Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Japanese Peace Sign

Have you ever been perplexed why almost every Japanese person will pose with a "peace sign" when taking a photo? I think it's awesome, but that never answered my question. I found this, and it seems to explain this phenomenon.
Have you ever noticed the "peace sign" (aka the victory or V-sign) that Japanese people make with their fingers whenever they're having their photographs taken? It's almost the Japanese National Gesture, and quite puzzling to foreigners who wonder why every single Japanese seems to make this sign in every photograph, especially cute girls. While the origins of this strange pose are not known, I would guess that U.S. soldiers probably made the sign (originally popularized by Winston Churchill) while posing for photographs during Japan's occupation, and it entered the Japanese mind set at that time. When you say "peace" your face naturally smiles, the same as saying "cheese." Another way the Japanese get you to smile for a photograph is asking, "What's one plus one?" (in Japanese, Ichi tasu ichi wa?). The answer of course is ni (two), another word that naturally makes your face smile for the camera.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dinner with great friends

IMG_0768, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

We went out to eat with Ian and his friends. We had a great time and I can absolutely say that they all now hold a very special place on my heart. The food and drinks were fantastic, even with my initial doubt that fish can be good, I ended up enjoying it. Lots of veggies, some noodles -- just great all around. We topped the night off with 5 hours of drunken karaoke, basically until the sun was out and we were able to take the first train home.

Kanpai to you my friends, thanks for the awesome time!

The Summer Festival

IMG_0761, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

We had the special privilege to be at one of the summer festivals. Lots of drumming and dancing, and basically they are just celebrating summer. Each neighborhood will have it their own time so I'm guessing these can be seen all over Japan on various dates. We got there just a few minutes before it was over, but it was a blast anyway.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Look up!

IMG_0680, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Space is Tokyo is a luxury that many don't have. Everything is crowded, from the subways, to apartments, to the streets. One of the things that as a visitor you have to get used to is to realize that there's more to everything than meets the eye, especially if you don't look up. Stores, bars and food spots are stacked on top of one another, often spanning all floors of any given building. There will be signs outside, letting onlookers know what all the different floors have to offer. So if you ever visit Tokyo, remember to look up and around or you will probably miss most of what the city has to offer.


IMG_0683, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

It's a holiday week here in Japan. Many people are off and are out of town. Yesterday was officially the last day and today many people are returning to work. Anyway, seems like due to the holiday Kimonos (wikipedia) are really popular at the moment. And they are awesome! Pictured are some Kimonos are outragious prices but they can be had cheaper if you shop around a little. Just know that I will bring myself back a Kimono (they have them for men and women), with the traditional slippers and the whole shi-bang! I can't wait to parade around the city with it.

Check more Kimonos on Flickr.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


IMG_0595, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

This picture really doesn't hold a lot of significance to what just happened. It was taken in Asakusa, Tokyo yesterday when we went looking for some small shops and bars.

It is early in the morning and at 4:15AM I got woken up by a magnitude 2 earthquake. It hit right outside the bay of Tokyo. There was nothing over a 4 on the Richter scale and I don't think any serious damage was caused by it. I just woke up and noticed the bed shaking a bit. Kinda interesting. Well, back to sleep I go.

You can check out the complete list of locations and their scale readings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

100 yen shops

IMG_0525, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Why pay 99 cents when you can pay 100 yen?! These shops have apparently become more popular in the last few years and are starting to pop up more and more. As you can probably guess, everything in the store can be had for 100 yen. There's lots of useful household items, snacks and almost anything you can imagine.

Baseball Hall of Fame

IMG_0447, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Yesterday we went to the Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. The Japanese really love their baseball and I can most certainly relate.


IMG_0417, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Japan has to be one of the cleanest large cities I've ever seen. Nobody ever seems to litter yet garbage disposal bins such as above are hard to come by. There are no garbage cans at street corners and the only ones seem to be next to a select number of vending machines and even those are usually just for cans and bottles. We have a joke going on that when we buy a bottle of water we'll basically be stuck carrying it for the next hour. So I guess I'm confused as to why the city can be so clean when it's so hard to dispose of ones trash.

Monday, August 13, 2007


IMG_0356, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Haha, it's funny to me. :)

Lots more "Japangrish" to be had on Flickr.

Tokyo Tower

IMG_0387, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

We got really close up. Word has it that the view up there is amazing, but on this SUnday evening the line was rediculous. There was a line to get on another line. You get the idea. We'll be coming back to this later during the week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Again with the old vs. new

IMG_0301, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Here is one of the amazing houses right behind our hotel. While it doesn't look old it certainly looks a bit out of place inbetween the modern apartment buildings.

Great gardens?

IMG_0315, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

I can't seem to adjust my sleep schedule, so after another restless night I decided to go out early and take some shots of the residential area behind our hotel. A lot of the houses are decorated beautifully as can be seen above.

Snack galore!

IMG_0297, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

The snacks here are awesome. The shot above is from one of the convinient stores just around the corner from here.

The old with the new

IMG_0250, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

It's a stark contrast sometimes between the old and the new in Japan.

Imperial Palace

IMG_0237, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

From Ginza, we walked all the way over to the Imperial Palace. It's only a few minutes away and while it was extremely hot and humid out, it was worth it.

Vending everything you need

IMG_0174, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

The Japense have vending machines for EVERYTHING. Regular vending machines sell drinks, everything from water, to greentea, to cold coffee drinks. Then they have vending machines for beer as well as cigarettes. Legal drinking age is 20 but there's no way that can really be enforced with these machines everywhere.

Subway confusion

IMG_0153, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

This confused the hell out of us for a good 10 minutes. Luckily my guide book had the whole thing in english from which we were able to cross reference things. After only two trips, however, I feel it's very easy and straightforward.

Japanese Dominos

IMG_0141, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Check this out. They have some of the strangest flavors coming together on pizzas. Zoom in and check out the names.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great view

Japan 034, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

The Hotel is located right across the street from a park and overlooks downtown Shinjuku. There was lots of stuff going on over there and we have quite the view out of the window. The room is small but comfy and we're looking forward to some sleep and then finally go out tomorrow morning.

Why am I confused by this?

Japan 027, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

After about half an hour of walking around aimlessly and asking people "Excuse me. Where is Shinjuku New City Hotel?" in the most broken Japanese you've ever heard we got into a cab. The cabbie seemed just as lost as we were, but we eventually made it.


Japan 026, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Finally. The cab from the airport would have been 24,500 yen. Yep, that's over $250! So we said no thanks and decided to make an adventure out of it by taking the train instead. 4310 yen and 90 minutes later we arrived.

Japanese Dining

Japan 011, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Ok not really, but the food was very Japanese style. To the right is some salad consisting of various seafoods, top has some plain noodles (sauce was on the side) and steak with mashed potato. Ok, the steak probably wasn'y very Japanese, but still tasty and all in all it was probably the best part of the flight. Why? Because I had no leg room and kept getting cramps.

The beginnings..

Japan 002, originally uploaded by BklynAce.

Waiting to check-in. We were one of the first ones on line so it was only a few minutes wait once the lines opened up.