I wanted to save it forever; alas, it’s printed on thermal paper. My order of an iced caramel macchiato is now partially illegible. Aaron’s dark mocha frappuccino and my cell phone strap are only slightly more legible. So, best if I immortalize our receipt in bits and bytes while I still can.
I was so proud of myself for learning how to order my favorite drink: aisu kyarameru makiato. Turns out that, as does nearly every other food service establishment in Japan, Starbucks has an English menu (which the barista at the Metro Hat Starbucks in Roppongi graciously brought out for us without us even asking). Aaron just pointed at the picture of the HIGHLY AWESOME Dark Mocha Frappuccino, said “grande,” and he was good to go.
Sometimes I just try too hard.
Seen from the window of Okonomi Yukari, in Akiba Ichi.
As seen from Room 950, Tokyo Prince Hotel, in that brief moment between sunset and the illumination of the Tower (6:15 PM).
In other news, all of my Japan 2009 photos are finally uploaded to my Flickr account, so feel free to peruse, if you haven’t already.
Seen in Nikko, west of the Annex Turtle Inn Hotori-An, where we had stayed the previous night.
In Japan, JizÅ, or OjizÅ-sama as he is respectfully known, is one of the most loved of all Japanese divinities. His statues are a common sight, especially by roadsides and in graveyards. Traditionally, he is seen as the guardian of children, particularly children who died before their parents. Since the 1980s, the tendency developed in which he was worshipped as the guardian of the souls of mizuko, the souls of stillborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses. In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River on their way to the afterlife because they have not had the chance to accumulate enough good deeds and because they have made the parents suffer. It is believed that JizÅ saves these souls from having to pile stones eternally on the bank of the river as penance, by hiding them from demons in his robe, and letting them hear mantras.
JizÅ statues are sometimes accompanied by a little pile of stones and pebbles, put there by people in the hope that it would shorten the time children have to suffer in the underworld (the act is derived from the tradition of building stupas as an act of merit-making). The statues can sometimes be seen wearing tiny children’s clothing or bibs, or with toys, put there by grieving parents to help their lost ones and hoping that JizÅ would specially protect them. Sometimes the offerings are put there by parents to thank JizÅ for saving their children from a serious illness. JizÅ’s features are also commonly made more babylike in order to resemble the children he protects.
This Jizo must have been part Wicked Witch, or made of sugar, as it seems to have melted…
Don’t get me wrong: I love my iPhone. It’s awesome to have the internet at my fingertips almost anywhere. But, for me, it’s still a toy. It’s not an indispensable tool. Not yet.
I regularly use my iPhone to Twitter, track my daily weight, look things up on Wikipedia, read USA Today, check my Gmail, track my to-do list, and check the weather. I rarely use it as the phone it is, as my friends are mostly e-mail or Facebook types, and I don’t have a kid to track down multiple times a day. I do text with Aaron every now and again, when one of us is at work.
Very few of these things actually require a mobile handheld device. I could check the weather from my computer at work or at home. Same with my e-mail and Twitter (although Twitter wouldn’t be quite as much fun that way). I have an Excel spreadsheet with my daily weight. And so on.
That said, the iPhone was the closest thing to an indispensable tool when we were in Japan.
As seen from the Tokyo Prince Hotel, room 950, on 18 May 2009 at 7:45am JST.
Seen from the Main Observation Deck of the Tokyo Tower, 13 May 2009 at 6:55pm.
As seen from the 52nd floor of Mori Tower in Roppongi.
Seen in Nikko, while touring the shrines and temples.
As seen from the 2nd floor of Starbucks in Shibuya Tsutaya.