August 1st – August 15th, 2017
At an owl cafe and loving it. Until I decide to Facebook live the experience and someone comments that the birds shouldn’t be tied up for our amusement. Bubble burst. Now it all seems so wrong. The bindings, the bright lights, and where did these owls come from anyway? What bothers me most though, is that none of these concerns occurred to me earlier.
Not sure how all these travel bloggers find the time and energy to post all their photos and videos from the road. I’ve taken a bunch of shots here in Japan but struggling to find time to edit and share. Got up early this morning to squeeze in a three-hour work session before heading back to Tokyo, but that barely put a dent in my to-do list.
At Shibuya, Tokyo’s Times Square, watching the bright lights and funky people, the ultimate intersection of fashion and technology. It’s our last day in Japan, and it’s become one of my favorite countries, a place I’m sure I’ll return to many times. But before heading out we’ll take a wander through the alleys of Dogenzaka and see what we find.
I’ve gone all snobby with the lounge access. They have landside lounges at Narita but no food on offer. Limited refreshments in the airside lounge, too. Then on my layover in Delhi they dole out wifi 200MB at a time, and you have to scratch a new card and enter a string of digits every time it expires. On the bright side, I didn’t have to pay for these 5000-mile flights I’m taking today, and I got to watch two just-released movies while sitting in a comfortable chair in the sky.
Finished reading Homo Deus as we touched down in Amsterdam. Mind-blowing stuff. Dataism is the new religion, humans are becoming obsolete, the machines will know us better than we know ourselves. It’s scary in one sense, but mostly I’m left feeling excited. It’s such a privilege to be alive right now. Whether we’re on the brink of extermination or immortality, we get to bear witness.
Seriously jet lagged and all snuffled up, but I’m at a nice cafe on a sunny day in my favorite city, and a dozen of my favorite people came out to say hey. Hadn’t been back here since last year, and I do miss it sometimes, but no regrets about leaving. Like Dr. Seuss once wrote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I look out the window at the people and the bicycles and the canals, and all I can do is smile.
This man has no filter. Dutch to the extreme. Telling tales of a gun to the head, a knife to the throat, a fist to the face. His by-the-ways are more interesting than most people’s life stories. Northern lights, that time he spent in jail, the ladyboy in Japan. I ask him what he’d like to do that he still hasn’t done, sexually. And he tells me without a blink or a hint of hesitation, “I’d like to fuck an underage girl.”
Feeling social at the airport, bantering with the lady on desk duty. I ask her how her day is going, and by her response it’s apparent she’s rarely asked that on the job. We chat for a while and she says it’s more common for someone to insult her or even throw something at her than ask, “How are you?” I leave two minutes later feeling we brightened each other’s day. And it cost us nothing.
In the park. Cathedral above, flowers below. Beautiful woman with perfect teeth asks me to take her photo. We chat for several minutes. She’s visiting from Brazil, likes to travel, runs her own business, speaks perfect English. Seems she wants to talk forever. Until I mention my girlfriend. Then she winds it down pretty quick. Hmm. That’s a role I’ve often played in the past. Rare that I see it from the other side.
Caught up with a lot of family today. I’m so fucking lucky in that regard (among many others). Highlight may have been hugging three tiny nephews simultaneously, then horsing around the front lawn with them and the Cuz. Actually had a dream last night where I lost a particular family member. I’d never really considered a world without them before. It hit hard.
Words like feminist and vegan tend to repel people, don’t they? Noticed it myself the other day when a friend recommended a podcast called The Guilty Feminist. My immediate reaction was, “Uh, no thanks. I’d rather not listen to some lady rant and make me feel bad for having a penis.” Thankfully I got past that and listened anyway. And it’s brilliant. This is a good episode to start with.
Feels like I got more work done the past two days than I did the previous two weeks. Nothing like putting aside a long stretch and taking a good run at it. Buzzing now too because the ideas are flowing hard and fast and pieces are falling into place. Meanwhile, there are terrorists in the US, athletics in the UK, and protests in Kenya.
Cup of tea, sitting around watching the All-Ireland semi-final. It’s a fascinating game, hurling. These lads with their big sticks and hard knocks and no paychecks… they make other athletes look spoiled and fragile. Hard for people outside the country to appreciate how popular the sport is here. 72,000 people in attendance today at the third biggest stadium in Europe.
Years ago I wrote about slowing down to solve problems. It’s such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference. I gave examples in that article about iPhones and shopping carts, but a lot of people get caught up in the faster-faster-faster pull of day-to-day living as well, never really taking the time to step back and question what they’re doing, where they’re heading.
I know Walt Disney died in 1966, so when I’m reading about him being all successful and energetic in the 1930’s, I can’t help but think that fuck, he’s only got three more decades, then it’s lights out. Every time a year is mentioned in the book, I’m calculating how long he has left to live, and from there it’s easy to start wondering how long’s left for me. Three decades? Much more? Much less?
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?