Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Franco un-american - NOFX

Yesterday I got an email from a friend asking me again if I could help out at a punk concert handing out PETA leaflets this Sunday cause NOFX a PETA supporter band is coming. Unluckily, I am joining other Capeoristas for hanami so I cannot go, but I was checking the band's music and I found this video I thought was interesting so I just thought I would post it. I've got to say I like USA as a country, I like American TV, many of its products, and I've met many Americans who are really great people, so no, I'm not anti-American. But there is plenty of things I dont like about the government or the society, and well, sadly about "the majority" of Americans that are pretty much ignorant about everything that happens outside their lives, that voted for Bush and support war in Iraq, creating a wall between Mexico and USA, not supporting any ecological measures, creating laws that make peace and animal rights activist be considered terrorist (the so-called Patriot act), while they are out there looking for oil, killing innocent people, and creating more conflicts between different cultures and religions, among other things... so I thought this was an interesting and somehow funny video made by an American Punk band.
I realized since the last time I went to help out at Frenzal Rhomb's concert that there is a really interesting philisophy behind Punk culture, and even when I dont like most of the punk songs because they are just too loud, there is many ideas which I kind of share.
There is this other song of NOFX called "You're wrong" that even when I think it goes a little too far, by saying simply "you're wrong" which I guess it was just the short way of saying "I think it's not right and you should think about it" and making it fit into a song, and even when I definitely dont share all the ideas they have there I do agree with many of what they say (I feel more close to straight-edge ideals I guess, so I still dont know whether legalizing drugs is really a good option... for now I just know that by using cocaine you are supporting the war and the guerrilla in Colombia and all the suffering it causes to families living in the countryside. And I dont agree with denying all religions, but then they do have a point) Specially when you see all these extremist Christians in the TV talking all this crazy things against evolution, against other religions, against LGBT's, that is just amazing that they can be so convinced about their interpretation of the bible, and have so much hate for other humans. And the fact that they seem to be becoming the leading force inside the Republican party is just scary~ (and yeah I really wonder why I know so much about USA politics, but hey, it is the country that turns the whole world around, so yeah I think it is important to know more about it, and I'm not sure all the info I know is correct so please correct me if I'm wrong...)

BPE - Offenburg & Black Forest

Wow, I had forgotten about my BPE (Backpacking Europe) posts... So now I have to go back 6 months in time, and start off from Offenburg, Germany, where we went after meeting my brother and my cousin in Heidelberg.

Aug 28~31
Offenburg is a really nice city (town?), with nice pedestrian streets, a nice market, and beautiful countryside at a walk distance. The best attraction is probably all the wineries where you can go for a walk and eat all the grapes you want (you are just not allowed to take them back with you, but if you eat them while you are there... no prob! (at least that was what our brother told us... :p)).
We stayed here in Offenburg for around 4 days, at our brother's apartment, taking a holyday from our travel holyday, sleeping in a nice bed, cooking and eating nice warm food, walking around, and preparing ourselves for the rest of our trip heading south to Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Also while being here, we got an email from my dad telling us about an Austrian friend who wanted to meet us, and show us around, so even when we had no plans to go to Austria we were able to go to Austria's western region as well! :) and we also got in touch with an Italian friend who invited us to stay with his family. Yay! :D

Offenburg's pets... these were lovely crows, you can turn them around and all. Not like the noisy messy ones here in Japan. :>
Even in such a small city (town?) they had a vegetarian, organic supermarket with a fridge full of tofu, soy cheese, soy yogurt, vegan raviolis!!!, fake meats, burgers, sausages... wonderful! :p and even now many people think vegetarians can only it salads!?!?
I want to have a supermarket like this wherever I go! :p But for now fresh vegetables and fruits will do it~

Open air museum showing old houses from all around the Black Forest in the same place. Below, a town famous for its cuckoo clocks~ Lots of them!

