Tag Archives: america

The L.A.

So my business trip to Los Angeles ends as quickly as it began. Fifty-one hours of Pacific Standard Time. It was educational, warm, fully of tasty things to eat, and garnered a few more memories to weave into my sterling silver bachelor’s band.

I got into town at eight-thirty Tuesday morning, seven hours earlier than when I left. Having a good amount of time on my hands before I could check into the hotel, I took a cab to Venice Beach and walked up Santa Monica to enjoy the weather. Along the way I met a pair of recently discharged Japanese office workers from Kyushu, and stopped at Big Dean’s for a ginormous double burger with fries and a pint of Sam Adams at the lovely body clock time of five a.m.

In between meetings I picked my way along the walk of fame and spent a good deal of time in the hotel conferring with coworkers back east. In some ways I think I could get used to living on the road: my room was about three times the size of my apartment and had a pretty decent view of the sunrise and Hollywood Hills.

Oddly enough my good high school friend Adam who I’d seen once in the last twelve years lives about five minutes’ drive from my hotel. We walked the dog, talked about old times, and his fiancee made us some lovely Cuba cuisine.

It was a short trip, but well-balanced and even had a good degree of intrigue and romance. Ah, the two carry-on lifestyle.

bossa nova saturday

Traditionally I’ve always thought of bossa nova as a Sunday morning thing, something to have on slow, sunny days like croissants or thick socks. But this morning the sky is so blue, and the clouds have a dreamy kind of depth, gliding by in whales and hippopotami. It still doesn’t feel like December, in general it’s been warm and clear. In the convenience stores Christmas goods have appeared, but my mood is still miles away from holiday.

In three weeks I will be going home. I’m not sure what it’ll be like, but it’s clear that there is a rift between us. I’ve spent five years in another world, and here though time has moved on for me in the States it’s still 2003. I don’t know any of the bands, television personalities, or pro football players. The price of gas is $1.26 a gallon and traffic in my home town is still light. I am a faded anachronism, tinted with strokes of sumi-e.

I hope the past a good bridge to build from, and music will take care of the rest. But for today, I will ride my bicycle slowly, and suck the marrow out of life.

Just enough for me

How many reasons do I have to have to explain the way that I feel well maybe I don’t have to or it doesn’t matter if I do or what or not and it’s done by me not you and old still something new left alone on my on with friends under the sky on a highway in a train by myself with fields of grain rice and mountains beyond to the oceans with sand and towels and people I don’t know but laughing it looks so much fun it’s just a part of the things that make me smile and laugh and it’s okay if you can’t understand it because I’m sure you feel it too it’s just inside and bubbling through in a different way because we’re both human and I love you no matter what happens to us and that’s just enough for me.

ええねん!

Phasing in and out of belonging

It’s two o’clock on Thursday, I’ve been in the States for roughly seventy-six hours so far. I’ve been more agitated by minor things than I really think I should, it’s a little surprising and disappointing, actually. But there’s a lot of Buddhism-inspired analysis that can be applied to that. I have new socks (beer mugs and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day), and a nice clearance sale oxford from Old Navy. I’ve eaten cheese, drank Coppola wine and Harp Ale, and eaten for sustenance but without much thought.

I’ve been able to meet several of my friends from graduate school, including Elan, Shawn, Ray, and Brenda. It’s been a road of minor, mild successes and learning, but I think that’s really all I could hope for. Although, it really bothers me to be relegated to using a fork for eating salad. I really should have brought some chopsticks with me.

California, America, long time no see

I’ve been up and down on the kigen scale today…small victories including getting my monochrome Visor working with keyboard, small failures including not correctly updating my email or contact information when HotSyncing. Yes, I can blog, yes I can take notes in session (eight megs free and padicty on the fritz). I love trains and the Keisei line. Okada-san and I talked about many things foreign and domestic. No, I did not bring ukon with me, no, I do not plan to get drunk. Yes, I type HTML tags into my entries directly, yes the plane took off an hour late due to malfunctioning weather report software at the Narita control tower (thank you Windows).

