Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

2012 Emperor of Japan’s New Year Address

On January 2 the Japanese Emperor makes 5 appearances with members of the Imperial Household to give a short (emphasis on short) speech welcoming the New Year.

Although the Japanese Imperial system goes back well over a millenia, the tradition of making public addresses to gathered crowds only dates back to after WWII.

I’ve been to the New Years Address about 4-5 times now. The interview footage is from the 2009 and 2010 speeches.

This year however was different than previous years and the Emperor made direct mention to the Earthquake of March 11th and the continual suffering of those directly affected by it.

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January 10, 2012 Posted by | akihito, blog, Blogroll, japan, Japan Earthquake, Japan Vlogger, japanese culture, japanese emperor, japanese imperial palace, New Years, tokyo, tokyo imperial palace, video, vlog | , , , , | Leave a comment

2010 Japan World Cup Memories

Here is my compilation of videos watching Japan in the 2010 World Cup in various places in Tokyo. Japanese fans are fun to watch and party with and of course lots of cute genki girls makes for lots of fun!

JAPAN VS CAMEROON

Despite low expectations, Japan beat Cameroon June 14th 1-0. Many expected Japan to lose because they were lower in rank than Cameroon and hadn’t done so hot in the pre-Cup games.

I watched the game at a bar in Tokyo and later walked about and over to a Hub Pub and talked to Japanese and foreigners alike about the game. I forgot my video camera at home so I was forced to rely on the crappy video function of my small digital photo camera so the audio and video are bit rougher than usual.

JAPAN VS NETHERLANDS

Japan put up a valiant effort against Netherlands on June 19th but eventually lost 0-1. Many people thought Japan would lose anyway because Netherlands is such a strong team but they didn’t score their only goal until the second half. Japan came close to a draw but unfortunately not close enough. Now the big game is against Denmark June 24th which will be at 3:30am the next morning here in Japan.

I went to the artistic haunts of the Design Festa Cafe in Harajuku to watch the game and while there I polled some of the spectators on Japan’s chances. I tried to motivate flagging spirits by singing the “Oh, Nippon” song but some of them didn’t know it.

I also ran into fellow youtuber, Tolokyo, there and got his candid opinion on the game.

JAPAN VS DENMARK

Japanese celebrate going to 2nd Round with World Cup Win against Denmark

Japan vs Denmark for the chance to proceed to the 2nd Round of the World Cup. Both had beat Cameroon and both had lost to Netherlands so it was anyone’s game and a lot was riding on it.

I went to Shibuya on the last train and found fans celebrating more than two hours before the game to get themselves pysched up for the coming match.

I caught the first part of the game not too mention Japan’s first goal on a frizzy muted TV in the notorious meat-market club Gaspanic before moving on to a little under-the-tracks bar that was jam-packed spilling out up to the road. I could hardly see the game but the atmosphere was definitely lively especially when Japan scored its second goal before half-time. After half I went to the Irish bar chain Dubliner’s where I could actually see the game for a change. There Denmark scored goal but a few minutes later Japan scored it’s third and final goal winning the game and going to the 2nd Round. At this point win or lose the next game, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just enough to get through especially when many people’s expectations were so low.

Shibuya Crossing was a madhouse. The police had blocked off the main diagonal crossing for fear the street would be choked with partiers and traffic would never get through. I ended my night or rather early morning with a beer in a small bar before getting some shut-eye.

JAPAN VS PARAGUAY

Ah, Japan lost to Paraguay in the Second Round to that bullshite known as PK (Penalty Kicks) but still they played a good game and can hold their heads high this World Cup.

I went to Shibuya again to watch the game and the festivities. Unfortunately there practically more cops than fans this time around (no one was tazzed though so I have to commend the Japanese police there). Also there was no public viewings despite there being huge TV screens at Shibuya crossing.

After the game despite the loss, Japan team fans still celebrated to the wee hours.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Blogroll, event, FIFA, Harajuku, japan, Japanese girls, party, sexy, soccer, Sport, tokyo, Tokyo Design Festa, travel, vlog, World Cup, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering the Millenniums (2000&2001)

The first decade of the 21st Century is drawing to a close. 10 years ago the world waited with anticipation for the year 2000. Some with hope, some with dread. Many thought the world would end either by God’s doing or by faulty computers. Remember Y2K? Anyway 2000 came and went as did 2001 for those crusty pedantic people who maintain 2001 was the real first year of the millennium – though all the big soiree were scheduled on New Year’s Eve 1999 (as Prince would have wanted it).