Taking a walk around the countryside... there were apple trees everywhere, lots of grapes, and other crops
free food and free dinner :p including 2 delicious sheaves of corn. (is this the right way of counting corn in english?)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Flying Elephants

"In the beginning of time, the skies were filled with flying elephants. Too heavy for their wings, they sometimes crashed through the trees and frightened other animals.

All the flying grey elephants migrated to the source of the Ganges. They agreed to renounce their wings and settle on the earth. When they molted, millions of wings fell to the earth, the snow covered them, and the Himalayas were born.

The blue elephants landed in the see and their wings became fins. They are whales, the trunkless elephants of the oceans. Their cousins are the manatees, the trunkless elephants of the rivers.

The chameleon elephants kept their wings but agreed never again to land on the earth. When they go to sleep, the elephants always lie down in the same place in the sky with one eye open.

The stars you see at night are the unblinking eyes of sleeping elephants, who sleep with one eye open to best keep watch over us"

Yesterday I went to watch what is probably the most spectacular and touching exhibition I've ever seen. "Ashes & Snow" at the Nomadic Museum in Odaiba, Tokyo. It is just amazing the way Gregory Colbert shows us through his camera lenses the sentimental world of animals, and how humans relate to them. Being in a period of time where everything seems to be explained by science, where we are so disconnected to nature, and where most people look down on animals, it is incredible the way this pictures and videos connect us to what we all have inside, our feelings, our emotional world, and our nature. It connects us back to where we belong, with nature, and with all the animals that share this world with us. Seeing how peacefully humans could share the world with nature is so touching, seeing directly to the eyes of an elephant, a chimpanzee, an eagle, and realizing how much they've got to tell us, how much we can learn from them, but specially how full of live and wonder they are, made me feel so overwhelmed, so vulnerable somehow, but so alive at the same time. It almost brought tears to my eyes (actually a few came out). But it also gave me hope that little by little more people start to connect back again to our roots, to nature, to animals, to eachother, to ourselves... our feelings.

I loved it so much in there that I stayed and watch the 60 minutes movie twice. And even then I really didnt wanted to leave. It was as a whole a really wonderful day, full of discoveries, feelings, emotions and thoughts. (Thanks Jarrod! :)
I ended up buying this book full of pics (its so beautiful! Its printed in Japanese paper, and covered in paper made in Nepal, its just amazing! (of course it was expensive... :p) but they told me they'll give me the DVD for free if I bought it, so it was kind of a good deal :p), and I guess it will become one of the most valuable books and DVD I ever have. I just think I'll have to put in a very special place and take so much care of it... :s
I really hope you all go and see this exhibition if it ever goes close to your place. Or you can come an visit me someday and watch the DVD :)
I really think that together with Earthlings (which in contrast to the peaceful animals-human-nature relationship shown in Ashes&Snow shows the reality animals have to endure in the hands of humans), this is one of the things everyone should watch at least once in their life.

And now that I think about it, this exhibition really makes me feel more connected to one of the quotes I heard in Earthlings, and that I've always found so meaningful. It goes like this...

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilisation surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, we greatly err. For the animals shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. "
~Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

*Love & Peace*

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pop Avril

"Girlfriend" (English version)
I love this video so much, cant stop laughing! Avril is awsome! Love her! Looking forward to her new album~

Spanish version (her spanish is so funny! :p)
Chinese version (even if I dont understand anything, its great)
Portuguese version
French version
Japanese version (I dont get the beginning)

"Keep Holding On" (Eragon)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kansai trip~

...once again by myself in my room. A little bit lonely but still I really like my room a lot. The sun coming in through the window in the mornings, my bed up in the loft, sitting out in the small terrace to take the sun and hear the birds (not very nice view though :s haha), my fridge with the "I'm not a nugget" poster in it, and the nice food I cook in my small kitchen... and its much nicer now with all the things my mom brought with her, and with a comfortable chair to sit down and write in the computer (that she made me buy... :p). Its a good place to be myself, to receive visits, to eat, or just to sleep. Not the same as the dorm with people around you, but still good enough! (and bigger... :p) soon it will be already one year since I moved in here. Time definitely goes by so fast...

