Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thoughts: Q and A

Q1: Is Burger King disgusting to you now?
I don't particularly care for the overwhelming majority of fast food to begin with... I can count on one paw how many times I've been to a Burger King since coming to Japan (I believe a total of 3). I've had McDonald's probably a few more times (I'd guess 6 or 7?) as they are so ubiquitous - there are two within a 10 minutes walk from my apartment. I've never had KFC here. I've been to a Subway maybe 3 times? I do most of my cooking at home. I did appreciate some of the more "gourmet" options that were available at the fast food outlets in Japan; prosciutto and ricotta cheese subs, for example.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Japan: 2013-03-22 Ueno Hanami 上野お花見

Ueno Park

March 22nd, 2013

    Every spring there is a short window of time when Tokyo, and most of Japan, explodes. After the brisk, icy winters the gentle rays of springtime sunshine reawaken the senses and the fauna inhabiting the area…oh, yes, that's right; Cherry Blossoms! What blog or trip to Japan would be complete without some mention, however brief, of ye olde infamous cherry blossoms? Believe it or not, their season is actually quite brief- only two weeks or so of their full glory before their petals drop and the trees begin sprouting fresh new leaves for the year.  It's often used as a poetic metaphor on the brevity of our own mortality. Hmm.

People gather en masse to celebrate this beautiful yet ephemeral time of year. There will be picnics, public drinking, singing, dates, bike rides, and so forth in any excuse to gather and spend time among the blossoms. It's really quite lovely. There's not a whole lot I can say about it that hasn't already been said a thousand times over by better narrators than I, so enjoy this photo bomb. Imagine the sun on your skin and the low chatter of Japanese around you.

Japan: 2013-03-22 Ameya Yokocho アメヤ横丁


Ameya Yokocho

March 22nd, 2013

      My friend Yuka and I had been visiting Ueno park for hanami and Ameya Yokocho happens to be right around the corner so we popped over for a tour. The name means "candy shop alley", though now there seems to be more of a focus on various foods rather than the singular sweets. Octopus tentacles, among a wide and bountiful array of other options are all readily available. If you're curious and want to stretch your Japanese skills you can check out their website here to get a feeling for the vibe of their shops. It's an eclectic mix of street vendors, shopping centers and food market…which means that it's the kind of place I greatly enjoyed!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Las Vegas: 2014-04-18 Blinking Man Magical Mystery Tour de Finale

      Imagine, if you will, a parade of leg-powered vehicles galavanting around the glamorous and often grungy neon-spackled streets of Downtown Las Vegas…throw in a hearty dosage of Burning Man-infused imagery, antics and outfits and you get the gist of Las Vegas's own Blinking Man. Facebook event page.

     This year marked the 9th annual Blinking Man…it was my first time in attendance, though. I have to admit, I had my reservations; bicycling and drinking do not go hand in hand, and the event is a pub crawl…drivers downtown can be scary enough in a car…not to mention the fact that my most tenacious bike ride in the past few months had been less than a mile or two…add to that the fact that we  had an appointment to catch, I had my doubts. In the end, I am SO glad we went!

Las Vegas: 2015-04-25 Holi Festival of Color 2015


     Are you a fan of color? If, like me, you find the idea of antiquing complete strangers with fistfuls of colored powder appealing, then boy do I have an event for you! 

     The Holi Festival of Color! It's a traveling event celebrating an Indian tradition that largely involves satchels of colored cornstarch powder; animal safe, people safe (though mildly irritating to get in your eyes). People of all ages, shapes, styles, and sizes gathered for live group yoga sessions, live music, raffles, food, dancing, and the all important tossing of colors.