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Thursday, September 21, 2017

NFL Week 3 and the Carp win the Central League

Last week: 9-7-0
Overall: 13-15-1

Look at that - not a bad week last week.  Of games I chose to bet, I actually went 6-3 and that's counting double-dipping on the Vikings at 9.5 once Sam Bradford's knee had a dentist appointment during the game Sunday.  Speaking of that, one thing that pissed me off this week was Zimmer's quote after the game.  

"Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he's fine."

I guess if you're not going to say anything that's one way to do it, but it reminds me an awful lot of Lati and I trying to coordinate a ride from one of his relatives in small-town Ireland.  In the States, if you're going to pick someone up, you're basically giving them turn-by-turn updates.  "Just left, be there in 10."  "Be on the NW corner since I'm coming from that way." In Ireland, it's "I'll be out front of the pub on Brady between 4:15 and 7 unless I forget."  OK then.

This past weekend, my beloved Hiroshima Carp clinched the Central League pennant for the second year in a row.  As you may know, I've been a die-hard Carps guy for about 4 months and 6 days or so.  So it's been a long time coming for me.  Anyway, since I vow to never or almost never write about football in these, I'm going to note my favorite things about my experience watching Japanese baseball since I was too tired and too lazy to write any of this shit down when it was actually fresh and topical.  Anyway.

Rams -2 at Niners

Buying tickets was kind of a wild goose chase except if you were chasing a goose and all the people who could potentially help you don't speak really any English.  I was pretty convinced that I had totally fucked this up and ruined the whole trip by not securing tickets beforehand once I failed miserably trying to buy tickets on a copy machine using a Japanese touch screen at what amounts to a Walgreens.  Seriously, you can buy GA tickets to these games, as well as movie tickets, and apparently a bunch of other shit on these goofy copy machines in the convenience stores in town, which is extremely Japan.  May as well be flying cars.  Anyway, we finally found a secondary market ticket store after being as literal as we possibly could over Google translate to this guy who owned a store that sold Carps merch outside the stadium.  Former Twin legend Kris Johnson was on our tickets.


Ravens -3.5 in London vs. Jags

The culture around baseball there is a biiiiiiit different.  There were almost zero bars surrounding the ballpark like there are in most places in the States, a fact that dumbfounded the ignorant American as we entered the ballpark with about 10 thousand others 2 AND A HALF hours before a surefire Friday night rainout.  There was sincerely a 100% chance of rain the whole night and we just went on a prayer since we were booked to leave the next day.  The rest of the people, not sure what they were thinking.  Gates were open and Asahis were being sold at a rapid pace to everyone in attendance.  There were even beer vendors who wore fuckin' kegs on their backs refilling beers in the stands.  This all went on until after their version of the national anthem and starting lineups, immediately after which they called the game.

Broncos -3 at Bills

After the rainout we went to our regular Hiroshima dive (we'd been there the night before so we were basically a couple regular Mayday Malones in Boston).  About ten minutes talking baseball with the (English speaking) locals and we made the executive decision to postpone our journey home to the last possible second in order to see what we'd been missing our whole lives.  

Saints +5.5 at Panthers

Some highlights:

  • A girl who was about my age posited that I was 37 years of old to my face which should have been a wake-up call for the lifestyle.
  • The locals thought I looked like former Twin Randy Bass, who likes like I would if I gained 40 pounds was actually 37 years old.  The reveal after I Googled him was an all-time cool your jets moment for me.
  • This is Randy Bass.

  • I had about 8 Makers on the rocks in 3 hours.
  • The owner studied abroad in Omaha and spoke better English than I did.  She had memorabilia all over her bar and I vowed to send her some Twins gear to display, which I naturally have not done yet.  I need to do that and go back.
  • Idiot American moment: I was talking about how we're Twins fans.  "It's Nishioka's team in the States, remember him?  We have a guy from Korea named Byungho Park now, do you know him?"  That's like saying "oh, you're from Canada, huh?  Well, the Wild have some guys from Finland, do you know them?"  Still cringing, which my therapist says is bad.

Steelers -7 at Bears

Everyone had Kuroda jerseys.  Like everyone.  He's like Jesus there.

Falcons -3 at Lions

There was a balloon toss during the middle of the fifth inning which is probably the coolest thing I've ever experienced at a baseball game.  Completely earnest, it's the closest I've ever felt to Heaven.


