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Friday, December 31, 2010


In Japan at the end of the year pretty much everyone has a 忘年会 (bounenkai), which is an end of the year party. I met one fellow who had 9 of them this year. Gaba was no exception so after work at 11:30 off we went. And here are my intrepid leaders Kunito and Kevin along with Emi, one of the Japanese staff. This capped off four very full days of work. I got home at 5:50 the next day and am glad that I'm off till the 4th.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tokyo Tower at Christmas

Here's a picture of Tokyo Tower kind-of sort-of decorated for Christmas. This photo was taken from Roppongi Hills.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shinjuku at Sunset

Before, I posted a picture of the skyline of Shinjuku during a clear day. Today I present to you Sinjuku at Sunset taken from the 10th floor of the Metropolitan Building in Ikebukuro.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ginza: The Silver Seat

The kanji in Ginza mean "silver" and "seat" (or "squat") and the district was named such because of a silver mint located here in the Edo period. Today, it is Tokyo's most upscale shopping district. It was named well. This is looking northeast down this Chuo Dori in Ginza...

..and this is looking southwest.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lights at Roppongi Hills

I have an extra Christmas picture or two to get through. Look at all those people taking pictures over there. I apologize for the tree. This is sadly the best shot I got of this. Right after I took this my camera's battery died. I pulled out my phone, but the iPhone just doesn't do low light photos like my camera does.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blast from the Past Sunday: London

In 2005 we went to London over Christmas. That was mistake. Don't got to England for vacation over Christmas. We did get to see a castle though. Happy Boxing Day. Keep it real England.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Bonus

Two pictures for the price of one day. I wasn't the only person taking pictures as you can see here.

Merry Christmas!

Roppongi Hills, Christmas Eve 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Shinjuku East

Outside the east exit of Shinjuku station.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Quiet Part of the City

This is the Takashimaya entrance to the Shinjuku Sanchome Station at 11:50 PM. Pretty quiet place.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cars! People! Lights!

This is a picture of the traffic outside the south exit of Shinjuku station.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rabbit Apples

For many children in Japan, parents cut apples into these little rabbit looking things.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blast from the Past Sunday: Tallinn, Estonia

This is the picture I am currently using in the background of the blog. It was taken in Tallinn, Estonia while I was on foreign study in 2005. With the lamp posts it makes me think of Narnia. Only, instead of going through a wardrobe you have to ride on a Russian bus without heat for eight hours. Magical.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mmmmm Temmy's

Direct from Egypt! Found in the import grocery store.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Japan is not a country that partakes in PDA, at least not very often. To be honest, it's not exactly common in America, but it's even less so here. For the most part, things are restricted to the occasional hand holding and on rare occasion affectionate cuddling, but never a full on kiss. And that's just what myself and some others came across when exiting an Izakya the other evening. To us, it was just an uncommon, but not altogether strange sight. We merely commented that was something we hadn't seen before here in Japan. The Japanese couple passing by, however, burst out laughing, amused by the displayed. They also approved of my taking of this photo. Pity I wasn't closer though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Alarm Clock

There's one thing about Japan that keep bugging me, I can't sleep in... ever. The days of sleeping till 10 are long past. Typically the culprit is the sun, it comes up absurdly early and my pathetic excuse for curtains are of little help. The other day it was actually raining though, so the sun wasn't an issue. Instead, the construction next door was.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Magic Camera

The other day I was in Nishi-Shinjuku for language exchange and we noticed a small temple/shrine. So I did a goofy pose while my picture was taken. However... it doesn't look like me at all. It was really strange. Something to do with the flash? Oh, and the swastika has been a common symbol in Asian long before it's use by a certain German movement, so don't say it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

So Festive

Suhshine street on Saturday December 4th.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blast from the Past Sunday: The Master and Apprentice

Here's Margaret and Dr. Fehler when he had been banished to Johns Hall during the Furman Hall renovation. Look at that hot piece of technology sitting behind him.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The AT&T of Japan

This is the NTT Docomo building on a overcast fall evening. It's a pretty recognizable building just south of Shinjuku Station. You can see the train tracks running off to the right.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Going Down the Tracks

I had a pretty nice spot on the Chuo line the other day. This particular picture was taken between Akihabara and Ochanomizu on the Chuo local line.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Light Tree

Gotta get these Christmas lights pictures out before Christmas is over.

