It’s a beautiful, rainy day here in Tokyo. Let’s look at some pictures.
I’ve spent a few nights at Shibuya’s Ruby Room. They have a Tuesday night open mic, and I love open mic nights. There’s always such a variety of skill levels and musical styles, and I have a special place in my heart for amateur artists performing for the love of the music. For me the soul of lo-fi and live beats a polished and produced recording any day.
Apart from open mic nights, I also checked out show by The Casablancas there.
Good stuff. They actually opened for another band that night but in my opinion stole the show.
Also, had dinner with coworkers the other night. I love these folks! They really know how to have a good time together and have been super welcoming to me.
Check out this awesome studio that is a five minute walk from my apartment. I have this space to myself plus use of all the equipment in it for less than $8 an hour! It’s called Gourd Island Studio. I’m pumped: I can play drums again, I can record music and sing loud and plug into nice amps, all without worrying about bugging my neighbor.
Also, I finally went to the Ruby Room last night, which sounds like a strip club, I know, but is actually a pretty well-known music venue in Tokyo.
I had pretty lucky timing, five bands played and they were all really fun and there was a lot of talent on display. Met some cool folks, too. They have a Tuesday night open mic I’ll be back for this week.
There are a few difficulties with having a blog and living here:
I get new and amazing experiences so regularly that if I don’t blog for a week I feel overwhelmed by how much I want to share (which causes me to put off writing for another week and the snowball begins to grow…)
If I approach an experience with the mindset of wanting to write about it later, I take photos and think about how I would describe it. I spend the moment, as my photojournalist friend Kelly once told me, documenting life instead of living it.
So, lately I’ve just been trying to experience these moments, getting immersed in them and letting myself forget how I would describe it later. It’s been nice.
Now it’s time for a huge messy brain dump. I think I’ll just lay out whatever’s on my mind. Enjoy. 🙂
I got a package!
My friends Vanessa and Moses sent me a box!
They also sent me a cool collection of sci-fi stories based in or about Japan, and toothpaste because I heard it can be hard to find toothpaste with fluoride in it. I think there’s a different fluorine ion in it here instead but readers familiar with chemistry are already noting that I have no idea what I’m talking about so let’s just move on.
I got a guitar and I’m discovering the Tokyo music scene.
Shimokitazawa (“Shimokita” as all the cool kids call it) is an awesome little area near where I live, littered with vintage clothing shops and houses playing live music. I’m going as often as I can.
I got a Yamaha FG-251 acoustic guitar for ¥6000 (about $56 USD), restrung it and adjusted the truss rod. Now I’m trying to overcome my fear of bugging my neighbor by playing it. I mean, I can hear his microwave beep through the walls, so there’s no question whether he’ll hear my strumming. Probably should’ve bought an electric.
I’m also writing music in Garageband while riding the trains. None of it’s any good of course—I think music is the first (only?) thing I’ve ever been able to just give up trying to be great at and started doing just because I love it.
I’m introducing software development process improvements at work.
I’m going to write a separate post on this and link to it here later. Unless you’re into software engineering you’ll probably wanna sit this one out, but it’s making me happy.
I’m learning a lot about not judging and seeing myself in others.
Things can seem pretty different at times. Discovering that a laugh is not always a laugh and can mean many things from “I find this humorous,” to “I have no idea what you just said,” to “I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable right now,” can make you question all of your judgments of others. And that’s been a good thing to question.
Learning you can’t trust your assumptions about another person’s intentions forces you to fall back on faith: what do I think is in the heart of the average person? If you think people are basically good, you’re going to respond to culture shock and culture clash positively, assuming the best when in a situation you don’t fully understand. Think people are basically cruel and every puzzling situation will leave you wondering if you are the butt of an ill-intentioned joke. I’m glad I’m able to believe people I meet are more likely to be kind to the stranger than rude or hateful.