Sunday, January 29, 2012

[ 4 / 52 ]

Week Four : Who is Drinking Who?

Last night, Peter T. and I decided to have a Double Peter Party at 元気 (Genki) in Akihabara. Genki is a great little yakiton (grilled pork) place tucked away on the backstreets of the quieter side of Akihabara. I will try to put together a full post about the awesomeness of Genki in the near future.

This was our second time having a Double Peter Party there and last time we were introduced to what they call the "Mega". Perhaps the most massive beer you will ever come across, it's probably closer to a pitcher than a mug. As you can see, it's hard to tell whether Peter is drinking the beer or the mug is drinking his face...

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 35mm | f/ 2.8 | ISO 800 | 1/25 s

Saturday, January 21, 2012

[ 3 / 52 ]

Week Three : Before & After
Week Three
Week Three - Alternative

In a world full of "distressed" denim, where jeans are broken in and ripped up to look like they've been worn for years, raw denim is beautifully simple. The whole idea is that the denim is never washed during the manufacturing process and the color fades naturally as you wear them. I bought my first pair of raw denim jeans back in November 2009, petit new standards from APC (I'm a skinny guy), and they are pretty much the only jeans I have worn since.

There was an interview in a GQ many years ago with eccentric designer, who mentioned that he only ever washed his jeans by wearing them into the ocean. I remember reading that interview with my sister and agreeing that that was super badass. I decided I wanted to do the same with these jeans, so brought them along with me on my trip to Vietnam last year and gave them their first wash in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Phu Quoc island. Did it make a difference? I have no idea, but whatever. I think it's super awesome.

I've washed them another two times since then and the color has faded quite a bit. There are clear lines on the back pockets where my wallet goes and where I always put my cell phone in my front pocket.

Sadly, all the wear and tear of the past two years has taken it's toll and a little whole is opening up. I'm taking them in to get it fixed up tomorrow and hopefully they'll be alright. I decided I'd start on a new pair too and thought it would be interesting to compare them side-by-side. It's hard to believe how different they are!

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 35mm | f/ 3.2 | ISO 1250 | 1/30 s

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

[ 2 / 52 ]

Week Two : And Now, We Wait
Week 2

How do you get through the stress of applying to six of the top MBA programs? That's right: ice cream. Lots of it. But before anyone gets on my case about eating healthier, I would like to point out that I also consumed 17.5 kg of mikan during the month of December. That's worth at least a little forgiveness, right?

Now that the applications are in, all I can do now is wait. With any luck, happy emails inviting me to interview will start rolling in over the next month or two!

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 35mm | f/ 8.0 | ISO 800 | 1/4 s

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

[ 1 / 52 ]

** I'm starting up the 52 Weeks Project, which means posting one picture every week for the next year. Hopefully this will help me improve my photography skills and try shooting new subjects. All of the pictures will show up in my flickr photostream, but I'm going to post them here as well. I'll try to keep blogging as well whenever I feel there is a bigger story worth telling as well! **

Week One : Wrapped Up in the Past

Week One

Every Christmas since coming to Japan, I've tried to get Zach and Justin presents that are "Japan Exclusive". This year, I thought it would be cool to wrap the presents in a Japanese newspaper so it would be covered in kanji.

Down to the building recycling center, I found a stack of old newspapers and noticed that the top one was from May. Completely on a hunch, I dug deeper and found all the copies from back around the 3.11 earthquake!

I wanted to get the dates and the big headlines on the front of the packages, which made for a pretty ugly wrapping job, but I think it's so cool to see some of the major topics from those days jumping out. I feel like this wrapping paper is not only uniquely Japanese, it shares a bit of my life experience with them, which I think is really awesome.

I actually found the weekend edition from the day after as well, but selfishly decided to keep it for myself. I want to do display it somehow, maybe frame the front page or something, sort of a momento of a big event that I was around for. Maybe then I'll finally put my story from those days down in words somewhere...

