23,803 Miles, Sarawak, and Home Again

It’s exactly 6 AM and I’ve been wide awake for almost two hours. The sun isn’t up and I’m already on my second cup of coffee. Since I’ve returned I’ve been waking up earlier than usual so I might as well be productive. I’m starting to like the morning.

View from my hotel room. Kuching, Malaysia.

My last transmission was on the 4th of March. I was across the Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. I was living in a bare barracks room with horrible internet and hideous decor. I spent most of my free time smoking cigars, drinking beer, and getting reacquainted with Dostoevsky. It rained a lot. That warm, humid, Japanese rain. Miserable.

In the past three months I’ve flown 23,303 miles. First moving from Japan to California. Then being sent back to Japan for work for a few weeks. After that I spent a bit over one month in Kuching, State of Sarawak, Malaysia. Now I’m finally home.

Moving my entire life across the Pacific is a surreal experience. Leaving a place, an entire country, an entire culture, and way of life is jarring and hard to describe.

In February I flew my family to our new home in California. I only stayed with them for two weeks then back to Okinawa to catch up with my coworkers so I could go on a project in Malaysia. It’s been weird coming home because when I arrived back in California what I’m calling home is more foreign to me than Sarawak. After all I only lived in my current house for a few days but spent the better part of two months living in a hotel room in Kuching.

Land of the White Rajahs

When I was out in the jungle my coworkers would talk about back home. It was strange because I didn’t really know anything about back home except what my wife described to me.

I got back on the 14th of April. Catching up, carving out my place, getting acquainted with the furniture. I have a new desk. New couches, new bed. Bought a grill, some patio furniture, domestic stuff so we can enjoy the California summer.

The weather in California is nice. Growing up here I took it for granted until we lived in Japan. California weather is just right, a bland nice. After the 95 degree 90% humidity of Sarawak I like the niceness. But I do miss the jungle.

This past Thursday was my 36th birthday. I was born in 1983. Off the top of my head Ronald Reagan was president, David Bowie and Phil Collins ruled the radio and everyone wore hideous clothes. Of course I had no idea because I was just born and living behind the Iron Curtain. It was a good birthday.

I’m reading Barry Hanna, my coffee is cold, and my battery is low.

California

It’s been seventeen days, five thousand or so miles, three airports, three hotels, two planes, one car rental, and we are finally with family in California.

Flying across the Pacific Ocean with my wife, a seven-month-old baby, and our dog has been a challenge. Living out of suitcases and sleeping in airport lounges has been an experience and even after seventeen days, our journey is far from over.

Everything we own that we didn’t carry with us is making the slow trip across the Pacific by container ship and will not arrive until the end of next month. That means we are living in a new place with minimal furnishing.

It’s enlightening how one can accomplish day to day tasks with limited supplies and how much we take the simple things for granted.


Expect intermittent sporadic transmissions in the coming months.

Day trip to Hakone

HakoneShrine.jpgYesterday the wife and I took a day trip to Hakone, a small town on the shore of Lake Ashi. Our schedule is completely packed for the foreseeable future, filled with baby events, work obligations, celebrations, and of course culminating with the arrival of the baby. So, it was nice to get to go on a little trip on our own.

The day started off with heavy rain and exploring the famous Hakone Shrine was a wet yet interesting experience. Initially, we were bummed that the rain obscured the majestic view of Mt. Fuji, but the gloom and mist had a surreal magical quality that I really enjoyed.

Eventually, the sun came out and we spent a few hours exploring the Hakone Open Air Museum which occupies acres of beautiful landscape, sadly littered with modern art. The museum’s centerpiece is a decent sized Picasso collection whos infantile scribbles left me underwhelmed. I yearn for the day that adult men and women stop pretending that mentally deranged garbage created by alcoholic sexual deviants gets relegated to the trash pile of history where it belongs. I do not believe that any man can gaze upon the garbage output of Picasso and feel any tingling of inspiration, wonder, or anything other than bewilderment at the joke that is so-called 20th-century art.

It was nice spending all day exploring new places, trying out food, and just hanging out. Not to mention that we ended our adventure with a stop at the specialty liquor store where I bought myself some Stouts.

stoutbeer

Back from Hong Kong

Junk

Just got home after a post-arrival Denny’s dinner, I love Japanese Denny’s, unpacked, and now I’m getting ready to do a bit of relaxing. Hong Kong was amazing, and our too short vacation was a blast.

Hong Kong is such an interesting place unlike anywhere else, a unique blend of Western European blended with Chinese culture that makes it a great and accessible place to visit. Not to mention, for a history buff like me, the city is fantastically unique as a Crown Colony birthed during the Opium Wars and governed by something of a unique hands-off minimalist government going on to become one of the richest cities in the world, and avoiding the civil wars and disastrous Communist purges happening next door in China. 20171214_125603380646878.jpg

I explored a good chunk of the city, ate at some fantastic restaurants, drank some great beer, and had a great time. Now I have a few days of vacation that I’m going to dedicate to working on writing and the gym to make up for all the feasting.

Heading to Hong Kong

hong kong

Hong Kong has always been at the top of my list of places I want to visit in Asia. It’s a city that was founded on capitalism and free trade, a city that mixes the best and worst of both the East and the West. On top of that Hong Kong is the setting of my favorite novels, James Clavell’s Tai-Pan and Noble House. If you haven’t read those books stop whatever you are doing and start right now.

tai-pan

Anyways, next week the wife and I are going to temporarily suspend our Gaijin card so we can become Gweilo tourists and visit Hong Kong. That means I will be hard to get a hold of on here and across social media. I plan on taking pictures and sharing, but enjoying my vacation will take precedence. I have much to see.

Hong Kong is the second time this year we are visiting one of the Asian Tigers, Taipei was the first, and we will have to complete the set with Singapore and South Korea after the baby is born.

In other news, the outline for my novella is almost complete, just ironing out some plot points and filling in the blanks. I’m planning to begin actual writing once I get back. The vacation should refresh me and give me some good ideas.