The colorful wolf

May 6, 2008

Getting things done ™

Filed under: Daily Life,Dutch,Thoughts,Travel — randy @ 22:25

Warning: this post is going to be a huge mess of various unrelated things. I just feel I want to clear my mind a bit, so here’s what’s going on in my head right now.

Random bit: this is Nederland a decade ago. It shows the best parts of Holland. It’s how I like to remember it in my mind.

So, I am getting things done. Kind of. Fixing things. Still. Unexpected things too. After the bicycle trip I brought my bicycle to the shop for a quick check, because there was a cracking noise when pedaling hard, and I wasn’t quite happy with that. It turns out it was quite serious, and it’ll be fixed under warranty, but I won’t have my bike back until Saturday…

Next up in my todo-list was my internet. I’m currently still having 2 internet connections: my old one and the shared one everyone in the building has. In order to cancel my own one, I need to get my laptop and normal PC connected together to the same internet, so I went to Machida and bought a wireless router. Setting up was interesting, since the menu and manual were all in Japanese.. I managed to set up security though, and it’s up and running now ^_^

Back in Atsugi I remember that I wanted to get a new battery for my new mobile phone, but that also didn’t quite turn out as planned. Because my phone was quite old, they didn’t have a new battery, but I almost bought a new phone for free, since I had points on my account because of my 2 years of subscription. That failed in the end, cause the new phone couldn’t work in Europe, which they told me it would, at first. So I went to the service center in the same street where I was supposed to get a new battery. Again, no. They tested my battery, confirmed that it was crappy, and then told me to give my phone to them and wait 10 days until it’s fixed… It seems they’re sending my phone for repair since it might be the phone that’s crappy, and not the battery. So I’m stuck with a crappy phone for 2 weeks…

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Alvaro can be proud of me indeed. I made a list of tasks, divided them into concrete tasks, scheduled them, and right now I’m procrastinating and running behind on schedule already. Wonderful. Actually, things are going quite well. Even though I’m not making all my scheduled items, I’m still doing a lot more than before. Mostly, it feels good to put every part of my life away in some document so that I don’t have to think about it in my head. I can just file it away and ignore it until the time comes to check my schedule again.

Creating order form chaos. Sacrificing speed for clarity. Things get done a lot slower when you’re organized, in my opinion. Take this example: in my room I have a lot of stuff: my wallet, my keys, my phone, phone charger, iPod, watch, clothes, socks, underwear etc. Provided your room is big enough, and the amount of things is small enough, you can just scatter them in front of you and keep a good overview of it all. Then, when you get up in the morning, all you need is one look to find the things you need. The problem is that sometimes your room is not big enough, and sometimes things start to clutter up. More things and less room means you lose the overview.

I think I’ve slowly been losing my overview for the past few months, both at work and in my private life. There comes a time when you just have to pick up all the mess from the floor and put it back in boxes and closets. It might increase the access time a bit, but this method can handle a way bigger workload.

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So, I should be writing some more travel reports. I haven’t even finished the Australia report and then there’s the Shikoku trip, too. And I want to make a special post about one particular place we found in the middle of Shikoku’s mountains: the caves of heaven and hell. I can honestly say that this place was the most creepy place I have ever seen during my two and a half years in Japan. But more on that later.

Japan is too small for me! For every foreigner living in Japan there comes a time when he starts to hate certain aspects of Japanese society, and I am no different. For me, it happened gradually during the Shikoku trip. Every evening, after arriving somewhere, we had to find a place to camp. You might remember from previous posts that I tend to complain that Japan has no grass. I’d like to extend that complaint a bit further.

Japan has no ‘free’ area anywhere. Every piece of land has been indexed and taken, and every piece of that land consists of rocks. Normal dirt or sand does not exist in Japan, unless they decided to import it. Hell, they don’t even have beaches at most places. It’s all rocks. Rocks rock rocks. Yes, Japan rocks. That’s why I hate it. There’s no room to put a tent anywhere. If there’s a park, it’s made of concrete. Yes, concrete. That’s the Japanese idea of a park. Concrete. You’re lucky to find a public park with a soft ground that’s suitable for camping. Even in Shikoku, the farm land of Japan, there is no free space anywhere. Everything is indexed and used. On occasion we had to cycle for hours to find a suitable place to camp. And on other occasions we just gave up and settled for rocks.

It’s small. There’s almost nobody living in the mountains, and there’s only a very narrow section between the mountains and the sea. Realizing this made me feel claustrophobic in the wide open nature. That final feeling of freedom that I always used to feel in Japan is gone. There are public parks where it’s possible to camp for a night, and there’s beaches or, if you’re lucky, a riverbed nearby. I don’t have much basis for comparison, but things that are natural in Holland and in Australia, simple things like grass or sand, they are hard to find in Japan. I find that quite unnatural.

Minor complaint: Japanese people are fucked up! They swarm to tourist attractions like bees, no matter how crappy the attraction is. For days we almost didn’t meet anyone in Shikoku. We cycled the most beautiful seaside roads right through forests and jungle, without meeting anyone. After that we visited a stupid rope bridge (which was supposedly made of vines, but artificially reinforced by steel cables) in the middle of nowhere, and there we found our missing Japanese people. By the thousands. All swarming to make it across the stupid fake bridge. In a land where there are so many beautiful things to see, all the Japanese people can do is find a tourist attraction in a folder and mass gather there as if it were interesting. If there were less people there it was mediocre at best, but all the Japanese people there completely spoiled it for me. A tourist sight can simply not be beautiful for me if it is surrounded by a thousand Japanese people. Why bother, really?

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Well, that was a nice rant. I’m fine. My life is great. I am enjoying it a lot. I am looking for something new.

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