Any place that looks like this and is called a "club" gotta have some underground fights going on
Japan does NOT play about overstaying on visas. It’s not like some countries where you can kinda, sorta go over time a few days (or a few weeks) and it’s all good in the hood. Naaah fam. If you suppose to leave Tuesday, January 8th...you better leave Tuesday, January 8th. Otherwise you might stay a few years getting to enjoy their world class prison system, if you’re not lucky enough to be politely escorted out their country, and asked to never come back again. Now I am not saying I knew the exact date my visa expired, but uuuuh..Ya boy definitely knew the date I was expecting to leave Japan, was not the day the great country of the Rising Sun wanted me to leave. It’s hella funny to think about now since I am back in these Tokyo Drift streets, but baaabeeeee when I tell you I was feeling like I was in a Mission Impossible movie for a minute trying to make moves out the country.
God’s plan though since it allowed me to travel to Vietnam, and see what Southeast Asia has to offer. Specifically I traveled to North Vietnam and had my main hub of hedonistic holiday in Hanoi (say that 10x fast) the capitol of Vietnam. Now for those interested in traveling to Vietnam, let a brother help you out with a few tips and tricks. First, and most important: Motorbikes rule the streets, and everyone drives like Dom from "Fast and the Furious" just called them "Family". You see that image above like the most interesting Mario Kart race is about to go down? That's Sunday easy traffic. Usually, they don't even stop fam. If it's green they go. If it's yellow they go. If it's red...they go faster, and use humans walking like obstacle cones. This is real life Frogger and there ain't no extra lives biiih. It will take any sane person a few days to get use to it, and probably a few more days to not even blink when you cross as you yell "YOLO!"
I guarantee you if I sent this to Cherry right now, she'd get the woman equivalent of half chub.
Second, Vietnam is really, really inexpensive. Even compared to other Southeast Asia countries it's hard to beat the Dong (hehehe). As of this writing 1 USD equals to almost 23,000 VND. Meaning when I felt the urge to splurge on some Western food after missing good cheeseburgers while in Japan (sorry Japan, but when it comes to burgers ya'll lacking severely), for all you see above I spent maaaybe $10. This is like opulent spending of money for food in Hanoi. Compared to this local meal below:
I might have spent $2.50, and honestly...that's still low key expensive lol. I mean it's absurd. Hell, even lodging is inexpensive. Hostels charge anywhere between $2-$5 a night depending on where, and almost all still offer free breakfast, drinks, towels etc. Hotels, you might spend $10-12 a night for 4 star treatment. I wanting to sleep in a bed made for mini gorilla size men like myself, ended up renting an ENTIRE PENTHOUSE APARTMENT FOR A WEEK...$60 bucks. Balling on a budget has new meaning when you're in Vietnam.
Seriously, these guys were cool. Always found me some how and just wanted to talk and practice their English.
Lastly, brothers and sisters of the black magic, We are completely an unknown for most Vietnamese. You will either need to have thick skin, or walk with a sense of Black Folk ambassador diplomacy because you will be walking, talking entertainment to them. Not a day went by I wasn't asked to take pictures, practice English, hold a baby, and yes the biggest no no...to touch my hair. Correction. They didn't ask, they just did it. Unlike the Japanese who are polite with their "WTF?" moments when they see me, the Vietnamese in general do not give any fawks. They will stare, follow, point, and some even ran...but hey I am in their city, eating up all the good food, dancing with their women, breathing up all their air so who am I to judge lol? Jokes aside, most of it was just learning experiences and explaining stuff that they just don't see or interact with on the reg, and I get it, and hopefully you can to if you go since it's really a beautiful country with some good people. In fact, part 2 I'll share things to see, where to hang, and what not to do at 5am in the morning when you don't speak the lingo.
Once got lost on an island, before it became cool to do so on popular tv shows
So here's part 2 of the Hannah interview series, where we continue to discuss western culture, the privilege of traveling as an American, and the Mario like plus 1 lives advantages of being white and privileged. If you didn't catch part 1 just scroll on down to catch up before listening to this one!
So for the next few weeks I'll be dropping 4 parts of an interview with a fellow traveler named Hannah as we discuss race, privilege, and travelling. It will be broken down into 4 parts. If you loved the discussions you heard in our anniversary episode 50 pt. 2 and Black Panther (which you can mos definitely can check out right 'chea), then hopefully you'll dig these. And if you're interested in more interviews during my travel or have topics for discussion drop us a line on our contact page!
So at the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to travel to the Fukushima area in Japan to see some of the work and changes being done after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. For those who don't know much about it, or since it has been almost a decade already (Lord it is almost a decade already...I'm gettin old lol) March 11th 2011 is when a huge magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan causing a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Without going too much into the history of the disaster it called for an evacuation of over 30 km immediately, and other surrounding areas as the radiation and such in the air spread. Fun actually-horrible-and-low-key-evil fact, some parts of the area were told to evacuate within 3 days. Other parts...weren't told until a month later so just think what the families in those areas were ingesting or subjected to without knowing. Or even worse the effects it may have for generations to come from this, that could have been possibly averted. Also interesting to find out is that if the wind that day and the next or so was a south wind instead of west (or is it east...Japan directions confuse me lol), majority of the Tokyo area would have been directly effected, and that is a scary thought to have. Even though it's 7 years later, only now are you really seeing life come back to the area with just a few years ago lots of small towns or cities that were evacuated completely still empty being effectively ghost towns.
So how do you know when civilization comes back after years of abandonment and fear of radiation poisoning? Convenience stores an community centers. Seriously I spent a solid day in the area and the newest things that I saw with the most people even around were either 711s that were just built, and the community centers near or close to these 711s lol. Which makes sense if you really think about it since what's more common, safe, and everything is almost back to normal for people traveling through than convenience stores?
Yet for the people who live in the Fukushima Prefecture, whose livelihoods were heavily effected, families separated, and basically the Japanese people who lived in the disaster area and now have turned into refugees in their own country, it's not as back as normal as they would like. However, the hope of one day a new normal coming from this horror is apparent from those still in the area working to find a silver lining from all of this. One of the most awesome things to hear and see is that when a lot of the farmers, especially the cattle farmers, realized all this land they had was going to be useless in terms of how they used it previously, they decided to try something new with solar power energy. Which is genius and speaks on the people of Fukushima's resilience and hope. Right now the batteries can't hold enough of a reserve to be used as generators for the area, but they do use the energy produced and tie it to the electric company being able to have every huge panel setup work to give energy for up to 15 homes. Their hope is in 10 years at least not only will they be able to go back to farming their land but to continue the process of being more renewable energy and see how the old and new can turn into something really remarkable for the people of Fukushima.