click to enlarge
I used to really love going to the pub for
a beer, especially if there was singing involved,
but since getting married and having a kid
I've had to gradually limit my nights out
drinking. That's the way it goes I suppose,
but it's not really a big deal because I
was getting kind of sick of the whole thing
by the time I got married at the age of 29
So now I'm at the point where I go
pub maybe five or six times a year.
look forward to these outings, but
never as fun as they used to be.
Two nights ago I went to the Warrior Celt
pub in Ueno because I saw advertised that
they were having a Celtic music jam session.
I had to go alone because all of my old drinking
buddies have either left Japan or else live
too far away. This was no big deal though
because I'm used to doing things alone.
The whole evening was a bit of a disappointment:
the music consisted of too many people and
not enough soul, it was hot, crowded and
smoky, and the Japanese guy sitting beside
me at the bar drinking bloody Marys had vomit
on his breath.
As I sat there I had the chance to reflect
on what it was that I missed about the pub
scene. It wasn't the drinking, or the sexual
tension, or even the music. It was the young-man
comaraderie. The feeling, after a few beers, that you
and your friends are beautiful and funny
and able to take on the world. You were young
and the future seemed exciting, even if that
future only meant the rest of the evening.
And when you went out binge drinking through
the evening, hopping from bar to bar, you
had the impression that life was an adventure
and you never knew what was going to happen
and where you were going to end up. Of course,
looking back, I always seemed to end up in
the same place: back home on the couch with
a headache and a bad taste in my mouth.
It all 'seemed' like an adventure anyway,
even if it really wasn't. I guess what I'm
trying to say is that, like a lot of things
in life, there's no going back. I'll never
be able to be a drunk 23 year old with my
friends again. Oh well, I guess there are
a lot better things to be sentimental about.
At least I'm not going to be sitting at the
bar for the next 40 years, like a lot of
people, trying in vain to recapture that
click to enlarge
Although I planned to go on many photo excursions
during my last few weeks in Tokyo, the heat
has been so oppressive that I don't even
feel like leaving the apartment. Karen and
I just spend our days looking for excuses
to stay in and not go outside to run our
errands--I guess you could call us thermaphobes.
So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to
post some older pictures that have been hanging
around waiting to see the light of day. Enjoy.
click to enlarge
We're back in Japan after our one month holiday
in Canada and it's as hot as the Devil's
armpit. It's good to be back though.
Every time I get on the Keisei train at Narita
airport after returning from abroad I'm struck
by the same thought: How strange it is that
nothing seems strange in such a foreign land.
Do you know what I mean? It's like I should
be all weirded out and excited but I've been
here so long that everything seems normal,
ordinary, and homey.
Anyhow, a funny thing happened to me this
afternoon. Jack and I were doing some shopping
at the new mall near our house when he had
a little 'accident' in his shorts, if you
know what I mean. So we went to a nearby
public bathroom and entered the toilet stall
so I could clean him up and change his shorts.
I sat down on the toilet and Jack, as is
our custom in places without a change table,
stood between my legs and leaned over my
right thigh so that I could have 'full access'.
As I was doing a running commentary on the
progress of the cleanup operation Jack was
happily ignoring me and banging around the
edges of the toilet and stall wall. I was
right in the middle of a comment on the superiority
of Canadian wet wipes when a stream of water
suddenly shot up from the toilet bowl and
struck me in the ass of my pants. Jack had
pushed the 'bum wash' button when he was
poking around behind me. I jumped up with
a shout and spun around to face the toilet.
The stream of water shot out and hit me in
the face. I tried to block it with my hands
but the water just splashed everywhere. Jack
was freaking out. He thought he had hit the
auto destruct button or something. I started
smacking wildly at the button panel to the
side of the toilet but the thing just turned
itself off automatically after a few seconds.
Jack and I finished up as quick as
and got out of there, a little wet
wrong places, but more-or-less unscathed.
I just smiled and thought that this
way of saying "Welcome back Mike."
click to enlarge
We're getting ready to fly back to
tomorrow. A part of me wishes that
just stay and get on with our new life
but another part of me is eager to
to the big city and the only home we've
known as a family.
We'll be staying in Tokyo for six to eight
weeks and then moving back to Canada for
good (well, for at least the next few years
anyway). There are a lot of loose ends in
Tokyo that we need to tie up--giving notice
for our apartment, selling our stuff, saying
goodbye to friends--and I want to go on a
few more photo excursions before we leave.
As a lot of people pointed out in the comments,
Hunkabutta has been slowly changing and will
continue to change as we move back to Canada.
In the minds of many people, Hunkabutta is
a site about Japan. Even in my own mind,
I have found myself thinking about it that
way. But when I first started Hunkabutta
back in February of 2001, I intended it to
be a journal site about my life, and possibly
about photography, for my friends and family
back home. Of course, as the site grew and
became more popular I started to realize
that visitors were mainly interested in the
Japan side of things, not necessarily my
life per se. So, I found myself focusing
more on Japan/Tokyo in general rather than
my life specifically. I think that when we
move to Roberts Creek, B.C., the site is
going to have to revert back to a more family-centric
The focus will have to change because we're
going to be spending 95% of our time on our
own property. We work from home and plan
to be very active on our acreage. When we
do leave to go to the store or something,
we'll be driving, so the chances for random
interaction with strangers are kind of restricted.
Also, because we'll be living in a small
town, it's not really possible to write about
specific people and events and still remain
anonymous. In Tokyo I could tell you all
about the different people in my Japanese
language class, for instance, talk about
their strengths and shortcomings without
ever really worrying that they would read
it one day and object. However, that kind
of thing isn't really possible in a small
town. Once it gets around that I have a web
site, and it eventually will, and that I
take pictures of local people and events,
then everyone will find out if they are featured
on Hunkabutta--no more sly candid street
As you might have noticed, I've been taking
a lot of nature pictures since I've been
back in B.C. , but to be honest it's not
really my favourite kind of photography.
I really like taking pictures of people and
documenting the feel of the human environment.
So, I'll have to figure out more creative
ways to keep my photography hobby moving
forward. I'll probably being doing a lot
more formal portraits, and I'll also probably
get into more staged photography.
We see the renovations and other improvements
that we will make to our new home as a personal
adventure, we're really looking forward to
it all, and if you continue to visit Hunkabutta
while we're living in Canada then maybe you'll
be able to share in some of that growth and
excitement with us, even it that just means
watching me chop my first cord of firewood
with an axe. And if you can stick it out
for a few years, you may just get to see
us move to or visit other countries on this
little journey that is our life.
I have to go now and start to pack.
leaves tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. The next
you hear from me it'll be from the
side of the Pacific.