Browns -1.5 at Colts

You can bring pizza and beer into the ballpark, which we certainly fucking did.  Night one, I saw a family in the bleachers with a 20 inch Costco pizza and we were all over that the next day.  

Bucs at Vikings (no line)

The stadium was unbelievable.  Perfect size, just a little smaller than a Major League park with wide open concourses, the city to one side and mountains to the other.  Picturesque. 



I mean, come on.


Texans +13.5 at Patriots

During the rainout game, we met a Japanese fella who wanted to practice his English on a couple Yanks.  I remember him buying us like 3 beers a piece, asking if we were married, then asking if we were gay, which, OK then.  Anyway, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  He was nice as hell all things considered.  Naturally, he had his Kuroda jersey in tow.



Dolphins -6 at Jets

They don't fuck around with the rules.  Before the rainout game, I asked an usher if I could go down by the dugout and take a photo at roughly field level.  No dice.  I tried reasoning, it's just a photo, I'll be right back up.  You can escort us back up to the concourse.  Nope.  No can do.  I may be projecting but it's not the only experience I had where I noticed just how much more orderly Japanese culture is than American culture.  I'd have had a better chance convincing an usher to let me play shortstop and hit 5th than I had trying to get closer to that damn field.

Giants +6 at Eagles

Their tarp was dope as hell.  It just covered the dirt and let the rain fall on the infield grass.  I'm not entirely sure it's practical but it looked really, really cool.



Seahawks +2.5 at Titans

In the middle of the aforementioned fifth inning, there was also like a ten minute break during which the grounds crew basically re-sodded the whole field and put the batters' boxes and the baselines down again, etc.  The President of the Saints kindly informed me that it was so the players could have a smoke break, which is amazing.

Bengals +8.5 at Packers

Hiroshima is a fuckin' baseball town.  When they're good, the people who can't get seats for the game line the streets near the stadium and watch on TVs through windows and then party their fucking faces off after a W.  It was like a Japanese St. Louis.

Chiefs -3 at Chargers

Between two different trips and after a combined 4 hours at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium (I call it the Zoom, not a big deal), we finally got to see some baseball.  The Carps' leadoff man hit a dribbler between first and the mound and beat the throw.  The crowd went fuckin' ape shit.  My best estimate at a comparable atmosphere is the atmosphere at the Auburn stadium when they returned the missed field goal for game-winning TD as time expired.  These people like baseball more than us and I love them for it.

Raiders -3 at Washington

The Carp were playing the Yomiuri Giants who are like the Yankees of NPB.  They stuck all the folks from Tokyo up in their own section.

Cowboys -3 at Cards

Best baseball experience of my life.  If you love baseball, you HAVE to go over for a game.  Go Carp, go.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NFL Week 2

NFL Week 2 Blog and My Favorite Thing About Each City Whose Team I Pick

Last Week: 5-8-1

Texans +6 at Bengals
I've never been to Houston but my senior year of college some buddies and I did a trip to Cancun for spring break.  It was cheapest to fly somewhere, spend the night, and take the connection the next morning and for about a day it was looking like we'd be in Houston with a free night on our hands.  So we're sort of brainstorming shit to do in Houston and my buddy Brett (who works in fancy-pants M&A finance and wears almost exclusively polos with the names of hedge funds on the sleeve) texts the group "God Fearing Fuck is playing a concert, just throwing it out there."  I spit my beer out when I read that text.  Just unprovoked out of nowhere.  He'd never heard of the band it turns out but I've often imagined a group of quasi-broey college seniors from Minnesota going to a God Fearing Fuck show.

Side Note: I picked Houston in my Suicide Pool week one.  Classic.

Browns +9 at Ravens
It's LeBron's chasedown block in the Finals last year.  Manifest Destiny for LBJ in Cleveland over the MonStars is the best basketball performance I've ever seen.  If LeBron dunks that shit on the last possession the Earth may have swallowed us whole.

Bills +7 at Panthers
It's this Youtube video.  Enjoy.


Cardinals -7 at Colts
Probably the Indy 500 which is my favorite sporting event that I never watch.  I'd really like to go party my face off in the infield once before I'm washed.  I've always liked open-driver racing better than NASCAR because it's bougie as hell as opposed to hick city.

Titans -2 at Jaguars
I've only driven through there and never was into country music.  I'd have to say Jack Daniels.

