Cleansing the Inner Ear

Chapter 1:

Whilst exploring to the Northwest a few days ago, I stumbled upon a rather large park with lots of rather small caves. Lots, as in about a hundred or so dotting the forested hillsides, usually in groups of 4 or 5. The caves were maybe 3-5 metres deep and 2 or 3 metres wide, and upon closer inspection, I noticed one still had a skeleton in it. I can’t help but think that if they hadn’t blocked him in with that cave guard, he might not have starved to death. How inconsiderate.

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Now since I can’t read Japanese, I can only assume that these caves were the living places of some ancient Japanese peoples, perhaps offering the required protection during tornado season (this area of Japan gets hit by about 5 or 6 tornadoes every summer, causing the masses to stay home for the day with storm shutters covering every door and window).

I did eventually find a sign that had the park name in English: “Hasugaike”. Hasu is a flower and Gaike is park, so the translation would be “Hasu Flower Park”. The Hasu flower is a floating water flower, one that Buddha was thought to have sat on in some legend I really don’t understand (isn’t Buddha usually depicted as a big fat guy?). It’s also the plant from which Renkon Kimpira is made (one of my favourite Japanese appetizers), which will have special meaning for Eric and Asa. Anywho, I did take time to kiss a few statues in Hasugaike

dscn34380003.JPG dscn34250001.JPG, and just before I headed back home, I rode past another group of crazy ancient Japanese dwellings; these ones were not quite as dark and dreary as the caves. Feeling a tad tired and hungry, I tried to see if anyone was home.

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At last, after much knocking and shouting, I gave up and made my way back home, content with the days Northwesterly expansion of my realm. On the way, I stopped at my supermarket to buy snacks and beers for the Superbowl game the next morning…which leads us to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2:

8:05 Monday (yesterday) morning, Mike rears his big (tired) head and makes his way to the living room. Mayumi already has the game on and the room warm; all that’s left to do is get a coffee in my hand and an egg in my belly. 3 years ago, I couldn’t care less about American football…not because I don’t like football, but I only enjoy watching sports if I have a team to cheer for, and the nfl had no local teams to interest me. But that all changed. Many of you have met Joshua, an American from Indiana who was a room-mate of mine for 5 months in 2004-05. Understandably, Joshua is a big-time Indianapolis Colts fan, and his nfl enthusiasm was a bit contagious. So now, here I am, in Japan, glued to a tv at 8 in the morning, watching the Colts destroy the Bears (despite the opening kickoff return that put the Bears up 7-0 about 10 seconds into the game). So much for “Da Bearsss”. Your Colts made my morning Joshua…here’s to Peyton Manning and the 2007 Superbowl Champions:

coltslogo.jpg colts2.jpg coltsmanning.jpg colts3.jpg 

My only complaint was the lame-ass halftime show, featuring the artist formerly known as “$%*#” prancing around on his big phallic stage.

coltsprince.jpg The guy is like kindergartens class clown, just screaming for attention: “Look at me! Look at me! Here I am! Please, I’m still really cool…see…”. What an idiot. Moving on…

Chapter 3

After the game, and a few more hours of boring data-entry work, I decide that in order to maintain its symmetry, my realm requires expansion in the Southwestern direction. Armed with a camera and a bottle of fruit-veggie juice, I head off on my black steed (aka the black beater bicycle) and ride for the hills. About 6 kilometres and 20 smiling asian pedestrians later, we (my steed and I) stumble upon another (very hilly) point-of-interest called Heiwadai Park. Heiwadai is not made with cyclists in mind, and it’s many hills are not climbed with nice smooth trails, but with big steep long staircases. The result was Mikel carrying his steed through most of the park, up and down staircases, to the bewilderment of many non-english-speaking onlookers. This was tiring work to say the least, but the effort was not without reward. Upon one hilltop was a multitude of clay statues known as “haniwa”; these ornaments usually decorate an ancient grave or burial mound. Once again, the lack of Japanese symbol recognition has left me in the dark, so I can only speculate that due to the seemingly random spread of statues, these particular haniwa likely do not have dead bodies underneath. If I’m wrong, I hope they’ll forgive me for trampling their graves. 

