Baby in Holland, toys in Japan

I forgot to mention that my friend Danielle had her second baby girl the other day, on the 29th. Her name is Delphine Isabeau Mariel Mutsaers. 10 lbs 9 oz. 23 inches! Dani lives in the Netherlands now, so I have not seen her in a couple of years. I want to visit there at some point, although it is about third on my list of countries I want to visit, with #2 being Poland and #1 being Japan.

I had a long conversation with Ray last night about visiting Japan. I know the prices are insurmountable, but they are here, too. If I could get the airfare down, I think I could do it. I’m not interested in the super-high-end restaurants; I would be going to the Japanese McDonald’s and the Tokyo Denny’s, eating in those pork bowl restaurants and from vending machines. The killer would be that I’d want to buy an incredible number of CDs and gadgets. Ray really wants to somehow scam together a trip, and I really, really want to go somewhere significant next year. I think it would cost at least $3000 – a grand on airfare, another thousand on a hotel, and the last thousand on food and crap like taxis and subways. On top of that, I would need money to spend on gifts, gadgets, whores, whatever. I might be able to pull together $3000+ in the next year to blow, but I doubt Ray could. So who knows. It’s something to think about.

I also really want to get Ray out to Las Vegas, but once again, no money. He has a Costco card, or actually I think it’s a Sam’s Club card, from his Mom’s business and he uses it constantly to buy videos and shit when he can sneak them in. I devised this strategy that I think I will use in a story, that he could drive to Las Vegas and just stop at Sam’s Clubs across the country. He would be eating big boxes of pop tarts and nutragrain bars; he could buy one of those camping coolers that plugs in a cigarette lighter and keeps the big cases of Pepsi cool. At night he could pull over and camp out with a Honda Generator and a self-inflating bed. Once he got to Vegas, he could sell us a bunch of stuff for cash, like movies or video games or batteries, and then he would have money to gamble. That could make a good short story.

(The fucking Sam’s Club site won’t give me a national list of all of the locations. I’m paranoid about writing this story, and then it turns out there are no stores west of St. Louis or something.)

I’m serious about the Japan thing, by the way. If you have any stories or tips, let me know. I realize there are a lot of small things I’d have to deal with on such a trip, but I think the biggest would be paying a grand for tickets. And yes, there probably were cheaper tickets at some point, or I could do some crazy courier/supersaver/discount ticket thing, but I think I’d rather pay full price and hold an actual ticket. And tickets are damn expensive these days. I don’t know why, although the mandatory terrorist taxes and increased staffing probably doesn’t help things much.

I wish I was still in touch with my old friend Reece Conrad. He lived in Japan for years and always had info on that shit. Ray has a couple of friends there, so maybe I need to crack down and start writing people…

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