Eagles +5.5 at Chiefs
The fact that there was a fucking Disney movie about a garbage man turned field goal kicker played by Tony Danza.  How stoned was the screenwriter?

Patriots -6.5 at Saints
The movie Celtic Pride.  And the fact that the only time I was there I witnessed a drunken brawl in our section of Fenway and could not have been more amped.

Vikings +5.5 at Steelers
Liquor Lyle's

Bears +7 at Bucs
Everything.  My favorite city.  Wrigley.  Wrigleyville.  Lake Michigan.  Lakeview.  The L.  Michael Jordan.  The time I bribed a bouncer to get into a Hold Steady show.  $90 Lyft rides to O'Hare.  Kevin McAllister's family.

Jets +13.5 at Raiders
The fact that it's the best city in the United States and that you can get a hotdog within 200 yards of 24 hours a day.  Kind of redundant.

Dolphins +4.5 at Chargers
The times my dad took me Tijuana as a youth.  Came back from vacation stunting on my fifth grade class with a fake Rolex.

Cowboys -2 at Broncos
The time I watched jazz music v stoned after a Rockies game at El Chapultepec.

Washington +2.5 at Rams
The Swamp.  Love the Swamp.  Fill up the swamp.
Also the time I was the least interested person in the building walking around the Smithsonian while trying to follow the Gopher hockey NCAA game against Yale.  Gophers lose.

Niners +14 at Seahawks
AT&T Park.

Packers +3 at Falcons
If it's not Outkast you're wrong and probably a cop.

Lions +3 at Giants
Favorite thing about Jersey is Jersey Shore the TV show.  I used it as fodder to talk to girls in high school and look where it got me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

NFL Week 1

Week 1
Chiefs +9 at Patriots
I sort of hate this game because it's so many points to lay but people don't get rich betting against Belichick and Brady.  I always lose the opener.  By the way, my least favorite Thursday night opener of all time was Vikings at Saints 2010 where the Vikings lost fuckin' like 16-9.  I was working at the Country Club in Hibbing and told my boss that I was "unavailable" to work that night and when he asked why I told the truth, which was a stupid thing to do.

Jets +6.5 at Bills
The Jets stink.

Falcons -6 at Bears
Lot of points to lay on the road, but I don't trust the Bears.  I will not be betting this game.  Side note - I fuckin' love the Bears.  They just stink every year and it makes me happy.  Nothing better than watching the Bears lose games and all the fans just sitting in the biting wind off the lake.  That's Big Ten football.

Jags +4.5 at Texans
I think some people think the Texans are going to be hot shit this year, which I don't really see happening, but realistically how many more times will I get to bet against Blake Bortles. 

Eagles +2.5 at Washington
I don't think this is actually true but in my brain every team in the NFC East goes 8-8 every year.  Also I heard on a podcast that Mike Lombardi thinks Doug Pederson is the least-qualified head coach in NFL history which is high praise coming from a guy who was fired by the Raiders and the Browns.

Cardinals +2.5 at Lions
I fucking love how Matt Stafford is the highest paid player in the NFL now.  Still makes basically what Ricky Nolasco makes.  My buddy hit me with the take that Stafford would be better after Calvin Johnson retired because he gets to spread the ball around more.  I laughed in his face but I think he might have been right?

Raiders -1 at Titans
This pick is completely me getting scared off by the line looking too tasty for the Raiders.  I'm not that smart.  Something's up.

Ravens +1 at Bengals
It's probably bad that I changed my pick as I was typing this and also that I had to google whether Joe Flacco is playing or not.  Makes a ton of sense that as I follow the NFL less and less I gamble more and more.  I may as well just flip coins.  Anyway, this comes down to me trusting Flacco more than Andy Dalton (ginger rivalry).  Also, Marvin Lewis is the Ron Gardenhire of the NFL.

Steelers -9.5 at Browns
I got caught betting on the Browns a lot last year.  Won't happen again.

Colts -3.5 at Rams
Give me those delicious, nutritious points at home.

Panthers -4 at 49ers
I probably picked the wrong road favorite, but I can't bet on Blaine Gabbert.  I can't.  I won't.  That's where I draw the line.  (Upon further review, Blaine Gabbert isn't on the 9ers anymore and Bryan Hoyer is.  The point stands.)

