Asia | Japan | Tokyo – Christmas Eve – Tokyo!
Christmas eve. We are on the train to Tokyo, we just left Kyoto a couple of minutes ago. We are on one of those supersonic trains, and it might not be the fastest of the supersonics, but it is going pretty darn fast. This is definitely to fastest train I have ever been on. Tony and I got this little compartment here, and we have the door open to see the people walking in between the cars. We keep speeding past these huge cities, and the brief periods of darkness through the countryside. We spent the afternoon this afternoon with a couple that we met at the Na-something-or-other Temple. I am not sure if it was a temple or a shrine. I am not really sure of what the difference is. I guess a temple is Buddhist, and a shrine is Shintoist. I at least learned that much today. The Japanese religeion is Shintoist, and the broader Eastern religeon is Buddism. But the two of them have done a little bit of merging, just as most religeons do, whether they want to admit it or not. So we spent the day with them. We drank a special green tea that was all frothy and tasted a lot like cut grass. Then we went down to Gion, a neighborhood in Kyoto that was more of a shopping and theater district. I wanted to see a Geisha Girl, Tony just reminded me again that I should read Arthur Goldens Memiors of a Geisha. So we ate lunch with them, Atsuko and Kazuo. I dont know what the point of this is, because I forget just about everything right after it happens. I forgot just about all the Japanese that they taught me, and I forgot their names. Tony was trying to hit on the girlfriend the entire time. He will deny it until the end of the earth, but that is OK. Right he is using a Transylvanian accent to describe how the man and woman in Japan have sex. I am really losing my mind. Not a bad thing, but I wish I could remember things longer than the immediate moment that it happened. I think that is a little bit of a repercussion of all the drugs that I did. We are continuing to have an absolutely magical time. Things are going in a positive direction, and we continue to meet people that are so kind and generous. I would imagine that Tokyo might be a little different, considering that it is so expensive, and that it is more of a major city, and well, it is the most expensive city on the planet, so we shall see. The first time one of the trains from the opposite direction went by it was so fast that I reminded me of that scene in Pink Floyds The Wall, with all the crazy faces hanging off of the side. Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo, what are you going to be about. I am having a hard time believing that I am not at the bottom of the first page yet. I am going to let Tony write a page or two, maybe it should be the next page here, maybe we will write the entire way to Tokyo. Maybe we will not. Today was good. Many cabs, much interesting food. Many happy colorful people. I still have moments that I am completely amazed that I am in Japan. It is a visually appealing country, with considerate people.
Tony Watkins –
I am tony watkins. I am travelling around japan with dusty…we only have a week, but were hitting three cities – osaka, kyoto, and tokyo. One thing Ive figured out is that tokyo and kyoto are almost the same (linguistically…), just reverse the syllables.
Anyway, its just about midway thru the trip (maybe a day short). Its xmas eve and were on the high speed train to tokyo, only 2.5 hours from kyoto, only one stop, and were alone in a private compartment, the multi purpose room. Its xmas eve and in many ways it just doesnt seem like it is. Not too cold, very japanese everywhere we look, but a few santa, and a few songs. The shopping malls were, strangely, kind of empty. We met some cool people and had some lunch and looked for geisha girls, and we saw three, but they were too busy for photos. The geisha girls were just like I expected, very white, pancake makeup, kimonos, etc. dusty wants to marry one, but I keep telling him thats near to impossible. My recommendation is that he reads MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, by Arthur Golden. Hell get his fill.
A word or two about the friendliness weve encountered: holy shit!! People here have been by far friendlier than in any other country Ive been to. I wont go into too many details, but weve gotten free apartments, free rides, free guides, and free help everywhere. And weve only been here a few days.
Its very expensive here, but we knew that before we got here. The trains are free for us with our rail pass, but food and taxis and all that stuff is eating away at our cash supply. We might run out and become beggars in tokyo. Im very excited about tokyo. These past few days, combined with the last nine months living in korea, have given me a strong case of yellow fever. I know its corny, but these girls are so sexy its driving me out of my mind. In tokyo I will take pictures of all the cute people (boys too…) so youll see what I mean.
So basically, japan is very very cool and very very wonderful. One week is not nearly enough time and I want to come back, and honestly Im feeling a tiny bit of regret for living and working in korea this year, and not having kept looking and looking til I found a job in japan. But koreas been great, too, sometimes, japan just seems more interesting and exciting, etc.
