“So I Heard Y’all Are Going To China…?”
When my good friend Jared and I first began announcing that we had paid for an apartment in Tokyo, the word spread like wildfire… Within hours random friends were calling us and saying “Wuzzzuuppp, I heard y’all got a place in China! What’s the deal?”
Now, I don’t know if it was just because there has been so much about China in the news recently, or maybe because the 2008 Olympics had just taken place in Beijing, but whatever it was people seemed to just group all of the Asian countries together as one. It then became apparent that most people (at least here in the States) did not understand the differences between China and Japan or Taiwan or even the Philippines. I mean, I do not want to say people are ignorant, especially any of our friends, but it seems people are just a little uninformed about that corner of the world. And that right there is just more justification towards the necessity of this web site, to help educate and inform us Westerners about how different and intriguing the Asian cultures are. And how much fun it is to party over there, of course. But forgive me, I suppose I should start at the beginning:
It All Started During Spring 2007…
…When one of our buddies, Byron, got a job working at the newly-opened Hyatt at The Domain here in Austin, Texas. The first thing he did was come to us and explain that 1) he just watched a training video filmed in the Tokyo Park Hyatt, the nicest Hyatt in the world, and 2) he gets a half-price discount to any Hyatt in the world. Now even back then Jared and I were both fascinated by the Asian countries and both had done fairly extensive research on the Japanese culture — both as a whole and specifically on Tokyo. Plus the two of us also each had a lifelong goal of visiting Tokyo.
Needless to say, all it took was a couple beers and about an hour before we had it all planned out. We would spend two weeks at the Tokyo Hyatt in late August 2007, renting a double with Byron’s discount and just sneaking the third person in. Before long Byron placed our reservation and things started to progress.
But alas, as happens oh so often, things did not go as planned. None of us were adequately prepared. Jared and I did not even have our passports renewed. Not a single one of us was saving enough money. And to top it all off, two months before our scheduled departure Byron got fired from his job at the Hyatt. While technically I suppose he still had the reservation, the only way we were going to be able to even remotely afford the room we had was due to the 50% discount — and that was gone along with his only source of income.
So that was that. The three of us never made it to Tokyo in 2007, despite all our insistence that we were going to follow through, that we were completely committed… We had failed.
But I was not content with failure. I never have been, and I never will be. It’s how I know I will make something of my life. I decided I was going to Tokyo for sure in 2008, and I told Jared he was coming with me, he did not have a choice.
That having been established, I set about saving my money and continuing my research on Tokyo. By March I had proposed we push back the trip from August to October, when the tourist season would be over (not that Tokyo is a big tourist city, it is more of a business city) and the weather would be more comfortable, and that we also extend the trip from two weeks to a full month. Jared was down, and with the trip becoming official, we began telling all our friends we were going to Japan for the month of October–in the back of my mind, this was just extra insurance we were really going, that we were not backing down, or we would have to explain ourselves to everyone.
By May I had purchased two round-trip tickets from Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport to Tokyo Narita Int’l Airport, and there was no backing down. I began looking online for hotel rooms, but then Jared and I changed our minds. We decided to stay in an apartment complex in Tokyo, completely on our own, with no room service, surrounded by locals. Turns out that was the best damn decision we could have ever made. Around that same time we also made our second-best decision ever regarding the trip: to spend a week in the Philippines when we were done in Tokyo. Experience the fast-paced big city party scene in Tokyo for a few weeks, then wrap it up with a week on the beach in the Philippines, relaxing and enjoying the warm weather. I even told Jared I would pay for his ticket from Tokyo to PI, just because I had saved a lot more money up than him, and because it was my idea. ‘Course, I was expecting the tickets to be $300 or $400 dollars, not $820, but hey, a promise is a promise. (Apparently some say that I am a good friend to have lol)
So Why Did I Initially Go To The Philippines?
Ever since returning to the States countless people have inquired as to why exactly we went to the Philippines. I mean, it is not exactly Cancun or Jamaica or Nassau or any of the normal destinations for normal American 20-something-year-olds. Hell, as a matter of fact, the only non-Filipino guys in the Philippines are 50- and 60-year-old ex-military guys with huge beer bellies and Viagra prescriptions. But I’ll get into that later…
After the initial trip to Tokyo back in 2008 was already planned and reserved, I started catching back up with my childhood friend Tori, who is half-Filipino and half-American. Her dad was in the Navy, and along with a few of his friends, they all spent seven years stationed in the Philippines in the 1980s. In his own words, as a young man he arrived in the Philippines with a “round-eye” wife back in the States, but after only a couple months he divorced his “round-eyed” wife for his new “slanty-eyed” wife. As a matter of fact, every one of his close group of military buddies all married Filipina women. The holiday gatherings with them are always so much fun, a bunch of older educated American guys and cute Filipino women.
