Brain vomit

I’ve been trying to pick out directives when reading books. If I’m going to continue writing about podcasts, I’ll try writing about a directive that I got from an episode.

I enjoy Tim Ferriss’s podcast because he’s curious about routines and rituals. Especially when it comes to writing and what people do first thing in the morning. Mike Birbiglia was a guest recently and he talked about his writing routine. He says it’s helped him just get a draft out quickly:

[…] I call a “throw up pass” . I would go to coffee shops in the morning. My minimum is 3 hours. I stick myself in a coffee shop with no internet. No email, no anything. If it’s going well, 5 hours. If it’s not going well, I stop at 3 hours.

Tim says he tossed a few drafts of the Four Hour Work-Week and then he re-wrote the first chapter in an email compose window1. That worked.

Mike usually writes around 7am in a coffee shop (drink of choice: cappuccino). He writes for three hours minimum and up to five hours if it’s going well.

I spent nine hours in a coffee shop once. I was wondering if I was bugging the employees but then the afternoon shift started. Then I was wondering if I was bugging a new set of employees by staying there for so long.

I try following these guidelines if going to a place to write and not quite for the coffee: one drink every 2 hours and a $2 tip. I read some form of that (I’m guessing on a Bill Simmons podcast years ago) but it’s stuck with me that way.

Mike says he’ll sometimes write longhand. I was trying this earlier in my 100 posts project and I want to get back to it, because the end results seemed better than most other posts. Probably because I was forced to re-type things to go through a real revision.

Quick first drafts aren’t a new concept or anything, but Mike’s description of it resonated with me. The first draft is not a precious thing—the important part is getting it out at all.

  1. I remember seeing a tweet from a designer that said they wrote drafts in Gmail. Then they’d take it to Docs. I searched and searched and couldn’t find it.

Obvious to you, amazing to others

I was looking into a Derek Sivers quote1: “What’s obvious to you is amazing to others.” I found this video from a set of videos he made as previews for Anything You Want.

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. — Derek Sivers (Video)

I’d love to make 1-2 minute videos like this. Digestible. It’d give me a project to apply different things I want to learn.

In Apprenticeship Patterns, one of the patterns involves having a personal project. You can apply programming concepts on something you’re personally invested in. It’s in application that you really learn things.

Here are some of the different things I’ve wanted to learn that I could practice by creating short videos like this.

  • I’ve wanted to learn illustration and animation. I can’t currently draw and animate, so I can start with Keynote presentations and animations.
  • I’ve wanted to learn to tell better stories. Short videos would need nice, tight narratives to be interesting.
  • I’ve wanted to learn to improve as a writer. The videos would need to start with writing. Whether it’s dialogue or descriptions of what will show up. It starts with words.

Someday it’d be nice for any of those things to be obvious to me.

And some things that are obvious to me that might be amazing to others:

  • My workflow going from Google Docs to Jekyll for blog posts
  • The logistics of moving to New York — this process still isn’t obvious to me but I at least have the clarity provided by hindsight
  • Making GIFs — some people have absolutely no idea how

I’ll keep thinking about this because god I hope that isn’t the full list.

  1. I heard this quote on Goins’s podcast in episode 111: Unlikely Sources of Inspiration. He talks about the echo chamber we can be in.

Docs to Jekyll

After knocking my head against the wall a few times, I think I have a pretty good system now for going from Docs to Jekyll. I’m really happy about this.

Here are the steps for writing a new post

  • Title the document with the same name I want for the final file that I’ll use in Jekyll

  • Add the YAML frontmatter (for new docs I usually just make a copy of an old one)

  • Write in Google Docs using its formatting options. (I don’t write Markdown.)

When I want to build, I do the following

  • Download the directory from Drive (by default it’s a zip of .docx files)

  • Run a shell script to convert .docx to Markdown using Pandoc1

Here are my favorite things about it

  • As mentioned, I can write with Google Docs for formatting. Links are just links instead of taking up half an entire line showing URLs with Markdown.

  • Oh yeah, and footnotes work. I can write footnotes with the cmd+alt+F shortcut. And I don’t have to fumble around with thinking about where to place the markdown footnote tags.

  • When filling links in, I can use the research panel (ctrl+shift+cmd+i) in Google Docs to add links without switching tabs. Anything to keep me from browsing and getting distracted.

  • There are good Markdown extensions for Google Docs but I haven’t had luck doing batch conversions. This seems to solve that.

Some things I’ll worry about when I get to them

  • Streamline the image process. It’d be nice to have the images pasted directly into Docs. Maybe I can do a combination of pasting the image in Docs and adding the corresponding URL below it in Markdown so it’ll appear in the converted file.

  • Try a code block and figure out how to fix it. I imagine it won’t work that well at first but I’m not too worried yet, because I don’t have plans to write about anything code related for a while.

  • I can’t build the site from Docs. That’s a positive for me because having terminal or IDE leads to tinkering which distracts from writing. But I can get to where I feel something is complete. Instead of thinking “I’ll fix these links and images when I get to the real Markdown files. Then the almost finished files pile up. That’s what happened with about a dozen of the first 20 posts.

I’m pretty excited about this but we’ll see if it holds up for the rest of this project.

  1. The shell script also does a few string replacements in cases to deal with inline style tags and images. This might get a little hairy if I include code blocks but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Friday Links Issue 02

It’s Friday evening and I have a weekend with no traveling. Three hours into any flight and this sounded like gold. Now that it’s here I wonder what I was looking forward to so much. Here are five links I enjoyed this week.

Ryan Holiday answers a question he’s probably asked pretty often: Why Do You Write So Much?

I have become a much better writer as the result of committing to produce more. There is only one way to improve at a craft–and it’s putting hours into it. I consider what I write online to be practice. An opportunity to interact with an audience and challenge myself to continually improve.

The 10,000 hour rule is pretty well known but I know that it has to be 10,000 good hours. Right now I’m just trying to establish the routine of writing and sending it off to the world. That’s what this 100-day project is about. I’m committing to produce more.

Then I’ll focus on deliberately improving. Whether that’s working on mechanics, structure, longer pieces, or challenging myself to write about deeper topics.

Technical writer Tom Johnson answers a similar question: Why I’m So Visible

I should have focused on a topic outside of myself. This is partly why I don’t mind expending energy to write about topics in technical communication. Tech comm may not be something I lie awake at night thinking about, but it at least focuses the topic away from memoir.

I’m working on this. I’ll focus more on specific topics instead of rambling about myself. You know, eventually.

