Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Legacy of Japan: Photographs and Bizarre Dreams

Phew! It's been a marathon task, but I have finished sorting, trimming, and labeling all of the pictures I took during my trip to Japan. The master collection is up on my main Picasa site. Fortunately for me, Google upped the maximum space for free accounts to 1GB, so I was able to upload everything. These are sorted by album, with each album covering a major sight or section in my trip. They are sorted in chronological order, with the newest on top; if you want to see them in order, scroll down to "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and work your way up.

For those of you who don't have time to scan through 1400 photos, I have made available a sort of highlights reel on another Picasa album. I've tried to include the best one or two photos from each album in the full set, so viewing this will give you an overview of what the trip was like. Each photo has the original caption, though in some cases the missing context means the caption doesn't make sense.

In both sets of photos, there are some minor chronological hiccups resulting from the different timestamps - some pictures came from my camera, some from Justin's cell phone - but while these bother me they shouldn't affect you.

In short, enjoy! The trip was amazing, and I'm pleased to share a portion of it with you. Feel free to share the pictures with anyone or use them yourself.

After the first day back I was mostly recovered from the jet lag, but it is still making itself felt in small ways. First of all is that I will generally spontaneously wake up once or twice during the night. It's not a big deal, since I'll see that it's still dark outside and immediately fall back asleep. Related to this, though, I seem to be dreaming a lot more than usual, or at least remembering my dreams more often.

I had a really vivid one last night. I dreamt that I had woken up in bed, and felt something strange on my arm. I turned on the light and saw that the arm had almost entirely been covered with green, bulbous sores. I didn't freak out, but I was a little concerned, pressing in on them gently and wondering how I was going to get a shirt on without ripping them open. When I woke up for real, I had that brief moment of confusion as I tried to remember whether I really did have the sores or not.

What a pleasant note to end this blog post on! I've had more, but that one has a way of sticking in your mind.

Speaking of "sticking", looks like I'll be finishing Made to Stick in just enough time to return it before it becomes overdue. I doubt I'll have time to do a full review, but I've really enjoyed reading this book. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point or anyone who (like me) is concerned about their ability to communicate effectively.

UPDATE 4/12/07: Just had another one last night. I've been thinking about getting rid of some of the books and stuff I've been accumulating, and in my dream, I had gone to a department store to see if I could sell them there. It was a mid-scale place, sort of like JC Penney, and since I had gone in the middle of the day, I was the only customer there. As you probably know, I tend to dislike dealing with salespeople, so I was sort of avoiding them while I looked through the departments. As I was walking out of the store, I went through the lobby, where there were a bunch of comfortable chairs and nice tables laid out, each with an SAT-style exam. I noticed that people from the store were sitting down to take the test, and I thought it would be fun to try, so I did the same, trying to fit in. I had initially thought, "This will be fun! I'll get a perfect score, and nobody will know who did so well." But once I started taking it, I realized it wasn't a general-purpose test, it had a lot of department-store-specific terminology and situations in it. I kept on going, though, figuring that in the worst case, I would get a zero, which would help everyone else with the curve. While I was taking it, the CEO of the chain and a bunch of managers came through, and stopped to talk and look at everyone taking the test. I got nervous, since I wasn't supposed to be there. Later parts of the test required a mobile phone, so I opened up a briefcase by my chair and started using one. I switched between different phones for different questions, and at one point I reached in and pulled out a really old, early-90s model. I was powering it up when a young engineer-type person came up and said, "Hey, is that mine?" I realized that the CEO was looking at me and got even more nervous, at which point I woke up.

There's all sorts of stuff I could extract from that - general anxiety, pride in achievement, perhaps even some nostalgia for school. The bit with mobile phones is just funny, though.

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