Monday, October 31, 2005


We finally cleaned our old apartment today and finished moving all the little stuff over here to our new place. The new place is a bit of a mess but I like having my desk in the living room. I'll put up a picture of my setup once my new computer and second monitor get here. I'm tracking it via UPS online and it's due on Thursday. I can't wait because my laptop is wigging out and randomly decides it doesn't want to let me use the internet at inopportune times. Not good when you're trying to make a living playing poker tournaments and other such things online.

I found some sweet poker chips for the religous readers:
Click on the "Faith Chips"

I don't remember if I put this in yesterday's blog but I finally bought my plane tickets to Seattle and Boston. I'll be in Boston from November 10-16 and Seattle from Nov 16-28. I will be attending a Seahawk's game on November 27th and I can't wait. I'm also planning on playing in our annual Thanksgiving football game for the first time in a while. I can't wait to blow up Ted.

Tomorrow my tires arrive at Costco. I haven't called the cable company yet. I'm considering waiting until I get back from my trip because it's $60/month for the nice digital cable package and I'm going to be gone for 18 days. If I can convince my roomies to chip in I'll get it before but they say they don't want cable so I'm planning on paying for it all. We shall see.

I alomst forgot, Happy Halloween. I hope you're having more fun than I am. Sitting in front of the computer is great but there's something about kickin' it with friends that makes my tummy warm.

Poker Sundays

Sunday is a big day in the world of online poker. Most of the big tournaments are played on Sunday and there are multiple 100K winners across each of the different sites. I don't believe in posting short term results because poker is such a long term game but I think I'm going to start putting up my poker bankroll weekly for you all to look at and see how I'm doing. I want to get my bankroll to 100K by next July for the WSOP and I think posting it may motivate me to play more. Sunday will be the day with the biggest flucuations so I'll post at night once I'm done playing but before I go to bed. This bankroll is what I will use to earn the rent and get money for traveling. So, I'm probably going to have to earn a bit more than 100K to sustain my travels AND have 100K for tournaments in July and August. I still have a good amount in the bank and set aside in a cash account should I go belly up. Anyway, I feel like the results will come if I put in enough hours and I think that I'll put in more hours if I post about results. I'm actualy down $1200 since last Monday if you want a reference point. I feel like there will be a lot of weeks where I break even or have minor up and downticks but there will be a few great ones in there. Let's hope next week is a great one. Without further ado, the number as of right now:


I almost forgot to congratulate my boy Justin for winning a trip to the Bahamas and an entry into the Pokerstars Carribean Adventure. The package was worth 12K altogether and he won it tonight. CONGRATS!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Almost there

We're almost fully moved into the new place. We have the UHaul reserved on Sunday for the big items, beds and couches, but we've moved most of the little stuff already. UHaul really chaps my ass. The truck costs $19.95 to rent for one day BUT you have to pay for 50 miles at $0.79 per mile. That's $40 extra dollars that they don't advertise to you, twice the rental of the truck! Are you kidding me? They have quite a monopoly on the moving business but I think it's messed up.

Bill Simmons is amazing. He makes me literally laugh out loud multiple times per article. Here's a great bit from this week's NFL picks column:

Chiefs (+6.5) over CHARGERS
Seems like a three-point game to me. And since I have nothing else to add ... watching football last Sunday with my friends, I brought up the topic, "What touchdown dance would cause the biggest possible fine?"

You would think it would be Adam Carolla's idea for the "Touchdown Poop," which I described two years ago -- basically, the guy scores a touchdown, then squats like he's on the bowl, stays there for a couple of seconds, turns the pages of an imaginary newspaper and finally "pushes" the ball between his legs. We figured that if Randy Moss did that, he would get suspended for a game and fined like $150,000. Plus, Joe Buck might start crying on the air.

But I think this one would be worse: "The Delivery." What if Moss scored a TD and immediately fell to the ground on his back, with his legs up in the air like a pregnant woman, and two receivers stood on either side "cheering him on," and Randy pretended he was pushing, and finally the QB leaned over him and "pulled" the football from Randy's loins, then held the football to his shoulder like a baby for a few seconds before Moss stood up, gingerly grabbed the "baby," cut an imaginary umbilical cord, then spiked the ball as hard as he possibly could? I think that would be like a three-game suspension and a $500,000 fine, right? Plus, Buck would be more distraught than Walter Cronkite after JFK's assassination. Let's hope and pray that Randy reads

The Delivery! If I saw any NFL player act that one out I don't know what would happen to me. I'd probably get checked into the local insane asylum and scream "Bill Simmons is a genius" incessantly for the rest of my life.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Brilliant Quote

This quote gives me goosebumps. Maybe it's just because I'm an extremely competitive person but this quote really gets my blood flowing.

