Saturday, September 18, 2010


Currently, I am living in Davis again and have been trying to get the house ready to sell. Step One: caulk all the cracks in the walls and around the windows so that the ants stop coming in and dying inside my fridge. Dead ants in the fridge every morning is not a good way to start the day. I am about one day's work away from being done.

Boring update, but it's better than nothing.

Monday, July 26, 2010


It was just time. Time for me to jump out of a plane. Here is the crew that did it.
Here is me exiting the plane. Interestingly, there is no sensation of falling because the wind is so strong. It actually feels like swimming in a pool where the tiles on the bottom of the pool look like farm land. It is a very surreal experience.
I don't think I got an adrenaline rush until the parachute opened. Just kept thinking "Man that looks like the ground. Nah. It can't be the ground. Ouch, this wind is pushing my glasses into my eyeball. Oh right, that is the ground. Cool."
I have already purchased a second ticket to go again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Currently Updating to Twitter

Hey everybody. Haven't had time for a while to do a full blog entry, so Twitter has become a stop gap measure. Please feel free to continue to follow along.

To the right

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Solo Trip to Honolulu

Tomorrow Yuri comes to Hawaii. Perhaphs I need to explain myself a little better than that. Yuri came to visit shortly after I moved to Napa. She applied to Napa Valley College and got in. Then she decided to come. So for the last two months she has been in Japan trying to get her life squared away enough so that she can go on another adventure. It is a tireing thing to do. She flys into Honolulu tomorrow with Eri, Kentaro and Sayaka. So I am going to go surprise her at the airport.
Flew over with Dad this morning.

And then began to walk around Honolulu.

I think I really like Honolulu. This is the first time I have really been alone with the city, and on closer inspection, I think I could live here.

Starting tomorrow I will be traveling again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things I need to get off my chest

Hello everyone. Chances are that, by now, due to the lack of regular activity, you have stopped regularly checking my blog. This is my own fault. I have been so busy working and sorting out numerous other important things in my life, that I simply haven't had time. Ironically, this is probably the period of my life when I will look back and wish that I had kept more regular notes. I have had many incredible experiences over the last several months, and many would have made good stories. Unfortunately, I will probably not get the chance to tell them here anytime soon.

But I do need to talk to you about some other stuff. Several things have been happening to me recently, and I really need to put them into words so that I can come to terms with them. Here is one of the big ones.

The Story of my Dog
We were on our way to Fukushima, driving along Route 4. Traffic was heavy, and the road was thin. It was raining and there was a little bit of thunder and lightning. Yuri had just finished asking me what twilight was, and I responded by saying "Right now." Suddenly, traffic slowed down in front of us, and we noticed a big, dark colored mut dog limping up the side of the road. I noticed that blood was pouring out of his mouth. I made Yuri stop the car, and ran back to see if the dog was ok. He wasn't. He was limping up the road and into a forest, but was unable to step up out of the street and onto the sidewalk for some reason. Trucks were coming within one foot of hitting him. I tried to coax him out of the street. He wouldn't come. I tried to push him on to the sidewalk. He tried to bite me. He walked a little more and began to lose his balance. He stumbled into traffic. A truck stopped just before hitting him. I pushed him out of the way of the truck and he laid down on the curb. Yuri showed up and I told her to call the police. She called. The police said they couldn't help. We called vets. The vets asked if it was a stray, and we said we didn't know. We couldn't get close enough to see if there was a collar. The vets told Yuri that they wouldn't treat the dog if it was a stray, and that it was past business hours. By now it was dark. Yuri went back to get her car, and I stayed and held an umbrella over the dog. Trucks and cars sped by, inches from hitting the umbrella and the dog. I waved at passing cars. At first urging them to slow down, but soon I was begging them to stop. If someone would just stop their car, I would be able to throw a blanket over the dogs head and lift it on to the sidewalk without being hit by a car or bitten. Hundreds of cars passed. No one stopped. Finally Yuri showed up, again. Together we were able to stop traffic long enough for me to lift the dog on to the sidewalk.

And then I began to realize how bad the situation was. The dog wasn't fighting me anymore. And it's body was racked by spasms evert 10 breaths. All I could do was pet him and tell him that he was good. Yuri called some more people. Finally, a girl parked her car, and the two of them began to call. Then the police showed up, most likely because someone had seen me crouched on the edge of the road acting strangely. The police were not impressed that all of the commotion was over a dog. We finally found a vet willing to take a dog who had no identifiable owner, and was willing to work after business hours. I lifted the dog into the back of the car of the girl who stopped. The police were nice enough to make sure we got to the vet. The vet took the dog out of the car, and put him on the operating table. We then discovered that his abdomen had a gash in it as big as my fist. I sat in the chair next to the operating table and stared into the dogs eyes for several minutes. I couldn't look away. I have seen death, but I have never seen death look back. It changed something in me, but in a way that is neither good nor bad. While I looked into his greying eyes, I saw what looked like calmness. Relief. Not quite satisfaction, but relief.

The vet made us leave, and we went to Eri's house. We got a phone call about an hour later saying that the dog had put up a good fight, but there was nothing the vet could do. Then lightning struck the powerlines outside of Eri's house, and the lights went out. I didn't sleep that night.

I learned something. But I am having trouble figuring out what it is. Part of it is the satisfaction of knowing that I really did all I could do. Part of it is the realization that all I can do wasn't enough, and there is nothing to be satisfied about. Part of it is seeing that, in fact, my high school psychology text book was right, and that the average person will not go out of their way to help a stranger. And part of it is knowing that, if I ever see someone or some creature in distress, I had better offer help, because chances are that no one else will.

