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I ended up with a bunch of pictures today, so I present another page of pictures. I really wish I had a much smaller and more convenient point and shoot camera so I would always have it, and so I could catch everything. For example, the things I will tell you about now.

I got a little freelance work today from home, so I went out with a plan to create some props and take the picture. I got the coffee cup from Starbucks, though I had to pay for the coffee even though the cup was empty. I went to Tokyu Hands and got the paper that was needed. I went to the park and created the remaining needed props. I headed out to locate a place to take the shot. I walked for the next hour or so and failed to find a place to take the photo, but I did see some unique things. I saw a man with a St. Bernard. I saw a man with two Great Danes. I saw five cops pull a young guy from his car and use extreme force to bring him down. He was fighting quite a bit, so his hair became a handle and they kicked the back of his knees to try to get him to go down. When that didn't work, one of the cops in front of him basically put Judo to him. He went down into the bushes where they held him until the correct vehicle came to take him away. Not sure what he did, but these three things were definitely things you do not see in Tokyo. I wish I had photos of all of that action, including the dogs. I did break out the big camera when I saw the cats on the roof. They came crawling from all sorts of places in order to end up on that ledge. You can tell that they have full control over the outside of that house.

I ended up at Richie's for Pizza and a movie. I was looking at Richie's book collection and then I realized that he had read all of those books. He told me that he has two or three times that many books in boxes at home in Atlanta that he has also read. Seriously, take a look at the pictures. That is a lot of books. The only people I know that read that much are Al's parents, or maybe it is just his mom. And my niece Taylor. I am just guessing that she will be up to that many books by the time she is Richie's age. They needed pictures of Dawg, so we took a bunch. They submit the pictures to a French Bulldog calendar. He was in this year's edition, so they are going for next year's as well.

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We had a photoshoot today for a magazine called Woofin' Girl. Yeah, I told Mr. 24 that a magazine with that title in America would sound like a magazine pretty much full of ugly chicks. In Japan it is a hip-hop magazine. I saw one in the convenience store tonight. They built a fake runway, and the two models did their best runway walk. The pictures were taken to have sort of an action look to them. It was a pretty quick shoot, coming in at about 7 hours.

I met up with Richie at Denny's, then we met up with Junko, Richie's wife, at McDonald's. We sat and talked for hours at both places.

The picture today was taken outside of the Ebisu train station, from the hip. These three girls were handing out sample packets of "Frisk" mints. Whenever they do anything like that, they always have cute little outfits to match. This was the first time I have seen the power-triangle used though. I think it helps them maintain position during the stampedes of people.
"Kids! There is an earthquake! Get under your desks!"
"Kids! There is a fire! Get in a single-file line and walk outside!"
"Kids! Here comes a huge crowd of people! Form a power-triangle and maintain position!"

You know the drill.

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Today's photoshoot was really cool and really long! It was for a calendar, so the model had 7 different looks and each look had unique lighting, so it took a long time and it was quite involved. The model was Matsuura Aya, but she is known as Ayaya in Japan. She is quite famous. In fact, as I left the studio and was getting on my train, her face was on huge posters every 20 feet on the outside of my train, advertising something. I took a quick picture of the poster before the train sped off after exiting. That was sort of weird to look and know that we had just been photographing her. I have seen many pictures of her, in fact there were 3 posters of her in the studio halls, but that didn't really prepare us to see her in person. She walked in the room for the first time and you just sort of gasped. She was that pretty. Though the pictures we took today were amazing, I still haven't seen a picture that is as pretty as she really is. Richie about crapped when he found out we photographed her. She was very polite and nice as well. No attitude like another Japanese celeb we photographed.

All three of us were really tired today. Especially Nishimoto kun. That kid needs to learn to go to sleep before morning. And by the way, from now on, Nishimoto will be known as 24, Mr. 24, 24kun, or AllDay. Even though the "Nishi" in his name technically means "west", "ni" also means 2 and "shi" means 4. He has a really cool "24" tattooed on his left arm. Nishimoto is "24". The picture today is of Tsunoda san, as he rested while we were breaking down the set. We all need to learn to "Living with the wildlife".