"It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or the doer of deeds could have them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the Arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but he who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great devotion; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls, who know neither victory nor defeat."
-Teddy Roosevelt

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Life Rears its Ugly Head

Well I had to run some errands today and remind myself that life isn't all peaches and cream. One of my tires went flat at Costco and I took the car over tot he tire center to see what was up. The treads were really worn and I ended up buying 4 new tires. They didn't have my size tire(baby Prius tires) so they oredered them and they aren't coming until Tuesday. The one that went flat had a hole in it so I put on the donut and took the side roads home. It's quite a pain in the ass since we're moving this weekend and I'm going to have to use the car.

Moving is the other slight pain in the arse. It's only a few miles but I hate boxing up all my stuff. I hated to the room next door while living in the Fraternity so I definitely hate loading my donutified car and driving a few miles.

I like our new place. My room is a lot smaller since I'm giving Kele and Danielle the Master bedroom but it's manageable. I'm going to be saving $165/month in rent so that satisfies the miser in me. I also can put my desk in the living room if it gets too cramped in the room and I think I'd like that better. I can't wait for my new computer and monitor to arrive. I'm such a poker nerd. We went to check out the new place today and I picked up two wireless signals that seem usable. I still think I'm going to get my own so I can troubleshoot when things go down instead of just cursing at the neighbors.

Well, that's about all the news. Two errands, man life is tough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's falling into place...

Man oh man, it's starting to come together. The Red Sox came out with their 2006 schedule and motivated me to pore over over the rest of the schedules and figure out when the teams without schedules released were playing, based on the team's schedules that have been released. Does that make sense? I found out that the Red Sox are @ the Yankees on May 9 and I can fit 2 of the 3 games into my schedule. I have the full schedule down below. The Braves schedule isn't out yet but I found that they're at home on that date but I forgot to write down what team it was and I don't want to go through all the National League teams again to figure it out so that's blank. The Orioles game is a pure guess. The Blue Jays came out with a HOME schedule and are somewhere on the road that date. The Red Sox and Yankees are playing a 2-game series for the same 2 days that the Blue Jays are on the road AND the Blue Jays are @ the Red Sox for the second 2-game series so I'm thinking it's a division flip-flopping thing. The D-Rays full schedule is out and they're playing the AL West so that leaves those 4 teams to be playing each other and since the Jays aren't at home, they MUST be at Baltimore...I hope...because it fits into the schedule perfectly. I found out that the Orioles are on the road on the 3rd through the 11th or something like that and that would throw a severe monkey wrench into the plans.

YOU LIKE THAT RAMBLING? I CAN GO ON FOREVER. My apologies if you don't like baseball. Suck it up, this is my life and my blog. Without further ado:

San Fran.....6-Apr...Braves
Arizona......16-Apr..Astros 14-16, Giants 17-20
Rangers......21-Apr..D-Rays 21-13
Astros.......22-Apr..Pirates 22-23, Dodgers 24-26
D-Rays.......29-Apr..Red Sox
Orioles......2-May...Blue Jays
Boston.......6-May...Orioles 6-7
Yankees......9-May...Boston 9-10
Blue Jays....11-May..Oakland
Cubs.........17-May..Nats 17-18
White Sox....19-May..Cubs 19-20
Twins........23-May..Indians 23-24
Cards........29-May..Houston 29-31

I guess I could put the date first but I mapped out the trip based on route a few months ago so the cities/teams are first. Dave will be with me on the West Coast but that's the only passenger for now. I think the stretch in early May will be a good one. Fly to Boston on Saturday May 6th. May 6-7, Orioles at Red Sox. May 8 I'm going to Cooperstown and then May 9-10 you get 2 Red Sox-Yankees games. Then you get 4 games in 4 days and fly out of Cincinnati. All told you get 8 games in 9 days AND a trip to the Hall of Fame on the one off day. And you only need to use 5 vacation days since it's Saturday through Sunday. WOW! I should auction that one off, baby! 8 games in 9 days including 2 at Fenway and 2 Sox-Yankees in Yankee Stadium. Are you kidding me? I'm planning on sitting in the bleachers for one Sox-Yankee game and in the main area for the other. Did you know that you can't get to the plaques area in center field if you buy bleacher seats? Another reason to hate the Yankees, but since I get TWO games there I can enjoy the raucous crowd in the bleachers AND check out the plaques on day 2. Holy crap. I should probably rent another car for these 9 days to accomodate everyone that's going to want to come.

