The Great Northwest Adventure

("It's a weakness to try to show yourself to be more than you actually are. To me, it's cooler to hide yourself, even if you're better than that. That's a big difference between Japanese and American cultures. Sometimes, (Americans) try to make themselves out to be bigger than they are." - Ichiro Suzuki)

Seattle/Vancouver 8/5/09-8/8/09

Arrived in Seattle to visit my friends Gay & Alicia after a long plane ride. First stop was The Mission in West Seattle for some food. Watching the Mariners play the Royals at the bar and a cat starts running around on the field. Where in the world is the Royals' stadium in Kansas City that a cat can just stroll in and start running about the place? It was pretty funny. Someone ran it into the bullpen, and the game wasn't the same after that.

From The Mission, we went to Qwest field to see FC Barcelona pay the Seattle Sounders. Wow, people in Seattle have embraced soccer. The green jerseys way outweighed FC Barcelona shirts. The stadium was pretty packed. I actually like this football stadium - the open air, the view of downtown and the planes flying by in the sky. We were pretty high up, but the view was still great. FC Barcelona was wearing neon orange jerseys with matching socks. Now, I know that Seattle is known for being alternative, but I was looking forward to seeing the red and blue. I like watching soccer because the footwork is seriously unbelievable, but also reminds of how in basketball the plays develop in transition, you're looking for cutters and making the perfect pass in front of the goal. When I first started watching soccer, I didn't understand offsides. However, today I'm like "that's so offsides." I'm exhausted at the end of the day. I fear that pictures of me of my eyes closed on the city bus will end up on the Internet.


Our hotel is on Robson St., which is a bit like Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. Lots of people walking and shopping here. The accessory of choice that I notice isn't shoes, but headphones, All types of sizes on people walking down the street about their business. One thing that is different. Is "Ketchup Lay's." Such a bitter taste and the look of the chip, not so appealing. I'm sure I eat things Canadians wouldn't understand, so I try not to judge. Different types of house (modern, Victorian) are placed by each other side by side in the neighborhoods much like the fashionable people of Vancouver. Impressed by the amount of Prius taxis here. So smart.

The skyscrapers come in marvelous jewel-toned colors (emerald, sapphire and topaz) downtown . I walked from our hotel to the water. I enjoyed watching the seaplanes take off and land in the water. It's cool here, meaning the temperature, like Fall. Went to a few thrift stores in Kitsilano. Almost a bust, but I did find this shirt. I do like this side of town, though. It moves at a slower pace; however, it is still hip and eclectic. Stanley park has some wonderful views. This part of Vancouver is reminiscent of San Francisco - big trees nestled in the city. In the evening, we played 5-pin bowling. Here you have a smaller ball that you hold in your hands instead of gripping it with your fingers. It was a little unusual and fun.

Occasionally, you can pick up on Canadian pronounced words. One canunck, which we were told we could say, mentioned that I didn't have a Texas accent. I told him I say "fixin to." Then he went into his impression of a Texas accent. Canadian Texan - you gotta hear that.

Back to Seattle

For the past couple of mornings, I have been awaken by the sounds of seagulls outside my hotel window at 5:30a lasting to about 7ish. That I will not miss about Canada. On the way back, we stopped at the duty free shop. This concept is weird to me. Does everyone want to buy perfume, alcohol and handbags when they leave another country? People like electronics and usually need those on the road. They need DVDs their kids can watch or a new CD for the road. I'm surprised that Apple hasn't come up with a kiosk that you could download music from for those who don't have access to Wi-Fi or an iPhone. The people in Seattle seem like simple big picture solvers- meaning they can think of a simple way to make life easier and efficient. That's why my favorite baseball player or just one of my favorite people is Ichiro Suzuki. He believes in maximum efficiency with little effort. That doesn't mean he's lazy, not by any means. He uses his energy wisely. I always thought that if work is constantly hard, then there's a problem. Work should involve using your strengths, be challenging, but not defeating. Ichiro has said in so many words that Americans want to see things done the hard way. Which I think is true. A lot of people can't appreciate someone whose performance looks effortless, graceful and efficient like clockwork. They want power hitters, power dunkers and power workers. Home run hitters instead of smart base runners, a slam dunk instead of a beautiful shot release and 40 plus work weeks instead of leaving when work is done.

However, on a lighter note, I must apologize to Ichiro for taking pictures of him mostly bending over and stretching from behind. Look at that bat stance. Being zen can only get you so far. Also, Ken Griffey Jr. may want to lay off a few of those rally fries. Safeco field is very nice. I haven't been to a ballpark in ages. Once I go, I always find it enjoyable.

So many different adventures on this trip has pretty much left me wiped out. I'm taking the next day off to recover and relax. Hopefully, there will be no birds outside to disturb my rest and ketchup-less chips in my cabinet.

On my iPod:

"Seaside" - The Kooks
"See The World" - The Kooks
"We're from Barcelona" - I'm From Barcelona
"El Presente" (live) - Julieta Venegas
"Seven" - Dave Matthews Band
"Off The Wall" - Michael Jackson
"Animal" - Miike Snow
"1901" - Phoenix
"Sucka Mofo" - Northern State
"Kick Push" Lupe Fiasco
"Surrending" - Alanis Morissette
"On The Other Side" - The Strokes
"Oblivion" - Wintersleep
"People Got A Lotta Nerve" - Neko Case