Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Land of the Samurai

I just got back from a week in Japan, which was hella fun. I didn’t play any chess whatsoever but I had a million other things to keep me busy and entertained. I ate some really cool stuff (like Takoyaki or the infamous Fugu, which can literally kill you) and had a blast with some of the funky Japanese technology (I’m talking seriously high-tech bathrooms and stuff). I experienced first hand what it feels like to be squeezed to death like a sardine in the Tokyo subways, where it feels like there are about 100 people too many on each subway car. Here’s a nice little clip to illustrate what I mean.

Anyways, also saw some very cool temples and shrines, and this little fella.

I could go on but I think you get the idea… a blend of old and new, modern life mixed with ancient traditions, and so much history. One thing I have to say – the Japanese people are, as expected, outrageously friendly and welcoming. I will definitely go again.

Now back to regular chess craziness…


drunknknite said...

I didn't realize you were from the west until you used 'hella' in a sentence.

Sounds like you had a good time over there. Japan seems really cool.

I rode the Underground in London on New Year's Eve and it was insane, we had to wait a few trains to get on. Rush hour in Chicago was pretty bad too, but usually you can get on without too much problem.

Chess it up!

Anonymous said...

Fugu! That is one food I'll never eat (unless starving)--being one of the 25 or so people who die every year from eating it is not worth the risk! Did they make you sign a waiver or something before trying it?

There's a takoyaki place in Houston (the only one I've found in the States, not like I get around much). Good stuff.

Chessaholic said...

drunknknite: London's Underground can get pretty crazy too, been on it many times. Never experienced Chicago though.

lep: sweet, didn't know there were any takoyaki places in the US! hope I can find one somewhere close, cos that stuff definitely rocks. Fugu was not as spectacular as expected, but pretty good though. Didn't even have to sign a waiver... but we could choose our fish from the tank before eating it. It looked at me like "shit, if I gotta go, I'm gonna take this dude with me"

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an awesome trip. I'd like to make it to Japan someday.

I'm a fan of the game of Go as well, so I'd love to check out a Go parlor. It would be cool if they had a chess equivalent in the States.