OK, I'm calm. Not really but I need to move on. One of the coolest things about this trip is getting to see a Giants-Dodgers game and a Red Sox-Yankees game. The Cubs-White Sox games will be cool also but I'd really like to see Cubs-Cardinals. There actually is a series June 2-4 at Busch so I might decide to spend even more time with Minh Ba than I already am and check out that series. Neither the Cubs nor the Cardinals have released their schedules yet but fans have sites where they did what I did and compiled each team's entire season schedules. THOSE are real fans.

The stretch in Chicago might also be a good time to tag along. My friend Anh is in med-school in Miluakee and he'll probably join me for part of the Chicago trip. I haven't talked to him at all but he told me a few months ago that he likes going down to Chicago for games. Here's what you should do: Fly in on the 17th and get 2 games at Wrigley, May 17-18. Then we go to the South Side and get two Cubs-White Sox games, at the home of the probable World Series Champs. The drive up to Miluakee with me, drink beer and go to the Sunday game. Fly home Sunday, May 21st out of Miluakee. OR, you can skip Miluakee and fly out of Chicago on Saturday the 20th or Sunday morning and just buy round-trip airfare, Home-Chicago for May 17-21. You get 4 games in 4 days, 2 at Wrigley and 2 cross-town rivalry games. However, you miss out on the road trip aspect but if you don't like driving then this is the package for you! You like my travel agent impersonation?

Well, folks, I think it's obvious that the best package means flying into Boston on Saturday May 6th and out of Miluakee on May 21st. 2 weeks of vacation time in exchange for 16 days of BASEBALL NIRVANA. 16 of the greatest days of your life. Not that any of the packages alone won't be great, but, man...

OK, I know not everyone loves baseball the way that I do and maybe I'm overhyping this a bit but HOLY SHIT I'M EXCITED! CAN YOU TELL?


Well we're moving this weekend and I'm actually kinda happy about it. The wireless internet that I've been stealing from the neighbor has been very erratic since this week and it's been frustrating the hell ou of me. Luckily it hasn't wigged out during a big tournament but it's still caused a lot of problems while playing poker. At the new place I'm going to splurge for an internet connection of my own so that I have someone to complain to when it's going haywire. We also steal cable but we don't get all the channels. Basically we get a good number of channels with a bit of static and some that are unwatchable. Unfortunately, ESPN has become unwatchable and FOX has always been really bad so I've missed the World Series AND the World Series of Poker. It's football season so no Primetime is enough to make a man insane. I had to watch the highlights of the Seahawks game on my laptop and the internet kept cutting out. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Yep, I'm a cheap bastard and it takes a lot for me to spend money but I've reached my wits end. I also just bought a new computer and it's very media oriented. It has an input for cable TV and has the software to pause and record live TV, like TIVO but without subscription costs. I can then burn TV shows or sporting events to DVDs and watch them on regular DVD players. I bought it because I needed something more powerful than my laptop to run all of my poker programs with two 20" monitors.I'm planning on playing a lot of poker over the next few months and I'm going to need something strong and reliable. Here it is:

I think it's pretty cool. That price included shipping and a 20" monitor that normally costs around $600. I was planning on buying a second monitor anyway so it all works out well. Plus, as an Executive Member of Costco I get 2% back! I told you I was a cheapskate. The TV recording feature really intrigues me.

I've been feeling really good the past few days and I'm really glad that I decided not to go to Dublin. Rest is very nice sometimes and I'm really like it down here. I only have 5 months left here and I'll definitely be traveling a bit...speaking of travel here are my latest plans:

November 10-16: Boston/Foxwoods for poker. I might stay until the 18th if I can qualify for an entry to the $10,000 tournament. The final table is on the 18th so if I make it that far I'll buy a different ticket home. Right now the plan is to go and hang out with my Bostonian friends who essentially taught me how to win at poker and watch Carl play in the 10K event.

November 16-22: Seattle for Founder's Day. Fonder's Day is an annual Fraternity function that I had to miss last year while helping move Cliff to Alabama. I really would like to go every year that I can. I'll only miss this one if I somehow get to the final table of Foxwoods and it's going to take a hell of a lot for that to happen.

December 10-17: Vegas for another WPT event. Again, I'd like to qualify for this one too but I'm such a poker groupie that I can't stay away.

December 18-January 3: Seattle for the holidays. My mom's coming home!

January 3-11: The Bahamas!

January 25-28: Copenhagen!

February 8-11: Deauville, France to defend my EPT title!

March 31: Move out of my apartment down here. I'm planning on storing my stuff at my Dad's house in the Bay Area for a few months while traveling. I haven't asked him yet but maybe he'll read it here on the blog.

April 4 - June 1: Baseball Roadtrip

June 14-July7: Soccer's World Cup in Berlin, Germany.

July 7-Augut 13: Vegas for the WSOP.

September: Go back to school! Right now I'm torn between going to school in the Bay Area, Barcelona or Seattle. In the Bay Area I'd get to live with my pops for 2 years, in Barcelona, well, I'd get to live in Barcelona for 2 years, and in Seattle I might get to live with my baby brother for a few years. The Army has some sort of program where you can go to graduate school AND get paid as a captain while you do it. Sickening, the benefits those damn officers get. If he ends up enrolling for next fall there is a very good chance that we'd look into buying a place and living together. I think I'm going to apply to schools in all these areas and fiure out where to go from there. I'd really love to live with Cliff. He'd whip me into shape and possibly teach me how he got rid of the Schaefer laziness gene.

Well, I think this has gone on long enough. Can you tell I'm feeling better? It's 1:30 in the morning so I'm finally getting back on my normal sleep schedule. I'll see y'all Seattle kids in a few weeks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Baseball Road Trip

Well most of the teams have their 2006 schedules out but a few are slacking. The AL East and most playoff teams are kinda ruining it for me. Two of the only playoff teams with 2006 schedules: Astros and White Sox. Coincidence?

So here's my schedule for the first month:
Seattle: 3-Apr
Oakland: 5-Apr
San Fran: 6-Apr
Angels: 8-Apr
Padres: 9-Apr
Dodgers: 14-Apr
Arizona: 16-Apr
Rangers: 21-Apr
Astros: 22-Apr
Atlanta: 28-Apr
D-Rays: 29-Apr
Marlins: 30-Apr

12 teams in the first month but that's the toughest stretch. Once I drive from Miami to Baltimore(sounds very painful) the teams are much closer and I'll be able to come close to averaging a game a day. Dookie will probably be driving with me from Seattle to Phoenix then flying home from there. Anyone else is welcome to join me for stretches of highway if you want. Teams that don't have their schedules out kinda make it tough but I'm trying to hammer out a framework for the East Coast. Here we go:

Nationals: 3-May
Phillies: 4-May
Mets: May 5-7
Blue Jays: May 8-11
Tigers: May 16-21
Indians: May 12-21
Pirates: May 9-18
Reds: May 9-14
White Sox: May 9-11, 19-24
Brewers: May 12-21
Twins: 23-28
Royals: May 19-25
Rockies: May 21, June 2-11

Yep, I warned you it was ugly...I'm trying to look at the dates and figure out the best plan of attack. It may involve backtracking like I'm doing for the Angels-Padres-Dodgers but I'd really like to figure out how to hit one game every day. Are you excited yet? If anyone out there can get me the schedules for the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Cubs I'd be very much obliged.


Well it's been a while and Dookie just emailed me saying I should get another blog up so here ya go.

I've been on a weird schedule since coming home. I wake up at 7 or 8 AM and go to bed around 11PM or so. Really, really weird. I've been kinda unmotivated to do anything and my days consist of surfing the internet and playing a little poker. I have a few interesting things to blog about but I'm going to wait for those. Look for: Poker Goals, Baseball Roadtrip, and Updated Calendar in the next few days. Most of the teams have released their 2006 schedules so I'm trying to plan the trip as much as I can right now. I'm so excited about this damn trip. In fact, I'm going to go work on it right now. I'll put up the dates and cities that the Brandon Schaefer World Tour will be stopping at sometime later today.

