Entries ordered new ~> old, updated every 2 days or so.
2021 Japan entries
2020 Japan entries
2020 Japan entries
2019 Japan entries - You are here!
2019 UCSB entries
8/28/2020: added back to top links
chanting "i'm not a furry" to ward off my demons
death stranding looks boring as fuck
i love japan because of their culture"
Ever feel like killing yourself just to spite someone?
every female is a 10
Oh my lord the past two days have been a blur. Woke up at 12, / and I took pictures of each other because of the great weather. She's off to see mom at the airport, I played the film gacha again. Lomo 100, no idea what this is. Also came with a 50% off development coupon so not bad. Really aching for higher ISO film tho. Used the previous dev coupon on a roll. From Yokohama towards Shin-Okubo, koreatown basically. I feel like the median height drops 5 inches here, I felt giant. The cityscape is a bit divergent from the rest of Tokyo but I noticed the trash the most. It's not quite litter, most of it seems to originate from the stores and food vendors that line the streets. Strange to say there's an endearing quality to the mess. Difficult to articulate in English, but you get a sense of people's daily routines and habits.
Off to the sharehouse, things started slow but it picked up as people flowed in. A collection of previous and current tenants, just a bundle of dudes. Didn't particularly know anyone. Taught proper English to the others, words like "sausagefest" and "weeaboo." The white guy from Florida got my drift. Oyster and pork hotpots provided by the boss, cooking is fun, especially when it's for other people. Ended up being shoulder-to-shoulder with a trillingual Korean guy and Japanese guy who has studied a bunch of languages but none really stuck. The half-Chinese guy was right, Korean guys are very sincere. Drank a decent bit, ate a bunch. Talked about our study abroad experiences, quirks of Korean, the types that go to learn korean (koreaboos), even politics. Chinese people walk up and talk to me in Mandarin but I apparently look more Korean to the Japanese. Who am I?
Stayed the night at the Korean guy's apartment in Takadanobaba, it was very spartan. Minimal everything as he plans to go home next year. Talked about our life trajectory, music, the urban hell of Tokyo. Just a great guy overall. Apparently his girlfriend in Ikebs was a bit worried about him bringing in a random stranger. We drank and talked a bit more into the night.
Woke up, said my goodbyes, Shibuya was my transfer station home so I wandered a bit. Tokyu Hands is great as always, very specialized stuff they carry. Got a necklace chain.
japan is so quirky xd
Christmas came late this year. Bunch of fabric, 3 cameras I made pages for, 2 US cold weather parkas, Swiss Raichle boots, Red Wing Postmans, Keith Haring stickers. Boots fit me perfectly, the cameras all work with operative light meters. Just fantastic. Japan has a tradition of welcoming the new year free of baggage (both physical and emotional) so most families start cleaning the house around now. We'll probably do that too. Invited my crush somewhere after the new year ｡^‿^｡
Spending the night at grandma's. / wasn't able to finish cleaning her room, so in an act of self-sacrifice she decided to come later (about that...) Very windy, wore the USN parka for the first time. It's rather cute, I quite like it. Coming home is always comfy, the smell of the maplewood living room and kerosene heater ticking away, sliding doors taped shut to keep the breeze out, the dining table turned into a kotatsu with a milleau of sheets. Paid my respects to grandpa and got comfortable. Brought some clothing idea sketches from home, put on a polyester hanten, and buried myself in that kotatsu. The 2pm murder mystery so analgous to Japanese TV had a twist: the killer was gay. Grandma said she couldn't predict that. The programming was followed up with some vapid travelling show around Yokohama. Mom went off behind the house to cut down some bamboo for the New Years' Sho Chiku Bai. Then it struck me, I should make an A-frame backpack with bamboo. It's strong, plentifiul, flexible. Turns tan in the sun too. Makes complete sense for my Japanese mountain hermit cosplay. Just too dark and windy for that right now.
/ did not come later, or come at all. Either 2020 arrives with a dirty room or / spends it alone. I know which sword I'd fall on, but I don't fully understand her.
Alternating channels between Kohaku and Gaki No Tsukai. Ate toshikoshi soba, mochi, new years stews, the works. The news stream for 2019 was shit and garbage but I had an interesting year. Familiar feelings came back last September to me proclaiming that this is the peak of my life in December. A "dynamic" introduction to living here, let's just say. But I'm still
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Very busy day. Tabata is adjacent to Ueno and Akihabara and retains that grey cubicle hellscape taste. Met the person I was buying a sewing machine from, surprisingly a guy this time, probably in his early 30's. Well dressed with double monks and a camel-colored coat. He wrote on the listing that he regularly oiled and maintained the thing, so he's probably rather deep into this. $38 is all he asked, and I was off to Yokohama Station for that Alphonse Mucha exhibit with /. It was really good! No photos unfortunately. Bold, confident lines and pastel colors are what defined Mucha's commercialized art for me, but that made me appreciate the rough sketch exhibits even more. Just incredible use of shading and flowing lines. One of my favorites had a stained glass window radiating gentle light onto foreground figures. I didn't enjoy his oil paintings, they were rather blotty and generic looking. Bought some stickers destined to go on my camera for $1.70, not bad at all.
Couldn't resist the urge, and I took a spin on the film gacha. A dud this time, got Hillvale Holiday 200 which is...just C200 repackaged by Australians. Same Fuji film cylinder, a hastily placed sticker covered the roll markings. If I manage to sell the T-Max then I'm probably back to +0 for my gacha gallivanting. Fingerblasted some cameras this time around, an SR-1, Canon FT, and a Pentax 6x7.. Shutter noises are so interesting. The 6x7 was lighter than I thought but it made me feel powerful. Shutter slap didn't feel that bad. I want one, especially with the outrageous wooden grip it had. Home, devoted the rest of the day to sewing, as expected. Made use of the wool I got for cheap ("I was expecting a woman") and made another hanten. A tad longer this time, might have fun with closures. I think an Obi is a bit too much considering I wear normal pants instead of a Hakama.
sewing up something for / and making a steinback-esque ornament for my mom who's coming to visit in 5 days (ﾉ･ｪ･)ﾉ There's also a party at the old sharehouse on the same day. Free food, and more oppurtunities to meet new people. South African and Half-Chinese guy won't be there unfortunately.
Resisted the urge to skip classes, a stunning human yield of around 15%. All I want to do is fly back and hop on the sewing machine like i did this morning. Jumped on an idea for a front closure, came out remarkably well. Also complements the drapey rest of the thing. Wore the wool haten to class, by far the fastest I've gone from fabric to wear. My thorough coercion worked, French guy was wearing a new pair of Red Wings. Second class was sedate. Skipped the latter half with a quiet dude. Turns out he minored in fashion in Hawaii and was wearing a thrifted dress that he had hemmed. Also told me of an oversized wool coat he dyed and shrunk to the right size. Asked him about his favorite brand and Kapital came up as my mind was chanting (kapitalkapitalkaiptalkal).
We expressed a communal disbelief at how amazing Japan is for clothing. I still can't stem by disbelief at how many intersections we have. We exchanged Lines, hopefully this leads to something in the future.
I can say with unwavering confidence this is the most exciting day-to-day I've ever had. Not transient surface-deep gratification, but a slow, gradual trickle. I hesitate to say this is my peak, although my residual pessimism would want to. There's not a strong holiday atmosphere to bolster my emotions either, as most people work on Christmas. New Years is the big one in Japan.
Desensitization is a persistent concern and I forecast that it will always be. It has emerged as less of a slap in the face, however.
Making Japanese friends is still at the forefront of my focus. At the same time, the intensity of that pursuit has tapered. I'm tired of the disingenuous formalities, the emotional walls, the ritualistic synchronized dance of it all. I think I'm left wondering if the effort is worth it at all.
Christmas! Buddhism class made a trip to Zozoji, Philosophy class was as usual. Couldn't resist wearing my new creation again, I got asked by a Chinese classmate "What's the occasion?" because the type of closure I chose is used on more formal traditional clothing. That's a cultured person right there. I got my crush's Line! Waited outside after class to talk to her. Walked to the station, gladly passing the entrance I usually take to stay with her for a bit longer. We talked about the holidays, good food, what we miss. She got caught off-guard by my use of "cobble together." Sadly she had plans today, the kind where I couldn't butt in. We traded Line ID's at her station, hugged, and that was it. Haven't had these kinds of feelings in a while, gets the NGF pumping. Wonder how well I'll be able to sleep tonight.
Christmas dinner alone unfortunately, /'s out at work, all the internationals are out travelling and I don't have any close-enough Japanese friends. Got some seafood, meal prepped. Benign stuff. Walking around you see people with cake boxes and bags of fried chicken. The CD players came back from the dead, who knows for how long.
Last day of classes before the holidays. It's frankly sobering reading my old journals. Here's one from a year ago:
"Yeah, it's just been really odd. Classes are great, roommates are great, I'm just bored. Parties don't interest me and chasing tail seems exhausting. Change comes from within but I'm starting to question whether this is just another vacuum. I need to develop aspects of my life that will carry over when I'm done with this place. Still 2 years go by astonishingly quickly. Can't have any regrets. I really need to create new friendships and reanimate my hobbies."
Sounds like someone who is truly grounded in life, eh? This perceptive shift in my worldview and self-image these last 4 months have been indescribable. I thought I'd always be the pessimist, the mute guy in class. Have always loved talking to people but it doesn't lead anywhere in community college or even Uni. Naturalistic intersections are short, artifical ones take too much deliberate effort. I couldn't extrapolate my hobbies beyond idealism, nor could I share any of my excitement with someone proximate. Specialized hobby shops were too far and too expensive, located in tiny gentrified enclaves of passion in a sea of serialized commodities. Distance in the US played a big role. The lack of effective public transport compounds the already lengthy distances for someone without a car.
And yet, I've always been thoroughly hesitant to think that a change in setting will solve all my lingering frustrations in life. There's always disconnected lofty idealism attatched to Japan, and I've always wondered if I could come to terms with all the grey concrete and collectivist apathy underneath the veneer of lights. I'm different from those "i love japan for their culture" types. But is my praise, and by extension, my motivations to go to Japan valid? Convesely, are my feelings of contempt and fatalism regarding their social arrangements valid? Realizing "fuck, i've been acting on delusions" has persistently been one of my fears, and I centered my outlook on life around elucidating whatever was steering my life trajectory. Are my incorrect (or at best, grossly overstated) anticipations about life in Japan steering me in a direction that I will regret? Am I simplifying the main force behind this dissatisfaction in my life? What if I get there and it doesn't match my preconcieved notions? What if I get there and nothing changes? What if I get burned out? What if I get used to the sensory assault?
But what alternative was there, really. Until recently, apathy pulled the strings in my day-to-day. I convinced myself that languishing here was an integral part of living, just as 330 million Americans get by just fine. Satiation was never the goal, just keeping my head above the passivity threshold so analgous to depression. And so I lived. It wasn't particularly enjoyable. I would've probably enjoyed drugs.
But fuck me dead, this place has facilitated my rebirth. I died once when I decided to keep my head down, and again when I accepted my circumstances as static. Today I can go outside to take pictures and there will always be an interesting subject out there. I can sew up clothes and wear them without looking like I'm cosplaying. I can get my film developed at a cute little camera shop and get home in 2 hours. I can cycle through what I wear according to the weather because Japan has seasons. I can talk to people and following up isn't a massive pain in the gooch for both of us, And above all, my environment encourages all of that. Specialized hobby stores for weirdos, a sprawling subway system, even something as benign as weather is more dynamic and exciting. Everyday I'm beaming with excitement, I'm that American in class now. And it feels natural. This has aways been who I am, Japan helped me see that.