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 35mm | f/4.5 | ISO 400 | 1/40 s

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - Live Beautifully


Simply put, 2011 was a challenging year.
Spring was marked by the 3.11 Earthquake and nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
Summer saw two of the anchors of my Japan life leave, with Mike heading back to Michigan and Kato-san moving to Hong Kong.
Fall and Winter brought life consuming MBA info sessions, applications, and essays.

Facebook launched their “Timeline”, which essentially visualizes your life. Looking back through my timeline, 2010 was full of happiness and some really great times. 2011 was a much lonely year, especially the past 4 or 5 months. I recently heard the quote “Happiness is only real when shared” and I think that really gets at the heart of it. I pretty much dropped off the map in the second half of the year. Trying to recall highlights, I end up asking myself what exactly did I even do? Have I even been alive?

Something clearly has to change.

To that end, I’ve come up with some goals for 2012.

Professionally, I want to finish what I’ve started. Over the next few months, and the next couple of weeks in particular, I need to knuckle down, take care of business, and get my life pointed in the right direction. In many ways, I feel like my potential is limitless and there’s nothing that I can’t do. It’s just a matter of making the effort and taking the necessary steps to turn that potential into reality. So that’s step one. I also desperately need to learn how to network. To not be cynical and to be genuinely interested in getting to know new people, to make the effort to stay in touch with them. To make not just small talk, but interesting conversation. If I can do those two things, the sky is the limit.

But more importantly, I need to change the way I live life. Recently, I’ve gotten this idea stuck in my head, this concept: to live a beautiful life. It’s hard to put into words what exactly that means to me, but I’ve put together a few ideas that should get me started.
-Get Healthy-
I’ve been absolutely neglecting my body for far too long. I’ve lost almost all of my muscle mass and gotten soft in the middle. I haven’t been sleeping enough or eating healthy and it shows. My body is literally a wreck. Some days my entire upper body hurts and my eyesight is deteriorating fast. I don’t sleep enough and I’m too stressed. I’ve had minor anxiety attacks periodically for the past 18 months. In 2012, I want to start exercising again and get back in shape. I want to get my priorities in order and stop sacrificing so much of myself for a job that barely rewards me for it.
-Cook Properly-
Not just more healthy food, but food with thought and effort put into it. I think I’ve shown on this blog that I can create beautiful meals when I put the effort into it. 2012 needs to be a year that doesn’t forgive PB&J sandwiches or pasta with canned tomato sauce as acceptable alternatives to a real meal. I want to cook food that is so good I feel compelled to share it on this blog.
-Take More Pictures-
Photos never stop amazing me with their ability to capture memories and emotions. One look at the pictures Mike and I took over the past 3 years remind me of all the good times the Michigan kids have had. My pictures of Tange put a tear in my eye. I want to be more diligent about capturing the places I go, the things I see, the people who surround me. I would love to try the 365 Day Project, but I honestly don’t think that’s realistic. Maybe the 52 Week Project? You know what, I’m gonna do it. One picture every week for the next year, uploaded to Flickr.
Now that it seems like my time in Asia will be limited, I suddenly like I’ve done a poor job of getting around to the various countries over here. I’d like to at least see China and Thailand before heading back. Maybe Singapore and Indonesia too if I can work it. Hell, there are plenty of places in Japan I still haven’t seen. There is so much of the world left to explore and no reason to put off doing it.
-Reconnect With People-
I’ve done a shitty job socially recently and I have so much making up to do to so many people. I haven’t seen nearly enough of the Michigan kids lately. Once I’m back state-side, there are a ton of people I’ve practically fallen out of touch with since moving to Japan. I need to spend time with family. I need to make myself happy again and share that with the people who matter to me.

I think if I can do those five things, I could have something I would be willing to call a “beautiful life” in 2012. It’s certainly no small order, but there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to take a real shot at them all.

The first step, once I’m finished getting my professional life in order, is to make the most of my time left in Japan. If all goes according to plan, I have less than 6 months left. That's not a lot. There’s still so much I haven't seen and done, and I don’t want to waste that time.

There’s no time like the present. Let’s make 2012 a beautiful year.