30 August 2006


thanks for the link, dave. my favorite is milk bath finger. he just looks so peaceful and content.


plug in and set sail.

29 August 2006

rock on.

custom made rocking chair made originally made for a pregnant woman. pretty cool looking, i'd like one please.

28 August 2006

nice hat.

creative hairstyling at it's best.

26 August 2006

some peektures...for now.

i tried narrowing down the 900 or so pictures that my dad and i took. i thought about breaking them down into categories, like food shots, night shots, family shots, train shots, etc. but that would take a long time and i don't have the patience at the present moment to sort and categorize. anyway, i don't really know if i picked the best of the best, but i think the following selection will do for now. it will at least act as a small visual aid to the written blogs i posted during the trip. for those of you who didn't read about the trip, you'll find them somewhere down below or in the archives...and shame on you for not checking the blog on a daily basis.

waiting for a train in ogikubo.

me and my hero.

trent sandwiched on the train. love the expressions.

this came out blurry. but i like it.

peeking in between the slats, the cooks at honmura-an.

mom grating fresh wasabi.

looking out from the starbucks in shibuya. the exterior was featured in lost in translation.

a cool little toy that comes on top of a soda bottle.

japanese toy doll/figure aka soft core porn.

my, what a nice...mask. love the reflection on the right.

train station conductor dude. the outfits rock.

i'm not bold enough to eat fish eggs, but the colors are amazing.

did this actually happen? karaoke in a private room. a lost in translation moment fulfilled.

a red star for cool.

overflowing sake.

akasaka at night.

this guy rules. he looks like some sort of japanese superhero.

a common sight. japanese girl on her decked out cell phone.

togo shrine in harajuku.

mom waiting for gifts to be wrapped in shinjuku.

dad peeking behind an isetan bag.

presentation is everything. so beautiful.

me at dinner in shibuya.

shoko at dinner, the night before leaving for india.

trent's 40th birthday dinner.

lunch in shinjuku, at the top of a large department store.

a cool looking window display in ginza.

buddhist monk asking for donations in ginza.

the prada building in aoyama. probably the coolest building i've ever seen.

on the bus going to the train station.

me and shoko on the street with my little light up toy.

dinner at kamazen, a neighborhood favorite.

25 August 2006

now playing...

create your own tickets HERE.

my latest obsession?

these are part of shin tanaka's paper toy series. and hopefully a part of my collection soon...

24 August 2006

the journey home.

random snapshots from the trip home:

- 7-11's in japan are amazing. they are clean, the people are super friendly and they have really good food. you can also do a lot of other things like send faxes, make copies, ship packages, buy cell phones, buy ipods...it's very cool. and the rice balls my mom got for the bus ride to the airport were fantastic.

- the newest copy of rolling stone was sitting on the table at home and i was reading it just before leaving for the airport. i skimmed through it and read some random articles, one of which was about this new artist named cassie. apparently she was just signed to p diddy's label and has a popular single out right now. anyway, when we got to the airport, we were checking in and right next to me were a group of 5 or so people that you could just tell were players in the music business. one guy had a video camera and was documenting and the others were busy getting their luggage together. the girl next to me turned around and i immediately recognized her face. it was cassie from the rolling stone article i had just read an hour earlier. how did i know for sure that it was her? well, the big hoop earrings with the name "cassie" spelled out were pretty much a dead giveaway. pretty random sighting, pretty crazy encounter given the circumstances...

- enjoyed a nice 10 minute massage at the airport for 200 yen. they have these big leather massage chairs set up all around and trent gave one a try. after seeing him do it, i decided to give it a shot. i figured it might be nice to loosen up before the 10 hour flight home. it was pretty intense, lots of buttons to push, but i enjoyed it.

- lots of shopping options at the airport. restrained myself for the most part but did pick up a few things here and there. i guess the shopping just never stops...

- despite being cold for most of the 10 hours home, the flight was good. slept for a few hours, watched akeelah and the bee (skipped ice age, the shaggy dog and a beautiful mind)...speaking of which, didn't a beautiful mind come out like 10 years ago? i know, it wasn't that long, but aren't the movies on planes supposed to be somewhat recent?

- cleared immigration and customs without a problem and the bags came out quickly thanks to the attached little "priority" tags. love those things.

- home now, glad and sad. thankful for a wonderful trip, hopeful for another in the near future...

- one last thing: jetlag rules.


