Do you guys realize that there are a generation of people out here who have never watched a black and white television? The first TV I ever owned was a small black and white set with one speaker and two channel nobs. I used to watch all kinds of TV shows on that old set. I remember at one point my youngest sister Kima stuck a damned Italian ice(y) wooden spoon/scraper into the speaker and broke it. I had NO SOUND! My mother being the resourceful woman she was, found a radio which could broadcast television channels and gave it to me. I remember watching Pryor’s Place on a Saturday using the radio to hear the audio of what I was viewing.

Those were some good times. I watched so many cartoons on that set with NO COLOR. It didn’t matter (until I got my Nintendo) to me. I was happy watching Different Strokes and Yogi Bear on this black and white set. I was happy to just have a television. I used to play my Colecovision (yeah I’m going way WAY back!) on this set. Donkey Kong and Turbo into the wee hours of the morning with my cousins on a black and white set. I must admit that after a while I got bored with the lack of color and began messing with the vertical hold to add an effect to my video games. This was the time where TV Guide was a very important thing. You looked forward to a new Saturday Morning Cartoon line up. The fall preview was a big deal. My family would eat together at the dinner table and watch an after meal show before heading off to bed.

I eventually got a color TV from a neighbor who was moving on to better sets. My video game playing days took off from that point on. So thanks to Ms. Geneva and the color TV she gave me. To my very first TV set I will never forget thee.

So this is close to what I had.

This is what my sister used to assault my television.

And this is what I would watch on my beloved B/W TV set.

Peep Ray Parker Jr. on the intro. You can see an early hip hop influence with the cop dancing. I think this show was only on for one season and I didn’t know Sid & Marty Krofft were involved.


If you are a New Yorker like me, you know the MTA/Albany is ready to give us “straphangers” the 09 bump. They reportedly don’t have the money needed to operate the subways system at it’s current handicapped state. So instead we will now have to deal with the elimination of whole train and bus lines along with service cuts of others. To top this all off the fare is reported to increase from $2 to $2.50. The daily, weekly and monthly unlimited cards will also increase in fare.

So now that that’s out the way, what do you feel about this? Are you ok with there being no B25 anymore? Are you cool with the W train being a thing of the past? Now don’t get me wrong there have been improvements since the days of my childhood in the 80’s. I was on a 4 train last week and the lights went out for about 10 seconds. I remember when that was a daily occurrence on the 2 train which could result in someone loosing a tooth from fist to jaw action and being robbed instantly. So yes the trains are safer these days. However I still have to wait 10 minutes plus for a 3 train at Atlantic Ave during rush hour. The trains on the weekend are a a bit of a joke and have been for quite some time. However fares have gone up and up and now we are here again living in increase land.

But who am I kidding, at the end of the day the fares will increase and I’ll pay. Why…because I need to get to and from work and as much as I love my home of Brooklyn I enjoy the WHOLE city (minus S.I. sorry). The weather is getting warmer and my bike will be a major mode of transportation for the kid once again. That said I am not looking forward to this and it’s not really because of my personal dissatisfaction. What about the folks who are struggling to put together the two bucks go to one way? I made a joke yesterday that the train fares have been pretty much on par with the price of a slice of pizza through the years. When I was younger a slice cost $1.25 and so did a token (remember tokens?). Then they both went up to $1.50 and now 2 bucks ($2.50 in the city). That’s five dollars for two slices and 5 bucks to go to and from somewhere. That’s 35 bucks a week (weekends not included). You kinda have to get one of those unlimited cards otherwise it’s a problem. People don’t have jobs and have to pay more to travel. *smh* Get a bike people, walk more and fill out those apps. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

I personally don’t care to point fingers anymore. After spending a fortune traveling via the railroad system in Japan I see our fare as being, lets say comparable. I’ve seen worse my friends. In Tokyo their “unlimited” cards are a bit of a joke and there is no 1 day or weekly unlimited. The fares are also based on the distance of your trip, meaning the farther you travel the more you pay. Your in town for two weeks, TOUGH! I hope you save up because it’s gonna cost. At least we have some sort of relief here…I guess.

For a look into how these service cuts may affect you check the link below.

Click here to see if you need to kill or not.

When I left you guys I had the pleasure of viewing some beautiful shrines and eating great Japanese food outside of Tokyo. Now I felt it was time to explore the insides of the great city and hit some of my old stomping grounds. Of course first on the list was Akihabara the mecca of all Nerds worldwide. If you are not aware Akihabara is a section of Tokyo dedicated to electronics of all kinds. You can find DVD’s, video games of all kinds and more action figures than you can shake a stick at. If only you could see the huge smile on my face as I dropped dollar after dollar playing Street Fighter IV, some Gundam games I don’t know the names of and Soul Calibur V. I took a trip to the huge mall dedicated to electronics in Akiba. Like the true “Otaku” I am I fit right in. I didn’t make it to a maid cafe though… but there’s always next time.