Where were you when the new Millennium dawned? Were you partying it up like there would be no tomorrow as some prophesied or were you at home cleaning the guns waiting for the Apocalypse of civilization?

I was at a New Age Concert thrown at the Pyramids of Giza.
Millennium at the Pyramids

For the 2001 New Years, I was working at a country&western club in Austin, Texas getting my lip chewed on by some tasty fillies.

Post your comments or video responses on your memories of what you were doing when the Millennium(s) dawned.

An account of my 2001 New Years’ experience and my disappointment of not having a hover car.

I threw a bone up into the air, and it still came down a bone

Well the New Year has dawned and still no Apocalypse.
Damn, I was so looking forward to rioting and looting!
I finally had to cancel my subscription to the “Y2K
Survival” Magazine. 

It’s 2001. Where the hell is my hovercar? Wow, hey,
guess all those past predictions about this year have
become pretty disappointing. No moon bases, hover
cars, ray guns, alien invaders, flashy futuristic jump
suits, black monoliths, or world peace (ha! we were so
naive back then). 

[NOTE: I had no idea how bad things were going to get 9 months down the road that year]

I worked security at Dallas, a country/western club
my uncle manages in Austin, TX. I wore a white tux
shirt with a black bow tie, cowboy boots and a black
cowboy hat (and trousers of course). I looked more
like a stripper at Chippendale’s than club security.

It was my job to check IDs and walk around breaking up
any fights. As these Texans tend to be rather big and
my karate a bit rusty, my plan was if a fight broke
out let them beat each other senseless then go over
and kick them in the balls. Granted, it wasn’t much of
a plan but at least I had one.

I drank too many cheap champagne toasts when the New
Year struck so I was buzzing when they put me back on
the door. I tried hiding this but it was hard when new
arrivals showed up and I greeted them with a “What the
hell do you want?” instead of “Hi! Welcome to Dallas
etc…”

Some inebriated young filly gave me a New Year’s kiss
that practically turned into a New Year’s mauling. She
damn near chewed my bottom lip off then tried to
convinced me that I liked it. She couldn’t possibly
have known that I had given S&M up as my New Year’s
Resolution.

She later staggered out of the club with the
assistance of her friends and to assure us at the door
everything was under control she said: “It’s ok, I’m
the designated driver.” Ah, my lips still bleed when I
think of her!

I left Austin Jan 4 heading back to Tennessee. The
miles clicked slowly past as the gene pool drew
steadily shallower while I drove through Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Alabama. Near the Alabama/Mississippi
border around 2 am, I came to the conclusion that
admiring deer while driving was hazardous especially
when they are standing in the middle of the freeway
and you’re doing 75 miles per hour. In trying to avoid
God’s simple yet stupid creature, my car swerved left
and right then completely around. (A Hovercar would
have been helpful at this point) I was now continuing
on my journey which was fine except I was going
backwards at 70-75 m.p.h. In this harrowing near death
experience the only lofty soul-searching thought that
ran through my head at the time was: “Well, this isn’t
good.”

My car must have had the same thought because it went
off the road and crashed into the woods. I actually
was able to drive off minutes later. My driver’s side
mirror had been sheared off but the rest of the car
was fine except for the mashed up front end but that
was from an earlier encounter with an inbred that
couldn’t read Stop signs.

Damn flea-ridden beast! To think I once cried when
they shot Bambi’s mother. Now I wish I had pulled the
trigger myself!

As no one was around when it happened, had I been
forced to shuffle off this mortal coil no one would
have ever known what had happened. If ever I do pass
the way of all flesh in a similar manner you know the
deer are behind my vehicular demise and I hope some of
you will wreck unholy vengeance upon their misbegotten
tasty hides in my name.

At least I lived to tell the tale. For a bit I was
wondering if perhaps I was dead living out some
bizarre Jacob Ladder-like pre-Afterlife until I pulled
over at a truck stop at the next exit. The singing
fish display, the bumper stickers that said “My other
car is also a piece of shit”, and the mud flaps with
naked women silhouettes reassured me I was still in
the land of the living. No self-respecting Afterlife
Limbo dimension would display such vulgar items and
even Hell wouldn’t be so tacky.

I hope no one else had such a close shave from the
Reaper’s scythe.

December 31, 2009 Posted by | 2000, 2001, blog, Blogroll, egypt, great pyramid, humor, Middle East, Millennium, New Year's Eve, New Years, travel, video, vlog | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rolly Teranishi sings Rocky Horror songs in Japanese

For your surreal entertainment – two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show sung in Japanese with a bit of English by ROLLY Teranishi.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo.

