next week   

click picture to enlarge
Ben took off this morning. I hope he enjoyed his time here. I know he was looking forward to going home. You usually are after that much travelling. You are just plain worn out. I find that travelling makes you love coming home, but at the same time it makes you love leaving to go see new places. A never-ending cycle.

I met up with Richie afterward to grab a bite and to talk a little bit about photos for his band. We grabbed a little bit of dessert at a McDonald's that was huge and packed. I have never seen a Mcd's like that. I came home after that to try to organize some stuff. I think I finally got my email working properly! Thanks for that Brandon.

I went to Richie's and Junko's for pizza and a movie. Richie's dog, Dawg, was going to be the picture for today, but then on the walk home I saw something I had never seen before. I crossed over multiple sets of train tracks and there was a very slow-moving train that had sparks shooting out from under it. I figured it was grinding on the tracks for some reason. And as it past, you could see the tracks not only were really shiny, but also had a rotation pattern in it. The machine was just doing a couple-hundred yard section, over and over. As it passed you could smell burning metal, like someone was welding. And glowing red pieces of steel laid to the sides of the tracks. I got a long-exposure shot of one pass of the train. Then my batteries died.

click picture to enlarge
After sleeping in a bit, we met up with Matt Garriott over in Shibuya, followed by a delicious meal of Katsu-curry. A meal you can get anywhere, and a meal that is always delicious. We supplimented the meal with some Gyoza that Matt bought at the next restaurant over and brought in. Two good things, all at once. We walked all over Shibuya and then walked over to Harajuku to see the crazy people there. It was a Friday afternoon, so we didn't really see anything to speak of, but you can see all the people standing around to go shop more, in my fantastic picture. Tomorrow would be better.

We caught a cab back to Shibuya where we had plans to meet up with Marcus Otsuji. He runs Omniture's Tokyo office. Omniture is where Nicole works. It also is where Ben works. So Ben's boss, who is also Marcus's boss, made sure that while in Tokyo we were treated to Shyabu Shyabu. The food was delicious, and it was cool to meet all the people in the Tokyo office and see their crammed little office space. Marcus is married to a fantastic girl named Liana that was in my mission and was also in the MTC with me for about a month. I know I am probably spelling her name wrong, but if I really wanted to spell her name right, it would be Sister Fong. I'll correct it once someone else corrects me.

We made our way out to Roppongi to check that part of town out, but the last train back was leaving 45 minutes after we arrived, and that isn't enough time to get anything done in Roppongi. So we walked, and we left. Checked out Shibuya at night, then made it home.

click picture to enlarge
Ben and I headed out to Akihabara to check out some of the electronics that Japan has to offer, followed up by a jaunt through the emporer's palace grounds. We made our way to the top of the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. This was the hotel from "Lost in Translation". Great view.

We met up with Richie Casper and Matt Garriott to head out to have some okonomiyaki. Authentic Hiroshima okonomiyaki. We joked that it would really suck if this particular shop just decided to have a day off today. And what do you know? Yeah, they were closed and we were in a downpour. We grabbed some yakiniku instead.

click picture to enlarge
I saw an old man riding his bike today. One hand on the handle bars. One hand holding an umbrella. Mouth holding a cigarette, puffing away. And wearing a headband that held his cellphone to his ear.

We had a photoshoot that went well. I felt like I did better and was more on top of things. And that I had more correct etiquette around the set. Today's shoot was bras, panties, and casual night-wear for some catalog for Christmas this year. I thought it was a little early for Christmas, but I guess not. It was weird to be setting up Christmas trees as props, and decorating trees too. There were 2 models. Brooke from Tahoe, and Agnus from Poland. Brooke looked just like the latest bond girl. Just like her. And Agnus looked like she was the real-life walking/talking version of a Japanese animation. It was really weird that I spent a while trying to think of who she looked like, then I realized that she just looked like Japanese animation. I had to do some translating, but Shuichi san did a pretty good job using English as he talked to them. They were both really nice, and it was nice to have English conversations, especially around the set. I usually feel very foreign around the set, so this helped me feel a little more involved. Brooke models in Japan for a couple months out of the year to help pay for school, and thinks modelling is pretty shallow. I guess she is a tom-boy and thinks the idea of clothing being that important is pretty ridiculous. She really had a lot of good things to say along those lines.