Monday, December 06, 2010

$7.50 for a Movie Ticket Doesn't Seem So Bad Anymore

On Saturday I finally got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. This was my first movie experience in Japan. I wanted to see Inception but I never got around to it over the summer. One thing that has been keeping me away from the theaters has been the cost. A general admission ticket costs 1800 yen. At today's exchange rate, that means my ticket for Harry Potter 7 cost me $22.50, a far cry from the $7.50 I would pay with my student ID in Charlotte. Above you can see what 7.50 got me. No Stadium seating and an old school seat that didn't come up to my head and had less than comfortable padding. A lot of things in Japan related to entertainment media is expensive actually. DVDs cost around 40 dollars new, as opposed to 17 in the states, CDs cost more, and video games are at least 20 dollars more expensive. Muse's latest CD is 1200 yen in the iTunes store ($14.50). So was seeing the movie worth 1800 yen? Yes, because I've seen all but the first two in theater and I wasn't about to miss this one. No matter what the cost, not matter the quality of the theater, movies are still magic, especially Harry Potter. Although, this is only one theater and I have heard that there are better ones out there. My time in Columbia SC taught me there are plenty of bad theaters out there in the US. Sadly, movies are more of a luxury here in Japan than they are in the United States because of the costs, but you can expect me to be back next summer for Part 2.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Karaoke Booth

Yeah, an empty room second day in a row, only this one comes with an explanation. This is a karaoke booth; it fits about 6 people comfortably. There are a couple of speakers in the corners and the TV is in the corner to the right, outside of the picture. You select songs with remotes The selection of J-Pop is huge and the western music selection isn't half bad (no Guster though). As you can tell, you can also order food and drinks from a kitchen to be delivered to you, and it's pretty tasty too (well, to be fair, just about everything in Japan is tasty). Point is, in Japan Karaoke is a fairly intimate activity to be shared with a small group as opposed to sharing it in front of a group of drunk strangers in a bar. Japan does Karaoke better than we do.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Sorry, busy morning. Posting on the blogged slipped by. Here you go.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Let's All Shop at Seiyu

Yesterday I left Tokyo for the first time to travel out to Tokorozawa in Saitama. Out there, the Seiyus are much more like the Walmarts back home rather than just a really cheap grocery store. Surrounding Seiyu were bikes, lots and lots of bikes. This is only a small number of them. Speaking of bikes, mine got a flat tire the other day. Such a pain.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

While the majority of the people on the Tokyo metro system stare deeply into their cell phones, myself included, there's also a group that try to get a few extra minutes of sleep. This gentleman was definitely out of it. The other remarkable thing you'll read about is how, despite sleeping, they manage to wake up for their stop. I know from speaking to a few people though, that sometimes they do miss their stop and wake up at the end of the line.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blast From the Past Sunday: The J-207 Trifecta Is Completed

First there was Sandy. Then there was Wendell. Now there's Mr. Ruggles.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


No explanation needed. Okay, a little. On the left is Enrique and on the right Satomi. I met them both last night.

Friday, November 26, 2010

You Shall Bring Us a Second Shrubbery...

Here you can see the buildings in Otemachi rising above the Imperial Palace Grounds, a respite from the busy city beyond.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving USA. As you can see in this picture, Japan is also gearing up for Christmas. No doubt the experience here will be very different from the one in America. But hey, at least I don't have to put up with Jared's commercials.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks for the Nightmares Dole

This does not make me want to buy a banana.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mt. Fuji and Clouds

Yep, another Mt. Fuji picture. This time with the clouds in the picture and the sun reflecting off them. BTW, I've got a lot of these pictures.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sun! Opportunity!

Very few of the Japanese use dryers so on nice sunny days you can see lots of clothes/comforters/futons out to dry.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blast from the Past Sunday: Wendell Kimbrough, Laruen Moon

This was taken Sophomore year at the FUSAB Spring Carnival on E-Field. No one, NO ONE, is cooler than Wendell Kimbrough.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chuo Line Incoming

I took this picture Wednesday evening. It was, without a doubt, the worst weather so far this Fall.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Lady in Pink

I saw this interesting young lady by Hachiko outside Shibuya Station. I apologize for my hand being in the pictures, stealth photos are a bit tricky. There's a few interesting characters around Tokyo. One of these days I'll get pictures from Harajuku and Akihabara.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's been a while since I've talked about kanji compounds but today I came across a sweet one.


This reads "tenki" and it means weather. I've known the word for weather for a long time, and I've known the first kanji, 天, for heaven or sky for a while too. What is new for me is 気, which I have just learned in the past couple of days. This kanji means spirit or temperament. Thus the compounds for weather is literally, "The spirit of the sky." HA! Genius!

Old Building

This is a picture of an old armory on the Imperial Palace Grounds.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Epic Bowling

Went bowling the other day, I made a video. Soyhan's got style.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blast from the Past Sunday

New feature here in Barrett blog land. "Blast from the Past Sunday" is when I dig into my photo archives and post one of the many pictures that have been sitting on my hard drive unloved for years. I decided to start with this one, which is the picture I used in my silly photoshop job below. As for the poster. When the year began Sandy's room was a stark white, so I took it upon myself to make him some decorations. He didn't appreciate it, and they soon ended up out in the hall. Sandy did eventually add a demotivational poster and a plant.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drill Baby Drill

That's the biggest drill I've ever seen.