Oh, Hai there!

I haven’t written a single real post in ages. Not that there is nothing to write about, mind you… Just never both time and motivation. And yet at this stage, seven years in, I think I’m long past the 6 month expiration date that comes with first-time blogging fevers… Anyway: thought I’d do some writing here for a change… My draft for the Great 21st Century Novel will wait until tomorrow.

I want to say it is all in my head, but I am practically sure there is something fundamentally different from Kyoto about the air in Tokyo (no, not just the smog). Summer is obvious: unlike Kyoto, Tokyo’s got a seafront and doesn’t feel like you are being slowly steamed in a giant rice-cooker with wakame on top; late Autumn and Winter are a bit more subtle: both places are cold and often rainy, but Tokyo always has this much crisper night air, with a dash of excitement and a whiff of possibilities, on any given day, at any given hour.

More importantly: Tokyo is a city, hell a Metropolis. Not a museum town, not a collection of temples, not a giant university dorm: a city with all sorts of people with all sorts of jobs able to have all sorts of conversations. Nobody fucking gives a fuck about what university you are attending and most people are happy to lead discussions beyond those wacky differences between wacky foreign customs and wacky Japanese customs. Is it just because the only people over the age of 30 in Kyoto are married, with kids, and probably go out once a year? No offense to all of the 20 year-olds that populate Kyoto’s nightlife and social circles, but I’m pretty sure you would make even 20-year-old me feel old and overly mature. Living in a city of tourists, shut-in natives and post-adolescent one-year exchange students, you tend to forget what it even feels to have a deep meaningful conversations with friends.

Just kidding, Kyoto life is totally OK. I have met many awesome people here. Plus: it was specifically selected on its heavy potential for a studious anchoritic doctoral life… Can’t say I failed there.

That being said, and assuming there is any more of Japan in my post-phd future, rest assured it will be Eastern Capital over Old Capital in a heartbeat.

What did we do for two weeks, on our recent trip to California? Eat. Non-stop.
Somehow all my San Francisco friends now work with, around or in restaurants (and those that don’t, have a home kitchen to ridicule most professional restaurants). Two weeks of uninterrupted home-cuisine, haute-cuisine, haute-concept, cheap Indian, puntastic Thai (seriously: “Thai-tanic salad”? really?), Kubrickian American (way up there in the mountains) and near-daily morning brunches featuring lovely crispy bacon and heaps of Californian cheese.

Guess who was overcome with joy at the thought of a simple, light, miso soup upon getting back home…

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There were many positively awesome things about Scott & Cassie’s wedding ceremony, but their choice of reading, as powerful yet appropriate reminder of the state of marriage law these days, was a particularly cool one.

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Heard at the Japanese souvenir shop of the Japanese Tea Garden:

Very Large White Woman: I am looking for these Japanese dolls…

Japanese shop employee: ah… Kokeshi, yes, we have them here.

Very Large White Woman: No, no… Not this kind. The ones that fit inside one another.

Japanese shop employee: You mean… Russian nesting dolls?

Very Large White Woman: Yes! Got any of those?

Japanese shop employee: