Day 4:    May Auld Acquaintances be in Roppongi!

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Day Two in Kyoto!

Waking with a headache from two straight nights of hitting the beers (a third was on tap!), the Boys rose slowly in the Ancient City of Kyoto, but fully committed to checking out as much as they could of the 1,700 World Heritage sites !

The question is how do you hit as many of the places in Kyoto in the daylight hours? Take a tour ? Too pedestrian ! Walk it ? Not enough time, many of the attractions were far apart. What about grabbing a taxi, paying him an hourly rate and see all the major attractions! Walking out of the Hotel, Mike and Bone met Mr. Nakajima, whom was willing to work with the Boy for the Morning. With that Mike and Bone set out in style !!

What your Religion Anyhow !?!

Frist stop on the tour with Mr.Nakajima was a local Shinto Shrine, the question was what is the difference between the two? Most Japanese people observe rites of the native Shinto religion and those of Buddhism; a person may celebrate a local festival at a Shinto shrine, a wedding at a Christian church or chapel, and a funeral at a Buddhist temple. Many Japanese people regard the religious practices of Japan as part of the nation’s culture, rather than a matter of individual belief or faith.

 Shinto is the native religion of Japan, and was once its state religion. It involves the worship of kami, or spirits. Some kami are local – the spirit of a particular place – but others represent major natural phemonena like Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, or Mount Fuji. The word Shinto is a combination of two kanji (Chinese characters): “shin”, meaning gods or spirits, and “tō” meaning a way or path (like Tao or dao in Chinese). So Shinto is often translated as “The Way of the Gods”. Shinto can be seen as a form of animism.  

The afterlife, and belief, are not major concerns in Shinto; the emphasis is on fitting into this world instead of preparing for the next, and on ritual and observance rather than on faith. The religion has no fixed dogma or book, no holiest place, no person or kami regarded as the holiest, and no defined set of prayers. Instead, Shinto is a collection of rituals and methods meant to regulate the relations between living people and the spirits. The main theme in the Shinto religion is love and reverence for natural artifacts and processes.

So a waterfall or a special rock might come to be regarded as a spirit (kami) of that place; so might abstract things like growth and fertility. Sacred objects, such as rocks or trees, can be recognized by the special ropes (shimenawa) and white paper strips attached to them. The principal worship of kami is done at public shrines (jinja), although many people also have a small private shrine at home (kamidana) – sometimes only a high shelf with a few ritual objects. Some public shrines are elaborate and impressive buildings, but many are small structures in typical Japanese architectural style. Shrines are commonly fronted by a distinctive gate (torii). These gates form a symbolic barrier separating the living and the spirit-worlds.

There are often two guardian animals at each side of the gate, protecting the entrance. To pay respects at a Shinto shrine, stand in front of the cashbox and the long ropes dangling from a gong. The shrine may contain offerings of food and sake placed before a symbol of the kami – typically, white paper gohei (hanging zigzags) or a mirror. Most people toss a coin in the box, sound the gong a couple of times, bow deeply twice, clap hands firmly twice, bow once deeply, once lightly and then back away politely to avoid turning their back to the shrine. Shinto beliefs and ways of thinking influence Japanese society, even today. Many famously Japanese practices have origins either directly or indirectly rooted in Shinto.

For example, the Shinto ideal of harmony with nature underlies such typically Japanese arts as flower-arranging (ikebana), traditional architecture, and garden design. Obvious links to Shinto can be seen in sumo wrestling, where many Shinto-inspired ceremonies must be performed before a bout, such as purifying the wrestling arena by sprinkling it with salt. Many Japanese customs, such as using wooden chopsticks, and removing shoes before entering a building, have their origin in Shinto beliefs and practices.

Buddhism came to Japan from China in the 6th century, bringing many other aspects of the highly-developed culture of the Asian mainland with it. The form of Buddhism established in Japan through China is the Mahayana (Great Vehicle), rather than the Theravada Buddhism of India, Sri Lanka, and other southern Asian nations. When the shoguns took power in the 1100s, and the administrative capital moved to Kamakura, new forms of Buddhism arrived. The most popular was Zen (see below), known in China as Chan and in Korea as Seon. Another form of Buddhism arrived in the Kamakura period, known as Jodo-kyo or “Pure Land” Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism emphasizes the role of Amida Buddha or the Buddha of the Western Paradise. According to this school, if the phrase “Namo Amida Butsu” is recited, upon death a person will be taken by Amida to the “Western Paradise” or “Pure Land” and from then on to Nirvana. A more radical form of Buddhism was Nichiren Buddhism, created by the monk Nichiren, which praised the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Buddhism is the second largest form, and includes Soka Gakkai, a very radical Nichiren denomination, whose political wing forms the conservative Buddhist New Komeito Party, Japan’s third largest political party.

