Category Archives: travel

Skyline View

 

This Sky Writer had to have been lefthanded.

 

note: I waited around to see what the message was going to be, but it was just another skinny cloud prank, I guess.

double note: vapor trails always make me think about the Alan Parsons Project‘s “I in the Sky“.

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Today #299

Today I got a cool haircut … it’s a lot cooler at the back and on top now.

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Gunma Holiday

 

I live in Gunma-Prefecture.

I’ve been on a Gunma Holiday for the last 5 days: visiting places in Nagano-Prefecture, Tochigi-Prefecture, and Niigata Prefecture.

A Gunma holiday is more involved than other places … or involves more other places … for some reason.

 

note: Gunma is pretty big! … you have to drive through it on the way to where you are going quite often from here.

double note:

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.
Don Williams, Jr.
“Gunma: it’s a journey.”
planetross

triple note: apologies for not responding to comments. It was a split-second decision to actually go somewhere: I thought about it for a second, then I split.

quadruple note: the poster in the picture was created to make Gunma look more cool as a tourist destination. A person doesn’t have to live in Japan for too long before they understand that Audrey Hepburn is/was/will always be the best foreign actress ever … and “Roman Holiday” the best movie.

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Today #185

Today is the last day of holidays before going back to work for a day … then it’s the weekend! woo hoo!

Planes And Boats And Trains

 

 

Singers sing about cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, boats, rockets, planes, helicopters, trains, buses, subways, balloons, bicycles, unicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, horses, and even Segways (Weird Al Yankovic)

… but no one ever sings about stilts.

Songwriters can’t be blamed for this oversight really:

the best rhyme that goes with “stilts” is “kilts”

… and stilts and kilts don’t really work too well together in my experience.

 

 

note: photo taken by Kelly Pettit … while we were being shopping mauled the other day.

double note: when I saw this photo it made me realize why I usually drive on the inside of my van.

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Today #95

I’m washing my stinky slippers today.
The ones I don’t wear at all never stink!
It’s a mystery!

 

Obsearch And Reservations

 

The common house fly travels quite a bit.

I’ve seen them in many hotels.

 

note: a tent fly is actually quite good when it rains.

double note: I guess those airplanes that drag a message behind them are advertising fliers … like that crap that gets pushed through the mail slot daily.

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Today 57

Today I realized that I don’t fit on any spectrum … except the unexpectrum.

Is Statue?

                                       

Some statues are better in situations than others.

                                 

Some statues are more tolerant than others too!

 

note: I think I’m monumental.

double note: Tenaga and Ashinaga (long arms-long legs) on a bridge in Takayama, Gifu-ken.

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notes to myself #183

We like travelling not to see something amazing, but to see something amazingly silly.

In And Out of Proportiousness

big beer small beer

 

I bet Gulliver didn’t spend much money on booze when he was amongst the giants in “Brobdingnag”.

Lilliput would have been a bitch if he was trying to save money.

 

note: if I start hanging out with talking horses and shunning Yahoos, then I better move on swiftly.

double note:

“Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath.”
                                                                        Jonathan Swift

I wish I had said that.

 

notes to myself #16

When you are 9 do not watch “The Birds“: it’s going to give you nightmares.
You can watch Alfred Hitchcock movies without side effects later on in life.

Another Saturday At Stoplights

Visorman not apprehended

 

On an IMPORTANT MISSION to obtain important things at a shopping mall about an hour’s drive away, I armed myself with my camera and i-pod shuffle for the trip.
I guess I really “eyed” and “eared” myself with that equipment … and the shuffle was only half full … so it was really an i-pod “shuhalfull” … but I digress.

On the way I realized a few new things that I hadn’t realized before.
I’ve already prealized old things … so I can’t realize them anymore nowadays for some reason that I’m sure I will realize someday.

Ogo is a No Go!

 

1. I don’t honk at bad or slow drivers: I just “boo” them a lot.

 

right next to the bean factory

 

 2. My headphones slowly work themselves out of my ears when I eat food*, but not when I sing**.

*piggishly
**badly

Zakka: it's the best!

 

3. I’d be a pretty good “disfigure skater” … if that was a real thing. I know I can do a “disfigure 8” amazingly well!

 

for all your car accident needs

 

4. If U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Names” started with “I want to hide, I want to seek“, it probably wouldn’t have been such a big hit.

 

always the same observations from the parking lot

 

5. It is impossible to sit completely still while listening to “Istanbul” by They Might Be Giants.

 Constant Vigilance!

