Monday, September 10, 2007

Mejiron Dance Crosses Borders!

Mejiron Dance Crosses Borders!

Before going to their appointed schools, during an orientation on the 27th at the Oita Prefectural Office, 43 foreigners attempted to do the Mejiron Dance with the mascot of the Oita National Athletic Meet, Mejiron. During Mejiron's appearance in the meeting room, the ALTs clapped, smiled and took pictures with him. They first receivied instruction on how to raise their hands, bow their body, and put both hands behind their back to do the “Mejiron Pose,” they then did the move together with the music and with Mejiron. Scheduled to teach at Elementary and Junior High Schools in Hita, Thomas Newhall (22), who came to Japan from the United States said “It was fun. I will do the dance together with my pupils and students in order to deepen our cultural exchange.”

Caption: ALTs settle into the Mejiron Dance Pose




Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle

ねじまき鳥クロニクル Japanese Title : Nejimaki Dori Kuronikuru, which is pretty fun to say
村上春樹 (the authors name)

I just finished the book "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle," by Haruki Murakami. Clocking in at just over 600 pages, I've been working on this project since I boarded the plane for Taiwan. It can be meandering at times, seemingly endlessly, but reading through those parts of the book felt comfortable, like the subconscious numbness of a daydream. The most amazing thing about it was the prose, which, despite being translated from Japanese, kind of glowed and shimmered. Kind of like reading drugs. Not fuck you up type of drugs but like, I dunno, but some kind of fast acting, antidepressant stimulant combo. Easy to swallow and consume, but precise, and superbly detailed. I've never had a book where on page 600 I was able to recall events from the first few chapters. The words and images just stuck in my mind.

It's strange that I'm using such synesthetic language to write about this book, but I'll run with it. Dreams are an important theme throughout, and the way that was communicated to me through how the words "felt," so to speak. They felt good. The way a real good book ought to feel.

Well, anyway the book is about this guy, and his wife runs away, and some crazy shit happens, and he meets some crazy people, and most of the time you're not really sure what is the deal with these people, but for some reason, it doesn't matter in the slightest. There's some Japanese history involved, as well as a dose of politics and religion, but nothing too heady. But none of that is particularly important. The story is kind of like the thread that ties all the words and ideas together. But man, I wish I could express myself like that.

It's rare that I get the opportunity to really read a book, cover to cover. I guess part of me feels like it's a waste of time, unfortunately. And although I am WAY behind in Harry Potter, the book was definitely worth the time.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

When cultures attack

I thought I'd share this gem from the JET Handbook:

It is important to note that culture shock is not limited to those in their first year in Japan - the cycle can continue for years.

1) Initial Euphoria
This period of euphoria may last from a week or two to a month, but the
letdown is inevitable.

2) Irritation and Hostility
And these differences, which suddenly seem to be everywhere, are troubling. You blow up little, seemingly insignificant difficulties into major catastrophes. This is the stage generally identified as culture shock.”

3) Gradual Adjustment
Gradually, too, your sense of humour returns and you realise the situation is not hopeless after all.

4) Adaptation and Biculturalism
Full recovery will result in an ability to function in your own and in Japanese culture with confidence.

I wish I had aspirations to be a psychologist, simply to be able to write stuff like this.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Buddhism and Decision Making

This is something I wrote on the Buddhism boards. Mostly here for posterity, but please read and comment on it.

I know this isn't an advice column... but I'm looking for advice, sort of. Currently, I'm in a situation where I have to decide between two job opportunities. I've more or less made my decision, but my question is more about the decision making process. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and during the whole process I was considering what sort of criteria ought I, as a Buddhist, use to make decisions?

"Do not judge by any standards" (from the Sandokai(Harmony of Relative and Absolute))
"The great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences" (Sosan?, third Partriarch of Chan/Zen)

Maybe I'm taking these too pithy "Zen Sayings" out of context, but nevertheless I feel that there is a lot of rhetoric about decision making in Zen. A lot of it has to do with being "in the moment," being able to make decisions without attachment to the outcome or to the conditions that led to the decision. No past, no future, just act. Now.

This method of decision making favors intuition as the compass to guide our decisions. But if there's one thing I've observed about myself in the past week I've been mulling my decision over in my head, is that intuition changes. In the morning, choice A sounds good, in the evening, choice B. The decision happens only when I decide when to decide, and then my intuition at that moment shall take the day. But why is my feeling at that moment necessarily better than at any other moment?

