Friday, April 16, 2010

Let it be

I realize I haven't updated in a looooooong time, but what the hell, here we go for another entry. This entry is going to be long, so brace yourself.

For anyone who didn't know, I spent 6 days the start of March this year in the hospital due to seizures. The last time I had had a seizure was when I was a baby so it wasn't exactly a regular occurrence for me. I had been feeling weird for awhile before March, but at the end of February I began having what I think were mild panic/anxiety attacks, and that combined the several months of gnawing at my mouth in my sleep finally forced me to go get checked up. I had gotten a CT scan the day before I was admitted into the hospital, and everything was clean, so they sent me out with a clean bill. Next day, I had the first seizure, one of those where you just stare off into space for a little while. By the time I was taken to the hospital I was was pretty delirious, having these absence seizures at least a couple times every 30 minutes or so. I won't give full breakdown of what happened but pretty much it got really bad for one day after I got there and then the seizures completely stopped and despite my situation I was in a place of stillness I suppose (maybe it was the drugs they were giving me). Flashforward five more days, I finally get discharged and my doctors are going over the EEG results with me and telling me I have Epilepsy. I asked if there was anything else it could be and they said the EEG clearly showed that it was Epilepsy. So I left the hospital drugged up and a bit down I suppose, no one likes being told they have a lifelong chronic neurological condition. Although from the second I heard him say that diagnosis there was a very clear voice from inside that said that was wrong, I did not have Epilepsy. I got a bit emotional with the doctor and left promising to get a second opinion, etc. I spent the next few weeks staying as happy as I could despite everything, and oddly enough I found it very very easy being happy and such, perhaps more so than before. I slowly came to realize all the bullshit that had been making me anxious for months before the seizures had simply evaporated. It was just gone. And that was because most of it didn't matter. I talked with close friends and family back home and really made me feel a lot better and a lot of people (people who were not doctors) were saying that they didn't think it was Epilepsy either. All in all it was all good. Mom came out and visited a last week and I went back in for another EEG, and had another appointment yesterday to discuss the results. Well, as unbelievable as it sounds, the EEG was completely clean, totally normal. He said he was very surprised. The doctor told me that pretty much rules out Epilepsy, and in the absence of other problems/symptoms since the hospital and since I am totally healthy, he said whatever it was has worked itself out and there's no need to worry! I can drive again and I'll be off the meds by the next month. Good stuff right?

I've been thinking a bit lately about what really precipitated everything, and I really think a big part of it was the subconscious accumulation of anxiety and stress, which was never released. I can't count the number of times I needed to cry for instance, and held it in (a terrible idea by the way, which I'll explain in a moment). As you know, the driving license was a pain to get, super stressful but finally managed it after six months. Soon afterwards is when I started biting my lips while sleeping. And the more I think about it the more I realize, as odd as it sounds, the seizures and a week in the hospital were what I wanted (Maybe not the way it happened, admittedly). But I needed a vacation. I kept telling myself that. And that's what I got. Nine days off work; sure Nagano municipal isn't as glamorous as the South of France, but it was good enough for me. I needed a reset. Like your computer after it's brought to its knees by too many processes running at the same time, when the only option is a hard restart. Maybe that's what happened to me. I had so much shit (not really at the forefront of my mind, mind you) rattling around inside that it was time for a hard stop. I was still the happy go lucky guy everyone knows of course but I had this persistent uneasiness about a number of things grading at me for awhile. And the seizures stopped that, forced it all out in over the course of two days. Because after that I was simply still, and since then it's like a massive weight has been lifted. No more worrying about irrelevant BS. I didn't worry much as it was but you'd be surprised at the stuff you have going on inside that will make itself known if it is not addressed and eliminated. And that's the rub. Because since the hospital I really feel like my life has changed for the better. As Mark Twain so aptly said, “I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” This makes sense now. I have realized that when anxiety accumulates it is never good. It manifests itself in different ways for everybody, but at some point the chain will break, take it from me. So that's why my new policy is, one every few months usually, or whenever I feel like a lot is on my plate mentally, I stop, sit down at my computer as soon as I can, and then put on an emotional clip/movie (you know, the ones you always get misty at if you're a guy but stop yourself from crying at for the sake of vanity, even when you are alone watching it for some inexplicable reason---My release button is Say Marimo, I then proceed to cry like a little girl, I mean really let it all out, balling and weeping as your eyes sting from tears that needed to be let out so many times but weren't. And then, after several minutes (depending on how much tension you had) a magnificent thing happens. The cries literally turn into laughs (for me at least), so much so that I walk around for the rest of the evening with an idiotic, slapstick grin on my face. This is when you know you're good, when all that tension is gone. Afterwards I grab a beer and sit in the bath for awhile. Crying is one of the most therapeutic and cathartic natural processes we have and it is a shame that it is so underutilized, especially by the male population.

By the way, I also recorded a new song, have a listen (

Alrighty, that's it for now, I'll try to update once a year from now on. Cya.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Whew, so it's been awhile since my last update. It's mostly because I have been busy enjoying my life and haven't really felt the need to update. Still, here is an update.