In Japan’s history, Shinto and Buddhism were closely knit, and religious practices developed where forms of Shinto and Buddhism were merged together. In 1868, after the Meiji Restoration, Buddhism and Shintoism were separated, but many Japanese still adhered to both. Today, most Japanese people observe both Buddhism and Shinto, according to the occasion, without any conflict or contradiction between the two. Mike and Bone reflected that it was too bad that other religions couldn't co-exist so easily. The morning was glorious so far and was about to become golden!

Mr, Nakajima himself practices both and showed the Boys charms on his wrists for both!

Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Pavilion !

For the next stop of the "Nakajima Personal Tour", Mike and Bone visited Kinkaku-ji  or  the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, officially named Rokuon-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple. Since was designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually. The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. Kinkaku-ji's history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionji family by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. The Golden Pavilion is a three-story building on the grounds of the Rokuon-ji temple complex. The top two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf.

The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha's Ashes). The building was an important model for Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion Temple), and Shōkoku-ji, which are also located in Kyoto. When these buildings were constructed, Ashikaga Yoshimasa employed the styles used at Kinkaku-ji and even borrowed the names of its second and third floors. The pavilion successfully incorporates three distinct styles of architecture which are shinden, samurai, and zen, specifically on each floor. Each floor of the Kinkaku uses a different architectural style. The first floor, called The Chamber of Dharma Waters, is rendered in shinden-zukuri style, reminiscent of the residential style of the 11th century Heian imperial aristocracy. It is evocative of the Shinden palace style. It is designed as an open space with adjacent verandas and uses natural, unpainted wood and white plaster. This helps to bring more emphasis on the surrounding landscape. What also can impact the types of views can be seen from within the pavilion are the walls and fenestration. Most of the walls are made of shutters that can be manipulated by a person to allow a certain amount of light and air into the pavilion. As well as creating a new view by controlling the distance the shutter is raised to. The second floor, called The Tower of Sound Waves, is built in the style of warrior aristocrats, or buke-zukuri. There is a feeling of impermanence that is given off by the second floor suggested by the sliding wood doors and latticed windows. The second floor also consists of a Buddha Hall and a shrine dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The third floor is built in traditional Chinese chán (Japanese Zen style), also known as zenshū-butsuden-zukuri and called the Cupola of the Ultimate. The zen typology depicts a more religious stand point for the pavilion, that was popular during the Muromachi period. The roof is in the shape of a pyramid and is thatched and has shingles. The building is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament. Noticeable from the outside is the amount of gold plating added to the upper stories of the pavilion. There is the implication of the upper stories being covered in gold leaf is because of what is housed on the inside, being the shrines. The outside is a reflection of the inside.

The elements of nature, death, religion, are formed together to create this connection between the pavilion and outside intrusions. The Golden Pavilion is set in a magnificent Japanese strolling garden. The location implements the idea of borrowed scenery that integrates the outside and the inside, creating an extension of the views surrounding the pavilion and connecting it with the outside world. The pavilion extends over a pond, called Kyōko-chi, that reflects the building. The pond contains 10 smaller islands. The zen typology is seen through the rock composition, the bridges, and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points were established because of the strategic placement of the pavilion to view the gardens surrounding the pavilion.

