Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Fantastic Night To Remember

As I mentioned yesterday, in my previous blog entry, I was feeling a bit under the weather. I spent the majority of the day inside, studying a bit of Japanese and really just relaxing. By nightfall, I got cleaned up, went out for some dinner, and by the time I got home I was feeling pretty charged up; it was fantastic to feel alive and able to function again! Ray, who is a close friend of Luke (and who I am now rather fond of), has been living here for the past two years teaching english. Unfortunately, Ray will moving back home to Australia in two days, so we had a going away bash which started at JK's Bird (the local watering hole for the big group of Australian and American english teachers). The notion of going out for another night on the town didn't sit quite well with me, in theory, but once I got out there I was having a killer time. on the top level of the bar, in the lounge, there was an amazing jazz jam-session going on. There were three guitar amps, a bass amp, two drum kits, a couple key boards, plenty of microphones set up for both vocalists and brass/wind. Basically the entire floor was filled with musicians and each group would trade off, on the stage, after each song. These musicians were amazingly talented and it was probably one of my luckiest happy-accidents to stumble across, throughout my entire holiday!
After the performance was over, we moved back downstairs to the main floor and mingled with the rest of the new-class of Australian english teachers. Within an hour of being back downstairs, Ray put out the objective of moving on to a local Karaoke bar; no one objected, and within minutes we were on our way. About 10 of us, in total, made the move to karaoke and we had a blast! I'm normally not too keen on singing in front of other people but the vibe was super mellow and I ended up having an absolutely amazing time. I've only just met Ray, but it truly is a bummer to see him go; I've had nothing but classic times spent on the town with him, thus far, and I can only imagine what else we would've gotten into if he had more time here!

When all was said and done, we got out around 5:30am and made it back home just before the sun-rise. Sometimes the best times in life are the complete opposite of what you plan for!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A little under the weather.

Yesterday was pretty mellow. Cmonkey, Luke and I woke up pretty late, ate lunch and then went for a pretty strenuous hike up Ponpon Yama (thump-thump mountain) in northern Takatsuki; it's the highest place in Takatsuki. We charged it pretty hard, only taking short breaks to take photos, and got up there in only a few hours. It felt good to get out and breath some fresh air. Today has been fairly unproductive, but I felt that it was necessary, as my two-day bender from a few days back has left me feeling a little off of my game. It's not all bad though, sometimes it's good to kick back and recharge the batteries!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


So, I'm getting ready to jump in bed and it's 1:30 in the afternoon. Two days back, I made a solo-mission to Osaka, which went quite well. I jumped on the JR line, here in Takatski, where I met an American who teaches Wing Chun Kung Fu, in Osaka. Steve and I chatted, quite extensively on the train and I ended up cruising to lunch with him. He was a super cool dude, who was raised in the Philippines, up to the age of 8, moved to New York and then spent his teen years in North Carolina. He's been in Japan for over 15 years, so he is a valuable contact to have, without question.
I cruised to his Dojo afterward and hung out for a while, before I stepped back out, on my own, and went to one of the largest camera stores in Osaka, Yodobashi Camera. It was like disneyland for photographers; they had any and any piece of equipment or camera accessory that one would ever want! I caught the express train back to Takatsuki, fairly early, because a group of Luke's Australian mates (who are days away from moving home) had a music gig at a local bar that I had planned to go to. The scene was rad, there were heaps of Japanese students, of Luke's, as well as a whole lot of Australians. It made me realize how much I dug on Australia and Australians. Great people, and a great atmosphere. We charged it, all night, until around 5:30 am and then we decided to jump on a train to Osaka-Jo (Osaka Castle), which is one of the most large and pristine castles in the Kansai region. We went with the expectation of viewing cherry-blossoms, in bloom, which we did see; but not on the scale that we would've hoped for. The good news is I have over three more weeks to cruise back and work out better timing; I am really looking forward to it!
I've really been getting stoked on the Japanese language, and as much as I lament not studying more intensively, before I came, I'm very inspired to figure out a way to get jozu (good) with my Nihongo (Japanese)!

Again, I'm going to cut this blog a little short, because It's now 1:40 pm and it's about high time that I get some sleep. The fact that I cant elaborate, at this time, is rather unfortunate because I have been hanging out with some of the coolest people; I will definitely be posting another blog, after my slumber, accompanied with photographs from our outing to Osaka-Jo.

Until the next time...

