Monday, October 29, 2007

Manifestations of Shinto and I am not listening

I am writing this in class and barely had any sleep.I have been having stomach pains (probably gas) and can't sleep so last night at 4am me,Joe, and Tyler went for a walk. There is a guy here,Paul, who is always correcting my grammar and he such a pretentious little shit.Every time he says something I want to punch him in the face.There is nothing more annoying than people concerned about petty shit.But at any rate I had to sleep in my friends room last night so that I would definitely wake up this morning for class.
Today should be my yoga class but with my trip to Nikko I just can't do that level of pressure on my ankle.I am beginning to feel like I'll never get better. Nikko was pretty cool but it took forever to get there...mostly cause we are broke.We got lost on the way to the flea market we wanted to go to beforehand and then got the slow train to Nikko. I think that after this trip I may never want to see another Buddhist temple again in life.Or at least not for a couple of years. I just wish places weren't always so crowded.I still haven't been back to the Hie shrine just to sit and chill.I would still really like to do that.
This past Saturday I did Kyudo and got drenched in a typhoon.It was a good day.It took me a while to get the hang of the bow and how to pull and then even after I got it I still had three helpers every time.There was a guy Miki... with very large ears who I loved and he would crack up every time it was my turn.But I really did like it.I have posted some pictures and the reason that there are multiples of some is because they are action shots but maybe you can't tell.
I watched City of Men last night when I couldn't sleep and it was pretty good.It uses the same actors from Cidade de Deus but in different roles and I really like that. I recommend it.It is also far less bloody, maybe because it is a TV series
My parents are coming on Sunday so that should be cool but today I am most excited about sleeping. Then shortly after that i go to Korea.We have so little time left here and none of us are sleeping still. But you know that's life with 20 other young adults.I am not super pressed to do something since my parents will want to do some things and Brian may want to do others. So I just try and hang out with my friends and shoot the shit.We have nothing in common except that we are roughly the same age ,living , in the same dorm but the people who are my friends...I love them.So we do all kinds of shit like go for late night walks, because it's mad safe here, or go to the all night homemade dumpling place.Because there are no preservatives and generally less bullshit in food we can each a bunch of different things. I really haven't had more than six hours of sleep in a very long time.I am glad that I do not have to live this way but I will miss having a whole bunch of other people my age with my sleeping patterns.Brian old ass is sleep mad early as far as I am concerned.I can call most people in my dorm and they will still be up at 4am. *Sigh*
Well at least at home I have a real stove

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jabreel from Jerusalem and Doner Kebabs

So I just got in from a trip to Don Quixote to put finishing touches on a Halloween costume and some guy fell on my ankle and Joe's foot.That is what I get for going to Roppongi late at night but really ever.We are not quite sure what happened he either was pushed,fell , or flew.But drunk people falling on you actually happens all the time so it is what it is.I went to Tokyo Tower today and it was cool even though I am scared of heights.I just needed to get out of the house but I think it was too serious of an undertaking for my almost well ankle. I tried on ankle boots which I want so bad but the foot is just too narrow.I'll keep trying.
The Tower was just an observatory really but a cool way to see the city and there is a restaurant on the special observatory that seems cool. I didn't noticed much cause I was to busy gettings talked by Japanese kids.First they would look at me and laugh hysterically and then when I would look they would giggle and run away(please keep in mind that I have my afro again). Then one of them asked me to take a group shot...I did it but it sucked.Then like 5 minutes later another one asked so I took their picture.Finally I am minding my business trying to figure out exactly where my neighborhood is and I see a flash.So I chase the kid down but he runs from me thinking he is in trouble.But I just ask him if he would like to take a picture of me (ya know instead of so rudely sneaking pictures of strangers).It actually turned into a picture with like ten kids .Then they all practiced their English .
I am going to miss being a celebrity and this isn't even me at my flyest.
We've all got costumes picked out and have a wild couple of days planned so I'll update you later.
The afro is a big hit.My friend Mo took out the twist and people keep commenting on it as they do.A dollar for anyone who can explain afro awe. I am so used to it now that I pre-empt questions and the dialogue goes something like this,

Person A:Your hair looks really cool.Did you do something different with your hair? I like your hair? There is toothpaste in your hair. You've got a little something in your hair.
And occasionally I'll just feel someone patting the back of my head and I just have to hope I know them.

Kim: Yeah thanks it just grows like this .I don't have to do anything to it...this is the natural curl pattern...yup it grows straight up... no my uncle has that gray streak to.Yeah it's part hereditary and part one awful highs cool relationship.Yeah it's kind of weird when people just walk up and touch your hair.