Here ROLLY performs “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and “I’m Going Home.” He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

This was at the 2009 Tokyo Decadance Halloween party.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, clubbing, japan, Japanese subculture, music, rock, Rolly Teranishi, Science Fiction/Double Feature, singing, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, tokyo, tokyo decadance, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Geibikei – Floating Thru a River Gorge in Northern Japan

Floating Through a River Gorge in Northern Japan
Geibikei Gorge – Iwate Prefecture

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Flat-bottom boats ply the river in Geibikei Gorge

In northern Japan in the prefecture of Iwate is a little known natural treasure known as Geibikei. Geibikei is a river gorge enclosed by tall rocky cliffs some 100 meters high. Visitors can take large flat-bottom boats piloted by a singing boatmen who pole along the shallow slow-moving river somewhat like the gondoliers of Venice.

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The boat pilots guide the boats with poles like the gondoliers of Venice

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The round-trip boat journey takes about an hour with a stop in the middle for a quick walkabout. The walk ends at a cul-de-sac where one can try their hand at getting a bit of luck. There’s a hole in the canyon wall across a pool which people try to cast charms into in order to get good luck. For 100 Yen ($1) visitors can purchase 5 stones that have charm characters carved into them. The five are for long life, love, luck, destiny, and your own personal wish.

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My first toss went straight into the hole and thinking myself done I gave my other charms to some of my fellow passengers. I forgot until later to see which charm was the lucky one.

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Good Luck Charms for throwing

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Visitor try to cast their good luck charms into the hole to make their luck come about

On the return, the boat pilot will sing old traditional songs that echo off the cliff walls. It’s a very serene Zen-like experience to be floating along that slow-moving river with the cliffs looming high above, the occasional piercing cry of a bird of prey on the wing, and fish swimming past as the boat pilot sings old folk medleys from long ago.

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One of the highlights of the trip is the boat pilots singing old traditional songs as they pole along

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My first visit to Geibikei was completely by accident a few years ago. My parents were visiting and having seen Tokyo and Kyoto before, they wanted to venture into the more unknown regions of Tohoku, the northern section of Japan.

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A small shrine along the river’s edge

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Tohoku is a region which often goes overlooked by overseas travelers especially by those in Japan for the first time. Tokyo and Kyoto and the surrounding areas tend to lure visitors to them and use up much of their time leaving little if any time to explore the hinterlands. It’s a shame because Tohoku has a lot to offer, Geibikei being one such place.

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I had only seen the name Geibikei in passing in one of my guidebooks. I had no intention of going there until I stumbled upon a poster of it in Hiraizumi, a town we were visiting at the time. The picture was enough for me to decide to schedule it into our itinerary.

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Although close to Hiraizumi, like much of Tohoku, Geibikei isn’t easy to reach. Trains don’t run so regularly as they do further south. We took the southbound train which runs about twice an hour to the little city of Ichinoseki where we transferred to the sometimes-once-hour-sometimes-less train to Geibikei station.

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Not much there but there was a convenient store, ever the bastion of civilization in the woolly wilds of the hinterlands or the concrete jungle of Tokyo.

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The boats can fit up to 60 people but we were fortunate not to need its full capacity. Instead we had plenty of space to have a picnic and more importantly, drink beer. Like Japanese fashion on land, we had to remove our shoes before boarding.

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We passed other boats filled to the gills with giggling school kids from junior high. My folks got a kick out of watching kids just being kids despite being in school uniforms. The kids were laughing and joking and some girls had their feet in the water.

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One boat of school kids, however, was quiet and somber. We found out why as it passed us – the school teacher was on that one. The kids on that boat were well-mannered and a little glum, no doubt cursing their luck to have wound up on the same boat as the teacher.

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For those adventurous types on the loose in the northern country, Geibikei is certainly worth a visit. Geibikei can be reached in about 30 minutes by train or bus – neither of which run frequently – from Ichinoseki in southern Iwate.

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October 3, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, boating, boats, geibikei, iwate, japan, japanese culture, nature, photographs, photography, tohoku, travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Youtube Tokyo Hanami Party 2009

The 2nd Annual Tokyo Youtube Hanami Party was held Sunday March 29th in Yoyogi Park. 

A number of Youtubers located in Tokyo and elsewhere gathered in Yoyogi Park – the park next to the Goth Maids and the dancing Rockabilly Elvises.

Hanami is the Japanese tradition of gathering under cherry blossoms to eat, drink, and be merry.