Giants +6.5 at Cowboys
I'll be betting against the Cowboys a lot this year unless I change my mind.  I like them for a down year and I think the Giants are going to be good.  First year of Brandon Marshall is always the best one.

Saints +3.5 at Vikings
OK.  I always bet against the Vikings in prime time games.  The Vikings went 8-8 last year with literal revolving doors playing all five offensive line positions.  Sam "Glass Bones" Bradford didn't even get hurt behind that line, so I expect him to miss about five games this year.

My personal Vikings preview: 7-9.  I have never been less excited about a Vikings team.  Mike Zimmer is going to go fuckin' blind coaching this group to second place finishes in the NFC North and I honestly kind of wish he'd just quit for his own good.  The defense is still going to be good but I don't believe in Bradford, I don't believe in the line, and Laquan Treadwell still only has one more catch in the NFL than I do.  I miss Teddy.

Chargers +4 at Broncos
I can't imagine the Sunday Scaries Osweiler had walking into the Broncos facility one year after signing a $70M deal to leave and subsequently getting cut by TWO teams who have historically bad QBs.  I bet it would be like if I had to move back to Hibbing with my tail between my legs, minus the $36 million guaranteed.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tokyo - May 7

 

I was going to write about this awesome unreal day I had in Hankone and Lake Haji. Like the chillest most peaceful, beautiful day I've had in years. A 10/10 awesome day that I won't soon forget. It was DOPE. But last night was one of those stars align nights that you really only have like a few times in a lifetime. 

 

This post just isn't going to flow. Period, full stop. I have a bunch of things to say and they're all fractured. It's kind of like Tokyo. Everywhere you look is something totally unique, separate from its surroundings. 

  • I got yelled at for standing in line incorrectly at a ramen place. 
  • Twice. 
  • The line girl is my Japanese nemesis. Kevin thought if we had one more disagreement I was getting tossed like Ron Gardenhire. 
  • THE RAMEN WAS AMAZING
  • We got pulled to the front or the line to order and you order on a pop machine basically. It was so bright and loud and the world felt like it was collapsing on me. I felt like an alien. I had no idea what to do. I ordered the number 1 because that's what you do. 
  • WANT TO REITERATE HOW AMAZING THE RAMEN WAS

 

  • The ramen place was so efficient. I was boggled. There was a wait of about 30 mins to get in, the line was out the door and around the corner, the place full, and the cooks? Ho hum. No big deal. At home, the place would be in chaos. 
  • I'm bad at social interactions in general - that goes tenfold for Japan. I know two words of Japanese. You can see how that may be an issue.

  • I had a Kevin Malone moment at Starbucks. I like forgot how the coins work and unsuccessfully tried to pay. The cashier took them from my hand for me. 

  • In Shinjuku, a waiter was asking us whether he should bring the check for us. The place was closing. He walked over and just started into what felt like a diatribe. My brain recognized it, roughly, as “bejdhebdkdbejfbdjdbdkfbdidbrkfb?” I just said, “I don't know what you just said, dude, but I'll give you some money.”

  • A lot of people wear what I call SARS masks here. It's weird but I'm getting used to it. I bet wearing a SARS mask is like when your mom makes you wear a bike helmet. 

  • No one seemed stressed out that it was Sunday night at Tokyo Central. I was kind of stresses out by how not stressed they were. 

Kevin said he was out of gas.  Cooked.  He was Mel Clark in Angels in the Outfield.  Laboring in the 8th, 156 pitches.  We were walking back from Shinjuku toward our 2 square foot airbnb after getting one drink.  Sunday night, everything was closed.  We got to a bar at 10:30 and they served us, but not before letting us know that last call was 10:45.  Drink up, get the fuck out.  Right after, he called it.  I was disappointed to be honest.  I still had some juice left in the tank.  But i could see going home.  Long day ahead.  Check out of airbnb. Train to osaka.  Find the new airbnb.  Yeah yeah yeah.  

And then it hit me.  I’m just going to Golden Gai solo.  Figure it out.  I still wanted to get into some shit.  

We separated about 11:00 pm.  I walked into the first bar in Golden Gai from which I heard English.  The rest is history.  Truly a night to remember.

I don't know if I've explained Golden Gai yet. 

