Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Japanese Story

I watched a movie tonight called A Japanese Story. I didn't choose it, my mom did, but I'm sure she had me in mind. It was a little odd - it has something in common with Million Dollar Baby, which my mom and I watched last night; I won't give away the connection.

It was a really moving movie. It really makes you think of the rules we live by, as Americans, as Japanese, as Australians - rules that help us work together and smooth through some of the daily problems people have - and how ridiculously inadequate those rules are in some cases. There are so many guides to our behavior based on our role in life: taking myself as an example, I am a man, a son (to two different parents, the rules are different for each), a cousin, friend, sometimes I'm an employee ;). I'm an American, too, an American ashamed of his government's adherence to rules that never made sense; soon I will be an American living in Japan. All of these categories have rules assigned to them, some of which I have to follow, no matter what, some of which are, like I said before, to smooth relationships and keep things courteous. I'll give an example of the latter from the movie - the rule that when you receive a business card from a Japanese businessman you should treat it as the person himself - is one that works for the Japanese, or at least for those that care about such things.

These things are all pretty obvious. Also obvious is that we violate these rules all the time. But I think that sometimes we forget that there are certain things that go beyond these rules, there are times when you have to go beyond these rules, in order to be a human being. This movie portrays that, something I think is obvious but we forget on a daily basis. At least I do.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Back Again

Well, now that pretty much everyone has probably given up on this, I've decided to write something.

I've sort of been consumed by my computer the past few weeks, embarrassingly enough. I decided to install Linux on my laptop in order to get away from the morally degenerating effects of using Windows, particularly Windows XP. You can tune Linux to fine details in ways Windows won't let you, so it can be pretty consuming for someone who likes to fiddle with things as much as I do.

In between times I've been looking for jobs in Japan. Not much luck so far. I'm planning on going there in the middle of September, when I'll travel and look for jobs close up.

I've also been biking around town. There are some nice bike trails, with mountain bike trails at the Kansas River and Clinton Lake. I've spent some time at the river trails, but have yet to try the Clinton trails.

The Kansas River mountain bike paths are a lot of fun - though I'm a bit of a wuss and get off my bike before some of the larger hills, on the whole it is a real thrill to ride. I keep meaning to take pictures for this blog, but I haven't taken my camera out there yet. Maybe next time.

Speaking of pictures: I haven't taken many since I got here, but here are a few.

Mom's backyard
The other day, I went out with Clare and her son, Jackson (Mookie), and his friends. We had a good time.

Mookie strikes a pose

Me and some kids