OK, short blog but I guess it serves the purpose of, "what is Brandon up to?" and that's the whole reason for this damn thing. The weather down here sucks. I hope it's better where you are.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Coming Home

Well the smog was wreaking havoc on Ken's allergies and we felt like 6 days in H.K. was too long anyway so Ken and I are coming home 2 days early. We had a great time in Hong Kong and I wouldn't mind coming back for a day or two someday. Kay was a great guide and we had a lot of fun hanging out with her. She's a vegetarian aand doesn't drink alcohol, two feats that I've tried to accomplish many times but always failed. I'm far too lazy to find Vegetarian food all the time and the alcohol thing...well...I just like it, OK?

The hike was really cool. We started at the school where Kay works and made our way around the Tam Tai Reservoir(or Tom Toi or something). We had a chance to take a wicked mountain trail but the humidity was stifling and we had a good enough view from where we were so we stayed on the level for the most part. It was a very clear day but the smog made it so that you could hardly see the mountains just across the water. I really can't get over how polluted Hong Kong is but I guess that's what happens when you cram so many people into such a small space. After the hike we went back to Kay's place to watch Doraemon, a funny Japanese cartoon, and unwind. We left after a few hours then went home to wait for John to arrive. He got in around midnight and we strolled the empty streets for a while before turning in.

The next day we made our way out to Lantow(sp?) Island and saw the tallest outdoor sitting Buddha in the world. It was a really spectaclar sight and a real must see if you go to Hong Kong. There's also a Wisdom Path that just opened and it's very cool in it's own right. It's about a 10 minute walk from the buddha and most of the seemed unaware that it even existed. The whole trip is fun, ferry ride, bus to the top of the island, hike up to the buddha: we had a lot of fun. The best thing too is that the entrance was only 23 HKD(about 3 USD) and it included a free meal at their vegetarian restaurant. Give me free food and I'll love you forever.

We met Kay at the ferry terminal back on Hong Kong island and caught the ferry to Kowloon. The ferry is only 10 or 15 minutes long and cost 1.6 HKD. Kowloon is pretty big and bustling in its own right but the view of Hong Kong island across the water spectacular. There is a must see on Kowloon as well. The Peninsula Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in the world and has a great restaurant on the top floor named Felix. The view from the women's bathroom at Felix is absolutely unreal. The women's bathroom is directed across the water and offers the best view of Hong Kong's skyline anywhere. It's a good thing that Kay was with us because she was able to apologize to the shocked woman who came to see 3 young males with their noses pressed to the window. The view from the men's bathroom is nice as well but it looks out over the city of Kowloon, not quite as nice as the HK skyline over the water. Make sure you head to this female bathroom if you're ever in Hong Kong, no matter what your gender. Every night they have alightshow on the Hong Kong skyline that you can watch from Kowloon but it's very overrated. Each building on the Hong Kong skyline has a few lights on it and they flash in time to some music. I guess it was worth seeing but I'm not going to call it a must see.

Yesterday we went to Victoria Peak, or The Peak as they call it. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky, but we still could barely see across to Kowloon. Have I mentioned how smoggy Hong kong is? We had a guide that told us about a nice trail around Victoria Peak and Tom san seconded the recommendation so we checked it out. It's funny because most of the tourists head to an observation point on the left, an overcrowded and overrated viewing point, and never even look at the loop trail on the right. The trail was about 2.5 km and offered much better views of the skyline and waterfront. I will label tis trail a must see, I think it's called the peak loop or something like that. Just turn to your right once you get off the funicular railway, to opposite way that most people are going, and look for the signs. We had dinner with Kay one last time and called it an early night.

We are at the HK ariport now and I just wanted to crank this puppy out before I lost my motivation. Hong Kong is an extremely interesting place and we had a really good time. I would recommend 2-4 days and you'll be ready to hit the road. My next blog will be live from beautiful San Diego. I love traveling, obviously, but it's always nice to return home. I can't wait.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is muggy as hell and there are millions of people on the streets. It's pretty cool to experience and we're going to do plenty of bootleg shopping in the next few days. Tomorrow we're going hiking with Ken's friend Kay. She's been teaching here for 2 years now and sems to have found a nice niche for herself. She claims that tomorrow will be a tough hike but the view will be worth it. I'm not sure what kind of view we'll get through the smog but I'm going to welcome the physical exercise. The sun looks really strange in Hong Kong, because the smog is so thick. It's wicked strange and I'll try to get a cool picture of it. Talk to you later.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I'm sorry for both the low volume and low quality of posts lately. I'm really starting to feel burnt out and I'm rather excited to head home. Kenny and I had a great last week here in Tokyo, saying all of our last goodbyes and again spending way too much money. Tokyo is a really fun city but it's ridiculously easy to spend tons of money. Tomorrow we fly to Hong Kong for a week and then it's back to the good old U.S.A.

