Wednesday, June 27, 2007

News Indigest.

I just got off the phone with someone at a Matsuya, a Japanese style fastfood chain, about waribashi, or disposable chopsticks. I wanted to know if it was possible to get the used ones that they were going to throw away, and use them for an architecture project. There is a small competition, the flyer of which I picked up at an exhibition, which is only open to students(I hope I count!) and the key point is recycle. I have wanted to make something with chopsticks for a while now, originally a bridge, the word for bridge and chopstick being the same, but this contest finally found a use for it. I hope that I will be able to a) get chopsticks at all b) build the thing, and c) build it before the deadline, which is sometime in July.

SHIT! the zoo competition is also due in July. Hmmm, I think I might be boned for both!

The highpoint of my day? I beat a Lotus in a race today. Well, actually, he didn't know that we were racing, but we was stuck in traffic, and I wasn't.

Why does this always happen to me?!?!?

Recently, I have been going to a lot of architecture exhibits, exhibitions, museums, galleries, etc, etc, because I keep thinking that that is really what I want to do. I keep thinking that going to these places are going to help me come up with ideas, or give me ideas as to what it might be like.

Take today: I went to the Tokyo Institute of Technology's (Tokyo Kogyo Daigaku) graduate exhibition. Now, I do try to realize that these are all graduating graduate students, that they are more than 5 years older than me, and all have had many years of training, but when ever I see the models and posters and ideas that are on display, at ANY of the places that I go to, I want to give it up. Just like that, I can't do anything anywhere close to this, fuck it, I'm done.

It really, really gets to me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Picture Pusher!!!!

1) My new bike, Clifford the Big Red Bike, along the banks of the Arakawa, a major part of my Japan.

2) Some of my recent calligraphy, which I did 'dokugaku' which means independent learning, and refers to having no teacher!

3) The first picture I took when I got back to Japan. Just some guy asleep in a park.

4) This was at the Seattle Airport. Destination: unknown, Flyer: US Military, Gate: blank.

5) My welcome back/graduation/good bye party. Left to Right: Dash, Orna, Chris, Aaron.

6) Mr. Millar being the first to congratulate me on graduating from high school!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The First Sun Burn of Summer.

I rode my bike for a long time today. I rode out to Koganei-koen, which is near where I used to live, and went to the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, which is a bunch of buildings that have been donated and then moved to this park. I spent a lot of time riding, which felt amazing on a day like today, and even more time outdoors, which accounts for the sun burn. Gotta work on stop sucking at getting sun burned.

I will post some pictures later this week of all sorts of cool things.

I got a cool idea for my zoo from the museum, too! It wasn't actually from the open air part of the museum, but the indoor archeological section. A zoo with subtle references to Frank Lloyd Wright and ancient Japanese pit dwellings?

What will I think of next?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


The Peter had landed. I got in late sunday night after a long and uneventful flight, had a little fun at immigration (never try to go to a country without a visa or a return ticket. Ever.) We got that worked out, and I went back to the Fukuda`s, which was nice. I took a long walk the first day, then went for a really long bike ride today (the second day).

I dont even know what it means to search for one`s [insert thing here].

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Finding my Japan.

