Big in Japan

We made it to our destination. For some reason, I kind of stand out. Probably because I’m 6’8″ or a bit over 2 meters tall. I’m big in Japan.

We are excited to be here. There is so much to see. And I guess we have become a sight as well. Oh boy. Big In Japan is going through my head over and over. I tower over the crowds already just coming off the plane.

We arrived at 6:30pm Japan time. Which to us was 3:30am. After getting our bags and clearing customs, the first leg of our journey began. The part I was worried about- figuring out how to get to our hotel.

After a few moments of staring at the ticket machine for the monorail- I figured out what I needed and where we were heading. Luckily for me- my wife stayed away with the kids instead of crowding me. She knew I need a few moments peace to get it.

The monorail wasn’t too busy and it spoke in English at each stop. Ours was the final stop where everyone had to disembark. Smiles were showing up on our faces as the shock of being in new country overcame us.

Relief was coming over me. Off the train and we had to get to our hotel. This was the next part I worried about. The printed map was not very helpful:

As we walked, my son asked how I knew where we were going. I told him I had memorized our route using Google Maps and Google Street view. Figuring out how far from landmarks (7-11 and Denny’s- the ones I’d recognize). In about five minutes we were at the hotel and checking in. Our Tokyo adventure was continuing even in the lobby.

There is a little robot in our lobby named “Pepper” who was kinda neat. It was there as a sort of assistant to help if you had questions. It would follow a person’s eyes as it got near to them. The little guy looked at me and stared up. I think it was “blinking” in astonishment- the lights around its eyes were changing color.

After getting settled in our room for a few minutes, two of the kids and I wandered out to the 7-11 and grabbed a snack. Our day/night ended at 9:30pm Tokyo time/ 5:30am Vancouver time. We all passed out.

First day done. Now to explore more of this city.


This Flight Tonight

Holy crap. The day is upon us. Time to hit the skies over the wild blue yonder. My wife’s anxiety and fears have turned to excitement and fun. Now it’s my turn for the stress…

We did online check in yesterday and had an early arrival at the airport today. Our bags were dropped off 3 hours early and our stress level was turned down. I grabbed a candid shot of my wife and son as they waited in line.

We enjoyed a late lunch and we were off to pass through security. We were first at security and my wife got a secondary screening. But it was still quick. We found our departure gate and grabbed a seat by a large chessboard.

Our kids kept themselves occupied without the use of electronic devices (even though we had those with us). Lots of smiles and smack talk as they challenged each other. People watched from the distant sidelines as the games went on.

At one point, I chose to take my shoes came off for a breather before we boarded the plane. No one wants to have smelly feet for ten hours. Only a few minutes remain now until we board. Last chance to use the restroom and wash up. I want the stress feeling to go away.

I’m not worried about the flight- which is good. I’m worried about every other aspect of our trip. Argh! It’s almost time to board! Stress sweats… ugh. No! We can do this. It’ll be fine. It will be fine.

And fun. We have companions. So a bit of silly photo fun is being had. These guys will make a few more appearances during this trip.

Off we go! See you on the other side of the world!

Spring Has Sprung

First days of spring. Time for more sunshiny days and a new lease on life. Green grass and baby animals. Ah, spring. So I’m going to share a favorite childhood poem of mine. And a fun photo.

Spring has sprung

The grass is riz.

I wonder where the birdies is?

Oh lord ok there’s one up in the sky.

Oh no! It whitewashed in my eye.

But I’m a big boy- I don’t cry.

I thank god that cows don’t fly.


Tokyo Yummy

I’m looking forward to our trip to Tokyo (counting down the hours until we leave). Mostly I’m excited for the sights and the experience, but also for the food. Mmmmm Japanese food

I love Japanese food. Not just sushi. Although sushi is up there in one of my top spots for favorite foods (I’ve even made sushi myself). The food in restaurants I have been to in North America are so flavorful and beautifully laid out- it makes me hopeful for an even better experience abroad.

From what I have seen online, there is also a lot of fun offered up in presentation as well as flavors. Choosing meals will be easy at first for my family. We all share similar tastes, but by the end, we may argue over which ramen place to go to or what snacks to buy.

I’ve brought a lot of spending cash for our meals, which is rare for when I travel. Usually we like to pack food and only eat out a couple of times. But since we are flying and can only take so much baggage- this trip will involve a lot of restaurants.

Can’t really complain- I’ve only ever heard good things about eating in Japan. Maybe this trip will have us Instagramming our meals more often!

Follow along with my food adventures at binarydigit01 on Instagram.

Sober Seventeenth

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I plan on spending it sober. What???

It may surprise some of my friends. I do enjoy a drink (or five) from time to time. But tonight, I just don’t want to. No reason. I’m just not in the mood to be out there with a bunch of people getting drunk and rowdy.

Those of you who do want to enjoy in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations- stay safe. Make sure you and your friends have a ride home. Having fun doesn’t mean you have to be irresponsible.

So whatever green beer or Irish kissing you do tonight- enjoy yourselves.

Wish Granted

Yesterday was my birthday. It was perfect. My family did exactly what I wished for- nothing.

