Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sit on a fish.

Go ahead, why not. Sit on a fish.

It snowed last night. It is melting on the roof this morning, 6am.

Whatever they put in the food at Minar Palace sure makes you sleepy! Don't know if it's the salt or some special, soporific ingredient, but it happens every time.

Awake at this early hour, it seems there is too much going on in this world, from the insanity and ongoing suffering of war, to attention-deficit, content-poor, manipulated entertainment news, to ethically uncertain, seemingly inexorable technological advance, to morally bankrupt leaders...where are we going?

On the other hand, there is micro-lending to help families gain economic independence, the opportunity to good in your local community, of investing in renewable energy, playing music, and taking a deep breath to slow down to a speed that allows one to digest, reflect, and make wise decisions about how to proceed in your little corner to be one of the butterflies effecting positive change down the line.

The tea set came in from Japan yesterday. I sent it, along with a few other things, including a pair of sandals that made my carry-on too fat, from Japan before leaving. Time to practice tea ceremony!

But first, those sound effects...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Back to music-making.

Reverberations of recent travels still bouncing around my head, and back to group music-making at the meetup this past Saturday. (photo by Rahul Sen, who plays a mean guitar)

This image is from the first part of the evening, where everyone looks at lyrics and chords on the big screen while someone leads the group through the song they chose. The second half of the evening is devoted to open mic, two songs per person. I chose "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Rolling Stones) and "Dreams Tonight" (original).

Fun to play bass again, skimming around chords, messing up sometimes with little runs, but enjoying being a distinct voice amongst all the guitars.  ; )

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


"Subir"! "Suffer" the effects of...this hotel. The French around here is kinda strange.
Breizh Café, Tokyo style! After St. Malo and Paris, this makes my third Breizh Café pit stop. No Frenchies there that day, but one of the waitresses was fluent in French. It was a very good time with my mother and her high school friend.
I was told that the japanese-style crepes, rolled up like sushi, weren't popular - everyone wants the "real thing", japanese or no.
Dessert crêpe with ginger sugar, in honor of Ken-chan's preferred parfum in St. Malo.
It was fun to enjoy something familiar, being "back in France" for a moment.
All the french signage there was correct!
From the outside.

The street leading up to Breizh Café Tokyo.
A message from the wealthy hipsters in Omotesando District.
Tokyo Champs Elysee outdoes its model in terms of sheer consumer fantasm.
Blaring semi's spouting advertising, touring the strip.
Tori gate at Meiji Shrine.
I washed my hands here at the bamboo & stone fountain, then clapped them in front of the shrine a little later after saying a prayer.

Old roof, new roof - copper before it goes green, on the right.

Copper reflections from the roof.
Please behave yourself in the subway...or she will make you behave. idea.
Yes, "all make sense". Difficult to argue with this logic, neh?
 More creative French-like word combinations.
...and not to leave out the Engrish.
Arrows, unite! At the Station Store!
Don't be like this guy in the subway. Notice the blond hair - haoles oney rude, yeah?
The famous "Metro Patio".
Poster from the Tokyo Metropolitain Theatre, just next to the subway café.

A long journey draws to a close. Every day was full, even the one rest day in Tokyo at the beginning.

Too much to type here now, but the reverberations will last, that is for sure. And I'll be back.

Crows at Meji Shrine, II. from Christopher Magee on Vimeo.

Leaves in the gutter, Meiji Shrine. from Christopher Magee on Vimeo.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tokyo one more time.

Rolled back into Tokyo for a day-and-a-half more of Japan before returning to Philadelphia.

We walked through the Meiji Temple park, a large, wooded area peopled with...people, and towering trees on very broad pedestrian streets that lead to one of Tokyo's finest temples.

The quiet and sober mood contrast strangely with the neighboring Omotesando shopping street, a glitzy mecca of consumerism gone wild.
Lots and lots of sake barrels.
Natural finish to the tori gate guarding the temple.

Meiji Temple, a good place for college students to go on dates or just wander the grounds.
Still fall colors at the beginning of December. Today, like yesterday and the day before, unseasonably warm, at around 61 degrees fahrenheit.
 Proof of presence.
Traditional-style streetlamp.
Train station (eki) between Meiji Temple and Omotesando.
Omotesando district, designer shops, kids with money, a cat café, blaring semi's blasting upcoming concerts up and down the street, and oh, so much more.
More Engrish for to appreciate.
Wandered inside this shopping mall (in the shopping street) for a glass of wine and a glass of cider. My mother talked to the bartender, who described how lots of bars have closed up in recent years due to former crowds of drunken salarymen being replaced by trendy, youngsters who don't drink, just buy clothes and snacks.

More strange French-a-nese.
 This is French-a-nese combined with a Hawaiian theme.
"To leave: cosmetic & beauty". Getting ready for the trip?
Gold's Gym is everywhere - Paris, and here, too.
"Today" accessories, before the boom. Whuh?
So there are cat cafés here, where you pay to go in an gently touch a harem of what looked to be sedated kitties, blasé as the girl at the cash register who explains the rules.

Not surprising from the country that came up with tamagotchi. Folks need more "skin-ship", it seems, that they maybe don't get from each other.

Down below, last photo (for some reason the cursor won't let me place it next to the image). Cousin I haven't seen for 44 years or so. I broke his Godzilla model the only other time we met. So sorry! He is still enthusiastic about the monster, and talked a bit about the latest film. A good man and his very nice wife.

Only one more full day here before skipping out fairly early in the morning to head back across the globe. This long journey comes to a conclusion.
Crows at the Meiji Temple, Tokyo. from Christopher Magee on Vimeo.