Good Guys vs. Bad Guys

Last night, to officially close out November,Saitama Arena in Tokyo (sorry K-Fans) hosted a brawl between the forces of Good and Evil, Old and Young, Boxer and Puncher, Fast and Slow.


Guess who won?

Yes, the humble, gallant, gracious and older WBC Flyweight Champion Daisuke Naito put his belt on the line to face the bold, brash, loud-mouthed younger Challenger Koki Kameda in a grudge match destined to settle the score and clean the bad blood.

The Score was settled and Naito-san provided the blood.

It was an ugly evening for the Champion as the younger boxer danced around the aging-before-your-very-eyes Champ salt-and-peppering him with punches and punishing him with a devastating straight Left which the older fighter ate with terrible regularity.
Naito-san, representing all that is right with the world, had no answers to the barrage of blows that he swallowed, looking old, slow and ineffectual as the young Challenger, carrying the flag for the Future, patiently schooled him with his faster fists and feet then coasted to a comfortable victory.

There was no doubt as to the decision after 12 rounds and the fighter's faces very clearly told the tale as the Champ looked as if he just finished shaving with a cement mixer and KK looked like he just got done dancing with his girlfriend.
Youth was most definitely served as KK grabbed his belt and did the dance, as he was entitled to, after his serious beatdown of the Champ leaving all those in the Naito Camp with a bitter taste to go along with a harsh and sobering splash of reality.

It was a sad ending for a brave Samurai Warrior and a cold bucket of water in the face for the upright folks hoping for the Hollywood ending but, fear not, for all is well in J-Land.

'Cuz Hakuho slammed Asashoryu.

posted by Billy at 15:18 | Kyoto (Japan)


2009- Get It While It's Cold!

A Pop-eyed glance at my calender this morning regretfully informed me that November is out-the-door and this simple fact of course, and unfortunately, heralds the arrival of.....

(duuummmmm da dum dum)

the Holiday Season.

Yes, welcome to the intense, insane, non-stop, harassing pressure from every corner of your world to party hard and work harder, hurry up and wait, smile big and make nice, hook up or shut up and buy, buy, buy, buy and then maybe....buy.

Visiting family this year?

My condolences.

But lest I (or you) slip prematurely into my particular Blue X-mas let's take one last look at the refreshing bounty and beauty of K-Land's Autumn splendor as the Sun sets slowly in the West.


Yes it's Last Call and she's a smokin' hot, deeply drunken Beauty Queen who you been dancing around all night yet haven't gotten even a good whiff of yet but right now she's fully-loaded and got you locked on-target because she just broke up with that special, special Guy mere moments ago and so she desperately needs a strong shoulder to cry on along with some firm reassurance of her sexual attractiveness at least once and for all but just for tonight, especially for one and only you.
In other words- Move fast Brother, 'cuz you ain't never gonna get this shot again!
posted by Billy at 12:28 | Kyoto (Japan)


The Armies of the Day

A rather pleasant Fall season has peacefully settled in K-Town recently bringing with it the perennial lush beauty of Koyo (Autumn's changing colors) and the accompanying mobs of camera-wielding Fall fanatics tirelessly pointing and snapping at everything in sight.

Yes it's your basic Good News/Bad News situation.


Here's a Sunday shot of SHINNYODO, one of K-Town's more popular spots for Momiji (leaf viewing) and I guess there were more cameramen crawling around the place on that fair Sunday than busy bees on a dripping honeycomb.

Like most things Japan the J-Folks take their Fall holidays seriously along with a tripleshot of expresso energy to power their plans and pepper their schedules.
Of course I joined in (camera in fist) but was hopelessly overcome by the waves of hungry eyes/lenses and so basically I went with the flow and was carried along the touristic tide, a not altogether unpleasant sensation but something you may want to prepare for if you decide to venture out with friends or cameras in hand.

Somewhat strangely of all the hundreds and hundreds of blissed-out visitors I was one of the very few Westerners in attendance (indeed I counted only 2 others, all of us being about as hard to spot as a polar bear on a sandy beach) and I guess I'd consider that fact as good news as we neither created any stir nor received any undue attention that I perceived but were merely and easily swallowed up then stirred gently into the day's happy mix.

The Monks running the Temple had a nifty parade followed by a swell ceremony which the majority of the crowd bumrushed and indulged in most enthusiastically, basking in the vibes and soaking up the blessings. P1010110.JPG

I stayed safely and securely outside and counted the number of folks I saw that were under the age of 50.
It was a small number but like the energizer bunny, J-Folks just keep going...and going.....and going.......

Next weekend, if you're seeking, the Season should be peaking.

posted by Billy at 15:48 | Kyoto (Japan)


The Ramen Hunt is on

If you were busy indoors (wink,wink) on Tuesday evening congratulations because it was one chilly, rain-soaked, slap-in-the-face out of doors and when that happens I say-

It's time to brave the elements and pounce on the HOT RAMEN!

