Thursday, December 31, 2009

a year's final thoughts

In about an hour, the local time flips over to another year. I cant help thinking I didnt do enough with this one.

A few days ago I met a friend's friends and we all wandered around town. It struck me how colorful this town tokyo is, and how I like sharing it with people seeing it for the first time. Pushing my way through crowded market streets, getting samples of whale meat on the street. Seeing sights and sounds... eating horse sushi at a small bar under a train line. Chicken ligament freshly grilled and tasty. Ah, this is a great city.

I met a different friend for only about a half hour a few days later. We didnt have much time to talk, but the topic shifted to how one's future shapes one's past. It felt important to yet again vent my grief for a passing youth. I can feel the next year approaching. Heres hoping its a good one!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

inherent multiplicity

Excuse me while I step into a useless linguistics-ish rant with no relevance to anyone beyond myself and the tiny corner of my brain I am currently occupying. I am thinking about the multiplicity inherent in related language groups. As I mentioned before in this blog, I am studying Chinese at work. A coworker (who assumed I study Japanese and knows I also study Korean, among others) recently told me that he thought I was damaging my linguistic progress by learning Chinese. I waxed on philosophically that learning multiple languages in related families actually reinforces the others because of inherent cross-overs. Beyond that, I assured him, the study of several language-systems was bound to do me brain a world of good--- mental exercise to the extreme, so to speak. A Japanese friend of mine recently wrote a book about studying Korean. I bought it today, and was flipping through it's pages casually when the word "umbrella" hit me as a perfect example. (Hope you have Asian fonts installed for this.) In Korean it is 우산 [usan] and in Chinese it is 雨伞 [yǔsǎn] and in Japanese 傘 [kasa]. Korean although wrote in a different written system is startlingly close to the Chinese (which, in the quoted example, utilizes simplified characters. Traditional ones are the same as the Japanese character) and the Japanese is pronounced different but uses the same characters (although usually Japanese people just use the second character of the two, although the first can be read as "rain" in Japanese, rendering it easily understood as "rain Umbrella"). Thus knowledge of any of the three language systems supports acquisition of the other two. Now it's not usually as clean cut as this perfect example, there are endless words that don't correlate, but the fact that any of them do brings these languages into a sort of "family" so to speak. Fascinating, for me anyway.

Monday, November 30, 2009

pinnacle of civilization

I was thinking about that famous fallacy recently, that perspective makes us think we are in the "modern era" when in fact (in some sort of way) we are members of a deep past. I'm sure the citizens of ancient Rome or ancient Yamato thought that they were the newest generation, and yet we can barely remember them now. It is thoughts like these that make me wonder why many of us think that we are currently near the pinnacle of civilization.

Many of us still sit above bowls of water to extract external food waste, after which we rub processed tree flesh on our rears. Is this the pinnacle of civilization??

Many of us are often still scared of other ones of us based on skin pigmentation or mating rituals. Many of us think others are somehow naturally unequal to us, for simple delusional differences. Is this the pinnacle of civilization??

Many of us still don't realize that many of us, is the One of us. The One of us, in a deep endlessly vast impossibly chaotic universe. We are but one minute dust mote floating through a brief fraction of infinite time. Is this the pinnacle of civilization??

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Reality by it's nature is unreal. (OK, I have been taking a healthy dose of Descartes mixed with a plump share of Buddha lately, but still they have a point!) I've been fiddling around with a scene modeling program I got for making matte painting for movies. (yes, I am insanely into my hobby of making movies, I know.) Drag a block here, add a texture here, plop in some trees here, and you get something that the human mind can recognize as a place. Although my lack of skill (click the picture included with this post for proof) leaves it less than what could be mixed up with our reality, it is still conceivable as a location. Just like dreams are unreal, so are created realities of the mind. The line between fiction and nonfiction is in the strength of the narrative.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

winter already

Winter comes this way again, but first a quick visit with Autumn, then repeat the cycle, repeat the blog updates; barely there, I so thought I would blog more this year. Somehow the repetition of work is pulling my creativity down.

