Its the front loading washers.
Its the front loading washers. avatar

Photo Oct 28, 8 38 14 AM.jpg (1 MB)

“This is where my friend helped me overcome one of my anxieties.”

Outside the laundromat by my apartment in San Diego California

A few months ago, my lease was up on my apartment. I decided to move to a new area of town. I fell in love with a particular neighborhood and ended up finding a great little apartment. It was everything I wanted.

Except for one thing.

I know this may be super silly, but my apartment was without laundry facilities. This was a big cut back in the convenience for me. All my previous places, I was fortunate enough to have my own laundry facilities. Luckily the Laundromat was a block away. But it was still difficult.

I have anxiety issues. usually I can keep them in check, and many times I just avoid the things that cause said anxiety. Going to a laundromat was one of those things. And this was one of those anxieties that could no longer be avoided.

My friend was over one evening, and I was sort of complaining about how I really needed to do laundry. She could see that I was avoiding it. At first, she probably thought it was just lazy or complaining about having to do chores, but as the evening went on, she picked up on the fact that this was pretty anxiety inducing for me.

Then she did one of the most amazing things. She offered to accompany me as I did my laundry. This simple act made it possible for me to make that first step. It was a new place. I didn’t know how it all ‘worked’ or what the social rules and such were. I would have been a wreck if I had to face it alone, but with her there, it wasn’t so bad.

It wasn’t long before I was able to go on my own and I’m happy to report that I just did my laundry last night and realized that this is a place which no longer causes me any anxiety, thus prompting this sticker.

I realize it must sound ridiculous to anyone who doesn’t deal with anxiety issues, but its random situations like this which can feel insurmountable… unless you have someone who understands you and offers a helping hand.

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R.I.P. Raphael
R.I.P. Raphael avatar

I’m not sure how he passed, but apparently it was somewhere in Russia.

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Ouch
Ouch avatar

i got a sex change.jpg (1 MB)

“This is where I got a sex change.”

Outside a hospital in Scottsdale, AZ

Surgery was ~2 years ago.
Yes it hurt.
Yes it was worth it.
No you can’t see it.

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Delicious
Delicious avatar

No new sticker post for the day, but instead I’ll leave you with this tastey bit of street art:

Have a delightful weekend everyone!

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It IS meta.
It IS meta. avatar


close up sticker pic.jpg (60 KB)

“This is where I put this sticker! :)

large sticker pic.jpg (73 KB)

The back of my 5th wheel toy hauler, the “Taj M’ Heavy”. This vehicle usually sits/is stored just on the American side of the US Mexican Border. It has traveled as far north as Gerlach, NV. I’ve been quickly (slowly) been accumulating stickers to cover the entire back door of my toy hauler, this sticker made a wonderful addition.

This sticker was used to make a meta sticker statement.

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An Occupation
An Occupation avatar

Photo Oct 07, 8 55 34 PM.jpg (1 MB)

 “This is where we occupy”

Photo Oct 08, 11 23 37 PM.jpg (1 MB)

Tent city at the San Diego Civic Center.

Stuck to a cement block at Children’s Park in San Diego, the birthplace of Occupy San Diego

I went down to the Occupy San Diego event mostly to check out the scene. I have only loosely been following what has been going on with Occupy Wall Street. From my point of view, the movement seemed pretty mixed. No one coherent message etc. What was inspiring was the rejection of complacency.

For the last 10 years especially, I feel the american public has become complacent. The aftermath of 9/11 saw many freedoms taken away in the name of safety. We were complacent. We went to war, and we were complacent. People started losing their houses and we turned our backs and said “if people were too stupid to take those loans, they deserve it.” We looked at people who were dying because they didn’t have health insurance and said “well, if they were too stupid to get health insurance, that’s their problem. And if they couldn’t afford it, maybe they should work harder.” We watched the banks destroy the economy and watched as thousands lost their jobs, and we sat complacent.

FINALLY, we are standing up. We are recognizing there is a problem. We are recognizing that WE have power.