Stocking Stuffers: 13 Writing Tips From Chuck Palahniuk

When you don’t want to write, set an egg timer for one hour (or half hour) and sit down to write until the timer rings. If you still hate writing, you’re free in an hour. But usually, by the time that alarm rings, you’ll be so involved in your work, enjoying it so much, you’ll keep going. Instead of an egg timer, you can put a load of clothes in the washer or dryer and use them to time your work. Alternating the thoughtful task of writing with the mindless work of laundry or dish washing will give you the breaks you need for new ideas and insights to occur. If you don’t know what comes next in the story… clean your toilet. Change the bed sheets. For Christ sakes, dust the computer. A better idea will come.

With my programming hat on, the pomodoro technique has given me mixed results. For writing, it’s been a little more effective. Breaking the big blog of time into intervals helps if something is already outlined. As far as stepping away and letting things simmer on the backburner, it works just about every time. Now I just need a duster.

I started writing 1.000 words a day exactly one year ago

You don’t really think you can skip today because you’ll do twice as much tomorrow, right?

This is a reddit thread with /u/moebius23 who shared tips for writing daily after writing 1,000 words daily for a year. Then he did it again for year two. After I finish this 100-day project I’m planning to write something similar. There seems to be a lot more content about writing for your novel every day than there is for, say, blogging1. (Which is pretty much what I’m doing.)

Tim Ferriss: On The Creative Process And Getting Your Work Noticed

If you wake up on Saturday morning and go surfing to decompress for the week, that is different from having to wake up at six every morning Monday to Friday and take investment bankers out to surf.

Another week, another Tim Ferriss link. I started this writing project inspired by one of his podcast episodes. I like a lot of what he writes, including this article on the creative process. Something Tim asks a lot of guests is, “What’s something that you’ve changed your mind about in the past year or two?”2

Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You kickstarted me changing my mind about exclusively following your passion. A few years ago, I believed that was, say, top 3 for best things to do to be successful. Then I realized how incredibly lucky I am that one of my passions in middle school (making things on the internet) panned out to be a pretty good career decision.

Even now, trying to write more, I have more of what Cal calls “career capital”. I know what it’s like to have someone from security drive to your formerly-a-military-barracks building to scold you for installing Skype. And I know what it’s like to hear Mickey Drexler over the office speaker system throughout the day.

Side projects following your passion will always be more fun than work. Even if your passion becomes your work. Because then your passion becomes work. And that’s great, because then you can improve and excel. But it’s a mistake to expect it ever to be as fun as when you were photoshopping your friends’ heads on things to post to your GeoCities site.

  1. Actually, there probably is a lot of stuff on working on your blog every day. But I’m guessing it’s about things like SEO, WordPress plugins, commenting, guest posting, mailing lists, and building a readership. First, I really want to buy into having some kind of content worth sharing.

  2. It’s great because people so rarely change their minds. A couple years ago, I read Think and Grow Rich or How to Make Friends and Influence People and there was a passage about how fruitless it can be to try changing someone’s mind. You can’t win an argument trying to change their mind during that one, single argument. Realizing how true that is was an aha moment for me and has probably saved me from a lot of dumb arguments.

Who and how?

I really liked The Obstacle is the Way so I went to one of Ryan Holiday’s talks1 for The Ego is the Enemy. He checks and responds to his own emails, so I asked about writing and he pointed me to a recent Quora answer he wrote: What are some tips for aspiring writers and journalists to succeed in today’s media market?

I’ve been really interested in sort of the logistics side of writing. In a sense, I care a lot about what kind of kind of pen Steven King uses, when that doesn’t matter all that much2.

Ryan’s tips were a great reminder for me that successful writing goes far beyond how you write. What you’re writing about is more important. He says it’s important to ask two questions:

Who am I saying this to?

How are they going to hear about it?

I’ve realized that I don’t have answers to either of these for a lot of the posts I’ve written. I’ll try to keep these questions in mind as I continue writing. For this post, 1.) I’m saying this to other people who want to write and 2.) they’ll hear about it after visiting my 100 posts3 and clicking through a few links.

Because if it doesn’t have a shot, if you don’t know who that shot is supposed to be in front of generally, then you’re just journaling. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but don’t blame anyone else if that begins to feel lonely or onanistic.

Sometimes it does feel like I’m journaling. Except knowing it will be publicly accessible. Which is a bad in-between: the best public writing probably isn’t someone’s journaling4, and the most interesting journals certainly aren’t public.

  1. I took a good amount of notes so I’ll write a post about it. I also plan to write a post with book notes about The Ego is the Enemy and another post with book notes on a re-read of The Obstacle is the Way. During the Q&A at the end of the talk, he had good answers to some questions that I want to write about. Just want to jot them down here so I can refer to them (then hopefully link to them in the future): What are your thoughts on imposter syndrome? Many successful people have huge egos, how do you separate the two?

  2. Though I think improving as a writer involves writing regularly. Logistics are important for having a routine and drive my interest at the moment.

  3. Affirmations, baby!

  4. But there are certainly good things like this: Draymond Green Finals diary, Part 24, Andy Greenwald Craves Herr’s Potato Chips at Inopportune Times

Japan Trip 10 of 10: More As Seen on TV

Check out my first post about some places we visited in Japan that you can check out in better-filmed things on TV or online.

Sushi Yasuda

It was like teleporting into the Parts Unknown segment. The restaurant looks the same as when it was filmed. Yasuda say he misses New York, where he lived for 27 years. He misses walking around the city and still loves his annual visits. Also, he’s very happy to take pictures flexing with customers.

Nishiki Market —Mind of a Chef

David Chang described it as one of his favorite places in the world. There’s a lot to see. (Though you can also see the end of a different journey at a sushi counter at any high end restaurant in many cities.) Nearby Pontocho alley was great too.

Tsukiji Market — Jiro Dreams of Sushi and like every food show with a Tokyo episode

I have a separate post with more about Tsukiji Market. We did go to the market but we didn’t get into the auction. One of my favorite places on the trip.

A bento box on a bullet train — A Cook’s Tour

Train stations have all sorts of food. On the way to Kyoto we saw a couple businessmen with bento boxes full of seafood. On the way back we made sure to pick up some boxes of our own. We tried a beef cutlet sandwich and a beef bowl.

Then I tried checking the train speed with Snapchat’s mph filter. The highest we hit was 171 mph.

James Altucher podcast: Gary Gulman and better, same, and worse

Gary Gulman was a guest on James Altucher’s podcast. I’ve seen him at the Comedy Cellar a couple times and really enjoyed his sets. In the most recent set I saw, he talks about a Netflix documentary about the team that came up with the postal code abbreviations for each state. He goes into great great detail of mundane things. I like it1.

