Monday, January 28, 2008

In Memoriam of...

Gordon B. Hinckley President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Sunday night March 27th 2008. He was 97. As everyone knows that I am Mormon. He was our President/Prophet since 1995. He was the only President I have known since I joined the church. He was a good man and always spoke with overwhelming conviction. He meant alot to me. He was the one that got me on a mission through a talk he gave about a year before I turned 18. I remember reading many books by him especially Standing for Something and Be Thou an Example. He had profound knowledge. His words helped me through many things in my life. One thing that I will remember about him was that he was always full of love and showed it to everyone. You can just feel it when he spoke. He has done alot for the Church. The many temples he had built is a testimony to that. I just wish I can be just a portion of the great man that he was. I believe he is up in heaven with his wife preaching the gospel like he did here on earth. The earth is a better place because he was in it. I will miss Gordon B. Hinckley.

For a full article on Gordon B. Hinckley's death visit:

Monday, January 21, 2008

How About A Shave...

Its Official. Sweeney Todd is one of my favorite musicals. I fell in love with it when I actually did a concert version of the show in Utah. I played M. Pirelli. I really loved that role for reasons I can't really disclose cause if you haven't seen it it will spoil the movie for you. I also enjoyed the character. He is bigger than life and who doesn't like acting stiff like that. I saw the movie tonight and I loved it! It was a fuse of 2 genres that I love the most. Horror and Musicals. It was brilliant. Tim Burton = Brilliant. I did have some issues with the movie. Some of the singing voices weren't my favorite. Johnny Depp was so good though. I really enjoyed his voice 'cause it was grounded and powerful. I have to warn you that there is alot of blood in this movie. I am still trying to figure out the reasoning behind the almost comedic blood spills in the movie. In a way I liked the contrast it was with the muted really dark cinematography. But it was really really gruesome. I guess thats what makes it a horror movie. Honestly I am not sure it is categorized as a horror. I think its more of a thriller/suspense/drama. Which genres I enjoy also. Well, I didn't want to make this a review but I really liked the movie.

So things are kinda drab. Nothing really exciting going on. I have been trying to stay indoors as much as I can. On my days off I have been running errands and taking class at Broadway Dance Center here in Tokyo. I have taken class from really great teachers. Some from NY. I have also met some cool Japanese dancers. I was invited to dinner dinner with a Hip-Hop teacher and some people from class next week. The teacher is actually Nick Gonzalez. He is Puerto Rican! Wha wha!!! We talked alittle and he is a very nice guy. He was telling me all the things he has done. So AMAZING! Apparently, he and Brian Friedman are TIGHT. He got noticed when he was on So You Think You Can Dance seasons 1 and 2. I don't rememer him but I believe him. Brian saw him and hooked him up with jobs sooon after he was kicked off. He has been teaching all across the world. I am excited to pick his brain and maybe he can hook me up with a job somehow/somewhere down the road. You never know. He is also hooking me up with alot of HOT music. He's gonna make me a CD of the music he uses in his class. So DOPE! I don't usually use that word but hip-hoping it today got me all ghettoized. It is in my blood. Lets be honest! Today we danced to Janet's new song "Feedback." It is such a HOT song. Download it if you haven't already. Alright I am tired. I am gonna be really sore tomorrow. PEACE Yo!

Culture Corner:
Japanese don't leave the movie theatre until the credits are all DONE. I think they consider it rude and dangerous. Rude cause it's considerate to wait until the movie is completely over. And dangerous cause everything is so dark. I dunno. I am just guessing. So I stayed as long as I could until I had to get up and leave. I guess I haven't turned all Japanese just yet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blowing Smoke

I visited ASAKUSA a more traditional Japanese town in Tokyo with temples, Shrines, and a tourist shopping paradise. I went with my Japanese Mormon friend called Tomo. She was nice enough to show me around. After being a good tourist we had a traditional noodle soup called Soba. They usually have Soba at the beginning of the New Year. I loved IT! It was soooo GOOD! Here are some pictures:

A little foot bridge bridge that is over 400 years old.

A cool street off to the side.

The Big Temple in Asakusa

I have to explain this one. In front of the temple there is this fire gazebo and people waft(sp) the smoke over for the part of the body they want healing. Tomo said when she was a child her dad would waft the smoke on her head so she would be smart at school. She said it worked. She was a straight A student :) I tried to have the smoke cover my whole BODY!

Real Japanese people making fire for the Smoke Ritual

Underneath that statue was a troff of water where the Japanese would wash their hands before entering the temple.

A little shrine near the temple

The big shopping street in front of the temple that sold many neat Japanese trinkets. It reminded me a little of a cleaner more organized china town in NYC.

Me as a fat Japanese philosopher. hahaha.

Tomo as a French/Japanese limo driver???

