Showing posts from April, 2009

The Underground Garage: It's the Ginchiest

I winced when Sirius Satellite Radio merged with my cherished XM Radio (creative law number 1: When companies merge, creativity takes it in the shorts), and that wincing devolved into some major cussing when said merger knocked a couple of favorite stations off the air. XM's all-disco channel Chrome, for one, disappeared, and Sirius/XM's exhortation to 'try the 70's on 7 channel ' sent me into a glitterball-and-platform-chucking fit. When you wanna shake your tail feather to some Chic , mewling granola-huffers like England Dan and John Ford Coley do not, nor will they ever, EVER provide adequate succor, guys. Not even close. But all was forgiven when a twist of the ol' car radio dial landed on channel 59: Little Steven's Underground Garage. Screw Best Sirius/XM Station laurels: It's the best damned channel on the planet. Period. And you'll have to pry the dial from my cold dead fingers. Little Steven is, of course, Little Steven Van Zandt of Bruc

Japan Part 5: On Buddha, On Shinto

Wednesday, November 1, Japan time. We rise early to another mild morning. The pavement outside is slick with overnight showers, but for the duration of the day a cloudless sky smiles down on us. We make a brief hike to the lobby of one of the more toney local hotels to meet up with our tour group. Today, we enjoy just being two other gaijin on various whirlwind tours of the local temples and shrines. The buildings we see reveal a scenic and magical window into ancient Japan, and serve as a direct link between the land's past and present. Our first stop, Nijo Castle , served as sanctuary and political fulcrum for the Edo-era Shogunate. The main focus of our visit, Ninomaru Palace, is built from Hinoki Cypress, and its interiors sport elaborate, gorgeously rendered representations of nature. Beneath the tasteful beauty of the building, however, dwell functions and touches that betray the power and treachery that surrounded this Palace in its halcyon days: Entrances to bodyguards&