Friday, December 31, 2010

daily glimpse

What are you drinking this New Year's Eve?

Obviously, if we were still in Japan I'd be having a, wait, maybe the Cubaribre. I mean, I am half Cuban and I've always loved a good ribre.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

daily glimpse

It's winter here, like real winter. Everything is so brown. I miss the golden leaves of the ginko trees...

If I had my druthers, I'd live in perpetual fall.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

daily glimpse

I used to love them!!

We actually saw an entire "Monchichi" store on one of our last days in Tokyo. They had shelf upon shelf of different ones dressed as anything you can imagine. I don't know if they are still making them or if they just had all this leftover stock from 1987 and decided to go for it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

daily glimpse

I saved this little gem for after the holidays...

I wanted to save you the terror. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

daily glimpse

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

photo credit: Ms. L

Friday, December 24, 2010

daily glimpse

Awesome restaurant descriptions...

Mmmm...loss leaders, my favorite!

p.s. Happy Christmas Eve!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

daily glimpse

Behold- the tiniest trashcan ever…

The water bottle is there for scale so you didn’t think this was in front of the tiniest toilet ever. I wish I hadn’t forgotten to take one of the teeny tiny “Precious Moments” trashcan at one of the hotels that said “Make a Joyful Noise”.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

daily glimpse

I wouldn’t want to dry my hands with anything less…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

daily glimpse

I don’t know about you, but chocorate is my favorite…

Monday, December 20, 2010

daily glimpse

Why yes, we did run into a group of Japanese cowgirl lesbians…

Sunday, December 19, 2010

daily glimpse

I’m not sure what these animals are holding onto…

but the bears look very concerned.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

daily glimpse

A cup of ice…

Japanese take the “convenience” part to a whole other level.

(Okay, so technically we’re leaving Tokyo today, but I’ve got a few more choice photos from here that I’d like to share and hey I doubt we're going to have the same amount of material at our fingertips when we're home for the next 3 months.)


Another year on the road is drawing to a close today. My grandmother always told me that time goes by faster and faster each year and she was so right. I can tell you when you live your life in 2 month increments it really flies by.

It has been a year of incredible travel, amazing opportunities, some tough goodbyes, a whole lot of laughter and even a few tears.

We’re beyond grateful for it all…

For those of you who have been readers for a while- yes, I use the same dang songs for all my videos. Why you may ask…well, my software only allows certain types of files and Itunes has me backed into a corner. So enjoy the Coldplay because it’s here to stay. Or you could send an email to Steve Jobs. I hear he may even respond if you get sassy enough.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


When we were in Ireland there was a hilarious show on television called "Idiot Abroad" where Ricky Gervais sent his not-so-bright friend to visit the 7 Wonders of the World. This guy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, doesn’t like the unknown and really doesn’t like to travel. It was pretty hysterical. I actually wouldn’t even let us go out on Thursdays because I had to watch it.

In the first episode Ricky was asking him what concerns he had before going to China to see the Great Wall. His answer was that he was afraid he’d “get a taste for toad”. He was dead serious. After asking what the hell he meant, he explained that he was scared he’d have to eat toad, really like the taste of it and then come back to London and not be able to get it anymore.

8 weeks in Japan and I have found I’ve got a taste for toad. I love their thoughtful culture, their politeness, their orderly ways, their gadgets and ingenious ways of doing everything, their hilarious advertising, the quietness of 15 million people texting instead of yapping on their cells in public, their delicious and visually stunning food, the level of safety they enjoy (girls as young as 7 can be seen going home from school by themselves on the subway in their precious little Madeline outfits), their attention to detail which is seen in every aspect of everything, and don’t even get me started on their fondness for everything made in miniature.

It is a rare thing when I can truly imagine myself living anywhere other than home. Granted, I couldn’t live in Tokyo as anything other than an expat on a very generous expat package- but it is a truly amazing city and we’ll be a little sad to say goodbye.

Thanks for the toad, Japan. It tasted glorious.

daily glimpse

I’ve seen a lot of things used to advertise lady products, but this is just ridiculous…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

daily glimpse


I’m guessing they aren’t drawing a lot of business from English speaking tourists.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

daily glimpse

This troupe looks excited…

I mean I guess I would be too if I was going to see the Great Buddha AND there was a rainbow AND I got to eat chips.

The advertising here cracks me up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the Season

As many of you know Julie and I hold the Genesis Shelter very near and dear to our hearts. It was for them that we held our our annual charity Christmas party each year to help us sponsor large families for the holidays.

Another Christmas is upon us and as much as we'd like to have you all over for cocktails and food- I don't think our renters would much appreciate it.

Seriously though, if you are still looking for a way to give a little back this year they are a wonderful organization that allow homeless families to stay together while helping them achieve self-sufficiency. They are also the only shelter in Atlanta that will take in homeless mothers with newborns.

Grocery store gift cards are a great way to help them out this time of year to ensure the kids get a nice holiday meal and they are always in need of baby supplies and toiletries.

Or you can just donate directly to them through this link.

I know everyone is feeling the crunch these days, but if just 15 of you donated $10 they could provide dinner for half the shelter. A little will go such a long way for these families and that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from doing something good will come free with purchase!

daily glimpse

Aw, what a cute little drink label…

Except what is that dog doing with the sword? Watch out, Mr. Kitty!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

daily glimpse

I know they love their cats...

but seriously, isn’t there a cuter position you’d like to have portrayed by your stuffed kitty?