James mentions a concept he heard about picking people in your field. Have someone around that’s better than you, have someone around that’s the same as you, and have someone around that’s worse than you. (At that certain skill, not as a human being.) Gary Gulman finds it interesting and says it sounds about right. He has a lot of comedians he looks up to and then the ones about the same to be depressed together with.

In my life, I’ve seen the importance of each of these sets of people2.

I’ve had cases where I’ve been around people that were much better developers than I was3. It was inspiring and a great way to know what’s possible. It’s that idea that nobody was running 4-minute miles and thought only like gazelles could do it. Then Robert Bannister broke that barrier and a bunch of other people broke it the following year, knowing it was possible. Having people around that will show you what you can do is important.

Right now I’m helping a friend learn web development. On the feel-good side, it’s rewarding to see that I’m really, actually able to help someone. It’s nice to be able to answer questions and know he’s thankful for it. And then it’s super rewarding seeing him update his site on his own with a little JavaScript that I know he’s learning on his own. On the practical side, it gives me empathy for a beginning developer which is valuable since I design developer tools. And it helps me solidify my knowledge.

Senior year in EE, I was in a class that was half undergrads and half grad students. One of the grad students was named Ram and he made everything seem easy. He’d get stuck on figuring out some value for IC layouts. Stuck in the sense of someone spilling a can of soda and not really cleaning it up properly and then you step in that spot and need a little extra mustard when lifting your foot up then you’re done with it. Ram would pause, open his post-it flagged textbook exactly to the spot, do the hand motion indicating speed reading, nod, and then continue, no longer stuck.

I would then stay at the computer lab for 3 more hours working on the same problem. It’s great to have people around the same skill level because you can complain together about how Ram is fucking up the curve and we can’t compete with someone named after a computer component.

  1. Something I don’t like: I’m writing on a flight and we just hit turbulence and the attendant started speaking super freaking fast. You gotta put the slower speakers on this thing.

  2. In trying to improve as a writer, I don’t really know many writers. I’m not surrounded by them. I know of writers that are better than me. But not really any that are the same or worse.

  3. At work, I’m surrounded by extremely bright people. Every day can feel like imposter syndrome at its highest level. There are a lot of people saying everyone has imposter syndrome. Even Barack Obama. I like that people are talking about it more, but I don’t think everyone successful has it. I’ve definitely met very smart people who knew it through and through pretty much to the core. I don’t think Brock Lesnar ever thinks “I don’t belong here”. Masters of Doom talks about John Carmack recognizing that John Romero was a better programmer and wanted to learn from him. But it doesn’t sound like he didn’t think he belonged. Ok, so my two examples are 1.) a former UFC and WWE champion and 2.) one of the most influential programmers ever who can present on stage for an hour without moving his feet. I don’t have a point anymore.

Japan Trip 09 of 10: Tsukiji Market

“Too late.”


Huh? It was 3am, it couldn’t be too late.

“Fish? Fish market? It’s too late.”

I guess it was too late. We didn’t get into the tuna auction. That’s one thing. 3:15 wasn’t early enough. Not even close to early enough. That might be because the market is closing and moving so people are really trying to visit in its current location. Still, there’s a ton to see later in the morning. Or when morning starts, because 3:15am is still the middle of the night to me. That’s the kind of time when I wake up and think about all the spooky things about 3am and then go back to sleep.

We thought about going the following night, but there was always the chance that we wouldn’t get in again. Planning around something where you have to wake up at 1:30am and actually head out can really put a wrench in a schedule1. We decided not to go.

Outer market

There’s an outer market with plenty to see. I think if you plopped the outside market somewhere else in Tokyo or any other city in the world, it’d get a good amount of traffic. I bet the more oblivious visitors have no idea there’s an inner market, because this was cool to see on its own. Lots of vendors. Meaning lots of different things to eat.

The first thing we tried was grilled scallop. We walked into the market and saw a woman grilling skewers with scallop topped with sea urchin. The contrast in texture is nice. Though uni probably contrasts with everything that’s not a sauce texture-wise.

Some kind of squid roll with cheese inside: I mean, if you like squid and you like cheese this is going to be a hit.

Mochi stuffed with various fruits: Not exactly a seafood market exclusive but still good for my mochi craving. I went with strawberry.

I went back to get another one of the scallop and uni things. on the way there we saw a couple people doing something where there was a crab shell with a scallop with an oyster with fish roe and also crab miso2. they take all of that and then they blow torch it.

Tamago on a stick: I wish I tried this. I don’t know if that’s really what they refer to it as. but there was definitely a long line for this. When we walked by it we were on our way out and, more importantly, stuffed to the brim.

The actual market

We figured out that the actual market is past a gate. It looks shrunken aircraft hanger, especially with all the different vehicles moving around. In the somewhat open lot in front of the market, scooters go by you in all directions. Then there are these things that look like a person is standing and steering a keg. Like a flatbed keg. You gotta stay alert.

With it being such a tourist hot spot, it’s easy to forget that so many people are actually working. The inner market still functions as a place for professionals to buy fish more than a place for tourists to buy their souvenirs.

Right outside the hangar, type building (but still inside the gate), there are about half a dozen long buildings and each of them has probably 8 restaurants and almost all of these serve sushi. Almost exclusively between 6am and Noon. Breakfast sushi.

You could spend a few mornings here no problem. Especially if you enjoy photography. Everything is photogenic.

I’ve seen pictures of the tuna and read how much they weigh and thought I had a good sense of their size. Walking around, I saw pretty big chunks being cut up and was starting to get a better sense of scale. Then I almost bumped into a tuna head on the ground and thought I was seeing some kind of mistake. The thing was huge. Its body probably was being cut into huge blocks and then into medium blocks then smaller all the way down to a small slice sitting on a ball of rice.

Walking around was like seeing one of your omakase meals getting it scaled up to Costco size. Along with the tuna, your single slice of geoduck turns into a seafood sausage shop. That piece of uni turns into rows and rows in a big wooden box that seemingly retires as a pencil container at Muji. That mussel gets some HGH (as muscles are wont to do) and turns into a shell bigger than my head. Then there are crabs of all sizes with all sorts of shell patterns I’ve never seen. Your plate of grilled squid has been enlarged to cover a dining table.

It was too late to get into the auction but just in time to see something incredible.

  1. Plus the auction is supposedly twenty minutes. I realize that if I got in I’d probably say, “Best 20 minutes ever.” I’m being a hater.

  2. Crab miso has nothing to do with miso soup. It’s crab fat or crab innards or crab mustard or crab guts. Whatever you prefer to call it all I care about is that I prefer eating it. Just about perfect.

