Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shanghai, China

   What a polluted, crowded, hectic mess of a city! Going right after Japan probably wasn’t the best idea. But the MagLev train was pretty amazing (187MPH). Of course, I still had a great time. Ben happened to be there again, so we did some exploring together. We stayed at a hostel right on the bund. A fantastic view of the skyline met me as I woke up in the mornings.

  We got the best dumplings in the world. If they weren’t, I don’t even wanna try the better ones. Chinese food, like real Chinese IN China, is amazing. The Hunan Wok or China Best Restaurant down the street from you doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It’s not even the same KIND of food. The food in China is so eloquently refined, so precise, so focused, it’s not just food anymore. It’s an art form all its own. The dedication and pride that goes into the cuisine is apparent immediately and sticks with you forever. Do they eat weird shit? You better believe it. And it’s amazing.

   The short trip to Shanghai was totally worth it. I only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer, but atleast I got to stop in for a few days. It made me start to realize just how massive, how diverse, and how endless China really is. You could spend your whole life just exploring this one country. And sometimes, I wish I could.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Osaka, Kyoto, Nara Japan

   It would be impossible and even foolish to think that I could sum up my experiences in Southern Japan with words, images, or any other representation of mimicked reality. The trip was so spiritually and psychologically dynamic that writing about it seems useless. Almost a waste of time. If anything, just to remind myself of the experience I had (and to encourage you to do the same). Did I see Cathedral live in concert? Sure did. Did I see someone die out front of a department store? Pretty sure I did. Did I spend way too long in a reggae bar in Kyoto?? Yep. Did I spend way WAY too much money on a Kobe Beef steak?  Nope, I would have paid double for half the size. Did I go to Universal Studio's Osaka with an amazing, beautiful Japanese girl and then go out for horse sashimi? mmhmmm. Did I go to the Manga Museum?  No…. they were closed… Doesn’t matter. I would move to Kyoto faster than I could get there. I have never felt more at peace, never more tranquil and content with life, with the universe, with reality as I did on this trip to Japan. Sure Tokyo is everything you could ever want. But the rest of it is everything you need.

   There’s really no point in listing what I did. I could name off plenty of places, parks, spots, eateries, etc. I could brag about my luck, rub it in your nose, be pompous, talk about how ya’ll in America don’t know shit about sushi… But that’s not what this, or my life is about. What did I really do? I reset. I cleansed. I transformed. I forgot, moved on, and woke up. Out of the places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, Japan hits closest to home. It’s such a prominent and important place to me. It is the world that I want to share with my friends and loved ones the most. If I could take everyone I know to one place, it would be Japan. The value of aesthetic beauty, simplicity as perfection, sparks the warmest feeling inside of me.  Anyone wanna go??