One summer day, while BBQ’ing by the poolside at one of their houses, they mentioned their friend Tom, who had opened a resort and disco in the Philippines and never returned to the States. Once again over a few beers, Jared and I decided ‘Fuck It!’. We are already going to be in Japan, on the other side of the world — we might as well add another stamp to our passport and see the Philippines as well. I mean shit, we can see the glitz and glamor of Tokyo, then experience the exact opposite third-world type Philippines. You know, see both sides of the world. Besides that, both Jared and I recently undertook a challenge to completely fill every page of our passports within the remaining years before they expire. Here once the dollar is trading a little better, we plan on backpacking through Europe and getting a good dozen stamps right there. But anyway, back to PI…
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My Spontaneous North American Hippie Road-Trip!
Well, it all started at Burning Flipside 2KX. There I hooked up with this chick and subsequently met this group of friends from northern California traveling cross-country on their customized International school bus that was spray-painted crazy wild by this tattoo artist back home. They explained how they were going West Coast ? East Coast ? West Coast and be catching all these music festivals and seeing all these famous sites as they meandered across the United States.
That was enough to convince me and ol’ girl to “hop on the bus” and the adventure began. Nearly six months and thirty-two states later I finally came back home. What started off as one week-long burner festival in May of 2010 lead to a half-year $15,000 adventure — but I think I got off cheap for all we did and all the ground we covered! And yes, it was a fucking blast. Had to do the whole hippie cross-country road trip at least once, right?
Here are some of the writings, expect more to come:
- Part 01: Burning Flipside & The Future Bus
- Part 02: Wakarusa Music Festival, Little Rock, Arkansas, & Graceland
- Part 03: Nashville, Tennessee, CMT Country Music Festival, & Bonnaroo Music Festival
- Part 04: Edgar Evans & The Great Smoky Mountains, DexFest, & Asheville, North Carolina
- Part 05: We’ve Made It To The East Coast, Now Back To The West Coast
- Part 06: Coming soon…
Going To Costa Rica Against My Better Judgement
“ The reason I am going to Costa Rica is much like the reason I went to Japan… an Asian women. No, all kidding aside a friend of mine came over with her fancy ipad and showed me all these great exotic vacation photos. Afterwords she said she was thinking about going again and I said i’m down, why the hell not. After that the research started and so many surprising things came up. From the army or lack there of to the amount of people insured I thought this is amazing I have to see it in person. Plus the amazing food fresh fish, vegetables and fruit that you haven’t even heard of like the Soursop crazy I know. sounds like The Garden of Eden only things aren’t bat shit crazy, I can eat the apple and dont have to deal with talking snake.
“ I’m going to Costa Rica because I haven’t been to that country yet and I am not going to let two of my good friends go without me. Everybody goes for the excursions (white-water rafting, zip lines, surfing, volcano hikes, and that usual boring jazz), but that is not why I am here. I’ve done all that shit in various different places, and sure, maybe its fun the first or second time, but ehhh… I want to find some new shit. I want to meet some ticos and end up at a 2am cockfight wagering 10,000 Colones on the original angry birds. I want to drunkenly have a musical jam session with the locals. I want to go off the beaten path and do whatever the fuck it is the locals do when they are not catering to tourists. Plain and simple.”
Ehh, who am I trying to kid, myself or the viewer? I’m not gonna lie, what the majority of my travels really boil down to is my love of Asian women, which is only strengthened with each travel, whether its to Asia or not. But here is not the place for that discussion, you can find it in my writings.
So if you are still questioning as to just why we went to Tokyo or any of our other destinations, just take a look throughout this site. Make sure to view our photo gallery and video gallery. Also check out our information on Japanese clubs. Read about our wild Tokyo adventures and see all our drunken blog posts. I guarantee the next thing you will be questioning is “Why haven’t I traveled there yet?” I am telling you now, there are many places on planet earth to visit, but this is one place that everyone needs to visit before they get too old to party. Jared and I both want to move there now, it is that fucking awesome. But you really have to see it to believe it. And do it young, because the party scene is the fucking greatest!