Saturday, January 29, 2011

No Better

Dinner with old friends... ... leads to 4am karaoke with new. Had to be up at 9am, so thought it best to just not sleep at all. Rode my rental bike along the Kano River, parked, smoked a cigar on the bank at 7am and watched the sun rise on Mt. Fuji. Didn’t get that picture cause I was simply living the moment. It gets no better. The perfect morning.


It’s been just over two years since Sherry and I left Japan and moved back to the States. And now we’re back, for a visit. We’re bypassing Tokyo, though, along with Kyoto, Osaka and all the other big name cities we Westerners have heard of. Although we did briefly see Nagoya our first night because we got on the wrong shinkansen and took a small two-hour, 150 mile detour. But once we got that all straightened out we headed directly to our old home, the city of Numazu – a modest, medium-sized city nestled at the base of Mt. Fuji and situated on the shore of the Suruga Bay. A city known for producing more dried horse mackerel than any other region in Japan.

It ain’t nothin’ fancy, but Numazu was our home for a year. And really the only other home Sherry and I have ever had outside of Austin. We love it, and though it’s been over two years, I have thought of Numazu every single day since we left on December 22nd, 2008. I mean it. Every. Single. Day. And so, I expected that returning would be a bizarre, surreal, dreamlike experience. Like returning to your childhood elementary school and remembering the halls being wider and the urinals being taller. But the strangest thing about being back is that it’s not strange at all. It’s like we never left. It’s like the job I’ve held, and the apartment we moved into and every new friend we’ve made over the past two years in the States were simply a product of an overactive REM sleep brought on by a night of Suntory whisky overindulgence. It’s happened before.


Natsukashii, Numazu. I’m glad you’re you. It’s a good thing when old friends are just as charming and affable as you remember them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

After an inexcusable hiatus...

I'm putting brush back to canvas.
A birthday present...
for my perfect newborn nephew...
Welcome to the world, sweet pea.
You're already the coolest guy I know.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hang Son Doong, the infinite cave

I’ve never been to Vietnam, unless you consider the Hanoi airport to be part of the country, which I don’t and neither should you. But I’ve heard terrific and magical things of the country, and on balmy summer evenings I still close my eyes and pretend I’m strolling along the dusty and cicada screaming roads of Thailand or Cambodia. Yeah yeah, I know they’re all different countries, but if you’ve been to either or all, you know it’s a fair comparison. And though I’ve never been hotter and dirtier than I was in that part of the world, my heart still aches if I reminisce long enough.

And now, at a time when my feet couldn’t be any itchier for international travel and exploration, I happen across this article about the scarcely explored Hang Son Doong: A cave system near the Vietnam Laos border that, in places, is so large it could house an entire New York City block of 40-story buildings. Certain passages are so wide and high that they have their own clouds. Clouds. In a cave. And the cave has its own jungle. It’s the Disney Land of caves.

Sitting behind my desk, sipping from a can of spicy hot V8 juice, I shake my head in awe at this ragtag team of spelunkers. Lucky ducks. Why not me, I ask myself. And I’m forced to answer myself with a question of my own: Right, exactly, why not you? Why not you?

But that’s another day of internal exploration. My own cave, you could say, blah. But give the article a read and save the images as your desktop wallpaper. Not only is it a well-written article about an underground kingdom, it also taught me the word bivouacking.