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.

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.