We had KFC chicken, Krispy Kreme donuts, ramen, beer, and Chu-Hi. 

Here people talk about what they like about the Hanami tradition.

Also check these videos from last year’s event:

Pre-Youtube Hanami in Ueno Park at night:

Post-Youtube hanami at a Hub Pub in Shibuya:

April 7, 2009 Posted by | 2008, 2009, beer, Blogroll, cherry blossoms, culture, drinking, hanami, japan, japanese culture, party, sakura, tokyo, TokyoCooney, travel, video, vlog, youtube, Youtube Gathering | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Decadent XXXMAS with Tokyo Decadance

Decadent XXXMAS with Tokyo Decadance
The Naughty List Gets Longer

Here are some photos from Tokyo Decadance’s Christmas Bash. Santa, Elfs, Angels, Snow Spirits, and what-nots made the Yule-Tide warm and gay this past holiday season!

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Santa Having a Jolly Good Time at Tokyo Decadance

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A couple of Santa’s Helpers who help the old fellow rise to the occasion

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Santa goes in for giving pain instead of presents this year

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Mrs. Claus lets it all hang loose

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A Elfin Vixen brazenly breaks the North Pole Smoking Ban

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Christmas always come early with these two

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Whoa, Elf look like a Lady!

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Santa in Black

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Generous partiers had given their clothing to the needy

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On the Naughty List since ’95

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Christmas on Mars

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A Crossdressing Mexican Japanese Santa

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A Santa for the 21st Century

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A Vampire Gets Into the Holiday Spirit

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Yuki Onna (Japanese Snow Woman) enjoying the party

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Unwrapping these presents will be a tad bit difficult

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This Angel will shove the Christmas Tree up your *** instead

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Post Apocalyptic Santa

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A Snow Sprite Taken by Surprise

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This Nun uses more than rulers to dish out punishment

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Elf Pirate

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Two Xmas Vixens demonstrate the Spirit of Giving and Receiving as a Barechested Man looks on

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Imagine finding this wrapped up under your Christmas Tree?

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Jedi Santa

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Santa was busy stuffing stockings this night

January 9, 2009 Posted by | beautiful girls, Blogroll, christmas, clubbing, cosplay, culture, dance, girls kissing, japan, japanese culture, party, risque, S&M, santa claus, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yabusame – Gunslingin’ Samurai (Japanese Mounted Archery)

Yabusame is a Japanese Shinto ritual involving mounted archery. Archers ride at a full gallop and shoot at three targets set up at certain intervals. Hitting all three, an archer is considered to be very skillful. The ritual is purpose is to bring prosperity and peace.

The video is a complilation of Yabusame events I have been to over the last two years. There are two different schools of Yabusame – Ogasawara Ryu who perform at Asakusa (here 2007&2008) and Takeda Ryu who perform at Meiji Shrine (2006), Miura (2007), and Kamakura (Spring 2007 & Fall 2008)

The song is called “Gunslinger Man” and it fits with the old tradition of samurai on horseback using bows rather than spears and swords as they did later. The Yabusame costume looks rather cowboy-ish.

The music is by the Exotic Ones:
http://www.myspace.com/exoticones

This also a tribute to the memory of a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago:
Jack Hunter Dave, Jr who wrote and sung the song “Gunslinger Man.”
http://my.att.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=87&subpageid=150399&ck=

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Archery, Blogroll, culture, entertainment, festival, japan, japanese archery, japanese culture, life, martial arts, mounted archery, tokyo, travel, video, Yabusame, youtube, zen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tribute to Autumn

A Tribute to Autumn
Photographic montage celebrating the season


Red Autumn Leaves

Autumn – the season of change where the world gives forth one glorious burst of life and color before succumbing to the long sleep of Winter. Autumn is a season of reflection and poets throughout the ages all over the world have given into this poetic self-indulgence.


Chinese Zodiac draped by Autumn Leaves at Mt. Takao near Tokyo


Fall foliage at a lake in Bavaria, Germany

“No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.”
– John Donne (17th Century England)

“…the end of Autumn is in the color of the last leaves”
– Jaukuren (12th Century Japan)


Autumn leaves at night at Rikiguen Garden in Tokyo

“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne (19th Century United States)


Autumn sunshine falls on a golden floor


Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

“Everyone hates to see the Autumn go by
This feeling would seemed to be shared by the Heavens”
– Tayasu Munetaka (18th Century Japan)


Fallen Autumn leaves as seen from an English church door

 


Painter paints an Autumn scene at Tokyo Station

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.”
– Emily Bronte (19th Century England)


