First time I drank from this fountain, I was an overdressed freshman from Jersey. The last time I drank from this fountain, I was a drastically underdressed alumnus from Charlotte. 4 years later, this nostalgic grad student from Cali concludes that the Old Well has only grown in its simple magnificence. #Carolina
(at Old Well)
With the legendary Bill Austen at #StarkeyU (at Starkey Laboratories)
made it to the top before #sayonara (at Pyles Peak)
this is who I am #dholi (at SDSU International Student Center)
Since I have a major midterm tomorrow, I naturally instead made Japanese curry with grilled asparagus zucchini garlic red and serrano peppers + stir-fried tofu with scallion eggs #カレーライス (at Casa de Kaiten)
Highest I’ve ever been (at Cowles Mountain)
Sunday tastings (at Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits)
Brewskis in Portlandia (at Deschutes Brewery & Public House)
#myhood (at SDSU Speech Language Clinic)
After an epic sendoff weekend in Charlotte - which included a sensual performance of R Kelly’s ‘Bump n’ Grind’ - I had the good fortune of being hosted by several amazing friends in Los Angeles. I wrote most of this in an enlightened state at the Bourgeois Pig, next to a tree trunk shrine, while sipping on chocolate milk to the tunes of Ratatat and Earth Wind & Fire.
I got to see some tremendous performances, including an improv show at the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade. As a result of Mano and other wonderful friends, I definitely understood a lot more about the West Coast than I have in several prior - and often longer - visits. The question of why that is exactly has certainly crossed, and I think the answer in a word is:
Time. Time took its course, and has brought me to my current 25-year-old existence. No longer am I the hopeful humanities student, but I nonetheless try to keep those studies close to my life. After Carolina, I looked to Japan as a perfect escape, as the logical next step in figuring things out for life. Now things are pretty much figured out, relatively.
On June 1st, I celebrated my quarter-century milestone in Tokyo. Until the end of July, I will be assisting with coordinating a Japanese language-intensive summer program for American students. This is my third rodeo, and I’ll have ample time to pursue my passions and earn some income. I’ll be shooting film of Tokyo busking and street art. I’ll write about elements in Japan that are new like craft brewing, and old like izakaya culture. Most importantly, I cataloged new parts of the country, most notably Hokkaido, which has a completely different story than the rest of Japan in terms of culture and development. In attempting to understand these stories - those of the students I guide, cyberpunk, the Ainu struggle, the post-earthquake revival - I hope to add more depth to my own.
And when I return, I will spend the next 3+ years in San Diego, California. The ocean, Little Tokyo, Vegas, and 30+ breweries will be within striking distance as I earn an AuD (Doctor of Audiology). I know for sure that Chapel Hill, the sublime college town, was an absolutely flawless fit for undergraduate studies. I can also rest assured that a city like San Diego is ideal for the next phase of my life. I will embrace this new path on this new coast with open arms and an open mind. Kampai, y’all.