Next on my agenda was to hit up Shibuya to take in some Japanese fashion highlights and get some feedback on my clothing company MotherGreen & H.K.M. I had some really good conversations with a couple shop buyers about the brand. Shino of course played translator/business manager because of my limited Japanese knowledge (thank you very much). While walking down the street in Shibuya Shino and I found ourselves next to another black man who saw me and exclaimed “oh damn, I thought I was the last brother left here!”. After conversing for a while with the homie I learned he was from San Diego and had been living in Japan for 6 years. He was looking to stay for the long haul and was not fond of the economic conditions back home. In his words you could make good money teaching english or doing security work on a military base, meet a good attractive woman and in general live a happy life in Japan. While standing on the corner with the Californian named Shawn another black man who knew Shawn walked up. This gentleman was a soft spoken church going gentleman also from the states. This guy had been living in Japan for 12 years and according to Shino his Japanese was perfect. It turns out he was originally from NY and moved out there for a change. After that ANOTHER black man just walked up and joined in. We now had an official State of the Black Union meeting in Shibuya. Tavis Smiley would be proud.

On another day I got to visit the area called Ginza which is very reminisent of Fifth Avenue in NYC. Tons of big name stores all over the place. I saw a Kabuki theater in this area. Took some pictures and kept on walking. There’s actually another huge electronic store in Ginza (about 5 HUGE floors) called get this… “Big Camera”. The name of the store is Big Camera. *blank stare*

After Ginza I found myself in Shinjuku which I have to say is just beautiful at night. Shino took me to a very tall building there to overlook the city of Tokyo. I got to see Tokyo tower from there. We also went to a Krispy Kreme where they have you stand on line AND while waiting they give you a complimentary original glazed doughnut. It was on the second floor of this Krispy Kreme that I wrote my many postcards headed back home to the US. It was here that I realized I had only a few days left in Japan and began to think of the return home.

Check in for the next chapter of my great trip to Japan.

It’s been a difficult week for me at the day J.O.B. Small issues have become big issues and they are all landing at my feet. Actually let me explain this better. Looking back on this week I’ve approached my work with a “just enough” attitude. By covering off on my individual projects and seeing things up to the point where I didn’t feel that my physical presence was needed. Wrong…wrong (c) Charlie Murphy I am a person who operates from a place of being authentic. For me that means doing what I said I would do. Doing what others expect me to do because of my word. And exceeding those expectations by doing what I know has to be done. This week, I had a breakdown in that way of being. When I get these type of breakdowns it shows in my face and body language. I have a very hard time hiding these emotions. I take my work very seriously and take it personally when I feel exposed by not being completely authentic. This only became more complicated when three days in a row I got the same results. After some honest talks with some trusted co-workers I was able to let it go. I also asked for some advice from my guy Datwon who assured me that “bad weeks are just bumps in the road…but them sh*ts still hurt.”(edit for my parents who read this stuff)I have allowed myself to get caught up in the illusion that this stuff is what matters. That this means something. Actually, as I type this I realize the lunacy of these thoughts. None of this is permanent and it’s only as important as I make it. I choose to make my work ethic very important and I choose to invent the role of being the greatest manager in my agency. Not for anything other than making it a game and playing full out. I feel lighter for writing this out. Thank you for taking the time to read this. A few weeks ago I had a co-worker and now he’s gone from this earth. Yeah…here’s to what’s important. Peace Dashaun

Can I live… elsewhere?

March 19, 2009

I went to the crazy and beautiful land of Japan last month for the second time. It was a great trip. This time I got to see some historical landmarks I missed previously. My trip could be sectioned off by the locations of my daily travels. 

The first neighborhood outside of Tokyo I visited was the beautiful city of Yokohama. According to Shino Yokohama is like the Brooklyn of Japan. The people who live there exhibit great pride in their home. The rappers from that region even rep their area code in their lyrics. The first thing Shino and I did in Yokohama was take a ferry ride to see the shoreline and the many hotels of this great city. There’s a really cool amusement park located along the water. While I liked it the park seemed like it’s more directed towards children. I caught some cool pictures of it (see below). There was also the cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever seen in my life! Tasty treats were sold on every street, inside and outside venues alike. I am a big fan of steamed dumplings of the chicken and vegetable variety. However in Japan I got laughs when I even brought up such a thing. When it comes to dumplings the Japanese (in Chinatown and outside) only cook up pork and beef dumplings. At least for the most part, I did find one place with veggie dumplings which brought a smile to my face. 

The next place I visited was Kamakura. This city is located south of both Tokyo and Yokohama. On this portion of my trip I was accompanied by Shino’s entire family (Father, Mother and Sister). The Yanagawa clan are quite a trip. We had a great time visiting many shrines and a very famous Buddha statue. After taking a tour of a few shrines we sat down for lunch. The spread was delicious and the service was great. I was told by Shino’s sister Chiho that someone took my picture when I wasn’t looking. The owner of the restaurant also told Shino’s parents that he felt as if he knew me from before. It was really interesting to hear that being that I’ve been told in a past life I was Japanese. *shrug* So after lunch was done and I got finished hitting my head on the low ceiling entering the dining area AND leaving the dining area we went to see Buddha. 

The Buddha statue was breathtaking. There was an entrance for you to go inside and see how it was all put together. It was all very interesting. It was a sunny day and there was a wedding going on near the statue. I felt very lucky to be taking in all of these experiences and I wasn’t 4 days into my trip yet. The ride back was pretty quiet being that everyone was tired from all of the walking we did that day. I just observed folks on the train and looked at the passing neighborhoods in awe. 

A trip like this one couldn’t be summed up in one entry. Stay tuned for Part 2. 
And in case you were wondering the photos you see are provided by Shino Yanagawa and myself. (but I’m getting better!)

The restaurant Owner and myself.