15
Jan 10

回来了

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终于在成田机场见到了冯正虎。他坐在人来人往的临时签证办理点旁边,不太起眼。聊了两句,向他致以了崇高的敬意。他说他要继续呆下去,说改变需要时间。有点感动。

25
Dec 09

在东京 (Letters to Niwako)

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Day -1: 横滨

I’m done with the talk! I’m free now. Actually the conference is not bad with an amazing visual art exhibition, an animation festival, and lots of galleries. Pretty fun to watch. And it finally makes me feel I’m doing something pleasant (to the eye at least).

So I decided to treat myself after tonight’s animation festival and went to a family restaurant. I ordered this fancy ice-cream (kind of Japanese style with sweet red beans, the 芦荟 stuff and the sticky rice stuff. It costs me 500 yen, but yummy.

I’m heading to Sugamo tomorrow afternoon. Still don’t have a detailed plan of what to do yet. Figured I’ll just walk around Sugamo and do some trip planning tomorrow.

Hope you are done with your stuff too. Looks like CU is still freaking cold 🙂

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Day 1: 浅草・上野・皇居・巢鸭

After a very rushed planning (or no planning) I was out on my way checking out THE TOKYO CITY today. I started from 淺草, and continued to Ueno Park and National Tokyo Museum. Then a walk in the gardens of Imperial Palace. By 4:30pm I was back in that 地藏通商店街 just outside of my hotel, hunting for good dessert and food.

All places are cool. Well Ueno Park seems to be a bit surprise to me. It is actually more depressing than I imagined with homeless people wandering around and a huge gathering of old old people (don’t know what they were doing, looks like a religious gatherings or free food giveaway?). 淺草寺 is very fun to visit. A lot of interesting stuff to see. And the palace is unexpectedly quiet. I never thought there will be such quiet places in Tokyo. Then I wanted to go shopping in Akihabara, but found my legs were sore already, so I hopped on a train back to Sugamo.

You know what, so far my favorite place has been the 地藏通 shopping street in Sugamo! it’s hilarious with so many old ppl. And they even have a couple stores that specialize in red underwears! That is so funny. The temple was visited by so many ppl and looks cool with a wall of lanterns. I had my dinner in a random restaurant on the street, and ended up having a random dish ’cause the only kanji in the menu is “北海道” and “定食”. So I figured it might be a fish bento. Waitress don’t speak a word of English. The dish turned out to be pretty good. It was something like the “pork stuff” except pork is replaced by the fish. Was a nice experience eating in a real Japanese restaurant for Japanese ppl. (I expected it to be cheaper ’cause it’s in Sugamo, but unfortunately not. It still costs me around 700 yen). After that I bought some dessert from random vendors, including those 紫芋 stuff and 盐大福. I even bought some strawberries and 柿 considering I didn’t have real fruit for a couple of days.

Anyway it was just a chillin’ day with sightseeing and wandering around. Tomorrow I plan to throw myself in Harajuku and Shibuya for shopping and sightseeing and probably a couple museums in Harajuku area. If I’m still able to walk by the end of the day I’ll just have a look in those areas at night. After tomorrow I’ll hit Shinjuku for a whole day’s shopping. If that still doesn’t kill me I’ll maybe go to Akihabara for my last afternoon in Tokyo (I’m leaving evening 22nd).

Great experience. And end of my report, day 1. 🙂

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Day 2: 涩谷・原宿・东京塔

So 2nd day was not as fruitful. I went to Harajuku and Shibuya in the hope of seeing teenage gangs in weird costumes. But I was out of luck. I went to the Meiji Shrine nearby, visited a 浮世绘 museum where you had to take off your shoes, some indie record stores, and had a walk in 竹下通. Harajuku was oh so crowded. Being a Chinese I thought I was immune to crazily crowded places, but this time I was still surprised. I have never have seen so many people on a normal sunday afternoon.

Then I went to Shibuya for some random shopping. And it turns out things sold at those dept stores are either crazy in price or crazy in style. I guess I’m too old for Shibuya (BTW I did see a few girls with overly done eyelashes/liners and jawdropping outfits in Shibuya). I just bought a scarf in Muji.

At night I thought I should go out see Tokyo at night (that’s what the city is famous for, isn’t it). So I hopped on the loop train and got off at the station close to Tokyo tower. Turns out it was not as spectacular as I’d expected. So I rambled for a while and went back.

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Day 3: 新宿

The third day was fun again. I went to Shinjuku solely for shopping. And I ended up carrying three huge bags back to the tiny little apartment I was staying at. It was way over my budget, but I think it was worth it (See, how happy a person can be when he completely emerges himself into consumerism). Also got theskincare stuff to satisfy my mom.

Shinjuku looks amazing at night. It’s been a while since the last time I saw neon light flash like crazy. Was nice back in a real city again.

As a side note, today I did find someone that speaks understandable English. It was the Shiseido rep at a pharmacy. She even described to me what the skincare stuff is like and how popular it is in English. Interesting. But today’s English speaking award goes to a waitress in a random restaurant. She asked me “eat in or take out” and then “here is the menu in English” with very little Asian accent! Just as I secretively wowed, she started to talk to her fellow waitress in Chinese…. So she must be a college student doing her part time job I guess. And college students should at least speak some English. And most ppl I interacted with are waitress, front desk staff, random highschool girls and cashiers. And most likely they are not college educated. Does my theory make sense?