 

All important things were obtained and even one thing I didn’t know was important, until I obtained it, was obtained with money … which is very similar to purchasing or buying … but really quite different if there is an IMPORTANT MISSION involved.

 

They stare at me while I drink!! ... creepy!!

 

The icecube tray was the  added bonus of the trip.

What was the IMPORTANT MISSION? you ask while eating fish products with baited breath.

I’ll put that entry on next. 
I was going to call it “The Next Entry”, but then what would I do after that? … so it will be called something else.

 

note: if you haven’t read the first “Saturday At Stoplights“, no one is stopping you … with lights … or anything.

double note: it’s difficult to get people with funny hats riding bicycles and the police into one photo … naturally.
The first “Visor Man” is here … or just ask Tony  …he probably knows.

 

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The Numata Matsuri 2009

Tengu time again!

One of the “Big Three” events on my calendar has come and passed again for another year: The Numata Matsuri.

BIG THREE

Numata Matsuri

Kinder Olympics / When Was The Last Time?

Dance Recital Madness / Dance Recital Madness: Day 2

 

This was my 10th year of roaming the streets of Numata for 3 days in August … with a purpose.

Maybe in Spanish "Tengusta"!

It’s basically the exact same thing every year, but somehow that’s a good thing. It’s comfort food for the senses: like an old song, holiday decorations, or finding a few slices of yesterday’s pizza still in the fridge.

It ties the year together in a way nothing else can: not even a belt comes close! … or even a really strong belt.

I can’t explain it; it just is … like the word “is“.

 

Things I have learned over the years:

possibly midgets or short people or something

1. These 4 girls have not grown a centimetre since my first Numata Matsuri in 1998.

2. I can always find a place to pee within 50 meters of my current position.

Takahashiba Dashi has a funny hatted entity/mascot/historical figure on top

3. I know which float represents my neighbourhood. It’s the one with the “funny wingy hat” thing.

drumming is serious business

4. I don’t let the “funny wingy hat” thing fool me. This is serious business.

5. Every year, the distance between where I am and where I want to go is populated with more people who want to talk with me … and slow down my progress.

If I’m with Mr. Badger  or Mr. Pettit, we don’t seem to move at all!

this years thing!

6. One toy will prove most popular and by the 3rd day of the festival every kid will have one. This year it was “The Frog“.

7. Beer has no affect on me at the Numata Matsuri.

let's get ready to rock!

8. The “Tengu Drummers” are amazing.

9. I take less photos and drink more beer each year … which has no affect on me.

cutting the cord is not just for doctors and horror movie psychopaths

10. The guy that cuts the ceremonial twine to open up Suga Shrine to the Dashi (floats) and Omikoshi (portable shrine things) is not a high Shinto Priest: he’s as official from the Suga Shrine neighbourhood that does a lot of planning for the Numata Matsuri. This year it was the guy that does the sound boards and mixing at the local auditorium. (I think he calls himself “Shigibom”)

11. If there are 2 nice women who want to talk to me, they will approach me at the same time from different directions … and I’ll always have a big mouthful of food in my mouth … and be standing by my girlfriend.

and it's over for another year

12. I’ll be standing under the big tree in the Suga Shrine grounds about 10 pm on August 5th next year seeing this … and holding my beer cup in my mouth while I do the tradition final clap with all the other lovers of the Numata Matsuri.

don don don … don don don … don don don … don
don don don … don don don … don don don … don
don don don… don don don … don don don … DON!

 

possibly former midgets or short people or something

Maybe those girls in the great outfits (at the top of the post)  do grow up … but they probably never grow out of the Numata Matsuri.

I hope not; that would be a shame.

 

note: you are all welcome to come next year … but you are buying my beer.

 

http://humor-blogs.com/

When I’m Not Blogging, I Seem To Visit …

 I've been framed! I'm getting out of here!

 

… the same places over and over again!

 

I had 9 days off in a row one after the other consecutively: like a row of dominoes, each day fell quickly and toppled in to the next … and were rectangular, white, and had assorted black dots on them … unless you have those black dominoes with assorted white dots on them … then it was just like that!

My snake wrangling sister  and her son came: so I polished off the bells and whistles (they were a bit dusty … and quiet), pulled out all the stops (hidden behind the Christmas ornament in the closet), and gave them the planetross super deluxe grand tour de forcefulness.

rubber chicken god ... or something

It’s kind of nice revisiting places, especially with people who haven’t been there before.
It makes me look like I know something!
… and we had a rubber chicken which always comes in handy.