It's like the footprint of one or two city blocks at home. I'm a rich American who has never set foot in a slum, but it feels like an ideal version of a slum. Narrow. Dense. Bars only. No food. Each place seats less than ten people. The doors stay open, but there really aren't windows. They're really dark. The bars are like if a booth at CC Club was a whole bar. It's gritty and grimy and scanned knees and dirt under fingernails. It's touristy, but in a good way. My favorite type of people are attracted to it. 

I drank sake and smoked cigarettes with a Czech guy. It was his last night it Tokyo before heading back to reality. He was a quieter fellow and often times sat in the background and just took in the scene, only piping up if he had something meaningful to say. 

He had a YouTube video with like 2 million views of him playing piano “Skyfall” in Prague. The bar owner let him get the aux going to listen to it. 

I drank beers and ripped menthols with a couple who were about 30 years old. Guy lived in London, grew up in Crimea. He had, no hyperbole, the most delightful accent I have ever heard. I felt like I was in a bar drinking with NPR. The woman was from Florence, Italy. She lived in London too. Both people were really inquisitive about American culture. We talked about Hibbing. We talked about the States as a whole. We talked about how Trump happened. They asked where my Bible and gun were. Ha, ha, ha. 

We compared weed in Colorado and Washington to hanging out in Amsterdam and just learned about like casual drug culture. He said he was on a bachelor party in Amsterdam where they were biking thru the city. They got to a place, one went in to order and the others stayed outside locking up their bikes. 

They forgot whether they were coming or going. They stood next to the bikes with locks in hand for an hour. Their buddy drank all 4 pints and then came outside and said “what the fuck, you guys?”

(Aside) You know how they say “mate” in Australia? Or “chap” in England? For us, it's buddy. I was visiting a buddy. My buddy this. My buddy that. It never occurred to me that it's so cultural. Perspective snuck up on me last night. 

Anyway, I told him the story of me getting unbelievably stoned and going to a CU-CSU game at Mile High Stadium and being afraid of falling on the field. Trading war stories for the extremely privileged. 

I met this dude Jason who was from SF by way of Athens, GA. He is a musician. His bands are called Marathon States and Hard Girls. The past year or so I've gotten so much more info music than I ever was. I've started going to shows and listening to stuff that I've never heard of. Like I used to just listen to a lot of Drake. 

Anyway, I love music people. They're so goddamn nice and chill and welcoming and unpretentious. They're like the opposite of country club people. 

Jason is the nicest dude I've maybe ever met in my life. First gen American with Vietnamese parents. He went there with his family on a trip and hated it. 

He's friends with the Menzingers and was like baffled that I know who they are. He asked if I think they've gotten too commercial and I was like “bro, I really only discovered them like 6 months ago.” Hahahahahaha. 

Anyway. 

We all drank and bullshit. Drank and bullshit. Smoke cigs. Drank and bullshit. Etc. Etc. 

Time was bending its pace. Speeding up and getting slower all at once. My memory of last night feels like it's both 2 weeks and 25 minutes at the same time. I had my most unique social experience of my life last night. 

I think I'm going to be way more confident in myself, the man™, because of it. I beat myself up over a lot of things and I think I have weird social interactions and I generally don't think I'm the best version of myself. But now, going forward, I don't know if I care about that kind of perfection as much. 

I love how present I am when I'm here. I'm consumed with what is in front of my eyes. I'm not worried about career, money, love life, death, my existence. I'm just here in a vacuum. It is like taking a sauna for your brain. Clearing out the pores of my life. 

Like I think I will be more comfortable with the bad, with like rejection, with failure, because whatever it is, it's like “I've partied with really interesting people in Tokyo by myself, and they LIKED me.” Like, who cares if someone in Minnesota doesn't. The world is big. The further I go, the bigger it feels. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tokyo, Day 1

4:48am: Wake up in a panic, realize it's not 10 am. Sun is bright like mid-day. Watch Cubs game on MLB At Bat. 

5:15am: Walk to 7/11, drink a premade coffee drink called "Mt. Ranier." PNW appropriation. Background music is a Beatles/Super Mario mashup. The music never makes any sense. 

7:00am: Fish Market. 

So cool. So strange. People as far as the eye can see. Guys on electric pallet jacks running people over with no regard for human life. Sample wasabi. Shop for knives. Eat breakfast at a counter that's on the sidewalk with people buzzing all around - Tempura with soba. I know a lot of people are into Japanese food but I'm really not. I didn't even know what it is. There's something invigorating about ordering something and not knowing what you're going to get. The food came out basically instantly. Pour your own drink. Clean up after yourself. Very intimate experience. Probably top 10 favorite meal I've ever eaten. 

