It's been nearly a year since I wrote last--I feel like I need to confess it just to clear the air a little bit. I hope I can post more regularly, even if it's not super frequent. One of the podcasts I turn to for wisdom recently had a discussion about what we're each contributing to the internet, and it kind of resonated and stuck with me. It's easy to post small things on Twitter and Instagram, but it's nice to spend some time to actually unload some thoughts longer form.
I'm on my last day in Asia for what has been a total of 26 days, divided between Japan (for a Light Grey Art Lab Culture Tour) and China (for a work development trip). Travel always always makes me think a little differently, and I appreciate it. I have been enjoying seeing other attendants of the Light Grey Culture Tour post their retrospective thoughts, and now, at the end of my trip, I've got a whole bunch of retrospective thoughts too. It seems like it doesn't matter how many times or how frequently I travel, it's going to make me really think about my place in the world. I like it. But it's uncomfortable, too.
Japan is full of things I love--the food, the transportation, beautiful urban settings and beautiful rural places--like a lot of people on the trip, I had been introduced to these through anime and manga, so it did feel a little like a fantasy come to life. It's not a fantasy though, and I think that was the thing I kept going over. I can get so isolated in my way of life and my own head that the rest of the world only exists as a fantasy. This is real, and every individual has their own way of life and headspace.
China I have now visited 7 times, and I am (slowly) learning Mandarin (it gets better with each trip, despite how lazy I've been at studying). I get wrapped up in my own head a lot here too, because few people speak English, and the time difference and poor internet connection makes it difficult to communicate with people back home. It is compelling to learn Mandarin--it's the only way to be involved in conversation. I love the scenes in Lost that dealt with Jin having to communicate and live with a group of people who spoke a language he didn't know. Communication is possible, but after a period of time, it is isolating.
I drew a lot in Japan--that was just one of many great things about that trip. Even though I have been always keeping a sketchbook, I think I've spent less time drawing "the way I used to" in the past year, and I kinda would like to take some of that back. This trip has definitely reinvigorated that cell. I continued to draw in the evenings and weekends in China. I will keep drawing when I get back to Seattle.