Saturday, July 31, 2004


I rode my crummy folding bike to central Yokohama today. If I had a real bike, it would take about 45 minutes to get there including being lost time, but it probably took me an hour and 45 minutes.

While exploring the area around Sakuragi-cho station, close to the main touristy area, I stopped to look at a map, and met a guy who had just come back from LA to get his visa renewed. We talked for a while, and I asked what were good places other than where I'd already been? It turns out that I've already been to them all, so I rode the rest of the way to Yokohama station. Between the two stations there is a long wall of the elevated tracks that has a ton of really good graffiti. If you go to my new pictures page (there is also a link on the top left) you can see some of these and some other pictures that haven't made it into my blog.

I also found Yodobashi Camera, and Bic Camera, two of the Tokyo areas (and probably all of Japan's) largest camera and electronics stores. It's nice to know where these are so I don't have to go all the way to Tokyo to get some of the specialty films I like. They also have all the darkroom stuff that I will need when I start getting that set up. Yeah!

Originally uploaded by noexit.

Monday, July 26, 2004


This is an artists rendition of my alien status. I think I am making the "Kelsey face" in that picture.
floating head
Originally uploaded by noexit.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Tokyo Culture

The modern cultural hub of Japan is centered around two neighboring districts in Tokyo; Harajuku and Shibuya. Harajuku, begining at the entrance to the shrine of Emperor Meiji and sprawling south, is know as the center of the strange gothic counter culture. This group, which used to be a Sunday fixture at the entrance to Meiji Shrine, has dwindled to almost nothing in recent years, but the casual feeling of Harajuku still remains. It's a good place to go for lunch in one of the many cafe's (although my favorite, a french cafe off Aoyama Dori closed down) or browsing through galleries, or looking at the hub of Tokyo's fashion.
Originally uploaded by noexit.

A little ways down the road from Harajuku, or the next stop by train, is Shibuya. In contrast to Harajuku, Shibuya is fast paced and always moving. Entering Shibuya from the JR Station, the first intersection you cross is the busiest in the world. 6 streets converge at an intersection that has existed since the Edo period, with a huge crosswalk that gives equal time to both pedestrians and cars. Each time the crossing lights turn green (or blue if your Japanese), the entire intersection is filled with people crossing in every direction. Above the intersection, there are huge TV screens on the buildings, and the busiest Starbuck's Coffee in the world. This famous scene can is also shown in the movie "Lost in Translation". Shibuya competes with Shinjuku as the center or night life with its innumerable clubs, bars and restaurants. But it is also home to all or the top department stores and brands that young people spend way too much money on.
Originally uploaded by noexit.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


It was pointed out to me recently that my page was rendering poorly on Windows computers using Internet Explorer. I believe the problem was that Internet Explorer shouldn't handle the width of one of my pictures. It was probably a bug in Internet Explorer but I changed it so that it shouldn't look bad in IE.

Internet Explorer is known to be buggy and lacking in security and support for web standards. Security experts have recently begun to recommend browsers such as Mozilla. Using Mozilla will give you a popup blocker that actually works without blocking pages that you want to popup, and you will have fewer problems with spyware and browser hijacking software (which I think are worse headaches than viruses and worms). Check out the "About Internet Explorer" in the Internet Options Menu. "Most people don't even drive cars as old as this browser." Check out this article from the Seattle Times.

If my page is still looking bad with Internet Explorer, leave a comment, and I will see what's going on.


I came back from my friends house in Yamanashi on Sunday, but my internet connection has been flaky for the last few days and I didn't really want to spend an hour typing a paragraph on my cell phone.

Yamanashi was really fun though. It's way up in the mountains about 3 or 4 hours from here, one of the two prefectures that Mt. Fuji is in. The weather was pretty good, and Saturday all but the very top of Mt. Fuji was visible. Mt. Fuji is 3775 meters (12,387 feet), a bit shorter than Mt. Rainer at 4392m (14,410 feet) and further south, so in the summer there is usually no snow. After I arrived in Yamanashi, we went to a sushi place for lunch and then drove up to Mt. Fuji. When climbing Mt. Fuji, there are 10 stations and there is a road going half way up the mountain to station 5, which is where most people climb to. I didn't actually climb the mountain, except a little ways to station 6. When I climb, probably next summer, I am planning on starting at the bottom. Both my grandpa and my Japanese teacher said that you have to start at station one. Starting at 5 is kind of cheating...