People are real lax with the comments.If you don't start commenting soon.I will stop writing after all I know what I've been doing.And hey how about a couple of emails about your life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Listening to Dre

My arms hurt from doing dips.I only did like 30 but I'da like to die. We have officially been here for two months and we are all about to kill at least one other person.But such is life. Let's see if I have any two month reflections.Well, I'll start negative and end positive.I really do hate having a roommate and it has nothing to do with them but more to do with me. It is harder to learn Japanese then I thought it would be since I am not having an immersion experience.I now understand how people could live in a foreign country for a long time and never learn the language. I also realized just how much of an USer I am . Just the attitude and the particular sense of entitlement.What's fair what not.Even the idea that things should be fair.I am also as adaptable abroad as I am at home.So it's nice to know that I can do and be anywhere and be okay and make friends.I do wish that I knew more Japanese but I am taking a second semester next spring and there is always Keiko.At least I hope there is always Keiko. But I am having a great time living the college life. But next semester I have to get a job and an internship.Rough semester up ahead.But i just found out that I am gonna graduate this May so that's exciting sort of.I mean I am pretty sure we are headed for a recession so the job market may be a little iffy but what the hell life is a gamble.

Here are the last two links for pictures so now we're all caught up

Sunday, October 21, 2007

pictures 2 look at


Made friends with ethiopian women hustlin a japanese man

So I am mad tired or dumb tired as Mo would say.It's funny how hanging out with people you oick up how they talk.We(Me,Mel,Mo) went out to celebrate Mo's anniversary.But what happened was all of Mo's talk about anniversaries made me feel sad about missing the anniversary of my first date with Brian.Now keep in mind that we never do anything when I am home.Although last year we had a good plan and I even had a dress.But so that made me sad and I have been mad irritable all week.We were out crazy late last night trying to find Koreatown.We found Korean food, which was great, but no Koreatown. I did go to a talk by one of teh Japanese ambassadors about "comfort women".Man is he a revisionist ,war crime denying asshole.I would write something more articulate but that about sums it up.
So tonight we went out and had a great time and I am writing this at 2:32 am my time sitting in the hallway cause that is what you do when you are a decent human being and your roommate is asleep. Also tonight Mel and I wore rings on our engagement finger and this one guy kept dancing over to our table and we did a danced that flashed the rings at him and he bowed said excuse me and bounced.Now why can't men in Philly have that level of good sense.
Speaking of funny shit that happens with Japanese men Mo and I had a hilarious thing happen while we out on Friday.We were sitting at the ladies only table and some dude came up to talk to us.He was sketchy so we answered his questioned tenuously...trying to figure out what he wanted...and finally he gets to the heart of the matter.He looks at Mo and says, "You have very large breast(she doesn't by US standards)" then she looks at me and goes "not as large as hers" he says " I know ...can I touch them?" After we tell him NO he tells us it's a Japanese joke...BULLSHIT.But at any rate thats our new thing when something ridiculous happens Japanese joke.I hope Brian gets out of his rich kid group soon cause I wanna go to bed and there is mad noise coming from down the hall.
Also I have mad albums and I will post the links today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Listening to Bill Withers

Just got back from yoga and I feel great.Unfortunately have yet another midterm tomorrow so that sucks and I really need to study.When will the work end? However I did book my ticket to the Bay and will be there from January 9th-19th in the company of many great people.There is not much to report here except that I still don't feel like posting pictures but I'll take any distraction from homework so may be it will happen today. I have an ambitious plan to be mostly done with my final papers by the time I head to Korea so that what is left is basic and me and some friends can try and make it to Nagasaki that last week.
I haven't done a bunch of the must see sights in Tokyo because I felt like I had a lot of time .But with November fast approaching I realized that I should probably get on it.Frankly three and a half months is not enough time.It takes that long to settle in and know one area.But I'll make due.So I am gonna try and get to Nikko and the fish market and stuff like that.Hopefully if I don't get behind on pictures again then I will post them.
I am doing well and am re-budgeting...again these things take time. My friends anniversary is coming up so we are gonna take her out so that she isn't at home wallowing.Well ya know you could still send me a postcard...Talia send brownies but right now I am craving Skittles.Just a suggestion.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two in One Day!

So for the first time hot yoga felt like it was 100 degrees.Wow! The website i read was right..wearing a cotton tank top is a nightmare because it gets so heavy.Also right now I am drinking the energy drink that they gave me.I don't know what it is and am only assuming that it is an energy drink.At any rate it tastes awful.I don't make a habit of drinking strange things but what the hell.
I have nothing else to report since it has only been a couple of hours but typing this was faster than writing in my personal journal.Oh actually I did get into a fight with a woman on the street and then I kicked her and ran.Okay that didn't happen but I think about it all the time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh nap time!

