JWeird Post: Learning Robbery-related English.

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Once you get past how actually traumatic a mugging would be, this video is hilarious.

Mimes, Missed Festivals, and a Musical

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Alliteration? Yeah, I know a little about it.

So, this post is somewhat delayed, and approaching a mashup, but heres what I’ve seen over the last week or few days. I’ve been all over the place, recently, mostly dealing with school and getting set up to work, also preparing for some relatives that are coming to visit Japan while I’m here. Very busy, blah blah blah, stuff to do, blah blah, no time, blah blah.

But anyway, I’ll just put up the pictures and a few thoughts.

I know there is a name for this, but unfortunately, I do not know and cannot remember, and so I will make up a new one. This guy is doing what I'll call Newage Mime.

This was a REALLY random thing to run into in Shinjuku/Japan. He was doing this outside Shinjuku station and there were a lot of people gathered around him, of course wondering if he was real. Pretty awesome. Not sure if he was part of some comedy troupe or something, or if there were more…

A festival that took place near where I live... Unfortunately, I completely missed this festival, but I at least caught practice!

Another shot from the festival... I think in the real thing, they were going to have the kids carry a shrine. I had so many questions. What kind of shrine? How big? How many children would carry it? What if one of them needed to pee? Would there be snack breaks? Is child labor like that legal?

MORE Festival Prep. Doubt these pictures are in chronological order though.

So, the story with this festival is that it occurred today, and I totally missed it. Me and a friend went out trying to find it, and didn’t really succeed, but did run into other things. The pictures from here on out were taken during that time.

This statue is actually one of a Japanese phenomenon called a Kappa. I think they're like water spirits or something... But this picture is not very well taken, so you should probably google kappa instead... Would be quicker.

Kind of an artsy photo? These lanterns were hanging on one of the streets we walked through, I thought I'd snap a picture.

I thought this store was interesting. A friend of mine said that they're starting to dissapear with more girls being interested in modern clothing, but I think this store is a really good example of some traditional Japanese culture.

A play that was going on after the festival.

And that’s what we ended up finding. It was sort of a Japanese play, unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention in Japanese culture class to tell you what kind of play it is (I’m just sure it’s not a No play). We caught maybe the last 5 minutes of it, and it was pretty interesting. — Note, this is the “Musical” as referred to in the title.

More play snaps

Another play picture. Evidently, I'm still not good at night time shooting.

After a while, we walked a little closer to the stage and got some closer shots... This is one of those shots.

Right across from where the play took place, there is actually a shrine. We went there also... Though I am sure I will reshoot the shrine during the day sometime, and get some beter pictures.

A picture of the main building at the Shrine!

I am not sure if this is a good picture or not... I am leaning way towards not. That is pretty much all I have to say about this picture.

A statue we saw at the shrine... Once again, awkward shooting conditions for me, I guess.

After all that excitement, I just snapped pictures of random things….

I thought this bike was worth taking a picture of. That is pretty much all I have to say. No idea why I thought it was cool, just did.

I thought this postbox was kind of famous or distinctively japanese, so I shot a picture of it. I think the picture turned out quite well, actually.

Well, that’s about it for now… I’ll leave you with this thought, however: It looks like the more time I spend in Japan, the less I know about Japanese culture.

Deep? not really.

Car Snaps: A little Japanese Sport

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I haven’t seen many cars too out of the ordinary here yet, but it’s getting there. Here are two that I saw, one quite a while ago and the other more recently. They’re more typical sports cars I’m into, and want to see more of, but I haven’t seen much yet, still not sure when I’ll get a chance to visit a track.

By the way, me and some friends have pretty much deduced that the spot where we kept seeing Ferraris (there was a black one, in the SAME spot, by the SAME shop as the white one I have pictured here) is a yakuza hang out. So I’m probably going to stop taking pictures of yakuza cars.