I kind of have the urge to travel, but not sure how or when. I like to see things, feed my brain with new ideas and places. Need new light patterns for the retinas.

In my Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese) class at work I learned a new word a few weeks ago. It was "xiong mao" (xiong is pronounced like SHE-OH-NG if you don't know) which literally means "bear cat"... Are you asking what the heck a bear-cat might be? Well, it's the Chinese word for panda! Kangaroo is "bag mouse" and dolphin is "sea pig". Dang, animal words are cool in Chinese. (For the over achievers in the house, those words word be "daishu" and "haitun" respectively.) In fact, a lot of learning Chinese is fun. I never have enough time to take lessons though. Only one lesson this month. Oh well, it's just a hobby.

I finally fixed my camera, well kind of fixed it. So I have been taking billions more photos, along with some technically difficult panoramas (quite hard when I didn't have a working display) and even a nasty spider (partially pictured above) which all can be seen from the link, a total of 44 new pictures of now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sometimes I wish I was in the Lesson Planning Division. I got a fax regarding a new style lesson with "instructions" in broken English and written unrealistically, to paraphrase: "Junior English Aptitude Test are for improving the English kinder/junior/senior students. Show the mixed level class four cards. Instruct them that you will say a four short conversations. Ask the students to mark (a number in the empty boxes) in their test book the sentences that is best matching one of the cards, but not all. For example, 'Tom, what is that?' 'It's an apple mom.' Grade all tests before student go home." arrrg. There are so many things wrong with that teaching plan, I don't know where to start. Just let me be a good teacher don't give me unrealistic expectations. For example, IF the kids can understand those complicated instructions they will find the English in the 'conversation' way too easy. (Not to mention, what kind of mom doesn't know what an apple is?!) Frustrated. Sorry for the rant. You may now continue what you were doing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

new shopping

So the above picture is a somewhat drunk me wearing a brand new shirt. I was out drinking tequila shots with an old coworker I hadn't see in years and years. And when I got back to my house, wow! A delivery from Canada! A few weeks ago I ordered some shirts from an "on demand" t-shirt printing place. I'm thinking now that this is the future for creative types of people, like me. I don't ever really feel like going into a store and buying "designer" tshirts, but when I have the option to design my own and then wear my own unique designs, the idea appeals to me. (If you are wondering this design says "wo haipa" in Mandarin Chinese and "oh! hyper!" in small English letters under it, some sort of Multilingual pun, if you will [although haipa doesn't of course mean "hyper"! It means "scared" which adds a layer to the silliness I suppose].) In any case, I think we found my preferred way of shopping now. Nice!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

placebo stress

Stress can really keep people awake, and it's been doing that to me again recently. My mind just buzzing around, clicking on this and that and not sleeping. I got some Chinese Herbal medicine that has helped me sleep quite well. I am curious how much of it's relaxation effect is placebo, and how much is the actual herbs. And I am also wondering what's the difference between the two effects? If it works, it works. I think its time to have some and fade off into sleep. There is an interesting synergy between humans and what they input into their bodies. Daily drops of caffeine, or nicotine for some, and countless whatever else falling together to form the definition of a particular human.