So I turned in another midterm and of course procrastinated until the last possible minute,didn't have enough sleep and now I'm grumpy.I am hoping yoga will help but first a nap.falling asleep to Lauryn Hill is nice.So the official medical diagnosis is that my ankles and feet are fine.Well sort of...they are definitely bruised and swollen but they are not now nor have they ever been fractured or broken.It was mad cheap too...the benefits of health care.
Unrelated but related I had a very long conversation in the hallway at school about being poor/working class and in college.We laughed a lot which I feel like inevitably happens in conversations like that.Just funny stuff like how you conveniently eat at someone else's house when you seen to be out of food. It was also interesting because one guy was Puerto Rican and moved to Jersey later and talked about the differences there.Mostly we just talked about how people without enough resources are really good at building communities more out of necessity than anything else.So that was super fun and I was supposed to be studying.But who needs studying when there is a life to be lived.
Also Japanese is kicking my ass...the class moves so fast and we are tested constantly.Booooo.But for my class on Nationalism,Ethnicity, and Politics there are all kinds of great things...including this kid who needs an atlas and an encyclopedia.I just want him to stop asking dumb ass questions like "Where exactly is Ireland?' or "What's the deal with Braveheart?"Just shit that any fool in his position,which is quite cushy and involves boat shoes could just wikipedia.The best was him blaming the Sikhs for 9/11.Wow!But for the final in that class I am thinking about writing on Bhutanese nationalism, or rather I was until I remembered how limited resources are at this library.But it is an interesting Kingdom where the king has decreed that everyone has to wear traditional dress in public spaces.And(yeah I know you can't start a sentence like that)independent travel is not allowed in the Kingdom.All travelers must go on a government sanctioned tour and the tours cost on average about US $300 a day.The idea behind all this is cultural reservation.But then this always brings up interesting questions of what parts of cultures.Who's culture?Is this a real or imagined community?Aren't all nation imagined communities.It is fascinating...and if you are gonna look it up I recommend looking on the travelers forums as well particularly Lonely Planet.Some interesting ideas being batted around about power in privilege.Like is it a fundamental right for your crusty ass to be able to go anywhere you want in the world.What kind of upbringing conveys these ideas that you can and should be able to go anywhere.Is that liberal or colonizing.So that's my brain all empty and picked.
But I will probably just write the paper on gender and nationalism so I have one final that I don't have to stress about and ya know I like it.
Oh yeah so I only got two votes about pictures but they both cared so I will put up a bunch over the weekend.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nobody mention to mom.Okay?

So while I was in Kanazawa my friends saw a kind of Japanese supremacist march and it really freaked them out. They are both clearly from some people with a good amount of melanin and the Japanese people around were wondering if they knew what was going on.It was kind of like at home when Neo-Nazi march and they are escorted by the police.I personally still think that it's a bitch move an if you are gonna be a hate monger then just be bold.
But anyway while scary for them it wasn't shocking...those people ride by our school in their black van shouting slogans all the time. The place where out school is located and actually where we live, Minato-ku, has the highest concentration of foreigners in Japan(according to Phillip Deans al around smart ass and British to boot) about 10% .So the area is particularly ripe for that kinds of behavior.They also throw rocks at the Korean embassy.There is a shrine called Yasakuni which is really controversial because class A war criminals were entombed with ordinary soldiers(some of whom were entombed there without familial consent).The last Prime Minster(who had never visited before he was in office) went to Yasakuni in a government car on some sort of holiday commemorating soldiers,or something...look it up yourself.But anyway that was a big deal and really pissed off the Chinese and Koreans.But Yasakuni also has a revisionist war museum which apparently while a little outrageous is much less outrageous than it was a decade or two ago.But I will go visit and let you know how it goes or get my foreign ass whipped.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Are these guys high?Maybe

