Ever feel like killing yourself just to spite someone?
assassin cidd moves me up on the kinsey scale
i express myself in emoji because human emotion is too difficult
"i love japan because of their culture"
Took a walk at 2am and got stop and frisked, my informal entrance ceremony to this country. The two power ranger bike cops searched my pockets and even went through the ID cards in my wallet. In contrast to New York's controversial stop-and-frisk program, it seems like the Japanese are casting a wide net. Turns out one of the cops studied abroad in Santa Barbara, what a strange world. The whole ordeal is such a glaring dissension, for Japan to heavily value privacy and compartmentalization with the prevalence of opaque and front door intercoms, yet readily welcome such open intrusion of their civil rights. Fuck cops.
Sis is gone for the week, I'll have a taste of what truly living alone is like. Yokohama at night is the strangest thing. Even when out of the suburbs, the streets are utterly silent, only occasionally perforated by passing cargo trucks. Combine that with the comparatively long distances between buildings and it really, really reminded me of the US. Saw a guy drop trou and piss. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
The lack of stimuli got my mind to wander. First, schemas and seeing the cracks in life. The whole experience is very similar to getting acclimated in a game. At first, everything is novel and you view it with thorough curiosity. Playing the WWII shooter Red Orchestra comes to mind with its convoluted controls and high skill ceiling. Eventually though, you see the framework it's built off of and the flaws start to become visible. The engine limitations of Fallout New Vegas with its obtuse gunplay and robotic prescripted events is a great example. The same applies to the life around you. From judging how lively a city is to a store's comprehensiveness, you start to think comparatively once you get a grasp of those schemas. I retained a very polar view of Japan and loved both the unblemished, sterile modernity of Tokyo and the serene, grotty charm of Saitama. Yokohama butts in and it fits neither of these schemas, and I find myself denigrating what's around my apartment. And this applies to everything. The quality of stores, the liveliness of neighborhoods, the building layouts. I live here so I need to resolve that mindset.
Through this mental tangent I'm reminded how intensely curious I am of how other people live and form their worldview. People who live in constrictive little clowncar apartments, or those who work 70 hours a week in a white and grey office buildings. How their worldview varies if they grew up in the countryside, or without the internet. It's something beyond my imagination, especially as an American, and there's got to be people who retain the same fatalistic view of life in Japan as I do with the US. I just can't visualize that kind of pessimism. fuck the rich tho
Off to Tokyu store and Book-off. Fuck, i'm starting to see everything according to schemas now. The charming, novel grottyness of these stores are now just grotty. The Book-Off was giant and even with the amount of volume it had, the overall quality of goods was still very good. Bought a double-breasted shirt,($12) uniqlo linen shirt ($5) and 1st volumes of my favorite manga series.($2)
Debating whether to continue these material book purchases for the sake of sentimentality, all of which I of course have an online copy of. I'll of course thumb through them, but their purpose within my belongings is still undetermined. I saw the anthropomorphised fish series, am still considering buying all 4 volumes.
Walked around the other side of the station as the weather's getting worse. Love the family-run grocery shops that dot the neighborhood, they're shockingly cheap as well. A charming grottyness that was completely devoid in the opposite end of the station.
A fairly serious storm is on it's way, buying some food and cleaning the bathtub at the very least. Dying by hurricane isn't a very cool way to go. Japanese Twitter is exploding with talk of companies that are still forcing employees to clock in tomorrow, with most Tokyo subways completely shut down, during the worst storm in 40 years.
wanting to watch strawberry panic again.
What's proximate to you forms your worldview. From experiences at work to passing headlines that you pick up, they all congregate into some sort of mental conception about your current environment and the world beyond. Social world isn't quite it, social implies some interaction or reciprocation. Ecosystem? matrix? This general imagery that saturates your daily life is profoundly molded by what you watch and see.
Right now the proximate issues that surround my day-to-day are so numerous that taking on a new worldview is akin to lofy delusion. Fiction in particular seems so distant, saccharine, and cheesy. Miyazaki films are the catalyst of many thoughts but the bookmark falls out of the pages as it cuts to commercials amd I'm back to slumping over a mattress substitute in someone else's apartment. I've lost the latitude in my thinking, that pluralities exist among peoples lives, that my current day to day is the anomaly. Through living in Japan my worldview has dialated, yet through that new aperture all I see and experience is repetition, day after day. Double images of the same station, the same scenery, the same interiors. And these experiences are retained not with a lofty, nostalgic sort of immortalization like my childhood trips here. I am not settled. I am a visitor in this apartment, a soon to be undetermined in 社会. So through these 3 months, a new experience. A dualistic existence that presents both the stunning potential and droning, constricting inevitability of living. A day-to-day in heaven so thoroughly glazed over, rendered utterly intolerable by the incessant arguments and pitiful monetary restraint.
^Dark thoughts while packing boxes through the night. Mindlessly thumbing through stuff that isn't mine in a place that isn't mine. 30 boxes total. Have to empty out the fridge while spending the bare minimum on food. Probably lost 10 pounds in this entire ordeal, even the girl I walked around with last week pointed that out.
Relief, a warm afterglow after 2 months of toil, but it's one filled with hesitation. Still lots to tend to, some of which I've been neglecting because of this move. Excited to finally have my own room, and to have the agency to change up the interior.
Monday, got my commuter pass for school and went to Nippori with the family friend to look at fabric. She was pressed on time and I didn't bring my passport so just browsing. Incredible assortment of stuff, including ruffles and lace for dresses. Fabric was anywhere from $100 USD a meter for French Cashmere to $6 clearance rolls. Nippori is an odd place, the station is absolutely huge because of the special lines to Haneda Airport, yet walk 5 minutes and you're in a typical cityscape. Walked to Ueno, passed by Ueno park and the assortment of museums that were closed because it's the weekend. Shame. Off to OIOI, I want my entire apartment to be Muji. Speakers caught my eye, one bluetooth and the other a CD player. Probably not audiophile quality but what a fantastic design.
The train departing jingle at Akihabara is "Koisuru Fortune cookie."
A comparison of film shot in 1998 and 2019 in Shibuya, a nostalgic ressurection of Respawn Inbox. God how i've dreamed for this.
