Whoa, I just almost let myself post about how sad I am right now. This is not that kind of blog. I’m here for your entertainment, not for my own whining-purposes.
Archive for April, 2004
If you look closely at the receipts in this picture, you’ll notice that none of the things I brought back from Oregon had any sales tax! Amazing. Hachi and I spent a while trying to figure out what happens to pennies in Oregon. You probably accumulate a bunch of them, because of things that cost $X.99, but you can’t use them very often, because most of the time things require either no pennies, or the maximum amount of pennies before you graduate to nickels, 4 cents.
This is Powell’s, the world’s largest new-and-used bookstore (or something). Imagine hundreds and hundreds of shelves like these, containing many many books on any subject you could want to think of. It’s a place I think I’ll be spending a silly amount of time, once we’re living in Portland. Oh, by the way, we’re moving to Portland.
Yes, I’m still posting photos from our nearly-one-month ago trip to Portland. Check this out: apparently some joint called Carl’s Jr. saved Hardees from extinction and as a result Hardees now brands itself under Carl’s Jr.’s identity. Or something. Anyway it’s weird to see a familiar branding with an unfamiliar name on it.
I really wish I’d had my camera while at Fox River Mall today. Not only because someone’s compact-car was on fire in the parking lot, but also because the local Waldenbooks had [Hitsuji no Uta] in _English_! That’s by my favorite comic-artist, and was a comic I never, ever thought would be published in English. But there it is. If you’re determined to not ever learn Japanese, I guess this adaptation is as close as you’ll get to my dearest books. : http://tokyopop.com/dbpage.php?page=product&productid=2169
Here’s my first non-photo-accompanied entry. I hope it works out. So I’ve been looking around for jorbs in pr0tland. So far about two have looked really interesting: one being the IT Administrative Assistant at an all-Mac law firm, and the other being a web developer for TechTracker, best known for [VersionTracker], which is a site I actually use. Now, the TechTracker job is particularly interesting because this morning I went to their site to see what the company has been up to, and what should I find but a headline announcing that Guy Kawasaki, famous Mac evangelist, has come aboard as a Strategic Advisor? This is cool not only in that were I to get the job, I’d be working for the same company as Guy Kawasaki, but _also_ in that my good friend Tony from grade school _knows_ Mr. Kawasaki through his job at CDW. I’m now trying to pull some very long and tenuous strings to improve my position in the TechTracker resume pile. If [Tom] can get a job helping _electronic Japanese people_ out of _trees_, I should be able to get a web developer position at TechTracker. : versiontracker.com : http://www.livejournal.com/users/wyrdwad/
This is a view from the walkway that connects two parts of a three-building mall downtown. These streets reminded me much of [Sapporo], which is appropriate, I suppose, since Sapporo is Portland’s sister city. I’d love to provide tons more lusciously detailed musings but I just stayed up 5 hours later than I should have in order to add RSS support and photoless entry support to this site. Woo. : http://context.metalbat.com/index.pl?706
To get to the Garden, we had to take a train to what’s supposedly the deepest tunnel in the country. We got out in the center of this big hill, and took an elevator up from “16 million years ago” to the present. This picture doesn’t really convey the depth involved, but you can see over the city to Mt. Hood, which is a really spectacular sight. I’m always awestruck by mountains, but Ann had never even seen one before. The way this site works is kind of odd. I take pictures, and every now and then I’ll post one online. It’s kind of like a blog in that I’m recording things that go on in my life, but most of the time I’m not mentioning things like “I’ve been reading Akagawa Jirou’s _Futari_” or “Had two hot dogs with mustard”. Also, there’s often a pretty wide delay between when I take the photo and when it gets posted. This photo was taken 12 days ago already. I’m not sure if I like it better this way or whether I’d rather have a more spontaneous and indulgent blog like, say, Tom’s.
Dang, this scene could be right out of our trip to Nikkou or Okutama. We visited the Portland Japanese Garden, which claims to be the truest Japanese garden outside of Japan itself. Apparently the area has a pretty significant Japanese population, so there’s a lot of stuff like this garden, the Kinokuniya bookstore, and lots of sushi joints. It’s the kind of place where we could get a taste of Japan whenever we want it. That’s pretty huge, considering I’ve longed to return to Tokyo every single day since I left it. Hiroko, wanting to stay in the USA for its livability, suggested visiting Japan every year or so, but never moving back there. That way we could stay connected to it while avoiding the difficulty (expense) of living there, and it would stay magical for us. Portland seems like a place that could keep us content while we can’t be in Tokyo.
The first amazing thing about Portland is how nice it looks. It seems too clean and attractive to be a real city. Bus-stop shelters have pretty patterns in the glass, crosswalks are red brick, and sidewalks are lined with flowerpots. The trains and buses are clean, and have very friendly signs that say things like “Hang bike here. Thanks for riding.” While I was there, I kept thinking “This would never last in Chicago. This would get vandalized within three days. No one in Green Bay would ever do it that way.” I don’t mean to disparage my origins but blast if it isn’t more appealing to me than anywhere in the Midwest. This is what a typical downtown Portland street looks like: cool little shops, the train tracks right on the street, lots of trees, and lots of little free publications on the corner. We picked up a ton of apartment-finder and job-finder books and newspapers.
One night a few months back, I was at Hiroko’s and couldn’t sleep. For some reason I kept thinking about how I’d gone to Japan for an adventure and had the greatest year of my life, but then I’d come back and just sat around Green Bay doing not much of anything. As I’ve said many times before, going from Tokyo to Wisconsin is pretty non-thrilling. I got up out of bed, opened my PowerBook, and came on IRC. Ann was there, and she admitted that she too worried about her life never going anywhere interesting. Then, on a whim, she suggested that we, with Brian and hachi, could start our own company and/or move somewhere interesting. Like, say, the Pacific Northwest. Say, Portland. A few months pass and I’m sitting on a gloriously Tokyo-like train into downtown Portland, Oregon. Hiroko, Ann, hachi and I had done the research and made the plans to go there and check out the area for two nights and two days; the next few entries will be my photos and impressions of that crazy towne.