Just got back from Kanazawa and the bullet train.Bullet train...not that cool.Just a train...all this hype and nothing.The bullet train on the way back was late..which boggles my mind.The whole reason you take the bullet train is to not be late. Kanazawa was cool.It's a mid-sized city on the western(?) side of Japan.I kept joking that it's like the Seattle of Japan cause it keeps raining there.We actually had really nice weather.Unfortunately people from other dorms were also there and they continue to amaze me with their stupidity. They are just so spoiled and over indulged that they can barely wipe their own ass.Can't follow directions and won't take personal responsibility.For them life is one big binge. They suck.But i had a good time with the other Akasaka folks and we had a really good time.I actually spent most of time with them and the Sensei .She was awesome and had so much energy.She reminded a lot of Hinako... just the faces she made and the way she talked.Those kids drove her to drink joke. That was rough! And then cursed them out.Do you know how ignorant you have to be to get a Japanese person to curse you out?
We got to see a geisha workshop and that was really awesome.I wished that we had more time in Kanzawa because they had so many cool craft workshops. We did get to decorate our own chopsticks with gold leaf. I think because I am from a mid-sized city...I really prefer them and Kanazawa,rain aside, was just great.
I bought a bunch of Sake and Umeshu.Sensei helped me pick out the bottles after we did a tasting. Also how about Sensei charged Temple for dinner both nights...its a secret so don't tell anyone.
But I have decided to scale down my food budget so that I can travel more extensively in Japan.To be fair my food budget was not particularly husky to begin with.Also I am apparently headed to a military base this Saturday.I'll let you know how that goes.
Also you may have noticed that I stopped posting pictures.Does anyone care? I can start again if you really want me to.
Oh and those guys survived Mount Doom.Perhaps u didn't know they went but they did and Idris did not kill anyone.
So overall I had a really good weekend and am much better shape than when I started.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I tried to keep the error to a minimal

I am so excited about the prospect of sleep that I can't sleep.I turned in my paper and while it was a little subpar it's already turned in.Now I can focus on more important things like anything and everything I want. Mel and Mo went out to ladies night but I really am so tired.I've been trying to do the pilates 100 everyday and I slacked for two weeks but am gonna get back on it.Today I was so tired that I slept through yoga.Tragic!I can't go tomorrow. I wonder if I can just pay for a later class tomorrow.I need that!

Also the X-men cartoon as consumed my life.I did not know I could watch it on the net.The weirdest thing happen two days ago.I left my clothes in the dryer just for like 2 1/2 hours cause we went out and someone folded them.Nuts!I also am the proud owner of a sewing machine in Philly!I am excited even though I haven't used one in like four years.But i really wanna make a quilt for our giganamous bed.
So as you can tell by the rambling nature of this post...nothing much is happening here.I made a dream date with a friend on the other side of the world but somehow we missed each other.The most exciting thing I am gonna do tonight is fold laundry.I should probably do the dishes and will really try but I cant make any promises. i think I might hold personal dance classes instead.
Also how about some more mail.C'mon people.As usual Talia has shown everyone up.
My address is :
Temple University japan
Azabu Building
Student Services Minami Azabu 2-8-12
Minato-ku, Tokyo
106 Japan

Well I should go shower...I stink!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No jen!This is definitely not for children

I am beyond tired and have insomnia.It as come to my attention that some people would like me to proofread these posts better before I post them. While and interesting idea I can not really be bothered with such minutia.I am a big picture person buy anyone who takes one of the personality test and finds that they are into details is welcome to spell check this and post corrections. Kerri used to yell at me about things like that but now she has better things to do.
Apparently there was an earthquake but Mel and Mo and I were busy laughing hysterically so I totally missed it.But earthquakes are no big deal here and nothing even fell. Nick and Joe and I have been going on late night adventures.In part because our home dorm can't sleep so everybody eats late dinner.I have made exercise mandatory for late dinners.They showed me a really cool glass chair that is just on the street.That is one thing I really like about Tokyo..there are just so many cool things around and because people don't worry about crime and vandalism there are some really interesting public spaces.
You can just wander into a place, like the mall at Moiri Towers, and walk around even though it is closed.Like for instance I was checking on my parents hotel reservations and the guys and I got lost in the huge behemoth that is the New Otani..and while several security guards passed us, none questioned us.Not a one questioned the scruffy group of youngsters in what is actually a very nice hotel(even though it has the ugliest carpet I have ever seen).
I have been hanging out with Mel pretty hardcore and that has been lots of fun.Mass insomnia makes for good times and lots of adventures.This upcoming weekend folks are going on all kinds of trips.I am going to Kanazawa, which is on the other side of the country, ad am gonna make gold leaf chopsticks, do Zen meditation, visit a temple with secrets, shop, and try not to smack one of those TUJ house kids. One of my friends is headed to Vietnam for a week and I have enlisted her to bring me back jewelry and textiles.While I helped the guys figure out a camping trip.All in all it should be good.
I started using my pedometer so I now know about how many miles I walk each day and about how many calories I burn. We walk hella far in a day like 7 miles on the regular.Crazy.I finally booked my ticket to South Korea and while it costs a little more than would like I am really excited.Thanks for all the help Chuck!
A total nonsequitur but I have been learning very interesting things in two of my classes about China and Japan...including why I never get rice with a meal in japan and why it is so expensive.I would tell you but you'll never learn anything that way. Ewa will give a hug to the first person to post the reason.
The other thing that most people in my dorm have in common is a serious travel bug and it's kind of sweet to watch everyone try and figure things out about what they want to do.Also today I heard a pretty convincing argument shit talking the Dalai Lama .