Mike-san & Bone-san

The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha's Ashes). The building was an important model for Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion Temple), and Shōkoku-ji, which are also located in Kyoto. When these buildings were constructed, Ashikaga Yoshimasa employed the styles used at Kinkaku-ji and even borrowed the names of its second and third floors. The pavilion successfully incorporates three distinct styles of architecture which are shinden, samurai, and zen, specifically on each floor. Each floor of the Kinkaku uses a different architectural style. The first floor, called The Chamber of Dharma Waters, is rendered in shinden-zukuri style, reminiscent of the residential style of the 11th century Heian imperial aristocracy. It is evocative of the Shinden palace style. It is designed as an open space with adjacent verandas and uses natural, unpainted wood and white plaster. This helps to bring more emphasis on the surrounding landscape. What also can impact the types of views can be seen from within the pavilion are the walls and fenestration. Most of the walls are made of shutters that can be manipulated by a person to allow a certain amount of light and air into the pavilion. As well as creating a new view by controlling the distance the shutter is raised to. The second floor, called The Tower of Sound Waves, is built in the style of warrior aristocrats, or buke-zukuri. There is a feeling of impermanence that is given off by the second floor suggested by the sliding wood doors and latticed windows. The second floor also consists of a Buddha Hall and a shrine dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The third floor is built in traditional Chinese chán (Jap. zen) style, also known as zenshū-butsuden-zukuri and called the Cupola of the Ultimate. The zen typology depicts a more religious stand point for the pavilion, that was popular during the Muromachi period. The roof is in the shape of a pyramid and is thatched and has shingles.

Check out the Golden plating !

 The building is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament. Noticeable from the outside is the amount of gold plating added to the upper stories of the pavilion. There is the implication of the upper stories being covered in gold leaf is because of what is housed on the inside, being the shrines. The outside is a reflection of the inside.

The elements of nature, death, religion, are formed together to create this connection between the pavilion and outside intrusions. The Golden Pavilion is set in a magnificent Japanese strolling garden. The location implements the idea of borrowed scenery that integrates the outside and the inside, creating an extension of the views surrounding the pavilion and connecting it with the outside world. The pavilion extends over a pond, called Kyōko-chi, that reflects the building. The pond contains 10 smaller islands. The zen typology is seen through the rock composition, the bridges, and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points were established because of the strategic placement of the pavilion to view the gardens surrounding the pavilion.

Each part of the Golden Pavilion was simply a wonder, especially the reflecting pond.  

The Island on the Reflecting Pond

The fact it was 50 degrees on New Years Eve made the day very bizarre! Mike Bone walked the grounds in uncharacteristic silence just soaking it all in.

Mike-san and Mr. Nakajima-san !

Mike and Bone's Driver, Nakajima-san,  went from Driver, to Tour Guide to Buddy in less than a hour! He really enjoyed talking through each attraction he ended up taking the Boys to, which next included an Emperor's Private Pad in the Nanzenji Temple.

Nobbin' around the Nanzenji Temple!

Nanzenji (or Zuiryusan Nanzenji) is a very cool Zen Buddhist temple complex that the Emperor Kameyama established it in 1291 on the site of his palace, and it became one of the most important Rinzai temples in Japan.

 Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) built his detached palace here in 1264 as a place to get away from the line light of the main palace in the center of Kyoto. He later became a student of the Zen Master Busshin Daimin Kokushi, and he dedicated the palace as a Zen temple in 1291.

Nanzenji went on to become one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. As the headquarters of the Nanzenji branch of the Rinzai school of Zen, it is also one of the most important Zen temples in the world. Throughout its history, the abbot of Nanzenji was always chosen as the best Rinzai Zen Master in each period.

Inside the Nanzenjii Museum

Through the gate is the Hojo (Abbots' Quarters), a National Treasure. Inside, sliding doors (fusuma) with impressive 16th-century paintings divide the chambers. These wall panels of the Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety and Hermits were created by Eitoku Kano (1543-90) of the Kano school.

One of the Emperor's Gardens

Attached to the Hojo is a Zen garden, known as the "Leaping Tiger Garden." An excellent example of the karesansui style (seen more famously at Ryoanji), the rock-and-gravel garden was created by Kobori Enshu. It has the unusual feature of having its large rocks grouped with clipped azaleas, maples, pines, and moss, all positioned against a plain white wall behind the raked gravel.

Shrine within a Temple!?!

Is it Kanji or a Block M ?!?

In the Museum was a book to sign your name both in English and Kanji, Bone decided to use English and Wolverine!

The Sanmon Gate of Nanzenji

 

You enter the temple through the Sanmon (Triple Gate), the classic "gateless" gate of Zen Buddhism that symbolizes entrance into the most sacred part of the temple precincts. The grand wooden structure was built in 1628 by Todo Takatora in memory of those who died in one of the Japanese civil wars. 

The Emperor's Lake

 

The Emperors Private Pad in the Woods !!

