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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Neil says bye

Neil says bye
Neil Russo, bon vivant, raconteur and graphic designer extraordinaré left us yesterday, to return to the wilds of Brooklyn. But, man, what a gas we had while he was here. We love it when we get visitors (hint, hint), it gives us the opportunity to be a tourist in our own town and to do all the stuff we've been meaning to.

Neil and Julie
We met up with Neil in Tokyo, after we returned from NYC. He was accompanied by the friendly and fabulous Julie.

Sono and Ryujin
Sono and Ryujin kindly led us all on a "loser/otaku" tour of Ueno and Akihabara (where until viewing this photo I was unaware of the new friend we had made...).

Kanda Matsuri
We also lucked out in that the Kanda matsuri was happening on the day we strolled through.

Cos Cha
Winded from the good times, we stopped for some tea and cosplay at
CosCha where we had overpriced drinks served by young women wearing French maid costumes along with cat ears (and tails, even!). Sorry no photos allowed, but click on the link above to get a good idea of the place.

Neil meets caves
We met up again in Takayama after Julie had to return (unfortunately) to NYC. We took in the local sights including the extensive cave complex at Hida Dai Shonyudo, had a soak in an onsen and checked out the bugs at the Insect Museum.

It's an extensive collection and I plan on going back. There are mounted on the walls, displays of striking geometric pattern made from thousands of iridescent beetles, which are really cool... until you realize that basically you're staring at armies of what are, essentially, shiny cockroaches, at which point it all gets a little skeevy.

We also took in some hankyudo, which is a form of Japanese archery. It's located in Takayama's entertainment/bar district, the wonderfully, ironically named Asahi machi, which basically means "Morning Town". Can I just point out how cool it is that in the middle of an inebriation zone, people are trusted (encouraged actually) to arm themselves with possibly lethal weapons and shoot at little straw targets. This sort of thing would never fly back in Brooklyn.

It's referred to as hankyudo because the range is only half, or han, the normal kyudo range distance. It's about 3 meters (or 15 feet) to the targets, and still I could only manage to hit maybe 2 out of every 10 arrows. But in my own defense, we had been drinking... excessively.

But now it's back to the grind, gotta make the donuts. So thanks for the visit Neil and to all our friends who haven't made the trip yet... see what you've been missing ^__^