23 August 2006

the last day.

the last day of a trip is always hard. you want to try and make the most of it and enjoy it like it's the first day. but, in the back of your mind, you're always thinking about the next day and the long trip home. we managed, however, to stay very busy and pack our day with plenty of walking and shopping. what else is new...

me, trent, and my dad went back to harajuku (my 4th trip) to go to a couple of stores we wanted to visit again. my mom stayed behind and took care of some things at the house and then i guess she went off shopping herself. she's been amazing as always, acting as our guide and leader, taking us to the best restaurants, giving us the best advice, etc. it makes coming to japan so much fun because she makes it easy... so, after harajuku, we walked down (or up, who knows?) to shibuya and wandered slightly aimlessly. it's amazing how you can turn down any little (or big) street and wind up finding the coolest stores or buildings or restaurants. there's something interesting around every corner...that's one of the best things about exploring tokyo; so many surprises and hidden jewels.

after harajuku and shibuya, we headed back home, but not before picking up an ice bagel...what's an ice bagel you ask? it's the latest craze here, a flavored bagel (chocolate, blueberry, orange, rum raisin, vanilla) with ice cream in the middle. i have to be honest though -- i wasn't all that impressed. my dad, who was super excited by the whole ice bagel phenomenon, was bitterly disappointed. maybe we just got the wrong flavor...oh well, it was worth a shot.

we visited my grandparents in the afternoon and then came back home for a little rest and relaxation before dinner. after watching some good japanese tv (one of the best parts about coming here, by the way, is watching the shows and commercials) we took a taxi to dinner to one of the more famous udon/soba restaurants in all of japan. it was delicious and a nice way to close out the trip (a good meal tends to make everyone happy and i think we all left with smiles on our faces). we walked from the restaurant to the nearby train station and from there we took a taxi back home. (walking around tokyo at night is pretty spectacular, it's so worth experiencing)...

i've really only blogged about the broader parts of the trip thus far, i wish i could get more specific and in detail about things, but it would take me forever and i'm also way too tired. this trip has been amazing, but exhausting. the walking and the heat saps your energy and when you come home at night, you're just wiped out. i hope that some of my pictures will better describe the things we did/saw. it makes me sad that we're leaving, more so because it's not very often that i get to see my grandparents and they're responsible for so much in my life. it's also hard to leave because there's always one more thing you want to do or see and there's never enough time. i guess it's a good reason to keep coming back...

time for bed, the long journey home awaits. sayonara from tokyo, talk to you from the states in due time...

22 August 2006

day 6.

woke up this morning to the sound of my mom yelling my name. "max! shoko's on the phone!" i haven't jumped out of bed so quickly in a looong time. i ran downstairs and picked up the phone and listened to my sister tell me about her first day in india. what a relief to hear that she had made it safe and sound and that everyone was really nice so far. apparently she is living in a home with 10 other people and they have servants who make them anything they want to eat. shoko is the only american, the others are english, danish and german. they are all going on some sort of trip on the weekend and she sounded pretty excited about it. she was also excited about working at the music magazine, rave. she has to take a rickshaw to work every day and she may get to interview some really cool american/british artists...i'm sure the stories to come will be fantasticly fantastic...

after the phone call, i had a quick bite of frosties (the japanese equivalent to frosted flakes) and got ready to go back to harajuku to take care of some shopping needs. i took the bus to the train station and then hopped on a train to shinjuku. from there i had to transfer onto another train bound for harajuku. i walked around and surprised myself by how much i knew my way around. i got a lot done in a couple of hours and then headed back home. on my way back, i got on a train that i thought was supposed to stop at ogikubo (my home station) but the train kept going and going. i didn't really freak out, but i knew that something was wrong. when the train finally stopped at a station, i got out and had no idea where i was. i had to ask how to get back to ogikubo and when the guy finally understood, he pointed me in the right direction. so i got on another train and eventually made it home. ah, the joys of traveling in a foreign land all by yourself. i never have these problems when my mom is with me, that's for sure.

we had dinner with my aunt and uncle and cousin here at home tonight. we had sushi delivered. it's crazy because delivery sushi is the real deal here. it's really good and they bring it in these beautiful laquered trays and the spread is amazing. i took pictures of course. in fact, aside from our first night's dinner when it was pouring rain (i didn't want to take the camera with me), i've taken pictures of most all our dinner meals. looking back, i wish i had taken pictures of our lunch meals as well. oh well, next time...

tomorrow is our last full day here (makes me sad) and i have to figure out what to do. we're seeing my grandparents in the afternoon so i have the morning to get whatever i need to get done. it's crazy how fast it's all gone by. my dad and trent feel like they've been here a month (in a good way), but i feel like we just got here. anyway, tomorrow will be busy i'm sure...

one final thought: it's amazing how much detail is put into packaging things here. when you buy something from a store, they take great pride in wrapping your item, putting it into a nice bag, and then taping the bag together. it's all rather beautiful, from the paper to the tape. each store seems to have their own style/touch/flair. it makes shopping here so much fun because you always come home with the coolest bags with items packaged with so much care...