Forget Dian Fossey! ... there are monkeys in the mist too!

In Nikko, I know that the chance of actually seeing the “sacred white horse” in it’s stable is slim; I know what shrines and temples are included on the one day ticket; I even know where the monkeys are! (usually)

 

nice roost!

In Matsumoto, I know the castle has a secret floor, all the staircases are in separate locations on each floor, and the staircases rise at angles between 55 and  61 degrees.

they look pretty safe in that case

 

I knew that if I didn’t take pictures of the old guns inside Prairie Flounder  and Turkish Prawn  would be disappointed.

no rifleling through the exhibit

 

 

are you feeling lucky shogun? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

say hello to my little friend!

I said draw ... not drawl!

 I also know that taking pictures of things in glass cases doesn’t usually work too well for me.

noisy little bastard!

I know cicadas are noisy little bastards everywhere! (random fact … consider it a bonus)

 

Boo Foo Woo!

In Hiroshima, I know that I took the right exit when I see the “Boo Foo Woo” supermarket sign and the “Gush” sign … that I still have no idea about what they are selling.
Possibly there are other “Boo Foo Woo” supermarkets  at the other Hiroshima exits, but so far I’ve been lucky.

another day of no surfing

I know it’s the #2 tram that takes people to the ferry going to Miyajima; I know the seats on the trams make me bounce up and down in a silly way; I know that I really should start checking when the damn tide will be in!

I know where I am now

 I know the A-bomb dome is pretty hard to miss at night too!

It’s amazing to think that I feel more comfortable driving in to Hiroshima than cities back at home: Vancouver is still a mystery to me.

Atomic Bomb Museum

Atomic Bomb Museum

 I know that something in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will make me think about the bigger picture and how lucky I’ve been … and that life is fleeting and you better enjoy it while you can because you never know what card will be dealt next.

 

sweeping rocks!!!

In Kanazawa, I know that the same staff will be sweeping the same paths at the Kenrokuen Garden.

no garbage cans available

I know I will stick my head into this thing outside the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art on every visit. 

poor choice of shirts that day

I know I sweat a lot and am possibly getting a bit thin up top!  Thanks for mentioning it! (the sweat is real, but the thinning hair could be a trick of light possibly)

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

 I know I will see cool art/statues/posters around the city … that I didn’t see the last time.

Can I take your photo? ... and ... er ... Can you hold this rubber chicken?

I know that if a family member is with me, I’ll probably have to ask random people to do random silly things in front of the camera … and they will say yes. 

I know I know I know. I’ve been there before.

 

note: If you come to Japan keep a bit of bread in your pocket because you’ll probably come across hungry carp in ponds somewhere when you least expect it.

double note: we also saw the Nagaoka fireworks and the Numata Matsuri … but I always go to those things … so I won’t mention them here. I think the “snake wrangler”  and “son of snake wrangler” had a good time: typhoonish weather, a little earthquake, a 5 hour traffic jam, and  enough lightning to power a lightning storm rounded out the trip. 

 

 

http://humor-blogs.com/

In The Center

 Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 

Thirty minutes from the small city where I live in Japan is another small city. There isn’t anything really special there: it’s basically a suburb of the next bigger city.

But …it is special in Japan for one reason.

It is Japan’s geographical center:  … it is the bellybutton.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

So what do you do when you are the bellybutton of a country?

You have a bellybutton festival!

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

A few hundred people dancing down the streets dressed up with painted stomachs or wearing t-shirts with faces on them; a few thousand people watching them; and a few thousand more trying to buy food and drinks at all the stands and kiosks.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 There are no ifs, ands, or butts at this festival; … just innies and outies.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 Even if you don’t join innie, you’re not left outie.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 These women even gave me a free beer!

How cool is that?

Pretty cool!

 

note: here is a bit of video from the  2008 Shibukawa Heso Matsuri (Bellybutton Festival)

double note: I don’t think there is a festival celebrated in the geographical boobs of Japan … and for those of you living there, I stick out my tongue in your general direction.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 

triple note: I looked around for some lint, but I couldn’t find any.

quadruple note: razzbuffnik  at “All The Dumb Things” left a very funny comment on my Boomerang  entry. It seems to have taken on a life of its own. Have a look and add your thoughts if you are feeling silly.

 

http://humor-blogs.com/