Here you have some pics from my trip to Kansai with my mom~My first real ride in Shinkansen (well actually my second, but the first one was just for one station so it doesnt count :p) Its way too expensive, but its just wonderful to be in Nagoya in a little longer than an hour. Below, my mom trying a Noh's mask in a the Noh Theatre in Nagoya.

Eiga-mura in Kyoto, a replica of an Edo period Japanese city, where they film most of the historical dramas, or commercials of Japan. A nice place to have fun... it was a shame it was raining that day.

Arashiyama. I had only been there in the fall my first year when I was studying in Osaka. Nice memories~ and new places to see.

Kinkakuji (Up - Golden Temple), Ginkakuji (Below - Silver Temple) and Kiyomizudera (Further down - It's actually nominated for the new 7 wonders of the world...). The Golden Temple is much more famous, but I loved the view from the top of the Silver Temple, and the Philosopher's path on the foot of the mountain, its a great place for a walk! I end up really liking Kyoto after this trip.

Nice veggie food...
More nice veggie food (Vegan 生春巻き & Vegan Hamburger Set)...
And what better than nice vegan cake~
...and vegan strawberry Ice-cream!!!
I really loved this place! "Hoping that someday all Creatures can live in Peace!" By Peace Cafe in Kyoto!!!
(and hoping someday I can have my own vegan restaurant!!! :p)

We entered the Old Imperial Palace in Kyoto (Japanese people need to book like one month before but foreigners can go the same day and book the free tour! :) and walked along Kyoto's river, and surfed with the turtles~ :p

We stayed two nights in Kyoto at the Japanese Environmental Exchange office~ A wonderful experience, it was a pity I didn't had chance to talk more with the people working there, but I'l certainly go to visit again~ Thanks Michi! and Jane for telling me about it~

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mix feelings

Isn't it just strange when you have so many mix feelings that you dont really know how you feel?

My mom has been staying in Japan with me for almost three months now, and I have get to think and feel so many things during this time, not only about she being here, but mostly about myself, and me being here in Japan. I havent really had that much time to clearly think about this, but somehow her stay with me has make me realize how much I've got used to living in Japan, the changes I've had, in my life, my way of thinking, of looking at the world, of living, etc... It made me realize the fact that I'm living my own life here, and not anymore my family's life or the one they want me or I'm suppose to live. I dont mean this in a bad way, but it's just that I got to realize the independence and freedom that I have living by my own here in Japan. And the fact that now I'm responsible for myself, for what I do, the decisions I take, etc.

I guess I still have a lot to think about, and have March to clear my head up, but I feel good that somehow I've get to think about stuff that was in my head but didn't really ever stop to think about. Still I just feel strange right now, feeling sad that my mom is going back, knowing that I'll feel lonely after she goes back, but also looking forward to doing things more freely than when my mom was here, looking forward to meet with friends, to think about stuff, and seeing how I feel about living by my own after staying with my mom for so long. It will be definitely sad to come back from university to a lonely apt, not having anyone at night telling me to turn off the computer and go to sleep, and well, having my mom here with me, and I just got to think about that today seeing my mom packing. Until now somehow I was enjoying my time with her, travelling, showing her around, but honestly sometimes I was looking forward to being by myself as well.

I guess with family its probably like that, and guess not only with family but with other people as well, if you stay to long with them you'll want to be by your own, or with other persons, but in the end you will still miss being with them and having someone there waiting for you.

Well, all for now I guess... I'll enjoy my last days with my mom, and see how I feel being by my own again, definitely I will feel sad, but I just want to think more about it now that I've actualy noticed what living by your own means. Sometimes I guess I just think too much about thinks there is no need to think about but anyway... for now I'll go to sleep...

Sorry for the complicated post, but will like to have your comments... just wondering how other people feel...

I'll have to read it again later with a more clear, and awake head I guess. :p