Christmas Where Nobody Cares

Does Japan celebrate Christmas? No.  Sure you will see Christmas trees in the shopping malls and illuminations throughout the winter, but those have little to do with the actual holiday. There are holiday sales galore, because who doesn’t love a good sale? But that warm, hearthy, childlike anticipation that reaches crescendo in the early hours […]

Zentangle

I’ve been experimenting with Zentangle, an artistic technique that is meditative, relaxing, and not dependent on skill. Some might call it advanced doodling. There might be more to it than that. But I think the results speak for themselves. Bare in mind that I can hardly draw a straight line. I have been very impressed […]

Farewell Social Media… forever?

I’ve gone back in forth on my relationship with social media. I went cold turkey off all of it a few years back only to have that experiment fail spectacularly. That led me to my most recent period of social media addiction, where I made accounts with countless platforms and allowed several hours per day […]

A Windows Free Apartment

Well, not quite. But it just got a lot closer. A few weeks ago I took some space from my ridiculously large Windows partition (200 Gb of 600 Gb free space) on my daily driver Toshiba Dynabook laptop and installed Peppermint OS, a semi-lightweight Ubuntu based Linux distro. It was a bit worrying. I had […]

The Trans-Siberian Railway Dining Car

When I set off on my Russian trip in the spring of 2003 I had zero expectations, and was totally unprepared. I new more about some tiny ancestral village in the Ukraine, my final destination, than the thousands of miles of railway journey between there and Vladivostok. I did zero research on the language, people, […]

Japanese Free Time

Quite a few years ago, before I set foot in the Japans, there was a policy shift in the Japanese school system. They stopped holding Saturday classes and cut back on some coursework. It seemed a step in the right direction. It was supposed to help invigorate the youth, help them to more independently discover […]

Sapporo Christmas Market

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The 17th annual Sapporo Munich Christmas Market. It’s has a selection of vendors from Russia, Poland, Germany, Japan, and other far flung nations. They’ve got roasted nuts, matryoshka dolls, Christmas ornaments, and novelty foods galore. Multiple varieties of hot wine, cider, and beer are available. Want a […]