Friday, September 14, 2007

Bikes in Japan

While I was in Hikone, I got the impression that all anyone had in Japan was these unrideable POS commuter bikes. Once in a rare while I would see someone on an honest-to-goodness road bike, once even in spandex, but I can count the number of times that occurred on one hand. Anyway, I borrowed one of the crap bikes from the school so I could go shopping and stuff, and while it was ludicrously undersized it did have a bell AND a honky horn on it, so that was alright.

Anyway, now I’m in Tokyo and I am learning that Hikone was not typical. Not that Tokyo should be seen as typical, but here there is a much greater variety of bikes. There are a lot of messengers, and they tend to ride shiny new singlespeeds, almost always tastefully colored, rather than the fashionably shitty fixed gears that you so often see in America.
They have the commuters and foldable bikes here, too, but I’ve seen some that look like they have internal gearing or something. This one was suspended in some weird way. There was one foldable bike that had monstrous pegs on it. I also saw some dude on a bianchi somethingorother.

There are also a lot of bikes made by car manufacturers here. I had heard of Cadillac bikes, but they were just a curiosity, really. I was surprised at first, but now I’m used to seeing once in a while a Chevrolet bike. The best one was this Dodge BMX bike.

“That thing got a Hemi?”

I'm staying now in Osaka. There are a lot more hostess bars and a lot fewer messengers. I went to one enormous underground complex that had every kind of shopping you could imagine. One display was advertising Sharp TVs and had some silly biking on it.

Edit: I can't get it to upload. I'll try later

Saturday, September 8, 2007

hot hot hot, red hot

Some more music. I haven't cut this one up in to bite-sized chunks, but it's fun. I've just started to get the hang of using ableton, so this is experimental until I can get a handle on some more of the functions in the program. I have a great mix of the thong song that I wanted to get on there, but I ran out of momentum when I got to the Bjork. More will follow, I'm sure.


Best Fwends - Bedroom Music
Don Rimini - Sumo and Geishas
Yuksek - Composer (Surkin Remix)
(dunno) - Knight Rider theme song
Soulwax - I Love Techno
Diplo ft. Daft Punk - Work is Never Over
Speaker Junk - Close Your Eyes (chopped by me)
Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (Chateau Flight Remix)
Daft Punk - Musique
Bjork - Innocence (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where I've been

For the most part, I've been hanging out with this guy. He had a spinal cord injury when he was 18ish, and needs someone to help him get in and out of bed, to help him grab stuff from shelves, cook and feed, etc etc. Most important is helping him transition to his full-time Japanese caretakers.
"Hoteru Mayonezu"

The plane ride was uneventful. We went first class, since he had to have seats that recline fully or else he might get a deep vein thrombosis and die. He also had to have lots of room so he wouldn't get a pressure sore, or else he might die. It was fun, though. I sat down in my spacious chair with fold-out TV and 3-prong plugs, and said yes to everything the flight attendants offered me. This included extractable cheese.

The scenery was nice, but right after hte meal everyone shut their windows and tried to sleep. I stayed awake the whole time but for about 45 minutes, going on the theory that since I was arriving at a normalish bedtime I could reset my clock in one night. It's a good idea, I think, but only if you can go for a full 24 hours and then get back on schedule after 6ish hours of sleep. I don't know if it qualifies as jet lag, but I was pretty sleepy for a few days.

First class clouds.

We went to Kyoto, and there was enough in the station alone to keep us occupied for several hours. It's an amazing place from what we were able to see in the few hours we had, and I plan to go back as soon as I can.

Some artwork on the 15th floor of Kyoto station.

I'm living for the time in a little town called Hikone (that's Hee Koh Nay) in the Shiga prefecture. You can see windsurfers out on the lake fairly often. The lake itself looks different almost every day. All the trees and gardens here are very well maintainedIt has a long history, of which I'm mostly ignorant, but it has a cute little mascot named Hikonya. He and his nemesis are ALL over town. I've forgotten the other one's name, but he's often pictured with a bottle or barrel of alcohol next to him. Hikonya wears a helmet with huge horns on it, which was a distinctive feature of the warriors of Shiga prefecture.

Some kind of shrine or cemetary.

We visited the castle gardens. They were beautiful.

I'm going to Tokyo on Monday for two nights, and then to Kyoto for one night and then Osaka. After a night in Osaka, I will be meeting my lovely girlfriend at the airport. Then to Nishinomiya, a suburb of Osaka, to begin orientation and everything for school. Kwansei (Kansai) Gakuin Daigaku, which translates roughly to Kansai (western region of Japan including Kyoto and Osaka) University University.

I have lots more pictures, and keep adding to the collection. See here for more.

Food here is tasty, but I find myself craving hot dogs and beer. I haven't found hot dogs, and the 3 types of beers I've tried here they've all been pretty terrible. I miss my girlfriend