No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

20 December, 2008

A Tokyo Merry Christmas Postcard

First day into Christmas break and we are doing nothing---it's a wonderful nothing. We haven't done nothing in months. We leave for Thailand on Monday to do more of nothing, but on the beach this time. We'll be back on January 5th, just after the Japanese New Year festivities are over. Next year I think I'd like to be in Japan for the new year when they eat noodles, throw beans and go to temples all dressed in Kimono. For now, here are a few pictures of Tokyo daily life. I think they give a nice sense of the intensity of the city.Inside a tall building in Futako-Tamagawa, the shopping mall/train station/neighborhood near my house. You can see all of downtown Tokyo from here.

A cosmetics/pharamacy shop in Shibuya.

Shibuya at Christmas. I'm not a Christmas purist, but there is something about the Japanese celebration of Christmas that seems really hollow to me--it's even more consumer driven than the US.
James took this cute pic of the girls at their Choral Night concert. Love it.

900 yen per beer is the going rate for a pint (or smaller). Thats about 10.00 US these days.

Another train shot

Another Shibuya intersection

peaceful sunset over Fuji from home

03 December, 2008

Half Fast Cyclists (and one Mostly-Slow one)

We had a grueling 3 day teaching workshop on assessment from last Thursday to Saturday that required full working brains. By Saturday night my brain shut off. Thinking our bodies could use a workout after all the mental lifting, we went on a Sunday ride with a group called the Half Fast Cyclists. Its a bunch of gaijin and a few locals who get together for cycling, beer and tomfoolery. We thought it sounded like us. Little did I know I would need a full working body and not my mama-chari trained body. I'm amazed that these guys can ride 55km, stop for smoke breaks and school me on the hills. At the least, it was great to get out and experience Japanese countryside with the leaves in full color. We saw cranes, temples, shrines and gorgeous Japanese maples. It was a "wow, I'm in Japan," event.
Monstrous statue on a hillside next to a few large temples--someone said it was a sort of superwoman who protects the community

Our bikes in bags on the train. Like usual, everyone kept their distance on the train

lunch stop

the pack leads, Jesse follows way behind...

after a long, steep hill climb

James's mustache handlebars come in handy on the train. In the station, a friendly Japanese fellow stopped James and I, whipped out a camera and asked to take our picture because he loves bicycles (and probably blondes, too).