Japan Trip 08 of 10: Rico! Osprey!

Ever since we booked tickets to Japan, I wanted to go to a New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) show. In the past year, I’ve slowly, somehow gotten back into wrestling1. It was a pretty big part of my childhood. The extent of my knowledge is that AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are from NJPW. And that they’re closer to NXT shows size-wise than they are WWE shows. I’ve wanted to go to an NXT show so this would be close.

Getting tickets was a more complicated than expected. The expectation being you go to, say, Ticketmaster Japan and order with like 8 clicks. Not quite. After giving up on the machine at the convenience store, we asked a hotel attendant if he knew anything about tickets for the show. When or where it was. He made some calls, wrote things down, wrote them down again phonetically, and explained that we’d need to go to the box office. Early.

I’m not entirely sure how ingrained in Japanese culture pro wrestling is. Before leaving, we asked the hotel attendant if he was familiar with NJPW, and he replied about the same as you might expect a friendly hotel attendant in America to: I know some characters because my friends watch.

After getting to Tokyo Stadium2, we saw a gigantic gigantic line. Like hundreds of people long. For a second I thought that was for the wrestling show. Then I remembered it was a wrestling show and knew that definitely wasn’t the line. (It was for a Giants/Tigers game — think Yankees/Red Sox.)

The Tokyo Dome reminds me of an old Hulk Hogan video tape that we had with some of his matches. I won’t even say it was the best of compilation. Because if it has a match with Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen in Tokyo then I can think of five bigger leg drops without much thought. but it always gave me the impression that wrestling was huge in Japan.

2000-seat Korakuen Hall is great venue. The only other wrestling show I’ve been to is Monday Night Raw, which was in the 18,000 seat Honda Center. Korakuen Hall is the size of a large high school gym. I understand why people say NXT shows feel so cool because of the small venues.

I was surprised how… normal everybody looked in the crowd. A couple guys in suits. It’s not still real to them.


I knew the Bullet Club was some kind of nWo-type faction with better shirts. I didn’t expect them to be a bunch of cowards. Pretty much doing a good job being heels. I can picture AJ Styles there. He’s the right size and it’s pretty apparent what people mean when they say Vince McMahon is a body guy. NJPW doesn’t have as many guys with that kind of body type.

The matches

There were a couple of matches involving 8 to 10 people. Good matches usually aren’t composed of random people put together as teams. These weren’t good matches, But I was happy to see all the different characters. Wrestling is different in Japan but heels are heels and the baby faces are baby faces and it was pretty clear who’s who.

There weren’t many promos being cut and there wasn’t much story progression. From what I gather could gather, most of the matches were part of an ongoing tournament, sort of like King of the Ring.

The match

Ricochet and Will Ospreay wrestled and it was the highlight of the night. They brought the house down. Meaning the crowd clapped vigorously. I mistakenly thought this kind of match was routine for NJPW main events.

Afterward, I was trying to find highlights from the match and started to the tweets and articles about how great the match was. Later followed by former wrestlers arguing amongst each other about whether it was a good match or not. My two cents: it was awesome3. I’m a casual fan. My girlfriend is the girlfriend of a casual fan, meaning she watches more wrestling than anyone probably should. It was one of the highlights of the trip.

  1. I’d say it was a pretty major part of my childhood. Pre-Monday Night Wars, I thought it was real. I was into it through the Monday Night Wars and slowly stopped watching. In the ticket office line, we happened to be standing in front of another group from New York. One of them had just about the same story: they’ve gotten back into wrestling in the past year or so and came because it’s supposed to be like an NXT event. There must be dozens of us.

  2. The area around the Tokyo Dome was pretty cool also. It was sort of an amusement park and mall mashed together.

  3. Especially when a guy about ten rows back yelled, “THIS IS AWESOME.” and got the chant going. He was absolutely right.

Japan Trip 07 of 10: Cheap eats

Beef bowls at Matsuya and Sukiya

I was looking for a beef bowl. And I knew that Yoshinoya was available in California so I didn’t want to get that. (Similar reason for not going to an Ippudo.) We had just finished at Nishiki Market and getting some yakitori in Pontocho Alley. We wanted a little bit more food so we wandered around trying to find shaved ice. We had a place in mind but didn’t have our compasses straight so we got turned around a few times. And we realized we still wanted something savory. That’s when we ran into a Matsuya.

It doesn’t have english signage like you’d find at Yoshinoya or Sukiya. You order from a vending machine. All these places have beef bowls, but it seems like the other choices are where things get different. Matsuya had Dan Dan Noodles on the menu. I’ve had cheap Dan Dan noodles before that weren’t great. These weren’t that. These noodles were delicious. It’s one of my favorite dishes because my parents call my brother Dan Dan.

Takoyaki at various places

Takoyaki are octopus balls. They seem to be served super hot. In most cases, you order them either at an outdoor stand or through a store window. We tried them in Akihabara, Osaka, and in Tokyo. They’re not deep fried but that might be amazing. Instead, they start with a griddle with a bunch of golf ball sized holes1. They drop a few cubed pieces of octopus in and then fill it with batter. Then they just go down each column turning the balls until they’re cooked through.

It’s covered with sauce and bonito flakes.

Curry at CoCo Curry

We had curry a few times. They’re all over the place. And plates of curry with pork or chicken cutlets are only 600 or 700 yen. It’s great. I really love curry. Major comfort food vibes. I think I’ve said that I could eat curry every day in the past. I had it probably three times in a week and have changed my mind. I still love the stuff. But it’s so heavy. I had it on the plane and one morning in Tokyo before heading to Muji (which was huge and I’d also like to write about in some way).

This curry was better than what we got on the plane. I can get about the same in New York, but for a few more dollars. That’s how I felt about a lot of the cheaper eats. If you’re sticking to the main portion of the menu, you can get something similar in America for a little more money.

Mister Donut

Oh boy. My friend recommended Mister Donut. It was one of the places we seeked out on the first morning. Then it was available in Kyoto Station and we dropped by every day. Then the streak became a thing and there was one near our second Tokyo hotel so we kept going. There were still plenty of donuts with green or in shapes that didn’t seem like things we’d see in America so we kept going.

Their signature donut is this thing that looks like it could be one of Akuma’s bracelets. The normal one is glazed or frosted. The real champ here is the matcha one where each sphere is cream-filled.

There were matcha cake donuts half dipped in chocolate. And chocolate cake donuts with some kind of matcha glaze.

