Sunday, July 23, 2006

robots and temples

We've spent the past few days travelling with Taiko Center LA in Osaka, which is sort of central and south, for those of you silly geographically-challenged Americans. Group travel is like Army life (or what I imagine army life must be from watching Forrest Gump): hurry up and wait. But we have actually gotten out of the subway stations to do some stuff:
A real neighborhood festival in Taiko Town, where Brian tried to prove his manliness carrying this shrine with 50 other drunk japanese guys.
A temple up in the mountains that is it's own city, where the closely packed graves are covered with tiny offerings like fake flowers and chex mix.
A castle with the most impressive moat I have ever seen, where this renegade feudal lord ruled with the standard iron fist. You would have to be an amazing ninja to scale this moat.
We also went to Electric town, where you can buy hi-tech rice cookers, phones, mp3 players, vibrators, televisio- what? vibrators, just lying on the racks next to spare batteries and lightbulbs. And let me tell you, there were not very many left on the shelves- those things must sell like hot cakes. Actually, electric is clearly aimed at a certain demographic: those who frequent hi-tech electronics and porn stores.
I feel compelled to discribe with reverential awe the stunning efficiency and reliability of the subway system here. Of all the public transportation, in fact. That train says it's going to be at 11:06, and it does not mess around. Apparently people have to get a signed note from the station master if something does go wrong so they can convince their employer that for once the train really did fail. Because it just never happens. Ever. It's miraculous.


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