Friday, March 27, 2009


Yesterday I took the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto and connected on a local train to Takatsuki, where I'll be staying with Luke. I got in sometime in the early afternoon and met up with Luke. We walked around and headed toward Lukes work, where he and I parted ways. Takatsuki is pretty small, but it's cool so far, but it has been super cold here, yesterday I got lost on the walk to Luke's house and walked around for over an hour trying to find my way. I finally made it back here around 8pm and when I got in I couldn't feel my hands or my feet. It felt so good to get indoors; It makes me jealous of everyone back home in Southern California, who've been enjoying the high-seventy/low-eighty glory!! This will be a short post for me, as I am getting ready to leave to hop on a train to Osaka and check it out for the day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tokyo: Day Two

I started my day a little late; being sleep-deprived and having not been in a real bed for over a month caused me to sleep in a little later than I normally would have. I started my day at the dining hall, here at the Olympic Youth Training Center (where the hostel I'm staying at is located), next I went to look at the shrine in Yoyogi park; it was really calm and peaceful there, but still there was no escaping the tourist-goods. There were souvenir shops with all sorts of stuff to buy. After visiting the Yoyogi Shrines I walked into the main metropolitan area of Yoyogi and found a market to grab some lunch; I found a friend, Devon, who is from Encinitas and went to USC. He's been out here for about three years. It was nice to have a solid english conversation with somebody; they have become quite a commodity for me as of late.
After parting ways I hoped on an above-ground train to Shibuya and walked around for hours. It was insanely busy and there were a million shops that spanned as far as the eye could see; it bordered on overwhelming, but I think that had a lot to do with the winding alleys and my unfamiliarity with the lay of the land.
After I had my fill of Shibuya I took the train, at the suggestion of Devon, to Harajuku. Harajuku is, by far, the most Americanized part of Tokyo that I have seen. Most of the shops there were imported franchises from The States and the shop names were all displayed in English. The layout of the streets were a lot more familiar and had a flair of NY to it. I stayed in Harajuku for a few hours and then took the train back to Yoyogi, to get back to my hostel.
Two nights, back-to-back, in a bed has been amazing! Although my quarters are small, they're private and quiet and it's been extremely nice and relaxing to have.
The hostel I have been staying at doesn't have any any vacancies for tonight, so I'll either find somewhere else to stay tonight or I might take the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Osaka to meet up with Luke. Although two days is, by no means, a proper visit to Tokyo I have a full month here in Japan, I have a JR pass that will give me unlimited access to the Shinkansen, and a visit with a solid-plan and most importantly without all of my luggage would make navigation a lot easier.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I made it into Tokyo just after 6am this morning. I was super sleep-deprived and I spend the better part of the day aimlessly walking around Tokyo, trying to find an internet cafe. After I found one and made contact with the person I had intended to, I got back on my feet, took to the street and tried to find an english-speaking information center where I could find some information on accommodations. After a drawn out success I walked back to the Shinjuku station and headed to Yoyogi where I'm staying in a hostel. It's small, it's simple, and best of all it has a real bed; it's practically perfect! Tonight marks the first night that I'm sleeping in a real bed in over a month! Although I just got to Tokyo and I haven't even took a night-stroll I'm going to have to pass; tonight is all about getting rest. I arrived at melbourne, for my departure, 28 hours ago and it's about time I laid down and had some proper rest!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Melbourne Zoo

Yesterday our friend Bethany, who works at the melbourne zoo, took us for a visit on her day off. Although it was a short two-hour lap around the zoo it was amazing. Her commentary was top-notch and we got so much insight, right down to each animals name, that one wouldn't normally get. Although I'm really not the biggest fan of animals being kept in captivity, it was really rad.

Leaving Australia

In just a few hours I'll be packing my stuff into my friend Lex's car and heading for Melbourne Airport, to fly to Tokyo Japan.

Things I loved about Australia:

1. Good People: I've been touched by tremendous generosity and goodwill; I really feel fortunate to have spent a month among great people that were both positive and uplifting.

2. Public Transport: I love public transportation! Having a general metro-link pass, where you can hop from train, to bus, to fairy, to tram, etc. is just downright amazing. I will truly miss this luxury when I return to the states.

3. Great Produce: There was some really good food out here; it was not that different from being home which made the transition pretty easy.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Still going... Still maintaining...

It's been a bit too long since my last post. I've been moving around quite a bit and haven't really found the time to sit down and write a proper blog.

I'm currently in Melbourne Australia. I've been here since Tuesday and it's been awesome. I've been going to tons of art galleries and museums; I've been loving it! There's tons of rad cafe's, restaurants, and produce stands all over the place. I went out for a little photo walk-about last night which was pretty cool. I don't think I gave myself enough time to get what I really wanted, but I still enjoyed the time that I did have.