Having dinner next week with two of the students I met at the international students' commencement. They're native Japanese students wanting to know more about my Uni in regards to study abroad. (sweats)
Class. Some fantastic articles about Zainichi Koreans, really interesting to see a case about colonization that's not intimately intertwined with racial formation theory. Bringing it all back to think how much my life has changed, it's odd to think I don't miss my PC that much. It was utterly fundamental to my worldview while tolerating 6 years of just waiting. Manga, TV shows, music, and Youtube videos kept me sane while I languished in suburbia, disconnected (emotionally, then physically) from my friends in Irvine. It resulted in an anticipation that my current interests would germinate somwhere other than here.
Now that I'm "here," there's a general lack of urgency that I considered fundamental to my being just a few months ago. A PC, a sewing machine, music, manga, even the internet has been demoted to niceties. I'm left wondering if I have a hole in my worldview, one that was until recently a pervasive contributor to keeping my mind open and receptive. My fear is that this absence can lead to some rather fatalistic ramblings about living. Or has that hole been filled with a yet unidentified gratification?
The nostalgic afterglow that accompanied living with grandma doesn't extrapolate to the rest of Japan. It's both a disappointment and relief emotionally. As emotional baggage, all the best that it's immortalized as a chilhood memory. Comparing my lifestyle relative to those fleeting moments couldn't have resulted in a mindest remotely healthy.
Class, walked around with a girl who's an international relations major. Interesting conversation about activism and political apathy in Japan. Took a photo of some students but the camera set the shutter speed to 1/8th in aperture priority, fingers crossed for no camera shake. Buddhism prof organized a meditation session in a temple under the Tokyo tower, I'm always down to try something new. The same bald, sardonic looking prof who looks like he can illicit apologies from his kids just by his spirit-piercing stare. I didn't find it to be a life-altering experience, but I was able to talk with new people and have dinner with a couple of German/French guys. Mainly spoke about what we missed, american fast food, bread, and cheese came up. Starting to feel that I have a broad social circle now, if a bit wide and shallow. Just need to find someone like the South African guy, then I can bask in the meandering neurotic conversations again. Planning to join some clubs, thoroughly disappointed there's no fashion club. There was a photography club though, reportedly it's giant.
Came home to have a rare heartfelt conversation with my sister about our childhoods. The dark periods in our lives, our relationship with our parents,
I'm enjoying my life right now. I finally feel settled.
Lunch with a domestic Uni student, we spoke in Japanese. I had ramen (which was great) and fried rice with bits of salmon. I think I did alright, never felt nervous or awkward during the 3 hours. We spoke about study abroad, cooking, geography, food, travelling, TV dramas. She's originally from Sendai and we shared the opinion that the sprawl of Tokyo is a bit too much. Somewhere hermaphroditic like Saitama is my ideal, and she didn't seem too surpised by that. We both retained a mutual desire to meet and talk with more domestic/study abroad students, but the way the Uni program is arranged makes it difficult. A sort of doublespeak since the administration deafeningly parrots "don't group up with other English-speakers." I had fun, hope she felt the same.
original title: dude way if we pe form buts
Back in my sister's dorm to pack her stuff, it's rough. Too little space, too much stuff, the dust kicks off our allergies. The already microscopic apartment is starting to close in on us, probably the most apt presentation of how this room radiates animosity. I start classes soon, sincerely hope this phase ends as fast as possible. Ate at Watanabe, a ramen place. Very dark flavors and the broth was thick. Especially liked the thick-cut menma. Takadanobaba isn't completely irredeemable it seems. Both of us were wondering what we'd miss from this place, my sister especially. I'm not going to miss shit. Still thinking about that fish broth ramen I had 3 years ago in Oomiya.
My current living situation is too convoluted to even fantasize out of, the idealized solution to this ordeal can't be wrapped up in one or two lofty wishes. Reincarnation as an inanimate object perhaps?
First day of class. 3 courses back-to-back, 1~6pm. First was a conversational culture and society class in Japanese, held on the 4th floor of a building with no elevators. Fuck the legless I suppose, presumably there's some grappling ropes suspended from an evacuated elevator shaft somewhere. Classmates were Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Italian, oddly. Luckily everyone else seemed to be apprehensive as I was and it'll be a good ass-kicker. Japanese is hard, and they didn't have the luxury of being forcibly sent to a weekend school like I was. Instead of some consciousness-anesthetic grammar or pronounciation class it's pretty much a debate class. Second was a comparative immigration class, nice intersection of policy and history. Surprised how classmates were able to come up with so many historical to/from Japan immigrantion trends. Professor had short, grey hair and resembled an insufferable PTA member but acted like your neighborhood grandma. Her English was top-tier.
Third was a very Edward T Hall interactionism class, just absolutely packed with people. Professor had the most American accent I've ever heard. Massive respect to the Japanese students who plunged themselves in an all-English class.
Overall, a pleasant experience. The professors seemed passionate, workload not too overbearing, and the student-driven conversations were enjoyable. Have zero time to eat lunch through 5 hours unless I pack one, that's my only gripe. Classes completely occupying 3 days out of the week should afford me some time in the future.
Started Pnin by Nabokov, still haven't finished Lolita. Fuck this requires thorough mastication. Also realized I haven't noticed my tinnitus since coming here. There's always something in the background, whether it be the AC or cicadas outside.
still packing aaaaaaaaaa
got caught by the gestapo while leaving for class today. I explained our precarious moving situation and the building managers (A delightful elderly couple) seemed to be sympathetic, but the company man reiterated over and over that policy was policy. Was practically pissing out of my armpits, my shirt converted into a carefree catheter. Likely to be kicked out, which isn't the end of the world but it may delay our already late move. The prospect of finding a place to sleep and choosing a moving company was looming over me for the rest of the day, not the best when paired with starvation
Aestheticism class. professor was a clean-cut dude in his thirties with the stereotypical salaryman haircut. Funny guy, he shat all over the administration about admissions and class sizes. English wasn't the best.
5 hour gap because a class got rescheduled, just dicked around campus. Minato-ku is definitely not my thing. The faceless crowds of tucked shirts gets old. My last year of Uni before being crestfallen, my current excusatory title of "student" replaced with "neet." I'm not sure why there's much less idealism surrounding college than gradeschool in Japan. It's the intersection between newfound freedom and proximate social circles, right before being plunged into the working-class underworld.
Buddhism and social suffering class, exciting because it's about contemporary issues instead of some long-dead celibate philosopher. Bald, sanguine professor was funny even within the narrow subject of comparative india/japan buddhism. One thing I've noticed is the tempo of out of class activities like field trips and going out drinking with the professor.