I checked out the scene Friday night and was impressed. People being nice to each other. Helping each other. Feeding each other. People engaged in political discourse. People sharing their stories. It was inspiring.

Saturday, I grabbed my backpack, a tent and sleeping bag, and some food and water and headed down. I stayed the night and most of the next day. I left my tent down there for a fellow occupant to use on the days I cannot be there. I plan on occupying as much as my schedule allows and helping out in other ways when I cannot.

My time at occupy so far has given me a lot to think about. How do I fit in? What is my story?

I did everything ‘right’ so to speak. I went to college, got a good job with great health insurance. I realize that I have been very fortunate and privileged. A year and a half ago I lost my job. I had $60,000+ of medical expenses that were not covered by insurance. My lease was coming up and I had to move. I was scared. Luckily I was able to find a great job and got back on my feet but this experience stuck with me. It was hard to believe how quickly my situation could change. One moment I was on top of the world and the next I was worrying about being homeless. It made me think about those less fortunate than I. If I was struggling, in all my privilege, how must other people be struggling? How have we gotten to this place where all it takes is one medical issue, or accident or death of a family member to send you spiraling downward? How have we managed, as a country, to sit by and watch this happen time and again and turn away and still blame the victim as if they are not working hard enough, or are stupid, or are inferior. This can happen to all of us.

This movement is making it clear that we have the power to change things and make this country better. And I will be part of it.

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Full Time Dreamer
Full Time Dreamer avatar

this is where-writing.jpg (1 MB)

 

“This is where… I decided to live from my heart + follow desire + let go of fear!  ejzg12″

My friend’s office/my bedroom.

On my computer or my desk or my friend’s desk. It’s a traveling sticker :p

North Park, San Diego, CA

I was homeless this summer. Sort of. I didn’t have money and I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent. I am a full time, A student. I had the opportunity to take AMSL IV (American Sign Language 4) this summer but there was no financial aid available. This class is usually only offered in the spring, so I would have had to wait 8 months to be in class again and I thought that would be just the right amount of time to forget everything from AMSL III. I was talking with my awesome friend and they said I should just move in for the summer. If it worked out we could talk about me staying longer. I started paying rent at the end of August, as soon as my financial aid for Fall Semester was deposited in my account.

Besides being a full time student, I am a full time poet! and a full time dreamer! I have a blog (ejzg.wordpress.com) where I’ve narrowed it down to this simple (but not easy) rule: Anything that comes into my pretty little head that I want to share can go there. It’s my safe place. It’s my way of adding my energy to the world. And I could only create that safe place by being in the safe, supportive, environment that my friend has graciously allowed me to live and grow in. I changed my blog and attitude about writing and life on Sept. 4th, 2011 and that’s about when I wrote the sticker.

Yesterday, a friend was over to use the bathroom and saw it and said I should post it here so…here I is ;p

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Lessons from abroad
Lessons from abroad avatar

I learned I could travel internationally.jpg (2 MB)

 “This is where I learned I could travel internationally.”

A Harajuku sidewalk, Tokyo, Japan

I don’t mean to claim I’ve never traveled abroad. I’ve been to Canada and Mexico, but also to more exotic locales like Taiwan and Costa Rica. But it’s been years since the further reaching trips, and I’ve developed a certain anxiety about being in a foreign land. Hell, when I went to Vancouver (perhaps one of the least culturally shocking foreign cities for an American to be in) for the 2010 Olympic Games, I bought a beanie, or should I say tuque, with the Canadian flag on it, so as to blend in with the throngs of Canada supporters and not feel like the lonely American that I was.

So my upcoming trip to Japan with my brother had me both excited and terrified. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get to go and see a place so different from where I live and have grown up. But so much had me feeling worried about the trip. Language barriers, currency conversions, unfamiliar cultural norms, and navigating Tokyo’s clusterfuck of a public transportation system were but a few of the concerns I had. And while a maple leaf hat had me blending in with the Canadians, no amount of Japanese paraphernalia would help my caucasian skin and six-foot (1.83 meter) frame look like a local.