I just need to break my earthquake hymen.-Musser san on missing the most recent earthquake
I sunburn while watching television natural color is pale blue.-Phillip Deans on the inability of The Brits to tan.
Let's face it ,sperm is cheap.-Deans on the masculine nature of nationalism and the role of women and reproduction in nationalist struggles.

Last bit of random thought is that I now seriously question whether the Chinese communist party is still communist.It is rare moments like these..where I actually learn something that the $40000 worth of debt is worth it. Sike! But I am really mulling that over

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

that midterm was way too easy

Have a pretty good day.Still can't really sleep at night.I hate when the insomnia comes back.I have been slacking in school but that is the same as always.I have been really excited about becoming a midwife and found out that there is a big midwifery conference next spring in King of Prussia.I really wanna go even though it's really expensive and someone needs to teach how to drive before then so that I have a way to get there.
Things are going pretty well here even though I am more of an obnoxious American than I have ever been in my life. When ever I am with any of the other black students people stare us down.Especially the women...I am pretty sure that people are used to seeing less black women than men.At this point we are all pretty sick of it.So that is annoying but not unexpected. My Japanese still sucks which is facilitated in part by my slacker tendencies, my english speaking university, my english speaking house, the incompetence of my Japanese teacher, and the fact that when I speak Japanese to people or try to they answer me in English.Blimey!Except for like two days ago.I can ask for the time very clearly and so I say it very naturally which meant someone started a conversation with me that I had no clue how to finish.Good times.
On a more positive note I had my first Hot Yoga class today and it was cool.Well you know what I mean(corny). I really liked it and didn't really worry about the woman next to me who was beyond flexible.Flexibility isn't my strong point and I am hoping this helps.I am gonna go two times a week cause that is all my schedule allows for but it should be good. Tuesday/Thursday used to be solo adventure days but that got pricey and I have trips to pay for.
The teacher was really great and used hand signal and demonstration to communicate what was happening.I guess languages develop out of need to know basic things and then evolved because of the desire to know and share more.
Back to my goals.So getting to Japan was quite a feat and took some planning. But I am having a good time and more importantly I feel like I can plan any trip I want.So I got invited to Venezuela in January to visit the Abster, I have some standing invites for Cali, and I got invited to Kenya for soring break.I am gonna make at least one of those things happen. But the really big goal is something Brian had talked about after I googled it and got excited as I do around the world trip.I've decided that I am gonna go in 2010.The term is used loosely most people on round the world tickets don't actually go all the way around. But there is a whole online community built around this stuff.My plan is to start in south asia, head to southeast asia, then head overland to China, take the trans-Mongolian to Ulan Bator and then The trans Siberian to mOscow. From there work my way through Europe.In Europe I would stay with friends, friends of friends, and family of friends. Africa deserves it's own trip because as I keep reminding people here AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY!
It is easy for me to map things like this in my head because I am psycho and have spent so much time looking at map and thinking that I could pull any number of routes out of my head but couldn't place the countries on the map.I am off to look at a southeast asai travel guide when I should be studying

Also i know I still need to put up those pictures.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Okay so this from last week and quite long


Yesterday I twisted my ankle falling out the supermarket(typical).The night before I slept in a park(not typical). The park was part of the Yokohama Ferry Terminal.My friends Nick,Joe,and Paula re all architecture majors and Nick really wanted to see this building.Nick is a really chill dude who doesn't talk when he doesn't have anything to say and is generally not very excitable but this building was exciting to him.The building was really was a man made landscape next to the Tokyo bay it looked like a sea a wooden waves with grass islands.We didn't get there until like 9pm after putting out stuff in lockers and then having one of those great dinner conversations where you are closer afterwards if for no other reason than the amount of dirt you have on each other.
We were intially gonna sleep in McDonalds which are so clean here that you can do that and we have seen quite a few people do it. In fact I see people sleep in public here all the time in part because trains stop running and many people live far from the city center.
When we got to the park there were so many people there. Lots of young couples but also friends hanging out and a few people having some alone time.We mostly walked around and looked at the building and took pictures.At soem point everyone but Nick fell asleep.We got cold because it was right by the bay and Paul wanted to book a hotel but we all disagreed.In par because it was already 3 in the morning. Also Nick seemed so happy that we wanted to stay and support him so in the end we move to an alcove lit with blue lights next to the bathroom. Once we relocated we were mostly awake and argued about international politics, domestic housing policy, urban planning , and institutionalized racism and the suburbs.
Finally it was time for the sun to rise and we got to watch it rise over the bay. Somewhere around 4am most of the people left the park but around 5am joggers and some photographers started to show up.We also took the time to notice that it wasn't the sun that was moving but the earth and by extension ourselves.It was one of those sweet introspective moments that means a lot to you but maybe not much to others.
We never did make it to Chinatown for Dim Sum...Yokohama has Japan's biggest Chinatown. Instead we went to McDonalds where they served us at our table.
As of today my ankle is still swollen bu doing better.
This past weekend I went o Hakone and while it was too crowded to see Mount Fuji I have a good time.I ate an egg that is cooked in a hot spring and is supposed to extend my life seven years and got naked and bathed in the onsen. We also did karaoke and had kakesei dinner.That was all pretty great I recommend it to anyone.
Most of the kids from my dorm really disliked the kids from the other dorms who were pre-occupied with getting drunk and trying to act cool.The bus drivers was like two hours late because of an accident and then it took a long time to get there and back and these obnoxious little shits treated him like it was his fault.US citizens are the most impatient people on the planet.It is a gross generalization but I am gonna go with it.
There is one kid in the other dorm who is really obnoxious and I had to stop my friend from kicking the shit out of him.The kid totally deserved it though.Apparently he threw a bottle into the woods when we were at the Buddhist Temple and drew on people's prayers with a magic marker.We have a group pact to catch him on the street and whip his ass.

