Travel


About 1.5 weeks ago I finally got myself a bicylce. This is the first bike I’ve had since high-school. I gotta say, I’ve missed biking. Almost as much as I’ve missed sushi. (I haven’t had sushi in the states since coming back from Japan. Not sure why, but it probably has to do with knowing that whatever I get here won’t match up to the sushi I’ve had over there.) But anyway.

This morning I stopped by REI and got a bike rack for my car. That’s cause I’ve gotten tired of biking to Redhook. Sure, it’s a great 6 mile ride, at the end of which cold beer awaits, but after doing that twice last weekend I wanted to try something different. So I got the car rack and drove to Mercer Island. Mercer Way (first E, then W) is a road that wraps around the island and is quite a scenic ride. The route I picked (image below) is 13.7 miles long. My average speed was 9.6 MPH, with a top speed of 34.8 MPH (that was awesome!).

Mercer Island Bike Ride

I didn’t manage to snag any pictures while on the road, though, so this is the only image that I have of the trip.

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I’m not much on souvenirs. For some reason, I didn’t want to pack my suitcase in Japan with cheap merchandise. But I did want something physical to keep after my trip. I already have a lot of photos, but I wanted something tangible. So I got chopsticks from every city I visited. Actually, I screwed up, as I didn’t manage to get chopsticks from Yokohama. So, as to right a wrong, there’s an extra set of chopsticks for Tokyo. I got them in Harajuku. It’s pretty clear (even without the accompanying text) which ones they are.

 

Chopsticks and holder from Tokyo

Chopsticks and holder from Tokyo. The start of my collection.

 

Chopsticks from Kamakura

Chopsticks from Kamakura.

 

Chopsticks from Kyoto

Chopsticks from Kyoto.

 

Chopsticks from Harajuku

Chopsticks from Harajuku. Duh!

 

Chopsticks from Shizuoka

Chopsticks from Shizuoka.

While in Japan, my favorite coin was the 500 yen-piece. It’s awesome. It’s the biggest of the coins, the heaviest, and looks more gold-like than the rest.

However, one of its best qualities wasn’t known to me until I came back to the states (I keep at least one of each coin, including the 500 Yen, and a 1000 Yen note) and a coworker showed me something nifty. Below are the photos (not Photoshopped). And below the photos is the explanation.

500 Yen, overhead lighting

500 Yen, lighting from above and behind the camera

That pattern you see in the second photo is a security measure. It’s only visible if properly lit. The first photo is lit from above. For the second photo, the light-source was slightly above and behind the camera.

Continuing the tradition of staying up waaaaay too late and working on photos, here are the fruit of last night’s work.

Giant statue of Buddha

This giant statue of Buddha is hollow, with a tiny, claustrophobic (for some) hallway leading into it.

Tokyo Marathon

We were in Tokyo at the time of the Tokyo Marathon. My sister’s friends were running. My sister and her friends (not pictured) dressed up as… weirdos… and shouted at the rain.

Procession in a shrine

This was a mysterious (I never did learn what it was all about) procession in a shrine. Or was it a temple?

Tower of Tokyo

Tokyo Tower. It’s pretty cool, but go on a weekday, when the line isn’t a mile long.

Statue in a Shizuoka park

A statue, puking on another statue. This was in The Park in Shizuoka.

1756 was, according to God, a leap year that started on a Thursday. That was the year that Mozart was born, potatoes were forced on the people of Prussia, a number of battles of the Seven Year war occur, the French and Indian War rages on, the first chocolate-candy factory opens in Germany, some doofus publishes a book that teaches people to play the violin, Alf as well as a bunch of other nobody’s are born, and a French astronomer dies.

1756 is also the number of photos I brought back from Japan. 1756 gorram photos!! Considering I left on the 18th of March and came back on the 5th of April, and if we count that as 19 days, that averages out to 92 photos per day. Holy flurking schnit!

As a way for me to get started on this insurmountable task, (that is, post-processing the photos, a crucial step that many often skip) I’ve decided to complete three photos and upload them. Tonight. So, here they are. The first two are from Tokyo, the last one is a night-shot of Yokohama.

Tokyo statue, with wing-lamps

Tokyo building, backlit

Yokohama, night shot

 

Currently listening to: Saturday Night Special – by Lynyrd Skynyrd. (Damn, I miss that feature from LiveJournal. Don’t miss much else, but do miss this.)

Below is a continuation of this post.

Getting right into the middle of the post immediately after the jump. This will be a bit about Japan and a religious ramble/question.

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