Culture Corner:
So Buddhism is the major religion here in Japan. There are really into rituals and symbolism. Nowadays about 90 million people consider themselves Buddhists in Japan. However, the religion does not directly affect the everyday life of the average Japanese very strongly. Funerals are usually carried out in a Buddhist way, and many households keep a small house altar in order to pay respect to their ancestors.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Year of the RAT!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! It feel like its been a while since I've blogged. Its 2008! I should do better at blogging we'll see how that goes. I do have some resolutions that I made but I'll spare you the details. Maybe I'll share a few. I decided I want to learn the Piano. I want to get a teacher and get lessons. I think i am going to start here in Japan. I need to find a teacher...hmmm. I have others but they are boring and some personal. But I hope every one has started their New Year healthy and with a positive mind set of what this year could bring. I celebrated my New Year at a Latin club in Roppongi(party district in Tokyo). Before the club I went to the big Tokyo Tower to take some pictures. I am not a clubber so it was weird to go to this club alone. But I had a good time met some ladies and danced the night away. When it was ready to count down I didn't know if I should count down in English, Spanish cause I was at a Latin Club, Japanese cause I was in Japan or French just because I can. So I think I started in English then went to Spanish then I ended up in Japanese. Crazy...I know but what an experience to be in a Latin bar in Japan, not knowing a soul, and bringing in the new year. I left around 1am and met up with some people from Disney at a local bar by our apartment. It was mostly those who had to work the countdown shows. It was fun to see them. Around 3:30am I decided to call it a night and head home, SOBER by the way. I am happy to report I am 28 years SOBER :) Anyway, the next day. I watched CNN and saw the ball drop in NYC. I was missing NYC. After I rushed out my apartment because I was late meeting someone to go see National Treasure. There is a funny story while leaving. While in the Elevator I met this girl that was visiting a friend. I wished her a Happy New Year. She then states that I was the first person she has talked to all year. I told her she was lucky :) I wished her a good day as I rushed to go get my bike at the lot in the back of the building. I decided that I should invite her to the movies. So as I leave and go out the front doors to see if I can catch this girl I see her on the floor holding her ankles and balling her eyes out. I freak out and drop my bike to see what was wrong. In her hiccupy, cute accent(I think Australian) she says she fell off the concrete steps outside the doors while fidgeting with her Ipod. She also says she thinks she sprained her ankle. I ask her if she wants me to call an ambulance. She said no that she just needs to put ice on it. I then pick her up and take her to the elevator. By this time she wants to walk. So I let her go. I felt bad she went upstairs alone. I called her friend she was visiting to make sure he knows she was hurt. While all this is happening my friend is calling me and texting me to hurry up. I was in such panic. Ahhh! I should have just taking her to the room and made sure she was OK and had ice. I just felt so bad for this girl. Her first steps in 2008 and she falls and sprains her ankle. That can't be a good sign. Or maybe she is getting all the bad stuff out of the way first. hmm? Well, I hope she is OK. When I picked her up and took her to the elevator I kinda felt like the Knight in Shining Armor rescuing the damsel in distress. I am going to check up on her tonight and see how she is doing. Story of sprained ankle girl to be continued...

So in Asia they use the Chinese astrology calendar. I am not too familiar with it all but in Japan it is the year of the RAT in the 12 year cycle in the Chinese animal zodiac. In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal signs represents twelve different types of personality. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat. So what this all means ..I dunno but I do know that Disney is using this to their advantage. Because some times the Year of the Rat can be interchangeable with the Year of the Mouse. Rat...Mouse....MICKEY MOUSE! So get this. I just figured this out today. This might take some math skill. Hope you can handle it :) The year of the Rat is every 12 years. 12 animals naturally Rat being the first in the cycle. So if we count down in multiples of 12 from now we get, 1996(year of the rat) and 1984(year of the rat). Guess what opened in got it. Disney Land Tokyo. So this year being the year of the Rat/Mouse again marking the.....drum roll please....25th anniversary of the park. How cool is that! So this year they are using that to their advantage as a marketing point. There are going to be many special events through out the year. This is a big year for TDL. I hope they do well. So I am counting this as my Culture Corner which I haven't done in a while. hehehe! In all this research I found out what my Chinese zodiac animal was when I was born. I was born on the year of the SHEEP. Every animals has personalities that go with them and I freaked out how spot on my animal was.

Sheep (hitsuji) --- Born 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907
People born in the year of the Sheep are elegant, highly accomplished in the arts, passionate about nature. At first glance, they seem to be better off than the people born in other years. They are deeply religious and passionate in whatever they do and believe in.

I love IT! All of that is so TRUE to me. Made me smile and chuckle to myself. So when I am acting Sheepish. You'll understand.

Anyway, I am really excited about this year. I feel like its going to be a year of change for me. I am not sure what kind of change but I know its going to be good change. I wish everyone the best in this year to come. God bless you all with health and a strong will to accomplish all your goals you have set for yourselves in this new year, 2008!

Here are some pics of Christmas and stuff:

Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Honey Cream Cheese frosting I made for dinner at the Welch's. YUMMY!

Creepy Reindeer Dancers on parade at Disneyland

Cinderella Castle at Christmas

Family I spent Christmas Eve and morning with. They gave me American cereal for Christmas. SO AWESOME!

Cy and I at Disney Sea on Christmas day!

Mariachi Band at the place we had dinner over at the Mexican part of Disney Sea

Tokyo Tower on New Year's Eve