The guys stuck behind him sure seem disgusted.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

daily glimpse

Seems one of the good ol’ boys decided to stay and open up a bar...

I know you see it all in Japan, but I surely didn’t think I’d see a confederate flag.

Friday, December 10, 2010

flashback friday

The infamously busy intersection at Shibuya...

This wasn't even during the busiest time of the day. My favorite time to cross is in the evening when the pulse of Tokyo is almost palpable. I'm going to really miss living here.

daily glimpse

Samurai Duck...

Enough said.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

daily glimpse

An umbrella dryer so you don’t slosh water all over the lobby floor when coming in from the rain…

I’m telling you, the Japanese think of EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

daily glimpse

Out all night and worried what people will think of you being in the same shirt as yesterday?

No worries, just pick up a clean button-down from the 7 Eleven. Seriously, they have everything.

*BING* It's almost Christmas!

I've been avoiding and ignoring Christmas trees and carols since mid-October, which is when they starting cropping up here in Tokyo. I don't do Christmas before Thanksgiving and I certainly don't do it before Halloween.

I've been so adament about not celebrating Christmas early that I didn't even notice it's actually the season to be all holly-jolly now.

I guess it's easier for me to forget since I'm not sending out cards, putting up a giant tree or baking 372 dozen cookies, but it is almost Christmas.

So how about a little song from the master of putting me in the Christmas mood...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

daily glimpse

I’ve heard of a stairway to heaven, but never a stairway to nowhere.

All I can say is- there has got to be a fire code violation here somewhere.

Monday, December 6, 2010

daily glimpse

One of our hotels had an automated check-in/out machine...

We’re becoming obsolete, people.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

daily glimpse

I don’t know what this platypus is squawking about, but it seems important...

Signs like this make me nervous, like I’m missing some vital information.

You're probably thinking they wouldn’t use a platypus for something really important, aren't you? If so, you’re be sorely wrong, my friend. That is exactly who they’d use.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

daily glimpse

Cup of tea?

How about 10 gallons? I hate that I didn’t photograph something to give some sense of scale to these mammoth things. Trust me, they were HUGE.

flashback friday

In honor of the 2022 World Cup location being announced yesterday- here’s a clip from the stadium where we watched Germany's last game. ..

Substitute “Qatar” for “Africa” and maybe they can use this song for 2022.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Very cool store we ventured in one day in Shibuya…

Although we called it the samurai store it was actually a kendo store that sold the bamboo and wooden swords and armor that is used in this Japanese martial art.


In November the only place you can see sumo is in Fuokoka for the last of the year's Grand Sumo Tournaments. If you are looking for a city to visit in Japan, well, let’s just say Fuokoka isn’t even listed in our travel guide. But, I really wanted to see Sumo so we made the trek over there on Friday evening.

The train to get there is about 5 hours so we took our one and only flight this round. I have to say I don’t miss flying. The flight was fine though and just under 2 hours so at least we got to bed at a decent hour that night.

After lunch the next day we made our way to the conference center. The higher class wrestlers fight once each day for the entire 15 days of the tournament. The one with the most wins gets the trophy and the outcomes of the tournament are used to re-rank the wrestlers until the next tournament. You can move up and down in the ranks until you reach the coveted “Yokozuna” level where you remain until you start to stink and then you’re expected to retire.

I’m not a sports junkie by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted to see sumo because it’s purely Japanese and this is the only country in the world that the sport is professional. I think the sumo’s way of life is really interesting and anything that holds so tightly to its traditions for over 1500 years has got to be pretty cool… right?

Well, it was. It was actually really awesome and I’m not one for contact sports like wrestling or boxing. The crunching of bones and punching of faces usually makes me really uneasy. I barely made it through that Ali movie, but something about sumo was different.

From the singing before each match to the salt throwing to purify the ring to the almost elegant raising of their tree trunk legs as they slammed down their feet to rid the dohyo of evil- it was all so intriguing. The match itself lasted only seconds, but was incredibly intense…

We had only arrived at 2pm so when the final match was over we were surprised the 4 hours were up. We all went to dinner afterwards and decided with the chilly rain that was falling we’d better pass on trying to find any rikishis (wrestlers) at the bars. With the final matches being held the next day I was doubtful any of the higher ranking guys would have been out anyway.

Jules and I had an early train out to Kyoto on Sunday for a site visit she had there on Monday. We made our way to the Golden Pavilion where some very cute little college kids (GOD- did you hear that?? I now think college age people are kids!?!) who were studying English got in some practice by giving us a tour…
They were very sweet, but they put a cramp in my photo taking (“Do you like to take SO many photos?”) so we avoided the next crew of them at Ryoanji Temple. Even with missing the peak of the fall colors in Kyoto, I had never in my life seen such beautiful trees…

We did a little shopping afterwards at the Kyoto crafts center. I wasn’t too impressed, but I finally found my teacups! Obviously, I haven’t shared my endless searching for the perfect little teacup all over God’s creation or at least 5 continents, but I was very happy to have finally found them and 50% off at that. A very happy retirement to you, very nice teacup seller man.

I spent Monday on my own going to a couple of temples and wandering through a huge Japanese garden where I had a couple of rice balls by a lake and took a crap-ton of photos for tiny little Japanese senior citizens. None offered to return the favor, but it was a really lovely day…

We’ve only got 2 weekends left in Japan. I’m sad just thinking about it.

This weekend we're staying put to enjoy one last fling in Tokyo.

Photos from the weekend (still waiting on getting some from others, hence the delay in the post)...