Well, not exactly “nothing”. They took me out for sushi dinner. Then they gave me 42 homemade cupcakes. I received a few bags of candy with 42 pieces in each. Then we went to the drive-in movie to watch “Black Panther”.

It was a perfect birthday. Exactly what I wished for. No big party. No extravagant gifts. Just my wife and kids having fun.


The Great Question

The answer to the Great Question… of Life,the Universe and Everything… is…


Today I turn Forty Two. My life has been pretty darned good so far. This year I am planning on making the most of my 42. First is my bucket list trip to Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to travel there since my childhood for many different reasons.

Next will be to meet a couple of my childhood icons at the Calgary Expo at the end of April: Paul Reubens and Wil Wheaton. I dressed as Pee-Wee one Halloween and I loved it. I almost had the opportunity to meet Wil Wheaton, but I chickened out. Not this time! I even wrote about it two years ago: One Day.

I’m also blessed with extra vacation time off this year. I am going to try and make the most of my time by relaxing and traveling. There is so much beauty to see and experience in the world. I may even venture off on my own without the family. Just because.

Here I am, age 42. It’s an important year to me. Not 40 or 45 just because they end in a five or zero. No midlife crisis planned either. Just enjoying 42 years of the earth’s rotation. Especially the last 17 years. Life has been full of off-set plans, like being married on a Tuesday just because. Or naming our first born daughter Random from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series.

42 years of just trying to make my world a better place.

“Forty Two!”

“Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

I guess so.

Walk It Off

For the past five days or so, I’ve decided to start taking walks around my neighborhood. Usually my wife walks with me, sometimes a child or two joins us, but I always take the dog along. The weather has been exceptional lately. I’ve been taking the walks in the afternoon most of the time to clear my mind.

Driving home, listening to the news radio after my shift last night I heard it was going to rain later today. This would put a damper (hahaha I made a funny) on my afternoon walk before work today. With the time change last weekend and a beautiful morning, I got home grabbed a quick coffee and took off with the dog. The clouds and sun caused a beautiful pink hue over the countryside. It reminded me of summer mornings from my childhood in Edmonton.

Lex has also enjoyed the past few days. His excitement shows every time I head to the door. He’s a wonderful dog who walks next to us without a leash. He sniffs the air and genuinely looks like he’s smiling while we are out. Even though we have an acre for him to run around in, he still loves smelling the air of the neighborhood.

Besides clearing my thoughts, there is more to the reason for my walks. My wife got me into Carrot Rewards a while back. I use the points earned for free movies. Download the app and you can enter my User Code: josefh8436 to get me some bonus points! Besides my wife getting me into walking, I’ve been inspired by a coworker who rides his bike to and from work. My step goal is low so it makes it easy to achieve. Lastly, I want to be able to walk around Tokyo without much issue, so getting some practice walks in are good for my muscles.

These walks are healthy for me both physically and mentally. The fresh air and the small bit of exercise are great. I’m hoping to keep it up for the foreseeable future. I forgot how much I missed walking.

Standardized Automation

I was driving home from my night shift and just wanted to get home. I was fairly tired and zoned out for a bit. This was because my car isn’t a manual transmission. I kind of miss it.

My old 2003 Honda Element is a five speed manual transmission. The gear shift is in the middle of the console at the perfect height. I always enjoyed driving my box on wheels. I stayed alert and felt like I had more control over what the engine did. I think I shall take this SUV out of storage for the summer! It’ll be great for camping as well.

My 2016 Rogue is an automatic. But it has buttons. Buttons on the side to “ACTIVATE SPORT MODE” or lesser cool, but completely practical “ECONOMIC MODE“. I usually use the second one since gas prices are skyrocketing and my commute one way is 55km (round trip is 110- GO math genius Josef). But once in a while I like to pretend to be sporty.

I wish I could’ve bought the higher end model of my car in standard, but alas it was not to be. Maybe the next car we get will have a gear shift again. That makes driving a bit more fun.

Twenty Four Little Hours

Yesterday was a good day.

The sun was out. The weather was warm and inviting. And my family was getting back into its groove. Because of this, I decided to take advantage of the situation.

We started off with a walk around the block. We made it to our neighbor’s house, where we began to talk with him. After a bit, he offered to take our old toilets to the dump when he went on his dump run. Cool- and mighty neighborly of him. We left his driveway and continued on our walk with the dog.

As we walked, we waved at people passing by. Everyone was smiling and being courteous as we walked down our rural road. With every house at least an acre apart- it was strange to see so many people out. But mowers, chainsaws, and leaf blowers were in full force being used. We even met a few other dogs along the way that needed to come say “hello” to our dog.

Once back home, our old toilets went next door and the kids filled seven yard waste cans. I cleared off the roof and finally took down our Christmas lights. After all this was done, I even got to wash my car. You could see a huge difference in our home’s “curb appeal” by the end.

Life was back to a semblance of normalcy by the end of the night. Four of the five of us celebrated “Mario Day” with a few rounds of Mariokart. (Mario Day is Mar10– check out the Google Map app for this week as well to be Mario for the directions.) I may have lost repeatedly at the game, but I enjoyed the time with the kids.

I’m going to end today with a link to an old song. A couple of the lines resonate with me and how I feel. Please enjoy.

What a Diff’rence a Day Makes