So just like last year, it’s time again for a wrap-up “year in photos” post. I had a hard time paring everything down into a manageable selection of photos for a single post, despite blogging less this year than last year. I’d like to think that it’s because my photos are improving slightly, but honestly speaking it’s probably that my editing skills are just getting worse haha. (though I did update the Photo of the Day section a lot more this year).
One last day at the beach this summer… You can tell autumn is on its way… the water was colder, the skies a little darker, the sunshine a bit more chill than last time
My mind ended up turning to thoughts about my blog, life and future these days (not necessarily in that order, mind you). It’s been almost 7 years since I moved to Japan and I thought that by now I’d know what I want to do with my life. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case. I think the core issue is that I’m a fickle panda: this is a blessing in that I have many and multi-varied interests, but also a curse because I tire of things quickly. Every time I think I have found something I want to do with my life, three weeks later I decide it’s not really for me and I stop working towards it.
2009 was a pretty great year (well for me personally. For the world and the economy, err, not so much) and it was hard to choose just a few pictures as my “favourites” from the thousands that I snapped over the past 12 months. On top of that, there’s the question of how to sort them? While all the pictures could be classified dozens of different ways, in the end I decided to go with the four basic themes below. (if you need more granularity than that, head over to the photos section of the site and play around with the search options!)
So the other day I was flipping through one of my old boxes of letters and and pictures from years past (which reminds me that there are still some of you who owe me letters from the Great Michaelpanda Spring Letter Exchange 2007 *wink*) and I ran across some pictures of an old apartment I…
Whatever I thought it would be like, I’m pretty sure I didn’t think it would turn out like it did – my mind going over the laundry list of things I had to do to get ready for work tomorrow, my heart heavy with the thought of having to walk to work in a wool suit in the hot sweaty mugginess of the Japanese rainy season, my eyes just moments prior flicking over train schedules to find the fastest route home after getting off at Tokyo so as to avoid time consuming transfers and giving myself a chance to catch a few precious hours of sleep before having to get up the next day. Here it was, my little moment which I had dreamed of long ago, and rather than feeling euphoric, or overjoyed with hope or optimism as I had expected, it instead felt oh so very… real…! But not real in that way that excitement tinges your tongue with feathery touches of alkali, or real in the way that hope swells your heart such that you think it will burst from your chest, but rather real as in the damp, sweaty, somewhat downtrodden leaden-ness of the everyday grind. Maybe not as real as waking up one day to find yourself a lonely bald fat low-level manager of a box plant and suddenly realising your youth is gone, but definitely real in the way that you realise you are now, at this very second and this very age of 27, engaged in a day to day struggle not to end up that way.
It wasn’t a sad feeling, the lack of euphoria, but just surprising that achieving one’s dream – no matter how small – would feel so completely run of the mill. After all, what I was doing at that moment wasn’t particularly unusual, and now that I thought of it, I had done this very same thing – eat an eki bento on a bullet train late at night – quite often in the past few years. I began to wonder: was this all there was to life? (silly I know, but I thought that). Were we lied to when told that achieving our goals was to rewarded with feelings of accomplishment, when in fact all it felt like was more of the same? Or perhaps, more disturbingly, had I set my dreams and sights too low?
What is this book, you might be asking yourself? Well, let’s look at the cover: The Complete Fake History of a Bunch of People Who Don’t Actually Exist I’d like to think of it as the first entry in a series of books entitled “Hey, so I heard you’ve got a stalker – the Michaelpanda…
Moving to Tokyo(ish) was the right decision, I know. But it’s hard to think of closing the door on a 3 year chapter of your life. I don’t mind moving – I’ve done it regularly ever since I can first remember. After a while though, it can get tiring – the constant making and breaking…
sitting, back primly poised, hair impeccably parted to one side, cream colored leather Coach handbag tucked to one side, keitai strap dangling loosely out one of the side pockets, makeup perfectly done, as always, beautiful lips pursed ever so slightly as manicured nails flicked pages of a book from one to the next, eyes moving ever so slightly through expertly applied mascara lashes, each iris twitch scanning top to bottom, right to left, page to page, ponytail bobbing slightly as each echoing shift of the train’s bulk rippled through the ground, through the wheels, through the floor, through the bench, through her body before manifesting itself in one tiny quiver, momentary separation of individual hair fibers, rippling shine reflecting the brilliance of the azure and topaz sky flitting by in the rows of houses cycling by in the background, melody line of children’s Doppler laugher fleeting by for split seconds as suffused imagery of suburban bliss melted into a motion streaked blur of background behind us, parallaxing through windows and the smell of earth and coolness of autumn air cascading down inverted metallic slats of the old fashioned sun screens pulled down over half opened train windows, and I remember ginko leaves – beautiful, gorgeous stunning ginko leaves swirling through the air, striking yellow against austere brown branches silhouetted against topaz skies
So I took most of last week off, which was quite nice, though it turned out to be one of those “working vacations”, which is to say that despite lofty initial plans of heading out to exotic foreign locals (well, okay, Hokkaido to visit my kittah friend, but anyway…) I ended up spending most if…