Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Vampire in Japan: Day 2 - Rock & Roll Over

13th May 2007

Osaka Castle: Enter the Rock Star

A visit to Osaka Castle marked the beginning of the new day. A serene moat and a little building welcomed my arrival. With my vampiric intelligence being at its lowest in the morning, I had to be told that THAT was NOT the castle. Speaking of moats, I figured that it would probably be REALLY useful in a time of ass-slow armour and the lack of proper swimming lessons... inspires me to get one for my castle too.

A short hike took us to the top and where the REAL deal stood. And of course, I just had to capture a little slice of Japanese heritage, albeit being a piece of reconstructed, rather modernised heritage, but oh well... details, details.

Oh, but before that, there was one more thing to do. I reached into my pocket, to open a little pouch, pulling out a pair of white aviator shades, slowly bringing them to my eyes in the most breathtaking way possible, as I put them on, I felt a rush of manliness gushing through my bones, I was a new man.. I was transformed... I became.. THE ROCK STAR.

  • Often seen parading around with trademark Rock-God Aviator shades to shield eyes from the blinding flashes of the paparazzi.
  • Trademark rock ensemble complete with various casual t-shirts and one-size-fits-all black jacket.
  • Photo-whore.
  • Epitome of cool.
  • God of Manliness.
  • Humble.


Wasting no time with my new transformation, I started posing for the cameras, with my props, backgrounds, and *ahem* co-star(s).

Rock Star Debut: Chin-chin obviously has a tilted perspective

Only Rock Stars can look manly in a Dress

Chinamen and a Japanese Castle

The castle was scalable, but as with all tourists attractions, some form of monetary fee was involved. And since the entourage are cheapskates, the Vampire is a Scrooge and this Rock Star is an 80's has-been, we didn't comply to their monetary terms. The first of many not-so-sound decisions I would come to make based on a touristic point-of-view.

Anyhow, a well-deserved break from all the camera time was taken over a Green Tea ice-cream (they have Green Tea EVERYTHING), and the discovery of a VERY open concept toilet (these Japs seem to have no qualms about exposing their Chin-chins for the world to see).

However, the discovery of the morning had to go to this Little Slice of Zen that the entourage and I gazed upon in the castle vicinity. Absolutely soothing.. I must say, the greens, the water, the turtle on the rock. Debate ensued as to whether the turtle was ornamental or not, but it all stopped when I used my psychic abilities to command it to hop into the water to silence the opposition.

One Step Closer to Nirvana

Universal Studios Japan: Addicted to that Rush

The better half of the day was spent in Universal Studios Japan. Having visited its US counterpart some 9 years back, comparisons were bound to be made. I do have to say that the Japan one did manage to replicate the flavour of the US original, largely. Having said that, it was 6 hours of fun that followed, ok.. make that like 1.5 hours of walking, 4 hours of waiting and minutes of adrenaline rushes sprinkled in between. Still, if there's one thing about Rock Stars, its that they are addicted to the short sharp bursts of adrenaline, and this Rock Star is no exception.

Moments before I turned around and Sucker-Punched the Red Bastard

The Japs love to Picnic in their Theme Parks

The Rides:

Jurassic Park: The Ride
  • Description: Leisure boat ride through a recreation of the Jurassic Park set before a surprising waterdrop at the end.
  • Rush Factor: ***1/2
  • Queue Time: 60 Mins
  • Verdict: The waterdrop at the end was not so surprising, considering I knew exactly what to look out for, not to mention it was very much shorter than the 83 ft. tallest waterdrop in the world in the US version of this. I managed to look reasonably good-lookingly shocked in the photo taken at the end, in contrast to the look of my soul transcending my body in the US version 9-years back.
  • Memorable Moment: When Wilbert squealed after the first elevation and it was only a small thud into the water.
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

  • Description: 3-D VR ride with snazzy effects and Spiderman speaking Japanese.
  • Rush Factor: **1/2
  • Queue Time: 50 Mins
  • Verdict: A queue that spiralled through countless Comic-inspired rooms of the Daily Bugle before arriving at a Ride that has a 3-D Japanese speaking Spiderman fighting snazzy villains, complete with water & heat effects, complete with a reality-bending vertigo-inducing drop at the end of the ride.
  • Memorable Moment: When the vehicle spun 3 times horizontally and I was afraid of Sujun's breakfast splatting onto my snazzy 3-D glasses.

Hollywood Dream

Description: A 90 second roller coaster with a dips and curves, allowing you to see the landscape of the park as a dazzling blur.

Rush Factor: *****

Queue Time: 70 Mins

Verdict: 70 minutes for 90 seconds of adrenaline? Hardly sounds worth it, but it probably doesn't get better than this. A breathtaking 90 seconds, which allows you to choose your accompanying music to feed your adrenaline. Of course I chose Rock, but Classical did cross my mind.

Memorable Moment: Wilbert losing his Roller-Coaster virginity. Hands-up throughout the entire ride, almost.

