Thailand trip 2016

September 11th, 2016

We had a great trip to Thailand, our first since April 2007. We didn’t have any solid plans, other than to make sure we saw Ayudhya, a place I’ve never been to on any of my 10 (or so) visits to Thailand, and to splurge on a night in a luxury hotel (the Shangri-La). I didn’t really need a vacation so badly, since we were just in Japan in June, but Zen has his school and this is his last long holiday until November, and that would be waiting a bit too long… so off we went to Thailand for a week, with a spare day before we flew, and two when we got back (a long weekend Monday).

The flight was smooth, we got to our hotel in a great location down a car-less alley near the river, near Khao San Road, so we got some great roadside restaurant food, cheap, and some beer, then walked around a bit, and chilled out in the hotel room. I went off at 6:00 to meet Val, and we hung out, had some food, then headed off to Nothing But The Blues to play some music and to listen to some great tunes! A lot of fun!!

As usual, click on the picture to see a larger version of the picture.

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Sunday, September 4th – Hanging out at the airport!!

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Hanging out at the airport!!

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Hanging out at the airport!!

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The view from the window at our hotel in Bangkok…

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F.U.B.A.R.!!

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Khao San Road, 2016…

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Feelin’ good on Khao San Road!!

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Lookin’ good!!

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The temple near our hotel…

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Naoko & Zen hanging out at the local temple…

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River walk!!

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Hanging out with Val in Bangkok!!

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Nothing but the blues at Nothing But The Blues!!

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Blues blues blues!!

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While his guitar gently weeps!!

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The rock ‘n’ roll doctor in action!!

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Oh Lord, yeah!!

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Khao San Road Sunday night craziness!!

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Khao San Road Sunday night craziness!!

On my way back home, I wandered around Khao San Road for a bit, got a reminder of how crazy it used to be when I was hanging out in Thailand in 1992. Noisy, loud, gross. Cool t-shirts for sale, though.

Monday morning we had our breakfast at the place, it was okay. The plan was to go to Ayudhya by bus, two hours or so away, and cycle around the ancient ruins. But Zen was sick, so we gave that up for this year, maybe some other trip. Instead, we got a tuk tuk to drive us around some local attractions. Then we bought some beer and hung out in the hotel room.

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Monday morning love!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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In a tuk tuk!!

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Town tour around Bangkok!!

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Climbing up the Golden Mount!!

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Climbing up the Golden Mount!!

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Climbing up the Golden Mount!!

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Climbing up the Golden Mount!!

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Broom museum!!

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My new friend!!

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My new friend!!

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Golden Mount!!

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Canal bus people!!

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On the canal bus!!

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Feeling the canal…

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Canal!!

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Heading back to the hotel after a day of adventure!!

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Scary!!

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Dinner adventure!!

Tuesday we had our breakfast, then I took Naoko and Zen to see a Thai kickboxing club that I’d found on my wanders the evening before; I didn’t tell them where I was taking them, though, so it was a fun surprise, they liked it.

Then we took the river taxi to the Shangri-La, checked in, and enjoyed the pool, high tea on the 24th floor with the great view of the river, and in the evening happy hour in the same place. Great place to hang out!!

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Tuesday morning Muay Thai!!

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Beautiful forever!!

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Beautiful forever!!

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Awesome orchids!!

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Awesome orchids!!

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Awesome orchids!!

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Awesome orchids!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – afternoon tea!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – afternoon tea!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – afternoon tea!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – happy hour!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – happy hour!!

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Enjoying the Shangri-La Hotel for a day – happy hour!!

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Cool river life!!

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Cool river life!!

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Cool river life!!

Wednesday we stayed in the Shangri-La as long as we could, then took a bus to Pattaya. Got there around 5:00, were herded into a mini-bus, got to our hotel about 30 minutes later. First impressions of Pattaya weren’t great – ugly, crowded, and full of lonely old men and shops overflowing with massage girls. We found a decent place to eat that wasn’t over-priced, lots of locals eating there too, and then headed back for some sleep.

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Wednesday, September 7th – Shangri-La super-staff – Cherry!!

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Shangri-La super-staff – Cherry!!

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Wednesday love!!

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The road to Pattaya!!

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Pattaya dinner!!

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Crab curry!!

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Pattaya neon town!!