** I guess I should also point out the 52 new pictures in my album to browse. **

Sunday, July 19, 2009

beautiful ballet

One of my friends invited me to come to her ballet performance in Northern Japan, and I ended up having a special day off work so I decided to go check it out. I am very naive regarding the classic arts, both western and asian so I was looking forward to educating myself a bit. The exhibition hall was a bit out in the countryside faraway from Tokyo. So I took a bullet train as far North as it would take me, and then hopped on a local train. From the station to the culture center, I walked about 10 minutes in a soft, warm, summer rain. The countryside was fresh, the mood vibrant.
The performance itself was fascinating. I kept in mind that this was an old art, that first came to prominence in a more conservative era. With that said, the dresses of the female dancers were clearly designed to be titillating, the moves provocative. And even the male dancers simply wore a tight leotard on bottom (so tight that it etched the butt cheeks) and a clearly stuffed cod-piece. Not all the dancers were professional, some were a bit young and wobbly. But when a group of ballet dancers got into a synchronized movement there was something highly mesmerizing about it. Almost as if a group of flowers , lacking words, had animated themselves on stage and began to try to communicate with symbolic movements. Hands arched, bodies twisted, all conveying some sort of narrative that went beyond words. It was truly art, movement for no logical reason; half way between a vigorously abstract dream and the dawn of functional reality. My friend was amazingly talented too. Dancing as if she was putting no effort into it, each move perfectly executed like a robotic feather. It was amazing.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

odd people

Our world is filled with odd people of all sorts. Here are some people I think are odd.

I live on the Yamanote train line. I see people rush to get on the train, running full force. And if they miss the train a dark cloud crosses their faces, as if they failed at life. Come on people, the trains on the Yamanote line come litterally every three minutes! Missing a train is no big deal.

Sometimes people get mad at me for things I have no possible way to change. I was drinking with a Japanese friend and she started to get upset because I was genetically American. Genetics are something that are fixed in stone. Get angry about it all you want, but its not gonna change.

Often when I'm in a public restroom stall people come up and knock on the door to 'check' if I'm inside. How could the stall be closed and locked if I wasnt inside? Don't get it, but I guess maybe they are saying hurry up. But I still think its odd.

Friday, July 10, 2009

switched on

I've mentioned in to my friends, and in a few other places online, but it's bubbled to the top here too--- my broken camera is inspiring! Because the display is broken, I treat it something like a cheap holga film camera. I just point and shoot a few random shots each day. I usually end up with random blurry crud, but sometimes I get shots that are more exciting in their random framing. I also get more excitement from it than a normal digital camera. I have to wait until I get home and put the SD card in the SD card reader, excited to see what I ended up with. Because of this I have 73 new photos on my photo album site. And it's only going to grow, I've been inspired by most of what I see around me. Almost as if I am surrounded by a whimsical sober melancholy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

classic dilemma

I am signing another contract with my company this week, and they
asked me if I wanted to work a massively intensive schedule for more
money or a laid-back schedule for predictably less money. It's the
classic "more money, less free time" versus "more free time, less
money" dilemma distilled into a real life choice. I told my boss I
would think about it and tell him this week. I think that I knew that
in my heart which one I would go with. I really genuinely love
teaching, it's part of my identity. Although, with that said, I also
like time to be creative. Making short movies, writing poems or
stories, and just generally expressing myself are something I value a
lot too. So I am going to accept the less money but more free time
option. I have told myself for at least three years now that I would
finish a few books (yes, I am secretly working on a few books even
now) and somehow film a few film ideas I have. So maybe 2009-2010 will
be my true year of creation, even though I think that quite often. So
look forward to all sorts of odd creativity from me if my schedule
opens up slightly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

swine flu & fear

So if you haven't heard, people are a bit worried about what has been named "Swine Flu". A media frenzy about this little infection problem has swept Japan, and the news keeps a constant update on total number of reported cases. In Tokyo, word is going around that protective surgical masks are sold out everywhere. People are starting to panic, and today the Japanese staff at my company got a fax from up-top that they should wear those protective masks (this is actually a common Japanese personal practice when one has a flu, in order to not share it with others or during the flu season to avoid getting it). I felt sympathy for the staff and let them talk me into wearing a mask too. The other teachers weren't so happy about the request to don masks though. Claiming it stupid, and unfounded. (To be fair, more people have so far died TODAY in traffic accidents in Tokyo than have died because of swine flu since the beginning of the whole outbreak in Japan.) The teachers reacted strongly against having to wear a mask, and the staff on their end refused to take theirs off for long periods of time. (Taking them off to answer the phone or eat lunch.) It was too hard to teach lessons with a mask on though, so eventually after a few lessons I fell to the peer pressure of my fellow teachers and took off the mask. Somehow I felt this stand-off between the Japanese staff and the foreign workers was some kind of window into a deeper culture difference that I can't quite put my finger on at the moment.