The Emperor's "Cottage" was a place for the Emperor to get away from the public and relax with family. By now the Boys had been on the Road with Mr. Nakajima-san for two hours. So they boogied out in the nearby countrysides to see a few sites in the periperhery of the City!

Mike and Bone, Gaijun's or Emperors!?!

Kruisin the Kamo River !

The Kamo River (Duck River) cut right through the historic part of Kyoto. Its riverbanks are popular walking spots for residents and tourists. The path along it took Mr. Nakajima and the Boys to the shines and temples further out of the core city.

Buddhist Statues along the Road!

One of the amazing things about Kyoto is that there is "stuff" freakin' everywhere ! You could talk a month, and not repeat yourself. Case in point, just driving in the outskirts of the city, Mr. Nakajima shown the Boys the very cool statues "farm" above.

Checking out the Bamboo Forest outside Kyoto

On the way to the next stop, Mr. Nakajima drove Mike and Bone through Kyoto's Sagano Bamboo Forest. The Bamboo Forest is just off the river on the outskirts of town, and have the towering green stalks of the famously versatile plant swaying in the wind, creaking eerily they collide and twist, with the leaves rustling.  

The sun filters through the densely packed grove, projecting thin slashes of light onto the dozens of camera-clutching tourists shuffling down the wide trail that cuts through the middle of the forest as they awkwardly angle their shots, attempting to crop human forms out of their frames. Though it's the beauty of the bamboo that brings in the masses, those distinct rustling sounds have become an attraction in their own right. A few years ago the Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on its list of "100 Soundscapes of Japan" -- a selection of everyday noises intended to encourage locals to stop and enjoy nature's music. The Bamboo is still harvest and regrown in this place. You can easily tell mature bamboo with the white joints, vs, maturing bamboo with the green joints. This explains why everywhere you go in Kyoto, you see the use of bamboo in the historic shrines and temples. Which by the way the next stop on the "Nakijima Express" was a UNESCO World Hertitage Site!

Hanging Around Hōryū-ji !!

Mike and Bone had to get out and walk two block because this attraction was so busy. The Hōryū-ji,(Temple of the Flourishing Law), UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples which served as both a seminary and monastery. The temple's pagoda is widely acknowledged to be one of the oldest wooden buildings existing in the world, underscoring Hōryū-ji's place as one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. The temple was originally commissioned by Prince Shōtoku; at the time it was called Ikaruga-dera, a name that is still sometimes used. This first temple is believed to have been completed by 607. Hōryū-ji was dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing and in honor of the prince's father. Excavations done in 1939 confirmed that Prince Shotoku's palace, the Ikaruga-no-miya, occupied the eastern part of the current temple complex, where the Tō-in sits today. Also discovered were the ruins of a temple complex which was southwest of the prince's palace and not completely within the present temple complex. The original temple, named by modern historians and archaeologists Wakakusa-garan, was lost, probably burned to the ground after being hit by lightning in 670. The temple was reconstructed but slightly reoriented in a northwest position, which is believed to have been completed by around 711.

The Temple reflects many, many styles. The reconstructed buildings embrace the architectural influences ranging from Eastern Han to Northern Wei of China, as well as from the Three Kingdoms of Korea, particularly those of Baekje. With its origin dating back to early 7th century, the reconstruction has allowed Hōryū-ji to absorb and feature a unique fusion of early Asuka period style elements, added with some distinct ones only seen in Hōryū-ji, that were not found again in the architecture of the following Nara period. There are certain features that suggest the current precinct of Hōryu-ji is not simply representative of the pure Asuka period style. One of the most notable is its layout. While most Japanese temples built during the Asuka period were arranged like their Chinese and Korean prototypes—the main gate, a pagoda, the main hall and the lecture hall on a straight line—the reconstructed Hōryū-ji breaks from those patterns by arranging the Kondō and pagoda side-by-side in the courtyard.

Mike, Bone, and the Iconic Five Story Pagoda!

The five-story pagoda, located in Sai-in area, stands at 122 feet in height and is approximately 20X20 in width and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. The wood used in the center pillar of the pagoda is estimated through a dendrochronological analysis to have been felled in 594. The central pillar rests three meters below the surface of the massive foundation stone, stretching into the ground. At its base is enshrined what is believed to be a fragment of one of Buddha's bones. Around it, four sculpted scenes from the life of the Buddha face north, east, south and west. Although the pagoda is five-stories, it does not allow one to climb up inside, but it is rather designed to inspire people with its external view.