 

Assorted fish market photos below. 



 

9am: Tsukiji Buddhist Temple 

I was nervous about taking photos. Other people were too, though. 

It was really peaceful. People were lining up to go to the shrine and when they got to the front they were tithing. I think it's weird that Westerners were just watching. Tourists don't watch me take Communion. I felt off about it. 

 

10am: Imperial Palace. 

They didn't charge anything for it - they should. A beautiful park with a huge grassy area, awesome trees, surrounded by a moat (!!!). 

 

Me: "I'd love to have a moat."
Kevin: "I think you may have to leave Minneapolis-proper for that."

 

It had a very San Diego vibe where there was some wide open space and also some trails that break off with some serious tree cover. 

Former military base from like the 1500s (among other things). It's mind-blowing to me that that area was in use 200+ years before the United States existed. 

There was a big concert hall there too and it's never been open to the public. That's kind of baller. 

They also had these ice cream cones that made me gasp when I saw them. 

 

12pm: Financial District

It's so strange because the Imperial Palace is very calming and slow-paced and just a quarter mile or so away is the Financial District which is a neighborhood that's probably twice the footprint of Downtown Minneapolis with buildings as tall as IDS seemingly as far as the eye can see. 

Tokyo's neighborhoods, when you're in them, feel like they go on forever. 

12:30pm: Tokyo Central Station and surrounding hood. 

I started really feeling a beer and we tried going to a bar to have a couple, watch a ballgame, and regroup. Pretty standard stuff. Except no. Nothing is open. Saturday, mid day, biggest city I've ever been in - nothing open. We finally found an Italian place. No bar. So we sat at a table and had beers. Music scene - Eminem Rehab album and Weezy F. Baby and the F is for what a fucking weird place. The music never fits the scene. 

1pm: Ginza. 

Ginza is pure excess, the likes of which I've never seen before. It's the Mall of America, Rodeo Drive, and the Miracle Mile all together, buffet style. There was a goddamn De Beers diamond store. We didn't go in. 

Highlight: macaroons from Laudree, which only has like three locations - London, Paris, and Tokyo I guess. Maybe NYC. I don't know. 

 

2pm: Hooters.

I saw a Hooters near Ginza on the way to the train station and we had to go in. A Japanese imitation of an American bar is really weird to a couple Americans. When you walk in, every employee no matter where they are in the establishment say "hellowelcometoHooters." It's eerie. 

There were locals there which I was surprised by, but I guess. 

There was Japanese baseball on the tv and Phil Coke was getting rocked, obviously. 

 

 

2:45pm: Shibuya.

My favorite populous neighborhood. It's like Shinjuku but less tacky. Good shopping, bad food. 

We saw this gem in a hole in the wall apparel shop. 

 

I thought about buying some Ultra Boosts at the adidas store. Bought roadies instead. Rich taste. Relaxing time. 

 

After, we walked toward Meiji Shrine and on the way we found what I think was a stadium hosting a boy band of some sort. There were THOUSANDS of women all dressed the same and almost no men around. It was surreal. 

I honestly think I was too dumbfounded to take a photo. 

 

3:45-5pm: Meiji Shrine. 

I know I've said everything is my favorite, but this was actually my favorite. Some seriously dense forest, beautiful green, right in the middle of a 40 million person metropolis. 

Unbelievably beautiful. 

 

We were the perfect amount of drunk for this. Kevin asked a Japanese girl to take our photo, she did, I said "arigato" really slow and she burst out laughing and imitated me to my face. I will never criticize a tourist in the US ever again. 

 

 

5:30pm: Shinjuku. 

We needed dinner and went into some place. At this point we are drunk, sunburnt, loopy, and hungry as fuck. We pointed to the steaks on the menu and five mins later, they bring a grill to our table. Oh fuck. I'm way too drunk for this. 

Everything is so weird. Every time we do anything, something extremely out of the ordinary happens. So now we are grilling our own food. And I'm happy we did it. It was just such a hilarious scene. And the people here probably think we are stupid as fuck but you just have to roll with the punches. 

 

6pm: Hacks

I was tanked and sunburnt and decided to hit the hardest cage which was 130 km. There was no timing mechanism. Just wasn't a good performance. Maybe hit the ball hard three times. 