Friday, May 15, 2009

journey to america (part cuatro)

{{... final post}}

I flew into an oddly treeless Reno on a sunny day. My friend Yuka picked me up and we went to a huge American style all-you-can-eat buffey. After that, we went and tried a little gambling with her roommates. Inside I still feel like a little kid, so I didnt sit down at any of the poker tables, but Yuka's roommate taught me how to use a video slot machine and I played around on it a little. I'm not that into gambling though so after that we went back to Yuka's home in the suburbs. They had such a large American style house that there was even a spare room for me. Cookie-cutter suburb, but big and spacious.

The next day, Yuka had to teach (her job!) so I watched her teach at her college. She was teaching a "Japanese Culture" class, full of energy and mental bubbles. The students seemed to get a big kick out of it, and I kind of felt like a student again because I had mingled with the students in the back of the class. After her classes were finished at about 3:00 we headed out to a huge lake near her place, lake Tahoe. By the time we got there it was cold and rainy. We just mostly sat in her car, with rain smearing the windowshield, talked about time flying, and other random topics until the day began to fade.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye, it was the next day and I was heading off back to Seattle to take my plane back to Japan. I met a college friend Seth for dinner (but oddly two other mutual college friends didnt want to meet) and then kind of anti-climatically checked myself into a too-expensive hotel next to the airport so I could wake up early for my return flight. And then after a long push through the air the next day, I was home in Japan again.

It almost doesnt seem real already. Just a blur of memories. I uploaded about 48 pictures of mostly scenery I saw in America. If you want people pictures, you'll have to explore the network of connections I have to the web. They're somewhere, but not here. Here I just wanted to share a few mental impressions.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

journey to america (part tres)

The endless parade of people I hadn't seen in years continued. This time meeting all my brothers and sisters who I hadn't seen in so long. My older sister was taking care of three kids and one on the way. A vibrant family of little boys with mohawks. They were so full of energy and vitality, I imagined my sister being exhausted every day. The next day, my mother drove me from my sister's house to my small countryside hometown. I felt like Marty McFly, stepping out of a time machine. In the 7 year gap since I had last been in my hometown they had transformed the corn fields near my house into a small uniform suburb community of factory-made houses. And there were a few street lights now! It felt a little weird and invasive somehow.

Me and my younger brother Tim (who I had missed a lot) walked around our small neighborhood. Up to a tiny creek where we used to go as kids, past the creek that no longer had cows around it, and to an old cemetery that was now pressed against a brand new middle school. Unlike most of the dying small towns across middle America, my hometown seems to be going through a bit of a growth spurt. My brother has a theory about everything, and I listened to him wax on about the growth of trees, movement of gravestones, and the possibility of an impenetrable ionosphere. The sunlight began to fade from the sky, leaking out of the corners of the horizon with a golden glint. It was time to head on back to my mum's home.

My mum is a colorful person with a creative streak. She works hard too but took some time off to spend time with me. We went up to a lake near my house, and discussed life. Time goes by too quickly when you think back, but at the time it seemed to be going just fine. Green trees with moss hanging off them, the glossy surface of the lake reflecting the sky hung above it, and my mum talking about life.

My brother Ben had broke his leg the day after dropping me off at my sister's house, so I didn't get to spend too much time with him. Me and my mum stopped by his place and watched American TV with him as he told us about the metal pin they had to put in his leg. I marveled at modern medicine that allows someone to walk again after they have completely snapped off their legs.

I did get to spend a little time with my younger sister Chrissa though. She is a fully grown woman now, and seemed like a kid last time I saw her. She helps to fix broken rivers and help reestablish ecosystems. Yup, she's a full blown hippie and it's awesome. It was interesting to think she was about the same age I was when I first began to live in Japan full-time.