Back home expecting the worst, but got....nothing? My student status did its magic, alongside the fact that I'm a brother helping her move, not some boyfriend. Got truly lucky with whomever was responsible for conveying this to the company.
Japanese depictions of the other in literature class, prof was a disheveled English guy. A girl from the same uni/study abroad program joined me in one of my meandering walks around the city. Went to Zozoji. She lives with her grandparents, man am I envious. She mentioned that I looked skinner since we first met in the US. Japanese education class, the professor shat all over Todai and Waseda.
No class, commencement ceremony for international students at 6. It was fantastic. Had some liquid courage and just went around. Tons of fun just talking to people, lots of British and French students this time. Even if I didn't approach them just greeting people I've seen before will lead to something down the line. Also spoke to some Japanese students and it was remarkable how all of them knew about my Uni. Even Americans from other states didn't, shows how insulated we are.
another guestbook comment, it's stuff like this that kicks me into gear. might actually touch the nostalgia and friendship pages again.
original title:shibuya street grease conditions my boots
Going through old school essays, fuck my writing has devolved. Financial aid came through, no more money worries. Bomber jackets came and went as a fashion trend didn't it. My roommate was right, they were the leather jacket of the 2010's. Weather's dropped down to under 30 degrees.
Looking at some apartments on my own since all we do is argue, some of these listings look truly hellish.
Staying with a family friend for a bit, no more mind-numbing Uni orientations until the 23rd. Their house is rather big and located in Setagaya Ward, the polar opposite of Adachi. Regardless the family sleeps together upstairs like Crayon Shinchan. Bonded with the family friend over sewing, cooking, baking. She's been into this zero-effort overnight dough lately. Bonded with her kids (8, 4 yo.) about Ultraman, the 8 year old is a sentient lore loudspeaker. Bonded with the dad over audio, leather shoes, and watches. Festival over the weekend so I'm hoping to take some pictures, only 4 shots left on this roll. Baked some bread with basil from the balcony and bacon. A bit dense, but it was good.
Fuck I love Muji with all my heart, it's right on my wavelength. One of the Tsunashima real estate agents started brushing their teeth in the back of the office, she did not give a fuck. Talking to her emanated the aura of a distant but sincere aunt who's been through a lot. Saw the other side of Tsunashima station, not bad. Wish there was a big department store. Walked 2 hours instead of taking the train home, saw Anti-nuclear and anti-Olympics protests in Shibuya. Still lots of people, but not quite a sea. The Chinese tourists have learned how to blend in, no more extended families blocking the sidewalk. No idea what it's like for bigger tourist spots though. There's also a shit ton of Germans. Tourist attractions feel contrived and artificial, a plot of land that's been thoroughly whored out for its significance. Harajuku was great! So many secondhand shops, every other passerby is dressed to kill. Lolita, streetwear, pastel grunge, menswear, goth, was all there. 2nd (The Japanese fashion magazine) had a physical store there, found out that Red Wing used to make a Irish Setter hiker boot. Already bought a pair of Raichles off ebay (^∀^*) In general secondhand shop prices were the same or a bit higher than Koenji. Obviously curated and well sorted, everything $30USD+. An odd price range for me unless I find something really up my alley.
Thinking seriously about furniture now. Japanese tables are low (~70cm) because they're the center of the living room instead of a sofa/coffee table apparently. Nitori was selling a Eames replica for $800 new. Nervous about moving. The fuckery of sending off your stuff, starting school, arranging utilities, it's going to be a busy month. I realized that I've lost sight of whatever idealized day-to-day I wanted to have. These two months of feeling uprooted has made any fantasy feel fruitless. Even as we've decided on an apartment I don't feel particularly settled.
Off to Shimokitazawa in the rain, 40 minutes of walking. It's smaller than I thought, but a good 30 second-hand clothing stores. Prices were predictably high, but there were some insane pieces of clothing, most notably a rack of 50's USAF Sheepskin flight suits, two USN Anoraks (drawstring/metal clasp closure), and a Royal Navy deck smock.
Spoke a bit with some employees at one shop, they were playing clammbon.
Spoke about her kids' smartphones/games/TV usage, prospective English lessons, and previous California trips with the family friend. Recommended Eyewitness books, Sesame Street, and Between the Lions as a teaching supplement. Hopefully they don't turn into furries. A bit difficult in regards to accessibility since they're forbidden from anything with a screen, definitely an outlier family. The kids seem to be content with history books and Ultraman toys in the mean time, we both agreed their rebellious phases are going to be interesting. I had rather permissive parents and I burned out on most of the "undesirable" occupations on my own. Self-discipline through habituation. Spoke about employment and Japan's place within globalization with the dad. Yutori generation, "working for 24 hours," work/life balance, etc. Man was at work from 9am to 9pm. He mentioned his college days studying 10+ hours everyday when he had $2USD in savings and every lunch was 3 balls of rice. Now he works for a top 10 accounting firm and diverges his pocket change into some rather expensive hobbies. He's occupied two extremes and neither has afforded any time to himself. I'm jealous of the family's financial leeway (as someone who's living off bean sprouts), but I don't feel compelled to inherit their current sacrifices in getting here. Working 12 hours a day to fuel hobbies that I have no time for doesn't sound like a way to live. But no surprises here. If anything I wanted the family to contest my stereotype-ridden view of work here.
I'd love to have kids but I'm absolutely terrified of the prospect of conceiving two little shits. I can explicitly remember things my parents did that have made me who I am (for better or worse), and having that much control over someone's fundamental being is frankly overwhelming. Managing their ego, selfishness, and threshold for stimulation is top of the list.
Entertaining the idea of a botany notebook, complete with dried leaves, seeds, and flowers. It would be cheap as hell, only time, a Muji notebook, and tape. Enjoyed some seaweed-flavored chips and a bag of Harvest cookies. Super cheap and absolutely perfumed with the scent of dairy, I love this stuff.
Picked some plants and flowers in anticipation of a notebook, how to preserve them is an issue. Flowers in particular turn brown instantly. Setagaya is alright. Quiet suburbs with some interesting newish houses, neighbors seems to be tight-nit, close proximity from bigger cities in Tokyo. It's popular with upper-class car-owning families, and it's obvious why. Just wish there was some more unmolested greenery.