“What? How do you know they’re Yakuza? You’re just making things up! Aren’t you a BBMIJ, can’t you take care of yourself? Don’t be so chicken!” — If this is something you would say, my resposne is: Just the possibility of me being right is enough to deter me completely. Also, I get the disturbing feeling that Yakuza are even more brutal than some other crime syndicates, since the japanese love to take things to the next level.

Well anyway, here non-Yakuza cars I spotted…

Oh, please note, I’m in-between Photoshops right now, so the brushing was done with paint.

A yellow lexus I spotted in Shinjuku. This picture doesn't do the car justice... It had a lot of LED/NEON lights and other color touches everywhere... Very Unique. Very hard to screw up an IS.

A white RX7 I spotted on my way to try to find a festival (which I failed in doing, but more on that later)... It went by me pretty quick, but I managed to at least get this shot.

Pretty much the back of that same lexus. It was actually pretty difficult to get this shot, because that was a very active crosswalk.

The greatest childish game I have ever played.

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Here in japan, I’ve found something I doubt I could have forseen I’d find.

The game’s called Baby Bridges… though It has some other names, and I’m not sure where that particular name came from, heres how it goes… I’ve been playing it with some people at the dorm I live in, and it’s just so much fun.

So, how you play the game is, people have to be pinky swared in as a pair/group (so that you know who’s involved), and from then on, until two people (at least) pinky sware out, you cannot say any words that start with B. Can’t, as in, if you do, everyone else that’s playing the game is allowed to punch you until you say “Baby Bridges”. If I were to summarize the strategies involved in this game, it’d be:

1) Don’t say words that start with B
2) Always listen for words that start with B
3) Say “Baby Bridges” often

I have no idea why this game is so fun, maybe you have to be young and stupid to understand… Oh, and here’s a link to an explanation of the game:

http://everything2.com/title/letter+B

And in actual BBMIJ related news:

Here’s a shot of campus, where I’m NOT at today, because in Japan, Wednesdays happen to be a day off. Most classes are actually 1 hour and 30 minutes long, so two class periods construct 3 hours a week for a given class. Because of that, most classes are either Monday/Thursday classes, or Tuesday/Friday. Though there is one exception: Japanese Language class.

A bunch of my friends have to take Japanese everyday. I was blessed with Japanese 3, which DOESN’T have class on Wednesday, so presto-chango, I am FREE on Wednesday. I think America should take this approach soon, because it is absolutely amazing to go to school for two days maximum at a time.

I sure hope I haven’t posted this picture before…

A shot of the main street of the sophia campus. Most buildings are connected to the street. A pretty small campus, compared to UT, but then again, UT is the biggest school in the US, is it not?

I keep meaning to take my camera with me to more places and take more pictures…. But I’m kind of lazy. And seeing as I don’t have any money right now, it’s a little hard to plan outings. But that should change by next week. Anyway, a lazy post, on a lazy Wednesday.

My First Japanese Arcade

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I’ve got good news and bad news. I’m a bad news first kind of guy, so I’ll put the bad news first. Unfortunately, I am not in Japan on vacation. Evidently, that’s not what “Study Abroad” means. The foreign language (well, I guess it’s not foreign language to them…) department is hell bent on making sure I do my fair share of work, and more. Why does this matter? Even though I don’t typically do homework for long periods of time or at all, this means that just the thought of having homework now takes up my thoughts, adding to my laziness, and delaying blog posts even more. A tragedy.

The good news: Japanese arcades are awesome.

I should state that UFO catchers, or crane games, as some may call them, ARE A WASTE OF MONEY. DON’T DO IT, JUST DON’T. EVEN IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S RIGHT ON THE EDGE, IT WON’T GO ANYWHERE.

I say this, because I watched friends put money into machines that were just plain deceitful. Though, it was fun to watch. I think if I wanted to really, REALLY torture someone, I’d lock them to something dangerous, like a moving saw that’s going to hurt them, and require them to win something from a crane game to be freed. I should submit my idea to whatever movie company makes SAW.