I also spent some time in my college town with my dad and his new family. His new wife and him recently gave birth to a new kid and interestingly enough they use baby sign language with him. In college I wrote a paper arguing for it's use in augmenting early communication with a baby because children can learn to sign before they can learn to speak. I had never seen it in real life, and it was fun to watch the baby see a rabbit and poke out his fingers in a V sign or want milk and squeeze his hands into a fist up and down. While in my college town I made time to quickly meet an old teacher (for less than 15 minutes) and stop by Brendon and Maralise's house. They had squeezed out two kids since I had last seen them, but they still lived in the same place I have always known. They told me about dreams of living in other countries, and we passed around a few thoughts before I ran off towards my next direction.

After the parade of Washington family and friends, I took an Amtrak train down to Oregon. On the train, a man dressed in all black sat down next to me. He had all black clothes, a black cellphone, a black bag and even a black iPod. He turned on his iPod and blared death metal into his ears. I thought he was fitting his stereotype until he opened his black notebook and revealed a Bambi quote. Yup, Bambi. You don't stereotypically think that Death Metal heads will be into Disney movies. He must have been an amateur author of sorts, because on the other pages there were short stories. Bored on a long train ridding past endless patches of green trees, I kept glancing at his stories. Phrases lingered in my mind, "God became the devil's gumball machine" or "An idiot's guide to shoplifting" and also something like "I remember Ms. Green's first grade class, I moved and moved and moved and learned to move."

In Oregon, I met my friend Steph at the train station. I first met her around my freshman year in college, and hadn't seen her in a million years. We went for lunch and cocktails. The cocktails were thick and not so fruity. We drove back to her suburban apartment and I took a quick shower to wash off the grime of constant travel. We went back out to dinner at a hip Portland club. In the morning, Steph was very hung over (and I wasn't, too much drinking in Japan I guess) but she still drove me downtown to meet a my Japanese friend Tomoko.

It was a brilliantly sunny day, the clouds fluffy and the air fresh. I had yet another hamburger as my friend ate french toast, talking about my reverse culture shock and her experiences in America. The contrast was interesting, both of us finding a lot in common regarding the odd parts of American culture. Such as how Americans dont always shut the bathroom door when they are finished, as a signal that the bathroom is ready to be used. (In Japan some families use bathroom slippers outside the door as this signal.) After that, we were walking around an outside Saturday market when suddenly in a matter of minutes the clouds darkened and it began to utterly down pour. If you are thinking it was raining cats and dogs, you are mistaken, it must have been raining cows and horses. It was thick gobs of rapid-fire rain mixed in with hail that literally soaked me to the bone in less than 30 seconds. We dashed under an overpass, as the rain thundered down. My friend had to get back to move her stuff and had no choice but to depart into a mist of thinning rain. In less than 10 minutes, the clouds faded back to blue and the rain stopped. The sunshine came out again, and glistened off the newly wet roads.

A few hours later I met Cody and Michelle. I first met Cody when I was taking script writing in college. He physically reminds me a bit of Mister Clean, the advertising genie. Meeting him reminded me of visiting them with Kayo a million years ago. At the time they lived a bit in the countryside down south in Japan. That summer trip to the Osaka area was a near perfect memory, and it was like a pleasant wind running through my mind. This time Cody and Michelle were great hosts again, taking me to a nice old-style pub and making me breakfast in the morning. After that, I got on a massively delayed flight heading towards Nevada.

{{To be continued...}}

Thursday, April 30, 2009

journey to america (part dos)

A flurry of faces and palces. Wanting to cling to moments with friends and family that I haven't seen for years and years.

In Seattle I first met up with my frail grandmother and her boyfriend. They got lost, and wandered around the airport until they found me a few hours later. We walked out to their car, and we made our way to a Denny's American Style Restraunt. While I munched on my country fried steak with gravy and hash browns, my grandmother's boyfriend Bob told me about his bad knee and all the medicine he has been taking for it. Doctors, medicine, drugs, medicare, problems, never listen to me, my bad knee, doctors.