Alright, time to pack up (again). Got to get up early tomorrow. The checkout time is at 10am (ahh…). The hotel is nice and cozy, I like it (well except for the early checkout time). Did I mention I’m lovin’ Sugamo too?

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Day 4: 上野・巢鸭

I was wondering where to go. And out of the blue I was taking a stroll in Ueno Zoo. Surprise surprise. 🙂 It was fun! I haven’t been to a zoo for like 20 years. It brought me sweet sweet memories. I love the unexpected ending to my trip in Japan.

Then I went back to Sugamo to pick up my luggage. I had one last visit to that 地藏通 shopping street. I saw smiling buddhas, burning incense, travelling monks, and so many grandmas pass by. All of a sudden nostalgia was in the air. I thought of all the young girls with heavy makeups talking and laughing in Shibuya. One day they’ll end up in 地藏通 saying their prayers to Buddha, shopping for a lucky red underwear. It’s only time.

09
Nov 09

还是要回香槟

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芝加哥待了几天,住在城乡结合部的旅馆里,三十块一晚,楼上楼下电灯电话,还带厨房,偶有怪味也就顾不上了。步行二十分钟去超市,牛奶面包,早上爬起来自己烤吐司。

日本领事馆寂寞得可以长出草来,加保安总共三人。我前面是一罗马尼亚大姐,三十秒走人。签证官还不是日本人,飞快地核对完我的 I-20 和护照号码,抬头说二十九块钱,明天两点领签证。三十秒走人。从来没那么快过,心里病态地高兴起来。多希望美国签证也是三十秒啊。多希望天朝的护照也是三个月免签啊。还没希望完就下了电梯,窗外一座巨大的购物中心,左边是 state 街,右边是北密大道,一推门就卷入资本主义的消费洪流。

原先计划的心灵美之旅自动报废,尽管附近就是现代艺术博物馆。天黑得早,随便找个花哨的餐馆钻进去,大鱼大肉吃到饱。乘车北上,重回被亚非拉人民占领了的城乡结合部,倒头便睡。早上醒来的时候面对窗外无边的停车场竟然不知身在何处,耳机里还在唱,人群中/我们边梦边走/我们是谁/我们是谁

接下来继续东奔西走,兜里揣着多了张新签证的护照逛二手书店和唱片店,晚上看看演出喝喝酒,自在到不可思议。只是如此生活的最后一个场景永远是在车站的无聊等待。这个结局令我无处躲藏。车站面对着联合公园漆黑的草坪和远处微明的城市轮廓,我想到旅馆里有两片吐司没吃完。行李还等着收拾。还有拖了几个月的无从下手的正经事。在空荡的车站我感到了巨大的虚无和厌倦袭来。在地铁上半梦半醒,瞥一眼黑乎乎的窗外,却看到自己一脸困倦的影子。车厢里的流浪汉和酒鬼都睡熟了,我和他们都暂忘了自己积重难返的生活,随着地铁呼啸前进。

30
Oct 09

还是要去芝加哥

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签证的材料基本就绪。今天自拍了大头照,要来了学籍证明。甚至一鼓作气订了去芝加哥签证的旅馆。没有实行在车站附近打电话找旅馆的原定计划,而是跑上竞拍网站找了机场区的旅馆。不贵三天还是要一百,交通一如既往不方便。拍完了想想不如去联合车站附近那个传说中妓女和蟑螂出没的新杰克逊旅店试试运气呢。竞拍真的是魔鬼。

既然木已成舟,下周还是按原计划芝加哥游荡四天。签证,看 Damon & Naomi 和 Black Heart Procession 的演出,逛百货公司,也许还有博物馆。流感的危险也就随它去了。真正让我心虚的其实不是流感,而是这周应该努力可目前仍然一事无成。心虚啊。走路都心虚。

04
Oct 08

茶的味道

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今年亚洲影展的主题是”young in Japan”,展映一些日本年轻导演的作品。我跟申请研院正酣的小史去看了开幕电影,茶的味道。电影院和东亚语言系的那帮人还是挺认真,特意请来日本驻芝加哥领事馆的领事做了开幕致辞。领事用抑扬顿挫的日本英语说,电影是认识一个国家的一扇大门,推开它,我们可以看到人们的喜怒哀乐。

《茶的味道》是非常不错的一部电影,它幽默、轻松、温暖,有些小魔幻,最后还异常感人。我和小史看得乐不思蜀。回来的路上我们热烈地讨论着电影里有意思的细节。事后在办公室查了电影的一些背景,发现扮演父亲的那个发胖的中年男子竟然是——三浦友和。发胖的变老的三浦友和……岁月啊岁月啊,我和只有二十出头的小史又不停地感叹起来。



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…the storm is finally over, the sky wild and exhausted. We went up to the observatory and the gods were with us. They gave us the most beautiful rainbow i've ever seen. I closed my eyes and cried.