There was a round donut but instead of being jelly-filled, it had red bean, some kind of matcha2 cream, and a small square of mochi. I hope they call it Mister’s Matcha Mochi.

There was a French cruller half-dipped in chocolate that I couldn’t get enough of3.

  1. Somewhere, there’s a manufacturing belt with a bunch of molds in it then that belt turns reaches a fork and the molds go on separate tracks. One gets filled with molten iron and then other gets dimpled then the tracks come back together onto the same belt where they’re eventually sprayed alternately “golf ball molds” and “takoyaki griddles”.

  2. For all these matcha-optioned donuts, there was no matcha latte. That said, having I really enjoyed having an iced cafe au lait with all the matcha flavored donuts.

  3. As I’m writing more, I’m getting a better sense of when a footnote seems appropriate. I don’t currently have the posts dated. And if I’m writing something very time specific, then it might be better in a footnote. For instance: I’m currently writing this on a plane. And I bought a cruller at Dunkin’ Donuts in the airport before this flight but it just wasn’t the same. Now, I’m not giving up completely, because the flavor was there. It was missing the crisp outside and soft inside. I think this might have had more to do with the ‘in the airport’ part of that sentence rather than the ‘Dunkin Donuts’ part of that sentence.

Japan Trip 06 of 10: Five more thoughts

Here are some more thoughts on my trip to Japan.

I didn’t know the language: I thought this was going to cause more issues than it actually did. Especially not being able to read anything. There are enough English subtitles on the more important portions to make things manageable. Plenty of restaurants have english menus — many more have pictures you can use when ordering. At the Tsukiji gate, I was able to just type things into my phone to ask what time to come back the next day. And at a yakitori place I was able to ask if beef tongue was available.

NJPW show: Never would’ve guessed that’s what we were walking into. They basically express their excitement through how quickly they clap. And then you’ll hear a lot of accented “Rico!” and “Ospreay!” scattered throughout. It was a little bit of work trying to figure out how to get tickets. There are guides online saying you can just get them at a convenience store. Using these without reading Japanese is pretty hard. Or maybe I gave up too quickly. As far as I could tell, there was an option for viewing the help tutorial in English but no option to use the search and ordering interface in English.

We chatted with one of the attendants at the hotel and he made some calls to explain things. Go to Tokyo Stadium and there will be tickets at the box office. It opens at 4pm but there will be a line so get there earlier. Somehow, this all actually worked. It seemed like people reserved their spots in line with newspaper or something. But there were plenty of tickets to go around.

Fushiri Inari temple: I went with my parents to the Grand Canyon before. I had seen photos of the Grand Canyon before. You hear “pictures don’t capture it” for a lot of things, but rarely do things live up to that. The Grand Canyon did. I’ve never felt that kind of impact from just looking out at something.The torii gates at Fushiri Inari felt similar. But I guess at a different scale. Or I’m not sure what the word is to describe the difference in feeling. Walking through it felt like nothing I’ve experienced before. There are a lot of gates.

Arcades and crane games: I think we spent around $60 total in various crane games with nothing to show for it. Something I hadn’t seen was the style of crane game where there’s one big item to win. I learned you can’t really plan to win this with one go. You put the 500 yen in and get a 6th try free, and then you try planning different moves to eventually get that one item.There was also this sick setup of my life in 3rd grade.

What you can learn about UX from bidet UIs

I ordered a Chromebook — first impressions

I’m not sure what it was that really triggered things but I ordered a Chromebook last night1. I’ve wanted a lighter laptop for a while. My main (well, only) personal computer is a 15” MacBook Pro. I’ve had it for about three years now. It’s portable. I’ve traveled with it. I’ve used it to write in coffee shops.

It’s not super portable, though. I think twice before taking it anywhere. I have the same laptop at work and have brought both to travel before. That was a little ridiculous to carry in a backpack.

I’m thinking a Chromebook will feel better. The MacBook feels big sitting on an airplane tray. I was thinking right now that anything that might help me establish a writing routine will be worth the investment. Also I had some Amazon credit2.

Anything to help me focus3. This goal to write 100 somewhat-daily posts is becoming more serious as I’m starting to get a little bit of momentum.

One of the biggest distractions when putting posts together is the urge to tinker with the blog. As in writing HTML/CSS. It’s a pretty modern distraction for writing. It wasn’t like you could alt+tab over in your typewriter to go adjust the final book binding and presentation.

Having separate computers for writing and for editing/polishing and doing HTML/CSS things might be overkill. But I think it’s worth a shot. That’s why I ordered a Chromebook.

First impressions after about 15 minutes of use4

  • I like it. I think it’s going to be exactly what I wanted it to be: a writing machine. Which happens to be what I want to become.

  • Happy to see that developer tools work and I can do some JavaScript in the console. I’m not sure why I thought it might not work.

  • I don’t have plans to load Linux on this or anything. I can see why it might eventually be tempting/helpful for when want to make some HTML/CSS updates and finish off posts5.

  • On the other side, I’ll have the itch to figure out how I can do some development straight in ChromeOS. I think that will involve either a web IDE like Cloud9, SSHing into a server, or using remote desktop in some way. On the plus side, this blog runs on Jekyll so it might be somewhat straightforward.

  • The first thing I’ll need to get used to is keyboard shortcuts. Just need to remember they’re closer to Windows shortcuts and there’s no Command key.

  • The thing I’m missing a lot already is Ctrl+K, Ctrl+A, and Ctrl+E for deleting the rest of a line, going to the beginning of the line, and going to the end of the line. With a quick search I can see that there are some shortcuts with the Chromebook’s ‘search’ key that will let me select to end and things like that. I think I can get used to it eventually.

  • The keyboard feels good physically. I don’t think it’s hampering my typing speed at all.

  • The microphone works well enough for dictation to work in Google Docs. Also, if you haven’t tried dictation in Google Docs, you should. It’s incredibly accurate.

  • I read that it has good build quality. It does feel like it’s durable but I think that has more to do with it being plastic. However, I’m very used to MacBook build quality and it can’t compare. It’s an unfair comparison that I was making.

  • 11” screen is totally fine. It’s not like I write in a full window with full line lengths. And the browser can go full-screen so it’s plenty of space for what I need. We’ll see how that goes beyond 15 minute impressions. I’m excited to use this thing.

  • The shortcut for an em dash is to press ctrl+shift+U then typing 2014 and pressing the spacebar. You’ll see fewer em dashes from me, starting right about now.

It’s been a joy to use so far. I’m slowly building out a list of posts I plan to write and when I’ll post them. I won’t go as far as calling it an editorial calendar yet. This post is quick impressions, I’ll write something with one-week impressions, and then something for one-month impressions.