I think that I'm going to skip the Dublin trip. I really feel worn out and don't want to subject myself to another European flight just 3 days after getting home from Asia. I think I'm just going to hang out iN San Diego until I head up to Seattle for the first week of November. I wonder how my dear old mom does it. She's been traveling through Asia since May and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. I think it may have to do with our contrasting lifestyles. While on the road she hikes a lot and generally spends a ton of time outdoors. I usually end up drinking way too much and gorging myself at every opportunity without any real form of exercise. On the trip to Eastern Europe with Rob, Davis and Chris we all decided to go running each morning to keep in shape and see the cities from a different perspective. Well that lasted for about a week before we fell into the wining and dining routine. I think our idea was great in theory and I'm going to try to do it better on my next long trip. That will be Copenhagen and Deauville in late January and early February. I should be itching to travel by then.

I'll try to post from Hong Kong. We have almost 6 full days there so we should have a lot of downtime.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tokyo Nightlife

Well, the past weekend was quite a blur and I'm here to report that Tokyo's nightlife is really fun. The clubs are clean and the dancing is ferocious. Japanese people do everything to the fullest, working 11 hour days then copletely letting loose on the weekends. the most crowded, interesting subway you'll ever see is a train from Roppongi at 5AM. There are business men vomiting on the floor, girls that look like they're 15 giggling incessantly, and big drunken Americans trying to remember how to get home. I'll let you guess which group Scott, Kent and I belonged to this weekend.

I don't really remember all the details but it was great reuniting with the boys. They live a pretty good life over here in Japan and I feel pretty jealous. I'm really growing to appreciate everything that Japan and Tokyo have to offer and I'll be sad to leave on Saturday morning.

Saturday we're heading to Hong Kong and I'm going to buy as much bootlegged apparel as I can. Sorry for the short entry but we're about to watch a movie at John Rankin's place. I really miss my home and my friends.

Friday, October 07, 2005

PokerStars Blogger Tourney

This looks pretty sick. If you have a blog about anything, go register for this event. PokerStars is giving away about 25K in prizes so don't miss out. If you don't have a blog, you suck.

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 7521661

Monday, October 03, 2005


I'm just going to concede defeat in my efforts to blog more wile on the road. I guess it's good that I find it so difficult to make time because that means that I'm out doing better things.

Kyoto is a fascinating city. It was the capital of Japan before Tokyo and the word 'Kyoto' actually translates as capital. There's a lot of really interesting history here with over 2,000 temples. We7ve been busy every day, checking out temple after temple. Ken has another Buddhist Monk friend here named Sakata. We're really lucky to have him as a guide because he takes us to the lesser known temples that most tournist don't get to see, as well as the major guidebook hotspots. I'd be utterly lost without Kenny, the best Japanese tour guide in the world.

Kyoto is also a pretty young city. There's a real fresh energy around and the nightlife is great. There's a big river that runs through the middle of the city and a ton of people sit on the banks and drink every night. In a way it reminds me of Barcelona and Istanbul, rich with history and culture yet vibrant and youthful.

We hung out with Laura for the past two days and it was great to see her. She's meen teaching English in Japan for a year now and she's contracted for another full year. She really likes it here and might even sign up for more than two years. I really am enjoying Japan but I don't think I could live here for that long. There are a lot of Japanese customs that I really like but there are a few that I don't really understand and irritate me a little bit. The people here are all really nice but sometimes I get the vibe that it's a little contrived and forced because of the culture.

All in all, Japan has realy wowed me with it's efficieny, cleanliness and cheerful attitudes. Every train is on time, the streetrs are spotless and everyone, everywhere, greets you with a Konichiwa and an Arigato Gozaimasu. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to visit and I'd like to come back again if I ever get around to learning the language.

We're off to Tokyo in a few days. I probably won't blog until then. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.