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Walking Street!!

Went for a steak breakfast, then to the big shopping centre, and finally off to Na Klua fish market. The fish market was awesome – we bought shrimps from one shop, then took it to the next one to be barbecued. Washed it all down with beer! The experience was so amazing, we did it again the next day!!

Spent part of the afternoon on the balcony drinking beer and reading; I heard something rustle and looked down, it was a huge iguana, probably about 2 metres long from nose to tail! Just sitting there, enjoying the world, occasionally pulling himself forward along his belly to find another position. Then he did a half turn and moved back. The next day he did the same, and the morning after (Saturday, when we checked out) he was still doing the same thing. Moving back and forth about two metres a day, one circuit. Well, I guess that’s one way to stay in shape…

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Thursday, September 8th – Steak breakfast!!

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Pattaya beach!!

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Pattaya beach!!

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At Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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At Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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At Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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At Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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Buying a green papaya salad at Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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Great food at Pattaya Na Klua fish market!!

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Great shrimps!!

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Vegetables at the fish market!!

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Interesting salacca fruits!!

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Pool dudes at the fish market!!

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Freeze dried durian snacks!!

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Lovely tamarind snacks!!

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These dried cherry tomatoes are amazing!!

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Our neighbour for three days…

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Our neighbour for three days…

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Nice place!!

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Nice place!!

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Dork!

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Dork!!

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Pattaya dinner love!!

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Great food!!

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Great food!!

Friday we didn’t have any plans, so we pretty much just repeated what we did on Thursday – had a light breakfast, then went to the fish market again for some food. Except this time we had much more – including 1.5 kilos of barbecued shrimp, two different types! Great!! We also bought a bunch of snacks to take back.

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Friday, September 9th – back for more the next day at Na Klua Market!!

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Back for more the next day at Na Klua Market!!

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Scallops at Na Klua Market!!

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Mango rice and fried fish at Na Klua Market!!

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Shrimp!!

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Last dinner in Thailand – not so inspiring…

Oh yea – here’s a look at the lovely snacks we brought back!!

We brought back some awesome snacks!!

We brought back some awesome snacks!!

See ya later, Thailand, we’ll be back!!

MegalomaniA!!

August 7th, 2016

My band MegalomaniA recorded an album, actually a 6-song EP. These are the songs.

  1. Psycho Blaster
  2. Spinal Reconstruction Blues
  3. Demon Fate
  4. Escape The World
  5. Butterfly Wheel
  6. The Wurdalak

I sing on all the songs except “Escape The World” (our guitarist Faz sings on that one). That song also has a guest guitar solo from Dhalif Ali.

My friend Kevin Mathews wrote a preview piece for the CD launch in Singapore’s TODAY newspaper, “MegalomaniA flies the metal flag with debut EP Escape The World“. Thanks, Kevin!!

You can buy the CD in Singapore from Hear Records, Inokii Records, Memory Lane, or Roxy Records & Trading. It’s available for download from MegalomaniA’s Bandcamp page.

Here’s the video for our song “The Wurdalak”.

We made a trailer for the album:

Actually, we made two trailers!!

We even made a video for the first single, the title track “Escape The World” (which is also available for download from MegalomaniA’s Bandcamp page).

We released the album on August 6th. That day we also did an interview on SOFT TV. There’s no embeddable video for that, but it can be found on the SOFT TV Singer Songwriter Series Facebook page.

We had an album launch at the Crazy Elephant that evening, here’s some video from the event!!

Here are some pictures of the festivities!!

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Gig posters!!

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Gig poster hanging at Memory Lane!

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Gig poster hanging at Ar Boy’s TNT Productions. Thanks, Ar Boy!!

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The poster’s hanging in the Hear Records store window!!

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The day the CD arrived in my house – July 31st!!

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Stacks!!

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Farid got one of the first copies!!

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Hangin’ out with Dhalif Ali!!

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Goofin’ around with Farid and Trampas!!

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Ms Zacquine did the images for The Wurdalak, plus she’s a super friend!!

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Izzy did the graphic design! Thanks, Izzy!!

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The poster hanging at the Crazy Elephant!!

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Our friend Kevin Mathews wrote about us in Today newspaper… and he came to the show!!

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We sold fridge magnets!!

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Nice!!

