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GP Yokohama 2013

IMG_0165This past week my wife and I were in Japan for the Yokohama Grand Prix. This GP ended up being the second largest GP in history with almost 2400 people in attendance!

As always, it was a real pleasure to visit Japan and meet all of the fans. Everyone was very welcoming and we felt honored to be a part of the show.

The other two artists in attendance were Min Yum and Raymond Swanland. These guys are ridiculously amazing and Raymond’s line was daunting. I don’t think it ever ended! Min’s paintings have so much form that his planes have planes! That guy isn’t human. I’m really glad I was able to meet these two legends. Now I need to go back into hiding and try to improve my art so that I can stand next to these guys.

IMG_0096I was also able to meet with Born Digital, the publisher of the Japanese version of my art book Elysium. They were selling my book during the GP and they were very helpful with translations and helping run my table while I signed cards and drew for fans. Everything ran so smoothly because of their help, so thank you very much!

It was also my first time seeing the Japanese version of my book, and I was very impressed! Now I need to get one! Thank you so much to all of the fans who purchased my book. I hope you enjoy it!

Yokohama is a beautiful city. Every city I’ve been to in Japan is always so nice and clean and Yokohama is no exception, even with a population of 3.7 million. Coming from America, it is always strange to be in a big city and not see homeless people everywhere or trash lining the streets. It is very refreshing to be in a place where everyone is polite and they follow the rules. They don’t jaywalk or cut in line. They actually leave their bikes unchained. If you lived in the US, it wouldn’t be unusual to chain your bike and still find your tires gone when you returned. People always greet you with a smile and say please and thank you. Sometimes I feel more at home in other countries than I do here.

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Don’t even get me started about the food. The food in Japan is top-notch. I’m not just talking about the Japanese food either, I’m talking about all food. Even food that you buy at the corner store or at the train station/airport is better than most food I’ve had in the US.

Don’t get me wrong, there is good food in the US too, but on average I would say you could go anywhere in Japan and have better food than what is available in the US.  My wife even said their Italian food was a lot better than the food she had in Italy. San Francisco has some really good Japanese food, but it can’t compare to the food in Japan.

Okonomiyaki is probably my favorite food. Botejyu is one of the oldest okonomiyaki restaurants in Japan, opening back in 1946! What are the chances that I would find one of the oldest okonomiyaki restaurants in Japan? I ended up getting the mochi and cheese okonomiyaki.

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While we were at the Narita airport I had, what is hands down, the best tonkatsu I’ve ever had. How many people can go to an airport in the US and claim they had the best food ever in their life? Probably not many.

We actually had some airport food at SFO and it made us both sick. It was pretty disgusting and almost twice the price of the food in Japan. The food here on average is definitely more greasy than the food in Japan. I remember after I returned from my first trip to Japan I didn’t want to eat anything in the US because I just felt so gross afterwards.

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We didn’t get to go outside of the city, but we did a bit of exploring. There are a lot of shopping malls and touristy things to do in Yokohama. They also have the largest China town in Japan.

I ended up chickening out and not going to the observation deck of the Yokohama Landmark Tower. The Yokohama Landmark Tower is the 3rd tallest building in Japan, standing at 972 feet. They also have the 2nd fastest elevator in the world. I have heard that you can’t really tell the elevator shoots you up and down at 41 feet/sec. I probably should have gone, but my fear of heights prevented me from going.

In the end, we had a great time and met some really cool people. Now I gotta get back to work! Thanks again to everyone who came to the show and to all of the people who helped out. I really appreciate it! See you next time!

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