I suppose another approach might be more "Utilitarian," in that we should consider which decision would be the most beneficial to the most people, or in Buddhist terms, be the most compassionate. This seems to be a good criteria, but in my particular case, it's not very obvious which choice would be most beneficial: One job will likely put a strain on the school I would teach at, (hosting an inexperienced foreigner) but because they wouldn't have anyone in my position otherwise, I could do a lot for the school. The other, my time is spread among many schools, and will likely be doing very little actual work, and if I turned it down, some other poor jobless college grad would be right there to take it. But which choice would benefit more people? Who knows?

Maybe my decision should appeal to basic reason. One pays more and would be less work, so I should take that one. Simple. Though maybe some reasons outweigh others... should the mere opportunity to help sentient beings nullify any monetary gains? Which reasons are worth considering?

Well, I've already gone on far too long, but my original question remains: What sort of criteria or method ought a Buddhist use to make decisions? I mean big decisions, of course, ones that will dramatically change one's life.

I hope I'm not beating a dead horse with this bu, thanks in advance for your input!


P.S. If you're interested in the specifics of my decision, please visit my blog: thedailytommy [dot] blogspot [dot] com , though I would rather that this discussion not be a case study in my life.

Monday, August 13, 2007

So I'm going to Japan!

Well, deciding is over and the doing begins. I am going to Japan. Leaving a week from yesterday, and I don't know when I'll be back. FREAKING YEAH!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Decision Time

Brendan encouraged me to write down the various reasons why and why not I would go to Japan or Taiwan.

The main reason I want to go back to Taiwan is to stay involved with Fo Guang Shan (the temple I was at), and the Woodenfish program. I hope I will be able to return to the program again next year as a teacher/assistant and also help out throughout the year coordinating the program. With the school year as it is in Taiwan, it may also allow me to travel before and after the program next summer, to visit friends, and to possibly volunteer in the Beijing Olympics or in the Woodenfish teaching program in mainland china. If I am in Japan, I will not be able to do that very easily, because I am away from Taiwan, and because the school year does not end until the beginning of August, though I may be able to go to Beijing Olympics/Woodenfish Teaching Program. I could end my contract early, but that would result in me paying ~$1000 for the cost of the plane ticket to Japan. Staying involved with Buddhism is important to me personally, but I also think that having spent time near, in, and around Buddhism will also help me if I go into academic Buddhist studies as I plan to. While there is Buddhism in Japan, I don't think it will be nearly as accessible to me as it would be if I were in Taiwan.

Another advantage to Taiwan is that I would be able to learn Chinese. Again, this would be beneficial if I decide to go into academic Buddhist studies, and would probably help my reading ability for Japanese as well. Having some Chinese would also help out if I work on the Woodenfish program next year. However, in order to learn Chinese properly, I would have to make an effort to take formal classes from someone at the monastery, something that would consume a lot of free time.

One disadvantage is that I think i may be a burden to Pu-men High School (in Taiwan). I don't think they are prepared to take on a foreign English teacher who doesn't speak any Chinese, and has no previous teaching experience. Also, I'm not even sure about the details of my employment contract, namely how much I will be paid, and if my plane ticket will be paid for. I'll be going in cold, with almost no training; it's bound to be a really difficult year, but I think that I can help them a lot, by being the "guinea pig" for an English exchange program. But maybe it could wait until next year...

Another disadvantage is that I feel I'll be letting some important people in my life down by going to Taiwan instead of Japan. Of course, I'll make it to Japan eventually, hopefully through the Shansi program next year. But, if I do re-apply for Shansi next year, I'll be competing with a bunch of my very-qualified friends from Oberlin, but if I don't get it, I'll once again be jobless, searching for employment in Asia. I won't be able to re-apply to JET next year, because I would have turned down placement this year.

For a long time last year, part of me really wanted to go live in a monastery rather than teach English. This may be the best of both worlds...

Well, for one thing, it's been my plan all along, but unlike Taiwan, there isn't one primary thing that draws me to it, but rather a bunch of important things. One is that I'll be close to some friends, and in the city I'm in, I will probably have a lot of opportunities to make new friends. Of course, I'll be making friends in Taiwan also, but in a very different context-- the monastery rather than the bar. Then there's the issue of women... probably have a better shot in Japan than in Taiwan.