After that, my friend Tanya and her new husband Matt picked me up and we went out to eat Mexican food. American-sized food, stuffed to the gills. Tanya and Matt recently moved back from Japan to America, in to the rhythm of life, starting to live a new way again. Moments spun around as we got a few beers and I got asked for ID I didn't have. Tips, bars, English conversation failing me.

Before I knew it, Cory passed the baton with Tanya and I was riding in his sportsy car towards his house to crash that night. I hadn't seen him in such a long time, and it was fun to slip back into that conversational tempo we used to have when we were both exchange students in Korea. Life continues.

The next day, Cory passed the baton quickly Yvonne. I met her at a supermarket, and we ate vegan sandwhiches and salmon soup. Yvonne's new boyfriend turned out to be someone I knew in college, and that kept the conversation afloat. After a quick conversation with her, she tossed me in the direction of my good friend Christina and Alisa. We walked around downtown a bit, eyeballed a youth hostel, got me a cheap $16 prepaid cellphone, and went out to eat at a fancy restraunt with german beer. They wanted ID again, time to dig through my bag to find my ID. The conversation and moments mangled together a bit like multiflavored icecream on a summer day. In moments I was off checking into a youth hostel and heading towards to sleep.

The next day I met my cool friend Nicky. When I left America he had just got married, and now he had two talkative young kids who couldn't stop showing me their cool toys. I helped him plan for a Movie he was trying to make for a festival. The actors came, the cameras rolled, the people did their magic things. Once again a blur of moments heading towards the next moment. With a couple of beeps my brother Ben was outside in his car, giving me a ride towards my small rustic childhood home.

{{To be continued...}}

Friday, April 24, 2009

journey to america (part uno)

I wake up early, sleepy. Nerves kept me awake the night before. I check my bags once more, pull them up around my shoulders and head to the airport.

At the "self check in" counter an agent tries to do it for me. I point out the "self" in "self check in" but he insists. I get a bit annoyed and explain I can do it. He literally puts his hands on me to push me away, I slap off his hands and he finally relents. I forget about it as I go through the gates and board the plane. I'm sitting on the plane as other passengers board, we're going to take off soon. A big shouldered security man comes up to the man sitting next to me and asks him if he is me. I offer that I'm me. And he asks me to come with him to the back of the plane and he begins to launch into a conversation about "physical assault" and what not and at first I have no idea what he is talking about. Then I remember the check-in agent. The security man is in a huff, clearly wanting to cause a scene. So I try to flip it around. I tell him I wasn't angry about the check-in man touching my arm, even though it wasn't appropriate. I say that although airline employees shouldn't be touching their customers, I wasn't upset about it and he shouldn't get the guy in trouble. Caught by surprise he says something about how he thinks I misunderstand the situation. I mention that we are all adults and should act that way. He lets me go after a bit of more defused steam. Not kicked off the plane, I gratefully return to my seat.

After a cry-baby flight I touch down to a rain-drenched Seattle. I ask the immigration officer if I should check resident since I am a US Citizen or check visitor since I am only coming to visit friends and family and will return to Japan after that. He eyeballs me. "That depends on how long you been away and if you plan on ever living here again--- how long you been away?" I tell him six years and he asks me to repeat. He seems amazed, which puzzles me. You'd think a border guard would deal with such travelers often. He then asks me if I ever want to live in the United States again. I'm not sure he wants to hear me say no so I tell him that I'm young and haven't decided anything yet. He watches me silently for what seems like a long time, then he says "Welcome back to America." and stamps my passport.