21 August 2006

day 5.

...spent most of the morning watching the high school baseball championship game. high school baseball in japan is even bigger than pro baseball. it's crazy. and the 2 teams playing in the championship actually tied yesterday through 15 innings. in japan, if you are tied after 15 innings, you play another game the next day. so, today, it was basically championship game #2. pretty crazy stuff. and to make it even crazier, the pitchers who pitched ALL 15 innings were pitching again today. i was waiting for their arms to literally fall off. it was really fun to watch and a team from tokyo ended up winning it all. it will be far and away the biggest news story for the next couple of days...

later in the afternoon we headed out to shibuya. i think i've decided that shibuya is my favorite part of tokyo. just so many cool streets and alleys and stores and people. after exploring and doing some shopping, we went to dinner in akasaka with my mom's old friend. it was good food as always, sashimi, grilled rice balls, miso marinated black cod...yum. after dinner, we headed to roppongi, a hip-happening part of tokyo (though a bit seedy and weird). we went to some crazy oldies bar where a japanese band sang american oldies. it was actually extremely amusing and fun. they made trent go up on stage and they sang him happy birthday. it was pretty priceless. after that, we went to some bar (this was all planned by chie, my mom's friend, so we just went along and followed her) and after that we went to a karaoke place where i got the pleasure of seeing my parents actually sing karaoke. crazy. i so wish shoko was there with me to see it firsthand...i have some of it on video, so look for it on youtube in the near future...

all in all, it was a very interesting day. i had never really seen tokyo late night, especially in roppongi and it was neat to see a different side. roppongi is quite americanized, lots of foreigners roaming the streets...

one last thing: i really never thought i'd go to a karaoke bar (a la lost in translation) and watch my parents sing. i don't think they even knew what came over them. but, when you're in a foreign land, with good friends and family...you just go for it i guess. one word: awesome.

sleep time. goodnight.

20 August 2006

day 4.

shoko left early this morning for india. just got an e-mail from her actually, she's safe and sound in singapore awaiting her flight to bangalore. by the time we wake up in the morning, she'll be in india. crazy. it made me sad to see her go, goodbyes are always hard. it's going to be a bit lonely without her here in japan and the room we share upstairs will be quiet now. but i have to keep reminding myself that she is going to have an amazing experience. anyway, i watched her leave in the taxi with my parents, on their way to the tokyo hilton to board the bus for the 2 hour ride into the airport. it kind of sucks that the aiport is so far away. my parents helped her check in, walked her to security, said goodbye and then made the 2 hour trek back. i met them in shinjuku and we walked around for a bit at this department store called isetan. i have fond memories of going to isetan as a kid with my grandmother. so it's always nice to go there. after having a quick snack (i had miniature french toast... everything here is miniature by the way), my mom and i went to harajuku again and my dad went back home to rest. my mom and i went to this t-shirt store that i had wanted to go to and then we walked up and down and through little side streets and explored. it was fun. we also visited a shrine, said a few prayers and bought some good luck charms...

the weather was better today, not as hot because the sun was hidden under the clouds for most of the day. hopefully it stays that way for the next few days...

just finished dinner that we picked up from the market. the markets here by the way, are crazy. there's so much food, it's insane. anything and everything you could want and more. it's food heaven. anyway, we picked up a bunch of stuff, brought it home and ate it. it's nice to be home and sitting down. i think we're all rather exhausted. and tomorrow will be another full day...i've been taking pictures so once i get back, i'll post some of them.

gonna go eat my banana/chocolate crepe now...mmmmmm...

go watch lost in translation or shall we dance (the original) and get inspired to come to japan! it's worth it...this blog doesn't do it justice...

til tomorrow...

19 August 2006

the real day 3.

so today was the actual day 3 of the trip. the day 3 entry below is actually day 2 and day 1 i managed to skip and for the life of me i can't remember what it was we did that day. oh wait, it's coming to me now: shopping, eating, sweating. sounds about right. well, today it was pretty much the same story. lots of walking, this time through shinjuku. we stopped at the toto store (the master makers of toilets, bathtubs and kitchens...though they're famous for their toilets). it was pretty cool to see some amazing looking toilets, state of the art, with sensors that activate the seats and river noises to cover up any embarassing sounds. if i'm ever rich enough, i might spring for the $3000 toilet.