So pleased with my new creation that I wore it 3 days in a row, like when you carry around your new favorite toy as a kid. Canadian bud hit me up again, they all seem to be waiting on my to get my new PC and internet back up again. Really appreciate that, there's too many friendships that have just naturally fizzed out. Chinese food with /, shopping for new years drinks afterwards. Relationship has been rocky, but I enjoy her company in the end. Thinking about my crush so I can't sleep.
Japanese guy who made delightful solo camping videos is back after a 3 year disappearance.
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Still sick. My anime wallpaper was projected during class, my only regret was that I don't have a picture of the event. Went drinking with them afterwards, but I ended up being far from the 'interesting' bit of the table with the professor. Ended up talking with my friends instead of anyone new. We also went to a second izakaya afterwards, and that was a compounding mistake. $40 for a sorta entertaining night is rough man. Mindful choices next time. French guy was thoroughly roudy, Dutch girl took on the disapproving mom role. Brought the OM-2n because I'm out of a new roll to use the AF-1 with. Used my phone's light as an improv flash. 50mm sucks for this kinda stuff. I've also never underexposed C200, hopefully it doesn't look garbage.
One of my Nadeshiko plants has started to flower with maroon/white petals. What a nice surprise.
Got rejected for the writing gig pee pee poo poo
I sort of enjoy nosebleeds.
pretty much bought all the parts for a new pc. it's here in two weeks. If I leave for 30 minutes I frequently find my laptop rebooted with no audio so I have zero regrets in spending ~$350 for a new PC.
Watched Kagemusha in class yesterday. Got $600 back through my financial aid, turning the total cost of tuition this semester to -$1800.
Not going to get a Canon P. No meter and it's not a terribly arousing camera. Has clean lines, sure, but it's not an L2. Looks like the camera is going to be a lot more expensive. I have no SLR or subcompact itch anymore. All that's left is an interchangable lens rangefinder and a point and shoot.
I don't think I'm terribly interested in audio anymore. No more stereo, no more cheap pre-owned headphones. Compound that with a hearing-destroying cold and 7 hours of commuting each week and high fidelity isn't particularly high on my mind.
Also holy shit my CSGO inventory doubled in price but the steam market seems slow as fuck now. Is it time to cash out? How do I even do that now? What the fuck is Arcana?
Friday means waking up at 12 PM. Lingered around Okusawa/Jigygaoka, the rich part of town is always delightful. Made it to Popeye camera but they had a rather disappointing selection of cameras, mainly mid-tier Nikon SLRs and point and shoots. Found a hilariously racist children's book at Ookayama, then off to Sanpo Camera.
Took a chance at the film gacha and the machine locked up on me. While the employee was fixing it, he cycled through two rolls, something blue (E100?) and a roll of Acros II. I ended up getting Lomo 800, which is Kodak Gold 800. It is a repackaged film but Gold 800 isn't sold commerically and Lomo cuts them into rolls from master sheets, so it's not the same as slapping on a quirky sticker on some C200 and selling it for a markup. It's one of the last high-speed films so I'm content. Acros II is B&W which I'm not into, and I'd have to find a new lab to develop E100 as it's slide film. No idea what the blue roll was though.
Off to Yokohama, the station is always an unfinished mess. Main stops were Yuzawaya, a Fabric shop chain and Camera Wa Suzuki, a film camera shop. The latter was embedded in the station, really didn't expect that. It's a cute little shop with your typical littany of goods, but they stocked a fairly comprehensive film section. What aroused my attention was the gacha and expired film corner. Grabbed an expired roll of Fuji Super G/Superia 400 for $1. Bunch of old Velvia 50 and APS film was also in the tray. Out front was two film gachas, one was explicitly color neg only. Ended up getting T-Max and Fuji Industrial 100. The latter came with a free development voucher, well worth the $5 to roll. Probably will sell the T-Max, B&W is still not my thing.
Bought some wool and polyester gasp fleece. Figured a sheep layer in a flurry of kimonos would be interesting. Why would I buy more fabric I can't properly sew? I'm picking up a proper sewing machine tomorrow, as well as going to an Alphonse Mucha exhibit. Very excited.
Two new guestbook comments〔´∇｀〕I'm starting to get a bit insecure with how my site is presented. I feel like I'm too deadpan and literal at times, predominantly on this journal. Some other pages are good and I'm satisfied, others are just straight reviews, some are begging to be overhauled.
/3 Ektar100, 1 Lomo800, 1 Indus100, 1 Superia200-24/1 C200 partially exposed/ 5 Exposed/
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Bought a Petri Color 35 for $40, fingers crossed. Light meter is operative according to the Canadian seller, I took their word. Here comes my grail subcompact camera.
Cut my disgusting hair last week, and I feel loads better. No more fretting whether my head looks like a unravelled mouth swab. Retrospectively out of the 5 or so pieces of clothing I've made from scratch, I'm just smitten over 3. One turned me off stretch fabrics and denim in general, the other was sloppy and had small armholes. Mini sewing machine is still a bottleneck to thicker wool fabric. Mom is making me some clothing to send while I'm immobilized.
Incredible Buddhism and contemporary social issues class. We watched a mid-80's documentary about labor exploitation at early nuclear powerplants in Japan. I had the same sensation when I find new music or read a really striking article. I have the urge to go out, sew some clothing, look through tumblr to find photography inspiration again. Like I've stepped out of a cloud of passionate lethargy. I think this documentary could be a catalyst into getting seriously invested with photojournalism. Intersects across everything I enjoy, really.
Wearing clothing I've made makes me happy. The Ginko trees on campus are gorgeous. Downloaded a bunch of music off school wi-fi. Anticipating lots of stuff in the mail this week. Dinner with other students from my program, and lunch with a family friend the day after. I'm in a really good mood, the second best day I've had in Japan so far.