Met some of the family friend's nephews, one of them was exactly the kind of kid I'm afraid of cultivating. Even excising something like "personality" or "mannerisms," he had zero set boundaries and the way he spoke was just crude. Then again this is me, an adult, expressing my contempt of a 6 year old I met for the first time. Maybe seeing children as failed experiments isn't the right outlook on parenthood. And maybe they'll grow up into normal, well-adjusted people. I haven't met anyone who's a shitty person at their core yet, unlike in the US. Maybe the Japanese are just good at veiling their abhorrent personalities.
Family friend showed me around some of the meticulous travel albums her father kept. America in the 70's probably shot on some early Fuji. No camera unfortunately. After he passed she made his online blog stretching back from 1997 into a book. There were a few discoveries reading through them apparently. She's the odd one out location wise, the rest of her family lives within 15 minutes of each other, and they seem to meet at least once a month. I never had that living in the US. Am I jealous? Probably. Having connections is important, it's why I'm staying here. And even after shedding the pragmatism, obligations and reciprocity, life is fun with more people. It's why I seriously considered a sharehouse as my long-term housing.
I've been unable to sleep lately, that's not a great sign. I'm sleepy but there's something that overrides that. Probably dissasisfaction due to a lack of a definitive "I did this today."
I've allowed myself to become complacent here. I don't have to worry about food or money and I don't go through the Anne Frank experience for fear of getting kicked out. I spend my days just wandering the neighborhood, cooking, and tagging along on trips. But it's not a satisfactory life, a bit like a hotel with a curfew. Out of courtesy I don't leave the house after 10 (since I have no way to lock the door when I leave). And like a hotel, my hobbies are over there somewhere. Above all, there's a mountain of obligations I have when I get back with classes and the move-in. Maslow's hierarchy rings true. Still no idea what my idealized day-to-day is like, and right now feels like the transition between a sedate, hollow day-to-day to a mimosa of fuckery.
On top of that I think I've gotten used to life in Japan, Setagaya anyway. Who knows if my cynical prophecies hold any validity. Incredibly strange life transition from languishing in that San Diego apartment to languishing as a nomad. The same sensation of not feeling settled, of wasting my life, of never being fully comfortable with where I am. Idealism has been replaced with opacity. Maybe the country doesn't matter. Maybe the outlook on life I've retained will never make me happy.
It's hard, this whole experience is hard. I didn't realize how fundamental "a room to yourself" is mentally, nor how inept I was at communicating with my sister while living like Anne Frank at her apartment. I have a degree of choice and autonomy limited by my finances but I'm left wondering whether I can really cultivate an environment and lifestyle I'm gratiated with.
I look at this wonderful, loving environment the parents have been able to provide in one of the most expensive wards in Tokyo. And I see my own childhood in their oblivious kids. I compare their lives with my absolutely pathetic day-to-day, of pinching pennies and chasing transient thrills. I'm jealous of an 8 year old. Some adult I am.
Uni is smack dab in bougie Minato ward. Went early to walk around a bit, mainly an office district. Saw the Tokyo tower in the distance and with some chromedomed priests praying. The campus is nice! Rather new looking glass lecture halls with some well-aged brick and mortar buildings. The orientation was uneventful as always, maybe 200 study abroad students from all over. Then it's off to the Meguro Parasitological Museum. Didn't plan for this but I was going to become a statistic if I stayed in the sun.
Despite being a humble little two-story building and free admission, it's an amazing place to look through. Mostly women, oddly. Each specimen was labelled with the species, latin designation, date, and host species. Bolbosoma was my favorite boy. The museum also displayed original hand-written journals and sketches by parasitologist Sachu Yamaguchi, those were amazing. Meguro isn't my cup of tea, not that it's bad. Just lacks greenery and I'm not a fan of office districts I guess.
A new guestbook comment (´∀｀）
South African guy is leaving in two days, there's going to be a farewell party at 6. Off to grimy Nakano Broadway again, shot some pictures of dolls. Not that expensive, bodies are ~$200 and heads $5~700. Another run at the used kimono shop and found a junk camera shop. Lots of 80's plastic Minolta/Canon/Nikon bodies. Not many Nikon F series. Saw an two black OM2's. Two Canon IV's and a Canon 7 also caught my eye. The latter had completely fucked shutters but the controls were still buttery smooth. The 7's light meter didn't work, and I think it's a tad less erotic compared to the IV or P. There were some 60's looking folder cameras but they're probably too old to use pleasurably. I did buy an overpriced sticker at Tacoche, but I just had to get it. Artist is 百合百合. The store was insane, just filled with all sort of odd art and photography books. Lots of surrealist and strange art, this is what I'd pour money into if I was rich as fuck. The original canvases were anywhere from $250~500, I'd buy it.
The exact shop I saw
Headed to the Koenji sharehouse at 6, party was delayed until 9. Was really debating going back outside to wander but we played Overcooked 2 and Mario Kart. Was able to crack some jokes with the other Japanese-American guy, we didn't get to speak during my stay so I was glad. We bonded over flashgames like Canyon Defense. His countenance is usually deadpan but he loosened up a bit. Waiting wasn't so bad. 9 rolled around and we had yakisoba together. Got destroyed in Smash. Walked to the train with the girl that was staring at me all day and uhhhhhhh
Going to miss the South African guy, those aimless but introspective talks are what I look for in other people.
Typhoon causing train delays. Found Futaribeya and Tsurezure Children at Book-Off.
More pointless orientations at campus. Spoke with some stereotypically stoic German students. Business major guy from Dusseldorf was a Franz Bonaparta lookin ass with circular glasses and a nice thick beard, the sort of guy not ravaged by the passage of time. The German girl has worked under the government all over the place, I've found study abroad is filled with upper-tier people like this. She kept staring at me (⊃‿⊂)
Off to Kanagawa in the morning, casing various stations to atleast slim down the apartments we look at. Some are sedate riverside cities, others are rusty suburban blocks, some look like Tokyo with wider streets. The rubber stamp rally was adorned with bits of origami and papercraft fluff. How nice.
Chinese Dumplings for lunch, izakaya for dinner. Going around with my sis reanimated memories of prior mindless vacation trips.
Thought I'd outline some personal goals while here, beats the hell out of mindless indulgence.
Start sewing again
Start sewing lolita
Build bits of furniture
Assemble Hi-fi corner
Build Mini-ITX PC (AMD 3400g)
Shoot film at Maizuru countryside
Try wildlife photography
Experiment with flash photography, double exposures
Recreate childhood photos
Bought a jacket off Mercari and it came in tonight! Made of HBT denim, really like the odd combination of double breasted jacket/duffel coat toggles. Made in Japan, not bad for $16. Planning it to pair it with some slouchy pants and ankle boots.
