Travel Soundtracks: Self-Reflection in Perpetual Motion

 

Last year I found myself on, I believe, 12 long-haul flights and 16 shorter flights. That’s pretty standard for me. There are those who do more and plenty who do less. One of the things I hear from the latter is “damn, that’s a lot.” I guess, but when you get used to it it’s not quite as daunting as it sounds.

There is a flow to it. A rhythm. Dealing with airports, planes, trains, hotels, even packing, there is a method to go about experiencing the journey or preparing for the journey which, when finally discovered, makes travel much easier. Routines, pastimes, and activities, are woven into a coping strategy. Listening to music, as for many others, is part of my strategy but it’s not just any music that will do. As I have discovered in conversation with other frequent travelers, there is a soundtrack that is better suited to given travel circumstances matching the personality listening to it. Playlists are carefully curated and artists sometimes agonizingly debated regarding appropriateness for situational harmony. I am one of the many frequent travelers who have learned that just hitting play on anything I may like is not conducive to improving the conditions. It’s not about distraction. It’s not about blunt entertainment. It’s about fitting the scenario. It’s about being useful. What keeps my pace? What calms my nerves?  What sharpens focus? What allows for patience? Continue reading

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Home Sweet Home

I had never been concerned with “home.” Not beyond superficiality anyway. But lately I have been forced into thinking about the concept by a bombardment of holiday, travel, and domicile inspired references. “Did you go home to the States for the holidays?” “When are you coming home to London?” among other such statements. I had wanted to spend the holidays in Japan again as 2017 ended and 2018 began, but with recent events in my personal life turning things upside down, and American family and friends asking when I was going to visit “home,” a longing for the US increased while Japan took on a new emotional weight I didn’t feel I could yet carry, and didn’t yet dare try. So I decided to book a trip “home” to the US. But to someone like me, is that really home? A vagabond’s dilemma. What is “home” anyway?

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Let’s Try this Again

I know.

It’s been…forever. Actually, in 9 days it will have been one year since my last post. One year since Babymetal at the Tokyo Dome! Damn! It’s ok, I saw them in London twice at the O2 with RHCP and at Asakasa Blitz in Tokyo in a tropical downpour just this summer, so life has maintained it’s most important regulatory principles. But I have missed writing these entries as both personal and academic exercises allowing me a chance to spill part of what’s tumbling around this brain of mine thus clearing room and clarifying thought. I am disappointed in myself for not following through on my promise to keep this somewhat consistent, but I have a good excuse, I swear. Continue reading

“We’re part of it now!”: Visual Kei and a Girl on my Right

My friend and I landed in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido—Japan’s northern most prefecture—feeling rather confident we could score a ticket or two to the sold-out Babymetal show in a few days time. A flurry of assistance spurred on by our pathetic and desperate Big Western Eyes of Sadness® had brought ticket success in Osaka a few days prior and along with the excitement of seeing a new city in a new region, this second-guessed and rather expensive excursion to Japan’s gorgeously mountainous north had become more than a worthwhile adventure. Continue reading

Japan: Day One – Patience of the Fox God

My first fu807ce-saitamall day in Japan was going to be a good day. Workout, breakfast, a long walk, a museum, lunch, and then train to Saitama where I would experience Babymetal in all of their sold out home-country glory. It was going to be my day when, as Neil Peart once wrote, “my feet catch the pulse and the purposeful stride.” But as they say, the best laid plans of Babymetal fans… Continue reading

Put Your Kitsune Up!

It’s approximately 1:07am as I start writing and tickets for a set of concerts just went on sale. One in Strasbourg, France. The other in Zürich, Switzerland. I had to get them right away. With this act, you never know if you’ll be shut out if you don’t pounce on an opportunity. Now if only Chicago didn’t sell out so quickly and Mexico City wasn’t being such a damn nuisance. How dare it be on the same day I head to Seattle for a Finnish Viking Metal gig! Continue reading