I have a crush :) Was daydreaming about her all day like I'm in middle school again. Until recently I mentally firmly removed myself from the dating pool, I thought I was undeserving of romance with my life trajectory. I haven't retained that mindset since coming here.
The Muji CD player died. The CDs I bought bear rental insignia that can't be erased with ethanol. The replica swedish jackets were also a scam, the seller disappearing from ebay and the tracking numbers leading to items delivered to an incorrect address. Got my $30 back.
Down with a cold. Undeterred, made the trip off to the study abroad dinner. Which made me realize, I don't have many friends from the UC's. Sat down at a random table and the 3 others weren't talking to each other, a situation that would've been my nightmare 2 years ago. I love talking to people, and my rebirth here has obliderated any sort of social anxiety. Rekindled a conversation and I enjoyed their company. I can finally see what drives my dad, it's one inheritance I'm appreciative of. They were from UCI, well travelled, very positive about their programs. Man I miss the suburban tranquility of Irvine. Saw some late night street construction while I was getting lost in Shinjuku and regretted not bringing my camera. The OM-2 is small but it's still an SLR.
Lunch with the family friend, holy fuck his kids got big. He drove me to near Enoshima to eat curry, a good 45 minutes on top his 45 to get to my house. He spoke about gallivanting in the US in Japan with my dad, doing acid and selling enough weed to buy a 280Z. I don't subscribe to that gratuitous method of living, but it's remarkable to see how much people can change. I was also surprised to see his lack of hesitation in talking about this in front of his kid. Maybe the 8 year old isn't a conscious, sentient organism yet, but he no doubt has picked up a lot about his dad's past life. Or maybe he's open about it. He seems like that kinda guy. I spoke about how products for American markets need to be "masculinized" in order to appeal to insecure burger sensibilities, like the Nissan Fairlady > Datsun Z and Canon Kiss > Canon Rebel.
How puerile. I was carrying my OM-2n and he said he owned an OM-1, then a Canon F-1. $1200 back then for an OM-1, whew. The kid started talking about SCP, and we had this reciprocal surprise reaction: for him, than an old fart like me knows something about internet culture, and for me, that there's people out there translating and narrating SCP logs on youtube. The kid didn't even know there was a free SCP game either. He also forgot about my origins (entirely forgivable) and thought me and his dad were work buddies.
Visted Sanpo Camera for the first time yesterday, their selection was surprisingly small. Saw a Canon P body for $88, that perked me up a bit. still on the fence about paying that much for a meterless camera. Also looking at point and shoots for when I'm gallivanting with friends. Took a peek at their $5 film gacha, still afraid of getting repackaged bargain bin rolls made by upper-middle class white hipsters.
Found another photobook by Ume Kayo and her most famous one, Umeme. More benign charm of a small town.
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Got a call back from the Paralympics-associated news org. I signed up to be a writer and I'm in a pool of 10 people up for selection. Excited but I have mixed opinions about the Olympics' impact as a whole. This ambiguity definitely transferred over to the phone call, couldn't elegantly vocalize what I wanted to say. I love writing and this a great opportunity to expand my aperture, but the organizers are probably after people more specialized.
I also finally got a houseplant, a white Cyclamen. Love the downward-pointing flowers. Heard the 40-something cashier call me cute to her coworker as I was walking off. Probably the apogee of my existence. Also trying to get apple seeds to germinate in the fridge but they'll take at least a month more in there. Sleep tight.
Got a new photography book by the late Kikujiro Fukushima. I bought it for $12USD which is a tad pricy, and it has a bit of commentary mixed in with the photos so the presentation is less pleasing. Regardless, fantastic photos of Hiroshima post-bombing, rearmament, Sanrizuka protests, Tokyo University protests, etc.: Events and controversies that defined post-war Japan.
Looking at Canon rangefinders and custom T-shirt/totebag vendors. The Pentax 67 is erotic but I'm a bit put off by Aslan/Lionsmane's comments about his. Using 800 speed film to minimize mirror slap-induced camera shake, the gordian knot of loading film. The Mamiya 6 is still my dream medium format camera, well out of my pockets at $2000 used. In regards to 35mm it'd be an OM-4ti or some Cosina/Chinon rangefinder and pre-ASPH 35mm Summicron.
It's cold. Newly submitted anime girls on pixiv now wear heavy duffle coats or nothing. CSGO playermodel skins, what a bafflingly awful idea. What is this a Nexon game?
Re-watching Tamayura, seeing "2011" in the OP ground me into dust. Went through this series before I got into film and now I'm back 4, 5 years later?
Potte of course uses a Rollei 35S, her dad had good taste.
Grandma is a style icon. There's something about this series that just eviscerates me. Not a shread of malice.
Saw a guy at Mita wearing an N1 deck coat. Nice. Picked up that Muji CD player for free with the intention of repairing the switch, but it turns out it's fully functional. Fuck yeah. Laptop is slowly dying so eyeing a Mini ITX PC again, I really want to play some games.
Found some dying plants for $1 at the home improvement store: Nadeshiko x2, Alyssum. The grocery store by my apartment is adorable. Small-scale local produce, employees are always chatting with each other or customers. You could see an office in the corner populated with presumably the employees' kids. Taking pictures at a greater frequency now that I got ~10 rolls of C200 for $10.
Getting hyped up with the South African guy over how hot the bird from Kemono Friends is. Staying up late sorting through anime pictures on boorus, just like 2010. Retraced my step exactly a couple of times. My old pictures folder from 2009 must've gotten deleted a while back. Can't even recall how I used to organize things. Getting my mind absolutely blown after finding out the artist to one of my favorite pictures back then draws rather unsavory pornography now.
