Saturday, April 11, 2009

In My Element

Today was pretty rad. I was planning on checking out Fukuoka a little bit, missioning down to Kagoshima and then returning to Fukuoka for the evening. I ended up staying in the city the whole time. Luke let me borrow his Sector 9 Short-Long board; I felt right at home smashing around through pedestrians, in congested areas, on a skateboard. I've never gotten so many of the (what the hell?) looks as I did today. Now that I think about it, I've yet to see anybody riding a skateboard, on the street, since I've been in Japan. It was hilarious, it was freeing, and it felt so intuitive. I felt kind of reconnected with a piece of home and, at this point in my journey, that's a beautiful thing!
I opted to stay off of trains and buses today, and utilize the opportunity of having a skateboard. I cruised all over the city, looking for a pair of shoes. Sounds strange, I'm sure, but I have good reason. It seems my foot has grown or my shoes have shrunk. In any case, I was pretty uncomfortable in the kicks that I had been wearing so I thought it would be pretty liberating to wear a pair of shoes that didn't cramp my toes; especially considering the amount of walking (and skating, in this case) that I have been doing. I found the raddest pair of Vans, of all shoes, while cruising through a tiny street tucked away in the center of town. It felt so funny to be half-way around the world, from home, and buy a pair of shoes that I could get at any mall. Maybe I gravitated toward them because they were familiar; that is, as experience has shown, a pretty standard human trait. OR maybe it was because they had this kick-ass American Flag vibe and I thought it would just be ridiculous to be the gaijin (outsider) sporting shoes reminiscent of his home countries flag!! In any case, they're rad and I'll be sure to get a photo in one of my upcoming blogs.
After I succeeded with my shoe-buying mission, I was rolling much more comfortably; it was time to move on. I made a few stops in parks, and shops; the temples and shrines are a bit harder to come by in big cities, and to be completely honest I'm a tad burnt out on them anyway. I did a lot of skating, with no real destination in mind. I got lost a bunch too. I've gotten pretty good at gathering directions from Japanese people, although once they start flying off on a tangent with a REAL conversation, I loose it. I made a stop into the Kyushu Prefecture Modern Museum of Art and saw some amazing artwork. I got to see an original piece by both Salvidor Dali and Andy Warhol, as well as many amazing pieces by Japanese artists. The one thing that will always be memorable, for me, was the universality of spectating and appreciating; for the first time since I've been here, I felt like I was on the same page as everyone around me. Everyone one was just quietly appreciating and interpreting modern and abstract art; there was no language barriers, no difficulty understanding, we were all pretty damn harmonious.

My one big plan for the evening, however, was to go see a Japanese baseball game. I went, and it was great! I lit up with joy when I walked into the stadium. The same feeling I get when I walk into the Dodger Stadium; this again was a throw back to feeling connected to a familiar piece of me. Skating, appreciating art, walking into a ball park, it all just felt so familiar; I really just felt like I was in my element. The ball game was pretty amusing, I couldn't understand any of the cheers but the fans that were in my section (the cheap-seats) were die-hards! They never sat down, when they're team was up to bat. No one seemed to care that their team was down 7-0 in the eight inning. It was fantastic! It seems, itemized and on screen, that I didn't do that much today, but I really had a full day. I guess that it goes to show that it's not about what you do but it's about how you do it Thus the old adage: It's not about quantity, it's about quality....

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