I wish there were batting cages everywhere in the states. I LOVE just popping in, taking a few hacks, and moving on with my day. It's such a great reset button. 

 

7pm: shower, regroup

8pm: Golden Gai

We went to Golden Gai again. It's the best. The perfect spot to sit and get down to business. Figure it out. What are we doing next? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong?

 

We chilled and drank sake in Albatross with a Brit who lives in Singapore and works in shipping. I caught a "I'm rich as fuck" vibe from this dude. He was smoking probably the most obnoxious cowboy murdering cigarettes I've ever smelled. I'm usually down to smoke cigs when I'm drinking but I'm pretty sure I would have bong-coughed for 20 mins. I passed. 

9pm: Shibuya. 

At train station in Shinjuku, a guy heckled us basically. 

He grabbed me by the arm and said shit in Japanese as if I knew what he was saying. Another guy comes up to me. Excuse my diction. 
Me: "Whats he saying?"
Him: "He say... "fuck you""
Me: "He's saying "fuck me?""
Him: "Fuck you"
Me: "No - fuck him."

--

Wise words of World Wide Wes - "You can't chase the night."

I chased the night. 

I tried to handshake a dude we were talking to and then knucks him and then handshake him and it will haunt me until I die. It was cringe-worthy. I had to call it a night. 

1am: back to Sjinjuku. 

Trains are stopped at 1 am Saturday. Uhhhh what. Cab to Shinjuku station. Crawl home. Dead. 

I'm living my best life.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tokyo, Day 0

**I'm going to be jotting down some thoughts regarding my Japan trip in here. Welcome back to the worst hands in the 2007 NFL Draft. 

Day 0 was super awesome and super strange. Tokyo feels like you're walking around in a video game. 

Everything is smaller. Streets are narrow, doors are lower, stairs go straight up. Our Airbnb is probably 300 square feet and I've hit my head on the tops of doorways like 5 times already. I'm basically a power forward now. 

 

Finding the place was a DISASTER. I'm sure there's a system of some sort and I'm just stupid (because I am stupid) but I'm pretty sure the streets don't have names and the buildings don't have numbers. It's weird as fuck. "Take a left here *inserts photo of a random street corner*" Google maps is no better. "Walk 40 M" "Cross the street." All of this with like 35 pound backpacks. Note to self, pack lighter next time. 

The apartment building itself is right out of Call of Duty in the Chernobyl level. It's strange and I can't imagine living here. No place to stretch out. 

We went to Golden Gai after a shower and change. Alley bars. We sat at a bar that seated like 6 max and drank yellow beers, which were situationally maybe the tastiest I've ever had even though they were basically Mich Golden Lights. It was 7 on Friday night and I asked the bartender basically "where is everyone" because the 'hood was empty. Bank Holiday, I guess. Still didn't make much sense. 
 
There was a dead snake in a Mason jar right in front of me when I sat down. A Japanese guy asked us how old we were, proceeded to tell us he was 40 - he did not look 40. He thanked us for the compliment. 5 min later a couple from the States walked in. Like clockwork, how old are you? I'm 40 (I'M A MAN, I'M 40). Ohhhh, thank you. Must be his party trick. 

There's a goddamn batting cage 1 block from our crib. It was an impromptu laser show last night. Had to redeem myself from dropping the Dozer home run on thursday. 

 
The inside of the batting cage. 


We ate in "Piss Alley." Bourdain world renowned neighborhood. Fucking alleys 4 feet wide with restaurants as far as the eye can see. Depending on your disposition, they're either cramped or charming. I find the small apartment cramped but the small restaurant charming. We ate some fried chicken wing stuff and asparagus. And beer.

After dinner we were about to call it a night around 10:30 (24 straight hours of travel is no joke) when we saw a department store looking thing. It was a pachinko parlour. I've never felt so much like this is not real life. I put in 1000 yen and played. It's like a cross between slots and plinko, only if Pokemon music was in the background on 78 and the screen was trying to give you a seizure. I still have no clue what the point of it is but this lady was trying to explain in broken English in my ear. I asked her to turn the volume down. No comprende. I probably deserved to lose just for being an American asshole.

 
 

Anyway. We're going to get into some weird shit again today. I can't wait. 