I find myself being the extroverted american these days. Back in community college I was in absolute awe of the jerma-lookin personable guys. Friendly and open with everyone and just dissolving into conversations like they've always been there, like the smell of garbage permeating your kitchen. Moving borders meant a clean slate, no more baggage. Adhering to what I consider an idealized view of people, it's immensely gratifying to be "that guy." Meeting the South African guy was mind-blowing, talking about personal benchmarks of progress into 3am the same day we introduced ourselves. But that was under vastly more intimate parameters: now the tempo of class has much to contribute, seeing the same faces in sporadic vignettes. Accordingly, I feel like the percentage of vapid small talk has grown exponentially. Maybe I should've chosen a sharehouse instead of this apartment. I also think it's also the fleeting status of a senior. In 6 months not only am I severed from this Japanese uni, but my home Uni as well. Separated from school as a social insitution for the last time. I miss my Irvine buds, my disgusting Canadian buds.
Tumblr showing you recommended posts by pornbot accounts you can't disable is a perfect allegory for this hellish site.
Sold the Electro, shipping it off tomorrow. Two of the four cameras I had at UCSB are now out of my hands. Got 5x what I paid for it, but my finances are opaque compared to when I was just sponging off my parents. As a kid I used to fantasize about buying a game console with new years and birthday money from grandma but I'm spending it on food and rent. Still looking for a $150 camera to reward myself, but It doesn't feel like a responsible purchase. On the plus side, I bought a Konica C35 to replace the one that died. Non-flashmatic version but it's black, and $17 isn't bad. Paid $15 for the one that died. I'm quite excited to get my rolls developed. Some interesting pictures in there, and a 35 SP will be in my hands on the 29th. Also ordered some CD's for the free Muji player, and the replica Swedish motorcycle jackets should be coming in this week. Definitely spending more on my hobbies than food, but I'm a frugal, resilient little fuck. No ship-borne diseases for me.
I don't remember making a new year's resolution for 2019.
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The Departure during class. It's pretty brutal. Opening segment brought me to tears.
A new guestbook comment. Specifically a question regarding my fixation on workwear/surplus clothing. Modern clothing is inherently derivative. The current system of half-baked seasonal reiterations propped up by ruthless periphery exploitation is probably the best example of this: selling volume, presenting lifestyles, it's an artifical pursuit. On the other hand, military garments were purpose-built with an exact demographic and exact role. The designs are unapologetically pragmatic, unmolested by the dick of global capitalism. Instead, it's the fruition of bureaucracy and industry's consummation, their contributions to the destruction of other human beings.
And within this, it's the specialized garments that really catch my attention. Mechanized troops, Paratroopers, Mountain troops, Arctic troops, they all have a different set of stipulations that neccessitate divergent design decisions. Mountain troops with double-breasted parkas, ski-ready square-toed boots, pass-through pockets, and lots of wool, all emphasizing retention and insulation. This specialization of design through utility is fascinating to me, and it makes clothing a thousand times more compelling
sweet heaven above, finally got a cheap sewing machine in my arms. Went off to Kawasaki to pick it up. The station is very impressive, probably even beats out Kichijoji. One or two stations away and you encounter what's flavored this city's underclass reputation. Found a photobook by Ume Kayo that I really liked at bookoff. I usually skip over landscape or portrait albums unless it's ethnographic stuff and this one centers around the ordinary. Shots of people in the photographer's home town, filled with the benign charm of a small Japanese town.
Drowning myself in sewing with Yuyushiki, Gintama, and old episodes of Respawn inbox in the background. This mini sewing machine isn't great, but I was motivated enough to finish a garment in a day. Truly a rarity for me.
There's an abundancy of uniformed workers in Japan, and I've been seeing more and more of them with tablets. Fax machines stll rule dusty yellowed cubicles, but this is one field of progression I've not seen in the US.
Blocked out view and followers using ublock origin. I find myself monitoring "engagement" more than thinking about new page ideas, a futile pursuit that invalidates neocities' core existence. These journals are fun enough to fold into my daily routine, but revisiting or creating new pages is like sprinting in sandpaper boxers.
Started watching Aria The Animation, /a/'s perennial comfy show, at least it was back in 2012. If I end up liking it I'll sort through warosu to read old threads. /a/ became a trashpile in 2014 with SNK/SAO airing and the entire site has been irredeemable every since gamergate and stormfront's takeover of /pol/. The show has the same director? as Tamyura, my comfy show that I'm unable to revisit due to some messy associations.
But that's true for older shows too. I always see them as immortalizations of the past, time capsules of idealism, manifestations of fantasy. That compartmentalization prevents me from enjoying shows at face value, they always seem distant both in time and substance.
Music is great, same as Tamayura. Piano and acoustic, reminds me of GONTITI. Art shows its age with washed-out pastel colors and panning shots. The difference between the characters' hard lines and watercolor backgrounds is a bit abrupt. Water reflections look impressive and the ED is gorgeous though. Maybe the sequel is better? Pacing? Characters?
Off to Ginza with a Chinese, Dutch, and Japanese guy. The Chinese guy's socializing is a sight to behold, even Americans aren't as outgoing as he is. Dutch guy is all smiles and seems down to earth. Great people, although iunno about the Japanese guy. Fucking around at Ueno park, talking about education in Akihabara. Chinese guy's deadpan expression when inside the sex shop was 10/10. Had an interesting conversation with him about Japan's rocky relationship with its neighbors (except Taiwan). Beats the shit out of being told "My parents fucking hate you guys" multiple times by my Fillipino-American roommate. Like cool dude, but I grew up an hour from LA.
10-year old Canon rangefinder reviews on prehistoric looking sakura.ne.jp sites led me to this ridiculous astrophotography blog, guy's using an A7R and 1500mm lens good god. The photos are incredible and supplementary captions are simply beyond understanding.
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Stress eating + eating to pass the time. Sitting on the Taisho-era toddler chairs at the uni no longer destroys my ass. I need to find a fixation quick, either a sewing machine or a pocket wifi contract. Everyday just feels hollow and fast: have zero motivation to listen to music, that's a new one.