But other than that, the arcade was a really different experience from arcades in America (though I have to admit, I haven’t been to one since I was a much younger kid)… First of all, there were all sorts of people there. I saw an old business man playing a dynasty warriors like strategy game with some trading cards that were evidently magnetized or something, because he could play them, and have their effects show up on the screen. Then, I saw more UFO catchers. Then MORE UFO catchers. Then a machine that dispensed candy, but it was another crane game.

The Japanese like crane games.

After going up to the second floor (There were at least 4. I can’t even imagine how anyone would get out if there was a fire. Same goes for about 80% of places I’ve been in tokyo), I saw some more games…. I saw this cube game that was like… Simon says on ‘roids. Though I didn’t get a picture, imagine a 4×4 possibly 5×5 Rubik’s cube on which you had to press each every time you saw each one light up. It was insane. And of course, the japanese gamers there were playing it with intense skill. I saw that coming.

Up another level, and we saw a bunch of shooters, a real-time simulation horse racing bet game, with something like 8 chairs for people to play (I guess if you don’t have space for a real track, an electronic one works too?). Then we saw a mario kart arcade game, which I can only imagine was a TON of fun.

Going up another level, things started getting GOOD. We saw a Internet-linked Gundam Simulator, which I just had to get some pictures of, and a friend of mine played. Unfortunately, I had no money this entire time, so all I could do was watch. I think I fully understand the “poor college student” idea now.

And as is customary on the internets, if there are no pictures, it didn’t happen. BEWARE, the picture are HUGE (I forgot to batch resize these, and I’m way too lazy to re-upload)…

On my way to Shinjuku, I came across this:

Evangelion really is a big phenomenon in japanese culture... I still have yet to see it, because I have on good authority that it is terrible after episode 10.

Saw this at the train station... I think it's for a clothing store, but an Evangelion based promotion is still awesome.

Some arcade shots:

Evidently, Winnie the Pooh is popular enough to have his own crane game. With NOTHING but Winnie the Poohs.

Yeah, those are like fox tail things. A friend of mine won one of these, after spending around $16. I think I could get tools to catch my own fox with $16.

As many have already seen, this is the Taiko-inspired drum game that many know and love. I didn't play it... but it looked fun?

Wierdly enough, this game is actually one of my biggest fantasies/todos ever. I want to flip a table, at some point in my life... Though I don't really want to be angry enough to flip a table, that might be the only way to understandably flip a table. This game is a must play for me.

The afore-mentioned horse race betting game. What a weird game. It just feels like something is missing... Horses, a stadium, other people, excitement, are among the things I could name that are missing...

I know this game would have been so fun. SO FUN.

Some absolutely random but awesome figurines that I saw while perusing the UFO Catcher section. Unfortunately, they were not attainable... just sort of there.

Gundam Pods. This is so awesome, it just absolutely blows my mind. Just SO AWESOME. SO AWESOME.

The Gundam pods were awesome, however, I found another downside to being a BBMIJ. You don’t fit in the arcade games you want to play the most. Sigh. What a loss.

The inside of the Gundam Arcade Pod. SO AWESOME.

I can't explain this ad to you.

Though I'm not really a fan of the Alien Versus Predator series/franchise, I thought this was a pretty awesome model. Nevermind the music video in the background.

And that’s about it. We’ll see what I can get into next week.

Car Snaps: Another Exotic

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I don’t know what it is about the Japanese, but they seem to be very rich. Maybe, everyone saves all their money all the time so that they can buy exotic cars… Not a bad culture at all.

Well, theres only one car in this feature… And it’s a Ferrari. a beautiful, beautiful car. Though I didn’t get to see it go, it was parked in around the same place as the Mercedes that’s been featured multiple times. I’m starting to think it’s a Yakuza hang out spot. There are only two pictures, but enjoy:

It's a Ferrari.

A FERRARI!

I envy you, japanese yakuza/rich businessmen/debt-ridden car enthusiast. I envy you.

Mashup Post: 10/03/2010

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OK, so I haven’t made a lot of posts over the last week, since I’ve been so busy with school beginning, and friends throwing parties, and going around but not bringing my camera, so heres a Mashup post, including basically most of the things that have happened recently. Heeeeere we go.

