guy cracked me up. He had more energy in those old bones than anyone else at the festival.
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The moment of truth! The mikoshi is carried from the shrine to the outer sanctuary in a flurry of oioiois and yoshas.
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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…
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I have this strange obsession with wooden footwear… It’s just so cool.

Bach Processing

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.
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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.

Lantern

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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.

Bonsai

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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.

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.

Continue reading “Akashi Kaikyo Park”

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.