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November 14th, 2012

Faces of FD: Robbie Nishida

November 13th, 2012

Faces of FD: Frederic Aasbo

November 1st, 2012

Tyler McQuarrie pulls away as Tony B eats the wall.

November 1st, 2012

Vaughn Gittin versus Dai. Two FD champs going at it.

October 31st, 2012

Robbie door to door with Aasbo.

July 29th, 2012

Robbie and Daigo exiting the bank at Evergreen Speedway for FD Seattle.

March 29th, 2012

Week 13/52: Bodied on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Since the prices started dropping, I finally picked up a 5D Mark II.

Looking forward to shooting video and being able to get better photos in low light– though I do plan to keep my 5D Classic as a secondary/backup body.

Here’s a quick shot I did using some off camera flash. Since I didn’t have anything white for it to sit on/in front of, I just did it on my comforter. I think it turned out pretty decent!

Strobist: LP160 shot through umbrella above and behind subject

Canon 5D + Canon EF 135mm ƒ/2L USM

www.brianychan.com

Japan Retrospective: Besuboru

April 7th, 2011

The overlaps between the United States and Japan are far and few between. Luckily, one of those overlaps is baseball! With the help of my cousin and her friends, we were able to secure tickets for the Yomiuri Giants against the Yokohama Baystars during our time in Tokyo.

The day leading up to the game was filled with excitement and anticipation.  We took an early JR train to the Suidobashi station, so we could peruse the Tokyo Dome City.  After checking out a few shops and grabbing a quick bite (why do we keep buying takoyaki when its not even that good), the gates opened and we were inside the Tokyo Dome!

Inside the Dome

I’d never been inside of a baseball dome, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the Tokyo Dome was a pretty nice venue.  Although Tokyo Dome isn’t as large as the American ballparks I’ve been to, the fans more than made up for it with their cheers and energy.

One thing that immediately struck me was the ballpark food. The quality and variety of food available was amazing. The food ranged from traditional Japanese bento to hot dogs and fries.  The beer…. oh and the beer.

Every ballpark should and does serve ice cold beer.  The twist that Japanese ballparks introduce is the method of delivery.  The preferred method of delivery in Japan is beer girls. 

Beer Girl

At the start of the game, a fleet of girls with kegs strapped to their backs exit the tunnels and spread out across the stadium.  For the rest of the game, they patrol the rows serving ice cold beer to fans for 800 yen.  The girls are even color-coded by the brand of beer they’re serving. The girl in the photo above was an Asahi girl.  Beware of which one you order from, you might just end up with a cup full of fruity chuhai, as Kerr found out the hard way.  

Let’s just say Asahi goes down very smoothly, and stacking cups became a thing of pride.

The game itself was a blast. Fans are extremely prideful and there are fight songs chanted throughout the game. The hometown Giants got out to an early lead, but the Baystars fought back to tie it up and send the game to extra innings. Jetlag and copious amounts of beer had me on the verge of falling of sleep, but before I could completely make a fool of myself, the Giants ended the game with a walk-off homerun. This was easily one of the highlights of our trip.

A week later, when we arrived in Hiroshima, the first thing we did was check to see if the Hiroshima Carp baseball team was in town.  We immediately headed to Mazda Stadium to purchase tickets.  After a brief conversation with the cashier, we purchased tickets on the first-baseline for only ~$60.

As we walked around the city prior to the game, we were able to see the sense of pride the city had for its team.  There were children and elderly wearing Carp gear and doing the Hiroshima equivalent to shouting “Go Bears” to a stranger.

Mazda Stadium

Finally, the game started, and it was even better than our experience at the Tokyo Dome.  There was a similar feel to the game, but the Carp game felt more intimate and personal.  The Hiroshima fans were more spirited than the Yomiuri Giant fans, and we began to bond with the people around us.  A middle-aged couple even offered us some dried squid to snack on! Arigatou gozaimasu!

We soon were informed that the game was even more special, as it was the final game for a fan favorite, Ken Takahashi.  American baseball fans may recognize Takahashi from his brief time with the New York Mets, but he is an established figure in Japanese baseball. As the end of the game drew near, fans were on their feet and showed their appreciation.  The love and pride the fans had for their team and players showed as they looked on with eyes welling with tears and emotion.

Fan

At the end of the game, Takahashi made a speech and circled the stadium to bid his fans farewell.  I was glad we had gone out on a whim and attended the game in Hiroshima.  We were able to share something with the locals that we had a fondness for and the locals had an intense pride in.