Also Aikido. I suppose it's a pretty unfounded assumption that Japan = Good Aikido, but at least there will probably be more Aikido in Japan than Taiwan, and part of me feels like Aikido is the reason I got interested in going to Japan, and everything else-Buddhism, Japanese, etc, in the first place.

I do eventually need to go to Japan to get good at Japanese-- a personal goal, and also important if I continue on to Buddhist studies in the future. Now is clearly the best time to do this, since I've just come out of formal study in college. I can take the JEES (Japanese Proficiency) test next winter, and on a similar note, get my TESOL (English Teaching) certificate.

Japan: I guess it's not everything I ever wanted. But maybe it's where I ought to go...

Decision making is very hard. This is something that is nice about living in the monastery. All decisions are made for you, and all the effort and energy that you put into making the mundane day-to-day decisions can be geared towards more important things like helping other people.

We often find it liberating to be able to make decisions. In fact, that ability may be exactly how we define "liberty" or "freedom." At almost all points along this road to getting a job have I thought that some decision that I made would relieve the stress of decision making, thus liberating me to do as I please, with that firm decision behind me. However, I have found this not to be the case. That neither the ability to make decisions, nor the actual decision itself to be liberating. There's still always the element of doubt, and the inability to let go of whatever option I have to leave behind. I think it has less to do with my own inability, though, and more to do with the idea of a decision. Mainly, that a decision only becomes a decision when it becomes put into action. For instance, in this case, I've realized that I won't have actually made my decision until I actually send my passport to San Francisco for processing at either the Taiwanese or Japanese consulate. The decision happens when I act on it, rather than when I make up my mind. So the reason this process is so difficult is because I've been waiting months and months now to act, to really decide. Up to that point has been tenuous speculation and mind-games about what decision I will make, and how I will act, with no real action. A decision is only moving my attachment from one thing to another thing. There may appear a moment of freedom in this moving, but it's still attachment, nevertheless.

Well whatever. JAPAN OR TAIWAN??


Monday, August 6, 2007

Life Goals

Over the past month, I've come up with a few new life goals:

1. Get a Shamban (the stick that the Zen master hits you with).
2. Travel to a new country every year, until death do us part, amen.
3. Never have to live at home again.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Plugged Back In

Well, I'm back in Utah, from a pretty crazy month in Taiwan. I'll be here for a couple more weeks until I figure out exactly where I'm going to go teach English. It's a little weird being back, a return to the mundane as it were. I suppose the biggest difference between living at home and living at a monastery in Taiwan is that in Taiwan, time was structured to the minute. The whole month, we had only a two or three days that were truly "free," and even then, the time was spent catching up with laundry, e-mail, calling home, or sleeping. Now, my days are totally free from any particular obligations, but I can't cherish this free time the same way I did in Taiwan.

Anway, the latest on the job front is this: I got off the wait list for JET, and am placed in Oita prefecture, in northern Kyushu. However, in Taiwan there may be a better opportunity for me to teach at the high school connected with the monastery. However, until I find out more information about that job, Japan HO!

So, that's it for now. I'm probably going to write about Taiwan a lot in the next few days, so keep looking in.

Oh, I also got a new name in Taiwan. I'm now officially a Buddhist, and my "Dharma Name" is BěnZhì, (HonChi in Japanese) which means "Original Wisdom." I was really shooting for "Original Gangster" but no dice... So you now must all refer to me as such. Just kidding.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm at a monastery in taiwan

SO, hi everbody. I'm at the monastery now, and I've got a little break. So, this is freaking awesome. I was in taipei for a day before I got here, and that was sweet too. I woke up real early from jet lag, and went to see the taipei 101 building (tallest in the world, btw) and took pictures there. I ate at starbucks and mcdonalds, cause nothing else was open. Then went to some really moderned out (looks like an office building) temple, then went with some peeps from the hostel to a beach party in celebration of canada d'eh. so that was taipei.

