Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's in Japan: Sushi Skyscrapers, Hamburger Sushi, Bizarre Underground Temples, Resolutions...

It is now Jan. 2, 2015. My New Year's Holiday is officially over. I've been doing work all day today and getting ready for the New Year work start which begins day after tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 at 5 am) for me.

A few things I decided and thought about over New Years....

First off, I haven't really made any New Year's resolutions except to lose weight. And that isn't much of a resolution as it is under doctor's orders. As I wrote in Near Death at the Hospital, Last Month! - Back in Humor, This Month! I almost kicked the bucket in September of 2014, so the doctor told me that I needed to quit drinking and to stop smoking cigarettes... Those two aren't that hard to do, really! (Funny thing! Easy way to quit smoking is to have some sort of heart disease or cancer and, wallah! You no longer want to smoke! Try it sometime! ) The doctor told me that my heart wasn't working at full speed so to accommodate for that, he said that I needed to lose weight so my heart didn't have to pump so hard for a larger body. Makes sense.

Easy to say, hard to do. I've lost almost 25 pounds (about 10 kilograms) and yet, when I went to see the doctor on Dec. 29, he told me that I still needed to lose another 7 or 8 kilograms (about 16 pounds or so!) Yikes!

Other real New Year's resolutions I made were to stop doing work that isn't fun and to stop working with people who are, well, assholes. I mentioned this before in The Internet, the Handicapped and the Future of Production. But let me repeat: 

Over these last 7 years or so, I have been working with many start-up companies. I have come to the conclusion that there is a fundamental problem with the way many of the people who start up companies think: They all state the goal is IPO. Then they work solely for that purpose: the purpose of making lots of money in order to go public. 

Making lots of money is good. But it shouldn't be the primary goal of your life or even your company. The primary goal of life is happiness (I think); the primary goal of the company should be something like; to make people happy. Or; to make society a better place; or to create a better life. You see, if the goals are to make people happy or to make society a better place, etc., and then if the company succeeds at doing so; THEN THE MONEY WILL NATURALLY FOLLOW! 

It also is impossible to gauge the value of doing a job that makes one happy and contented; jobs that cause stress, worry and unhappiness are everywhere and a dime a dozen. To make the primary goal of "Making money" isn't good because we can make money cheating people, taking advantage of them or just plain treating them like shit.... Which lots of people in management do.

Lots of people who will do anything for money seem to also be idiots or assholes too (funny that!) 

There is another thing that dawned on me: The more idiots or assholes you work with, the more stress you have. The doctor says one of the big reasons I got sick in September was probably stress. I believe that, I was working with some people who were total idiots (and assholes) and that was really stressing me out! So I quit.

Thank God I left that place.

Anyway, the big New Year's Resolution for 2015 is to have fun! I hope you have fun too!


Don't do it. LIfe is short. Have fun. Make everyday count!


Here's some photos I took of stuff I did/saw at the end of 2014 and this morning. There's no particular order, but just things that struck me as interesting:

New Year's in Japan? Well that calls for sushi, and lots of it! As is tradition in the Rogers family, we went to our favorite sushi restaurant. There I saw the skyline view of plates stacked up. Take a look, doesn't that look like Hong Kong from the Kowloon side? Or am I too high on sake?

No way! This sushi is not from our favorite sushi place. It is from the Robot Sushi place I wrote about that is totally fun for kids and a great deal! I saw the cheeseburger sushi and decided that I just had to eat one just to be able to say that I did.... And I survived! It tasted like, well, cheeseburger sushi! (For more on the robot sushi, click: Gaijin Gourmet: My Favorite Robot (Sushi) - Hamazushi)

On the 29th of December, we had a get together at my house and roasted a chicken because turkey is too much trouble. Ken and Ayumi came over (it's annual and they are like family). My daughter Sheena came over and of course my wife and son (and dog) were there. Our special guest for the day was Enrico Ciccu who is here from Italy and living alone in Tokyo (which, even though it is very crowded, can be a very lonely place.)

This shrine is right by my house. It is the Seta Tamagawa Shrine. I walked by there today and spent ¥300 (about $3.60) on a "Lucky Charm." I asked the girl if she had any lucky charms for health or success at work.  She showed me what they had... But those charms were too large to fit in my wallet. I asked her about the tiny cheap ones and she said, "Those aren't for work or health, they are just for luck!" I said, "Luck!? That's good enough for me! I'll take one!" It's currently in my wallet.

This is the underground passageways at Tamagawa Shrine. This is a bizarre place. There are hundreds of these stone Buddha down, underground, in this temple. This temple represents a shrine for Buddhist priests who traveled alone throughout Japan before the Meiji Restoration. This place is very cool... Kinda scary.

Seriously, these statues must weigh 100 kgs... Some are huge and must weigh as much as a car. How the heck did those skinny priests get this stuff down into the underground caverns? The entrance and exit to this place is tiny!

Enrico ringing the bell and making a wish.

This is the shrine at Isehara we visited on New Year's day. There is a funny story about this shrine. Inside the shrine is a huge bell. During the war, when raw materials were scarce, the Japanese military tried to get the priests running this shrine to give up this massive bell for scrap metal to be
melted down and made into armaments. You know, for the good of the country and all that. Well, as you can guess, the priests said, "No!" so the Japanese military took to trying to steal the bell out from under the noses of these priests at night when they were sleeping. Oh, come now! Everyone who has seen the Kung Fu TV show knows these priest guys sleep really lightly and even the sound of one tiny branch crackling under the feet of someone sneaking around at night is going to wake these guys up.... And, if you do wake them up at night, trying to steal their bell, they are bringing along an ass whipping to greet you.... Legend has it that the military tried many times to steal the bell.... Guess what? It's still there to this day!

The dog guarding the entrance to the shrine.

The entire family at Isehara Shrine. We wish you all a very happy and healthy 2015! God bless, er, I mean Buddha, no! Amaterasu bless you and your loved ones with health! 


Anonymous said...

Way to go on weight loss for heart health. Hamburger sushi? I could pull that off.

Anonymous said...

"Unless you can come up with a reason, a motto, a clear statement of why you are in business, then you aren't in business. And we taught them that that motto had to be understood at all levels of the company. The example we held up was Newport News Shipbuilding, whose motto was: 'We will build good ships here — at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships"
- Homer Sarasohn