And if culture shock was a swimming pool, we dove in the deep end our first morning there. After arriving to our hotel around 1AM, and then trying to sleep through the jetlag, we arose around 8:00, to board a train, transfer three times, and finally arrive at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tsukiji is somehow simultaneously one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions and one of its least friendly spots for tourists to find themselves in. It’s a fast-paced, real-life fish market, that puts Seattle’s Pike Place to shame. There are fast moving, motorized carts, whizzing by you through tight spaces, and they will clip an ankle or an elbow if you are not careful. We unknowingly found ourselves in a section of the market not open to tourists, and were yelled at in Japanese as the angry man pointed for us to leave. Unscathed, we wandered over to a more welcoming sushi restaurant for breakfast.

“3,000 yen. I think that’s like $20 USD”, I said, as we pondered the menu. “That’s kind of steep, but we ARE in the world’s most expensive city.” My brother offered to split the dish made up of several rolls, nigiri, and a long piece of conger eel. We ate, paid, left, and recalculated the exchange rate. As it turned out, that 3,000 yen was closer to $40 USD.

“Well, we just ate sushi. In Japan. At a fish market. Where the fish was literally JUST pulled out of the sea. Maybe it was worth it. Let’s just be sure to get the exchange rate right going forward,” I offered.

The rest of the trip was filled with little lessons like this. There was realizing the etiquette on escalators was to stand on the left, walk on the right. And there was the time we visited a shrine in Kyoto, where it was clear you were supposed to remove your shoes, but the delineation of where shoes were acceptable and where they were not, was not as clear. Little faux pas like these would cause momentary embarrassment, that would pass in a few minutes.

But what really had me feeling like international travel was something I could feel comfortable doing, was my brother’s reaction to Tokyo’s train system. My brother is only 25, but is extremely well-traveled, having been all over Europe, and North and South America. And the Tokyo train system is…well…difficult. It’s a pervasive system that serves the entire city, and you’re never far from a station. But the trains never seem to be going the way you (well at least we) wanted to go. The result was transferring at least two times, every trip, even if it was a very short one. More than once, my brother proclaimed in frustration, “I’ve never been to a country that is as hard to get around as Japan”. And I feel bad for taking victory in his frustration, but there was this feeling that if this is as bad as it gets, according to a man who has seen a great deal of the world, including many impoverished areas, then I can do this again.

Our final frustration with the Tokyo train system came when asking an employee at our hostel for directions to the Haneda Airport to fly home. She pointed out a line that left from a nearby station that would take us directly to the airport, no transfers. We were stoked. We rode the line for a while. After some time had passed and we hadn’t arrived at the airport, we started to get worried. My brother asked a man on the train, “Haneda? Haneda?”, pointing to the floor, miming, “Will this train take me to the Haneda Airport?”. The man shook his head “no”. We got off at the next stop and got in a taxi. We had a flight to catch and there was not enough time to try to navigate the train system back.

It was clear from the amount of time we spent in the taxi, that we had overshot the airport by a long ways. We dropped 12,000 yen (~$150 USD) on the taxi ride. We checked later, and as it turned out, there was in fact a transfer that we needed to make to get to the airport.

But again, the lesson that I took from all of this was that I can do this. I didn’t let not knowing where we were going, or a $150 taxi ride, or even the possibility that we might miss our flight home, get to me. Hell, I did it all in excruciating pain, and without full vision (see previous ‘This is Where’ post). Shit went wrong, but I had confidence we’d find a way out of it. And we did. And I hope to do it again.

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Lost in Vision
Lost in Vision avatar

I lost two days of my vacation to an eye injury.jpg (765 KB)“This is where I lost two days of my vacation to an eye injury.”

On the air conditioning unit of a room number I don’t remember in the Backpacker’s Hostel K’s House Tokyo, 20-10, Kuramae 3-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan 111-0051. I posted this sticker before I knew the full story.

I recently returned from a trip to Japan with my brother. On our trip we spent time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. While in Osaka, we ventured to the top of the Umeda Sky Building (pictured below) to get panoramic views of the city and watch the sunset.