I’m performing the dustpan-organizing that always happens when travelling or making a visit to doctor… receipts and bank statements to the trash, blog entries from curled pocket notepad to Visor. Ah, but so fresh, so new, so many old things reoccurring. No, there’s hardly a soul to meet this week, but a wander, some exploration, some photos, a lot of listening, and hard, stingy hotel mattresses.

At least I have Masa’s Eaton vol. 11 mix to see me through it all.

Sometimes

Sometimes a man meets a woman and is sure of his future in an instant. Sometimes it takes him his whole life. I used to believe that there was a certain way to fall in love, but as the years have passed I’ve grown to believe that there is no correct way to love a person. Change is eternal, and the only unifying constant in the world. I will be what I was but more and never less, forever.

What frightens me is what I don’t understand, and what may be. But I can’t predict the future, not from reading a thousand books or running a million experiments. But I can choose how I live and who I am, every day from now until the last. It’s nothing unique in its existence, but the actions I take are.

I am independent, and a voice, one of billions but one nonetheless. I have no more right to my own pursuit of happiness than any other, but no less either. My freedoms and privileges are immutable and as natural as the force of wind. These things are to my mind undeniable, so perhaps that is why the founders of America declared them as such. Be it God or chance, we have been given these infinite possibilities. So quick to favor ourselves and shift doctrine to ego, being human is certainly a challenge. Though we can identify with the ideals of freedom, truth, and love, they are not automatic. However it is said that nothing of any value comes easily. These beliefs number among our greatest strengths, our instinctive and unflagging desire to challenge, grown, and learn. So flawed is man, but so beautiful. As troubled in petty ways as I forever may be, I have never for a moment wished to be directed as to be infallible and not make decisions on my own. Life is hard, and it’s the hard that makes it great.

May all the buddhas of love and compassion always give me strength, so I may share it with others.

Thank you mother, thank you father. Thank you all.

Back and better (I hope)

So, the vacation is over, and I’m back in Tokyo, for better or worse. I didn’t write much on this trip, as I tend not to on trips where I have contacts in the region that I’m visiting. I had a lot of quality dialogues. I think that is the outstanding theme of this trip. I talked to Mark, I talked to Brandon. I talked to Adrian, I talked to Ken. I talked to Professors Knight and Jones. I also had several very prophesying dreams and in the end I somehow managed a rather eloquent soliloquy at the airport in Toronto, despite being at the height of exhaustion. I was firing on all four cylinders vocally, in Japanese mind you.

Most of all, I didn’t wake up once feeling the sick dripping nausea that plagues me so often on bleary Tokyo mornings. I want to really figure out why that is, but unfortunately the scientific method fails me here with not enough meaningful data and too many experimental variables. Why does Tokyo smell so comforting to me?

Tony performs in the optometry section of Wal-Mart. “Save the farm, Babe!” Happy pumpkin. Dad during a tight 7-1 loss to Tony in air hockey.

Narita kicks the stuffing out of every other airport I’ve been to. It’s compact, efficient, and you can get through it either way in twenty minutes. It’s a great introduction to everything that comforts me about Japan: quiet, efficiency, etiquette, and crisply energetic women.

As an amusing little “you had to be there”, when making my way from the gate to immigration, I decided to take the stairs to the quarantine check as everyone else was queuing up to board the escalator. This is nothing strange for me, as it satisfies several of my core principles associated with selecting manual over automated anything. But since I was the only one who did in this situation, burdened with a number of bags I drew a brief peppering of remarks and hushed comments from the elderly ladies riding the short escalator.

Wakai ii ne. Erai, erai! Etc. (It sure is nice to be young. Wow, [he’s] great, fabulous!)

The catch here is this prompted a handful of elderly men behind me to get out of line for the escalator and in a ruffled sense of pride, huff their way up the stairs as well. Yes, I’m home, drawing attention and savoring the Spartan nature of my life yet again.

Mr. Jefferson. Our national champion lacrosse team. The middle of a narrow victory over NC State. Rachael enjoying autumn.