Catching up on things

So it’s been a little quite here recently due to the sheer level of awesome things I’ve been doing. I know, you are probably thinking ‘You live in Japan, you are always doing awesome things’. Well you would be mostly correct in thinking that, however I have also finished writing my first ever choose your own adventure book! Since I have finished it, I’m now in the process of getting enough backing to actually publish it. To achieve this I’ve put together a kickstarter project page. If I’m successful then not only will I have a rather nice book to show off, but an all singing and all dancing book at that. In reality that means pictures, narration and a soundtrack. If you fancy checking it out, sharing it with friends or even backing it when it launches I’ll be appreciative for any support I can get. The internet is a big and scary place after all.

I also went back home for a couple of weeks to catch up with everyone back there, which was also great. Hopefully everyone back there also saw enough of me to get them through the long year ahead / are now sufficiently sick of me again. I’ll be adding some more pictures to this of my time back in the morning when I’m using the device with all the pictures on it, so you have that to look forwards to, unless I’ve already done it by the time you read this and then I guess they are just here.

In addition to all this excitement I also watched an opera because I’m classy like that. This time I saw Die Fledermaus, or as I like to call it ‘Batman the Opera’. It was actually really good, both genuinely funny at points and featured some lovely music. Since my father works for the company putting on the performance I might be a little biased, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it too and I didn’t have to threaten anyone this time (Sorry to anyone watching Rosencavalier while being dangled over a balcony).

Since this is a kind of travel blog I thought I’d take a few moments to run down my list of things to do while in Cardiff.

  1. Drinking. Cardiff loves a party and I fear that there are more taps than people in the city. That said there are also some great places to do it, and if you enjoy good music and a wide range of spirits then ‘The Moon‘ is the place to go. If you are more into your beers and conversation then either the ‘City Arms‘, ‘Brewdog‘ or ‘The Urban Tap House‘ will get you through most of the night.
  2. More Drinking  Enjoy a show. With the Millennium Center in the bay and The New Theatre in the town center there is a great range of performances to choose from, plus both places have bars.
  3. Visit the castle. Yeah, we have a castle. Suck it other places that don’t! It’s also quite a nice castle with rooms you can walk through that are not completely ruined because of the nice rich family that first maintained it and then gave it to the people. You can see a few stages of it’s history, from the original (I believe Norman) keep, to the Roman outer walls. If you check their website they also do events, including jousting which is pretty cool. I think the cafe also sells beer.
  4. Visit Bute park. It’s next to the castle and is really rather lovely as well as being huge. It has a river and trees and all the nice things good parks have. You will probably need to bring your own beer.
  5. Last but by no means least, check out all the random shops. It’s sometimes known as the city of arcades. This feels like a bit of an overstatement because there are maybe 7 in total and really only makes up a small amount of the city, but it sounds way better than city of drunks. That said there are some interesting independents trading out of these places. Also if you are a bit of a geek like me then you should check out Firestorm Games. Again I am a little biased since I used to work there, but they are one of the largest gaming venues in the world and also have a great bar. They also run lots of cool events, so worth seeing what is on before you head over.

That’s all from me for now, will catch up with you all again soon with more exciting updates and maybe more things to do in other places!

Advertisements

The Future is Tomorrow

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog post about the future, and how nihilism was basically for cowards. Frankly, I agree and I think it is a shame that so much of our futurism is eyes deep in the ‘optimistic’ outlook that everything will be destroyed, we will struggle to start again and then also die.

Admittedly I have the advantage of currently living in a very beautiful place while surrounded by many wonderful people. Just yesterday I could look out of my front door and see the peak of Mt Fuji covered in snow while the sunlight warmed the autumn trees just starting to change colour. On my days off I can walk to a park and bask in the visual delights that nature has to offer, while remaining only a stones throw away from ‘civilization’. With this in mind I can completely understand why it is so easy for someone like me to imagine a more positive outlook, where society doesn’t have to be brought down to its knees, decapitated and then burnt while some strange plague/ zombie horde/ alien space monster rampages around us.

When there are so many people who are being crushed by a way of life that will literally kill them if it doesn’t stop, it is easy to understand why nihilism looks appealing. But these are not the same people who are making the zombie movies, or writing the end of days books. These people struggle through and make the most of it. They tolerate a lifestyle that I think is fair to say would finish most of us in less than an hour, but if the interviews and documentaries are anything to go by, they still hope for a better future and not the end of the future.

So why are we, the reasonably well off few, so desperate for a future where there is no hope and only a fleeting struggle against the impossible before oblivion kicks in? (you know, the worst of the elder scrolls games…) ¬†At this point, I don’t have an answer, but I would suggest it is because we have no idea how hard it would be to survive in that sort of world. We have no experience that can relate to these situations so we fantasize about how much better it could be if our bosses were all zombies and could just kill with the justification that they were already dead. So this is why I think it’s more important than ever for people like me to become people who act (says the guy writing a blog post). If we are so sick of our current conditions we need to start doing something about it that doesn’t destroy what already exists. Again I appreciate this is easier said than done, but we can become other. Already people are trying with small scale communities and larger projects like Asgardia. Sure right now these may seem crazy or even just impossible, and maybe you’re right. But if we don’t try we will never know, and surely trying for a better future is a whole lot better than just sitting around and waiting for this one to end?