I had to leave a bit early to go meet Ben. He was sort of on a different train than I supposed he was, so it was extremely lucky that he happened to see me out on the platform walking around and had time to grab his stuff and hop off and grab me as I was headed up the stairs. Cause I mean, you know, this isn't what you would call a small city where you just sort of run into people like that. If that hadn't happened, we would have been pretty screwed for a while. Sounds like he had a great time in Thailand, and now he is crashed out on the bed.

click picture to enlarge
I got all my errands done today. I should be good for a little bit. We are meeting at the office in the morning at 8:30, so I am glad to be heading to bed early tonight so I can be more alert tomorrow than I have been at the first 2 shoots. Hopefully most of the jet-lag is out of me by now. Got all my clothes up on hangers, and I had to buy those multiple-hanger gadgets that fold down to save space...I only have 4 spots to hang things, so I was forced to buy a gadget. Thank goodness for Tokyu Hands, the store with everything. Nicole and I experienced a decent-sized earthquake while in a Tokyu Hands once. It was long enough too that you started to think, "at what point do I do those things that I learned in school, like get in a doorway, or under a table...?" Good times.

I cut my hair off today. I was the barber. (My hair)+(Japan's humidity)>(free space in Japan) It is just a fact, so the hair had to go. Luckily, the very back of my hair that I didn't want to cut was also the most difficult to reach, so I just left it alone. As you can see, it was just about 2 p.m. when I finished up. I started hours earlier and did a little at a time, since Nicole had set up a web-cam at home so I could watch the Jazz game.

click picture to enlarge
Cleaning day. I stayed in and tried to organize my little apartment, to somehow be smart with what little space I have. I did an ok job I suppose. I didn't get out of here until about 5 p.m. It wasn't raining, but it was cold! I wasn't prepared for that, so I just sort of stayed cold. I got a phone charger finally, and then I met up with Matt Garriott. He is here until this weekend or so. We met up with his friend Rocky. They went to grad-school together in Hawaii. We went to a trendy little place to eat. It was all dark and decorated with old wood and stone, with little pathways and private enclosed booths. We ate in a little cave basically. Then after dinner, we went to TGIFs to eat some more. In case we were still hungry. You can never be too prepared for a famine I guess.

I forgot the memory card for my camera, so I have no picture, but we took a shot with Matt's camera and Rocky is suppose to be sending it to me. I will post the real picture for today as soon as I get it.

There was a paper on each door of the apartment building when I came home. I can't read it. I hope they aren't knocking the building down at 8 a.m. or something. 9 would be much better for me. 9:30 would be perfect.

click picture to enlarge
I had a long day today. I was up most of the night working online with Nicole, back at home, trying to get my email figured out. It still won't send and it is driving me crazy. I met up with Shuichi and Nishimoto for a photo-shoot with an artist named Sifow. She will be releasing a new album and a new single. This is a picture of her from her album last year. I am not sure if Shuichi took this picture or not, but it looks like something he could have done. They were also telling me that she runs a company. They kept saying she was the president and was rich, but I am not sure what she does. She was cool. She had an awesome dog that pooped on a part of the floor in the studio that you only walk on with special slippers. It was hilarious. His name was Kurun, I think. If you click here, then click on "gal-revolution", you can see a picture of her with her dog.

I have a couple days off, which is good, since I need to clean up my apartment. I haven't put anything away, and I need to buy a few things to organize this place. Plus Ben is coming here on Wednesday, so I need to make room. Here is a wonderful shot of my tiny apartment, and a great example of how cluttered it is.

Shuichi gave me some more lessons on being an assistant today, and basically told me my job was one of the unimportant jobs, relatively speaking. Not in an offensive way. I know exactly what he means, but that when I move about the studio amongst the others, that I need to be like a ninja. Fast. Quiet. Unseen. He actually said Ninja. Nishimoto and I are the 2 biggest people there, so we need to make ourselves small, he laughingly told me. He even demonstrated the quiet swiffing sound of ninja's feet. It was awesome, and we all laughed.