i picked up a japan league soccer jersey at a great soccer shop and i also got some rad pens from a place called tokyu hands. tokyu hands is 7 levels of everything you can imagine. it's fun -- and exhausting. after the shopping, we headed home to regroup and rest for a bit. then it was off to visit my grandparents. and then off to dinner in shibuya. i normally always carry a powerbar with me but i didn't tonight and i almost paid for it. we were on the train going to dinner and i suddenly felt like i was going to faint and i started sweating and my hands started to shake. i think it was a combination of the heat and humidity and low blood sugar. whatever the case, it wasn't a good feeling. i was panicking and imagining myself on the floor of the train passed out. but i made it to our destination, grabbed a snack at a random kiosk and slowly began to feel better. anyway, that was fun. dinner ended up being great, gorgeous looking dishes, tons of food...a great way to celebrate our good friend trent's 40th birthday!

before i sign off and go to bed, let me just say this: humidity sucks. ok, i feel better. shoko is off to india tomorrow for a month. i have to go upstairs and say goodnight to her. she hasn't been nervous but i think she's feeling some butterflies (naturally) now that the reality of the trip is upon her -- but i think i'm probably more nervous than she is. i'm excited for her, but definitely nervous to see my little sister travel to a far off land by herself. it will be amazing though and an incredible experience. what a lucky girl...

ok, that's it.
sayonara, for now.

18 August 2006

day 3.

i'm almost too tired to type, but i'll summon the energy somehow.
today was a full day, lots of walking, shopping and walking some more.
we started out with a trip to harajuku, known for crazy teen fashion and the gwen stefani girls. we walked and shopped and people watched. and i managed to pick up a cool pair of chuck taylor's (yet another pair to add to the ever growing collection). these ones were different though and i assured myself that i could only get them here. so i sprung for `em. after shopping in the dizzying heat, we stopped off for some lunch and resting of the legs. despite the black pepper on my sandwich (who puts pepper on a blt?), the food was good and the cranberry juice ice cold and refreshing.
after lunch, we went on a mini mission to find the bape store. i'm too tired to explain what bape is, you'll just have to google it. we found the store, although it was only ladies stuff. so we walked some more until we were in aoyama, an upscale part of tokyo filled with expensive stores and cool buildings. tucked in a small street we found another bape store. i really only wanted to go to see the architecture and design -- the stuff they sell is way overpriced. it was worth it to see the design of the store though. shoes on conveyor belts...neon lit stairs...
after aoyama, it was a short subway ride into ginza, another trendy part of tokyo. we stopped in a starbucks to re-energize and then set out to visit the sony store. that's pretty much it, though i'm sure that i'm omitting many small details of the day. but, i have most of the moments captured on film (i think). we made it home after a quick bite and now i'm ready for a cold shower and some sleep.

so, with that, i will say goodnight and see you tomorrow.

16 August 2006


Hello from Japan.
...A little tired and weary, but excited to be here.
The trip over was pretty flawless.
LAX was a breeze thanks to the United executive premier benefits.
There was literally no line at check-in and through security.
This is the part I normally dread and I hate waiting in long lines.
Not having to wait at all was a dream come true.
We ended up spending 2 hours in the Red Carpet Club which was nice because you can spread out and read or talk on the phone or enjoy complimentary breakfast and juices.
The flight took off a little late but we made up for it with a swift tailwind.
Or maybe the pilot was just hauling ass. But saying swift tailwind sounds cooler.
(By the way, I can't find the quotation marks on this Japanese keyboard).
I hardly slept on the plane though I managed to close my eyes for an hour or so.
Ever seen She's the Man? Didn't think so. It's one of those movies you only watch if you have to. I have to say, it wasn't half bad. Maybe I was delirious, but I actually found myself entertained. Go figure.
Anyway, when we landed, it took only 15 minutes to get through immigration.
Then, our bags were already pretty much waiting for us when we got to baggage claim.
Customs was a breeze and we basically jumped on a bus right as we got out (this usually doesn't happen, you often have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for one).
Narita airport is so far removed from Tokyo that you have to catch a bus or train and
it usually takes about 2 hours (sometimes longer) to get into the city.
For some magical reason, we made it in 1 hour 15 minutes.
So my mom and my uncle met us at the dropoff (the Shinjuku Hilton) and we went home from there.
All in all it was a long day of traveling, up at 7am, asleep by 5:30am.
But it could've been a lot worse...
Quick weather report: hot and humid with bits of rain (remnants from a nearby typhoon). Hopefully the humidity will drop over the weekend...
Lots of shopping and eating to come...
More reports from the far East shortly...

14 August 2006

paper art.

crazy mind blowing work by peter callesen. click HERE to see more...
(thanks for the link, dad).

11 August 2006

pane e vino.

what did you wish for?

is ben proposing?

warren tricomi rules.

21. crazy.

i like this picture. i just do.

oh, neil.

what the hell do you think you're doing elliott?