I need to get to bed. I am tired and tomorrow is more hip-hop pictures.

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There is a new Pepsi on sale as of yesterday here in Japan. Ice Cucumber is the flavor. Clear Pepsi flavored with cucumber. I am drinking one right now. It is not as strange as you would think, but I wouldn't buy another one, unless they were being sold in cans and not bottles. I want the can for my project at home. I wrote about that a few weeks ago. That is why I went to buy this one, but even though it was only in a bottle, curiosity got the best of me and now I am 147 yen poorer. That is $1.20 to you folks at home, as of June 13th, 2007.

I worked on the website today, and then finally met up with Richie tonight. He and I went to do some test shooting before we get all three members of his band together, so we could at least know what works and what doesn't. We are using the local Mormon church as our studio. They have a big open hall with high ceilings, lots of rolling-dividers to use as light-blockers, and white boards to bounce light if needed. It's about as close to a studio as I can get right now. It is almost perfect. Plus we found a place to safely stash all the lighting equipment so I don't have to haul that huge suitcase back and forth between here and "Latter-Day Studios". That will help out a ton, because that bag weighs a ton, and trains in the evenings are what one would call "crowded". Having a huge backpack and a huge suitcase makes one a huge pain. Speaking of which, there was a guy who just lit up on the train home tonight. That is the first time I have ever seen anyone do that in Japan. There was a butt on the ground, so you could see he had already smoked one.

The test shots went well I think. I think we will be doing something similar to what you see here as the picture of the day.

Once again, Gyoza was eaten after all of this was done. I had a headache from not eating, and I still have one. I hope that will be remedied with sleep.

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Day off. I didn't do a whole lot. I finally got out of the apartment and headed to Tokyu Hands, a very great store. It is one of those stores that you can just sort of walk all over each level, just looking at things. Especially when they have such cool clocks, vacuums, toasters, postcards, robots...I have talked about this store before. I found some good ties at a different store for the new shirts I bought the other day. Now I feel complete.

When I was taking the picture of the day here, I was finally approached by a man who worked for the store that these steps led out of. He asked what I was taking pictures of. I told him "green stairs". He then told me that wasn't too good since females are coming down the stairs. He was implying that I might be trying to take pictures up their skirts as they walk down the stairs. He told me that someone went inside and told him there was a foreigner taking pictures on the stairs. I told him that I would stop and then he started asking me questions. What I was doing in Japan, and that if I was a photographer, why was I using such a crappy camera. I was shooting with just a point and shoot. Nothing fancy. He asked where I was from. He asked if they had good cameras in America. I told him I shot with Japanese cameras. Canon. He asked what I thought about Nikon cameras. I stood up from a seated position so I could talk to him face to face. After I stood up, he was looking at my shoulders, and then he said, "Do you play sports? You look like you have the build for it." He had to tell me to leave, but you could tell that he didn't really want to. He seemed like a bored old man and that he was enjoying the conversation with the foreigner that surprised him by speaking Japanese.

I met up with Richie to get some ramen at a place we always go to when we are in Tokyo. Richie always gets the "level 5" spicy ramen. That is the hottest they make, and the soup itself is about as red as can be. Men sweat like crazy eating this. The shop is tiny and when they serve you the food, they say what it is really loudly. When they announced Richie's meal, a lot of the people around us, standing in line to get in, gasped. I had the "level 4", the spiciest I have ever had. That was hours ago and I can still feel it in my guts.

I found out that the laundry here is only open until 10. So I had a bunch of clothing in the washer that I now have to deal with here in my room until the morning when I can put it in the dryer. That sucks.

Today is my dog KC's birthday. He is a stinker. He is four today. That picture was of him this morning, sleeping in his bed. Sometimes he lies in the strangest positions to sleep. This is how he chose to sleep on his birthday morning. If you haven't seen his fantastic video of him walking on his hands because the ground is cold, click this.