I have started finding out that every time I leave the country, there is some cool thing in sports going on that I end up missing, such as the Jazz in the Western Conference finals. They stomped on the Spurs tonight. Nicole got to go to the game with Omniture, and she got to take my sister Chelsea. I hope she had a good time. One of the stations here in the apartment advertised that they would be showing the game, but it never came on. I had even bought a blank VHS tape, something I thought was extinct, to record it. Go Jazz.

click picture to enlarge
I finally met up with Shuichi san this morning. I hardly got any sleep last night though, but I was able to find his office right off the bat, since I had the address this time. I also met his new assistant for the first time. His name is Nishimoto san. He is really cool and helped me quite a bit. He showed me all the proper setup for Shuichi san and the proper etiquette in a Japanese studio. It is funny, Shuichi san is my same height, and Nishimoto san is actually a little taller than me. Rare for Japanese guys. Nishimoto played keeper for what I think was a minor-league team in the J-league (soccer).

This is a picture of the 2 of them. Shuichi is on the left, and Nishimoto on the right, in the hat.

We actually had a photo shoot today with a young female pop-star that goes by the name Cherry Lyder. This was for the sleeve of the CD for her 2nd single. Her first single was release a couple days ago and Shuichi did the photos for that as well. This is her blog and you can scroll down to her daily entry and actually see me with Nishimoto san setting up the camera in the middle. I have been photographed by a Japanese pop-star. We have another shoot tomorrow for the sleeve-work of another young pop-star named Shi-for, for her upcoming new album and new single.

click picture to enlarge
My first full day here in Tokyo turned out to be a really inefficient day. To start off, I forgot a lot of things back home, including all important contact information that was needed after arriving. Luckily, the cell phone Brandon let me use had Richie's cell phone number in it. But I did leave the photographer's number, and his new address at home. He has not yet updated his website to reflect that new address, so I only had it in my inbox at home. I realized that I didn't have it only after leaving my apartment to go meet him. I came back, realized I didn't have the info in my email, and ended up having to wait for Nicole to sign-in so she could retrieve the info for me. I finally got it, and what do you know, I drew the general map, but left without actually writing the address or his phone number down. So I got all the way out to the general area and was unable to actually find the place or call him.

I decided to head back home, in defeat, to just send him an email and let him know I was here in Tokyo...but of course email had stopped working. When I tried using my backup email accounts to contact him, I couldn't get them to send emails in Japanese, and they kept just sending garbled messages. So I took a nap out of frustration. At last I tried sending another email from Richie's house, on a Japanese computer. It also sent a garbled message, but that was only after having typed the message all up in Japanese, which takes a while, and then accidentally erasing it all. Junko typed it out for me the 2nd time, though it was all messed up when I sent it. Luckily, within the garbled message the numbers for my phone showed up correctly, and Shuichi san was smart enough to just call that number.

All of this bad luck was with me from the beginning when I went to the airport in SLC and just hopped into the line with all of my bags, without having checked in. What?!!! Was this my first time to the airport? I felt like the biggest amateur. Then I got to LAX and I walk out of the gate and immediately start looking for my next flight to Tokyo, when I actually first needed to get out of the Delta area and go to Singapore Air, which is in the international side of the airport. I'm an idiot. Seriously, I should have known then that a lot was going to go wrong since I was doing a bunch of crap against all common sense.

When I was looking for Shuichi's office, I came across this "Garage Sale" sign. This is completely weird. Japanese people don't have garage sales. Japanese people don't really have garages. Japanese people don't know what a garage sale is. Japanese people won't read this English sign and understand it. Finding this sign posted on a pole made my day.
Beginning May 23rd, I will be doing an internship in Tokyo, Japan, working with Shuichi Tsunoda. Along with the internship, I will also be doing a personal project during my time in Japan. I will post pictures of the project as I go along. But I am also wanting to keep track of the daily stuff here, on this blog. I want to take a daily picture. Nothing special, just a snapshot along with some words that pertain to the day.

Please check under the "projects" link on my website to gain access to this blog and to the updates of my personal projects.
  next week