September 27, 2004

Hi-dilly Ho

Recently, Karen and I discovered what happens when you ask your Japanese neighbor for a favor that they just can't help you with. The following is a true story.

About a week ago, we returned from work to find that bicyclees and rhoda had been towed away to the bike impound for a second time. The first circumstance proved to be rather difficult; finding the bikes was easier than expected, but riding them home involved navigation through uncharted, narrow road ways, infested with aggravated and annoyed Japanese commuters. Furthermore, the cost of getting there, plus the fee for getting the bikes back (1500 yen, approx. 15 US dollars) was just an added frustration that, while not an enormous amount of money, was just enough to ruin your day. In other words, it was an experience neither of us wanted to go through a second time.

So, it can be assumed that I was not very happy when I stepped out of the subway station (Karen followed suit later that evening) and realized that once again, the bikes were missing.

Now, you may or may not remember that a few weeks ago, our extremely friendly neighbor introduced himself to us, invited us in for a traditional Japanese meal, and has been taking English lessons from Karen ever since. (Full story can be found here) He was very open and polite, and mentioned that if we ever needed help with anything to let him know.

Karen let him know.

He told us he would be glad to help get our bikes back, but he was really busy at work and wasn't sure when he could drive us there to pick them up. We should have realized this was a sign that asking him was perhaps not the best idea. However, we waited patiently, and walked the long walk to the subway every morning, cursing the system for not catering to our specific needs. A week passed, and we started to get annoyed.

We decided that we would just suck it up, pay the money, and endure the ride to the bike impound lot to retrieve our poor, lonely bicycles. It was that afternoon that Karen recieved a phone call.

It turns out that our neighbor just didn't have time to drive us the 15 minutes to the impound lot, and he felt really bad. So what did he do? The answer is simple..

He bought us brand new bikes.

That's right, brand new. Not second or third run used bicycles..no no, these were the kind of bikes we looked at in the stores which had a price tag of $200-$300, and only wished we could buy. These were not bikes purchased at a side store like where we adopted bicyclees and rhoda. These bikes even smelled new.

Apparently he had a friend who he just happened to meet, and he sold our neighbor the bikes for... you guessed it... 1500 yen, the exact amount of money it would have cost us to buy our old bikes back. He had them waiting for us in his shop which is right next door to our apartment building. It was tremendously mindblowing in a holy-crap-that's-so-cool-I-can't-believe-it kind of way.


We were told that so many bikes are towed and never retrieved that the fate of bicyclees and rhoda was somewhat uncertain. It is likely that after 30 days, orphaned bikes are sold to China and other surrounding countries. Upon hearing this, I decided that it is my solemn duty to continue my effort and rescue bicyclees regardless of the inconvenience, as he sits lonely and scared in a field of unwanted bikes, waiting and wondering if their owners will ever come to pick them up.

And once I do, I will sell him.

Posted by jed at 01:25 AM | Comments (7)

September 15, 2004

Universal Studios, Japan

I have never been to Disney World or Universal Studios in America, so having Universal Studios Japan located right here in Osaka was very exciting to me.

Furthermore, Karen's friend Trina was in town/country/part of the world for a few days, and it seemed that this was as good a time as any to head on over to the theme park and enjoy a day of feeling American for the first time in three months.

We only saw about 40% of the entire park, but it was still a really fun time. As usual, I had the camera and took many pictures. In fact, I went though 6 double A batteries throughout the day, which I think is a new record (but thanks to Chase, they are all rechargeable). Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Universal Studios Japan: If only I could charge the same amount to view these pictures as they do to let you into the park, I'd be a rich man. Of course, no one would look at the pictures, so nevermind.

Posted by jed at 09:10 PM | Comments (4)

September 13, 2004

Mas Que Nada

Thought I'd take a moment to point out my latest project here on the Poop Deck. For the last couple of days, I have been adding many new albums to the music page, found within the left hand column under 'Currently Leadin' Me Shanties.' It's mostly for my benefit, as I wanted to keep a record of the cd's I own in case disaster strikes and I somehow lose all of my music due to a computer crash, or something equally as horrible. However, it can also be used as a free library in case disaster has already struck you, and you are need of rebuilding your collection.

Or maybe you just want to listen to some new music.

Regardless of the reason, please feel free to look around, and maybe you'll discover something new to get stuck in your head for awhile. At this point, I'm only about halfway through adding albums and artists, but I hope to complete it someday in the near future.

Godspeed!

Posted by jed at 01:52 PM | Comments (5)

September 08, 2004

Oh Deer!

Today being our (Tuesday)Friday, my favorite world traveler and I decided to get out of the city, once and for all. Even the third earthquake that struck at 8:30 in the morning didn't stop us from taking a train out to Nara, a cozy little town located beyond city limits, filled with all kinds of fun things to see.

Temples, shrines, Starbucks, and a lot of deer awaited us, and as the latest typhoon made its way closer and closer, Karen and I ignored the high winds as best we could and enjoyed our first day away from city life. Take a look for yourself!

Nara Park: The deer are really cool, until they start biting your privates.

Posted by jed at 01:41 AM | Comments (6)

September 06, 2004

For Goodness Quake

What's weirder than experiencing your first earthquake? How about experiencing your second eathquake while standing in the shower.

Back in CT, earthquakes were always thought of (in my mind, anyway) as something that happens very far away, something that seemed pretty improbable, and something that only happens in movies or TV (like on Saved By The Bell when Mr. Beldings pregnant wife was stuck in the elevator during a huge earthquake, and Zack had to deliver her baby...). So, when the earth began to shake here in Osaka this evening, a few things immediatley came to mind...

1. Locate TV remote
2. Put my computer game on pause.
3. Find pants

All in all it was pretty anticlimactic. This isn't to say I was hoping for, or even expecting devastation. Instead, it left me with a feeling of relief, and I can say it was actually mildly entertaining, and not quite as scary as I had learned.

However, the tremmors were not through with this poor little island quite yet. Five hours later, as I was just starting to relax under a stream of hot water, the earthquake returned. This time, not only did I need to find pants, but I was also dripping wet.

Touche, earthquake... touche.

Furthermore, with these earthquakes comes yet another very interesting weather related term, found only in Japan. Now that the tremmors have happened, they are expecting Tsunami's to make their grand enterance. Much like the word earthquake, I have associated Tsunami with something much bigger; a 50 story wave that can cover an entire country, i.e. Japan. However, the news is broadcasting "tsunami's to strike that could be up to 50cm high," which equals...hmm... about 1.64041995 feet.

Under two feet? A tsunami can be less than two feet high? Now that's what I call some serious typhoonery.

So, what have I learned from tonights festivities? Well, that's simple...

-Tsunami is a cool word, but don't believe the hype.
-The only purpose of earthquakes is to frustrate and annoy.
-If you want to avoid having earthquakes altogether, just put pants on.

Till next time...

Ch....eee.....eeee....rrrss!!

Posted by jed at 01:56 AM | Comments (4)