Sep 262008

You know, because I no longer have time to blog as often or as completely as when I was living in Kyoto as a student, I’ve realized that my writing has drastically changed. Rather than mentioning all the little experiences that truly characterize everyday life here in Japan – like the cute little old lady who stopped to have a chat while waiting in line at the local sushi restaurant – I sit down once every week or so to document whatever happened to stick in my head since the last post. This invariably results in my focusing almost entirely on the wild weekends and not even mentioning vast majority of my time that’s spent on normal day-to-day life.

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just the way things have gone. Well, guess what. Here goes: I’m gonna blog about work!

The fact of the matter is that (when I’m not actually traveling), my weekdays are probably just as boring as everyone else’s. True, I’m doing it in Japan which is (to me at least) totally friggin’ awesome. And it is nice to be able to work in bed or at Starbuck’s on whatever days happen to be most convenient. But the fact is that I am working.

I just thought I’d mention it. Maybe I’m still thinking about the Past-Due Security post, realizing that I don’t want to present myself as a 24/7 party animal when the truth is I’m only a 24/1 or 24/2 party animal. The rest of the time, I’m a computer nerd.

Still, it has been quite an interesting learning experience this time around. For the first time, I’m truly doing the “traveling programmer” thing – working independently while in a foreign country, fully managing my own time and location. Maybe I can’t really call Japan “foreign” anymore as I’m probably more familiar with Kyoto than I am even with my hometown of Los Angeles. But life here does still contain an element of excitement, so in some respects, it does feel that way.

(Note: while it’s true that I did do a bit of coding in Tel Aviv this Spring, the overly-social hostel environment limited my productivity so much that I’d barely dare to call it work. Besides, the fact that everything was SO expensive (yes, much more than Japan) always made me feel like I was wasting the opportunity by staying indoors.)

Now, there’s no excuses.

So how’s it been going? Well, things started off slow. In addition to everything that needs to be done when moving to a new residence, a number of unfortunate situations arose that ate up much of my work time during the first couple weeks here. But as the days have passed, I’ve been toying with various ways to keep myself productive, finding that what works best is to get out of my apartment as early as possible and separate myself from the temptation of easy distractions (the Internet, ringing phone, etc). Before going, I open a pile of Firefox tabs (reference material for the algorithms I intend to implement over the course of the day) and head to Starbuck’s. Headphones keep the chattering voices out, and whenever I need a break, I pop outside and find myself right in the middle of one of my favorite places on Earth: Downtown, Kyoto. In a pinch, I even found a handy map of free WiFi hotspots in the city.

I sort of look at this as on-the-job training. Motivating myself to work independently in LA has never been an issue. The next step is Kyoto, a foreign country, but still *like* home. If I can be 100% productive here (I’m getting close!), the next step will be to do it in a truly foreign country.

Because every 12 hour day I put in…means opening up half a day for new experiences.

Or blogging. Since I never can seem to keep up** 😆

  14 Responses to “Into Autumn, Into the Code”

  1. is that the same boy in the last picture the same one from a few posts ago?

    you know, i did notice the shift in writing style (since i’ve been reading backwards from newer posts to older ones). i like that the shortage of time kinda forces you super concise. as always, keep ’em coming 🙂

  2. Another pic of the patented double lift…..LOL!

    Fishing for chickens…wtf….heheh

  3. I hope Jeff enjoys the techno-speak in this one. He’s totally a radargram of a rasterized iso-surface.

  4. When I open up a ton of Firefox tabs, it’s ALWAYS in order to have reference material for the algorithms I intend to implement over the course of the day.

    you are such a tool.

  5. Jeff, whether you know it or not, an algorithm could accurately describe your day: swamp+ass+drive+talk=no money.

  6. oh no, that was disappointing to read 🙁

  7. Linda: Amazingly good eye! Actually, the first photo was taken way before I even talked to the kid; by total coincidence he just happened to be there when I first saw the “chicken-fishing-game” and took a snapshot. Didn’t even realize I’d seen him before until the next day when I got home and went through the pictures 🙂

    Andy: Didn’t you know? Half my photos are of double-lifts! I don’t even bother going to the gym anymore…double-lifting is enough. Haha j/k 😛

    Jeff & Noz: Quite an interesting contrast between a pair of best friends, ‘eh?

    Checking my email in the morning is like…
    Noz: “Dude, did you see these new photos of Mars?? Amazing!”
    Jeff: “Dirtystuffdirtystuffdirtystuffdirtystuff”


  8. What do those fortune-cookie-fortunes say on the top of your computer?

  9. they say “you shall seen be a large-bowtie-wearing-double-lifting human”

  10. “You never hesitate to tackle the most difficult problems” and “You will travel to many exotic places.”

  11. I still have my favorite one ever: “You are not illiterate.” I got it shortly after failing out of engineering.

  12. One time I opened up a fortune cookie and I got 7 fortunes inside. it was awesome.

  13. Haha SEVEN?? Any of them particularly noteworthy? 🙂

  14. I don’t remember lol

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