I first started studying Japanese in the fall of 2002(?). I was 13, and in the 8th grade. My grandfather had been an interpreter during the war, and my parents had had their honeymoon in Japan, but if you asked me today why I started learning Japanese, I wouldn't be able to tell you. It is possible that food video games, and comic books had an effect on me that that time, but I gave up my interest in those long before I left for Japan.
Being a 13 year old studying Japanese at the college level, and especially since my education prior to taht hadn't prepared me for anything nearly so rigorous my grades were low, and I struggled in class regularily. In the three years, and 10 classes that I took, I got one, and only one, 'A', and had close to zero confidence that I could speak read, or write.
In my junior year of high school I knew that high school would be getting harder, and I knew I wouldn't have much time for JApanese so I didn't take 4th year, but I did finally get myself applied to a study abroad program. I was accepted, and would leave for JApan in the spring, in time for the Japanese school year to start.
Since I wouldn't ne getting grades, I stopped working during the second semester , but really had a great time learning, probably my favorite time in American high school.
And then I left.
I arrived in Narita, met Issey, a former exchange student, and he took me by bus to Shinjuku. Shinjuku at that hour of the day, 6-8pmish?, was marvelous. We boarded the Odakyu line, and got off several stops later at Sangubashi, and went to some place which despite the number of times I have been there, can never remember the name. It was there that the orientation was held, and there that I spent my first nights in Japan.
Those first days were spent doing various lessongs and games put on by the program, and mostly worthless. Sometime was given so that as a group, the inbound students, outbound students, and former students could meet and explore the city a little. I enjoyed Meiji-Jingu, which was right next door to where we were, very much, even though we spent very little time there because everyone else wanted to see Harajuku, a place I never cared for, throughout my entire year there. Looking back on those days, I was already beginning to distance myself from the other students. I spoke the best Japanese and wanted to use it, unlike the others who just appeared to be in this for a good time.
After the orientation, I took the train with my counselor and another student to where he would be staying, and then my counselor and I went for a walk. We walked a pretty path to a lake, all the while enjoying the flowers that were just blooming. I remember talking with him, or trying to, only in Japanese. We went back to the station, and took the train to where we were to meet my host family. I remember really enjoying taking the trains.
Upon meeting my Mrs. Nemoto, I said goodbye to my counselor, got in to her car, and she put on some of here favorite music. Linkin Park. She also had more pictures of Marilyn Manson in the house than pictures of her children. She also had stuffed Disney todays. I don't remember those days, but according to the journals that I kept back then, I was frequently lonely, something that would be a common occurance during my trip.
I remember always wanting to 'tanken', explore, and tried to get out of the house as much as possible. One regret I have now is not going far enough, or for long enough periods of time. I would always go to the same small number of places in a small number of directions, and would give myself way more time than was actually needed, and wound up spending lots of time home alone.
I was always alone, and that had greatly affected my image of Japan. I was in a small host family, whom I rarely saw, and wasn't able to, for one reason or another, to spend much time with the kids from school.
I recall that, throughout the year, I was constantly angry at the three authorities above: my host family, my school, and my exchange program. I often regreted and dwelled upon things that I had no control over. This along with the constantly putting the blame on those authorities, put me in an awkward position, which I really only came to realize now. those big 3 put me in various positions of discomfort and gave me various reasons to be upset with them, but after that, I really failed on my part of the bargain. I thought that I couldn't do anything about being put in those situations, and so I complained and fought. I failed in the task of making the best of those situations, which played a critical role in my depression.
The last two months in the country, once I was free of those three, really openned things up for me. I was able to get out and do things I had been unable to uptil then, but could have done a better job.
When I go back this summer, and possible longer if things work out, I am not going back for a second round, or a second chance, or even to make amends. I am going to find my Japan.

4 days to go.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Everything I know about the Cold War I learned from Dr Strangelove.

Plugging away on US history, waiting for a bike to come in so that I can go back to Tokyo.

Accidently snuck into the Lincoln All-Night Graduation Party, which was kinda funny.

Getting stuff sorted out.

Mein Fuhrer, I can graduate!!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

On the move.

Places I have stayed in the past 15 months.
end of feb 2006: Portland to Stanford and back
~march 2006: Portland
couple nights in Olympic Youth Center, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
march~may: Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan
june: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan
july: Uji, Kyoto, Japan
august-january: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan, with one night in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan in august, one night in Nikko, Ibaraki(or Tochigi, can't remember) Japan
february~end of march: Suginami, Tokyo, Japan, with 3 nights in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan, and 3 nights in Hiroshima, Japan
april: Morris, Minnesota, with a couple days in Denver, CO
may: a couple days in Portland and the 3+ weeks in Stanford, then back to Portland
june: 2-3 weeks in Portland, and then back to Tokyo!