Sometimes we do things and just feel like a fool…more on that later!

Good luck to everyone taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam (日本語能力試験 Nihongo Noryoku Shiken) this morning.    The exam has 5 levels; N5 being the easiest to N1 being the hardest.   The ultimate goal for most people is to pass N1 as it says you are essentially ‘fluent’ in reading and understanding Japanese.  People studying Japanese, including me, are notorious at complaining about how hard the language is to learn.  There was a great article in the Japan Times from Amy Chavez this weekend called ‘The best-ever tips on learning Japanese’.   I like the author’s self proclaimed level of ‘utterly fluent in bad Japanese that most people manage to understand me’.   I think that is a good goal for everyone to shoot for.  I think the article should be renamed to ‘Just shut up and study’…

Today’s configuration: Leica M6-J, Elmar 50mm f/2.8, Summilux 35mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100

On the train in Tokyo

Sleeping in the ‘courtesy seat’… These are reserved seats on the train for elderly, handicapped people and pregnant women but often full of Japanese business men who are fast sleep (as to not notice when people who the seats are reserved for show up) but magically awaken when the train stops at their station.   I hate when I see someone who should be sitting in one of those seats but can’t because people are sleeping and don’t see them standing and trying to hold.   A simple tap, nudge or mistakenly bumping into them can help awaken them so I can let them know someone needs to sit there.  #SubwaySuperHero

On the train in Tokyo

Yellow Flowers

Saki Bottles

Japanese Box

Tokyo has notorious small streets and sometimes you need to drive them and sometimes things don’t always go as planned…and sometimes you are left feeling like a fool.


I happened to be driving one of those very streets last weekend… This is one of those roads that are so narrow that you need to fold in your mirrors when you pass by poles.

The scene of the crime

I completely misjudged how close I was to this electrical pole and managed to drag the entire side of my Audi A5 against the pole.   When it happened I just got one of those sinking feelings in my stomach as there is nothing I can do.  It’s over.  I just did something completely stupid and very expensive.

Lessons Learned:  Every moment is a photo moment!   Stop, capture the scene, photograph street signs, capture your damage, if someone is near by get them to take a macro shot of the tear drops rolling down your cheek…this is why you always need to have your camera with you.

My Audi A5

I called Audi to see if they can give me an estimate for the repairs.   Like any good sales guy mine immediately went into a pitch on why I should buy the new A6.   Perhaps it was time for a change and this was a sign…etc etc.   He called me a few days later with the quote and I almost fell out of my chair.  720,000 yen (that is about $9,000 USD)!   I managed to scratch the front panel, both doors, the back panel and both wheels.    I even scratched up both door handles.   I don’t half ass anything.  If I am going to screw something up I am all in.  Go big or go home!

Thankfully my insurance will be covering 95% of it.   For those that are concerned: the pole is doing just fine.   It sustained basically zero damage.    Somehow the Japanese have built these indestructible poles.   My car has $9,000 in damage but the pole does even seem to have a scratch on it.

Pole: 1

Dave: -9,000

My Audi Sales guy now has me looking at the new A6 Hybrid.  He is trying hard on a very creative deal so let’s see where this goes.  He drove me home it after I dropped off my A5 for repairs.  It is a very cool car.  I have to say the Multi Media Interface is amazing in it.   If I am listening to music on my iPhone and then pause it when I get in the car the Blue Tooth picks up my phone and restarts the music.   The integration is just awesome.  I don’t think the A6 Hybrid is released in the US yet.  Has anyone driven it?  Any opinions?  Help me with some justifications to buy it…

Thanks for stopping by today…