I'll post a link to pictures in a little while but there will be a lot of them

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sumo Pictures and such

Sumo Pictures and such

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who Doesn't Love a Fake rickshaw?

Last night I introduced to more people to New Jack City(which was good) and then went to an Izakaya with Nick and Joe(iffy). Drunk on a Tuesday is definitely a college thing.Except there were tons of people there and this one Japanese guy dropped his pants and then cursed me out when I asked what he was doing.After we left I dropped my wallet and didn't realize it until we were almost home and at that point we sauntered back to get it.Cause unlike in the state when you lose your shit in Japan it will be there when you come back.My wallet was sitting right on the busy street where I had dropped it undisturbed.
I had sort of a crazy weekend.Some of it is covered in the letter I wrote to my grand mom which I will post most of here but going to sumo wrestling is not covered. So I went to my first ever sumo match/tournament and it was really pretty interesting.On the way into the stadium we passed by some wrestlers and we were unimpressed with there girth and decided that we or at the very least Tyler could take them...but we didn't try. Before that we went to the Edo museum which I really liked but everyone else was lukewarm about.It had a bunch of re-creations(is that a word) inside and I really liked them.It was also useful to go with architects and get info about the buildings and why they were constructed in particular ways and where the influences cam from.A fascinating perspective that I didn't even know I was missing.I may come back knowing more about architecture than anything else.Ask me about the difference between and cable and suspension bridge!
But I liked the Edo museum because it was so damn practical and you could touch things and hold things.I am not a great visual learner so the museum experience is largely lost on me if I can only take things in visually.
Now everyone could agree that sumo was cool.Idris and Tyler got the best pictures.So I'll post mine which will be blurry until I can photoshop them and all but you get the idea.I didn't get a chance to read about Sumo like I wanted to before I left but once I started picking a wrestler things were so much more fun. Some of the matches were really amazing with dudes getting flipped out of the ring and inevitably onto the first row.Miraculously no one was hurt.
And now a little info from Wikipedia...
here are six divisions in sumo: makuuchi (fixed at 42 wrestlers), jūryō (fixed at 28 wrestlers), makushita (fixed at 120 wrestlers), sandanme (fixed at 200 wrestlers), jonidan (approximately 230 wrestlers), and jonokuchi (approximately 80 wrestlers). Wrestlers enter sumo in the lowest jonokuchi division and, ability permitting, work their way up to the top division. Wrestlers in the top two division are known as sekitori, while lower division wrestlers are generally referred to by the generic term for wrestlers, rikishi.[6]

The topmost makuuchi division receives the most attention from fans and has the most complex hierarchy. The majority of wrestlers are maegashira and are numbered from one (at the top) down to about sixteen or seventeen. Above the maegashira are the champion or titleholder ranks, called the sanyaku. These are, in ascending order, komusubi, sekiwake, ōzeki and, at the pinnacle of the ranking system, yokozuna.[6]

Now my only association with Yokozuna was as the WWF wrestler who put the Undertaker in is own casket during a steel cage match.I realize now that this was culturally insensitive on the part of the WWF but then again so was every wrestler they had. All in all I had a really good time with my friend and then we headed home.
Later Tyler,Joe , and I went to a party for a woman I am making friends with who is from Turkey. They got wasted and I spent much of the walk home saying sumimasen(kind of like excuse me but not quite) to other people for them. Tyler is a big guy ...bout 6'3, rugby player, blond, blue-eyed and he gets no shortage of stares here.He is also a filmmaker,photographer, and sculptor.People are so complex. I am actually friends with quite a few photo geeks and they are teaching me that stuff.I think at this point we are both sort of sick of being stared at but it was a good time and I got them home safe.
So I'll post the pictures I have whe I egt back from school and write about the weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pics from Asakusa

