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Today's pictures were taken on Sunday in
Koma, a rural area just north of Tokyo.f
We went there because a local, foreign-owned
organic food distributor (Tengu Natural Foods) had a mini-festival and we wanted to check
It was invigorating to get out of the city.
The first thing that we noticed when we stepped
off of the train was how good the air smelled --
like warm leaves and soil. We had never realized
how stinky our neighborhood was until we
Beside the festival, which consisted of the
organic food distribution center and its
adjoining cafe, was a ravine with the Koma
river winding through it. The stony banks
of the Koma are used as a park by families
with young kids and by teenagers with cases
As I lay stretched out on our tarp near the
beach edge I thought about how similar it all seemed
to a certain small-river beach called Tidehead,
in New Brunswick. I spent every summer from
the age of 7 to 13 in New Brunswick visiting
my mother's family and we would often go
down to Tidehead. My cousins and I would
build small pyramids out of the rocks, and
catch bugs, and wrestle in the water, basically
all of the same things that the kids were
doing in the Koma.
Its funny how you take these places from
your childhood around with you for the rest
of your life as reference points to gage
each new experience, as metaphysical yard
sticks that you use to measure reality. Although
unlike a real yard stick (or maybe not so
unlike a real yard stick) our experiential
reference points color, shade and filter
how we see each new thing.
It's strange to think that someday the places
and things that I am most familiar with here
in Japan right now will become experience
filters in a new locale. One day I might be
sitting on the floor in some African hut,
or some Australian ranch, and I'll think
to myself, "Man! My legs are getting
all cramped up just like at our dinner table
in Minami Senju."
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I went to an exceedingly fun work party tonight.
It was in a big 'beer restaurant.' Surprisingly,
the food and atmosphere were quite nice also.
We got an all-you-can-eat-and-drink-for-two-
hours package deal. These deals seem to be
pretty popular here in Tokyo.
I really love this kind of bottomless
party arrangement, not because you
drink a lot, but rather, because you
drink too much. If you just eat and
at your normal pace, you come out full
nicely drunk. There's never any staggering
back to the apartment at 2 a.m. wishing
you never had those last three drinks.
I don't think that we could have these kind
of deals in the West. Actually, I'm pretty
sure that if you advertised an all-you-can-drink-
for-two-hours party anywhere in Canada you
would have half the town lined up outside
your restaurant with funnels and step ladders
in there hands. We tend to be a gluttonous
I met some Irishmen who were here for
World Cup and they had heard about
kind of restaurants back in Ireland
if they could really exist. They spoke
them in hushed tones, like the were
type of drunkards Valhalla. In the
decided that they just couldn't possibly
Also, I'd like to say congratulations to
Stephanie (Hunkabutta regular commenter 'Schteph')and
Chet back in Canada who are getting married
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The beach that you see in today's pictures
is in Kamakura, a small town just outside of Tokyo. Kamakura's
claim to fame is that it was at one time
(1192 - 1333) an early Shogunate capital.
We used to go to this beach often our first
couple of years here in Japan. We needed
to escape the hustle and intensity of Tokyo
and go somewhere where our eyes could focus
on the horizon in the distance.
We would have picnics on the beach with our
friends Irish Mike and Brian, Australian
Mike, and our friend from Canada Nicole.
There would be these hawk-like birds that
would hover over the beach all day long and
they would swoop down and snatch food right
out of you hand as you were putting it in
Karen and I used to go to this beach
we got married and walk up and down
pottery shards, the beach was full
I know it sounds weird, but we were
majors, what can I say?
This was the first time that we went
with Jack. I think he liked it. He
ate enough sand. I think he'll be carrying
around a bit of Kamakura with him for
rest of his life now.
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Do you find yourself becoming overwhelmed
by the sheer number of blogs that are now
online? I know I do.
With so many links to click, pictures to
see, and lives to read about I find myself
turning to my old favorites more and more.
I spend less time seeking out new blogs.
This is a bit of a shame because there are
a lot of good blogs coming out all the time,
and I think that generally the quality is
improving as the genre begins to mature.
I would like to see a site that attempts
to categorize blogs in some kind of meaningful
way so that you can easily find the ones
that you're interested in. I know that there
are sites that rate 'cool' or 'good' blogs,
but they generally just lump all the blogs
together, and the blogs are chosen based
on the taste of the site's editor.
I'm thinking along the lines of a site that
categorizes blogs by criteria such as family
life in the US, American living in foreign
country, German living in foreign country,
photo-centric, prose-centric, etc.
I'm sure that everyone would come up
different categories, but I think that
see what I'm getting at.
Does anybody know if there already is such
a site out there?
Today's pictures are more from the
that we went to last Saturday.