Sunday, September 3, 2017

Running Back on Schedule

After over a month of travelling, I'm back home in Japan. It's funny how time off changes one's perspective. When I'm taking life seriously, I feel small. When I'm living it whimsically, I feel big. To explain, the houses in my neighborhood are small and rather flimsy -- nothing to devote much respect to. However, I became obsessed with owning one and bought into their exorbitant prices, accepting them as reasonable.

It's funny how culture can consume us, even when we're unwilling. Ironically, I'm cheap as they come with daily purchases. Generic this, off-brand that. Weeks on end of sack lunches (bentos, as they're called here) with little more than a few store-bought beers in the way of disposable income expended. But the biggest expenditure of all -- a house -- was something that I was willing to take-on. Sure glad I didn't. My time away from home gave me the vision to be able to see that. The culturally contrived image of a domicile (my very own!) -- and all the positive emotional connotations that come with that purchase -- consumed me a bit. I'm human. What can I say?

But now I'm back here, a renter, and never happier. I do owe some money each month to someone I don't know and have never met. Though, I'm not anchored to the earth like so many others. I, and my family, are still free to dream about the unknown future, free to wonder what this odd incarnation will one-day bring.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Family Living Without Waste

The intentionality of this is what strikes me as being most impressive. Sure, living zero waste has a positive benefit for the earth and its inhabitants, but lifestyle gestures such as these won't reverse the environmental damage we are seeing unless they are practiced on a wide scale. That said, there are numerous personal benefits that this type of intentional living must produce for this family.

To expand, having a long-term goal that one is forced to encounter and meet incrementally on a daily basis is akin to being present, to engaging with the world head-on. This is what I mean by intentionality. It is very easy (and soul sucking) to follow the trends. Consume plastic. Funnel your attention (i.e. your present self) into smart phones, apps, and consumer products. Turn into a cog. Lose your sense of self.

I would love to talk to the mother and father in this video and pick their brains about the unintended benefits that this without waste project of theirs has reaped. Just as Thoreau, who went into the woods to live intentionally, to notice the world more deeply, formulated his thesis of civil disobedience while he was there, so too are there myriad bonuses falling into the laps of these family members.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Blasting out of the canal"

Blasting out of the canal
Set free from the prison
Baby, baby this ain't banal
When I engage there is fission

I wanna fight through this mist
of life that wants to weigh me
down onto the shore with a pounding fist
I get the sense it wants me to flee

Blah blah blah I speak through life
Thoughts pervade my mind like lice
Tickling my brain making me insane
Turn off to the side of the lane, ease the pain

Purple coat, looks like royalty
I appreciate when my wife spoils me
She knows not all my pain inside
But she senses some of the hurt that resides

Pick up a guitar in my fifties
Want to learn the rhythm of life
Through a sieve do I sift these
Pieces of ash, ancestors of strife

Like a sun I want to be
Wind blows right through me
Like light through a window
Energy, synergy, soul flow

And now I am at the time of dying
No more from life can I demand
Stop your worldly minds from prying
No way the decaying can understand

Into immortality do I ascend
But I don't know how to ammend
These atrocities that I did commit
So again, in another world, I will sit...

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Martian Spice

I wrote this far-out comment on Reddit on a whim and was pleased with the result. Pretty cool premise for a sci-fi book or film, I think:

I've lived abroad for most of my adult life and this is something that I often think about. Sometimes it feels like the majority of my childhood memories are riding in cars listening to classic rock. In the '90s that meant Skynyrd, Allmans, Floyd, Stones, Queen, etc... So what do you call that kind of music now? And where are the Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker, Chuck Berry oldies? Are they still played or are they slowly being forgotten? It makes me think how interesting living in the distant future will be from a digital archive perspective. So much to discover. I guess that's what people were thinking when books first came out, but dialects and languages are huge barriers of entry compared to rhythm and melody. I can imagine some future dude finding dope rhymes in the dead language called English and sharing them with his friends. Then there's this small clique of friends on Mars (so they're Martians, I guess) and they're jamming out to Run DMC and rebirthing the English language. They use late 80s urban slang as code so they can talk about Martian Spice, the rad new psychedelic drug that's flooding the Martian streets. Then they discover this song and it really blows their minds. And all the while they're about thirty years into the biggest breakthrough of the history of the solar system's civilization: the same Martian Spice that the kids dig takes people to a place that proves the existence of an afterlife, immersing them in a world full of their ancestors, although they don't know the people are their ancestors while they're there, they only realize it once they've returned from their trip. The trip itself lasts a millisecond in Martian time, but feels like anywhere from a day to 125 years of Earth time. And their parents don't want them to take it, not due to the religious implications, and definitely not because they think drugs are bad, mmkay, but rather because it hurts them tremendously to see their precious Martian children return from these trips full of guilt and shame for how they've treated their ancestors and the beautiful planet that they destroyed once upon a time. Therefore, the Martian Spice becomes addictive, not physically, but mentally, for the takers of the Spice are compelled to return to the place of their ancestors to try to live a life of compassion and generosity, but they fail nearly every time, compounding their depression and malaise.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

I thought that I would have left Japan by now, but I am still here. And the longer I stay here, the deeper I am entranced by its pristine landscape. The rolling low mountains of Western Japan, emerald in June, entice and call me to visit them, to traipse eagerly and thankfully along their paths.

I am also now fascinated by gardening. This once-upon-a-time jock is now entranced by hoes of a different sort, by permaculture, and by sustenance. The connection to the earth is real. Try it if you haven't already. I'm going to leave this video here in hopes of inspiring others.

One reason that I think I've allowed myself to go down this green path is because of the news fast that I have been on for the past three months. Not being connected to politics has allowed me to gravitate to other things, and without the political bias attached. Not that I am even friends with many republicans, but the stigma of being politically connected irked me when I was news addicted. Now, it doesn't. Connect by disconnecting.

Basho said it best in his famous work The Narrow Road to the Deep North. These last lines of the book will forever sit with me:

As cemented clam shells fall apart in autumn
So too must I take to the road again.
Farewell my friends.

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