I just realized that this is WORDPERFECT, and not MSWORD. This is screwing me up a bit, but I think Im ok. No problem. Dont worry. We are going to go insane in japan, no sleep.
I just had a thought! Being on this trip with dusty, Im rediscovering something about myself. Strangely, dusty kind of envied in me the very same thing that I envied in him: an ability to get friendly and talk and meet people everywhere, and in all kinds of situation. Hes got this midwestern charm, kind of a relaxing put-you-at-ease mannerism, and I guess Ive got this new york frenzied frenetic energy, but put us together and people just dont know what the hell to do. But being with him, Ive been able to break down my ego and just talk to whoever, and were meeting all kinds of groovy people and getting all of this kindness as a result. Were trying to give it back, but it would be inmpossible to give back as much as weve gotten….
Dustin Grella –
I forced Tony to write the extra minute or so. That is always great when you do that. You write what you want to write, then you write what you might have been thinking, but didnt intend to write. It is more primal, more real. I am going to write another page now. I felt bad about writing last time because I keep forgetting all the names of the places and all the words that were said, but in hind sight all that really matters is that right now we are on a train that is taking us to Tokyo, a city the both of us have never been to. The other thing that matters is that we are having an enjoyable time. That we have been blessed with wonderful people and wonderful experiences. It really has been fun to travel with someone my own age, my own sex, very similar to me in very many ways. It has been such a great experience. Tomorrow is Christmas. I should go to a midnight mass tonight. I would imagine there to be some Catholic Chapel open somewhere in Tokyo. I have tried to go to the shrines and the temples and the places of worship around here, and I just dont find the same peace that I have found in the comfort of my little Christian world. Here I am on the other side of that planet, seeking the same God, but I am not sure what I am getting here. When I look, all around I keep seeing these gargoyles and images of what the Christian refer to as evil. And our experiences here have been anything but evil. The people have been trusting, and truly a generous people. I find it hard to believe they would have a God any different than mine. In that respect, I guess I need to know what I mean when I say that I am a Christian. I need to know who this man was that does so much for the world. I think about who he was and the things he did, and I wonder. I wonder why there are so many different beliefs if he was real. If he was God incarnate. If he was a man, like you and I, a man that was close to God. I dont know really. I am looking for the answers, and then other times, I am just looking for a good time. I am just looking to have fun and be loud and crazy and wild. I want to know, but then sometimes it is easier just not to even wonder. It is nice to just turn everything off and not pay any attention. But tonight is Christmas Eve. Let me write what Christmas Eve was when I was a child. We would go over to Uncle Jim and Aunt Alices house. They had a big house, and it was filled with green and red ribbons and lights and all the adults were a little tipsy and a lot festive. It was a night of family and friends. Then we would ride home and out the window I would see all of the Christmas lights, and there was a sense of unmatched excitement. Santa was going to come as soon as I woke up. The only way I would be able to sleep, was by staying up so late (late back then was still ten or eleven). It was truly the most exciting night of the year. There was nothing, a birthday, any other holiday, anything that could match the excitement of Christmas Eve. I knew it was the night that Christ was born, and even thought I new it was also the night Santa would bring the gifts, I was able to correlate the two. Those presents that Santa was about to bring, well, I guess at the time were more important than the gift that God would bring the world. Today that is what I want to feel, is that same excitement for the knowledge that God has brought us a gift, greater than anything we can find under the tree.
We are pulling into one of the stations in Tokyo, we look like we are still really far outside of the city. The buildings are big, but not downtown Tokyo big. Tony just said that maybe Godzilla knocked over the buildings. It is starting to get really chilly in here. The lady over the speaker is saying something in Japanese that I have no idea what she is saying. I thought that I learned something this semester in school, but all I know are a couple of numbers and some hello, goodbye, thank you, and excuse me. Which when I say any of them, the people know that I am at least trying. I guess that is good enough, the knowledge that I am at least trying to put in an effort to communicate, and learn and do my best. Wow. We are still above ground, and the buildings just got really big. I am going to start looking out of the window because this is just absolutely amazing. We just saw an entire karaoke building.
We are here in Tokyo!