Anti-Article 9 revision, Anti-Nuclear, Anti-state secrets bill, protests in front of the Diet at Kasumigaseki, right next to the Emperor's palace and skyscraper hellscape of Yurakucho. Tempered expectations but a decent turnout of a couple thousand, carefully corralled and partitioned by too many police officers. Visited a Myohoji temple known for their activism beforehand, and I spotted a 60's anti-Vietnam war protests photobook. Asked one of the priests if I could buy it, and they gave it to me? Like Halloween, I agonized whether I should actually attend, but this in my hands blew away any doubt. New experiences are good.
As far as the protest itself goes, it was great. Chanting, signs, banners, and singing, all done with a healthy balance of deliberation and humor. Surprisingly inspirational and it was the first time I've seen the stone-faced professor be this excited. Conversations within our group about politics, Buddhism, cults, secularism, etc. Glad I brought an extra roll of film because I ended up taking 25ish photos, an absolutely massive amount for me. Weather was dreary but the protest banners dotting the Diet building's silouette was just perfect. Got asked to take some photos by some attendees in their 40's~50's and they seemed extra happy at how I got the Diet building in the background. That's the thing though, the median age of the protest must've been at least 40. Japan's youth has been depoliticized, and this was an explicit demonstration of that. I've wondered where those Zengakuren and Sanrizaka protesters went, and turns out they never really disappeared. Together with the deliberate repression of college political groups, these protest groups have been unable to reproduce through the generations.
Noticed one of the German girls had self-harm wounds to her thighs. Didn't know her that well, and this wasn't the place to talk about it.
Came home and picked up some discount bread around the neighborhood. I actually really like this place. No regrets moving.
3x c200 2x ektar 3x exposed
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Just ate the best apple of my life.
Reading Kino No Tabi, again only 5 years late. /k/ would gush about this series pre-stormfront takeover, now all they talk about is how the melanin-enriched are trying to take away their guns. I'm still a bit torn about it. The arcs are so short the pacing almost feels 4koma-like, always leading up to a battle/punchline. Almost seems too deliberate and linear and it prevents any comfy, aimless passages for the sake of world-building or atmosphere.
Going through Gintama again, picking out my favorite episodes out of its ~350 episode run.
Yuyushiki is really well animated, didn't expect that. It also has the same fixation on hands that the manga does. God, I forgot how gay this show was.
Finally finished my moving paperwork at the city office. The umbrella retainer was a bottlecap hot-glued to the desk. I don't hate this city to be honest. Was a tad jealous of Motosumiyoshi's shopping district, but this place has a grotty riverside neighborhood appearance that I enjoy. Being completely ingratiated is dangerous for me anyway. Food is cheapish, lots of young families, and I'm very close to the station.
Need to buy UV cut stickers for the windows, wasting how bright the room is over fear of getting sunburned. Still iffy on a hammock as a permanent bed/chair, I've been having awful sleep lately.
Also took a gamble and bought a Chinese replica of a Swedish Army motorcycle jacket. Anyone's who's into workwear probably knows about it, reaches $500USD easy if one pops up on ebay. Was absolutely shocked when I saw replicas pop up alongside other obscure workwear/milsurp. Ordered it for $15, normally going for $60+. Questionable listing but ebay's generous with refund policies. Best case scenario I get a replica of a jacket i've been drooling over since middle school. But most baffling of all, I found a replica of the USN Foul weather parka, same type I got last week. Who is making this stuff? Is it even good? They're not cheap for Chinese ebay clothing too.
Selling the Electro, found a potential buyer for 5x what I paid for it. Lens is insanely sharp but its quirks are too much. Plus, it's not a manual camera. Not too sentimental over it and I'm more disappointed at the C35's early demise. If I do sell it I'll be able to buy new lenses for the OM-2n or some $100+ camera like the Canon P.
A wonderful new Vinesauce video, just backed full of personal stories and nostalgia within a dying MMO.
Upcoming optional class trip for the contemporary social issues course, it's an anti-war protest with Buddhist Monks in front of the Diet. Definitely going, although tempering my expectations of a presumably state-approved protest.
$3 off ebay code that I was able to use multiple times, just bought a fuckton of film, USB cables, phone protectors, boring stuff.
And boy boy it's Halloween today, a recent trend in Japan. To the Japanese, it's more of an annual event to improve Shibuya's cityscape by having youngsters methodically deposit trash. Other than being a vapid gathering of catcalling, it's notable in that it retains zero elements of Halloween apart from dressing up. Agonized over going, I really did. Came home at 8 and I could only eat quick garbage. But why not, next october I'll be out of school for good, and 400 yen is cheap for a first time experience. Hurriedly bought batteries for the om2n(transferred rolls again), and into the fryer.
There were loads of costumes, some familiar, some uniquely Eastern. Some women were showing more skin than an ER burn victim who's not too far gone yet. Chinese tourists were sitting on the curb, ignorant to the dangers of a Shibuya street. There were 3 too many Waluigis. Lots of men confident enough in their bone structure to crossdress. There were women as blood-splattered zombie brides, the last time they'll wear a wedding gown. Greased sentient penises were casting wide nets, asking for Line ID's. The best part of the gathering were groups of guys dressed in provocative costumes to conpensate for their insecurity, spitting complaints by the sidewalk that the whole thing wasn't quite for them.
I didn't mind the dick to ass. Like they say in public speaking, just imagine the ceaseless crowds are potatoes and you'll be able to shed your empathy in no time.
You generally cultivate confidence as you shoot more film and I have zero faith in the 6 sporadic shots I took. Underexposed starting off, I knew that with my refusal to shoot with a tripod and a shutter speed lower than 1/8 offhand. But just poor composure. I had no time to line up shots being corralled like herd animals by power ranger cops. While I peer over most Japanese heads this torrent of people was younger, better fed, more virile. Looking through my viewfinder would yield only a sea of black. Anyway, mostly took pics of cops. Go on instagram to see some costumes.
It was a good time, I had fun. Shame about the littering.
