The Pretenders

June 2020

Is life returning to normal? I really hope not, despite the truth of this headline from The Onion:

City Enters Phase 4 Of Pretending Coronavirus Over

We’ve all gotten bored with the pandemic, so many of us have moved onto other interests in an attempt to ignore the fact that there’s still thousands of people dying, and that very few people, businesses, or governments were prepared to manage this. It’s very sad to know that the US specifically could have prevented many deaths were it not for incompetence, ignorance, and bureaucracy.

Add to that the complete fuckery of police violence and voter suppression, and it’s easy to feel a sense of powerlessness. I mean, shit in the US is starting to make 1984 look like the optimistic version, and the only “solutions” seem to be laughably naive or absurdly disingenuous.

Does it even matter who you vote for anymore (if you’re even allowed to)?

I truly hope we take this year an an opportunity to find out.

That said, life does go on, and we still have to pay bills, buy food, clean up after ourselves, and pretend that society isn’t completely off the rails. It’s in that spirit of pretending it’s all gonna be all right that I offer this update.

🗓️ Here’s what’s up right now:

  • 🎧 Listening to: The new(ish) album by ゲスの極み乙女 has been in heavy rotation for a few weeks now.

  • 📖 Reading: Forever by Peter Hamill is one I bought just on the premise, and now after a few hundred pages realize is just not my kind of book. I’m a fan of magical realism, but this tries too hard to be at least three different books. I’m gonna finish it, but I’m looking forward to starting Shadow and Bone, as recommended by my friend Anny.

  • 🥋 Taido: Now that Tokyo is gradually reopening municipal facilities, and the contagion appears to be largely under control, I’ve been meeting a small group to practice with each week. We’re still not fully reopening the dojo, sticking with our regular online practice schedule for now, but it feels good to get on the tatami and move around some.

  • 💭 Thinking about: I’ve been having a lot of good conversations about race and inclusivity and ways to counter the systemic biases in society. I don’t have answers, but I can say I’m further resolved against an authoritarian police state and that I’m very proud to have some very thoughtful and compassionate friends doing good work in the world.

bike tour in japan

Cycling near Kiryu. Definitely not a thing I’ll make a habit of… explanation below.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 People & Family:

  • 🐘 A family of six (four small kids) moved in upstairs. Pray for me.

  • 🎒 School is back to a regular, daily schedule in our town, which makes life easier and happier for the whole family.

  • 🚴‍♂️ My friend Robert owns a cycling tour company and took a few of us riding around the countryside. I really don’t enjoy biking, but I still had a good time and recommend it to anyone who wants to have a unique experience in Japan.

🧰 Things I’m finding useful:

  • 📗 Still enjoying manual life. I’ve been doing far less digital note taking lately, and when I need to share something I’ve written, I just snap a pic with my phone and send it.

✈️ Travel hahahaha, right…

  • 🤷‍♂️ At this rate, my main concern is not being able to return to Japan if I leave. I’m confident that I can navigate my personal safety while traveling without exposing others to risk, and I hope to make a visit to the US in the next handful of months.