The Lecture Hall

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Hōryū-ji's Museum

The Boys were continually amazed at the intricate multi-panelled art that they saw in in this museum and the other that day. The Japanese has a tremendous focus on nature which is reflected in much of their art. 

The incredible manicured rock and gravel gardens are painstakingly groomed daily to ensure that there are no out of place leaves or wind damage, much different from the parks in the Midwest!

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The gardens and reflecting pond of Hōryū-ji!

The Emperor's very basic bedroom

The Japanese Emperors that resided here actually led a pretty spartan life style. No heat, no air, simple rooms with rollout futons is what they would sleep on. Any futons and blankets would be rolled up and put away during the day.

Ninjas!, Real Ninjas !?!

The room above looks pretty empty but looks can be deceiving to Mike and Bone, and the ancient visitors to the Emperor. These walls are actually hidden doors that would have ninjas, in full battle gear 24/7 to guard and defend their Emperor.

Mike and Bone were particularly polite as to not have John Belushi bolt out of the wall and stab them with a corned beef-skewered sword!

A Portrait of an Emperor

A Buddhist Shrine in Hōryū-ji's

More of the gardens of Hōryū-ji

Heading out the door at Chūmon Gate

Mr. Nakajima met the Boys at the Chumon Gate for once last headsplitting adventure on the Nakiima Express !! Burl Ives said it best on the Rudolph the Reindeer Movie Gold need Silver, so having seen the Golden Pavilion, it made sense to wrap the adventure at the Silver Pavilion!

Japanese Fencing in Japan!

Nakijima-san made it a big deal that the fence leading into the Ginkaku-ji (the "Silver Pavilion"), it is a classic stonebased fence, with bamboo, and a shrub top. Bone thought the Bamboo really wasn't that strong, which was a really stupid assumption as he was about to discover!

Broken Bone!

The picture of above is a bit fuzzy and bright which reflected the current state of Bone who was fuzzy and seeing bright light!  Bone was jabbering to Mike as they went through the very cool fenced-in corridor there was a low-ceiling bamboo door that Mike walked through, and Bone walked (or tried) through, to very negative effect!

Bone knocked himself so hard that when he woke on the ground he was seeing fuzzy with lots of bright lights !!!!

Mike and woozy Bone went on into the Silver Pavilion  , , , , ,  or was it ?!

Ginkaku-ji, The (not so) Silver Pavilion !

Ginkaku-ji ("Temple of the Silver Pavilion"), officially named ("Temple of Shining Mercy"), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto. It is one of the constructions that represent the Higashiyama Culture of Muromachi period. Ashikaga Yoshimasa initiated plans for creating a retirement villa and gardens as early as 1460; and after his death, Yoshimasa would arrange for this property to become a Zen temple.

The temple is today associated with the Shokoku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen. The two-storied Kannon-den (Main temple structure. Its construction began February 21, 1482 (Bummei 14, 4th day of the 2nd month). The structure's design sought to emulate the golden Kinkaku-ji which had been commissioned by his grandfather Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

The Poor Man's Pavilion

 It is popularly known as Ginkaku, the "Silver Pavilion" because of the initial plans to cover its exterior in silver foil to emulate the Golden Pavilion; but this familiar nickname dates back only as far as the Edo period (1600–1868). During the Ōnin War, construction was halted. Despite Yoshimasa's intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa's death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it. This "unfinished" appearance illustrates one of the aspects of "wabi-sabi" quality. Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun. During his reign as Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa inspired a new outpouring of traditional culture, which came to be known as Higashiyama Bunka (the Culture of the Eastern Mountain). Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens as the Ōnin War worsened and Kyoto was burned to the ground. In 1485, Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk.

After his death on January 27, 1490 (Entoku 2, 7th day of the 1st month), the villa and gardens became a Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after Yoshimasa's Buddhist name.

"Mike, are we in Ann Arbor?!?" Befuddled Bone

In addition to the temple's famous building, the property features wooded grounds covered with a variety of mosses. The Japanese garden, supposedly designed by the great landscape artist Sōami. The Sand Garden has become particularly well known; and the carefully formed pile of sand which is said to symbolize Mount Fuji is an essential element in the garden. Mr, Nakajimi told the Boys that at night the Sand Garden reflects silver in the Moonlight, and that is the real reason why it is the Silver Pavilion. Now Mr. Nakajima-san would not be BS'ing the Boys, would he !?!

