24 November 2004

Wako-Chi

I'm going to miss being in Tokyo where I just spent a week. I'm few hours before my departure back to Boston and eventually back to Dublin.
Tokyo wasn't the futuristic fantasy that I imagined it would be after various accounts depicting the city as a crazy sci-fi all robotised out-of-the-earth kinda place, you know, the one you have in mind too if you haven't been there yet.
The town is all normal to me. I mean, of course, it's huge and crowded, and full of neon signs of all sizes... in some places. In some other places, it's very quiet, laid-back, and with no electronics features around.
I would describe Tokyo more as a patchwork with layers. Layers of what each decade foresaw as modernity. Like skyscrapers for the seventies, and the early eighties Shinkansen, or fashionable architecture for fashion boutiques in the nineties. And so on.
I enjoyed all aspects, even the most annoyable ones (like searching desperatly for an address or 1-hour subway rides), simply because Tokyoites are the most helpful. The only thing that I'm frustrated about is not having had enough time to experience more and explore more. In one week, I didn't have enough time to eat all the kinds of food I wanted to taste, to go to exhibitions, to take the Shinkansen to Kyoto maybe, to party, to meet all the people I wanted to meet, to see Mount Fuji. And yet, I had the impression to use all my time available and more. Because to some overwhelming extent, there is so much on offer (and for some price too) and there's no end to how you can enjoy yourself here.
I'm leaving with the impression that I only had a glance of it all and to me, it's as irritating as it is stimulating.

One quick tip: as you arrive, you might want to have an understanding of the variety of Japanese food which goes far beyond sushi, tempura and teriyaki. One way to do it, which I discovered late, is to go to the 2 basement floors of Mitsokuchi, the oldest department store of Tokyo. The 2nd basement floor in particular offers within twenty stalls or more an occasion to try many different cuisines. And with some quality. The sushi restaurant in the 3rd basement is very good when you crave for raw fish and you're unaware of restaurants in the area.

--Joëlle

21 November 2004

Million-Dollar Blocks

As Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, puts it: "People who live on Park Avenue give a lot of money to people who live in Auburn, New York, in order to watch people who live in Brooklyn for a couple of years—and send them back damaged." - excerpt from The Village Voice - issue 446.

03 November 2004

Today is not another day

I went along with Carson yesterday morning to the MIT polling site. I wanted to get a comparison with the French voting style. It's really different actually. You're not asked for proof of identity, nor electoral card. You just say your name and they check it on their data sheets. Then you're given an A4 paper on which you can check your choices for president and other elections. Then you check out, put the sheet in a ballot and walk away.
I missed hearing "A voté".

I didn't know what to believe about the elections outcome but when I got this picture of Greg's dog ready to vote for Kerry, I felt confident and hopeful that he could win.



But at the end, Bush got even the popular vote (he did better than Reagan in his time!)... I guess it's only democratic fairness. Even though this election process feels nothing like fair.

Anyway, I'm glad to be in Boston to witness the whole thing. Cambridge (where MIT/Harvard are) has voted 85% for Kerry - maybe this is where all the democrat voters from Ohio/Colorado/Texas and so forth have emigrated! Undergrads and grads should go back home to vote, not for Thanksgiving! ;-)

--Joëlle