Ōji retains this sort of grimy Showa feel, especially the Tobu Store and Sun Square. The 1F grocery store is almost reminiscent of Japanese-American chains like Mitsuwa and Marukai, there's always an element of grimy neglect. Some of the shelves were poorly lit and the floors have hasty fixes, a contrast to the spotless and almost sterile Japanese scenery I'm used to. The cherry on top was the clothing section, straight out of a department store. Of course filled with stuff that would make the loins flutter of anyone over 60. Still a decent crowd of pensioners, and their selection easily rivaled bigger chains. They had an arcade, bowling, and tennis floors. The latter were also filled with people, but the arcade held my fixation. Of course your standard affair of crane games, gundam iterations, shooters, and anime change magnets, the "adult" section had token games and gambling. The building itself showed its age with a tiny elevator and vanilla walls.
Through all of this I'm intensely jealous of my parents' bubble generation. No 10% consumption tax, rapid introduction of foreign goods, massive urban development, and everyone just drowning in money. I would've loved to see this space, with all its charm, just saturated with people. Today neglect is the most pervasive modern theme of Japan, and not just in the rural space either.
Accidentally stepped into Adachi Ward while following the Arakawa river, what a mistake. Recycling centers, logistics centers, construction sites, it's the emblematic working-class port city. Streets were huge and there was absolutely nothing around. No covenience stores, no grocery stores, no people. A small coffee shop would probably do well, somewhere cheap workers can go on their break.
Orientation at ICU, the surrounding area is empty as fuck. The campus is rather nice, about the size of a rich American high school. Never knew the anime cafeteria was a real thing, just assumed it was convenient to animate. Met the other people in my program, some familiar faces. One of the study abroad center coordinators complimented my brown hanten (´∀｀） Hours of slideshows so pretty uneventful, their anecdotes about previous students' fuck ups were great though. Bus back to Mitaka. Walked to the Ghibli Museum and the surrounding park at Kichijoji, got buffeted by mosquitos. Man Kichijoji is nice. Quiet suburbia is a stones' throw away, some very green parks, department stores and an active drinking district near the station. Station itself is not that crowded, not that huge, and not that old. No wonder listings near here are dick expensive.
original title: 1 yr anniversary
Went from the sharehouse to my sister's company housing. I'm not supposed to be here, and getting caught means she's evicted in a week. Seeing as we have no housing lined up, that would be unfortunate. Landlord lingers at the front from 8am~6pm so fuck me dead that's a long block of time I can't leave or enter the building. Either I wake up super early and prepare for being outside for 10+ hours, stay indoors all day being unable to leave without wi-fi, or go nocturnal to avoid the landlord and use the internet.
Finished the book "Do No Harm" by surgeon Henry Marsh. Here's a New Yorker article about it. I found it remarkable how angry Marsh often presented himself. Cursing at staff, throwing instruments in the operating room out of frustration, it's not the slow-burning surgeon's memoir I expected. And I suspect that was the intention, trying to undo the solemn, calculating stereotype of doctors. It's a great deeply personal book, I just wished Marsh elaborated more about his operations in Ukraine.
No wonder Takadanobaba is #2 on "cities in Tokyo I'd prefer not to live in." The combloc apartment complexes are a nice touch to the grim concrete landscape. Rebirth and neglect are common themes in Japanese infrastructure, and Takadanobaba is a disjointed frankenstein of a city. Japan is a country with conspicuous appeal, a vacation country. This first month has been an odd experience and sad to say, a symbolic continuation of that baffling vacation trip two years ago.
I find myself increasingly isolated, not out of neccesity or lethargy, but fear. I stick myself at home in an act of chastity to stem habituation from the sensory assault of Tokyo. Acclimation is still my greatest fear, to placate the years of utter stagnation in the US into a footnote. To have my benchmark for gratification skewed by unrelenting arousal. And this meandering volatility of moving, insurance, doctor's appointment, state pension, tuition, prevents me from pursuing anything of interest. At the every least, I take walks to relieve myself of the apartment's isolation while I wait for emails and envelopes.
Through all of it, I'm left chasing something as fruitless as "satiation," and hopelessly opaque as "belonging." Am I simply trying to tap into childhood nostalgia, going through the mental masturbation to try and foster novelty that has long since died? Is it just Tokyo? Will it change once I move? Were the motivations for this trip flawed to begin with?
Living with my sister turned out to be more ambiguous in its benefits, as well as more convoluted logistically. Visited a one-room apartment for $700 a month with a great elevated (city) view. Told the housing agent some Americans start eating stuff in the supermarket before paying for it and he was shocked. He also told me that the 2L drinks at a Vegas 7-11 was beyond comprehension. Dude was wearing a submariner, wonder what the contrast is like between the hovel he was showing me and the one he comes home to. Also found a $240 a month sharehouse with prison-like rooms, that'l be my new contingency plan. South African dude is still reaching out to me over LINE, that's nice. Need to definitely bullshit with him once this blows over.
I don't look Japanese enough apparently. Everytime I tell someone I'm American they go "and your parents are....?" Right now I see it as a plus. Get those social obligations off my chest.
My mind is much clearer after going over housing options, makes my time here bearable. Still itching to assemble a hi-fi/PC corner and start sewing.
Good Eats is back! I will say the show misses the at-home charm of the old show, the set's probably the same as Cutthroat Kitchen. Regardless, a great mix of science and history. The camerawork is fantasic as always.
Meeting with more real estate agents, actually going inside those offices defaced with black-and-white housing listings. Some hits and misses, one from Mitsui was the stereotypical well-rounded salesman. The listing was in Tsunashima, Kanagawa with a gorgeous river view but it's a touch small for two. Another was wearing a Richard Mille watch but wasn't very good at showing me around. Numabe was very small town and comfy. The latest was a woman in her thirties, very personable and didn't emanate the stink of commission money. In the 4 hours looking at apartments, we got into some deep conversations in the car. I think the obligation of having to entertain someone wasn't there because of my background. Why else would a saleswoman divulge about her pay and work environment to a client? I still need to practice conveying my thoughts properly. Can retrospectively think of 4~5 instances where I should've said something more.
Anyway, she made me realize I don't really like the city. Koenji was fine and even sedate for Tokyo but it didn't really grab me. Kanagawa is nice, just need to avoid the dead bits of town.
