New Year 2018

My joys: Food and kids. #bestnine2017 via Instagram
As I suspected, New Year festivities disrupted my routine quite a bit. However, I’ll publish what I can here and take a moment to share a resolution for 2018.

My primary goal for the year is to be more social. Over the past several years, my two sons grew out of the larval stage during which they require constant physical care. During that time I ruminated over many business and creative ideas but never took concrete action. I feel that I did so much ‘thinking without doing’ that now I can start ‘doing without thinking’, in a sort of Zen state. However I can’t do anything alone. My ideas are all collaborative, and if I don’t taking action to include others, share my ideas, receive criticism, etc, all of my thinking will amount to nothing.

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Christmas 2017

Missed posting last weekend due to Christmas, nursing a sick family, and coming down with a cold myself. Recovered now, but assume it will be difficult to post this weekend as well with the New Year festivities. Hoping to be more active on social media, though, and that the highlight of the holiday will be more exciting than a nap.

Kidding aside, the real highlight was introducing our family’s first piano into the mix.

❤️ Christmas morning. via yukamila on Instagram

Opus 1

The last week of the term is never a good time for me in terms of health and wellness. All efforts go toward meeting the needs of others enough to secure myself a restful winter break, which I have managed to do.

However, before the end of the year, I’ve resolved to commence an immensely important project, nearly twenty years past due: I’m going to compose and publish my first opus. It’s a suite of four jazz tunes in which I will explore the elements of music through lenses which have been honed and refined. And I’m going to commit the first notes as soon as pressing publish on this post.

Miso Soup

Months ago, Yuka was having a terrible day. I offered to cook to give her a chance to unwind, and prepared miso soup along with the meal. She cried when she tasted it, as though a rush of lost memories had returned. The moment inspired a poem, Miso Soup, which I shared on Ello. My first blog, in 2008 or so, was for poetry, and it seems like Ello would be a good place to restart the practice. Incidentally, I deleted the posts on my first poetry blog and regret it. Why not hide unpublish them or hide the entire site?!?

Snickerdoodles, the key to weight loss

First #snickerdoodles of the season! via Instagram
It’s officially December and the annual eleven month moratorium on all things Christmas has been lifted. Commence merriment.

UX Design, door stops, and other Japanese wonders

For the past few years, I’ve taken an interest in Design Thinking and user-experience design. It turns out that Japan abounds in carefully considered designs everywhere from toilets to shoe horns, instant noodles to vending machines.

The spirit of omotenashi thrives everywhere. Take, for example, grocery deliveries. Like any modern Japanese home, ours has a massive steel door with a hydraulic arm that pulls it closed. Secure and convenient, except when receiving a delivery. How many times have I stood, awkwardly struggling to simultaneously hold open the heavy door, receive a package or pizza, and sign or pay for it?

Imagine my delight when the gentleman delivering our order of groceries brought his own doorstop. The echoes of my palm smacking my forehead must have been heard for blocks.

People here generally enjoy deep satisfaction from simple solutions to problems, annoyances, and minor inconveniences.

Didn’t you know that the flag of Japan is a pickled plum on a bed of rice? via Instagram
I came down with a head cold this week. Japan hasn’t alleviated that discomfort, although they come pretty close by way of an affordable and efficient hybrid socialized health care system, and superfoods like umeboshi.
As detailed in the article, “Umeboshi”: The Health Secrets of Japan’s Sourest Fruity Treat, shared in my Flipboard magazine, Life in Japan, pickled plums, like green tea, can boost the immune system, although it seems that I didn’t eat enough before this week.

Perfect Sunday

Yesterday was a perfect Sunday. Started with a hot home brewed French press of coffee and French toast for breakfast. A family stroll in the newly chilly air followed by steaming bowls of hot soba soup and then me and my sons on the bath.

Other than that, the week was tedious and busy and I won’t even bother to share stats, because there’s nothing good in there!