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.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
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!
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Sunday, August 12, 2007
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.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
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.
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.
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.