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Notice the emu-esque haniwa…Nice. Atop the highest hill sits the Heiwadai itself, which I have been told means “Tower of Peace”. It was big.

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And finally, here I am making friends with the locals. It seems they find spiritual enlightenment in the act of ear-cleansing…who am I to judge…



~ by The Running Emu on February 6, 2007.

5 Responses to “Cleansing the Inner Ear”

  1. The last picture of you with the one finger in ear men…. priceless…

    I can’t help but think every time I look at your pictures how much fun you must be having with all your adventures… SO MANY ADVENTURES>>!!! I am so jealous. All I can think of doing now to half compare is ask Matt to take me up into the mountains in his quad to find some sort of new place up there… I wonder if I would find statues?? ……….I am going to ask him now……………. He just said “sure”. YESSSSSSSSSSS. (he just said Hi by the way).

    Did you go into that big tower of a thing up by the graves? Do you ever get a sense of creepy nervousness when you enter into their graveyards?

    Put more pictures of flowers up!!

    (O and the picture of you pointing your finger out of the window of one of those little huts made me laugh for minutes upon minutes. LOL)

    Hey Calfy and Matt, the adventures are out there…just find somewhere you haven’t been to and go. I’ll be sure to take some more flower pics for you Carolyn, now that I have an excuse to.

  2. That’s a good one Mike, the ear-cleaning ceremonies. Your days are just filled with wonder and adventure. What season is it over there? It feels like spring today, your dad is pruning trees, time to go make sure he hasn’t fallen out of one. TTFN Love, Mom

    It’s the middle of winter right now; glad to hear dad didn’t kill himself pruning the trees.

  3. Hellloo Mikey…
    I think I know what the caves are all about….That’s where they put the poor souls who dared to eat RAW CHICKEN !!
    Nice statue. Is kissing it equivalent to kissing the Blarney stone..{musn’t forget our Irish heritage !!} How come there are roses blooming in the background ?? I thought Japan was at the same latitude as B.C. and my roses won’t be blooming for a few months yet. My shoulder is pretty sore today…full contact volleyball last thurs nite !! Canucks beat Atlanta last night. Up 3/1 with 2 mins left when Atlanta scored. Made for a pretty nerve wracking finish. Check g/mail…Momma wants me to send some pictures. Hi to Hana…pops

    Your shoulder’s sore eh?…so are my ribs. I sort of landed on the jungle gym ribs-first at Sadowara park. I don’t think they are cracked, but they sure are taking their damn time to heal. It’s been over a week already and I still can’t lay on my side.

  4. Hey Mikey, if you’ve explored so much of the map without misshap already, you better watch out for some unfriendly critters coming your way 😉

    Your little sister’s right, it makes us all feel like getting out and adventuring…oh well, I guess I gotta wait for a few more months but I’m living vicariously through your stories for the time being.

    We’re all still thinking of you over here so keep the blogs coming!

    Oh, here’s something I want you to find for me: Where is the local fire department and what does their equipment look like? What kind of protective gear do they use? Just over two weeks until recruit graduation over here so I hope you can find one on your many outings.

    Take care and wish you many peaceful villages with places to eat, drink, sleep and buy new weapons.

    I’ll try to find out about the fire equipment here Timmy, and I’ll be sure to purchase plenty of weapon upgrades as I go along.

  5. Hello Mikey,
    What a game.Good old fashioned end to end play with lots of hitting and very few penalties. Final result is we beat Wild 3/2 in overtime !!Scored with 30 seconds left. Hope your having a good “getaway” during your Japaese “getaway”!! Don’t waste any time looking for the watch for Grant.. He just bought one online. Had 2 people ask me if your truck is for sale. Is it ??Time for popcorn…ttfn pops

    That sure sounded like a wicked Canucks game…exciting to the end. I almost knocked over the computer when Salo scored in OT. And I suppose the truck COULD be for sale, if the price was right…

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