 

Friday, September 23, 2016

I'll Love You Forever, Kevin Garnett



I was born on September 25, 1992.  Kevin Garnett was drafted by the Timberwolves in June 1995, when I was shy of 3.  So today is the first lucid day of my life that Kevin Garnett is not in the NBA.  I'm not sure what to think.  I don't know if there's an athlete that I feel more connected to.  He's sort of the last active link to my childhood.

And my childhood was all Kevin Garnett all the time.  I swear I had 100 of his basketball cards.  My bedroom at my parents house is still littered with random Garnett shit.  I have an autograph on my wall from when I sent him a letter, one of hundreds that some poor intern probably had to stuff in envelopes and mail out.  Posters, jerseys, pictures, cards, even a Kevin Garnett rubber duck.  I would have worn his jersey every fucking day, and I probably tried.  I still don't understand why a Garnett jersey wasn't appropriate for picture day.  Our hall closet, to my knowledge is still full of VHS tapes of recordings of games, important and random, airings of his Beyond the Glory, random interviews.   I was insanely jealous of my cousin, named Kevin, because he had the same name as Kevin Garnett.  Now that I type it all out, my parents were probably pretty alarmed that I seemingly had no other interests.

In reality, I probably could have sent 1000 tweets about Garnett memories today.  But instead, I'm going to try and put them here.

I loved him and Stephon Marbury.  I hated it when he left.  

Me and my cousin were going to be in the NBA on the same team just like them, a dynamic duo of short white kids.  Of course, I was going to be the Garnett in our reincarnation.

The first time I heard the word "motherfucker" was out of his mouth at a game.

I loved the powder toss on the media before every game.  Couldn't understand why we didn't have powder at Saturday morning basketball.

I loved how when he fucked up, he snapped rubber bands on his wrists.  Of course, I imitated.

I loved the pregame chest pounding.  I loved the fact that he always blocked shots after the whistle.

I practiced his free throw routine and the left block turnaround fadeaway in our dirt driveway incessantly.

I loved the tee shirts for season ticket holders--the license plate.  Land of Defense and Double Doubles.

I loved when he won All Star Game MVP in 2003.  I acted like the Wolves won the damn Finals.  37 points!!!!  It did kind of irk me that he didn't get a double-double in that game tho.

I didn't care when he beat up Duluth's own Rick Rickert in training camp.  Rickert probably did something wrong anyway (Honestly this was the peak of my North Korea-esque unconditional belief in him.  No one has ever had a higher approval rating).

I loved when we finally got over the hump against Denver in 6 games in 2004.  He stood on the scorer's table relieved and basically insane.

I loved when we were actually on national TV, and the TNT music would come on, Kevin Harlan: "And we go to the land of 10,000 lakes..." [cut in to Kevin Garnett wamring up with exactly two of the buttons on his tearaway pants done]

I loved when he called his teammates over to take the MVP.  I loved that he had a bad game that night, and I was defending him to my parents' friends who had seemingly just discovered the Timberwolves earlier that week.


I wanted to murder Anthony Peeler when he punched Garnett in Game 6 and said so.  My dad didn't like that much.





I loved Game 7.  46 minutes.  32-21-2-5-4.  Him screming "God damnit!!!"  Going into the postgame interview.

I hated that that was the top of the mountain for him on the Wolves.

I hated the next two years, and for a time, Kevin McHale, for doing the least with the most in the entire NBA while employing KG.

I loved that he left.  I loved that it wasn't the Lakers, thank fucking God.

I loved that he won.  I love that he shouted out "'Sota" as he and only he calls it after.  

I loved those Celtic teams.

I love that he never changed, he hated Duncan and Sheed the same as he did LeBron and Joakim a decade later.

I loved that he wore Sealy's number in New Jersey.

I loved the return.  I love that I spent $60 on the wrong comeback game, a week before he debuted again.

I love that I was in the last row of Target Center for the return.  I love how I went to Target Center at 9 am to get student tickets.




He was the fucking man. 

EDIT: Forgot some shit.

A girl in my class got to go to the 03 playoffs vs. the Lakers.  I asked her who her favorite player was.  She said her two favorites were Kevin Garnett and KG.  I almost shit.

Loved him and Sam Cassell.  I loved how much he loved Malik Sealy.

I loved how he taught Wiggins and Karl.  I love how much he loved Flip.

I love all the stories of him being insane.  Head butting the wall of his own house watching MTV.  Hyperventilating on the court.  "LET'S FUCKING GO, MOTHERFUCKERS!"