Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

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The Great Tajmahal is actually behind me.

It’s a small-ish looking restaurant that obviously serves Indian food. The wife has heard that it’s good. We haven’t eat there yet because whenever we have the rare date night or we want to go out to eat in general, we typically don’t think of Indian food.

We live in Japan. We either think of ‘Japanese Cuisine’ or we think of eating food that reminds us of home.

Point of fact? The last time that I remember getting Indian with the missus (ETA: We have gotten Indian since this was written. It just wasn’t TGT. Sorry about that TGT!), we were still living in Cleveland. At any rate, I call this picture my “looks like home” picture.

Aside from me being a cheeky shit regarding the strategic positioning of signage, and if you totally disregard my mention of Japan and the location I included, this photo looks like it could’ve been taken anywhere.

Personally, I’d say that this easily looks like Brooklyn, Ohio. What about you?

Blue Skies.

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Looks nice, doesn’t it? For the most part, this is what lower, central Japan,  looks like during the winter.

This photo was take during the first week of February. Hence the dead-ass trees in the background. Another clue that it’s winter, is that the soil is being worked, and no other growth.

Fun fact? this is right across the street from one of the school my children attend.

Want to know a fact that’s even more fun than that? It’s a little known fact about the environment of our current geographic location.

Japan, during the winter time, gets really damn windy. Like, mime walking against the wind (only you’re the mime, and the wind is real, not imaginary), windy. On windy days like that, do you think all of that nice, flat dirt stays put?

Fuck. No.

My entire neighborhood gets blanketed in a gentle brown courtesy of the ensuing Grapes of Wrath-style dust storm. That blue sky fades into that muddy color you used to get in art class when you thought it would be a great idea to mix all of the paints together. Children walking home from school resemble Bedouins by the time that they reach their domicile. Dogs and cats start sleeping together! MASS HYSTERIA!

The lesson? Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it won’t try to kill you.

One is the Loneliest Number.

Once upon a time, in 2016, I was exploring the Tama River Trail via bicycle.

The Tama River Trail is a 30 mile stretch of asphalt path. It connects a good chunk of “Outer-rim” Tokyo with the rest of Japan. It also has numerous paths to the river and neighborhood parks connected throughout.

Ostensibly, it’s a major pedestrian highway.

It was phenomal bike riding weather that day. Cloudless sky, warm enough to make you sweat but not hot to the point of regret, it was the kind of day that made you feel like you could ride forever.

The photo below was taken on the way back home. I had learned about 60 minutes prior to taking it, that the trail was 30 miles long. I responded to that new knowledge by promptly giving that shit the finger and heading home.

In the photo, on the left and in between the two pedestrian signs, is a black oval.

That is a little old woman. I saw her on the way out. I smiled at her, and she smiled back. And at the time, I thought that that was the end of it.

After I took the photo, I saw that she was still there. As I rolled by, without an ounce of thought, I turned towards her, smiled again, and waved.

She returned the salutation, happy (in my mind) that someone saw her and acknowledge her. 

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Leaving on a Jet Plane?

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am, for lack of a better title, an “air force wife”.

I stay at home. I take care of the kids, the homestead, and my wife (when she needs it). My wife puts on the uniform and brings home ‘the bacon.’ Hence how we ended up in Japan.

If there is one chunk of esoteric Japan trivia I’d like to share with you, it’s that the Japanese are somewhat fanatical when it comes to photography.

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Take these gentlemen as an example.

There’s a certain phenomenon here. Every time a new plane stops here, these ‘professional’ photographers reenact the scene in World War Z when the zombies swarm that one wall.

LOOK AT THEM! WITH THEIR PHALLIC LENSES AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR GRAVITY!

Maybe they’re freelance photogs? Maybe this is some sort of kinkThe only thing that I know for sure is that I am constantly amused at the length they will go to in order to get their shot.