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Faz and Mohan at SOFT TV.

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Val at SOFT TV.

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Crazy Elephant!!

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Band boys!!

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I was so happy that Naoko came out to the gig! She even had a fun time!!

Townes Van Zandt songs

July 5th, 2016

I discovered recently that my friend Greg, who plays dobro, also loves Townes Van Zandt, and he was keen to play some songs with me. So it happened on Sunday at Timbre @ Gilman, and we’ll try it again soon. Here’s “Pancho & Lefty”, and “White Freight Liner” with Aman Wadhwa guesting on lead guitar.

Peter, Naoko and Zen in Japan

July 2nd, 2016

I took over 900 pictures in Japan, so I have to resist the temptation to share the best pictures (maybe about 50-75?) here. Instead, here are some pics of Naoko, Zen & I, seeing as we seldom take pics together with one of us being the cameraman.

As usual… click on the picture to see a larger version of it.

Our first night on the road eating Hakata ramen in… Hakata!
Eating ramen in Hakata!

Here we are eating pork in Kagoshima.
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On a special train to Ibusuki. The attendants came around with caps and a little On a special tourist train to Ibusuki.

This may look like someone’s house, but it’s a nice tonkatsu restaurant. Yummy!!
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Here we are in Beppu at the “umi no jigoku” (sea hell) volcanic spring.
Beppu's onsen jigoku tour first stop - umi jigoku.

Here we are at a Hanshin Tigers game! They won!!
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Our trip to Japan!!

June 26th, 2016

So we were in Japan from June 9th to June 24th. It was a great trip – we’d planned to be there for the 50th anniversary memorial of Naoko’s great grandfather, when there’d be a family gathering and a special ceremony at the temple. But that was only one day, so we spent a week taking the train around Kyushu, seeing that beautiful island for the first time, hanging around in Himeji, and also doing fun things like going off to see friends in Osaka, eating good food, and drinking beer. We also saw a Hanshin Tigers game!!

But why don’t I let the pictures tell the story!! Sorry, some of these pictures are out of order, not sure why that happened…

As usual, click on the picture to see a larger version of it.

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Calayer curry shop in Osaka! Spicy curry!!

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Calayer curry – the only curry shop that specialises in Slayer!!

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Korean barbecue!!

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Cooked Korean barbecue in Tsuruhashi!!

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Tsuruhashi with friends!!

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Ready to hit the road…

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Hello Kitty mentaiko!!

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In the yatai area of Hakata.

Eating ramen in Hakata!

Grabbing some Hakata ramen!!

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Ready to ride to Nagasaki!!

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Nagasaki train station…

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Nagasaki Chinatown…

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Nagasaki Chinese food!!

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The Peace Memorial in Nagasaki.

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Nagaski ice cream!!

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This cathedral was only 200 metres from ground zero, but it has since been rebuilt.

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Ground zero.

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Never again.

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Nagasaki a-bomb museum

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A thousand cranes for peace.

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Nagasaki

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Nagasaki

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Nagasaki

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Nagasaki – Zen restaurant!!

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Nagasaki

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Nagasaki’s other cathedral. Beautiful!!

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View over Nagasaki.

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Glover Garden.

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View of Nagasaki from Glover Garden.

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Foreigners’ house museum in Glover Garden.

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View of Nagasaki port from Glover Garden.

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Sakurajima, an active volcano near Kagoshima.

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Yummy beer!!

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Sashimi!!

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Dinner in Kagoshima. We liked the city so much, we stayed two days – one day longer than we’d originally planned.

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Breakfast in Kagoshima.

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Heading out to Sakurajima.

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Checking out Sakurajima.

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Hot spring.

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Heading back to the city.

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On our way to Ibusuki by special train – the Ibutama. Very cool!!

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On a special tourist train to Ibusuki.

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At the Ibusuki hot spring.

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People are buried up to their necks in hot sand. It’s supposed to make you feel good. Naoko and Zen loved it!!

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While Naoko and Zen did their hot sand therapy, I wandered around the Ibusuki shore. Nice town!!

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Kagoshima cool!!

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Great breaded cutlets!! The restaurant was a bit gloomy, though…

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Polar bear shaved ice dessert!!

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Misty morning hop…

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Beppu!!

