07/28/2009

Here comes the Rain again

How can we easily sum up the Weather conditions around these parts most recently?

Well.....in a word-

CRAZYMADNESS! (wait a sec...is that 2 words?)

In a normal year Rainy Season generally starts somewhere near the end of July and generally ends in the middle of August, indeed many older K-Towners consider Parade Day for Gion Matsuri (Aug. 17th) to be the Official finish to the Rains and fully expect this to be so ordained.
This year, however, the Gods of Weather have thrown us one wicked breaking ball after another and, as of this typing, it poured yesterday, threatens to do so again today and very well may start up again tomorrow then continue throughout the weekend.

The results?
Well apart from the gloomy dispositions that match the endless grey skies the Kamogawa is a decent example of this year's meteorological mayhem.

The Kamo River that splits the City in two is about ankle to knee-deep in most places and the natural North-to-South flow of its waters is about as gentle as the tap in your bath which, for most of the Summer months, makes it an ideal spot for frolicking picnicers and their offspring as the shorties can easily bounce around in the water quite safely and cooly with little fear or danger to bruise the mood.

But it's been raining for quite some time now and when that happens the River rears up on its hind legs and starts growling.



This is Sanjo/Ohashi where on weekends youngsters gather in drunken hordes to blow off steam and girl hunt around for that special someone (or at least that special someone tonight)while basking in the River's chill blissfulness.
Occasionally the overserved may wade into the water and splash around just for relief as this is a very simple accomplishment normally even when somewhat inebriated.....I'm told. Ahem!

Now?
As you can see you'd be gambling with your Life even attempting to get your toes wet around now, I mean unless you're a Sumo Wrestler with fire hydrants strapped to your ankles so steer clear and stay safe!

Along with this inordinate amount of precipitation I should also mention that last Weds. (in case you missed it) The God of Death and Pestilence rode across the midday sky and completely obliterated the Sun for some minutes treating us all to a chilling daytime darkness that amply and awesomely demonstrated his power and Dominion over us mere mortals.

(I managed to heroically sleep through the cataclysmic Event because, you know.......I figure I'll get a chance to meet Him personally soon enough so why ruin a good nights slumber.)

Global Warming- Get it while it's Hot!

posted by Billy at 16:24 | Kyoto (Japan)

07/12/2009

IT'S BEER GARDEN TIME!


Lest we overstate the most obvious...Yes! It's HOT!

We're talking steamy sauna heat every single waking moment the unforgiving Sun shows Her glorious face as She slowly but surely simmers us in unrelenting sweat and dizzying discomfort.
But.....
When the stone-cold Mr. Man-in-the-Moon comes out He brings chill breezes to cool the flesh, calm the heart and soothe the tenderest of tempers.

And what better way to celebrate His graciousness than to get boozed up beneath His gentle countenance as we bask in grateful relief, breathe in the natural A/C, chug down the icy beverages and count our many blessings.

P1000100.JPG(your humble reporter vigorously pursuing research)

So this Saturday Night we repaired to the Beer Garden across from Kyoto Station (and under K-Tower and if you're wondering how to get there then just lift your head, open your eyes and move towards the Godzilla-sized red/orange/white candle) to celebrate Summer nights, scope pretty girls and praise the God of Hops.

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\3500 gets you in the door and into the All-You-Can-Eat/All-You-Can-Drink Festival where excess is encouraged, restraint unwelcome and big happy smiles abundant.

Doors open around 5:30 and this humble reporter would encourage one and all to get there early as the place is swept clean and the exits slammed shut around 10ish. This somewhat unfortunate schedule may require a disruption to your own timetable in order to attend but if you can find the opening I can garauntee that it's worth the effort.

The Grub? Check!
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While certainly not haute cuisine the fare is plentiful, tasty and the variety will test your ability for marathon eating as you dig in and dig in..........and then DIG IN!
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If you can work that fork, Brother, they'll keep giving you more so pile it on!

The Atmosphere? Check.

After a long day under the sweltering Sun the rooftop, cool breeze setting will undoubtably be just what the Doctor ordered. No luxuries here, only big, boisterous, happy crowds kicking back in picnic-style tables and chairs as they indulge in bountiful goodness.

And of course.....the Booze.

Party-Style Home Slice!

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The energetic Crew behind the bar will cheerfully serve you (I recommend starting off with the ice cold Nectar of the Gods provided by the Good Folks from Asahi) any amounts or combinations you can imagine so don't be shy about asking and don't pay any attention to the Rules the uptight Staff may spout at you when you enter. All night long I witnessed Happy Campers exiting the Bar area with armfuls of icy beverages to match their blissful grins as they no doubt were already plotting their return trips.

When in Rome...Do as the Romans do!

K-Towners may be famous for their somewhat haughty reserve but the vibe at this particular party is definitely laid-back, down-home and almost Osaka-style so oil up that elbow and get in where you fit in.

And if somehow through some truly dedicated but overzealous indulgence you perchance happen to wind up returning your evenings dinner/drinks in an unfortunate or untimely fashion, fear not!

K-Folks will administer gentle care and hospitable kindness (as opposed to the numerous degradations you may incur back home on such an occasion) as you yak your hard-earned money back up and out.

No charge for the plastic Baggies and a free escort to the elevators, Hercules!

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Summertime and the living is easy!

One Sidenote and Word to the Wise- On Saturday they had the Japanese Dudley Do-Right manning the gates and upon our arrival he gave us some J-Land shuck-and-jive runaround about “so sorry...no seats......long wait.......can't do it.......impossible blahblahblah” (and you ain't heard blahblahblah until you've heard it Kyoto-style) and while I would never normally suggest this, we stood our ground as I stared holes in his head and in about 30 seconds he brushed off a couple of seats and we forked over the cash.
Moral of the story? Yes, this may be the occasion to share your all-natural Gai-jin impoliteness if you want to get some Good Time.

Kanpai!P1000116.JPG
posted by Billy at 20:17 | Kyoto (Japan)

07/06/2009

GOOD LUCK!

In Japan it is a somewhat common belief that to see a spider in the morning is Good Luck, to see one at night...not so much.

If this holds true Team Kyoto and I must be in for some Hellacious great fortune.

Yes, yesterday morning (alright....very late morning.....ok...ok, early afternoon) I was sawing logs most fitfully when I was abruptly awoken by the panicked shrieks of 1/3rd of Team Kyoto who happened to be out on the balcony enjoying the morning air when greeted by our new cellie.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!"

It seems a friendly neighborhood spider had taken residence on our veranda and so I was promptly yanked from my blissful slumber and immediately drafted into spider removal duty.

Fearing not I stomped onto the porch confidently expecting some thumbnail-size creepy crawly but was instead introduced to this arachnid behemoth.

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Like the guy from "Jaws" my initial thought was,

"We're gonna need a bigger boat."

I have no idea what type of Kyoto flies Jumbo here was eating but Brother he was well fed, fat and sassy!

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Well after a frantic chase and an unfortunate loss of a couple of his limbs I managed somehow to corral this monster and snap a pic before I released him into the distant (and I mean very distant) Wild.
The mornings' excitement was complete when during the capture he sank a wicked bite into me so the News for today is that sometime in the very near future I fully expect to have the approximate strength and speed as well as the wall-crawling and web-spinning abilities of my formerly 8-legged freaky friend.

LOOK OUT..............here comes the K-SpiderMan!
posted by Billy at 15:30 | Kyoto (Japan)

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