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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • November 05, 2006

     

    Reminiscing Tokyo Part 1: Shinjuku (10/30/06)

    I boarded Japan Airlines flight 736 bound for Tokyo Narita Airport from Hong Kong at 11:15 on October 30. Boarding was smooth at the airport and the 4-hour flight was rather uneventful in terms of feelow passengers' noises and soliciting conversations. Over the surprisingly delightful meal which featured a savory katsu kare raizu (curry pork over rice) I busied myself with some last-minute planning and itinerary revision to ensure that I wouldn't waste a minute of my being in Japan.

    The somewhat aged Boeing 747-300 (without the wingslets) would have landed ahead of schedule had Narita Airport not been so chaotic with air traffic control. At least the immigration check and baggage claim were so efficient that they had more than compensated the delay. After managing to clear custom, exchange money, and buy train ticket, I still missed the 16:47 Narita Express to Shinjuku, a non-stop train that would take me to the heart of Tokyo in about 90 minutes for 3110 Yen. The 17:17 train dropped me off at Shinjuku shortly before 7 pm and although it was dark the streets of Shinjuku were lightened up by numerous neon signs.

    Hurling my luggage through the busy streets abound with off-work commuters, I lost my sense of direction owing to a lack of street signs. I relied on landmarks which the Lonely Planet guide mentions, located them on the map and made sure I was heading the right direction to the hotel. I stopped by a soba ya (noodle house) where I had to purchase a ticket for the noodle from a vendor machine before I took a seat. For 800 Yen I enjoyed a welcoming tenpura soba (shrimp and vegetable tempura over cold noodle) and it was not before long (I was ravenous) when I found a great bargain for nice lycra/polyester boxers for 100 Yen a pair at the 100-Yen store!

    Upon checking into my room, which was no bigger than a work cubicle, I dashed out of the hotel once again to be back in the hustle-and-bustle night scenes of Shinjuku, where it only became more lively and convivial as people who got off work were now replaced by trendy-looking bar cruisers and party goers.

    Bright neon signs lightened up the sky as if it was deprived of stars. Restaurants, noodle shops, karaoke bars, clubs, and shops lined the streets of Shinjuku and stayed open to the wee hours. Exhausted from a day's worth of travel, I walked back to the hotel and, before I called the night, I studied the subway map scrupulously and familiarized with the route by which I had to take for the next few days--for I was prepared to might have got lost in the labyrinths.

    Stay tuned for more travel blog and more pictures. I will also upload *all* the pictures to the picture section.

    3 Comments:

    Blogger Oakland Rezident said...

    Great travel blog. One of your best. I felt like is was right there hearing the hustle and bustle. The pictures helped too. Hope your well hope to see you soon. The new baby is just about to arrive !!

    11/05/2006 10:35 AM  
    Anonymous Stephen said...

    You are so adventurous Matt and look great!

    With your newer buff body type your appeal to both sexes is very desirable especially with a great range of guys. You look strong and healthy which is always a plus. You're in a good space mentally with terrific energy. Good for you Buddy. I envy you and your writing.

    11/06/2006 6:16 AM  
    Anonymous John said...

    Hi Matt --

    I wish I lived in SF so I could get to know you. I think you would be such an awesome friend even though it would be a struggle for me to keep up with you.

    I admire your intellect immensely and for the life of me I cannot understand why you are single.

    You are an inspiration to all of us who strive to be interesting, knowledgeable people that other people enjoy being around.

    All the best.

    johnNokc

    11/06/2006 7:10 AM  

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