月曜日, 2月 28, 2011

Naked Woman, Naked Man, Where Did You Get That Nice Suntan?

Okay, first I want to say thank you to everyone who visits my blog. I have really been trying to step up the appearance and interface and even made some small design changes since yesterday, so I hope there are a few people out there enjoying my efforts.
It's like "Thanks", with a Jamaican accent.

And I want to tell you that I've started using this RSS business I always see on other people's blogs and websites, and I really like it. Specifically, I am using "Google Reader" because I figure they already have so much of my private info, I might as well just let them know what I read online too. Anywho, it is a really cool and easy way to keep up with news, and people's updates to their statuses and blogs. Like Twitter for people who can decide for themselves whether they'd like to commit to more than 140 characters worth of input. It is also a nice way to bypass filters on your work computer if they block "blog sites" like mine does. >=D
You can now, also subscribe to my blog on the right hand side of the page. Or if you have your own "blogger/blogspot" than you can just "follow" me. The numbers aren't important, but keeping people (who want to be) informed on my life is very important.

One selfish request I have is that you vote on my poll honestly (if you already did ↑TANKS again!) with whatever knowledge you have of my ability and personality. You guys are my lifeline, and I am "polling the audience" before my "Final Ansa'".
Cerebral Side Rant OVER.
Also, please let me know what you think of my writing, or the content, or improvements, or requests for what you'd like to hear more about. I've added a bunch of simple choices you can choose from to the bottom of every post, or you can comment in detail. Because my favorite hobby is finding new challenges and life experiences, maybe you've already tried something you can recommend to me and I will get back to you with a post on my experience once I've picked up your gauntlet. You can do that here, or by email, or on fb, but I would like to know what you like and don't like or just your reaction to reading these entries. It matters to me.

So... anyone recognize the song I stole my entry title from? It's by a little band called "The Specials". And I thought of it because of the words "NAKED MAN".

Yes, after 5 years in Hiroshima, I finally went to the 裸祭り or "Naked Festival". This could also easily qualify as "Crazy Japanese Stuff", although if you're familiar with Shinto beliefs it actually all made plenty of sense. Still, it was that typical half-ceremony/half-competition that you commonly see in Shinto Festivals that purposely creates chaos for the joy of spectators and entertainment of the gods. So I feel "purposely insane" is an accurate description.
So I hopped a Hiroshima AJET bus to Okayama Saturday afternoon, Feb. 19th. and started drinking. The reasons for drinking were two-fold. One, I'm surrounded by other JETs drinking, on a chartered bus, so what better time to drink? And two, I knew by the time we reached the temple in the evening, the majority of the Japanese people there would already be drunk. So four drinks and several hours in, we were quite late getting there, probably because of traffic, and I was feeling drunk and a little bored, so when we pulled into a rest stop I decided to strip down to the cheap fundoshi (loincloth) I had bought last Halloween as a goof with my friend and run a lap around the parking lot. Brace yourselves; it looked like this:
But at least I was recycling!
There was a big tour bus of old Japanese people who had a good laugh and a few even applauded my scantly clad jog in the cold night air. Getting back on the bus our driver said "You're early! We haven't gotten there yet!" and laughed.
Looking back it was the closest thing I've ever done to streaking, but I wasn't really worried because Japanese people are much less sensitive to nudity as communal baths, hot springs, and the festival we headed toward had already made abundantly clear.
Keep in mind, at this point, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to participate in the festival itself because I needed to have a team of at least 4 people and I was the only one on our bus even remotely interested, so I reasoned this was my insurance that at least I could say I wasn't too shy, even if the festival didn't work out.

Back, dressed, and on the bus to Okayama, the traffic made us later still and i was sobering up, which always makes me feel tired. By the time we got to the shrine, I wasn't really feeling "in the mood" to get naked in the cold. We walked around the grounds and went up to the alter and prayed.

There were TONS of cops there!

No Flash
Every once in awhile groups of "naked" dudes would appear running around in their fundoshi. Why and from where to where were they running? It was seemingly arbitrary.
This group was carrying the winner's of the "naked boy" portion. Calm down, you can see they aren't really naked.

