Saturday, December 27, 2008

I`m off to see the Reds

So, on December the 30th I will leave Japan for a few days. I will be traveling to The People`s Republic of China; or Red China. I love to travel to others places in the world. I enjoy the adventure of being in a strange land. While, China has been on my travel list for years I still feel a slight fear of being in Red nation.

I know that many people consider China to be capitalist with a single party political system. What is shocking is that a lot of people I talk with seem to have no problem with such a system. I personally think that the Chinese system of government is a smack in the face of liberty. The government of China should be ashamed of some of the actions it has taken against its people. Sadly, considering that China is becoming a superpower it is highly unlikely that its government will have a chance of heart anytime soon. So, I am visiting China the understanding that I can have a great time but I am to never questioned the government while inside its borders. Usually, I would have a little problem with such an agreement but I really want to see some things in Beijing so I am biting the bullet and playing along.

With the golden rule in mind for visiting Beijing I have given some thought as to what I want to do and see. There are something which I know for sure I want to see.

The Great Wall Of China.
One of the only things a knew about China when growing up in the mountains of West Virginia was the great wall. We all heard the story of this giant wall the Chinese build a long time ago to keep out invaders. I have only seen pictures of it in books and internet sites. I still find it amazing that such a building project could have been constructed all those years ago. Back in those days slaves where still used to do most hard labor. It must have taken a lot of slaves to complete the great wall. Considering the way slaves must have been treated in those more uncivilized days I am willing to bet turnover rate for slaves was really high. I wonder why China never created a special monument to honor those who suffered so much during the building of the wall? Anyway, a round trip from Beijing to the wall and back is about one day. I will have to get up early to go to the wall. It should be well worth the effort.

The Forbidden City.
This is something big on my to do list. The Forbidden City has been a fascination of mine since I first read about its history in college. For many years it was the home of the Emperor and the political center of China. So many important political events in China`s history has happen at the Forbidden City. There days it is open to the public as it no longer is used for political means. It is a testament to the history of China. I am looking forward to seeing the large painting of Mao which is on display at the main entrance of the Forbidden City.

Tianaman Square
The modern political center of Beijing is Tianaman square. All of the major government buildings are located in this area. I have read that politicians address the people directly in the square itself or from a balcony overlooking the people. It must take a lot of `security forces` to protect the politicians during public speeches. Speaking of security forces Tianaman square also claims fame as being the site of one of the bloodest political resistence in the history of China. Most people have seen the tank man video which stands as a symbol of resisting oppressive governmets. I am sure that such a video has been banned by the great fire wall of China so most people in China have never seen tank man. Such an event in history makes me more edger to see Tianaman square.

Beijing Duck
I have wanted to try this for years! I have head that Beijing duck is a great meal. I have never eaten duck before. In fact, were I grew up duck hunting was not popular at all. We just did not look at ducks as food. My wife says it is really good but a bit greasy. I will have to eat the stuff first and make up my own mind. Any suggestions for the best way to eat duck?

There are a few others things I have on my list of things to do and see in Beijing but I always welcome and suggestions. I still do not know much about what new years activites are being planned in Beijing. Any information would be helpful.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tokyo Tornado

As 2008 winds down I must admit I am feeling kind of drained and worn down. It has been one of hell of a year for me. This year I have made a big change in my life. Getting married, moving to Tokyo, adjusting to a totality different culture, dealing with a insane job market has got my head kind of twisted up like a Tornado a little.

Pulling off this 180 has not been easy but I think I have fared good so far. Unlike a lot of people who move to the land of the raising sun, I came here simply because I was madly in love and totally sick of the events unfolding in my home nation. I traded the stress of being love sick and angry as hell with my government for the stress of city life and culture shock. I don`t know how much of an even trade it was but I am learning to expect the unexpected. 2008 has taken me to places I could have never imagined for my life. I started the year living in a socially and economically depressed part of America and ended the year living in the jewel city of Asia. If anyone would have told me such events would have unfolded in my life in 2008 I would called them crazy. Yet, here I am living in Tokyo feeling like I have been spinning around inside of a tornado for 12 months.

I have learned a lot about myself while going though, at times, emotionally painful process of adjusting to married life and culture shock at once. The biggest thing I have learned is that I have to maintain a certain amount of balance in my life or else things can get out of control real quick. Before moving to Tokyo I was the kind of person who would follow the god chaos to hell and back instead of resisting the urge to fuck-up everything around me. It was rare for me to stop and check myself. I lived a hardcore balls to wall existence which would drive most people straight to the nut house. Hell, back in the states some of my closest friends would question my own sanity from time to time. These days there is a hell of a lot more responsibility resting on my shoulders. I can`t always say fuck it and rock out with my cock out anymore. While I still have a damn good time I put much more effort in placing limits on myself. This is not to say that there are not times when I do let situations fall into a state of chaos just for the pure devilish pleasure of it. The difference now is that those moments of hellish glory are spaced out enough to keep my life in balance.

So, in short this year I have grown up a lot. The game totally changes when marriage factors into things. While, being married and living in one of the biggest cities in the world has worn me out a little overall it has been a great year. I have changed over the course of this year. Hell, my entire lifestyle has changed a lot over the past year. Actually, I have welcomed this 180 twist in my life. Mellowing out is not so bad.