Oh yeah, it’s an Acer Chromebook 11.

  1. I ordered using Prime Now, so I actually got it this morning. I had to buy a gift certificate with awards points. Something about Prime Now that I’m not sure how it works is tipping. There’s a note that says the delivery people don’t know who tips are from or what amount. Maybe they get a bulk payment every paycheck? This seems like a test and that I’m failing and am a bad human being. Is the point of tipping to let them know you, specifically you, appreciated it or is it like charity where some think it means less if announced to the world. Anyway, I’m tipping $5. I noticed the suggested tip is higher than my last Prime Now order because the price is higher. But I mean. It weighs two pounds. I’m buying this thing specifically for its lightness. I’d tip more for a $40 grocery order.

  2. Which isn’t a really valid point about anything at all because you can buy just about anything on Amazon. It’s not like it’s a Starbucks card and I’m saying I made it a venti since I had the credit lying around.

  3. Aka anything to have a new gadget to play with.

  4. With images added way after 15 minutes of use

  5. There would be the added step of having to restart and boot into Linux to do that. Which would be good for separating writing and tinkering.

Japan Trip 05 of 10: Ramen

Ramen is one of my favorite things to eat. I’ve said that I could probably eat ramen every day. I’ve changed my mind on that. While I like eating ramen (and other food), I’ve never gotten really nerdy about food.Andy Greenwald does a much better job explaining that New York has too much tonkotsu. I should appreciate what we’ve got available. It was good to try different kinds of ramen.

Ichiran: We had one of the more interesting eating experiences at Ichiran. There are a few locations and we went to the one in Roppongi. You get a tickets from a vending machine (not as novel as the first time, but always fun) and then sit in booths. Each booth faces the kitchen, but there’s a curtain with a small opening at the bottom. So you can see torsos moving but not much else. If you’re a tourist with no idea what to do next, someone will duck down to explain how things work. Very friendly. I can completely see how regulars can go through without speaking at all. Select noodle type, richness, spice-level, other toppings, and you’re good to go.

Rokurinsha: I wrote about this in my As Seen on TV post. Really enjoyed this place. Completely worth the wait (about 25 minutes in our case). There was food I enjoyed but knew I could get about the same in New York. This wasn’t on that list. The broth is exceptional. They only serve tsukemen. Most New York ramen places offer it but don’t specialize in it.

Gyogo: Most photogenic of the bunch is the burnt ramen from Gyogo in Kyoto. Their specialty is burnt ramen. I know some other ramen places do burnt leeks for flavor in their ramen, but Gyogo broth comes out nearly pitch black. It doesn’t taste as burned as I expected based on the color. Tasty though. We ordered some of their pork belly. Reminds me of the best parts of tocino without being overly sweet. Really worth trying.

Ten days in

I’m ten days in on this project and happy with the progress. There are some struggles, sometimes I’ve thought “What’s the point?” There’s always the reality that there might not be a point. Nothing at the end of the rainbow. But you just have to trust the process. Two crappy pages a day.

Then there are days where it’s a joy to write. Those days seem to come after a good night of sleep.

I do notice that I jump around a lot more when I’m typing compared to when I’m writing longhand. And that could be the charm of morning pages.

I’ve been writing pages in the morning. But I haven’t been doing my Morning PagesTM.


Here are some non-software tools I’ve been using for writing:

  • Composition notebook

  • Dr. Grip

  • MacBook

  • Chromebook

Here’s the software:

  • Google Keep

  • iA Writer

  • Focus@Will or random Spotify tracks found by searching “white noise” or “study music”1.

  • Google Docs

  1. I absolutely cannot write with music I would want to listen to. Sometimes I’ll write with a podcast on. It fills the gaps and might be good while free writing to queue things up. Like in high school I remember seeing a video of a rapper freestyling and being impressed that he could rhyme with random words the crowd would give him. Eventually I realized that the automated prompts can make it easier. Before trying to sit down and write, I was tinkering with Vue.js and… I was going to write the rest of the tech stack and actually it doesn’t matter exactly what I was using. But I was seeing if I could put together something that would let me write timed things based on my Amazon highlights as prompts. Then I got sort of too deep in the weeds and the tinkering became the thing, instead of the writing. So I was programming before and after work and happened to be programming at work at the time also. I got burnt out. I’m still curious about that idea though, because when I tried out a couple of the prototypes, I wrote a lot. They might be good for writing book notes. I tried something where it would give me 8 highlights from a book and then cycle through them. I wanted to see if I could do something where after the first sequence, it would discard the text from the bottom 4 (based on word count) and then you could add to the survivors, then discard half again until you were left with the one idea that you still have thoughts on. I also tried a thing where it would give me one highlight from two separate books and I would write about them together, forcing myself to think about the intersection. Some of the results were interesting. And I wanted to try something with timed writing that would just take you through different steps. There would be a pause button, but there would be no rewind button. You’d have a certain time to write an outline, then you’d have another time block divided up equally (or maybe you could specify what percent goes to what bullet point) and then you’d write each section out, then you’d get another round through, and then you’d be done. By the end, you’d have your first draft. It almost certainly wouldn’t be worth posting anywhere. But you’d have a good idea of if you have a good idea. All in, say, 20 minutes. I should try this out just using a timer. Maybe I can do that actually on the flight I’m currently on. With Bit Timer.

Friday Links Issue 01

Inspired by Tim Ferris’s weekly newsletter of five things, I’ll start putting together lists of five links that interest me. Maybe bi-weekly. Because if I’m going to get to 100 posts in 100 days then there are going to have to be a few repeated topics. So here are some things I enjoyed reading1.

Also, I saved a couple bookmarks with Pocket. They’ll push to pinboard but I sort of forgot that I also have IFTTT pasting things to a Google Doc. That might help me put together a weekly link roundup.

Sorry, You Can’t Speed Read

that does not mean that you can somehow magically read parts of a page that you don’t look at, or process all the words in a superfast sequence.

I’ve always wanted to read faster. It’d be great to read, say, a book a day. More often, I’m hearing people say that they’re becoming okay not finishing books. Books sometimes appear over-anecdoted and fluffy because they are. Something about book sizes and airport book stores. Publishers want a certain book size and book stores do too. Mostly so that it looks like a book.

I can’t remember who I first heard it from, but someone pointed out that if you can get one great insight as a takeaway then the book is worth it. Related, someone else (unless they were the same person) said that for, say, $12 you can get years of someone’s knowledge distilled down. I’m feeling less guilty about skimming through parts of books2. Especially when I recognize the same study being referenced.