I don't really know which of the million things to say about this place I should say. Umm, great so far.Different thatn I expected, this temple has mad cash so we're basically staying in a hotel run by the monastery. Yesterday, this director of this order came and gave us all like 20 bucks for no apparent reason. But there's some really great people here. It's kind of an od collection of students in the program. People from all over the world. Some of the interactions i've had with the other students give me a real weird vibe, but there are some cool people too. The monk and nuns whoe are teaching us are all really nice and very unique people. It's pretty strict but it could be worse. Jeez i need mores specifics.. the possibilities of what to tel you are overwhelming me. I wish I could upload pictures.I guess the best specific wiould be our schedule. Every morning wake up 5:30, line up by 6:00 followed by tai-chi and meditation. Then breakfast, which is half chinese, half american food. After that, a little break and a class of some sort, on buddhism (obviousely). sry about typose, the computer is berin weird. Then we go to lunch, which is done in silence, and is very formal (ie, you have to eat a certain way). To give you a sense o fthesize of this place, the cafeteria seats 3000 and usually is at least half full at lunch. Then we have another calss ore meditation. Then a little break, or "personal projects" or community service. then dinner followed by another class and then a evening liturgy service. Bed at 10, repeat in 7 an da hlf hours. Ok gtg. Leave questions and I'll answer them next time i'm here.

Omitofo, as they say here,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting pumped for Taiwan...

So, I had a dream the other night that I was on a bus going to the temple. It was packed, and it was on a dirt road so it was really bumpy. Everyone was talking in Chinese and English, and there was a chicken on the bus too. I guess that's some weird stereotype of the Chinese public transportation system. Everything made me really excited to be going. Then I saw my ex-girlfriend on the bus, which was really weird. The dream ended, but the feeling carried over.

Current pre-departure emotions: Excited, with a slight chance of nervousness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


So, i went golfing with my dad today. My grandpa, who just moved to a rest home in Salt Lake, tagged along for the ride. It was really hilly so the golfcart ride was hella fun. I think I may have scared my grandpa a little bit. Highlights include: hitting the ball straight a number of times, and this really cute girl who was working there, who I should have stopped to flirt with.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Aiki Summer Camp

So, back in the day, summer camp was really fun, right? Hanging out with people your own age for a couple of days, making mischief, learning new stuff. Lots of fun, but like many fun things, must pass away with childhood.

Psych! Not with Aikido! It's even better because this time around, alcohol is allowed!

A week in California doing Aikido, meeting new people, and having a generally great time is basically the best vacation I could think of. I left Utah with two other guys, Nick and Nate, from the dojo here in Utah. We didn't know each other that well before, in fact, I thought that Nick didn't like me much, but we loaded up his hatchback with Aikido crap and headed for Reno last saturday. There, we camped out at a Motel 6, and met two other people from Utah Aikikai who were also driving. We at at one of those ridiculously large casino-buffet restaurants which serve every kind of food, every nationality, and like sixteen different desserts. Then we went gambling. I lost about ten bucks. Five on a single hand of blackjack, and the other five split between DDR and the slot machines.

We went back to the hotel after that and bought a six-pack, and a bottle of Baileys to play cards with. There were five of us, so our original plan to play spades didn't work, since noone except me remembered how to play spades anyway. So instead, I taught everyone the game shithead. Apparently, everyone really liked the game, because we played at least four games every single night during the week.

The next day, Sunday, we got to California and checked into our dorm rooms about mid-day. I was supposed to have a roommate, but he (Ernie) didn't show up until about Tuesday, and turned out to be splitting his time with some other guy. So, that was a little akward dealing with them. Otherwise, our accommodations were pretty decent. It was hosted at a college, which was nice because everyone lived together, and everything was really close.

There were four main teachers at this seminar. I had seen Ikeda Sensei and Heiny Sensei before at Oberlin and elsewhere, but I had never seen Nadeau Sensei or Doran Sensei before, who are more in the west coast Aikido circles.

I think my most memorable training experiences from this camp were in Heiny Sensei's classes. Partly because I knew her best, but partly because, despite being an older woman, generally had the most vigorous classes. I took some ukemi for her (read: was called up to attack her, and be on the receiving end of the technique) on the first day, and it was really awesome. She really sent me flying, and so I think it made people impressed with her ability, but I also got a lot of compliments for my own skill at ukemi. I work on that a lot in Aikido, so it was nice that people took notice, and consequentially I got to work with a bunch of higher ranking people who may not have trained with me otherwise.

I got to work with a lot of really remarkable women at the seminar. I spent one morning class with Doran sensei working with Yukiko Hara, who is a really funny Japanese woman. Also a sixth degree black belt, so she kicked my butt pretty good. Another time during class I worked with this woman named Jane, and we just did a bunch of stuff from the same attack for like twenty minutes and it was awesome. We were able to really get to know each other's Aikido, and on top of that, I think that Ikeda sensei was watching us go at it from the sidelines, which was kind of cool. Later in the week, I worked with one woman who, after we were done, said "that was yummy." Kinda weird. Kinda funny. Kinda kinky. Of all the people I trained with, the women at the camp really stick out.