Shrek 4-D

  • Description: A 4-D movie of Shrek speaking Japanese with water effects and Spiders tickling your feet.
  • Rush Factor: *
  • Queue Time: 40 Mins
  • Verdict: Spiderman's handicapped brother for the Tots and the Toots. Wholesome Japanese Family Fun (Read: made me so warm inside I felt that the warmth almost put me to sleep).
  • Memorable Moment: Waking up when the water fell on my face.

Frozen Strawberries

Description: 3 cold, hard frozen bitches that send shivers down your teeth with every bite.

Rush Factor: *****

Queue Time: 40 mins. Lasted as long as the Shrek queue.

Verdict: Cold and hard. Not very juicy. A different kinda rush.
Memorable Moment: The first bite sent shudders through my vampiric corpse.


Kobe Night Scene: Bright Lights

A bus ride towards the Kobe sunset gave our feet a much-deserved rest from all the prolonged standing. Alighting at the Sannomiya Center Street in Kobe, the entourage did a little shopping before heading off for dinner. More Jap fashion and hot chics flooded my vampiric senses, but the only things the Street yielded were coffee peanuts, 3 packets of it to be exact.

Dinner was a traditional affair as we savoured Shabu-shabu, or Traditional Japanese Steamboat dinner. Hotpot with strips of pork and lots of veg. The highlight of the meal had to be the sauce provided with the meal; light sauce with a tinge of vinegar, the dip was enough to add a new dimension of flavour to the traditional meal. If my divine memory doesn't fail me, a cute waitress provided the necessary eye-candy as a complimentary dessert.

The last stop for the night was an indoor viewing platform on the 24th storey with a 360 degree view of the Kobe skyline. Being a resident creature of the night, the Count has always been a fan of night scenes. Bright lights that stretch as far as the eye can see somehow resonates my dark soul with a rhythm of peace, tranquility and a general appreciation for the splendour of the night. An interesting point to note is the Ferris wheel in the background of one of the pics. Apparently, the Japanese love their ferris wheels as, due to the Earthquake-prone nature of their island, they tend not to construct their Towers of Babel. Hence, they build Ferris wheels instead to get a sense of vertigo and a bird's eye view over their city landscape. A pity that night scenes are terribly caught with most cameras, and much of the splendour is often lost in the translation to film.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Vampire in Japan: Day 1 - Darkness Descends on the Land of the Rising Sun

12th May 2007


Fashionably late (as usual), a morning coke, and my entourage and I were all set to fly 7 hours across the Pacific Ocean to the Land of the Rising Sun. The 7 hours passed easily with the help of in-flight movies such as "Music and Lyrics" (ironic that I ended up catching it on the plane in the end after all the trouble went to getting hold of it) and "Stomp the Yard" ("I've never seen stepping like this before!!" Yeah, whatever you say, "Dog"). The meal was simply FANTASTIC, dubbed "SQ Beef" by the entourage and I; the beef was seasoned appropriately, but I was digging for the chainsaw in the utensils packet for slicing the beef. As usual, the stewardesses ain't that hot, but were at least they were nice enough to keep spamming me with orange juice throughout the flight, to quench my vampiric thrist from *ahem* other fluids.



Upon arrival in Osaka, we met up with our tour guide proper, a 40-ish Hongkie with a receding hairline; STARK contrast to the cute Japan-Hour-esque Jap chic with the high-pitched whiny voice we were expecting to hear for the next 7 days. But well, he had his own uses I guess, since not being local, he would be less inclined to "sell" Japan, and provide a probably more insightful (albeit biased) view of the Japanese people. For easy reference, I will refer to his as Chin-Chin (Japanese lingo for: Dick), based on this joke that he was making about this.

The bus ride gave us a glimpse of a Japanese city landscape. The one thing that struck me was how "grey" their whole landscape looked, and a very even shade at that. But upon reflection, it could partially be because of how clean the whole city looked that made everything looked so grey and even. As we transversed the roads of Osaka, we were wondering why was it such a ghost town at 4 plus in the afternoon. Where were all the Jap schoolgals or hot chics or anything? Seems like all we were seeing were Obasans and Obaasans.

Osaka City Landscape



All those worries were nullified in a matter of seconds upon stepping out to the shopping district in Osaka, Shinsaibashi. I was totally smittened by the contrast between the scene before my eyes and the scene from the bus. People, beautiful people, filled the streets. Guys with long, dyed, styled hair, some pulling off the rock star look, others with the out-of-bed look. And the chics... WOO! Hot as Hell!!! I was practically turning my head once every 5 gals I think. Most popular looks were the Ayumi Big-dyed-hair-with-huge-shades look, and the Koda Kumi tanned look. But either way, now THAT looked like the Japan of my fantasies.

Vampire Sighted in Shinsaibashi

Navigating the walkways and shops of Shinsaibashi led us to some rather interesting discoveries such as a Takoyaki-making machine and some weird ass snacks. But what caught my attention was this, a cigarette vending machine. Like all other East Asians, the Japanese population are heavy smokers as well, apparently; thus the need for such extravagance in convenience towards shortening their lifespans.

Dinner that followed was quite a spread of traditional Japanese cuisine. The Sukiyaki was not bad, but the minions were complaining about the ho-hum-ness of the meal, and I thought I was the fussy one when it came to food.