But I'm not in yet. They tell me at bag check that they have to search my bag in the back room. A big portly man with a short slender assistant are standing next to various X-ray machines. The big man asks, "Is this your bag, sir?" I nod, and begin to open the bag for him. He enters 'panic mode' and his left hand hovers above what I guess was a teaser, his right hand popping out like a stop sign. "Step back, sir." He belts out, adding "I'm a trained professional." They tare into my bags, my items going every which way. They finally procure a small cube of packaged soup I bought at the travel department of a shop in Japan. "This has beef in it, sir. Trying to bring in beef can result in a $300 fine." I explain my honest mistake and he lets me go. I pack up all my stuff, and step into America again.

{{To be continued...}}

Saturday, April 11, 2009

circadian rhythms

My days blend into patterns, sounds, repeated moments. If I'm home, its 5 o'clock when the neighborhood cult begins banging their drums, and about 6 when they finish. It was 8 o'clock when through my thin walls I could hear my nextーdoor neighbor starting a bath, recently her hours at work must have changed her two year habbit though. The porno shop stairs also moved out last week, so the shutters closing at 2 in the morning can no longer be my get to bed notice.

My morning meal tends to be a pattern too. Fruit juice and a tuna flavored seaweedーrice triangle. Not that I prefer tuna, the pattern just makes selection simple.

I tend to think the same thoughts even, repeat, repeat, rephrase, repeat. Not that I'm saying thats a bad thing or a good thing. It's just human existance.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

drunk conversation

I'm drunk. My head is dizzy, another 7 minutes until my last train comes. I decide to sit down on the train platform. The train platform man comes up to me:
Train Platform Man: "Mr. Passenger, please stand up."
Me: "This is the yellow safety line, this is me [behind it] so I'm OK."
TPM: "Stand now, it's dangerous."
Me: "I'm drunk, so standing is more dahhhngeruus"
TPM: "If the train driver sees you, he will be perplexed by your sitting down. Stand up now!"
Me: "You are standing in fuh-ront of the yehhhlow line-e so youre more dangerous"
TPM: "Mr. Passanger, stand up now or I will move you by force."
Me: "Whathehec..."
Train Platform Man pushes me full force against the pillar in the station, I feel my drunk back slap against the hard surface.
Me: "Youre soh frhickin annoying..." But by now the train is coming, TPM keeps his needle hands on me until the train comes to a stop and then he abruptly leaves. I stumble on to the train. Moral of the story? Swaying around near the platform gap seems to be OK but don't sit down to attain stability or TPM will come get you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

digital memories

So if you havent heard, I'm gonna ride a bottle across a huge sea of clouds and end up in my country of origin for about a week before i end up back in that bottle heading back here. That inhuman voyage will be my first in over 6 years, so I am a bit excited to see that land of memories.

I want to digitally store my memories so I got a cheap 12 megapixel camera. Its amazing how fast these little boxes improve. Yesterday, I decided to take a walk in m neighborhood to try it out. I ended up walking deep into the heart of my city's old downtown. It was a sunny but not hot day. I bought a pack of freshly roasted (and heavily salted) potato wedges for a buck. I munched on them while getting lost in the small streets in my neighborhood. I realized it had been years since I roamed my neighborhood, I need to do that more often. I captured 20 images of my urban hike, a kind of quick splash in a sudden torrent. (On a quick computer geek note, click the images to go to the next one.) A moment in spring.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

silent art

I am sitting here as my computer slowly chugs away at rendering something I am making for an online art project. It has been doing it all day, and it has just recently finished less than a second of screen video. It says I have another 55 hours of rendering time to finish the 5 second clip. This makes me think about art and why people make it. I know that this is only one of the many shots I will have to render for my project, which will maybe make the whole thing which will be less than 5 minutes on screen take up most likely weeks and weeks of rendering. And then... maybe 50 people will watch it in the history of the Internet. So I am wondering about the concept of "art" for the sake of art. That has always been my guiding principle. I wonder if its some "lofty" way to excuse obscurity, or is it really the way I approach my life. Well, enough random blabbering.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