OK, so I ALMOST had an awesome JWeird Post. The title was going to be “Cat Cafes”. As I’m sure you’ve all heard, Japan has numerous cafes, some of which are maid cafes, in which people dressed as maids serve you, and smile at you, and talk to you, etc, etc. A little less known (though a Japanese friend of mine has told me that this is NOT a normal Japanese place people go to), is the CAT CAFE. Yes, it’s exactly as it sounds. You go in, PET CATS, and eat/drink ridiculously overpriced food.

I think it’s Cat Prostitution. Really. Do a comparison between regular old prostitution and this “cat cafe” business, and I’m sure that you’ll see the similarities are glaring, too. But anyway, how did I ALMOST get a good post? I didn’t go in.

Yeah, I can hear your boos, but heres my defense: at the time, I have 1000 yen to my name, and the entrance fee was 900 yen. Could YOU justify spending 90% of your remaining assets to WALK IN o a place where you pet cats and eat? Nevermind the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything once entering. I didn’t think so.

Anyway, here are the pictures I snapped of the place:

Heres the street sign for the cat cafe. You almost wouldn't know what it was. It's the store called *Calico*

This was the sign in front of the door. Yeah, I am aware it is becoming more and more dissapointing to look at the pictures of the place I did NOT go into.

Almost like those flyers cards you get with obscene pictures and services on them, heres a sign that was up, showcasing all the kinds fo cats you could get your hands on.

OK, well, the next few shots are kind of related, but kind of not, and I guess I could make a joke about it, but I won’t. They’re all cranes. One, I saw walking to school, the other I saw in an arcade.

Unfortunately, this was all I was able to get with the DSLR. I guess I need a better lens... Or maybe next time I'll just make up the distance by foot.

Another crane.... Man there are a LOT of toys in this crane game.

ANOTHER crane game (there were at least 10 of them) I thought 2 pictures was enough to get the feel.

Now, some random shots I took… They’re spread out over a couple days, and some are attempts at art… Bear with me as I finally get this stuff off my todo list.

Guiness hat... Bought it at Kohls, and I can only wear the hat a couple weeks after cutting my hair.

I cannot believe I was going to do a feature on this. It is only a gum packet.

This guy and this dog ran past me at a pretty brisk pace. Unbelieveably, he wasn't laughed at or mocked, people just wanted to pet his dog. Maybe I should get a dog that's the complete opposite of me (maybe a small poodle?), and run with it.

I saw this Mercedes on the same street as the guy and the dog.... A very nicely done Mercedes with a little camber. I like.

I now know why asians play violin and piano. This looks like an ONLY violin/viola shop. ONLY violins and violas. I had the urge to go in there and ask if they sell saxophones.

A city shot... of the City. It was overcast this day, as is obvious.

I saw this beetle after a night out with my friends. As a testament to my sobriety, I realized this beetle was rare, and got a pretty good picture of it, despite all the people that were around. Go me!

And now, for a truly weird and disturbing look into the NOT DANGEROUS side of Shinjuku. I feel like I need to repeat, I hadn’t even WANDERED into the bad part of town yet (assuming there is one), and I saw these signs.

Sketchy club I ran into in Japan.

Another picture of the sketchy club I ran into in Japan.

So, what’s the big deal? Why are these pictures so important? It looks like your usual parlor of promiscuity. OK, so this didn’t shock me (which I guess is a win for the Japaneses society, and a loss for me), but the name of the place is. I tried my hardest to translate it a different way, but it translates to “Hu ai to bi- chi”. In regular speak: White Bitch. Yes. The name of that store, is White Bitch. Unbelievable. That’s all I have to say about it, I just felt it was important to post. I wonder if the person who thought up the name of this business was even aware of what it meant.

And with that picture, that’s the end of my mashup post. Sorry for being lazy, but at least now I have a clean slate, and can take some more pictures, without making a million posts to categorize them all.

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