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original title: アメリカを捨てた男
More fights with /, it's the baffling contrast of who you think you are vs. who others think you are. These arguments extrapolate off those perspectives into tiny little complaints that materialize into a simmering, antagonistic atmosphere at home. Maybe it's the grey weather. Maybe /'s genuinely unpleasant. Maybe I take after my dad and am hopelessly oblivious. Maybe I've gotten used to Japan. Killing myself at the apartment would've been justified a thousand times over, but now we've escaped the conditions that caused that mindset by moving. And yet, I feel no more burdened with "favors" and "cues." Coming home late, hungry, angry. Words withheld for the sake of convenience. Nothing's changed.
I still can't conceptualize Japanese idealism, what the day-to-day is like when fantasizing about bottomless pockets and complete agency. I have my expired, moldy aspirations of living in Japan, but they were devoid of any meaningful responsibilities that normally suck up your time.
Am I having fun here? Will I ever?
It was the grey weather. My life is fine, the constant arguments are soul-deadening.
 Teo's first VR TTT video, really shows the potential of VR. His wife also watches his streams while he's online, remarkable stuff.  The mantra of top Japanese youtubers is product reviews and infantile "experiments" usually involving toys or food. This channel reminds me of the dumb ideas that precipitate while shooting the shit with your friends, only given a budget and filmed. They remotely instruct a friend over the phone to buy stuff at a convenience store they frequent, the item combinations are hilarious. Mindless childlike indulgence, it's a nice palate cleanser. The video where they ask their moms to choose an outfit for them is also 10/10.
Forgot to mention I won this US Foul Weather Parka in an Ebay auction, $40. A bit different to the USN parkas I saw at Shimokitazawa in that it has breast pockets. A good wash should expel any grease stains. Very pleased with this buy, even if I have to wait until December until I can caress it. Still looking at USN parkas with the metal clasp fasteners, but they're always $200 even in the US.
Found an amazing photobook at bookoff about Zengakuren protestors during the Narita and Anti-Korean war protests. Went home to get money, and it was gone in 30 minutes. Still pissed.
One of G-fuel's gamer-enhancing incredients was lead apparently.
A new guestbook comment, can't shake my habit of being overwhelmingly negatives in my journalsss. The middle 2 months were legitimately awful though, no amount of retrospection can sugarcoat my time there.
Found a Sanrizuka photobook as a sort of consolation prize. Still pissed about the Zengakuren book.
App's not on Android.
Went out drinking with the french dude, spent more money than I'd like to admit. The man has a smile that can temper wars. Got absolutely hammered to the degree where he forgot we were in the same class. "That reminds me of this story I read in my literature class...." (We're both enrolled in that class) (We sat next to each other in that class 4 hours earlier) Played frisbee and "never have I ever" with other international students at a park in Kamata. benign stuff. Headed home at 1 so I missed the train, staggering home for 2 hours while jamming out to sealed-away anime OPs. Strange stuff, you have mid-2000's classics like Clannad and Toradora alongside eye-catching trashpiles like Candyboy and Yosuga No Sora. And yet they're equally as memorable to me. Walking home with your eyes closed is also pretty hard.
yknow my preferences for porn has changed since coming here.
Back in that constricting little popcorn ceiling apartment in the US, I used to have these moments of passion, usually catalyzed by a particularly engrossing documentary, manga, music, or picture of clothing. I'd feel like my perspective had dialated to something new and novel or previously disregarded. The rest of my day would become a frenzied pursuit of whatever I was fixated on. Looking up inspo, sewing clothing, looking for new anime. I haven't had that happen to me once since coming to Japan. Artbook stores and clothing shops somewhat mirror those moments, but it's quickly extinguished by monetary restrictions and the inability to extrapolate beyond what's on the table. Y'know, lack of internet and all.
so while Japan is amazing at ingratiating your imperious hunger for stimulation, it's shallow if not done deliberately. This is significant to me in two ways: My original fear of getting acclimated to a US-Japan disparity in stimulation has somewhat been relived. I've found that I make conscious distinctions between shallow and meaningful experiences, and the general noise of Japan falls within the former. Commuting to class, walking around the apartment, and sporadic trips to take photos aren't satisfying enough for me to dissect each day and see what I've accomplished. While I used to regard the practice as a maladaptive neurotic nuisance, the ability to persist with such daily scrutiny means you're really making the most out of every day. It also means I've been unable to have meaningful experiences isolated from external factors, and not through a bottleneck in free time. Haven't sewn up any new clothing, haven't found any new music or anime to become a life bookmark, etc.
Secondly, wow my life heavily revolves around the internet. Coming home isn't particularly comforting at the moment. My contientious relationship with / is one, but the lack of internet means there's a severe bottleneck in what I can do. I don't particularly miss movies, games, or manga, since I still have a decade-long offline backlog to go through. Videos and general web surfing is what I truly miss, especially looking up photographers or artists that I've seen at book-off while Vinesauce or Jerma autoplays in the background. Zero new music, TV, porn, or ASMR too. For media all I've been doing is look at the past, whether for the sake of convenience or some nostalgic masturbation.
Anyway, this went long. Conclusions: 1. Less fear about "getting used to it" 2. I need to figure out my wi-fi situation 3. how2make friends.
but oh fuck what if this emptiness doesn't change after I get wi-fi and a sewing machine? quaking in fear at the thought of that. also quaking in fear at the thought of graduating next year without a job lined up . I don't know what the fuck I'd do without neocities. Journaling in a txt document where I only bitch about life? Reddit review posts about my hobbies that can be diluted down to "8/10 cost effective gud?" All these ramblings and essays just compartmenalized somewhere in my mind to be neglected and forgotten? Me finding this site has probably been the most significant change to my personal life within the last 5 years.
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original title: 萌えるゴミ
I'm alive. There was a bit of an earthquake too, just nuts. I find times like this to be a bit of fun. Reminds me of spending time with the family during sporadic power outages. Everyone emerges from segmented rooms and gathers around the living room illuminated by tea candles, grimacing while eating almost expired emergency food as a rare, if unpleasant novelty. A moment where it's okay to be scared of the dark.