Takahashi

Just as you can experience another’s culture through its food, I believe we learned just as much through our shared experience in sports. 

Japan Retrospective: Hiroshima and Kyoto

April 4th, 2011

After a week in Tokyo and Osaka, we were ready for a change. Luckily, our next two stops were Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Hiroshima

The history of Hiroshima isn’t a mystery to anyone, and because of this, we did not know what to expect.  What we found was exactly what we were waiting for.  Back to the theme of balance, Hiroshima is a city that masterfully toes the line.  

There were plenty of buildings, but they were not imposing. One of the first things we noticed was a relative quiet that the previous two stops did not have.  We could talk without shouting, but we almost preferred not to break the silence.

Candid

If you are a fan of the fast paced and upscale areas of Tokyo, there is a lively downtown shopping and dining area.  You can easily get your high-end couture fix.  Sidenote: If you need to ask how much something is at a Visvim F.I.L. store, you can’t afford it.

Other highlights:

-Food (Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki is the best.)

-Baseball!!!!!! (More on this later.)

Kyoto

Our last stop was Kyoto.  A city known for its Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines– this was the best possible way to end our trip.  Kyoto is quaint and quiet. 

Streets of Kyoto

You don’t need to try to relax here. It just happens.

SUP

The various temples provided the perfect backdrop for reflecting on the previous two weeks.  There are so many shrines and temples (~2000 in Kyoto!) that we had a hard time choosing where to go.  We ended up at a Buddhist temple called Kiyomizu-dera.

Kiyomizu-dera

The temple had great views of the city, the surroundings were beautiful, and the buildings and shrines were awesome to look at. 

We started talking about what living in Japan would be like, if we could do it, and where we would like to live.  We all agreed. If we had to live in one of the cities we visited in Japan, it would be either Hiroshima or Kyoto.

Kerr

Pat

More takeaways to come…

Japan Retrospective: Osaka

April 4th, 2011

We took the JR Line all the way to Osaka, but we briefly stopped at Shizuoka for the realization of Pat and my wet dreams. YUP FULL SIZE GUNDAM YEAH. We literally ran from the JR station to the site of the Gundam so we could make our trains.

Gundam

In Osaka, we stayed at the Bonsai House, another hostel.  Sidenote, if you’re traveling in Japan, there is absolutely no reason not to stay at a hostel. They are clean, relatively spacious, and significantly cheaper than hotels.  

One of the funnest parts of Osaka, was renting bikes and riding around the city. Eventually, we made it all the way to the Osaka aquarium.  I had extremely high expectations for the Osaka aquarium. “It has one of the world’s biggest tanks! Whale Sharks! Two of ‘em! Japan does everything better!” NEGATIVE. Osaka Aquarium was extremely underwhelming, but did make for a few nice photos.

Osaka Aquarium

Our experience riding around the city was so positive, we decided to do it the rest of our stay in Osaka.  Needless to say, after 3 days, we were exhausted.  But it really did allow us to travel quickly yet still enjoy our surroundings.  

Another one of our stops was Osaka Castle. There were some great views from its elevated position and the castle itself was a sight to see.

Osaka Castle

Ultimately, Osaka is all about food.  If you’ve seen the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, where he stops in Osaka, you are familiar with the phrase 'kuidaore’.  Loosely translated, it means eat until you drop.  We definitely tried to embrace the kuidaore spirit.

Kuidaore

We started with a meal at a yakiniku place that specialized in offal.  The food was really tasty and the staff was really funny.  The waiters would shout out the orders to the rest of the staff and they would all repeat in chorus.  They very well could have been shouting profanities at us, but we had a great time nonetheless.  Next, we wandered the streets for food stalls, sampling takoyaki and various pastries. Aside: takoyaki is overrated. We finished off our food adventure at a spot that only serves fried food and alcohol.  Yeah, not a problem. The beers were in huge mugs the size of 7-11 Big Gulps and the food was well fried. Hot, crispy, and not too greasy.

The conclusion I drew from Osaka was that it is Tokyo shrunken and slightly toned down.  Many areas of Osaka had a similar feel to areas of Tokyo, but I feel that Osaka had a slightly better balance between the modern and the old, the frantic and the calm.  This would become the trend as we continued our journey.

Osaka Candid

Next stop, Hiroshima and Kyoto…