Before my Birthday

This was taken before my bike was actually taken away. I thought that someday they police are gonna take my bike away for parking it illegally like everyone else does. and then a week later they did, only i think it was the Ebisu station people because i followed the map to where they were keeping my bike and i just have to pay 2000 yen to get it back from them. i pretended to be a stupid foreigner which is what i am but he didn't care. How are they gonna get people to ride bikes and be green when its such a hassle. the legal parking area is so far from the station and costs 100 yen for 12 hrs. the illegal bike parking is anywhere you want. i think that it says on signs the days that they will take the bikes away so now that i know that maybe i can escape the ebisu station bike a-holes

under the bridge near my house

rode to suidobashi to this martial arts supply store. found this guy along the way. who is he?

he had a deer detail on the side.

and on the other side was a "manner station" for poor tabacco addicted people to huddle together and smoke.

near suidobashi station. what is this place?

the ride to suido bashi went past the imperial moat

sleepy guy in front of uniqlo

there is an area called nonbei yokocho in shibuya behind the 109-2 building that is kind of secret and filled with those tiny tiny bars that seat like 6 people just like in golden gai in shinjuku. this is the most popular one i think called "Non". it has an upstairs floor. what you see is what you get. its so small. looking out the window you can see the train tracks that are at a 2nd story height. I was with my spanish classmate Marco about to take the last train home when he bumped into his spanish pals who play in a band. we went for a drink and they played. it was awesome. crammed in the upstairs of this tiny bar, trains in the background 2 stories high, accordian, guitar and spanish vocals. it was a cool night.

accordian music is awesome. there are all these super tiny buttons you have to press on the other side.

i have never seen or heard of this beer before but it is made by sapporo.

went to crayon house in omotesando. its supposedly the best children's book store in tokyo. they had a "ladies floor" too with all products aimed at women. there are also ladies only cars on the train and ladies day at the theatres on wednesdays with cheaper tickets. why all the special treatment for the ladies? my friend said that while all the salarymen are at work the ladies go out and spend the money so they need to do something to get this huge target market to buy.

i am so stupid that i can't even read this book for 3 yr olds. i mean i can read it but i dont know what it says.

if you're asian you can get away with drawing asian people like this.

crayon house cafe looks like it would be awesome in the summer time.

why do i leave this mask from korea out in the open. sometimes ill wake up in the middle of the night and be freaked out.

A Student Again

Haven't updated the blog recently because i have been seeing a whole lot of this. The inside of classroom C at the Tokyo Central Japanese language school. i have class everyday for 3.5 hrs. I'm also working on a big project that has got me up laaaaate every night. Our text book is crap and is useless. they give us tons of dittos everyday so that is basically the textbook and workbook roled into one. there are something like 22-24 people in class depending on the day. I can miss about 1 class per week in order to maintain the 80% attendance rate to not get kicked out of the country. Its about 20-25 min bike ride from my house but there is a hill from harajuku to yoyogi where my school is so by the time i get there i'm sweating. in the summer this is gonna be absolutely not a possible mode of transporation. I'm glad i know the basics already because if i was a real beginner i don't know how i would learn from this class. Anyway i paid $7,000 for this so I'm gonna give it my best shot.

This is the smoking room of the school. Its funny and sad because everyone crams in there at breaktime. Amazingly i don't think anyone in our class smokes. The school, like everything in Japan, is so small that its kind of a bummer because there really isn't anywhere to chill out and meet people or talk. Also this is the first time I have been in this kind of setting where everyone can't speak the same language. So friendship is not flying around in the air everywhere. I see people laughing and having fun in other classes but not in mine! at least not yet. the chinese stick with the chinese, the korean with the korean, the english speakers with the english speakers. well, kind of, for the most part most people don't look up, smile, or talk to anyone. Even at break time they just sit in their seats. Also i'm not the oldest one in my class. There is a weird mix in my class. I mean WEIRD! on one end you've got a 10 yr old korean girl and her 11 yr old brother. on the other end you've got a 45 yr old taiwanese guy, a 50 something guy from wales, various in their 30's chinese and korean girls, some 18 yr olds, a 13 yr old half japanese half american girl, 2 african guys, and the random people that replace the random people that leave our class or join it daily. All these factors make our class not very fun. I've got to remedy this soon. And the best way is with beer. I'm working on a proposal. I'll let you know how it goes.

I went to karaoke with Katsuya, Misa, and Shintaro. Katsuya is really into "Visual Kei" music. from wikipedia.
a movement among Japanese musicians,[1][2] that is characterized by the use of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics. It's also coupled with lots of screaming. Here are some pics of visual kei bands. He said you don't want Visual Kei girls as girlfriends because they are often wrist cutters, suicidal, crazy, depressed etc... point duly noted sir! You will see these kind of guys and gals around tokyo when you come.