Other memorable experiences on the mat include my first taste of responsibility for being a black belt. I was working with a beginner, and was reprimanded by one of the senior instructors, Nadeau Sensei for giving the beginner a weak attack which didn't have anything real to work with. He said that as "a belt" I was responsible for helping students that I am working with find good technique. He then proceeded to throw me on the floor, really hard, and I still have a bruise from it.

I had heard mixed reviews of Nadeau Sensei. My friend James and his dad, the head of the dojo in Salt Lake had given me the impression that he was a little wordy and really into the spiritual/philosophical/non-physical side of aikido, which usually raises an eyebrow for me too. The first class, I strongly disagreed with half of what he said about, and the other half I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. So that kinda pissed me off but in the second class I realized that if i didn't really pay too close attention to what he was saying, he was actually doing good aikido. I got to come up in front of the class and work with him a couple of times. He gave me good advice, but I still get the impression that he doesn't like me. I mean, that happens with high status aikido people sometimes when you first meet them. They're like "who is this fucker who thinks he's hot shit," which is meant to knock you (i mean, me, of course) down a couple pegs, and then after like fifteen years they may deem you worthy to touch them.

I guess the only other instructor I haven't really talked about is Ikeda sensei. He does this amazing stuff where he will tell a 250 lb. guy to "be strong, don't move, don't take ukemi (trans: don't fall for me), stay there." Then, he'll drop him on the mat without doing anything visible. It's pretty crazy. In fact he'll usually say "isn't that weird?" in a Japanese accent after he does some completely crazy shit that shouldn't work by most accounts, but does for some reason. And then he asks us all to do the same thing, and like, nobody can do it consistently, which is really frustrating, but is at least really challenging. I've seen him do this stuff for four years now, and I still cant do it to save my life. But, I was able to do it at least better, if not perfectly, this time around than I had a month ago.

Finally, I'd like to report on my findings on the 31st annual symposium of aikido and alcohol consumption. As is usual with aikido, there is just as much learning that goes on off the mat as does on the mat. I met about 100 new people last week, and of course, I remember the names of maybe 20 of them. There was sort of a clique of young people that formed, which I hung out with most nights, but actually talking with some of the people who'd been around for like 20 years was really rewarding. You really get to know the history of the organization, of Aikido. And the people who've been around the block a few times tend to have bigger perspective to draw from when they talk about Aikido.

I was talking with this one guy about the pseudo-parental relationship that you form with your teacher, and how that helped him resolve issues he had with his parents. I actually had a similar experience one time when I was getting ready to attack the guy who teaches at Oberlin. I was staring at him intending to do him harm, when I realized that he looks a lot like my dad. I think that realization helped me with my issues with my dad a little, just like the guy at camp.

But, most of my time outside of class was spent hanging out with people from the Utah dojo, and a couple other younger people who were there. We had good times getting crunk, shooting each other with airsoft guns, playing shithead, and staying up late. I goatsed one guy which earned me the nickname "gaping tom." aww, who would I be without all my nicknames? Anway, it was a great week, and one of the best experiences in Aikido I've ever had. I hope to return... someday.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Job, the Saga

This morning I called the Detroit consulate's office back to see if anything had changed with my JET Application. Well, I was expecting bad news, but it's actually mediocre news. I'm now at the top of the wait list, but I'm still waiting. It could be anytime now, and he seems to think my chances are pretty good, but the waiting is the hardest part. (If you're wondering, John, that song is by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) Now I have to debate whether to sink my time into preparing for the GRE, or applying for other jobs.

Anyway, I guess that was sort of good news, but there' s still no resolution to this job search bs, but the end may be in sight...

What I really wanted to do was actually write down everything that happened pertaining to my job over the past year, the whole story, for posterity. Just to let it all out one last time.

I first heard about Lost Highway in the Spring of 2006, and was interested in the project, because it seemed like a good opportunity to put my sound engineering to good use. By the time fall rolled around, Concert Sound had informally agreed to do it, but none of the details for the gig were set.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The first real post

So, being home has been real weird. I feel like my family and everyone I meet here treats me like the person I was four years ago, before I even went to college. Granted, I probably haven't changed as much as I like to think I have, but I just wish I could just start from scratch with everyone back here in Utah, and meet everyone for the first time again. I don't want to "pick up where we left off" because no one is the same as they were four years ago. People change, that's life.

