Monday, April 03, 2006

Long Overdue Update about TOP SECRET LOCATION...

IMG_0916.JPG....ok, fine, it's Japan!

(And following is a bit of a long blog entry. It's usually not a good thing to do in blogs, but I've been behind in posting, as my efforts have once again been sucked into website/DVD stuff...)

I landed here March 21st. Tokyo is amazing, although I would never, ever, choose to live here unless I had a really good reason to.

IMG_0773.JPGThe city is a maze. Just looking at the subway map is like trying to read your fortune in a bowl of spaghetti. Fortunately I have my Canadian friend Liz and some wonderful Japanese poi spinners to show me around.

I imagined a forest of skyscrapers, but it's actually quite spread out, with lots of middle density sprawl. They don't zone in Asia I hear, Tokyo included, so you get a funny mix of neighborhoods, with factories next to schools next to malls next to old homes, next to huge apartment blocks, etc. IMG_0779.JPGEconomic factors still lead to things like FORTY BLOCKS OF HIGH-END SHOPPING (where you can buy a pair of high-fashion ripped jeans for $250), and other such neighborhoods, but it's still much more disorganized than cities in N. America.

Oh, and everywhere you go there are vending machines. Thousands upon thousands of vending machines. Drinks and cigarettes only as it's rude to walk and eat.

After orienting myself and hanging out with Liz for a few days, IMG_0808.JPGI met Yuta and Nao at Yoyogi Park, where the jugglers and poi spinners play on the weekends. I have to say that the community here in Tokyo is one of the friendliest and talented I've come across. Yuta is an amazing spinner and is certainly as skilled as me, and there are some other spinners here who are learning at blazing speeds, often being quite creative in their approach. If I don't get back to full-on practice I'll be here to TAKE workshops next time. :)
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It's been great meeting Yuta and we've doing some little video projects (to be released later). I came here with some big plans, thinking that Yuta and I would have a month to work on videos full time (he just finished University a couple weeks before I came). Unfortunately, he had to take a very full time job which, combined with the amount of time it takes to just get around Tokyo, means we'll have to hold back on some of the plans for now (I'm spending 2-3 hours a day and $15-20 on the trains alone). With a little luck we'll both go to Thailand this winter for "poi camp," hee hee hee.

...and as usual, life has it's little difficulties. I thought I'd have internet upon arrival, but it didn't turn out that way. In fact, there isn't even a phone at Liz's place. This led to some complications communicating with Alex, my brilliant designer friend, so the website is continuing to take forever. This plus more complications with getting the DVDs shipped, plus etc. etc. etc. led me to a few days of feeling a little despondent about my economic situation. Discovering a good place to go for runs is quickly lifting my mood, and reading about the history of Japan reminded me of how hard most people's lives have been, and that I'm very lucky to even have the opportunity to TRY to pursue my dreams.

And I learned a good lesson from the internet difficulties as well. When we proved that there was no signal to pick up from Liz's place, I started looking around for random hot-spots. At first I was sending and receiving email from outside a home-and-garden centre on a busy street ten blocks away. Then I found I could get a signal from the second floor of the local mall. Then I was delighted to get a signal beside the church just outside (but only if cuddle up in just the right spot), and finally I found that I can get a signal if I wave my computer around in the air at the top of Liz's front door! Not exactly the desk I wish to have, but better than nothing. :P

IMG_0912.JPGMeanwhile, we've had two workshops, I've met loads of wonderful people, I've been taken many exciting places, and I'm dying to get home (not that I have one yet). I hope to the poi gods in heaven that I can work out a "home" for May and June, because I really need one to rest up, get back into shape, and refocus on rehabilitating my shoulder. Traveling on a budget can make it challenging to keep up certain routines.

I'll report again before I leave for Canada. If you happen to be IN Canada (vancouver), please keep an ear open for places to live!IMG_0918.JPG

n


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