I lost my group in the crowds and while I ate a doner kebab (my favorite Euro-food; for whatever reason you can always find at a Japanese matsuri (festival),

This sign advertises Turkish cuisine as one of the world's "Top 3"

I called some other friends who i knew would be there that evening. Finally getting a hold of one he said, "Come to the changing room, you can hold my shit for me". Okay, I thought, why not? I started asking around and as I got closer and closer to the changing room I began to think, "Why would I sit on the sidelines and hold stuff for someone else doing it?!? No, I want to be a part of this!!"So when I found the place and was looking for him, i ran into more friends and said "Hey, um, can I be on your team?" to which they responded "HELL YEAH!" and it was all good times from there! I bought my fundoshi and tabi (split-toe shoes) for 1000 yen (12USD) and paid another 1000 for the participation fee, and before I knew it an old Japanese man was wrapping me in the longest piece of cloth I'd ever seen, and friends were handing me large bottles of sake!

Haha John, thanks for that.

Not so bad yeah? You can't see it, but my but is hanging out with a thick white cloth covering my crack like a Kurosawa samurai film! The funny thing is, I wasn't the least bit embarrassed, despite my bare ass!

No pictures after that point, sadly. I left my pockets in my clothing and we commenced running laps around the temple like the groups of men we'd seen before. We probably shouted "Washoi, Washoi!" a phrase meant to to liven up our spirits and the atmosphere of the matsuri. We fell into a huge line of fundoshi-clad men, all still shouting. as we approached the temple. Even inside the temple, we were locked in on a path of follow-the-leader and followed them onto a detour into a small and ancient pool of waist deep water which we then sloshed and splashed around in. Keep in mind, this is February and after 9PM, so the water was freezing!
The procession continued to a Buddhist temple on the same grounds of as the Shinto shrine (this is common for Japan where they don't feel the need to choose just one religion), and broke into single file to pray at the alter before reforming and running up into the main shrine's covered (for lack of a better word) porch! It was so strange because less than an hour before I had been to all these same places, fully dressed and snapping photos: look!

Here's the Temple pre-being full of naked men and spectators!
This is the "patio" area's second floor.

But the patio area was now jammed in tight with similarly naked men, and it took only a few minutes of being jammed together to make us dream of that cold pool of water we so foolishly hurried through before! After 40 minutes of feeling like we were at the front of a U2 concert, the waves of people pushing us to and fro, and watching out sweat evaporate and rise visibly to the second floor, they turned off all the lights and under a strobe of photographers flashes, everyone tried frantically to grab the 神木, basically many sticks like what you saw young boy carrying in the photo of "naked men" above. If your group secures one and makes it out of the temple grounds, you win a large sum of cash! But that alone would not entertain anyone, let alone GODS, so being an all-male festival, anyone still within the grounds is allowed to try and take the sticks from you by any means necessary! So this is what it looked like when the sticks were thrown out:
That's me in the red circle!
In the end, I never even SAW a stick, only swarms of people already fighting over them. So once things died down, I changed back into my normal clothing, said good night to the friends I had met there, and walked back to the bus with my Hiroshima crew, stopping to buy a few celebratory drinks for the long bus ride home. I got home at 3 AM with work the next day, so my head crashed hard onto my pillow and I slept blissfully unaware, that as awesome a week I had just experienced, the next week (this last week, as I type this) would be. I really want to tell you about that now, but I will save it til my next post...

日曜日, 2月 27, 2011

Cruise Ships, Oysters, and Pro-Snowboarders

Sunday, February 13th, was going to be your standard day working at a reception for a cruise ship.

I was not excited to wake up before 6:30 a.m.
I had to meet up with the Port Promotion Bureau folks and welcome the 1,200 British passengers off a 45,000 ton cruise ship called "Artemis" at 7:45, in a suit. Since I took the last week off to go to Hokkaido, I was too exhausted Saturday to go to the Snowboard World Cup in Hiroshima I had been anxiously anticipating, and spent the day sleeping and doing laundry instead. This meant that Sunday morning, after donning my suit, I rode my bicycle to the International Center (which was still closed), and let myself in to the dark and lonely office to print out the speeches I'd be giving at the welcome ceremony that afternoon.

I managed to catch a street car from there to the port, on time, and say good morning. It had been almost a year since the last time I had gone there for a job like this, but I have done it so many times that I was very relaxed, almost to the point of being nonplussed. All of my co-workers (from various different government divisions) were all first-timers though, and so between changing money and helping directions into town and the occasional computer problem (there were a few PCs set up with the ever-coveted internet access), there was a whole lot to do in the A.M. so we got to know one another and shared small talk as tour buses shuttled the passengers to and fro by the dozens.

When lunchtime came, I left the information center thinking I'd grab a convenience store bento, and to my surprise a full fledged oyster festival had been set up next to the pier while I was inside. I went over to take some photos and check for interesting yatai (food stall) treats.

As I started to walk away I was greeted by who else, but Morikawa-san, my supervisor at the kencho, and her husband whom in two and a half years of working together I had still never met. Not only that, her sister and sister's husband where also there! They came to grill some fresh oysters for lunch and invited me to join them, their treat! We had a great time, talking, admiring the enormous cruise ship berthed behind us, and grilling and eating Hiroshima's famed oysters, along with scallops, turban shells, and some fried rice. I felt bad about being treated to all this great food so I ran back to the food stalls and picked up a pack of strawberries to share for dessert. Then I said my farewell and went back to the information center.

Morikawa-san's sister and her husband

Turban Shells (サザエ) look awful, it's true, but they are good!

What a great set-up, no?

Scallops (ホタテ)

After a couple more hours helping out passengers, it was time to gather everyone who was going on board for the welcome ceremony. We lined up at the security desk at the base of the gangway and i translated while everyone traded their I.D.s for passes to get on-board. There were also 10 young women from the Hiroshima municipal firefighter's band with us who would be performing for the passengers at the ceremony, but apparently everyone EXCEPT security knew about this, and we were severely delayed getting on board. By the time everyone was in the performance room, set up, and ready to go, we were half an hour behind, which was terrible because we also had to be OFF the ship in time for them to begin their departure prep for their next leg to Korea.

"Okay, we'll just cut the Japanese MC"... said THE JAPANESE MC. He's a laid back dude, I had done this with many times the previous year and he always joked that I should do it myself. This time though, he wasn't joking. So right then and there, I had to grab a mic, pretending like we had planned for this all along, and set in front of a standing-room-only theater of about 500 passengers, and MC the entire thing, based off the script I had prepared that morning as a translation of what he was meant to have said in Japanese first. In terms of the words coming out of my mouth, this was not much different, I just didn't have to wait for him to say it in Japanese, but the reality of the situation was I was no longer standing off to one side speaking calmly into a mic, but stood front and center and engage the crowd. And may I just say: *Nailed it!*
This is the only photo I had time to take, because I was busy MCing!

Beautiful, right?

After the band finished performing the ceremony was over and we all got off the ship and waved goodbye. An awesome end to a day's work, I thought...but it didn't end there.
Baked mac&cheese = Heaven
I decided to treat myself to dinner at my regular bar, Southern Cross, and as I ate from their menu (baked macaroni and cheese and a BLT) I got a call from Warren, a friend I hadn't seen for awhile, who basically said to wait up, and he'd join me for a couple drinks and discuss our mutual, recently non-existent love lives. As we did this, a crowd of about 14 of the whitest most obviously European looking people you'd ever imagine seeing, poured in with one Japanese family. The bar had been pretty quiet until then, but these guys were there to party, and as calls of "Prost!" rose through the air, I had to ask them, "What brings you to Hiroshima?" in my horrid, rusty German.

"We were part of yesterdays tournament" said the girl who turned out to be Marion Kreiner - Austrian Vancouver Winter Olympics bronze medalist. What?!? Wait... no... I thought, and as the reality of the situation sunk in around me... "So she's (pointing to the only young Japanese woman in the room) Takeuchi-san??" I asked slowly. "Yeah, Tomokaaaa"Marion called and the next thing I knew I was chatting with ANOTHER Olympic medalist and the spokeswoman for the event I had missed the day before, and of course, getting our picture taken!
Warren, Tomoka, and her uncle, a long-time resident of Hiroshima and cool dude.

I had the next day off (thank god) so i stuck around for a few more hours, drinking and chatting with all of them, including Swiss snowboarding Gold medalist and all-around nice guy Simon Schoch, and got all of them to sign a post card from the Artemis which I then mailed (in an envelope, duh) to my brother. It was truly a day AND night to remember.
Everything you need to know about Doris Günther

土曜日, 2月 26, 2011

Hokkaido Part 2: AKA Some Crazy Japan Shit You've Never Heard of Of!

Ever heard of Moxibustion? I HADN'T!

I went in to the doctor's with my fucked up foot hoping for a massage, MAYBE some acupuncture (which as you know I got!) and somehow or another the doctor and I started chatting about it. I think he seemed impressed at my complete readiness to let him stab me with needles and he said "So you're familiar with はり and きゅう?" Hari - literally "needles" is how Japanese refers to acupuncture. I guess it seems self-evident that you'd need to be accurate when stabbing yourself so they didn't feel the need to dress up the term? Who knows, but I was in my zone and my Japanese listening skills were peaked so when he said kyuu I thought "Scanning databases. . .kyuu not detected!" so I asked "What's kyuu"? The doctor, Dr. Hosokawa, was very patient without being condescending (a rare trait when Japanese people speak to me - they either accept I speak fluently and flip out or ignore me when i ask what a word I don't know means, or immediately act like I am a 6 year-old Japanese child and cease any adult level conversation - but not him!), "Kyuu is where we burn dried grass on you pressure points to relieve muscle tension."
"Really?", I asked in mild disbelief and genuine interest.
"Oh yes, it's been a tradition healing method in Japan for over a thousand years." he answered.
"I've only ever tried acupuncture in Japan and wrote a blog about it for my friends to read, but we still have it in the U.S. I've NEVER heard of burning people..." and he nodded and watched me pull out my cell phone to consult my JPN-ENG dictionary (yes it came standard on my phone) while he prepared my needles.
Acupuncture Reeeeemiiiiiix!
"'Moxibustion'. Huh, there it is, ever heard that?" I asked. He hadn't. "Oh well" I said thinking that was the end of it. He stuck my with about 6 needles, hooked them to leads and left me to nap for about 20 minutes while a machine electrically pulsed massaging waves through my foot. When he came back and removed them, we continued talking while he gave my foot a rub down.
"So you do O-Kyuu (the "O" is an "honorific" in Japanese), here?"
"No it's too smokey, so some people would complain, and we'd have to pay more for our building's fire insurance"
"Oh I see," I said, but did he detect some disappointment? The next thing i knew he vanished and returned a minute later with a box of small spit-ball shaped balls of - you guessed it - dried grass! "See, these are what they look like", he explained, "You can burn them like this or roll them tighter so they burn hotter". "Oh, but you have them here even though you don't offer it?" i asked and that was all it took to push him over the edge. Clearly the guy had a subtle sadistic undertone and had been itching to burn someone with these, because he told me to sit up and he would show me how it works (He wasn't asking either, his determination was clear, and I was in full New-Japan-Adventure mode so I smiled and asked if I could snap pics on my cell phone! In the end the pics didn't come out that great, but he explained, as he demonstrated:

First you burn a small amount on the nearest pressure point of the affected area, and pinch it out before it burns down to the skin. Then you set another wad on top of the smoldered one and let this one burn a little lower before pinching it out. You repeat this three or four times and then finally, you let one burn all the way into your tiny bird's nest of grass and yes, by golly it fuckin BURNS!

Before (lines are from taping)
After (actually...DURING!)

He sat there contentedly and offered to do it once more. Naturally, I accepted and as he calmly lit my foot on fire he talked more about moxibustion. He told me that he was giving me the real deal, and that it would leave me with a small blister on my skin, but, and I quote "You won't care about that". Oh? Luckily he was talking to the right person. I didn't care!
"Really, you can do it yourself", he said.
"To yourself? How do you know where the pressure points are?"
"Doesn't matter", he answered nonchalantly. "Anywhere that hurts is fair game"
"And people still do this?"
"Old people do it a lot, some young people do it, but they use store bought kits"
"There are store bought kits?!?"
"Yeah, they are called sen-nen kyuu (千年灸) and you can buy them at any drug store. You should try it out when you go home to Hiroshima. They have different heats you can choose from. The hotter the more therapeutic, but even the weaker ones feel nice."
"I will! Sen-nen kyuu right? Like..."
"Like 1000-years kyuu, yeah, just ask at the store. The clerk will probably be surprised someone looking like you is asking!" and we both laughed.

I thanked him and went on my way. I ended up going back the next day, but he was much busier, gave me the acupuncture only, and we talked about soup-curry. (SOUP-CURRY! SO GOOD!)
But when I came home, I remembered to buy the sen-nen kyuu.
The lady at the shop wasn't too openly surprised by my inquiry, but complemented my Japanese and urged me to try the second weakest one before going straight to buying the hottest one. Looking back, I regret listening to her. The 2nd weakest one was still advertised as being "normal" but it only really felt good when I tried it on my neck. I still intend to go back, maybe tell her "I told you so", and buy the strong stuff, which the chart suggests, is infused with garlic, so maybe I'll be protected from vampires too!