- It's getting cold here, Winter is around the corner, and I'm using my heater again everyday.
- I passed my driving test last month after 6 months of torturous visits to the closest thing to hell on this Earth, a.k.a. the Japanese DMV.
- Still no girlfriend but it's all good.
- Probably won't be heading back this year because of expensive plane tickets.
- I recorded an album of original music four weeks ago in a town to the south of where I live. It has 5 songs, and was produced and engineered by a friend of mine who is a guitar genius named Kohki. I am very happy with the results, you can have a listen here.
- On a related note, I don't think I will be recontracting with my school here for 2010-2011. I love the job, the town, the lifestyle---really everything that defines my life here, but I've decided that music is what I want to do, and thus it deserves my full attention.


"in my sky"

"Why Goldfish Die"

"Hearts without Boundaries"


You can also check out my youtube channel for additional videos:

Ok, thats all for now, see you when I see you!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here are a couple of random pics from the last few months, sorry no discriptions this time, Ill have a bigger post coming up soon.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I just got back from a very eventful and fun trip to Taiwan. I decided to go when I found a super cheap ticket over Golden Week (last week, a string of national holidays occur back to back so there is almost a full week of time off work, called Golden Week). I met up with some friends from UNC, Wendy and Ryan, who have been living in Taiwan for about a year, and are both currently teaching English at a Kindergarten. I also saw my other good friend Ryan who has been in Taiwan for awhile and is also teaching English at a cram school. I spend about 4 days in total in the capital, Taipei, and headed out into the countryside for day trips and a single overnight stay in a hot spring town. It was a very exciting trip, aside from getting bitten by a dog and getting a cold. Of course those things also made the trip exciting!

The Taipei 101, which until the construction of the Burj Dubai was the tallest building in the world.

The view from the top.

Inside the mall in the Taipei 101.

A guard who's job as far as I could tell was to stand perfectly still for several hours a day in front of a massive statue at the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall in Taipei.

A beach we went to north of Danshui in the north part of Taiwan.

A did a 25 kilometer bike ride in the small town of Pinglin. This photo was taken halfway up the mountain.

This is a mountain stream I swam in after a long day of bike riding.

The aboriginal, hot spring town of Wulai.

Another mountain river I swam in in Wulai.

All in all it was a wonderful trip, although the dog bite had me worried for a little while until I went to the doctor and was told that there have not been any cases of rabies in Taiwan for over 50 years. It was a very interesting country, and of course the food was delicious!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

House tour

I'm heading off to Taiwan in a few days, but for now, here's a quick tour of my house here in Shinano. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy New Year!

A bit late I know, but it is! Lots has happened since my last post back in December. Still enjoying myself immensely here, I have recontacted for another year here in Shinano. School's going great, the students and teachers are as wonderful as they've always been. I've been doing a lot of skiing and other outdoor activities. Went snow camping two weekends ago on the top of a mountain nearby. Got myself a pair of backcountry nordic skis. I'm actually moving into a new house on Tuesday, a couple of minutes from where I am now but significantly better than where I'm living (not to say my apartment is bad or anything but I'm getting a huge house instead now). I wanted to update today though because got back at the beginning of this week from an exciting 5 day road trip to Japan's southern island, Kyushu. We saw Hiroshima on our way down, stopped in Nagasaki, saw a couple of other cities and then topped it all off with a relaxing two day stay in a hot spring town. Our itenerary was as follows:

Wednesday March 18th - Leave Nagano and drive straight through the night down to Hiroshima.
March 19th - Hiroshima.
March 20th - Nagasaki
March 21st - Kumamoto City and Kurokawa Onsen Village
Martch 22nd - Kurokawa Onsen Village, then return to Nagano.

Without further adieu, the photos!

This one was taken in Hiroshima, looking through a monument through to the blown out memorial structure at the peace park

Looking down the river in Hiroshima

A closer view of the memorial structure

A deer on Miyajima island, right across the bay from Hiroshima in the Seto Inland Sea (Awaji island is also in this area!)

A beach looking towards the "floating temple" on Miyajima.

The floating temple arches, one of the very famous sites here in Japan.

A cool looking old palm tree on Miyajima by a huge temple. It was totally summer here, in the mid 80s.

One of the main streets in Nagasaki.

A crazy 50 foot turtle temple on a hill in Nagasaki.

A famous statue in the Nagasaki Peace Park.

The black monolith there is directly below where the bomb detonated.

I don't recall the name of this volcano but we camped near it before we took the ferry from Nagasaki to Kumamoto City.

Spring has arrived! In Southern Japan at least (Nagano is still pretty chilly). The cherry blossoms are almost in full bloom at this famous park in Kumamoto.

The castle in Kumamoto.

Looking across the grassy, dry plains outside Kumamoto twoards the billowing active volcano Mt. Aso. The landscape here was quite unique, lots of rolling grass plains and huge swaths of burnt land. A little reminiscint of Colorado.

On top of the Mt. Aso, looking down into the pit of doom, the green is a caldera lake.

After the trip, I bought these bananas at my local grocery store for 4 bucks. There's about 15 of em.

Well that's pretty much it for now, I will try to update this blog more. For some reason it's hard to be diligent....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Video part 3

Just wanted to post this video, its the third and final part in a series I made about coming to Japan. This video highlights some of the memorable moments over the past few months I've been here, going to Tokyo and meeting friends and drinking beer at Oktoberfest, school festivals and karaoke. Enjoy!