Also visited a cobbler in Gotanda afterwards, a resole was around $150USD. A guy was having his Red Wing Moc toes and Pecos resoled.
Having dinner with the South African guy, had Tonkatsu. Fuck their rice is delicious. Spoke about office politics, host clubs, arcade card games. I feel my English finally getting worse, time to start reading.
Good eats is still fantastic.
A new guestbook comment! The one-year anniversary of this site was this 8th which I completely missed. My life pretty much did a 180 in the meantime, all up to me whether it's for the better.
Helped the Half-Chinese guy move boxes of his stuff to Nakano, took about an hour in the heat. Fantastic conversation about identity, belonging, and intrapersonal relationships in Japan. We both harbor relentless animosity towards this country but it's from a place of dejection. The cons are such a stark contrast to the potential. Our consensus was that we weren't close to enough Japanese people to really have a holistic view. Everyone has a wall of intimacy that you need to get through by almost flirting. Acting disingenuous and artifical is a negative in America but it's a fundamental part of socializing in Japan. Whatever the truth may be, what this country has showed both of us isn't very favorable. Went inside his new sharehouse, met his Korean roommate. Half-Chinese guy described him as cute and yup, his mannerisms are cute. Also occured to me that it wouldn't be that odd for me to go vegan. There's plenty of stuff I don't consume for moral objections, meat wouldn't be any different. Went to Mos Burger regardless, Half-Chinese guy picked up the tab as thanks.
Brainpicking with the South African guy about nostalgic anime, voice actors, transgenderism, bisexuality. The quote "I need a dick in my porn," will forever be etched into my memory. Our conversations are the absolute best, just dripping with self-reflection. Madoka reruns on TV reviving some repressed memories. Takagi-san was also on, a show too pure for this abhorrent world. Late night runs to Lawson to grab some coffee.
omg i can actually read this manga now, no more grinning along. Very contextual and the dialogue flows like a real conversation instead of centering on a punchline. What a fantastic feeling.
The dialogue in Kimetsu no Yaiba is cripplingly embarassing. Atleast the animation alright and the OP is bretty gud. It's strange to see how fiercely individualistic shounens are. Probably more self-indulgent and gratuitous than an isekai. Still waiting for a new series to really sweep me off my feet like Gintama or Danshi koukousei did.
Off to grandma's for sushi. why did my sister have to back out in the last minute, this is something she gave me shit about. 50min train ride to Saitama, I surprisingly really missed being there. Tokyo is a slap in the face, but Saitama is Japan to me. Maybe it's just the underground rail I dislike. The cityscape is also quite different, not as shiny or opulent but also doesn't have the same disregard Tokyo has. Just comfy. I still want a motorbike, it would be super convenient here. Grandma is still sharp as a knife. I always feel intimidated around my uncle, I really can't read old Japanese men emotions.
South African guy went to comiket with his fujoshi gf, god I wish that was me. Also moving out of here in 2 days, finding an apartment is rough.
Lunch with the Half-Chinese and South African guy at Mos Burger, followed up with beer at Sanshi-No-Mori park. Meandering conversations about food, worst fears, city transportation, gay experiences, superstitions, bullying, relationships, Tengas. Another one I wished I could listen back on. Apogee of our lunch was a woman wearing a shirt that said "SHIT MY WORLD"
Off to Myogadani to watch people swing dance. The rich part of town, it feels somewhat hollow. I had an epiphany that I was back to seeing people as well, people. The different ways people dance, their mannerisms when talking with their friends at the benches, strange to say it's been a while since I've seen anything other than saccharine social formalities. And when you're trudging through a sea of people dick-to-ass in Shinjuku, depersonalization eventually creeps in.
Last late night Sukiya run with the South African guy. Bad anime, NEETdom, employment, waifuism, navigating identity binaries in Japan, "Idol shows are just battle shounens for women." I was sleep deprived and slurring most of my sentences, what a play. It's also strange to think how isekai fantasy MCs and suicidal salaryman MCs coexist right now.
We usually shit on delusional weebs but he thought "gaijin" was a derogatory slur. Japan is hard yo. Going to really miss the dude, especially since he goes back to England in a month. The first night we met we spoke about identity and belonging into 3am.
quaking with fear, did I summon this?
original title: cum tastes lke pennies
Rain is gone, 35°C weather is here. Sent off the film! Very excited to see the results and $3 a roll for dev+scan is a killer price. Praying to allah that I don't get questionable photos of my parents.
A Gachimuchi reference made it into TF2, peak 2019.
Off with the South African and Malaysian guy, 1am run to Sukiya. South African guy's GF is a fujoshi, we had a pretty hearty back and forth on what he should expect. Just hilarious stuff, one of those conversations I wish I had a recording of. We went over fetishes (perennial icon bigkneelover made multiple appearances), boys love/girls love, and dating.
shutter shades, tinnitus, and rap at a very traditional japanese festival.
One of the rolls came out blank apparently. No idea which one, multiple rolls went through all 4 cameras I had.
Most things are in order now, can unwind for some introspection. Acclimation was what I was most afraid of, but I think being insulated in a tiny sharehouse isn't dissimilar to back home. Accordingly, I hate it when I'm stuffed in here all day. I usually end up taking a walk with my camera and that gets me beaming. I can't stand packed stations anymore. Shibuya was dick-to-ass. Ikebs is still fine. Think I'm starting to form my preferences in regards to where I'd like to live. Suburbia isn't bad here. Reading substancially less manga, might just be because my 3.5" drive is inaccessible right now. Watching a decent amount of TV on my PC, daytime Japanese TV reminds me of English food. Started reading Lolita. It's sickening but that's the allure I suppose. How the protag "seduces" the reader with his delusional stream of consciousness is really something.
I missed the smells of Japan. Remnants of Showa still linger with sulphur, gasoline, and mildew. Pair that with the almost laundry-like smells of air-conditioned convenience stores and train stations. The sounds too, small displacement engines, droning cicadas and distant birds.
Food is great. Eating out in the US is always expensive but now and then in Japan isn't that much. Everything is unreasonably delicious. Wish Indian food was cheaper tho.
As far as language goes my Japanese is definitely getting better. Voice in my head is still English, as are most conversations inside the house. So far I'm still literate.
I really think I hit the jackpot with my roommates. Had my doubts but that's worth well over the $400.