So here's how Sennenkyuu work: they are a little tube of the same grass, but affixed to a tiny cushion with a hole in the middle that supposedly channels the heat done onto the precise area you want, and an adhesive bottom, so you remove the paper from the bottom, light the tip of the tube (the same way as incense), and then stick it on whatever hurts! This kit cost 840 yen (10 USD) and came with a TON. Each one takes about 4 minutes to burn out, then you're supposed to leave it for another minute. The instructions included some very cutely animated warnings not to put too many on yourself at one time, but I think it's mainly because they are on fire and can burn other things if you brush against something during your five minute session. Best just to stay still and focus on letting the healing heat in to your muscles.
Sennenkyuu, try them anywhere!

火曜日, 2月 15, 2011

Hokkaido Snow Festival AKA Ryan is a great host.

Okay, I have one hour to blog the world to you! Then I have to get back to finishing my correspondence course! ん。

First off, THANK YOU to everyone who participated in my first ever POLL! There will be more. The results are in and surprise surprise: NO ONE wants me to write short fiction :P That's fine, I just thought I'd throw it out there, I didn't have any ideas anyway. What I WILL be writing about is....


First I have a two stories that will lead into that, so I will write them in chronological order.

Then, in true blog format, they will be arranged in "Most Recent" to "Oldest" order and you'll end up reading it all Tarentino style anyway. OH WELL!
So story #1 of 2 that leads into Crazy Shit You've Never Heard Of starts ...now:

Yeah... That's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Click for full screen!

Last week I went to the Hokkaido Snow Festival in Sapporo, not the beer, but the city the beer is named for. As it turns out, Sapporo is famous for a lot of great food: Scallops, Crab, Miso Ramen, anything dairy related (Hokkaido is Japan's number one source for dairy products, so everything from butter to ice cream is fresher and more delicious there), and my new love: "Soup Curry". More on that in a bit.
Not cold for Hokkaido, PLENTY cold for me!

So I arrived at the airport and ran from the plane where a baby two rows behind me had been wailing nonstop for the last 30 minutes (I cannot stress how much I hate the sound of crying children, but I guess no one *likes* it), and quickly found my way to the bus which took me all the way to my friend Ryan's house.
He was at work, but left his apartment open for me, and I went in, got settled, and played with his cats. After a nap I tried to figure out his shower, but it was impossible. I should have taken a photo, because it was basically a gas-powered hot water heater complete with pilot-light lighter built INSIDE the shower. In stead of blowing his house and myself top smithereens, I used some body spray and wandered around his neighborhood, ducking into the first ramen joint I found for lunch.

The portion was huge, but this was clearly not the gourmet Miso Ramen I was looking for...
Me and Hattchan
I went back to the house and played with Ryan's cats more, eventually getting up the nerve to turn on his intimidatingly huge gas heater and taking a nap with the kitties in the living room. Why so home bound? I was also getting over a a bad stomach-flu and had messed my foot up playing Ultimate frisbee the Sunday before, so walking hurt, I had zero energy, and I wanted to take it easy so I would get well enough to enjoy my trip, but surprisingly (or not), despite all of this, I was quite happy and enjoying just being on vacation and having the OPTION to take it slow.

OH! looking at this photo, I realize that I am skipping the story of renewing my passport in Osaka the day before, which was a story in itself, but I guess that can wait until I get my passport back.

So that evening Ryan came home, we caught up on each other's lives since we hadn't seen each other in person since we MET at Tokyo Orientation for new JETs a year and a half before, played some Tekken 5, then went upstairs to his neighbor's for a small laid back Nabe (hot-pot) dinner party. For all my pains and ailments, this was a  PERFECT first day.

Day 2, I woke up feeling MUCH better! Ryan got off work and took me to his favorite Indian restaurant. Why Indian food? Some connection to Hokkaido? No, because Indian food is fucking delicious. 'Nuff said!

These are what the streets looked like outside downtown.