In (praise of) Process

But it’s also important to remember that small follow-throughs are what big follow-throughs depend on, and that a “finish line” is actually the last of a series. You have to cross many before you can cross the final one.

It’s about the journey. That’s my biggest takeaway from my time involved in TechStars. You can’t always focus on the end result. The journey is the interesting part. The fun part. It reminds me how important systems are. And focusing on the system and building a system that you enjoy going through. Or at least don’t hate going through. The system makes the journey more enjoyable and will get you to the payoff. I need to read this article probably.

In my effort to write daily, I’m seeing how consistency comes completely from the processes in place. If I have a good system for looking forward to the morning, then I’ll wake up when I want to ready to write. If I have a good system for writing then I’ll have a completed draft to edit. If I have a good system for editing and posting, then I’ll post consistently.

RIght now, I have systems in place for each of those steps but there’s a lot of room for improvement. In particular the editing and posting part. I get distracted by things like file directory organization.

Let’s sleep on it

Studies of human learning provide tantalizing evidence that sleep helps us retain new memories, but they don’t provide information about how it does so.

I recently read Sleep Smarter and enjoyed it. I thought I knew a good amount about sleep hygiene (I’ve got my blue blockers and a tub of Natural Calm in the kitchen), but there were a lot of new things and it was a good reminder of the things that I knew.

Some of the new things were that magnesium comes in a more effective cream form. And that working out at night isn’t great for sleep. I always thought that working out makes you tired and and, in turn, sleepier. But working out energizes you and can make it harder to sleep. Working out in the morning is great because it gives you energy in the morning and later at night helps signal when you should go to sleep. The book has citations. I’m citing the book.

There’s a chapter about meditation, which I really want to start practicing. I’ve done it maybe two or three times in my life. I listened to 10% Happier and thought it was one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. Then I didn’t meditate. Too many smart people meditate and there’s too much science backing it up to ignore it.

Paul Stamatiou: 10 years blogging3

I’ll be here pumping out one ridiculously-long article or photoset at a time, keeping my little corner of the Internet tidy and well-stocked.

I can’t remember how I started reading Paul Stamatiou’s blog. It was shortly before he stopped blogging regularly and started writing very long, in-depth articles. It’s great to read about his journey through the different stages that blogging has gone through. In particular, it’s a journey of both writing and tinkering on the blog itself. He made a huge transition from WordPress to Jekyll.

His photography site was a big inspiration behind a design sprint article I wrote. I saw his photography site and wanted to do something similar for my Spain trip. Then when I was putting out page layouts for photos, I thought what I had was clunky. And that’s when it hit me that it might be worth doing a design sprint to look at possible solutions.

I wrote about the sprint and that was a huge step in my career as a designer. It reminded me of the reach that’s possible through blogging. I wrote a few more things about design and blogged about them. Some were read a lot. Some were barely read at all. And writing this now reminds me of how valuable writing is. And tinkering.

In high school, I set up phpBB for my friends to mess around on. I also set up (gray matter), b2, and WordPress for me to mess around on. I didn’t make it quite to 10 years straight. I stopped after 5 or 6. But I’ve looked at that WordPress installation recently and it has 1500 posts.

Blogging is amazing and it seems to be having some kind of a revival, especially if we’re counting Medium.

Bill Simmons Breaks Free

Great profile on Bill Simmons in The Hollywood Reporter. I’ve read Bill Simmons since he was on ESPN Page 2. Not quite since he was on AOL. But for a long time. I went to a Book of Basketball signing. I forwarded his article about the Dooze to my crush during college and she said she loved it but didn’t understand all the sports references. I’ve listened to his podcasts from when it was kind of weird to have a podcast.

Something he would say (or maybe said one time in one podcast) is “You’ve gotta get your reps in”. He did that with his writing. Then with his podcast. He’s become an amazing interviewer. And now he’s got a TV show and the beginnings of a media empire. My brother and I took that as a mantra and say it to each other every so often in conversation. You’ve gotta get your reps in.

  1. I wrote most of this post on a plane. I’ve been trying out writing in 30 minute blocks and breaking those blocks into smaller intervals. I’m thinking of them as sort of writing sprints—until I think of a better name or find out a name for this type of thing already exists. For this post, I gathered 4 links to write about. Then I did 2 minutes for each topic, cycled back and did 4 minutes on each topic, then tried polishing things with the remaining 6 minutes.

  2. This reminds me of Effortless Reading, a book about reading. It talks about a book rotation: something you’ve read already, something new, something classic, a biography, fiction, non-fiction.

  3. I was trying to find this link and first searched for “10 years blogging”. It wasn’t the first result and it wasn’t even on the first page of results. I’ll try to go through a collection of those posts to see what some of the common takeaways are.

Japan Trip 04 of 10: As seen on TV

Aka Places we visited with better things you can watch online.

Osaka in general — No Reservations

We watched this episode on the flight to Japan. I wish they just had all Anthony Bourdain Japan-related episodes of various shows1.

We didn’t go to any specific place he visits on the show in Osaka. Actually, we did go to one of those places that has a bunch of battered and fried stuff. The episode was from 2006 and man I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.

We had similar food though. The battered and fried sticks mentioned above and also takoyaki. And we saw the street with the statue that people take pictures with.

Tsukemen place from Mind of a Chef — Mind of a Chef

Watch: Lucky Peach: Inside Tokyo Ramen Street’s Rokurinsha

There it is, right in the subway station. What isn’t shown on Mind of a Chef is that the shop is part of a line of restaurants in the station nicknamed ‘ramen row’. The wait was about 25 minutes and when you’re near the front you’re pulled out of line to order at the vending machine.

They’re very good about storing your luggage while you eat. The noodles are good and the broth is amazing. I said no to a bib because I believe in myself. Then I proceeded to cover my shirt with broth droplets.

After you finish the noodles, they add hot water to your tsukemen broth so you can have it like soup.

Also, while trying to find the Mind of a Chef clip of this, I saw that YouTube has a similar Lucky Peach episode. Then I remembered on the Bill Simmons podcast, David Chang mentions his foray into TV with Lucky Peach. They shot footage and then it was cut into some episodes of Mind of a Chef. The Lucky Peach episode is like watching the red band trailer of a PBS show. F-bombs abound.

Lawson — appeared on Parts Unknown, but in an Okinawa episode, which we didn’t visit

Anthony Bourdain is better with words than I am. On Lawson:

But there’s… one thing that still has an unholy grip on me. For no reason I can gather, it’s the convenience store, formerly of near-Akron, Ohio, that mutated into a massive Japanese chain. Behold, the wonder that is Lawson. What exactly about this place has its tentacles so deep into my heart and my soul?