Bidet means "Up-your-Ass-Spray"

Back at the Hotel Plaza Osaka, the minions and I decided to experiment with the famous Japanese Ass Spray. The controls consisted of three BIG buttons, that write "Stop", "Spray" (with a picture of an Ass being sprayed) and "Bidet" (whatever the hell THAT means), oh.. and one button that adjusts the pressure of the water. So there we were, spamming the bloody spray button but nothing seemed to happen. Then I decided to kneel on the toilet seat, which activated some sorta mini-flush and I pressed the "Bidet" button instead.

The next thing I knew, I heard a mechanical extending sound and I saw a tube extend out of the toilet bowl. My vampiric senses went berserk as I sensed the impending humiliation of getting ass sprayed by the damn "Bidet," so I instinctive strafed to my left. Wilbert was smart enough to see what I did and hugged the wall as well. Siwei and Zhenfeng were still puzzled as to what happened. And only picked up the cue when they saw the water spraying towards them in a glorious arch. We were all bowling over with laughter at the end of it.

But seriously, I did give it a try later that night. And the bastard who used it before me left the pressure at max. So when I "bidet-ed" myself, it was REALLY unsettling, like getting ass-fucked (not like I know what its like to be ass-fucked... but I would imagine its pretty close.) But either way, I got more used to it as I used it more (probably how people get used to getting ass-fucked as well). The Japanese are geniuses though, they even considered using your body warmth to warm the water that sprays your ass. Anyhow, I'm quite sure I found my solution to my old-age-ass-swiping woes, inclusive of seat-warming.

Oh, another sign of the Japanese ingenuity is reflected in their space-toilet design. Even though its DAMN small, and bloody cramp (I could have sworn I hit the walls more than 20 times when I was drying my corpse in the shower), the toilet is designed in such a way such that bathtub sink and toilet bowls are all linked. If I translated what Chin-chin said correctly (since Vampires don't speak Chinese), the purpose of this is in the case of an Earthquake, the toilet is shelter and the structure of the toilet is such that the walls are reinforced or something.


Love at First Sight

The night ended with the entourage taking a tour around the neighbourhood of our abode. Of interest was the first sightings of the Love Hotels, complete with gaudy and blinding lights to catch the attention of the lusty male ruled by his member. OBVIOUSLY, I couldn't resist the temptation, but I had my regal image to maintain in front of the entourage. So, I sadly, settled for photos (albeit taken with DISTINCT glee, but I assure you there was nothing on my DISTINGUISHED mind).

Love Hotel

Nothing on My Mind

Since I failed to satisfy one bodily organ, I had to AT LEAST try to satisfy another. A visit to 7-11 reaped some Japan-exclusive snacks for the night. Baked-potato Pringles, Green Tea and Cacao Kit-Kat were hardly any substitute for the fantasies that were rolling out in my mind (despite chocolates' said ability to simulate sexual gratitifaction), but oh well... nothing like a bottle of Poison to put the Vampire's woes to rest.

Poor Substitutes


Saturday, 26 May 2007

Alpha and Omega

Procrastination and hesitation has kept the words "I wanna start a blog" at the tip of my tongue for forever now. And I guess now is probably as good a time as any, considering today marks the Omega of the Academia Chapters of the Vampire Chronicles, and the Omega of one chapter preludes the Alpha of the next. But first things first, (re)introductions proper...

"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of (potential) wealth and (remarkable) taste."

Instead of impeccably-written self-descriptions, I would rather let the experts do the talking for me, about me.... calls me:

(Couldn't have said it better myself.)

Dan McAllister says I am:

The Visionary
Visionaries bring imagination, creativity, and vision into their leadership approach. They use symbols, stories, rituals and ceremonies as levers for managing purpose and meaning.

(He's right, I think experiences are the essentials of the soul, and the meaning in life is derived from experiences.)

Anthony Gregorc classifies me as:

A Concrete-Random (CR) Learner
  • Uses insight to skip details and find the big picture.
  • Use intuition to uncover lies and deception.
  • Stand independently of others' thoughts, work and deed to risk being different.
  • Create new ideas, approaches and products.
  • Conform to established rules and procedures if they are personally acceptable.

(Damn straight!)

My loyal subjects call me:
  • Jerk!
  • Flirt!
  • Bastard!
  • Piece of Shit!
  • Idiot!
  • Stupid Ass!
  • Dickhead!
  • (Other equally flattering words)

(Oh well... the things I let the audacious fools get away with.. its ok.. I'm BIGGER than that.. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!)

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name; But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game."

The nature of my game is not a convoluted one for sure. It is purely to capture the essence of the moment. While photos do that to a certain extent, there are some things such as thought that cannot be captured without the aid of words. Furthermore, at (One hundred and) Twenty-Five, I already sense some details of my life slipping through my fingers, especially details that I don't want to lose, like my travel experiences and special events; experiences worth remembering down to the finest details. Thus, in order to preserve my memories till this point and from this point onwards, I've decided to start penning "The Immortal Vampire Chronicles," as an attempt to immortalize details, thoughts and memories.

-Thus, here marks the Alpha of Immortality -