Personally, I believe that with enough like-minded people this better future can happen and it doesn’t need millionaires either. Just being nice to people is a great start, literally world changing. As always, easier said than done. There are customers from previous jobs who I would very much have enjoyed hitting with a large heavy object, but long term that doesn’t solve anything and just makes the world a slightly darker place. So please, if you can, let’s try and make a better place for anyone who wants it. Stop hoping for the end of all existence and instead try and build a place we would actually all enjoy living in, and then invite all the people who would enjoy such a place to live in it. Ultimately I think it is possible for us to create a ‘safe space’ where we can leave the power hungry and the warmongering behind, and maybe they will eventually kill themselves off, but we won’t be struggling to survive the collapse of society because we will already have a much better one.

The Good and the Bad

Today has proven to be something of a mixed bag in terms of productivity and reward. After my phone broke last week and my internet connection started to prove more than a little temperamental (It’s currently free so I can’t really complain about that) I decided I would finally ‘splash out’ and gt a pocket WiFi. Things were going rather well, I had bought a friend who spoke enough Japanese to get though the transaction and had enough documentation with me to start the contact. Unfortunately it turns out that the bank had decided to use a different spelling for my middle name on my bank card compared to my health insurance card. This being Japan meant that rather than looking at the more official ID, or even calling the bank to check that I am who I am, one little character difference stopped the whole process and now I have to go to the bank tomorrow to change it.

On the plus side after watching some friends fail to win an ice cream at a horrendously rigged claw machine I decided to try my luck on a different machine and won some anime statue thing on my first try. I don’t quite understand what this anime is all about. My best guess from what I have seen is that there are battleships, but these ships are also girls who fight other battleships, who are of course also girls. See why I’m confused yet?

Other than this slight name problem, everything else is still going pretty well. We are now on the third summer of the year as every time it gets a little bit colder two days later it shoots right back up. I’m starting to think that winter may actually never happen here and the land of the rising and permanent sun might be a better name for this place.

The longest wait

Despite how busy I actually am these days, between work, university, attempting to learn Japanese and painting tiny plastic toys, I still find that the bigger picture manages to really drag itself out. I believe it is mostly because I am waiting for my visa to be approved, so every time a new email notification pops up on my phone I immediately drop everything to see what it is (much to the despair of my manager and to the detriment of anything I was previously holding), only to be disappointed by spam, pictures of my very recently born nephew or university results.

So maybe the last two things on that list are not so bad, but it is a little frustrating that when you know full well there is no reason why your application would not be accepted that it can still take up to three months to be approved, and then I still need to wait for the paperwork to arrive from Japan and take it to the embassy in London to have it converted into a full visa. If only the Japanese government would just accept my cover letter stating that I’m pretty great and will be no trouble at all, I feel that their whole visa process could be sped up by maybe as much as 3000%. So if you happen to be reading this, Japanese government, it might be worth considering. That is, after all, one heck of an improvement in speed and literally nothing else.

Jumping topics almost entirely, I took the proverbial leap and bought some Malifaux crews. One for me – The Hired Swords, and one for a friend – The Guild’s Judgement. The plan is I am going to paint them both and then give one to my friend as a birthday present. This means not only will I be a great friend but they will have to play the game with me, and so I become less of a great friend and more of a cunning blackmailer through the power of gift giving. The game itself looks like a lot of fun, but I actually mostly bought it for the models as I’ve been eyeing up the Hired Swords (in a normal, art appreciation sort of way) for a couple of months now. A quick browse of the Wyrd forums also reveals that at least back in 2011 there were people in Japan playing the game too, so with a little luck it could also be a nice way to break into the gaming circles over there. Yea, that’s right! I managed to make even this a little bit about Japan. As an aside, this means you can probably look forwards to pictures of the things I am painting, as well as updates about my experiences with the game. Unless I suck at it, in which case I’ll just pretend it never happened.

Time never does seem to move in the way we want it to, either too quickly or too slowly whenever it is the most inconvenient for it to do so. It’s almost like it is a concept that can not only be used as a measurement but is also deeply rooted in the personal perception of the beholder, who incidentally are very nice people and give a great live performance. (As well as being quite difficult to find on youtube to demonstrate that they are a heavy metal band, rather than some nonsensical surrealism about time being a great live performer.)

Tune in next week for more waiting around for a visa, painted figures and a discussion / rant about people who sell bottled air. Don’t forget to listen to our podcast too, it’s pretty great and features me, your good pal Dave.

 

Title image originally found on Gaijinpot.com. This post was written by Enigmatic Dave.

 

 

 

Introductions

 

The observant among you will have noticed that this is the first post of a new blog. As such it feels appropriate to provide a little more information than you might find on the about page.

So my name is David, although I am more commonly known as Enigmatic Dave in this world of digital personalities. I’m an environmental management student working in a game store who records a weekly podcast about the hypothetical with a few friends. Together we are the 3 Parrots Podcast (links can be found throughout this site) and we aim to entertain, educate, confuse and provide at least a couple of terrible terrible puns.

This blog is a bit of a side project for the 3 parrots, as you might have guessed by the name of this site, where I will be discussing things I find interesting and inviting you to join me in my upcoming adventures in Japan! I’m also hoping to rope in the other ‘Parrots’ from time to time and have them post updates of their own, so you have press-ganged authors to look forwards to as well.

Let the adventure begin! (Also blogging, that will begin now too.)