I experienced it and love Lawson too. Growing up, we had a convenience store right off base. I think it was a 7-11 but I can’t remember for sure. What I do remember is that it was the pre-field-trip ritual. My mom would drive me there and we’d pick some snacks up. Usually that meant a rice ball and what then didn’t have a name but now we know as Uncrustables.

On this trip, we went to Lawson just about every day. 7-Eleven was another option, specifically when I needed an ATM. We would stock up on water for the hotel room at Lawson. Japan also has the game sort of locked on canned or bottled ice coffee.

I was also able to find Real Gold, though it comes in a Red Bull type can now instead of the small glass bottle that I imagine is what Elixir would be kept in if Final Fantasy were real life.

Also, me and my brother talk about how we used to always drink so much Real Gold when we were kids. And have guessed that it probably had a bunch of caffeine or nicotine or something so it never made it to the US market, even though it’s a Coca Cola product.

I remembered that David Chang has as segment in Lawson. I was scrolling through the Mind of a Chef episode descriptions, then I remembered it was from a No Reservations episode about Cook it Raw. He like, really loves Lawson.

  1. We watched a couple other food-related shows available on the flight. It reminded me how good a host Anthony Bourdain is. Watching the other shows was so cringe-y.

Seth Godin and Stephen King's pencil

Maybe this writing project will just turn into recapping podcasts I enjoyed. Who knows.

Either way, this post is about Seth Godin’s appearance on the Tim Ferris podcast. I mentioned it in an earlier post I wrote at Dunkin Donuts but couldn’t recall whose podcast it was on.

Along with the excerpt, here are some other things I enjoyed while trying to find1 his thoughts on writing rituals.

Bad ideas: Seth says daily blogging is one of his top 5 best business decisions, because it leaves a trail and he can continue doing it forever. Seth says he writes probably five posts a day, but stresses he has no ritual. Sometimes he’ll look at his queue and feels like he can write something better, so he does. But he says any good writer, if they’re being honest, will tell you they write a lot of bad things before getting to the good.

Write right: He writes right in Typepad, the blogging platform he uses and has been using for years. He shares a story about learning something from Chip Conley, who he went to business school with:

He got five of us together, and every Tuesday night we met in the anthropology department for four hours. And we brainstormed more than 5000 business ideas over the course of the first year of business school.

…He picked the anthropology department because he knew someone there and could get the conference room. He said, “This is the only place we will ever do this. And the reason is because when you walk into this room, you will associate this room with what we do here.

It only happened in that location and location is an important thing. The significance of writing in Typepad is not that it’s the best editor or anything, it’s that it’s the location where he goes and knows exactly what he’s there for and what he should be doing. I’m trying to find my location2.

Stephen King’s pencil: Tim asks about Seth’s writing ritual. “What time? Do you write in the morning?”

It’s not interesting to me to talk about how I do it because there’s no correlation that I have ever encountered between how writers write and how good their work is. So they should move on because it doesn’t matter.

I will now write ten more posts about how I write.

My dream is to be considered a good writer so I can tell people that I write in cafes. And I drown out the cafe sounds with headphones playing scientifically focus-approved cafe sounds. And that I use a Dr. Grip.

  1. I tried listening at 3x but have found that 2x is good for finding things and 1.5x is good for listening.

  2. I’m currently at one of the coffee shops around the corner. The coffee is better than Dunkin’ Donuts (possibly), but it feels weird being the only one sitting in the shop. It seems like they know every customer and have conversations with everyone that walks in. There are regulars. Which is what I’d like from a coffee shop. And exactly what I don’t want for a writing location. They look over once in a while. Are they wondering what I’m writing about? I’m certain the people at Dunkin’ Donuts don’t wonder about me at all. It’s great.

Japan Trip 03 of 10: Airplane food

I read Andy Greenwald’s food diary and it reminded me that 1.) I don’t write as well as he does but 2.) I can try to eat as well as he does. (I’d love to capture a night out as well as he writes about attending a wedding and the aftermath.)

I think you’re supposed to take notes. Which I didn’t do. But I did take pictures. So I’ll have to just go off those when my memory fails me. Which is right about now.

The first meal we had was at a yakitori place a couple blocks from our hotel. Wait, I’ll get back to that. I think the first thing really was the airplane food.

The thing about airplane food

Japan Airlines served food three times on the flight. A 14 hour flight is longer than it sounds. I mean, I did NY to JFK flight a week before and that’s six hours and that already feels long. Once you hit six hours and see that there’s still a full day of work worth of time you start realizing just how long the flight is. Then you think of how long a full day of work is and that even with work to do there’s still time to stare at the clock.

But this is about food. They start with full lunch service. I picked the pork katsu curry. Which I mean sort of says it all. It’s delicious. And it’s on a plane. Right now I’m fine not knowing the adjectives to describe fancier food. This isn’t that. [I don’t know that something breaded and deep fried can ever deserve all the adjectives that I don’t have knowledge of.] Basically, its pork katsu curry on a plane. If you’ve had the two separately, you can imagine them together.

I’ve fully enjoyed housing three bags of popcorners on domestic flights. So you know this was better. And you know the basic palette I possess.

The real enjoyment is in the bento setup. In three other boxes, there’s a potato salad with smoked salmon, mixed fruit, and tofu with pickled vegetables. And a salad. Then they come around with tiny cups of Haagen Dazs.

That set the bar high. Then they teleported me in from 3rd grade to put together a ham sandwich for the second meal.

After watching Concussion, various episodes of No Reservations and other worse travel shows, sleeping, reading a book about writing, writing a little bit, and watching half of The Martian, breakfast came. Shrimp congee, yogurt, crackers, and fruit.

Now for a bait and switch. If you came to read about yakitori, this post is getting too long so I’m separating it into its own post. I’ll update this link when that’s written.

Japan Trip 02 of 10: DIY Mos Burger

I wanted to write ten posts about Japan. That would hopefully be more focused than the initial random thoughts post. Each of the ten posts will probably have one picture and some thoughts related to that picture. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s a burger from the Japan Airlines flight.

"Mos Burger"

It’s a meal from Mos Burger that you assemble on your own. I wish I took a picture of the instructions sheet. Before Japan, I heard that Mos Burger is known for their rice and veggie burgers. I wasn’t too keen on trying it, because what I think is a pretty open mind for food shuts down when it comes to fake meat products. And we didn’t stop in when we passed by them on the street.

This was one of the meals on the flight back. And it was delicious so now I wish we tried out the real thing while in Japan. There’s always next time.