Design festa gallery yesterday. There was a couple cool artists.

Aoyama Cemetary. its huge. these stone lanterns look so old that they are taking the shape of the flinstones house.

Begginings of New Year

On they way to meet ryan at Suitengu temple. This is a famous hotel i think and its going to be destroyed soon.

before the shrine we went to Tamahide, a restaurant where Oyakodon was invented i guess. Oyakodon is this chicken and egg over rice bowl dish that is super yummy and is usually the first recipe in japanese cookbooks cuz its the easiest thing to make supposedly. The ingrendients they use are top quality though. i guess this line is always here, it was about 15 minute wait.

what it looked like waaay back. its gone through like 7 generations of this same family

good but i guess not good enough to make trip all the way up here unless you're in the area.

ryan buying a fertility charm for his friend back in Beijing. Suitengu is famous for being a shrine for both healthy births and fertility. its says about 100 women a day come to this shrine.

This is a hamaya arrow which is a new years good luck charm that literally means demon breaking arrow. I am getting into the Japanese archery imagery so this arrow charm showed up at the right time.

directly after this i went to the office to sign up for the Japanese National Health Care plan. the guy couldnt speak english so a translater came over. they asked me about the arrow and saw that it was from suitengu and the guy kept saying be careful in japanese and i think he might have been talking about be careful now that you are blessed with extreme fertility with that arrow from Suitengu shrine famous for fertility charms. yikes stupid foreigner buys stupid thing. at least i didnt get it tatooed on my arm

i wonder if most Tokyoites know about this hidden street behind Shibuya 109-2? its called nonbei yokocho and has tons of those little bars with room for only 6 people. Cool area you should check it out. its a smaller version of golden gai in shinjuku.

Shintaro bought a bike. the pic doesnt show this well but this thing is big. very high too. looks dangerous.

am i in china again. wats up with this guys jacket? "I feel the sound of the bubbling stream of the river tripping".

went to the tobacco and salt museum in shibuya across the street from where my parents hotel is gonna be in june. they had a Ukiyo-e exhibition but they also have a permanent salt and then tobacco exhibition too which is pretty cool. the old japanse cigarette packaging was off the hook!

I bought this matchbox. a reproduction but i like these Shishi guys.

Me and Akari tried to boost our luck in the new year by visiting these 6 shrines dedicated to the 7 lucky gods. Ebisu is one of them. he is the only one of japanese origin, the rest are chinese or indian i think. There are many "trails" that date back to the Edo era, of shrines to visit for good luck. This was the most popular and famous one.

kagami mochi. rice cakes, two stacked up for the new year for some reason they do this.

I want these guys. these are the 7 lucky gods. there is this racket where you collect stamps from each temple until you have all 7 stamps. but the stamps cost 300 yen each. So we said F that we're not gonna pay 2100 yen for all that. I just want those guys but they cost too much.

we are dumb and we started at 4:30pm. it got cold and dark. this was the 2nd shrine. awesome.

this was the third shrine, it was behind this thing, i guess under construction or even out of commision. who knows. at this point it was cold and dark and this took the wind out of our sails so we gave up and went to go eat.

Opening ceremony at my Japanese school. this was before the room filled up. They divided this big class room into chinese speakers, korean speakers, and "non chinese and korean speakers" (aka, english and everyone else who can't speak english is screwed). this was a huge waste of time. the headmaster and the teachers gave speeches but after ever sentence someone would translate in chinese, korean, and english simultaneously in the set section of the room what was said. My brain was getting all confusy cuz i could understand some of the chinese and korean and english all being said at the same time in diff parts of the room.

8:00am is the earliest i've woken up in 3 months so i need some coffee. hot coffe in a little can.

in the doorway of the Hard Rock Cafe in Roppongi. looks like mick jagger signed it. anyway i thought it was cool brushwork although im not into tigers, and dragons, and yin yangs in the way that 15 year old boys are.

roppongi. this looks like a fine upstanding establishment

japanese movie posters are better than american ones. this is for Ong Bak 2 from thailand, don't know why its being released now since the movie is over a year old i think. have you seen the japanese kill bill posters? so much better.

exactly 1 month after the accident I went for my first run. it wasn't that bad. my body hurts pretty bad but like it should after taking a month off.


subway sign. first time ive seen this. kind of weird ne?

My new illustrator buddy Boojil and her buddy. Her website

a girl with a guitar on her way to shimokitazawa and a bourgie woman going home in a fur jacket.

new illustrator buddy Boojil. Her website
her buddy, oops i forgot his name.