224 Osaka Umeda Sky Building (1).jpg (398 KB)

As the sun set, I was looking through the viewfinder of my camera with my right eye, closing my left eye, to compose several shots over the duration of about half an hour. Between shots, I’d take breaks, opening both eyes to enjoy the sunset in its presence.

Osaka Sunset.jpg (607 KB)

Later that night, on the train back to Kyoto, I started to develop a headache behind my left eye. I didn’t think much of it, and popped a couple ibuprofen.

The next morning, it was clear that something was wrong with my eye. The pain was intense and I was extremely light sensitive in that eye. After spending some time on WebMD, I had come to the conclusion that I had burned my retina the previous evening, photographing the sunset. It was in my left eye, which was the eye I had closed to look through my camera. My theory was that while my right eye had more exposure to the sun, the pupil in that eye was properly contracted, while the pupil in my left eye would have dilated while my it was closed, and then would have let in more sunlight when I opened it. WebMD said there wasn’t much you could do for a burnt retina, and that it would just heal with time like a sunburn.

The itinerary for that day had us exploring a couple sites in Kyoto, and then taking a bullet train to Tokyo, where we had started our journey, and would spend a couple more days before flying back home. While in Kyoto, I pressed on, just kind of closing my left eye, and trying to unfocus my eyes, as that seemed to relieve the pain. But by the time we arrived at our hostel in Tokyo, I wanted nothing but to just stay in our room and keep my eyes closed in its darkness. My brother went out and bought some adhesive eyepatches for me to help keep the sun out of my eye, and explored Tokyo on his own.

I spent two days in that hostel room alone, in agonising pain, wishing I could be out exploring Tokyo with my brother. And what was worse was I had a ten hour flight ahead of me, across the Pacific, to LAX. And what was EVEN worse, was my car was parked in LA, but I live in San Diego, a two-four hour drive depending on traffic. And I was in no shape to drive. My brother couldn’t help, because he was continuing onto Atlanta from LAX.

Web chatting with my girlfriend from the hostel room the day before I left, she offered to fly from San Diego to LA, and then drive me and my car back to San Diego. BEST. GIRLFRIEND. EVER.

My flight left Monday morning and arrived later that evening. So we arranged for her to get a flight into LA Monday evening. Unfortunately, I had failed to consider I’d be crossing the International Dateline. So I left Tokyo on Monday, but I arrived in LA on Sunday. So I had to find a hotel in LA, and do the agonising-pain-in-a-hotel-room-when-you’d-rather-be-somewhere-else thing all over again, until Monday evening, when my girlfriend would be there to pick me up.

She ultimately picked me up and drove me back to San Diego. On Tuesday morning, I was still in agonising pain. We called the ophthalmologist, and he saw me later that day. He took one look at my eye, and said, “Oh, you have shingles. Here are some meds that will clear that up for you.” And that’s why you see a doctor instead of self-diagnosing on WebMD.

Posted in Japan, Tokyo, User Submissions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Its really not that scary
Its really not that scary avatar

my dad discovered vegan food can be delicious.jpg (1 MB)

“This is where my dad discovered vegan food can be delicious!”

Outside of Green restaraunt, Tempe, Arizona

My parents are from the Midwest. They are stuck in the mentality of “if it doesn’t have meat and potatoes, its not a real meal.” Since I moved away from home, I have branched out. I am continually trying new foods and discovering meals that I never would have thought I would like.

Now whenever my family visits, I try and expand their horizons. It can be a bit… trying at times. But we are making progress. On one such occasion, I decided my dad needed to try vegan food. He was VERY hesitant. Tofu, mock chick, and the like seemed so foreign to him. I kept explaining that it was delicious, and that he’s actually eaten vegan food before, he just never thought of it as such.

After much convincing, we ended up at Green restaurant. I helped him pick out a dish taht seemed the easiest entry point for him. When the food came, he cautiously gave it a try. He chewed and pondered. Then looked at me and said, “Not bad.” He ate a few more bites and “not bad” became “This is actually pretty good!”

He then proceeded to finish the meal without saying another word.

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