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Beppu shopping alley…

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Weird drawing!!

Beppu's onsen jigoku tour first stop - umi jigoku.

Beppu’s onsen jigoku tour first stop – umi jigoku.

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One of the hot spring places had a zoo, with this scary hippo!!

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It’s hot!!

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A crocodile!!

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A sea of crocodiles!!

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Hot hut.

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Beppu – hot spring town!!

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The gift shop…

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A geyser!!

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Our lovely dinner – sashimi!!

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Fish maw – doesn’t look like much, but it was probably the best food I had in Japan on this trip!!

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On our way to Yufuin!!

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Yufuin

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Heading back to Hakata

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On the road to Hakata

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Himeji skies

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Naoko’s parents’ family altar

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The village temple

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The memorial service.

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Himeji’s smallest house.

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Daijobu restaurant…

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Fujino…

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Nice dinner, cool people, great food!!

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…and plenty to drink!!

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Zen and Speedy!!

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In front of the temple. Zen wore his school uniform.

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The men’s corner…

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Dried octopus…

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My niece made this funny picture of me…

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Catfight!!

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Heading out to Koshien stadium to see the Hanshin Tigers play!!

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We brought our dinner!!

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Weird platform warning sign…

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Warning signs on the road to my second Osaka visit!!

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Great Osaka food!!

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Awesome dish!!

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Cliff ‘n’ Matt in Osaka!!

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A downtown Osaka eatery!!

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Out for some lovely okonomiyaki!!

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Found this old radio in the room…

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old radio in the okonomiyaki shop

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Cycling around Himeji one day…

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Trying out Hope-ken’s spicy ramen – yum!!

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Spicy!!

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Himeji castle!!

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Speedy!!

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Barbecue fun!!

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Meaty!!

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Getting ready for a barbecue on our second-last night in Japan!!

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Tastes great!!

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Awesome barbecue!!

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Daichi and Naoko!!

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Himeji Castle!!

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My original song “Omniscient”

June 5th, 2016

Here’s a video of my buddy Seth and me doing two of my original songs – “Even When I’m Right I’m Wrong” and “Omniscient”.

Funny how I wore the same shirt both times…

Back in the old hood!

March 27th, 2016

We finally went back to the old neighbourhood, took a bunch of pictures of places that used to be covered up in construction zones and complete mess. Looks like a nice area now!! Used to be a mess… IMG_8795

This used to be a mess…

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This was once horrible…

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This looks great now!!

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This intersection was erased and re-drawn a million times… looks like this is the final version!

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Looks amazing!!

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This used to be a cramped and awful space… now looks wide and green!!

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A nice wide avenue!!

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I wish all sidewalks in Singapore were this spacious!!

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City comfort at its finest!!

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What a wonderful neighbourhood!!

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This road was also totally re-drawn, now it looks comfortable and fresh!!

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Love this part of Singapore…

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Hooray for Beauty World!!

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Beauty…

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World…

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Used to be a parking lot…

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Big and wide!

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Wonderful!!

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Great!!

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The subway entrance.

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Underground caverns!!

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Nice place!

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Beautiful!!

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My old neighbourhood…

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Very modern!!

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I bought a Time Riders book for Zen.

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No mo is forever…

January 16th, 2016

After two months and a bit with a Lemmy…

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…I got rid of the Lemmy; got me a Clark Gable instead, for my first day back at work on January 13th…

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…but by January 15th I was already sick of it and off it came. Took this picture just five minutes ago…

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See ya next Movember!

My amp

January 15th, 2016

Got myself a nice little Vox amp in December. This is working out real well…

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A night at Sportsman – oh Lord yeah!!

January 14th, 2016

Had a great Thursday night out this week checking out the open mic jam session at Sportsman. Wow – loads of fun, with so many friends coming out to jam!!

Hangin’ out with Farid – must be the first time in ages and ages!!
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Luke Buirski givin’ it a whirl.
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Oh Luke, yeah!!
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Chillin’ with the Buirski.
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Fantastic Faz!!
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Retro Groove power!!
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Farid killin’ it!!
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Stuart!!
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Gerry on drums!!
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Eddy givin’ it the rock star treatment.
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Eddy and Luke thrashing it!!
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Power!!
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Near the end of the evening.
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A bit of “Zombie”.
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