Sorry this is the best way I have figured out pictures.I'll keep working on it.You're gonna have to copy and paste this link it's not working right for some reason

The Prime Minister resigned...but hey so did Karl Rove

When to Asakusa today by myself and that was pretty cool.I also used the squat toilet for the first time today after looking at them for a while.It was a short day at school and I felt like it I peed on my pants well I was already on my way out the door.There are some cool toilets here.My favorite has a seat warmer, a bidet,a sort of light enema, and a flushing sound that you can have perpetually on to cover the sound of doing your business.I am not gonna lie this seems most useful if your business is throwing up since one you're in the stall it's sort of established that you've got some sort of bodily function to perform.Or you are like me and the bathroom was the only really private place in your house cause as your mother said "You didn't buy any doors so don't close any doors" then it is a place of comfort.
Anyway I found my Shabu Shabu pictures and at Asakusa ran into the woman who helped us out at Shabu Shabu cause we couldn't read the menu and we exchanged info.Asakusa is pretty cool.I like the idea that all the shops peddling things are part of a tradition of peddling to pilgrims.Unlike last time I did waft myself with the breathe of the gods cause my roommate is a little sick and I needed some help.Generally i don't fool with other people's god but getting sick with your momma on the other side of the ocean and a continent is no joke.
The strangest thing that happened is that while I was trying to size up a picture of the market strip some Japanese woman asked me if she could take a picture with me.It was a little bizarre and it was definitely cause I was black and then she gave me a present as is customary and she looked so pleased that it was kind of whatever.But still really quite strange.I mean people stare at me all the time here, it was fine for a while but now it's just kind of annoying.So i have adopted a very Philly attitude and I stare them down.Today I stared down a five year old...I'm not proud,especially because he won.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Off To Learn The History of the Hunters

So the dreaded IH class starts in about two minutes and that Japanese cultures class just makes me wanna jump.Whatever I just got White Teeth from the library and am gonna read that in class.I know it's bad but so is a nervous breakdown.I had a really interesting conversation with mel(another woman on the program) about Native American genocide and her tribes struggle to be federally recognized.It was kind of cool to get to connect and hang out with her...she lives next door to me.
I used to write blogs that people found really interesting but they were also very raw and vulnerable and I don't really publicly do that anymore.Some people might consider that a sign of maturity...I think it's probably a survival skill and if you don't develop survival skills the odds of reaching maturity are slim.I will say that I miss Brian quite a bit and while it's not awful( I actually think it's kind of cool)I still appreciate the feeling. Not in one of those absence makes the heart grow fonder ways cause there are some people who when I am away from them everyday is like a holiday but it's just kind of sweet.Okay well i am off to be lied to...thank god for Aunt Renee and mom or I wouldn't even know that they was lying.
I also am ware that some of you don't know me or that we have never met.If you are a Kelly or Kasyjanski(I can't remember how to spell it...sorry)please direct all comments,questions,or complaints, to Brian Kelly.Also if you are a Penn alumni who is not directly affiliated with me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

who is non-profit?

I only have a couple of thoughts from contexts clues.Email me

The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence

What a day.I didn't get enough sleep last night in part cause I stayed up watching season one of the Boondocks..well worth it.Tuesday/Thursdays suck cause my classes are so damn boring. My one teacher Sensei Sumi teaches the Japanese Culture class but he has very little positive to say and says very little that isn't in the text .The other teacher is my IH(intellectual heritage)teacher and she is knew and so nervous about teaching the most hated class at Temple that she barely teaches. She is not at all confident and just says crazy stuff.Like today she gave us a paper on how to write an essay because we probably had not written such a long essay before.Now ...on the first day we established that the whole class were Juniors and Seniors...she's lost it.Then we were reading the Declaration of Independence and she managed to make that boring...I like the Declaration of Independence.I tried to bring up how in the first draft Thomas Jefferson wrote about abolishing slavery and how it violated basic human rights and the ensuing controversy.That it was interesting based on how many times that happened in US history with different things and part of that decision was that the signers were of the property owning class.She gon tell me that she saw that but much like with John Locke(who almost mentioned abolishing slavery)she thought that it was too much information and so she left it out.I want to know how much longer people think they can teach US history without talking about racialized chattel slavery.I mean really how many slave quarters do you have to find at cites of freedom...and of course as the only black person in the room I had to be the one to say it.
She could have even have totally different political views from me(but of course she is in the burgeoning women's studies department) but at least bring the fire.I like a good fight and this class just makes me wanna throw in the towel.
Oh also i got a new camera.I had taken pictures when we went out to Shabu Shabu on Saturday night but somehow those pictures got erased.I'll get others from Nick.We got there and of course couldn't read the menu which was all in they got the waitress that spoke English but she didn't understand us so she got another woman who was eating dinner with her European husband and various friends o translate for us.We got put in the back room which we decided was the Gaijin room but then after hanging ut and having free range for a while we decided it was the VIP room.
Shabu Shabu involves choosing two broths which are served in a divided pot and then ordering various vegetables and/or meat and cooking them.It was all really good ...except this one solid white sheet that when we put it in came out like glue and swallowing it felt like swallowing glue.But everything else was so good and you just sit around and eat and drink for a couple of hours.I really will try and get Nick's pictures .