Pagoda at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus (20th Century France)


Chuzen-ji Lake, Japan


Watch Tower of old Edo Castle in Tokyo


A Church in Jonesborough, Tennessee

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf’s a flower
But only so an hour.”
– Robert Frost (20th Century United States)

“The autumn wind!
The mountain’s shadow
Trembles before it.”
– Issa (18th Century Japan)


Fall leaves frame Kegon Falls in Nikko, Japan

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it”
– George Eliot (19th Century England)


Cornfield in the Autumn morning mist – Tennessee


Old farm equipment amongst the fallen autumn leaves


A Hint of Autumn at Hikone Castle


View from Hikone Castle

“Ah, it was the Autumn Wind
Not she that I was waiting for”
– Socho (15th Century Japan)

 


View from Neuschwanstein Castle

“So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
– Robert Frost (20th Century United States)


Fallen golden leaves


The sun sets at the end of Autumn

November 22, 2008 Posted by | autumn, Bavaria, Blogroll, castle, culture, Deutschland, England, entertainment, fall, Germany, japan, leaves, life, music, nature, photographs, poetry, tennessee, tokyo, travel, video, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rain Fails to Dampen Japanese Fire Festival Spirit

Rain Fails to Dampen Japanese Fire Festival Spirit
Kurama Fire Festival in Northern Kyoto


Rain fails to douse giant torches at Kurama’s Fire Festival

Fire and water as a rule generally do not mix as the saying goes. One usually overcomes the other in abundance. Rain has often been the bane of many outdoor-related fire activities from barbeques, to camp fires, to bonfires but the Fire Festival of Mt. Kurama in northern Kyoto refused to be doused despite downpours.


Some of the torches can reach 5-6 meters (15-18 feet) in length


A portable shrine – mikoshi

The Kurama-no-Himatsuri is an ancient festival ritual going back to the late 8th century that come rain or starshine (it’s always at night) is performed every year on Oct. 22. The purpose of the festival is to guide spirits and gods by torchlight along their way through the human world to the spiritual realm. Wayward spirits might remain to cause mischief in our world so the festival served to clear the mountain and the capital below of potentially evil spirits.

Torches of all sizes are carried about the mountain. They range in size from one-handed deals to gargantuan ones that require four or five stout men to carry them. The large torches put off a lot of heat and periodically their bearers are doused with water to keep them from overheating.


A Family’s Treasure on Display

This was my second time at the festival. The first time the mountaintop was crowded with milling residents, tourists, and guiding police. This time the guiding police were still in force but they practically outnumbered the visiting spectators. The reason for this was the rain. For most of the day leading up to the festival, it had been raining quite steadily thus casting a wet blanket over the enthusiasm for visitors to make the journey up the mountain.


An impressive old family heirloom

I almost gave into the suffocating effect of the wet blanket preferring a warm cafe to a cold wet mountain. Fortunately, I was able to cast the blanket off and force myself to make the journey. Not long afterwards, I was quite happy that I had made the effort. Absent were the throngs of visitors that cluttered up the train and mountaintop the last time I had visited. The spirit of the festival, however, was undampened being still “fiery” as ever and this time I could be closer to the action.

Adding to the fun and the surrealness of it all were the number of attending Tengu – Japanese goblins. Kurama’s famous mythical denizen is the Tengu which come in two shapes – redskinned long nose goblins or winged crow-headed goblins. The long-nose goblins make for popular masks and quite a few people were sporting these.


A Tengu Goblin on the way back from Kurama’s Fire Festival

As for the rain, from time to time it did come down but it was only a minor inconvenience. The great torches sputtered and crackled but did not go out. The amount of smoke was considerable though due to this.


Koff! Koff! Must be in the the smoking section!

After the torches reached the shrine, a large bonfire was constructed. Then two large mikoshi – portable shrines – were brought down the steep path from the temple. On their backs rode two men in samurai armor sans helmet. The mikoshi bearers rocked the shrines up and down seemingly trying to knock the fellows off. All around them carrying regular-sized torches were men, women, and children singing the festival’s age-old chant of “sei-rei, sei-ryo!” which means something like “festival, good festival!”

And indeed despite the weather, it was a good festival and I was glad I had made it.


shouldering a hot heavy load

https://samuraidave.wordpress.com/2007/03/20/japanese-fire-festival-on-kyotos-mt-kurama/

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, culture, entertainment, festival, fire, fire festival, japan, japanese culture, kurama-no-himatsuri, Kyoto, life, mt. kurama, travel, video, vlog, weird, youtube | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment