Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Today I issue you all a challenge.

These are places that are supposed to be some of the greatest architectural, artistic, religious, and historical contributions of mankind, as well as the world's finest known natural wonders. Some of them are in your frigin backyard and I bet you never knew it. Hell, I had been to one twice on school field trips as a child, and just found out it was listed. Who knew!? This is along the lines of the dream list I made for myself with Pat Garrett and Lou Jobst (you guys are amazing) back in PSD at MSA 1997. Damn I am old. Use it to spur yourself to get off your lazy duffs and move around the big planet we live on. See the world!

I am writing this today because of some sad news I received yesterday. My nana has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She may have as little as 6 weeks to live, and has this precious time to accomplish anything she still wishes to, before she leaves us. She always told me that my wanderlust was like hers, and she urged me to travel and never regret. I know that by being here now, I am doing what she wants me to do, and she is proud of me. She wishes she had the chance to see more of the world when she was able. So, do it now, people! Don't put your life on hold till you think the timing might be right. Buy a ticket, hop a plane, a boat... GO!

Anyways... World Heritage Site List

Cambodia: Angkor

Czech Republic
Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague

France: Chartes Cathedral
France: Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay
France: Palace and Park of Versailles
France: Amiens Cathedral
France: Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
France: Cathedral of Notre-Dame
France: Paris, Banks of the Seine

Italy: Historic Centre of Rome
Italy: Vatican City
Italy: Historic Centre of Florence
Italy: Venice and its Lagoon
Italy: City of Verona

Japan: Himeji-jo
Japan: Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto
Japan: Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Morocco: Medina of Marrakesh
Morocco: Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddiou

Poland: Historic City Centre of Warsaw

Switzerland: Junfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn

United Kingdom
United Kingdom: Frontiers of the Roman Empire
United Kingdom: Westminster Palace, Abbey, and Saint Margaret's Church
United Kingdom: Tower of London
United Kingdom: Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
United Kingdom: Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City

United States of America
United States: Everglades National Park
United States: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

United States: Statue of Liberty

Woot! 29! Let's Challenge!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sento + Yuki = Wow

I know I am not the first to experience the wonder, but I had to jot it down anyways. Eri and I hit up the huge Takaoka sento (apparently part of the Supa Sento chain) after my Toide eikaiwa last night. It had all of the same baths as the one in Tonami, but was a little different in design.

Upon walking in, we passed a sign that refused admittance to tattooed heathens. Some sento and onsen have a no tattoo policy because of organized crime (yakuza) membership being displayed via tats. As we bought our tickets, I was specifically singled out and asked if I had a tattoo. I understand that my piercings might lead you to think I had more hiding under my coat, but seriously... I am gaijin. What is the point of keeping a gaijin with a tattoo, who is OBVIOUSLY not yakuza affiliated out of the sento? I said no and happily trotted inside.

The outdoor baths were great as usual, and was also a utatane, or nap space, where you submerge yourself in 42 degree (celsius) water and rest your head on a rock. Its true, I could have fallen asleep in there easily. I learned a song using old style Japanese counting about frogs jumping, and utilized my magical gaijin abilities. My particular superpower is nudey forcefield. Basically, whilst bathing, I have a magical barrier around myself, so any bath I approach is immediately evacuated by all Nihonjin. Eri is immune to my power. I think she built up a tolerance living in the UK.

The entire point of this post was to describe the snow. As we emerged from the utatane area, we noticed it was snowing. We ran to the open-air section of the bath and sat in individual tubs while the snow fell on us. Oh! Beautiful!

Other important news. My san-nensei graduated yesterday. Many of the girls were teary, and the boys actually threw each other in the air a few times. Awww... high school. I will miss you little bastards. And you good kids too!