Monday, September 10, 2007

Summer of Doug, pt. III - Doug hits the road!

Ok, this one'll be a little long...

When we last left our hero, I finished up my year in Shichigahama on a rather busy note. Ok so that's not exactly true... my job actually left me in Narita with my old boss, and on a Friday night no less. We went out for a drink or two, and that was pretty much that. I'm drawing a blank on what happened that Saturday - I'm sure it was magical and wonderful - but on Sunday we had tickets to Summer Sonic! Summer Sonic is one of the two huge music festivals here in Japan if you didn't know, with this year featuring the likes of the Polysics, the Pillows (another kickass Japanese band), Black Eyes Peas, UNKLE, Social Distortion, and... the Offspring!!! Along with a bunch of other people. There was actually a band called Hadouken, which as cool as it sounds with all its Street Fighter goodness was rather disappointing. Maybe if they had backup dancers dressed like Chun Li doing spinning dropkicks across the stage it'd help a bit. Anyway, it was a wild and crazy time, as you can see.

From there, I took the next Tuesday off from buying stuff and settling in to meet a friend and go to the land of monkeys, Nikko! I was extremely disappointed not to find any actually monkeys, but there was plenty of monkey memorabilia to play with if you remember a certain video. The carving below shows the famous "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" in monkey form outside a world heritage site that is absolutely stunning. The saying in Japanese actually includes monkeys, which automatically makes it cooler than the English.

Another note about Nikko monkeys - they're known for being rather mischievous. Apparently you really have to watch your wallet or they'll swipe it, along with anything else loose in your pockets. I've heard stories of them breaking into unlocked cars and stuff too. It'd almost be worth it to be mauled by these primates just to have them waiting in my car looking for tasty morsels of... whatever. MONKEYS!! My obsession with monkeys is rather unhealthy if you didn't know. But then, if you ask me an obsession with monkeys is never unhealthy.

There was also a really nice waterfall and this crazy and awesome road known as Irohazaka (the other 2 videos previously posted) that you have to go up (and down) to get there and back. See, in Japanese there's this poem that basically contains the whole Japanese "alphabet" called the Iroha poem - 47 characters in total, all used only once including two that have fallen out of usage, to make a perfect pangram. The Irohazaka coincidentally enough has 47 turns, which are each ridiculous if you remember the pictures/video, with one character assigned to each turn. All this in one day!

So from there I go back to Yokohama, took a trip up to Miyagi one more time to finish moving all my luggage and try and sort out some car stuff (still have to work that out!! grrr....) while attending the party of the same friend that went to Nikko with me. From there I went directly to my birthday party, which was a beach bbq with jungle juice and topped off with "Gay Music" (if you don't know then don't ask... or do, whatever).

Then a week later was Okinawa... still need to get the pictures up for that one. I have about 300 to sort through, so it's taking me a while. I believe that one deserves its own post, so I'll break there for now.

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