Phase 3 of Summer, Off to Japan

I didn’t document my London experience well at all! I have a lot of reasons, which, surprisingly, I do feel are valid, so I’m not beating myself up for this: first, our days were full off workshops and shows. Second, I had my Chicago paper as well as the UK course’s actual assignments to complete. Third, writing in my notebook and transferring my notes here felt redundant. Fourth, whenever I did try to write, I wanted to write so much that the effort became exhausting.1

What I’m trying to say is, I need to find a more effective way of documenting and reflecting on what I’m doing.

For this final chapter of “Maybe a Little Too Much Adventuring Over the Summer,” I’ll be using Twitter (look right or click here) to record my thoughts throughout the day and aggregate them into a more reflective blog post maybe once or twice a week. Let’s see how this goes.

I’m flying to Japan this evening. I’ll be spending the rest of July in Tokyo and a huge chunk of August in Onomichi, Hiroshima, working in a guesthouse run by the Onomichi Akiya Saisei Project. They’re a non-profit organization (NPO) focused on renovating akiya (empty houses) in Onomichi.

I visited Onomichi last year and felt mysteriously tied to it. I feel a bit embarrassed about using such…fuzzy language, but there’s no other way I could explain what I feel about the place. It’s definitely not just academic curiosity, although school did turn into a space to learn more about it. I used it as a topic in my qualitative research class, which led me to creative placemaking, which led me to civic practice, which led me to where I currently am–which I’ll write about on a different day. (I’m tired and I’m not making a lot of sense at the moment because I’m jet-lagged and will be more so the next couple of days. I apologize.)

This trip is fueled by a mix of curiosity and the sheer desire to have some kind of rest somewhere quiet and far, far away from academia (though I think I carry the stink of it on me wherever I go now). Will this trip bear anything professionally (or even personally)? I don’t know. I don’t care, I think. I have no idea what to expect, really, and I sort of like that.

All I know is I’m looking forward to finally being somewhere I can see the stars.

  1. I encountered similar problems when I was in Chicago, i.e., there’s so much I wanted to write about I got tired in the middle of typing the entry, but the Chicago leg was a bit more manageable because I wasn’t doing anything else.