A Stream of Consiousness

The Awesome Ginkaku-ji View !

"No Nakajima-san, we will take your Picture!" Mike

After the brain-scrambling visit with the Ginki-ji, Mike went balistic, and justfiably so!!

"Oh My Cod! We ain't not Sushi!"

Mike, with righteous indignation, stated "WE HAVE NOT HAD SUSHI, IN JAPAN, FOR OVER 48 HOURS!! And he was right !!! So the last thing they had Mikajima-san dropped them in the best Sushi Restaurant in Kyoto, which the locals would argue is one of the best in Japan, Musashi Sushi!

Going into the restaurant, being it was New Years Eve, the place was absolutely packed. A nice older couple moved down a seat at the counter to let Mike and Bone in to sit. For the next hour the Boys feasted on salmon roe, fatty tuna, spicy tuna, eel, and pretty much anything the chefs could throw at them. The Boys were dissappointed to learn that blowfish was out of season, cause they woulda done it!

Walking out around 4:00 stuffed to the gills, Mike and Bone had to hurry in heavy foot traffic to get to the Hotel, grab their stuff and get back on the SShinkansen Bullet Train for a trip back to Tokyo. 

Training to Party!

Getting on the Train and speeding back the "New" city of Edo, or Tokyo at 280 miles an hour, the Boys indulged a few Kirin beers on the Train to Prime themselves for New Years Eve!

"ハッピーおかしく新年! ハッピーおかしく新年"/p>

Or "Happī okashiku shin'nen!"

((Japanese for Happy Freakin' New Years !

Back in Bone place, the Boys mulled over where to go? Hang out in Bone Place? Nope! What about hitting the Times Square of Tokyo which is 4 blocks from Bones?!?! Absa-freaking-lutely!!!

Mike and Bone headed up and into the madness of thousands milling around the streets. Copying the New York Time Square Ball, the Japanese have their "Ball" (really lights) on Tokyo Tower, which is right there in Roppongi. 

Mike and Bone made a strategic decision at 11:15, wait outside thirsty or go in Bar for a beer! Of course Guiness ruled the decision!!

Happy New Years in !!

Mike and Bone went down some stair out of the fray an into a positively packed British Pub the Bone frequented called the "The Hub". The Boys fought their way to the bar, ordered four pints of Guiness goodness because it was apparent it would take some time to get another order in.

As it got close to Midnight, the crowd around the Boys was very fluid with people getting pushed throughout the Bar. During this "migration" a nice young married couple from San Francisco ended up with Mike and Bone at the bar. They were living as expatriots too, in Singapore, and decided to celebrate the New Year Holiday in Tokyo. As they four American's chatted about life in Asia the clock ticked down to Midnight which required yet two more rounds of Guiness!!

The Party in the Hub continued until the crowd literally started to move Mike and Bone around. Getting moved from their source of beverages was completely unacceptable, so rather than make a scene, they decided to move to a new scene ,,,,, an Arizona scene?!?

Kamikaze's in Geronimo's !!!!

How completely bizarre! Mike and Bone in the middle of Japan, going into a bar (and a sleazy one at that) called the Geronimo! The Geronimo Shot Bar is a popular native-American-themed shot bar right on the main Roppongi crossing. The "Apache" theme that pervades the bar is in keeping with its image as a student-type, good-times bar with  its house rituals which include a "Chief of the Month" board showing who "banged the drum" the most and obliged themselves to buy everyone a shot. Bone hisself had misspent several Saturday evenings (often going till 5:00 AM on Sundays!) in the loose and crazy place.

The reality is that the Geronimo was owned by a British chap, who had mostly Austrialians run the Bar for him! 

Imagine the irony for Mike and Bone:

The only way it could get more bizarre was to order Kamakaze's !!!!!

Oh yes! The bane of Mike and Bone from the distant past, who both got hammered back in the 1980's at a bar in Roseville Michigan called "Its the Ritz" on the Kool-Aid tasting Vodka-based shots. Now 25 years later, half-way around the world, Mike and Bone again imbibed and BS's with their fellow patrons till the wee hours of 5:30AM, making it a VERY good New Years Eve!!!!