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Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Happened To That Guy?

Well, as the title suggests, I have a bit of explaining to do.

There has been a severe lack of updating in recent weeks (months?) and that has been due to an personal effort that I made. I suppose when a person is in a position such as my current one, that position being living abroad and receiving unprecedented amounts of new experiences, there are a few ways to handle reflecting upon such exploits, if that is even something one is inclined to do. One way is to simply let everything come at you, full speed ahead, and simply savor this exposure to the world in the confines of your own mind. Contrary to this is the more journalistic approach, carefully documenting each new event. The former makes for an easier time no doubt, as little is actually required of you beyond remembering what happened, though that becomes considerably harder as time presses on I imagine. This is the route I chose for the first time I came to Japan, and though I definitely feel that I got quite a bit out of that trip, I always wish that I had made notations about places I went, jotted something down about what exactly I did at what place, and when. Even the smallest of notes would add a huge amount of depth to the experience. If I'm allowed to go on a tangent, this circles back to one of the earliest posts that I made on this blog about discovering two hand written pages in a spiral notebook with little other than a simple date, and my own words regarding two distinct moments on that trip. Something compelled me to write on those days and had someone asked me about them the day before I rediscovered it in that notebook, I do not believe I would have been able to recall them. After reading it though, a surge of memory came rushing back to me, and suddenly I remembered the feeling of writing that. Although a lack of entries compounded that one, which would have provided it with a bit more context, I still had something not only intensely memorable, but personal as well. Nearly all the memories of that first trip remain perfectly in tact still, or so I thought. Having discovered those two entries while searching for something else points out a glaring fault in my own memory. I did not remember writing that. All of this rambling begs the question, what else could I have forgotten?

I remember after returning from Japan, I had a fear. I was terrified that all of the trip would become little but a memory and as memories do, it would fade like high noon into dusk, slowly but surely. This is something that was only partially stemmed by the over four thousand pictures I took, spanning across four SD memory cards. Naturally there were things I did not take pictures of, and certainly most things I did not later write about. If traveling is all about the experience, and if experience is just a manner of quantified/qualified knowledge, then it would appear that by forgetting even those two small entries on paper that I had somehow or in some way lost a bit of that trip as well. This is, of course, a dreadful thought.

As I mentioned before, this was just one way to recount an experience. Quite opposite of that is to write everything down, posting thoughts, pictures and videos on places like this blog. To the few people that have an interest in my affairs I'm sure this is great fun. It provides a way of maintaining a connection from person to person, while also allowing others to experience (if only marginally) that which you as the traveler has done. The downside though is that you have to spend time that you would have used doing things to instead write about what things you did manage to get done. This is time consuming and if one is as neurotic about their writing as I am, it takes a while of figuring out exactly what I'm trying to say before I say it, correct it, edit it, and put it out for others to read.

Then as with most things, there is a middle of the road option. This is where I find myself now. I swore to keep a travel journal this time around, and so far I have successfully maintained it quite well. The idea is not to write about every detail that happens, but to recap on things that I feel deserve writing about. Unfortunately, this is where the explanation for the lack of posting on this blog comes from. For a period I was both writing in my journal and posting the same exact information here. Before I knew it, this became an increasingly painful chore, which took up even more time that I wanted to use for conversing with people, studying Japanese, just experiencing things, really. Because it came down to one or the other, I chose to write in the journal, since that one required no outlets, cables or internet.

In short, I'm still taking pictures and I'm still maintaining a level of agency on this trip, while taking a few moments now and again to write a few messy thoughts, opinions, or just statements about what goes on here. The hope is that in years to come I will not stumble upon this part of my life and wonder what happened to that guy on the page.