Last monday, after commencement, my dad and I went out to eat at the Feve. Our relationship has been well, not great, most of my life and I wanted to smooth things over with him and "start from scratch." Say sorry for being a jerk when I was a teenager, and admit that my mother is actually crazier than I thought she was. Well, that all didn't happen like I planned. Instead I started giving him the rundown on the job fiasco and my plans for the future. I told him that my interview didn't go as well as I thought because I didn't appear as outgoing as they were looking for. In response, he told me that he thought it was because I was "not very serious" and too "lackadaisical about things.

At that point, I was like "does this man know me?" I can see how that may have applied to the way I acted when I was in high school, but in my mind, I can't even picture myself as that person anymore, yet my father still thinks of me that way.

Same thing happened on sunday. My mom threw a party at our house to celebrate my brother's and my graduations. (is "my brother's and my" proper english?) It's actually pretty lame, because it's all my mom's friends and I know I'll just spend the entire night explaining how I don't have a job yet. The unforseen perk of the event is that a few of them brought donations to the "Tommy Newhall post-graduate fund."

I requested beverage duty, and was charged with the task of beer buying. Now, there are supposed to be twenty people coming to this party, but I already know maybe only one or two people are going to be drinking. So I buy four six packs anticipating that this was probably the only opportunity for me to buy beer with my mom's money, and knowing there would be plentiful leftovers to last me through the month.

So, I'm at the party and trying my best to seem social, but not actually talk with many people, and so I go outside to get another beer. A few people are out on our patio talking and one of them comments sarcastically that "You are not old enough to be drinking beer!" I guess it was a joke, sort of, but is just another instance of someone thinking of me as same person I was four years ago. Not only underage, but too innocent to imbibe that devil drink that few of the people at the party are even willing to try. Fortunately I had a pseudo-comeback to her remark, simply saying "well, that is not true." I grabbed my beer, and quickly went back in the house, where the hors d'oeuvres were.

Man I gotta get out of this place.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

E-mail to Friends

Hey all-

so you caught me at a bad time yesterday because it was my bro's high school graduation. I swear to god it took longer than ours, but there was like 1/10th the students. The graduation speaker was wicked awful, but my brother was the class-elected speaker he did a good job.

Other than that, I've been sick since I got home. I've mostly been playing pokemon and explaining to people in about 15 different ways why I don't have a job yet and that I am going to a monastery in Taiwan. I've taken to just telling people my "plans" before they even ask, simply because it saves time. Also, my family is starting to get to me. What a surprise. I guess that's more incentive to stop playing video games and start looking for real jobs, but I'm saving that for monday.

Anyway, I thought a good way to keep in touch would be to start a blog. a couple of my friends did it when they graduated a few years ago, and i've ept up with their misadventures pretty well that way. So this, and other musings will go up on . I don't know for sure if RSS feeds are working yet for it, but I'll get it going in the next few days. Yeah, it'll be a good combo of actual life events and musings about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right now, only one post, but of course, there's more to come.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

first post!

Welcome to my blog. This is actually the second blog I've written, the first being , which documented my days training Aikido and living in Tokyo in January 2006.

About me:
On monday, I graduated from college. In that former life, I was an East Asian Studies Major at Oberlin College. In that field, I studied Japanese as well as East Asian religion, especially Buddhism, and especially-especially, Zen Buddhism. My interest in East Asian Studies was piqued by Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art, in which attained shodan (first-degree black belt) in at the beginning of last month.

On top of that, I was a sound engineer for my four years at Oberlin. My main experience comes from working as a live sound engineer at Oberlin, mixing concerts and events that came through. Bela Fleck, David Sedaris, Tibetan Gyuto Monks, Peaches, The Rapture, Supersystem, Xiu Xiu, Girl Talk, Nancy Dye, dancerockinfinity, Talib Kweli -- Mixed them all at Oberlin. Man what a sweet gig.

Anyway, this is sounding a little too much like a cover letter. And probably most people reading this already know me, but if you don't here's the rundown:
  • Oberlin College
  • Japan
  • Zen Buddhism
  • Aikido
  • Sound Engineering
  • Music
  • Video Games
  • Friends
  • Life after College
Keep reading, cause I'll keep writing.


First post - complete.