So Team Kyoto busted out the umbrellas, raingear and towels, waterproofed our cash and electronics, checked our coordinates, synced our watches, plunged into the deluge and made a very wet beeline to-



A huge global chain stretching across J-Land, extending into Singapore and all across the USA from New Jersey to Chi-Town to California, SANTOUKA is likely one of the more trendy Ramen Shops in K-Land (indeed is probably prominently mentioned in any guidebook you happen to be holding right now) and undoubtably the easiest to find. Take the Tozai Line or the Keihan Line (or any of the many buses that stop at Sanjo/Keihan Station) to Sanjo and walk up the stairs.

Congrats...you're there!

Don't be put off by its popularity (when we were there the seats were more than half-full with foreigners and there was more EiGo being bantered about around the counter than Nihon-go, a very strange sensation) because I'm here to testify that the ramen is up to snuff and done to a turn.
Tourist-friendly, easy-to-read Menus in English and a young, personable staff will get you through your order without a bump so relax and enjoy your Ramen buzz!

I might suggest the KARA-MISO.
Lovely to look at and better to taste, this slightly spicy soup will warm your belly and soothe your soul so if you like a little flava with your noodles you can't go wrong.

I wrote that I might suggest the Kara-miso but you also will be delighted with the SHIYO RAMEN.

A more traditional bowl with a more solid pedigree and an all-time fave of many of my J-Amigos, SANTOUKA'S soup was really superb- rich but not too greasy, solid but not too thick and loaded but not overloaded with goodness. Do yourself a favor and read the very interesting explanation for how and why they prepare their Ramen that is located at the bottom of your menu, it may add to your enjoyment.

A word to the wise- S's bowls, while certainly delicious, are a tad bit on the small size so if you are truly hungry I'd suggest getting the Large or at least ordering some of their very reasonably priced appetizers to accompany your noodles.P1010083.JPG
On weekends you might have to wait in line for the goods but on Tuesday we swam in and sat down without delay, so did everyone else, and when we exited the tab was light like a feather mostly because we only indulged in grub and skipped the adult-type beverages as is my usual practice in any Ramen shack.

Yea, of course they serve beer/beverages there but why the Hell are you drinking in a Ramen Shop?

Walk outside the door and there's only about 5 or 10,000 booze options within very easy walking distance!
Or as the Irish say-

“When I drink water, I drink water and when I drink whiskey.....I drink whiskey.”
posted by Billy at 12:58 | Kyoto (Japan)


Sunday, blissful Sunday

Who was that whining about the chilly weather last week? Oh.....me?

Well then let's just strike the question and move on with our grateful celebration of the glorious gift that was Sunday here in K-Town.
Yes, an absolutely sublime Summer breeze blew back to Us all carrying energizing warmth as it lifted the smiles of just about everyone I passed on that lovely day. Not to be outdone, the Sun showed up on time, at full power and for the duration as She toasted us all with yet more inviting, invigorating warmth and healthful vitamin D!

If you happened to be a burglar you must've had a very leisurely days work 'cuz I don't think ANYBODY stayed home yesterday and if you did then my sympathies are all yours.
Families, Couples, Singles, Seniors, Juniors and In-Betweeners, I guess just about every upright body (and even some not so) in the vicinity got out and basked in the beauty, which was very, very beautiful.

These two Good Kids kind of captured the spirit of the wonderful Sunday Joy.
But a warning to my Touristic Friends-


Those rollicking, winged warriors are called Tonbi (species name Milvus migrans lineatus, maximum wingspan about 3 1/2 feet) and they patrol the River at all times searching for easy pickings and oblivious victims.
If you decide to picnic Riverside sometime then my sincere advice to you is-
Keep your eyes on the skies!
Or you may have your goods snatched from your hands in the time it takes you to blink as you watch your lunch fly away to provide a meal to a hungry Hawk Family.

I guess these two thrill-seekers (the other species in the frame, called Homo sapiens and they can be found pretty much everywhere) just decided to cut to the chase and went the direct action route as they shared their grub and got to watch the nifty display of aerial acrobatics. Not a bad exchange I'd say.

Other folks got their kicks in other ways I'm sure but let's not kid ourselves...
Kicks were gotten!

This Old-Timer doffed his waders and his fishing pole and tried his luck as the younger kids kicked back and eased into falling in love.

Personally I happened to be on my way to the salt mines and was running fast and hard.

Hey...somebody's got to do it.

Yep, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good but I'll take either one around now and Sunday was both!

posted by Billy at 13:41 | Kyoto (Japan)


Weather you like it or not.....

Mark Twain once famously stated-

"Everybody talks about the weather...but nobody does anything about it."

Well, my Touristic Friends and Neighborly neighbors, welcome to Fall.



That's all I got today.
Now where's that down jacket.......
posted by Billy at 16:34 | Kyoto (Japan)




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