There's still that perennial sensation of not feeling completely grounded. My stay here ends in two weeks and I'm going to be moving so I can't buy anything permanent. Day-by-day living, like staying at a hotel. I'm reasonably confident that my school schedule won't be too overbearing.
Goddamn I tripped over every question in the interview. Haircut was salvagable but my answers were not. Went home defeated to browse anime grills as an emotional salve. Couldn't even explore Roppongi or take pictures because I'm expecting an envelope. Atleast I got my film in, and the blank roll was one I didn't take. Posted everything on individual camera pages. Main takeaways:
C35 actually has a rather sharp lens, makes me miss the thing.
Crazy how digital-looking some of the images cames out.
All of the Retina photos were unsalvagable, they all had a cloudy haze. Don't know if that's the lens, film, or because I shot 1/8 handheld on a 50mm lens. Hoping it's the latter.
1/60 was able to capture a decent amount of detail at night with partial lighting.
C200 looks damn good in afternoon light, not so much in f16 conditions
C200 is not that different than Ektar to my amateur eye.
Don't overexpose in f16 conditions, even if it's only a half-stop.
Photos of flowers look worse than you think
Expect pastel colors only on overcast days.
Overall, very happy. Putting a new roll through the Retina to see if it's fucked, this time shooting over 1/50. The Electro also seems to be spot-on in exposure so I might even keep that too.
South African guy pointed out that conversations among Japanese guys are much different even in substance. The funny bits are hypotheticals instead of picking at each other's train of thought. Man is struggling to get a lusty boy in FGO, while I'm back on my boat game and sukusuto.
The past week has been utterly maddening. Trying to find a job is soul-crushing. Goodsmile rejected my application. Residency verification, applying for national insurance, and getting my meds before I run out is even more pressure. Waking up at 4 and staying in a house with opaque windows also doesn't help. Just taking a walk with the OM-2n is enough to satisfy my curiosity but sitting in front of a computer doing the same thing over and over again trumps that. The sporadic rain and perennial white sky also makes normal photos look lifeless.
Atleast the people I live with are great. Had sukiyaki and drinks with most of the house and some italian visitors.
Weather getting better. Lunch with the uncle at Ginza. Just saturated with tourists and people who only wear heeled shoes. A pilgrimage to Akihabara. As a city it never feels quite comfortable, especially on a hot day like this. But there is a certain charm to the oddly specific hobby shops. Saw a film camera shop run by a burly Indian dude, prices were typical but the selection was amazing. One other thing is that the famous bits of Akiba only extend to 3 or 4 blocks; pass the eye-melting neon and you'll find yourself inbetween sedate, faceless office buildings. Definite potential for expansion, especially more diverse hobby shops.
Got home to explore Ubuntu's screensavers, changed my hostname, disabled bluetooth enabled by default, and bound middle mouse press to how it should be. A definite pain in the ass, but I'm used to it. I know I'm nowhere near proficient with it, so can't complain about the learning process. I'm not quite sure on how much I should be spending on food. Everything seems cheaper but the portions you get out of them are surprisingly small. Need to find some bulk pasta or some other filler. Coming up to around $10USD a day. Consider it the counterweight to my bengal famine recreation during UCSB.
Swapping cursed images with the South African guy over Discord, no one is benefitting from this.
Thank god I'm alive to read this
Wild 48 hours.
Packed, sent off internship applications at midnight. Heavily considered bringing my monitor with me, but weight constraints. The screen on the T420S is truly horrendous. I don't deserve mom, seriously. Insane amount of work she put in for me. First plane ride into San Francisco, then off to Haneda. Food was actually alright, reminded me of middle school chinese food. Got some wine to try to sleep but those seats are made of nightmares.
Then I met with my sister, sent off packages, and headed to the Kouenji sharehouse. Weather was uncomfortable. not overbearing like normal summer temperature, but still in the 20's and very damp. You sweat and it lingers.
Career fair was actually interesting but also twilight zone as fuck. The building was an opulent hotel looking thing located in the center of Tokyo where the Diet meets. Everyone was in consulting/finances which is not my thing but some people seemed to really enjoy what they do. For the rest, it seemed like career progression was their calling in life. Just a strange experience for me. Then we just lingered around Shinjuku, went to the questionable bits. Getting asked "抜きどうですか？ アイドル? アイドル?" made my trip worth 200 yen. Everyone was rowdy as fuck, good stuff.
Solid conversation with one of the sharehouse employees about gaming (Popularity of mobile games/RPG's, not many FPS or retro game commentaries), commentators(2bro), schooling(Japanese Middle school exams, Americans changing majors, American pragmatism in job market) Then a conversation with a guy from Wales on an internship program about identity and education, swapping bullshit anecdotes about the UK/Japan/US. Apparently England has pretty diverse looking metro stations? Everyone is early to mid 20's and super easy to talk to.
There is a profound contrast between outside/indoors. It goes from an ever-expanding field of stimuli to feeling like living in an enclosure.
Woke up surprisingly painlessly. Showered, walked around Shinkouenji and Nakano. Your typical urban Tokyo streets dotted with construction shops and small parks. Sprinkling but it's constant, sky is flat white.
Off to Nakano Broadway, a collection of hobby shops and clothing stores. The air got thinner as you went up the floors and it's somewhat dimly lit. The shops were really interesting. There was a used kimono store which I got super hyped about, especially since it was super cheap ($5~20). Alas, there is a spectrum for everything and none of the fabrics really grabbed me. Your typical anime stores dottted the building but Mandarake had a few odd ones. Kamen Rider, dolls, 70's nostalgia, early manga, some really interesting specialty shops. Often it was luxury headphone and watch stores directly across, some interesting miscegenation.
(A picture I should've taken here)
Met with a guy very similar to me, only he grew up in Michigan. Again we spoke about jobs and identity. He said he never felt proud of being American, I'd like to pick his brain about that later. A bit 無愛想 but he seems like a good guy.
Back out again towards the thrift shops Kouenji is famous for. Selection is wonderful and well curated. No mall-tier brands. It's better to approach them like ebay in store form rather than a sold-by-weight thrift shop. You won't find a crazy deal here, but you won't waste time combing through shit either. Bought food at a bulk grocery store. Very cheap for Japan standards, although not quite Korean-American supermarket prices.
Also sent off an application at GoodSmile Company. Yes, that Goodsmile. Starting pay is 1000yen/$10 which isn't the lowest in entry-level jobs. It's not physical labor or having to put on a plasticine mask for customers either.