Ryan went back to work I walked around downtown Sapporo. My goal was to visit the Ainu Museum. The Ainu, for those who don't know were an indigenous people to northern Japan who have all but been wiped out by the modern "Japanese" people, so in many ways their history is similar to America and our native tribes. Along the way, I visited this amazing park where their Prefectural office and their historic "Old Prefectural Office" is. You might not care about this, but since I work every day at an old dilapidated Prefectural office, it was interesting, and the old building was super cool and reminded me of "Old Main" at the U of A, but with a frozen lake and an adorable, giant, Japanese-style snowman STRAIGHT out of Mario 64! Check it out:

Panorama WIN!
Afterward I wandered around trying to find the Ainu Museum. I KNEW I was close, but for some reason all roads kept leading me back to the great, big, CLOSED, botanical garden. Eventually I started asking strangers on the street until I got the answer I feared: The museum was INSIDE the botanical garden, and therefore closed for the winter. Damn. After three-plus hours walking around my foot was killing me as well. That evening I knew I would meet up with Ryan and his girlfriend and their friends, so I ducked into a promising looking sports doctor's office and wound up getting electro-massage acupuncture! (If that sounds like some crazy Japan shit you've never heard of, read my older blog about it!)
I love this pic cuz it looks like he's DJing my foot :P

Feeling MUCH better ALL OVER, and with my foot taped up, I met up with everyone, we went to an izakaya for dinner and drinks, and afterword starting getting into the snow festival area, specifically, the ICE SCULPTURES! I will just show you this one, but there were SO MANY amazing ones and just the sheer size of each one and how many of them there were, all in the same place was very impressive!
Day three I met up with some friends from Hiroshima after finally going to a famous Miso Ramen restaurant for lunch:
Yeah, THAT's the good stuff. けやき

We walked all over the main snow festival area, got lots of great photos and saw tons of snow sculptures!
This was just one small section...

We had a great couple hours hanging out and looking at all the incredible designs, but my foot was once again killing me, so we parted ways and I went back for another round of acupuncture. It was there I found out about some crazy Japan shit I had never heard of, but that will be a story for another time (Mwuhuhahahaha!)...

So I invited all my friends to meet me afterward for dinner at a Soup Curry (Calyi?) restaurant. Everyone bailed and Ryan said "What do you wanna do?"
"EAT SOUP CURRY!" was my response and it was the best decision I made that day!
After a snowball filled walk, we were ready, but I had no idea what glory was about to ensue...
I couldn't know the treat I was in store for, but Ryan clearly knew he was granting a wish I was too naive to dare dream. Soup Curry is a delicious soup broth fill a mountain of delicious ingredients and Indian curry spices. I have no idea if such a thing exists in India, but this should be served EVERYWHERE (same goes for Doner Kebab...) Ryan got the broccoli and Maitake mushrooms, which were as succulent as Fillet Mignon.
 Isn't it glorious? This was recommended to me by both Ryan and his S.African ALT neighbors, so I had to order the "Crispy chicken". It included a quail egg, pumpkin, eggplant, potato, bell pepper, carrot and gobo (burdock) root. I was in heaven.
After that we THOUGHT we'd meet my friends in town for drinks so we headed downtown. Turns out, no one has even STARTED eating dinner (at 9P.M.) so Ryan and I go to the bar to drink while we wait. Not to whine, but everyone flaked pretty hardcore on us, and only one person bothered to apologize, but i guess they were all in vacation mode, but so was I, and Ryan and I made the best of our time at this cool game and entertainment-themed bar before going back home.

As luck had it, we chose the exact right moment to go home, because we ran into four of Ryan's friends on the train and ended up going to karaoke until 3am! Basically, this trip was a series of unfortunate disasters (sick, maimed, locked out of a museum, and deserted) that led to great things making all of the bad shit mean nothing.

We spent the next morning sleeping off that night and headed back into town to enjoy the remaining bits of the Snow Festival I hadn't seen already. We had some delicious "hot cherry beer", German flavored almonds, more food, and laughed at people slipping and tripping on the ice.

Yeah...wait, what?
All in all and incredible journey right? But Hokkaido had one last surprise for me. As I waited for my plane to arrive, who should i see getting OFF the same plane but NINJA from Die Antwoord!!!
I talk about this guy so much, seeing him made me think of that book/movie "The Secret", like maybe I had attracted him to Japan. He smiled and said "Hey" and that was about all I could ask for since he was in the flow of people going toward the baggage claim on the other side of security. Seeing a rapper you like in the airport is just about the coolest way to end a trip. I guess I would have like to be sitting next to him on a flight, but I'd also constantly wonder if I was just bothering him, so this was perfect. If you don't know Ninja, watch this, and watch out for my next blog, where I meet more random famous people and really DO wonder if it's alright to schmooze with them so long! Until next time,