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Had a pretty chill day am not feeling particularly motivated to go out to clubs or bars. My dorm is actually pretty chill and on the whole people just kind of do stuff together but don't go crazy.I am the second oldest person in this dorm and it is a little bit weird since I am used to being the youngest one in the crowd.
Today the phone woke me up to go to Akihabara which is the assault of bright lights and discount electronics.It wasn't so bright during the day but I could see it being sensory overload at night. I was looking at cameras cause I really want a new one and there were some pretty good delas but there is another place to check out.
The best part of my day was the Sega store which other people were not nearly as excited about but I loved.Joyce and I played this Taiko game that was awesome.I could just go to the arcade and play for hours.I wish my brother was here cause he would have played with me or my little cousin.
We went to Asakusa and it was alittle much with a group of six.The stretch leading up to the Temple is so damn crowded that i have decided to go back on weekdays.I took obligatory pictures but don't want to tak anymore until i least read the wikipedia articles on Shinto and Buddhism.It is a Buddhist temple but it has Shinto shrines on the ground which is really common.Western ideas about not mixing religions don't apply here of course.
This is the stuff that I find to be really interesting.Like in my class about China in the discussion session this Friday we talked about Japan because he said it is essential to understanding Chinese history and that point in time.He is some sort of big deal expert on China.I find him to be both abrasive and pleasant.But anyway so he was saying that at the end of World Two that the Emperor had to renounce his divinity.But what's interesting is that prior to this people were willing to accept that the Emperor was both divine and a fuck puny western mind couldn't understand this...but the teacher was really useful and said that it wasn't like papal infallibility .But ya know Jesus couldn't be Jesus and do something wrong.So while I get it it's still so interesting to me.
Well headed to dinner with the guys..we have an unofficial dinner club.Joe and I are the most constant members but we've got a core.
Here is the link to the pics

Thursday, September 6, 2007

About pictures

so because i have not yet figured out a better way to share pictures with captions I am gonna include the link to the pictures. The captions got deleted several times.Take this as a sign that I really like YOU cause I know what each picture is.

I don't know if using the link allows you to comment about the photos as well.

Because Michal asked me to

So this is my first official blog post from Japan.Life has been relatively uneventful.I have settled in nicely but have not really done much that was exciting. I anticipate that life will get more exciting.I know everybody has this sense that Tokyo is a crazy place but i feel like I am living here instead of visiting and that kind of makes any place less crazy.I think that is sort of a tourist association with the surface level of things.I'd like to be a little less shallow.There are definitely some things that are strange to me but have you ever tried to explain what a water ice is from someone outside of the tri-state area?
I have some friends that I kick it with and they're are really nice guys.
We are experiencing a typhoon which is distinct from a monsoon.
I went to The Hie Shrine which is just a little bit down the ways from my apartment. It's enshrined to Oyamakui-no-kami the of Mount Hie.It was totally beautiful.I couldn't read any of the signs but I got a little pamphlet in English and took some pics.At first I felt weird and was like would I take pics in a church and then I decided that I would an have.
It was a totally calm place and I would love to go back there on a nicer day. Although to be honest today was pretty great.The wind was whipping and it was lightly raining and it seems like just the perfect kind of day for being at a place of worship...with nature reminding me how tiny you are.I love that feeling it makes me wanted to write. Also there were ravens everywhere I walked today and I felt like they were stalking me.To be fair they are everywhere here and so it probably wasn't personal but it was kind of creepy.Went I went to the shrine it was super deserted except for some random European tourist...there are always European tourists...but I felt pretty safe which is counter to my east coast female mentality.
Okay so I am dragging this out.I will post more tomorrow or the day after.