Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home feels like home.

Over the past few months I’ve been sort of settling into things. If anything, I guess its almost like I’m settling into this phase of my life…

I’m settling into a more mature, responsible way of handling my money compared to my twenties, thank you Dave Ramsey. I’m still not there yet, but I’ve got a plan, goals and know where everything goes now.

I’m starting to settle into my age and some of the expectations that go with it for appearance. I’ve already gone through two rounds of thinning out my wardrobe of clothes I had gotten in my twenties. Stuff that was less professional, stuff that I wouldn’t wear here in Hawai’i, stuff like that. At the same time I’ve already done one round of getting new clothes that are more appropriate for work and I think better reflect where I am in life.

Following that line of thought, I’ve been going through all the stuff I’ve picked up over the years. Old books, movies, VHS tapes, junk mail that I promised I’d sort later and more. Things are getting thrown away, shredded, donated or having new homes found for them. For a guy who was born a packrat in a family of packrats, I have to say I’m a bit proud of this.

On top of that I’m actually looking at, here and there, furniture. Trying to think of a consistent look for everything instead of, “well, my friend gave me this,” “I got that on sale,” etc. Form is becoming about as important as function when I consider what I want to buy. This is a pretty big leap for me!

So, yeah… its taken about five years, but I finally feel like I’m settling in. That I’m home instead of just living somewhere. It feels good!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hikaru No Go: going and gone.

A couple of years ago Shonen Jump, a monthly collection of Japanese manga (comics) began publishing in the US (end of 2002). I saw it at the Bi-Lo in Royston, Georgia, and picked it up immediately. It was kind of neat to see Jump in the US with all these comics I had seen as manga or as anime such as Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho when I was a kid. Made me a bit old, to tell you the truth!

“Listen dude, I know how this fight goes. This comic ended before you even got into high school!”Needless to say, picking up the new Jump became something of a ritual for me. Buy it at the store, sit in the parking lot to read the whole thing (or at least my favorites), and go home to pass it on to my roommate. I’ve been doing that pretty much ever since. What can I say? Its cheap entertainment! It was also very cool to finally be able to read the comics instead of looking at the pictures and trying to figure out what was going on. Of course, I found new favorites like One Piece, Naruto and Hikaru No Go.

Hikaru No Go (Hikaru’s Go) isn’t your typical shonen manga (comics for early to late teens). There’s no fighting, no martial arts, no violence, outlandish characters or anything of that sort. Rather, its about a middle-school student’s entering the world of Go, an Asian boardgame over two-thousand years old. It all starts with him going to his grandfather’s house and finding an antique Go board that is haunted by a ghost named Fujiwara no Sai. The boy is named Hikaru, hence the name of the manga.

Hikaru No Go is no longer in Shonen Jump, but rather is released every few months in a paperback book. Its something that I look forward to, and when its supposed to be out I can be found at Borders asking, “do you have it yet?” Its certainly come to be a real favorite of mine; the story is interesting and time progresses fast enough you can see the characters getting older and maturing. Its set in modern day Japan, which reminds me of places and people I would like to revisit one day. The art is wonderful, and the mood is balanced between the intensity of the Go players and the emotions of them as people.

More than that, one small thing I discovered is that my father’s father used to play Go. During the evening times he and some of the older men would play; my father and auntie remember this, although they have no idea what became of his board or stones. I never met him, or if I did I was too young to remember, but its a link to someone I never knew.

The next volume, number 19, comes out in August. The series ended in Japan a few years ago, and there are 23 volumes in total.

While its better that it end rather than continuing on past the point of interest, becoming just another “by the numbers” formula-driven comic, it is a little sad. There are many interesting characters with goals, ambitions and lives that I’ve grown attached to. But, until then, I can enjoy it while i lasts.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inspiring to give.

In the past decade or so I’ve come to feel that the government gets involved with the needs of society, not because its the best option, but because of a failure of the citizens to tend to themselves. When there’s need in a community, a community is best served by trying to meet that need. No, it won’t always be up to the full scope of the task, but the first reaction should be, “what can we do” rather than “someone ought to do something.”

I’ve just started reading Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World.My brother is letting me borrow it and so far I’m about three chapters in. Its rather interesting to read about what the super-rich are doing these days, true, but its also giving a bit of history concerning philanthropy in general.

I think its coming at a good time in my life. Back in September I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course at a local church. One of the lessons is expressly about giving. I know for myself there’s always been a desire to give; there is no shortage of need or causes to be certain. Getting my own personal finances in order is a well needed step to be able to give the way I want to in the future. Not there yet (still paying off debt), but its good to have a goal.

If anything, though, Philanthrocapitalism is helping get me excited about the idea. When I’m done with it I want to read Andrew Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth. I’m hoping I’ll find other books on the matter as I read on! I don’t know if I’ll ever be one of the rich people of the world, nevermind one of the super-rich, but I do want to do my share of things.

A return to writing.

When I was going to ʻĪao Intermediate School a teacher by the name of Mr. Takadi introduced me to the Apple IIe, and more importantly, a word processor. I don't recall much of it; the screen was black and white (or green and white, depending on the monitor), everything was on 5.25 floppies, and the program was called Bank Street Writer.

During recess I would go into the computer lab, putting in my floppy disc and would just write. About ideas I had, thoughts, things that happened during the day. Kid stuff, naturally. Now, these were my writings, so I put a little password lock onto the file. I don't recall anything being super-personal, but it was mine after all!

With that I stopped journaling.

Throughout the years I’ve written here and there, but with this I’m returning to regular journaling of sorts. A little more open than my old journal, of course.