I really want nendroid accessories and some Animal Crossing goods :C
Then a bunch of people including previous resident paid a visit, including the landlord, maybe mid 30's? I didn't have the best first impressions of him. But I got invited for drinks to commemerate my stay. I got hit on fairly directly by one of the previous tenants, she was very cute (*´ω｀*) Everyone also complimented the white shirt I made. While drinking I really connected with a Japanese guy who studied English in India. We have some intersecting interests like leather shoes and interior design. He showed me a picture of a countertop he's working on. I could see the shine in his eyes as I said hobbies were all about pursuing your ideal __, and DIY was great for that. Bought some more drinks at a convenience store on the way back, we all agreed that Japan was great for drinking in public. One of the guys lived in Australia for a bit and shared some stories. Boss man also seems to be a fine dude. Came home, then got locked into a conversation with the Wales guy about linearity in progress, doing things for the long-term, etc. He's a furious pragmatist but he dislikes how he framed everything in regards to how it could benefit hit life trajectory. Like me, he's afraid of wasting his time or squandering opportunities to a neurotic extent.
Woke up at 12, anime pilgrimage to Ikebukuro.
holy cock film is expensive here, Ektar is double US price. C200 is nowhere to be seen.
This trip is slowly building my confidence, I'm not bad at talking in English. And maybe I'm not terribly hard to look at?
Spoke with a guy raised in Japan who wants to be a streamer. Like the other Japanese-American guy, he often conceals the fact he's ethnically Japanese. Had a conversation with him and Wales (doomsday cults, food, Britain being known for gamer bathwater, movies, donald duck anime) I got to talk about MLK's suicide letter and penal labor in the US. We should start a podcast. Started raining even harder.
Off near Futagotamagawa to have lunch with sister's coworkers. What another strange experience. They have the same gripes as any other company like horrible managers, What I got is that they have a high turnover. Neighborhood was hilly and bougie as hell.
just like the career fair, I felt infantile to everyone else in the room. They were talking about office politics, I was sitting there having a coffee. Former boss took me around to give me some career advice. Your typical stuff of have a fixation and make yourself marketable to employers. At one point he said "Did you even learn something in college?" half-jokingly. The world of being unable to properly convey your thoughts. They probably viewed me under the same lens as my sister, which is unfortunate on my part. They also called me out for trying to act "Japanese" with the saccharine laughs and head nods. Can't do that any more. The boss is someone who I definitely can't read, but he's like a microscope when it comes to other people's mannerisms.
There was a skinny Indian guy there, loosely affiliated with the company. Just utterly ridiculous how good he was at navigating conversations. Guy speaks 6? languages and just oozes experience. A person of envy.
Off to Shibuya animate for a bit. Holy fuck that's a lot of people. I somehow met a guy from UCSB, in the same Japanese Student Association, here for vacation.
Officially signed the contract to stay at the sharehouse for a month, until we find a place in Yokohama. $400. Off to lunch with Dad's old college buddy. Very transparent, very easy to talk to. We spoke about the possibility of me teaching them English, that would be perfect and give me and excuse to leave Kouenji occasionally. We ate tsukemen.
Journal - Japan, 2019
5/6/19 (from journal)
And I got a guestbook comment: why Japan? I've touched on it here and there but not in any meaningful capacity. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, studying abroad is somehow cheaper than a year here. I'm able to take some pretty diverse classes in English and Japanese, and it opens up opportunities if I ever want to jump countries. Personally, I'm curious to how I'd fare living there, just in the day-to-day repertoire. Japan as a whole is an assault on the senses and i've been bitching about feeling isolated for 6 years now. We'll see if it's what I've been looking for.
I'm going to another country that is guaranteed to fulfill my thirst for stimulation. This move I've fantasized about since middle school, through the years I felt like my life was at a standstill, and into the monotony of community college. And yet with everything, anticipation is married to anxiety. My last trip to Japan left an unidentifiable aftertaste, one that I've neglected to dissect. Here's a page to turn my thoughts into something tangible.
Meeting family is usually a bittersweet experience, but I'll be able to see my grandparents again.
I can make it to a concert with two of my favorite artists playing together. sold out right as I bought my ticket fug
Japan is ripe for photography and there's a lab that develops and scans for $3 a roll. Cameras will be expensive as fuck though, so time to make up my mind on what to bring.
I can wear some odd shit, experiment with clothing. Japan is great for that. Looking forward to the torrent of used clothing shops as well.
Travelling is super easy, if a bit expensive. I can even go to Taiwan or Korea for less than $70USD. A month-long break in March helps with that too. Would love to go to the countryside to take some pictures.
I hope I can really externalize my American-ness. Acting like the Japanese isn't going to grant me any favors, and I can use this to my advantage. Cut through the bullshit formalities and get frank with people.
Maybe a girlfriend? I have zero conception of what an average Japanese college student is like, so this is truly a new frontier for me.
My frankness will drive some people away. Unimaginable to Americans with cashiers that divulge their life stories to you, but it is what it is.
The communication barrier is huge. I'm a self-confessed 幼卒 (Kindergarden graduate) so keeping up and actually entertaining people will be brutal. Comedy is one of the hardest barriers when you're billingual, I think. Aptly vocalizing my thoughts will also be difficult, as Japanese has specific words for everything. If you try hard enough you can twist English into anything that fits your needs.
Intrapersonal relationships. An obvious one, I'd like to make friends with non-study abroad students.
Getting acclimated to the sensory overload is another worry. The moment you become bored in Japan is when you have a questionable existence. For someone like me who has struggled with keeping occupied, that scares me the most. A new, convoluted monotony is what I fear.
My time on campus is another concern. I've heard the classload is easy, but with Japanese language classes thrown in, I'm concerned what my daily schedule is going to look like. I have a buddy that made it to Tokyo University and he spends salaryman-level hours on campus.
Getting along with my roommate. I'll probably be living with a family member and we get along better when there's an ocean between us. It's the little things that get to us
Wouldn't it be hilarious if I didn't get into my program I did lol
My last two days in the US. Bought my ticket, $500 one-way with a transfer. Still don't have a place picked to live beyond September. I have a few internships I have my eye on. Packing isn't as emotionally draining relative to leaving for UCSB, and I find that ridiculously strange considering my stay in Japan is indefinite.
Considering a site redesign, mainly just increasing pages or consolidating them. Or maybe I should do something a bit more ambitious.