Thinking back to Japan

Temple of the Daibutsu, NaraLast Saturday, as sort of a joke, I ran a “contest” on Facebook:

Place your bets!

Sean has been out of town this week and is coming home today. Last night he said he would “leave in the morning” and “get home early”.

The person who guesses closest to Sean’s actual arrival time will receive a vignette written by me on the topic of their choosing.


My friend Heidi won the contest with her guess of 6pm. (The earliest guess was 1:23pm; the latest, from someone Sean went to high school with, was 9:30pm. Sean got home at 5:30. He did not leave in the morning. I did not expect him to, which is the “joke”.)

Heidi thought for awhile about what topic to give me, and finally issued the following:

Ok write -something about visiting Japan that you didn’t expect. (or another place if that’s too specific.)

On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a difficult topic. But nothing immediately came to mind. I think part of it is simply the fact that I went to Japan in 2001. That was quite some time ago. I was also a completely different person in 2001. So I have to think back to my memories of that trip, plus try to remember who I was and how I felt then. It’s an interesting challenge.

As part of my research for this, I’ll go through my photos from the trip. In 2001, my family had just purchased our first digital camera, a Canon C3030-Zoom (“Filmless,” boasted the box!), and I took it with me to Japan. This was actually the starting point of my photography. I’d had film cameras before that point, but I’d never taken this volume of photos before.

I also have a few pieces of writing to serve as reference material. First, there’s this blog post, copied from a handwritten journal entry. (A quick glance through it has proven to be somewhat depressing!) If the Internet Archive is to be believed, I had two more pieces of writing, from the first two days of the trip…but those pages weren’t archived, and I don’t have copies of them. The essay I wrote to thank the Institute of International Education for the grant that allowed me to go on the trip was archived, though. It seems kind of short, but as I recall, I was overwhelmed once the trip was over. I didn’t–couldn’t–write much about it at all. Finally, that fall, in a creative writing class, I wrote a short story inspired by some feelings I had on the trip. I still have a copy of that, and I’ll probably refer to it as well. (It’s private, though.)

I have been really inspired to write lately, which is why I offered a vignette as the prize for this silly contest, and also why I’ve committed to write something every day this year. It’s hard to write something every day, though. Some days it just pours out of me; yesterday was one of those days (although it didn’t feel that way until I started putting words down). And some days I’m absorbed in figuring out what I’m doing, and it’s much harder to get to the storytelling part.

Right now I’m concentrating on building the habit of getting words on the page. It doesn’t matter what those words are or what purpose they serve, if they serve any purpose at all. I’m not worrying about particular projects, either; I’ll write whatever I feel like writing. Once I’ve established a habit, I’ll start worrying about goals and word counts and stuff like that.

With all that in mind, I am considering this blog post my writing for today. I look forward to coming back to my keyboard tomorrow, refreshed and ready to share some sort of story.