Started making yogurt, it's stupid easy. Japan relaxed advertising requirements about 5 years ago so now you have tea that supposedly reduces cholestrol levels to probiotics that prevent allergies. It's not the science that's in question, but the true efficacy. The starter yogurt I used apparently boosts your immune system and makes you poo a ton. Also got a black Ikea clothing rack for free, only paid for the bus fare. My room is finally coming together, maybe a proper chair next. An Eames lounge chair replica is still one of my grails, bulk and cost be damned.
Yokohama mailed disaster manuals 3 days after the Typhoon, bravo. Sub-20 weather pretty suddenly, not too bad but it's an ominous forshadowing. A new catalyst for exploring what to wear, but uniqlo inners pretty much forgive all even in low 10's. SATA to USB cable is here, 3.5" HDD's can even be hooked up via external power supply. The manga and anime I've accumulated are finally back in my hands.
Rainy grey weather. Found a copy of Shiota-sensei To Amaichan at bookoff. A rare teacher-student romance manga that isn't heirarchal and creepy. Decided to continue accumulating my favorites but concerned how pages gradually turn brown. Off to class, the Education class is fantastic and grants me the greatest insight into Japanese society by the ideologies that shape their teaching policies. Many schools' hesitation to expel students was listed as a possible cause for the country's comparatively low poverty rate, that kids aren't alienated out of the education pipeline. The deafening emphasis on after-school tutoring was also written as an early element of class reproduction. While my commute to school isn't as brutal as I thought, I still need to find something productive to do for those 80 minutes. I've been reading Nabokov lately, and my external battery means I can also play VNs or watch TV.
Rewrote feelindown a bit, sprinkled some more context in. The article is still rather aimless, I also feel that a linear account of what happened is too personal to be compelling to read. I always write too much in abstractions, must be a chore to trudge across. Good authors are able to write opinion pieces like narratives and reading should feel like a gradual milleau rather than an echoing bulletpoint cacophany.
Strawberry Panic's OP is so dated sounding now. Remember when it played on babby's first moetrash show Lucky Star? That sedate, sanguine atmosphere is fantastic, could've taken place in the 18th century and nothing in the plot would change. I also marathonned a playthrough of the VN years later and that was more upbeat and playful. Will probably revisit Hayate No Gotoku next. There's always a certain sensation looking through zerochan or pixiv posts of old anime, the newest additions being from ~4 years ago. I remember being desperate for tablescraps that I even stuck my neck into fanfiction. True desperation. Japanese media trends are ruthlessly cyclical and transient, Kemono Friends blew up a while back and now it's a non-entity. How many followed artists on twitter now draw something else?
Media that I've come across during the worst period in my life has turned around to become the most beloved. I say period but retrospectively that's a lot of years, I can probably distill my feelings down to childhood nostalgia. While revisiting them is always a careful balance, I'm still actively avoiding new things, fuck knows why.
Another Bon Appetit perfect meal series, god I love these. It's the fantasy of being in a friendly work environment.
Weekend, more horrible grey skies. Visiting grandma in 2 days, might as well before she kicks it. She's an odd person, still razor sharp but has some emotional quirks about loneliness and stimulation, not terribly dissimilar to mine. Wish I knew what my grandad was like. Anyway, will also be picking up some of my winter clothes from her house. Probably still not enough, but the temperature in down to high 10's now.
Found Chi No Wadachi at bookoff, an absolutely fantastic psychological horror manga with no equivalent.
More arguments with the /. The underlying source of these fights are laughably insignificant, but it again drives home that she has a profoundly negative image of who I am. Anything I say is taken with a tone of antagonism and I all can say is that she's incorrect, which is oil to a flame amidst an argument. Exhausting.
To grandma's but detour to Machida first to buy wool fabric off someone from jmty. They said they were expecting a woman. Machida was giant but not that pedestrian-friendly. The latter half was a rehash of last time, sushi with the uncle, his kid, grandma, + / this time. Still can't read my uncle's emotions. Saitama was predictibly nice, people harvesting their fields, uniformed kids coming home from school, and grotty self-service vegetable stands dotting the streets. My childhood department store in tokorozawa closed apparently. Not a terribly special place but I would've liked to see it one last time. Picked up my other package, had winter jackets, Red Wing shoes (Girard/Postman), and an ikea desklamp inside. Forgot I brought this knitted sweater, can finally dress twinky. DIY Mountain parka I made is back, still my favorite piece of clothing.
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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 windows and front door intercoms, yet readily welcome such open intrusion of their civil rights. Fuck cops.
/ 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. There was a normal Book-Off too, bought a copy of Sleepy Princess and a Yotsuba sticker was inbetween the pages!
Hand-drawn illustrations of a doctor smoking in a pharmacy/convenience store.
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.
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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 / 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.
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original title: dude way if we pe form buts
Back in /'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, / 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.
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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 crotch goblins. 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 / 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.
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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 (⊃‿⊂)
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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 / 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.
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original title: 1 yr anniversary
Went from the sharehouse to /'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 / 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.
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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 / 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?
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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.
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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
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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 /, 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.
Phone, Film (C200)
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.
Phone, Film (C200 F1.8 1/60?)
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.
Phone, Film (C200)
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 /'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 /, 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.
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Journal - Japan, 2019
First week of classes is always hectic. Picking your courses, scheduling, and this time around, I had my study abroad applications to do.
You heard me right, I'm going for it. My constant obsession, what my life has revolved and speculated around, is finally a possibility. I slept for 4 hours, agonizing over University choices, finishing the essay questions, and printing on campus. Like a hands-free orgasm when I left that clusterfuck of a hall, arms both liberated of paperwork. My application may get denied of course, but it's an immense relief to finally have an impact on something that I've been neurotically fantasizing for years.
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.
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