The Very Few Places I’ve Been Outside the U.S. [Updated]

1. Canada.
-Winnipeg: too many times to count.
-Toronto: only the airport.
2. England. Three months (all summer) in 1988. 18 days in 2000. Assorted other mini trips in 2003/04/05. A week in January 2007.
-Cornwall: Falmouth, Truro, Constantine.
-Assorted other towns in the Southern tip.
3. France. 2004
4. Australia. 2006.
5. Belgium. 2007.
6. Japan. 2008.

7. Ireland.

Japan Minutiae

just a list of things and moments I want to remember…considering I’ve already forgotten lots of them… will be adding any that pop to mind (fingers crossed).

  • Qoo (pronounced “coo” like a dove), best juice drink ever.
  • Morning set (preferably with Hotdog!)
  • Green tea “milk” (latte)!
  • incredible vending machine proliferation
  • yes that gives you change for 100,000 yen ($100)
  • Pocari Sweat!
  • Calpis (swoon)
  • “winning” the toy at the arcade (thanks to the arcade manager who apparently really really wanted me to win and moved the toy into an “impossible to lose” position)
  • random shrine in the nishki market
  • Japanese boy scouts spotting Americans: “Hi! Hi! Hello!” (my reply, of course: “Konnichiwa!!” which made them giggle like crazy)
  • unbelievable proliferation of smoking. for a country obsessed with cleanliness…
  • no glitzy postcards. plenty of other trinkets to buy, but…
  • heated toilet seats
  • noisemakers attached to toilet seats
  • blue button = “for washing of the buttocks”
  • pink button = “for Ladies only” (?!?!)
  • the morning bowers/greeters at BIC camera in Kyoto
  • cartoon characters hanging from phones, bags, jacket pockets, pants pockets…
  • ancient hunched over grandmas & grandpas totally kicking our asses on the steps (both up and down) at Fushimi Inari
  • duck ramen in Tokyo at the place Christoph found a “shortcut” to (ha ha ha)
  • the japanese restaurant meal we had in Kyoto where Jackie made our reservation and pre-ordered all our food
  • hmmm, I wonder what this is. fish? tofu? root vegetable?
  • that is one LARGE piece o’ tentacle.
  • “green pea soup”
  • the first ramen restau we went to in Higayashima.
  • teddy bears on benches
  • rachel shutting the taxi door and the uproar it caused
  • japanese set at the Hearton in the morning

Au Musée: David Hockney “Portraits”

At the National Portrait Gallery (London). One of the best art exhibits I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been (dragged sometimes) to Many).
Really truly amazing; blew us all away. Portraits in oil, in acrylic, in pen, in crayon, in charcoal, in photo. Different styles, techniques, formats. Sitters repeating throughout the years; you can see how their relationships to Hockney change and grow, how they themselves change and grow.
What an amazing artist. If you can’t get to London, the exhibition book is well worth the price (I paid 35 pounds, so about $70).

Theater: Pirates of Penzance

A Chris Monks production. The pirates were dressed as ’50s mobsters. The Major General’s daughters looked ready for yoga (except for Mabel, of course). Performed at a very small theater in the round (the Orange Tree in Richmond [outside London]), but masterfully filling the space with movement and sound.
Really well done: well acted / well sung. Well updated: the present day politics inserted into “For I Am a Major General” were hilarious and the ending (“For We Love the Bard”) was just perfect.
Loved it.

Theater: (Tom Stoppard’s) Rock ‘n’ Roll

Great, great show. Worth the trip to London all on its own.
Dominic West is great. The rest of the cast is compelling. The music (functioning as scene breaks) is a thrill to hear (as loud as if you were hearing it live). The story unfolds as the characters’ lives do. Written based on a conversation with Vaclav Havel about a rock band dissenting (in their own way) under communism: the Plastic People of the Universe.
Pink Floyd fans will enjoy the Syd Barrett side story (my mom didn’t know who Syd Barrett was of course).
Really well done.

Things About Australia I Need to Write Down Before I Forget.

Me and the SuperEggplant, we’ve got some Australia stories…

  • The dirty dude on the flight to Darwin (GOVE!) and the Rod Stewart music video.
  • $40 movie in Cairns ($14.50 per adult)
  • Roo: Soap on a Rope.
  • Waterskiing practice hole.
  • BEND OVER! (and what about Casey using it in a meeting! ha!)
  • Ex-cop canadians: Teacher and Flic BnBs.
  • David: The Tram Whore: brekkie sandwich; hook turn; Toshiba; okely dokely; Hello Moto.
  • Anzac Biscuits.
  • Gossip rags.
  • Jimmy (bus to Kakadu): the panflute/bible banger combo.
  • Two sock! (Kakadu)
  • Cheezels; Smith’s chips.
  • Good on ya!
  • How ya goin’?
  • Solo! Lift!
  • “ie”: brekkie, tantie, etc.
  • Chinotto SUCKS.
  • Brandy snap cremes @ David Jones.
  • Black currant mentos (comme Ribena).
  • No pennies! “Currency rounding benefit”
  • Iced coffee = ice cream!
  • Ginkos!!! (w/ barefeet!)
  • Lollies
  • Eskies.
  • Pokies.
  • SuperEgg: “You people and your walkabouts!” Bono: “Hey, I’m not a black fella.”
  • Dirty Harry. No, Larry. No, Lazy Harry!
  • Uluru bus driver: Traffic coming down from Darwin today. Oh, there it is.
  • Truck stop “Toasties”
  • Namgachak (check spelling!): The aborigine Yam Hitter
  • Kakadu: king size mosquitos. Tiny boat frog.
  • FLIPPS: burgers & seasoned fries.
  • A dingo ate my baby!
  • Yum cha = dim sum.
  • Blue Heeler (Hila)
  • Bilbys for Easter.
  • Mariko the “Asker”
  • Kirribili
  • Casey-isms! Knocked you for sixes!; How’s your bitch?; I’m down with it, homes.; What up, MN?; I think he’s got a roo loose in his top paddock!
  • Kinokuniya, not just a Japanese bookstore in SYDNEY anyway.
  • Aussie damper
  • Banana…bread/frapps/etc.
  • Flat White. Short/Long Black.
  • Uluru: black flies. pool people. $$$$. Thorny Devil!
  • Cairns: runway humidity. King + Twin. Green Island $12 hot dog.
  • Cat pooh on the CDs!
  • Melbourne: Patchwork on Central.
  • Bathroom spider!
  • The Tram STARER!!!
  • Italian dudes: “mate” discussions.
  • French Bakery on Glenferrie: lemon tart.
  • Fannie Bay Gaol.
  • Melbourne Gaol’s freaky porcelain death masks: brain mapping.
  • Darwin hotel: fire alarms, hot water, hideous mint aperitifs.
  • Bataan death march to Military Museum
  • Lunch at Babka!!!
  • Glider spot: kelpi, Australia sheep dog. Big plate o’ nasty shrimp.
  • Darwin: Feb 19, 1942 bombing. 1972 Cyclone Tracy.
  • the Tet offensive! Tetley!
  • Darwin airport: CMS punes; MF book return and FIGHT!!
  • “Coon” cheese.
  • Little puking boy (handfuls) getting off plane and his horrific father. MF coming to rescue w/ barf bag.