flickers of a flashback

So I woke up today with a haze of the past clinging to the threads of my mind, so to speak. I dont think I ever blogged much about it because it used to be a rather dull lifeless story for me. But time adds animation and depth and with that begins my flashback. For reasons to be dealt with in another memory, I began college when I was 16. With the help of the government I was paying my own way and so in order to conserve money I started out at the community college near a large university. For a couple of quarters I commuted from my parents house in the countryside (roads with no painted lines) to the big college town (painted lines with traffic lights). After a few quarters of that endless loop, I decided to move into the Big City. I found out that at the time the University had a deal with the community college which let "out of towners" (mostly international students) live in their senior apartment-dorms. This brings us to the main point of the flash back, my first room mates. I knocked on the door, holding a small bag of things. A flamboyant man named Manny flung open the door and burst out with a torrent of words, "oh! you must be the new roommate! oh! are you The International guy? oh wow like, welcome to america! oh do you speak English? well, any case come on in, welcome to the castle!" Or something of the sort. I dont remember his major and I dont even really remember having much of a conversation with him. Mostly a torrent of bubbly one way words, I think he felt so old to me at the time even though he was younger than I am now. The other roommate felt even older. His name was Eric, he was a quiet math major. He affiliated himself on the opposite side of Manny's rainbow. Even so, they would sing mundane songs to eachother as if they were locked in some kind of everyday musical. "Giive meee thee remote con-troool!" "Wouldja miiind, wouldja miiind, bringin' me-a fork?" What I remember most about Eric though was on my first day watching TV in the living room. Suddenly he looked over and said, "You look pretty young, man. How old are you??" I mumbled something, turned a bit red. He laughed, swore, drank some more beer and asked me again. I mumbled again and got up and went to my room. He followed me and said, "Come on man, how old are you??" and with nowhere to go I crawled under the desk in my room. He was laughing and swearing, his beer still in his hand. "What are you 12 or something?" I gave in, "16" He kept laughing on his way back to the living room. I heard him tell the TV "Daamn, they let anybody into college these days."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

another year

So 2009 is here. Just another year until 10 years into this new millennium. Just numbers I suppose, but numbers add up and begin to weigh down on you if you think about it long enough. For new years, me and my cool friend Kayo got in a train and tried to go as far as we could possible go in one day. We used this special train ticket that Japan Rail gives that makes such endeavors economically possible. We got a little past Shizouka, to a small town called Toyohashi. Spur of the moment travel is fun, I gotta do that more often.

A few days after that my New Zealand friend came to visit. She's in Japan for a few weeks, staying at different friends houses and what not. She came by my place for a few days. It was my New Years holidays (sort of) and so I had some time to take her around and show her all the tourist spots. I wonder sometimes what pulls people to go to certain spots, isn't every place just another place? A cascade of light on our retina can be oh so thrilling I suppose.

I haven't updated pictures in awhile. Maybe mostly because my digital camera is crap. Well, it takes awesome video but weak pictures. I need a better digital eyeball to chronicle my fade into the abyss. Hmmm. If only money grew on trees, or camera companies gave out free cameras. Or I could plug y'all into my visual cortex. I'll work on that.

So yeah, there are 18 new photos up on my photo album, if you wish to have a photo snack. And even a video of a bashful Mt. Fuji hiding among clouds. Enjoy!

Oh. And you know? How about some random corporate love? Years and years ago I bought a cheap Cantonese learning CD from a company called EuroTalk. It's basically just a CD of colors and numbers, but its great fun. A few hours ago, I tried to put it in my new mac and the mac spat out a "classic applications" not supported error. I e-mailed EuroTalk and in less than 30 minutes (no joke!) they said they were sending me a free replacement CD with current application design. I guess I shouldn't fall in love with this company before I actually see the CD, but it seems at this moment to be some of the best customer service I have ever dealt with. Gold stars for everyone.
All original content CC 2002-2012 BY NC SA - first design from dilarangmelarang altered by neonvirus and thunderbunny.