December 14, 2012

Back 2 The Sky

If I were my father, I'd have an excel spreadsheet for my 89 goals. One column would contain each goal, another would list their location, the third for cost, and lastly, one for the completion date. And if I were my father, I'd turn that last data point into a graph to track the progress of completion with relation time. I believe that line has been on a steady decline over the last few weeks as I have lost sight of my goals and have instead been distracted with the joys of relaxing.

Well today that line perked up, as I completed two goals!

In the morning I took Kelly's laptop to the Genius Bar to be serviced. I had poked my head into the Shibuya store as well as the one in Sapporo, but this trip was my first real time spent in a Japanese Apple store. It was weird to see the same informational videos that we have in the US stores, in Japanese. It was also odd, though not surprising, that most of the Apple employees not only spoke English, but were white! I felt like I was on home soil. The Apple Store is my embassy.

My Japanese genius Kenny inquired if I spoke Japanese. I responded by producing a note that Kelly had written in Japanese, explaining the problems with her computer. I guess he took this as a "no" and responded in perfect English, with a trace of a West Coast accent.

"Are you from Tokyo?" I asked, knowing full well that no native born Japanese person is named Kenny.
"No, I actually am from Oregon."

Goal 45! He's from Beaverton and went to Sunset High. The world is a small place. I couldn't wait to become friends. Here's what's surprised me about my time with Kenny though:
He works at the Apple Store. He's an Apple Genius. He's from OREGON and now lives in Tokyo. We both speak English. And yet, he could not have been less personable. Perfectly nice, but he could not have been any less interested in the fact that sitting across from him in Shibuya, Japan was a guy his age who grew up 30 minutes from his small town. I guess I'm not the first Oregonian to wander into the Apple Store, but come on dude, show a little interest! Go Ducks? Voodoo donuts? Weird that there are more Subarus in Oregon than in their home country? Nothing. No response.

An update about the Frankenweenie Fashion Show:
These posters of the mysterious J-Pop star I met at the show have suddenly been plastered across Tokyo. Her name is Kaela Kimura, and if you'd like to be confused, check out this song

Also, here are some press photos from the event that do a great job of capturing the wackiness

I left the Apple Store and headed North to Skytree. Though I had been during my first week, Taylor and I had neglected to plan ahead and reserve tickets, so we were left only with a mall and some fantastic green tea ice cream. Learning my lesson, I arrived at the tower (which is the tallest in the world) early enough in the afternoon to avoid tickets selling out. I met up with Lizzy and the two of us ascended the tree:

You took the words right out of my mouth, plaque.
Waiting for the high-speed elevator
First views of Tokyo
An endless sprawl of buildings
As far as I could tell, "Tokyo Skytree Dream Christmas" was just a series of window decals
The Skytree shadow would make an excellent sundial.  
Just taking a nice photo when suddenly...
OH DEAR GOD(zilla)!
If they have this technology, why not make the entire floor out of glass?

I must say, going up in Skytree is a lot more fun than just staring at it from the bottom. We could make out Mt. Fuji in the distance, but what was more amazing than the views and the endless sprawl of Tokyo was realizing just how flat this place is! Granted from 2,000 feet up, most things look flat, but the only mountains were well outside Tokyo. It's also impossible not to imagine falling from the top of the tower, and after much consideration, I have determined that it would not be particularly fun. Especially the hitting the ground part. I am just now realizing that I passed up a perfectly good opportunity to reappropriate the word "Skyfall". 

From the tree, Lizzy and I took the train across the river and got off at Asakusa so she could show me Sensoji temple. I realized that in my 2+ months in Japan, I had yet to see a temple in Tokyo. Turns out they're a lot like the temples everywhere else. But unlike a lot of temples which have business hours, we were able to visit Sensoji at night, and that was particularly beautiful.

All great temples begin with a row of souvenir shops. 
My iPhoto library contains no less than 30 similar images
I like to imagine this guy has Mike Tyson's voice and says things like "Ain't nobody passin' through this gate without talking to me first"
Skytree in the distance
If elected president of Japan, my first order of business will be to change the temple symbol to something less offensive. A burning kitten perhaps? Or how about three sixes?
Before heading home I made a stop in Ginza thinking I was going to head to Super Deluxe to catch something funky. When I arrived though, I discovered that the show I was so eager to see was tomorrow night. I was disappointed I would not be able to attend, but even more so that today would not be a three-goal day. But I did remember that a certain 3 Michelin Star sushi chef works in the Ginza subway stop, so after a lot of searching, I finally found Jiro's restaurant!

I poked my head in and saw the man at work. And yes, he's just as cute in real life as he is on film
I have to come to terms with the fact that I will not be completing goal 20: embrace sushi and dine with Jiro. Firstly, I have yet to really embrace sushi. Yes I ventured a little into the world of tuna, but that's about as far as I can go. Secondly, a meal with the sushi king is $350, which is a really expensive stomachache. So unless something changes in the next 3 weeks and I suddenly discover that the sea is my friend and come across an extra $350, I think this is as close as I'll get to Jiro.

One of my goals, though not of the 89 variety, has been to not count down the days or spend too much time looking at a calendar. I promised to not take this time for granted and I believe one of the ways to do that is to live in the now and focus on my immediate surroundings. That said, I realized this evening that my time was winding down and that my dad would be here in just over a week. While there are plenty of goals I'm looking forward to accomplishing with him (robots, panties, KFC) I know that I must seriously crack down in this next week. I've populated my calendar with reminders and tentative dates to knock out goals, so if anyone has taken it upon themselves to make that excel spreadsheet, prepare to start filling in data points.

Also, may we stop to admire the parenthetical "robots, panties, KFC"?

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