None of these are really positive lessons. But there is one inspiring thing about this story. Even though he had been hit by a car so hard that his abdomen burst open, even though he was coughing blood, his tail and legs were all shattered in multiple places, even though he had to walk uphill, inches from the cars which had just hit him, at night, during an incredible thunderstorm, the dog kept walking until his legs literally collapsed. He even tried to get up several times, while I was petting him waiting for Yuri. He was trying to get home. And when I looked into his dying eyes, I knew that he was a good dog.

And at least I was able to tell him that he was a good boy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hokkaido Trip, First 10 Days

Ok, so it isn't as easy to post from the road as thought it would be. But here is the rundown of my trip so far:

Day 1: Boarded the ferry in Nigata. Steerage class, of course, so slept on the floor of a big common room. Ferry was actually really nice.
Day 2: Arrived in Otaru at 4:30am. Walked around Otaru for the next 9 hours. Once the shops opened at 10:00am, went to a Kamaboko (Fish Cake) factory and had fantastic kamaboko. Then went to a music box factory, candy factory, cake factory and various other shops. More Koreans and Chinese tourists in Otaru than Japanese tourists. Drove to Sapporo. Went to cookie factory. Stayed to a net cafe inside a shopping mall.
Day 3: Didn't sleep very well in the net cafe, so went back to the car and slept in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Slept very well. Woke up, walked around Sapporo. Saw Ainu exhibit, Sapporo city hall, central park, Sapporo University. Ate Ramen for dinner and drove to another net cafe.
Day 4: Worked at the net cafe. Got a little sleep. Woke up, drove to a park and slept some more. Went to a milk factory. Ate the best pudding I have ever had in my life. Went to Sapporo beer factory. Went to Kirin beer factory. Went to Salmon park. Drove into the mountains. Got really lost in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception and a half tank of gas (road was closed, even though it appeared on the map). Got un-lost. Parked in a parking lot for a public park. Slept.
Day 5: Woke up, went to space museum. Went to Ainu museum. Had the curator of the museum give us a private tour. Helped him translate some of the exhibit descriptions into English. Left just as hundreds of high school students showed up. Drove and drove and drove and drove. Went to "Hell Valley" at Noboribetsu onsen. Took a very hot bath at a very small bed and breakfast style onsen. Drove to Muroran. Ate dinner on the dock and slept in the marina parking lot.
Day 6: Drove to Date. Got a tour of the local history museum by the curator. Drove up to Lake Toya (where the G8 had been one week before). Saw that the place where the G8 meeting was basically an inaccessible fortress on a hill. Saw the 40 year old volcano next to it. Drove and drove and drove. Arrived in Hakodate. Went to Kelp factory. Ate kelp ice cream. Went to downtown Hakodate. Found a watch on the ground and turned it into the police. Got a recommendation from the policewoman for a Ramen shop. At the spiciest Ramen on my life. Walked around Hakodate at night. At 10:00pm, drove to the top of Mt. Hakodate to see the night view. Slept in the car at the top of Mt. Hakodate.
Day 7: Walked around Hakodate some more. Went to another Ainu museum. Had another museum curator give us a tour. Drove to the old Hakodate fortress. Drove south. Stopped in the middle of nowhere and went to the hottest onsen I have even been to (other than Kusatsu). Drove to the tiny of Fukushima, famous for its dried squid and sumo wrestlers. Slept in the parking lot of a Sumo museum.
Day 8: Went to Sumo museum. Went to Seikan tunnel museum. Drove to Matsumae. Saw Matsumae castle. Drove. Drove. Drove. Got on Freeway. Drove. Drove. Got off freeway at Yubari. Slept in parking lot near freeway exit.
Day 9: Toured Yubari. At a mellon. Drove to Asahikawa. Stayed up all night working in a net cafe.
Day 10: Went to Asahiyama zoo. Drove to Wakanai. Camped on a hill over looking the town.
Day 11: Toured Wakanai. Ate Russian food. Worked in the car. Went to an onsen. Drove to Sarufutsu.

And that brings us up to now. We are, as I type, driving along the north coast of Hokkaido.

Wild Animals seen:
Foxes - 12
Deer - 4
Bears - 0

We are going into a place that supposedly has the highest density of brown bears in the world, so hopefully that last number will be going up.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hokaido Roadtrip, Shupatsu!

Shupatsu is what you say in Japanese when you set off on a journey.

I know. It's been a really long time. Things in my life got, and continue to be, busy. Plus, now I work on the computer, so I when I am on the computer I feel like I should be working. So my posts are going to be short for a while.

What happened? The short version. Kira and Ryan came and visited Japan. Went to the US to help Mom and Dad. Y came. Trained myself to be a webmaster. Missed Y, and came back to Japan. Applied to school. Was rejected. So know I am spending as much time as I can with Y before my visa expires and I return to the US to work with Mom and Dad.

In Japan I have had some adventures. BBQ in Nagano. Saw a Kamoshika at Shima Onsen. Carjacked by a monkey in Nikko.

And now Y and I are setting off on a month long road trip that should take us through most of northern Japan. We got us at 3:30 this morning so that we could make it onto the freeway before 4am in order to take advantage of a 40% discount. Today we will arrive in Nigata, board a ferry and sleep on the floor with the other ferry passengers durring the 17 hour trip to Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. The Alaska of Japan, in a way.

I bought a mobile phone internet plan, so I should have internet for most of the trip. Expect updates. However, since it is mobile phone based internet, pictures are going to be a little difficult. I'm still figuring that part out.

Please, spread the word. The adventure never stopped, but the story begins again!