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First of all, I want to say congratulations to my brother Matt and to his fiancée Brooke! Matt called me today and told me they are engaged, and I am so happy for them.

We had a photoshoot today that started at 1:30 p.m. so that gave me a chance to get a little extra sleep. Very Nice. The shoot was for a magazine called Hanachu. It is a junior high school-aged fashion magazine. The shoot consisted of two shots. The first shot was a collaboration between the magazine and one of the advertisers, Procter and Gamble. This was a shot to advertise Pantene. So the model had long beautiful hair that was super straight that looked perfect. The second shot was for the magazine cover. The model was Riko Narumi. She does movies and T.V. shows and what not. She is still 14, but looks about 18. I can't imagine having such a career at that age. I wonder if they realize how special and different that is. Or since they are so young, it just seems like part of growing up to them.

I took a picture of these dogs outside of the studio today. They have the cutest dogs in Japan. It's like they get the pick of litter before other countries. I named these dogs Galactic Nerves and XRG2030. I think the reasoning behind that is fairly obvious.

We went to a restaurant that Shuichi and Nishimoto have been telling me about for while. It really was as delicious as they said it was. I hope we go there again. I had shrimp dumplings with soba noodles, in basically a ramen broth. Absolutely spectacular. And we all had gyoza. The delicious gyoza is what they have been telling me about this restaurant. It was delicious.

I met up with Richie and Junko to get more gyoza. I mean, why not?

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Yesterday's entry was delayed, so please go back to last week and make sure you have read June 9th's entry. I would hate for that day to get skipped over.

Today was the first regular day of church. I haven't been to church in Japan since my mission, so it was really strange and natsukashii. I really have no translation for that word, and it's not because I am trying to act cool and speak Japanese, but because of the fact that I am a retard and cannot remember English. I do this all the time with the most simple of words. Seriously. What is that word?!!! Basically, it is like "long time, no see". Nostalgic! That is what I was looking for! In Japan when the person at the pulpit says "good morning" or whatever greeting happens to be appropriate for the time of day, the entire congregation says it back. Sort of like church in Hawaii and everyone saying "aloha". Well today, as the person said Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning), while everyone repeated it back, some small boy, maybe age 3 or 4, yelled back "Haro!" That is "hello" with a Japanese accent. I thought it was hilarious; no one else even flinched.

I had an incident with a bug tonight. I have found a few bugs in the apartment so far, all the same kind. Imagine a centipede and an earwig combined, and about an inch and a half long. Normally I am not a bug killer. If it is a problem, I will gather the bug and take it outside. But in this case, I can't really take anything outside easily, and I have no idea about this bug! It could be dangerous for all I know. The 1/4 inch earwig-like pinchers on the back side add to the fierce image, and it is really fast. Anyway, I have opted to exterminate these bugs when I see them. Well tonight that proved a difficult task when I encountered one. Keep in mind that when I decide to ever eliminate such a life, I do my best to make it as fast as possible for the sake of the soon-to-be-exterminated. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want to read about a battle with a bug.

I saw him scurrying about, and I went on the attack. Though I struck three times, he scurried on at full-speed. My fourth strike finally slowed him down a bit, and I was able to strike a fifth time and capture him into some tissue. His movement was about to free him from the tissue, so I decided to try to deliver a final quick blow, bare-handed. As my hand came down, a split-second had not even passed after the strike when I felt a pinch on my finger. He had made his first strike. Scared the crap out of me, since I was already sort of feeling creepy chasing a bug, but then to have those pinchers get you...seriously. Though they are always scary on an earwig, has anyone ever been pinched by them? From that point on, I was very jumpy everytime even the smallest of things so much as brushed me. It took another several strikes, and finally a thick-bottomed glass, to cease his movement. My hand hurt from striking, I had to use a weapon, I had been pinched, and a full minute had passed. The plan for a quick extermination had failed miserably.

I bought 2 shirts and a compact umbrella from Uniqlo, the world's greatest store.
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