March 31, 2005

Line 'Em Up

The Japanese are some of the most patient people I have ever seen. However, for them, it's not a virtue... it's just a little bit insane.

Yesterday morning we walked over to the library, which opens at 9:15 every morning. Since we finish work at 7:30, we killed some of the time at Starbucks, but still arrived a bit early. I was amazed to see a line had formed outside of people who were just dying to get in.

Minutes later, just after 9:00, the mob really grew. They just kind of appeared, and waited silently.

This line is nothing compared to department stores. One day I had the pleasure of arriving at Takashimaya 5 minutes before they opened. Everyday it's the same... people line up silently until a uniformed staff member comes to the door, makes an announcement, slowly removes the velvet ropes, kindly says enjoy your day or something, and moves aside for the people to flow in like water. Keep in mind, department stores are 7 or 8 floors high here (minimum) and have numerous entrances. This welcoming happens at each entrance of each store throughout all of Japan at exactly 10:00, and there are always dozens of people there waiting... completely silent... everyday. (The fact that it happens everyday is an important note, as it can be argued that I, too, was waiting in the library and Takashimaya lines, thus making my statements somewhat hypocritical. To those who would like to argue this point, I say "shut up".)

Anyway, it's a strange phenomenon. But not as strange as feeding tubes and earthquakes.

Posted by jed at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Sad-wich

This was my thought process as I looked at the front page of cnn.com after work just moments ago...

"OK, time for the daily checkup on Terri Schiavo. Yup, still alive....
Hmm, there was a big Earthquake in Indonesia... yikes that's scary news... I hope there isn't a tsuna....

Wait!, what's this?! Burger King offers enormous sandwich?!?!?" *click*

Let it be known that I only clicked on the Burger King sandwich story. Too bad there are no Burger King's in Osaka.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no sandwich"

Posted by jed at 08:53 AM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2005

Gimme Sumo're!

Yesterday after work, Karen and I had the pleasure of attending one of the most well known Japanese sporting events: Sumo Wrestling!

It was a good time, and definitely an experience. The event lasted all day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and because we work overnights we were able to stay for the whole thing (as tired as we were).

It started a bit on the slow side, with the amateurs getting things underway. Matches were very fast, the crowds hadn't yet arrived, and the sumo's weren't all that big. However, after a quick break for lunch, we returned to the gym to find all the big stars and it got pretty exciting. Take a look for yourself!

Sumo Wrasslin': 10 minute prep times and 3 second matches make for a very unique 'sport.' Not to mention the really abrupt ending which, along with little sleep and language barriers, put a fairly confusing end to our day.

Posted by jed at 07:19 AM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2005

Thailand: The Country With Funny Names

Welp, we just made it back from a much needed vacation to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Phuket is amazing, and Bangkok is vibrant, making Thailand the perfect destination to forget about work and the silly Japanese. I took many pictures, none of which do it justice, but they're here to give you an idea of just how nice the place is. First, though, I need to explain some background information so the pictures make a bit more sense.

-Our first destination was Bangkok, where we stayed for one night (March 10 - 11). Our flight to Phuket was later in the day on the 11th, so most of our sightseeing was done during that day.

-We were late to the airport to catch our flight to Phuket on the 11th, but thanks to an insane taxi driver we made it just moments before it took off. As a reward for being late, Thai Air upgraded us to First Class (we went upstairs on the airplane!) for free, and we didn't find out until we boarded the plane. Aside from lots of room, we had first class service, reclining chairs with leg support, extra storage space... it was great.

-The hotel we stayed in was a five star resort, the Twin Palms. However, it has recently opened, and offered very low prices as a start up (which is why we could afford it). It was probably the nicest place I have ever stayed, and included lots of perks. For example, we got free spa time (massages, scrubs, whatever), free quality breakfast, free seafood dinner, an incredible room, and airport transportation. You'd never guess the price we paid for five nights, but I can assure you it's much less than you can imagine.

-Some friends of ours from work planned the same vacation as we did, but they left earlier and took more time off. However, they sent emails giving advice on hotels (one of which was the Twin Palms) and we met up with them once we arrived in Phuket. You'll see many pictures of Laura and Jonas.

-I didn't take many pictures the first two days in Phuket because I was too busy relaxing. However, on the third day, we took part in a 4-in-1 tour. I have many pictures from the events of that day.

-Our camera doesn't really take good night pictures, but I put some of them online anyway. Laura and Jonas have a really good camera, though, and took a whole bunch of pictures (at night and during the day) which I will post once I get them. Unfortunately, most of the resort pictures I took were at night, so the views are a bit limited.

I think that's about all of the important stuff. The rest of it should speak for itself. I must say, though, that if you ever have a chance to visit Thailand (Singapore Airlines offers a direct flight from NYC to Bangkok) please jump on the opportunity. It is so beautiful, and well worth a visit.

Thailand: Life was tough... wake up, eat breakfast, go to the beach, drink smoothies, go back to the resort, jump in the pool, eat some more, swim some more, relax a bit, eat again, and fall asleep. Repeat for 5 days.

Posted by jed at 01:54 PM | Comments (8)

March 10, 2005

Last Minute Advice

In a few hours, my favorite world traveler and I are headed to the airport for a relaxing vacation in Thailand. We're stopping for a night in Bangkok, and then heading down to the warm beaches of Phuket for the remainder of the week.

Upon hearing this news, I received some very good advice from Chef Monkeywerks:

CM: "if the ocean recedes rapidly, don't go out to gather shells. 'ooh look nice coral AH CRAP!'"

Somehow, the idea that I would be so excited to gather shells... so excited that I would not notice a tidal wave... seems to be a very accurate representation of my personality. So with that, thank you for the advice.

Ye ship be sailin', be back in a week! Yaaar!

Posted by jed at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Sneak Attack

This just in-

The Jedland Security System has now been raised to RED. Red indicates a severe chance that Ye Captain will wang his head.

This is the first time since the system was introduced that it has been raised to red level. This is because, in the last 15 hours, I have wanged my head 3 times, all of which were extremely painfull. (No skin in the doorway, though. These were sneak attacks from directly above)

Please stay tuned to learn how you can avoid this dangerous situation and remain safe. Details at 11.

Posted by jed at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)