Photos of the Week 2

For my days off I drove down to Los Angeles for my friend Roig's birthday. It's a five and a half hour drive from Mammoth to L.A., a very beautiful five and a half hour drive.

Boxcars with mountains in the background.

There just so happened to be a birthday party for my friend Sarah (so many birthdays!). It just so happened to be at the Moonlight Rollerway. It just so happened to be "Organ Night." (click the video below to view)

http://vimeo.com/30249470

It rained almost the entire time I was down there, which was unfortunate, but that very same storm dumped 18 inches of snow down on Mammoth. Almost immediately after I passed the "Welcome to Mammoth Lakes" sign, I was surrounded by snow, in the air and on the ground.

The next morning, I woke up to this sight outside of my bedroom window (click the video below to view)

http://www.vimeo.com/30149720

While it isn't unusual for it to snow here in October, it won't be here for long. It's expected to get up to the 60s this weekend, so it's doubtful that the snow will be on the ground for much longer.

All this, just as the leaves started to change color.

Yoshiwara Gion Matsuri

Back in June I took a little bit of video at the local Yoshiwara Gion Festival. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wwkzd6UbmU

Taking place during the second weekend of June, the Yoshiwara Gion Festival takes place on the main covered shopping street of the Yoshiwara neighborhood of Fuji City. These are pretty typical sites at Japanese festivals, add in a lot of food stands and you pretty much have the complete picture.

Pizza in Japan

The other day I got a pizza delivery menu through my mailbox, watch the video to see some details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbwCmfh1Rak

You can check out the menu online, in English, here.

Pizza is not nearly as common as it is back home here in Japan, but it's by not a huge rarity, just expensive.  I see Pizza-La delivery scooters out on the roads every once in a while, and there are even smaller independent pizzerias around town.  You can even get single slices at my grocery store for around $3, but aren't so great since they've been sitting out all day.  But they are just as ridiculous as the ones on the Pizza-La menu.

The (Inter)National Passtime

Last weekend my fellow Fuji ALT Mike and I went to Nagoya to take in a Japanese baseball game.  Nagoya is home to the Chunichi Dragons, currently second in their league, who played the Lotte Marines from Chiba.

The Dragons play in the Nagoya Dome, which was an alright building and nice to be out of the sun, but it just doesn't feel right not being out in the sun for a baseball game.  Also, because of the dome they have to use fake grass, and as you can tell from the picture it looks a bit too bright and plain, also there's barely any clay in that diamond, very strange.

Now, I'm by no means a baseball fan, but I had heard a lot of great things about Japanese baseball, notably that the fans are second to none and they are very enthusiastic.  And this is absolutely true.  Whenever their team is up to bat, the fans are constantly singing and chanting, led by a guy with a big loud drum, rhythmically banging together small plastic bats.  There's even a specific song for each player that comes up to bat.  When the away team is up to bat the home crowd stays almost entirely quiet, except for the fans that traveled for the game who are doing their own songs (Chibas crowd even had two trumpets to go along with their songs, it was amazing).

This made for a really great afternoon at the ballpark.  There were homeruns, close plays, and a comeback from the Dragons.  The Dragons ended up winning the game by 1 run, so everyone had a happy subway ride home.

I edited together some video I took at the game, hopefully it gives a good idea what the game was like.

http://vimeo.com/12480853