My second day out, I went to an exhibit on the behind-the-scenes production processes in film and I've had movie-watching fever ever since. I'm going to watch a film at an IMAX theater today; I'm stoked on it, I haven't been to an IMAX screen since I was at a field trip to Griffith Park in Kindergarten.

I leave for Tokyo in two days and I'm so stoked! My bicycle will be shipped to me, and I can't wait to ride it, I've really missed it. I am so pumped on going to Japan!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Loving it!

So I got into Sydney yesterday and took public transport out to where I'm staying while here in Bondi Beach. When I arrived my new-friend Corey had to go to work, so I walked with her down to the main area here where all the shops, cafes and restaurants are. This place is unbelievably beautiful; it's got so much going for it. I walked around for hours and got caught in a gnarly thunder/rain-storm. By the time I got home I was soaking wet; it was as if I jumped into a pool with all of my clothes on!! Later in the night, after all three girls got home, we went out with a tone of people that live in their same building. There's a couple of New Zealanders, and tons of kids from Europe; we had a killer night. So far, it's been amazing being here; everyone has been so hospitable and welcoming. I leave on Tuesday, and I can already tell that I'm going to miss it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Goodbye Queensland

So I'm about three hours away from boarding a plane, headed for Sydney. I spent last night in Brisbane with Mike, Seton, our friend Skippy, and Nikki; it was a blast! I'll admit that the last week has been painfully slow and I've been fairly anxious to leave, but last night really made me realize how much I've missed my friends and how quickly our time together flew by. I had an amazing time and I'm super grateful to have been able to have had the time with them that I did.

I got to go to my first Rugby League game yesterday, which was super exciting. The atmosphere was unreal; 55 thousand (plus) people in attendance. We spent the remainder of the night making our way around the city of Brisbane and didn't end up getting back to where we were staying until after four AM.

I'm really looking forward to spending the next few days in Sydney. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm really happy that I was able to squeeze that stop into my holiday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wrapping it up...

So I've officially been in Noosa For two full weeks now and it's coming to an end in the next few days. There's been a pretty gnarly tropical cyclone that's disrupted the flow of things here; we have been watching way to much television!!! I've decided to pull stakes and head to a new destination. I'll be traveling to Sydney this coming Saturday to hang out in the city for a few days. I'll be staying with some friends from Seton, who actually grew up where I did; they all went to the local all-girls high school less than five miles from my house. I'm stoked how the traveling network works; I know someone who knows someone so now I've got a place to stay and people to hang out with; it's great! After spending a few days in Sydney I'll be flying to Melbourne to hang out with my friend Lex and tour the city. I'm really excited about adding these extra stops on my trip; Noosa has been great, but I'm naturally drawn to Urban cities and I can't wait to experience these new places.

My flight leaves from Brisbane on Saturday afternoon, so the three of us boys are going to head down to the city on Friday and have a little rager in the Brissy on friday night, to send me off properly. I've missed these guys and it's been incredible spending the last couple of weeks with them but the parting of ways was inevitable.

I'm looking forward to it all!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Day In The Big City

I've been away from the computer for a few days running now, with the exception of checking facebook. I shot the shoot, that I mentioned in my last blog, on Wednesday night; it went really well and the team that I worked with on the shoot were amazing. I spend the next couple days editing, going to the beach, and cutting loose with the boys and a couple of Swedish backpacker girls that have been staying with us. Today I took advantage of an opportunity to catch a ride down into Brisbane and cruised the city by myself. It was quite a day; I walked all over the place, non-stop, for 6 hours straight. I almost got arrested for trespassing onto police property, which was a little unsettling; I was trying to throw some trash away into a rubish bin that caught my eye and I tripped a motion detecter that tripped an alarm; before I knew it, three cops rush out of the back door of the station and I'm being questioned. It all went over okay but it left me feeling kinda crummy. Within an hour I came up on a free hug in South Bank and I was good.

Being in a remote village has been making me feel like I'm in a distant exotic place and being in a big city, today, made me feel like I was in familiar territory again; it felt a little like being home...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Working on Vacation

So a family friend of Mike, whom I've mentioned previously, is managing a local talent here in Australia and I have just been commissioned to shoot some promotional images for her. I am stoked on getting the job in the first place, I'm stoked that I'm drumming up work on the side during my travels, and I'm stoked to be working with such a good guy. Denis, is the man I speak of and he's an all-around good dude; he's a regular legend! We went out to scout out some locations today and we came up pretty good. Besides that, not too much is new; I'm still trying to get on local time, here in Noosa, and I'm enjoying the weather and scenery!