After Mt. Fuji, we went to one of the five lakes that surround the mountain, and to this famous spot where a cold water spring gushes from the ground. I don't know what it's called, but I'll have pictures of it all sometime when I get my film developed. (I should start doing everything in B&W so I can do it myself. Or get the digital body for my SLR...)

The next day we went to the river and had a Japanese style BBQ. Rather than grill just hamburgers and bring things like salads like we do in the States, in Japan they grill really thin slices of really good cuts of beef, pork and chicken, along with peppers, onions, squash and other veggies. You can eat is straight off the grill with your chopsticks, or dip it in sauce. So we just sat around and grazed for 3 hours and played in the river until it was time to go.

Right now, since I am on my vacation, Ai and I are planning on taking a trip somewhere up north or to the mountains. We're not really sure where yet, since she's still a poor student, and I'm only on my first pay cheque still, it's going to be cheap. Camping or something would be fun, but we don't know anyone that has tents or sleeping bags or anything, so maybe a ski resort. They usually have cheap deals for the summer when they want business.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Here my first attempt at using Blogspots mobile blogging tools. Unfortunatly, I wont know if theres anything wrong with it or be able to fix it until I get home.

I'm on the train right now to meet someone in the last car of the east bound train on the Chuo Line departing Hachioji Station at 9:18am. It's one of the members of my AUAP group from 4 years ago that I haven't seen in over 2 years. We are going to her family's house in Yamanashi (山梨 not 山無).

But the title of this post is "Trains". I live about a 30 second run from one of the many private commuter lines that radiate from Tokyo, so I don't really ride Japan Rail lines much anymore, so I forget about the warning signs of a part of the train that no one wants to ride. As I stood waiting for the train, I noticee that the markings for the doors on the platform were really close together. But I forgot that this means the car from hell. A lot of the JR lines that have newer train sets have one of these cars with 6 doors per side, leaving room only for small seats that are locked folded up during most times of the day. Instead, there are just lots of handels an poles down the center of the train. They are not bad on the croded Yamanote line in Tokyo, but on this rural line I have been riding on for the last hour, its not so good.

So heres the result of about an hour of typing on a cell phone. Not very fast, and I have forgotten what I wrote at the beginning...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lightning! Thunder! Oh My!

There's a great thunder storm going on right now. It's pretty close, and really loud, and there have been at least 30 stikes already. There is so much, that I can't even tell which thunder comes from which lightening. My electricity even went out for a few seconds! Everything in my room goes badum with really close ones. Cool having a laptop eh?

Speaking of my room, do you want to see it?

Here's the right side of my apartment. To the left is my hallway and kitchen, and left of that, which you can't see, is my closet.

Here's the picture from the hallway. On the left is my water-heater. In front is my balcony, and folded up in the corner is my futon.

And here's my bathroom. It's all a separate plastic box with a drain in the floor, when when I need to clean it, I just hose everything down.

Monday, July 05, 2004


I finally got two rolls of film developed. Total cost: About $40 US for one set of small prints, and one CD with scans of all the images. There's got to be a cheaper place...

Anyhoo, I'm working on getting a gallery set up. In the mean time, here's a sneak peak.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


The semi are coming out. Semi are Japanese Cicadas that come out every summer. In Japan, semi are symonomous with the hot, humid days that you just want to sit around and do nothing. So semi are the reason I haven't been updating my blog much. And because I finally got paid, so I'm not sitting around in my room doing nothing. So right now are the 'meeeeeeeeeeee' semi. There aren't so many of them yet, but I think they will start to get louder. Later this summer will be my favorate, the 'mueeemmm eeeemmmm eeeemmmm eeeemmmeee muwaaaaa' semi. They are really loud. Last time I was in Kyoto during the summer, I had to yell to be heard over the semi crowding the trees.

Here's a good page that has recordings of the various semi sounds.