How is it that three years can fly by so quickly? This coming January the boy will move beyond the "terrible twos" and reach the minimum age for kindergarten, meaning he gets to start half-days in February before moving to full days1 in April, the official start of the school year. At school he'll learn new skills, new behaviours, make friends, and interact with the world in exciting new ways. Reiko and I will still be very much involved in his upbringing, but he'll also start to take cues from his peers who will let him know when he's being a jerk.

Up until a couple of years ago, I used to wonder why our childhood is so long compared to other animals. Young people are generally dependent on their parents for almost two decades and generally go out into the world as dumb as a brick despite the education the world provided. It's not until we're closer to 30 that many of us actively start contributing to society in a meaningful manner, using the expertise we've gained with one or more skills to solve complex problems. However, as I watch the boy attempt new things and as I see him hone nascent sets of skills, I can see a number of advantages to a long childhood. There is the safety net from family and the community at large, of course, but there is also the opportunity to better absorb the lessons from previous generations. This would often be the why behind a preferred behaviour or action. Young people will continue to ignore advice and make the mistakes people warned them about, but these same people will often incorporate some of the lessons from an elder's mistakes in order to avoid the same potential consequences.

Or, this is the general idea.

Being the man I am, I've made more than my fair share of mistakes. I've paid for most, avoided consequences for some, and learned from them all. My son will undoubtedly do the same, just as humanity has done for thousands of generations. However, I'm also trying to offer the boy a chance to learn more about the poetic justice of cause and effect, respect, love, and compassion. This is done whenever it's time to learn a lesson and it's also part of a little project that I've been working on for three years as of today.

On November 11, 2016 I started writing what has become a collection of letters to my son. Back in 2016 he hadn't yet had a name, so every letter starts out with "Dear Son," and runs about as long as most of the blog posts I write, which is about 600 words. A few come close to three thousand and two contain fewer than a hundred. All of them contain bits of knowledge that I've learned over my 40 years. Some of it is first-hand experience. Some of it came from my father. Some of it from my father's father. While I doubt he will read the entire collection before he has a family of his own, I'm hoping to present him with what will undoubtedly be a careful book of experience before he ventures out into the world on his own as a young man.

I want him to make his own mistakes and learn from them, of course. I just want him to make better mistakes than I did. If nothing else, this book will be something he can look back on to see how even though the times have changed, people have not.

  1. By "full" I mean 9:00am to 2:00pm … which is probably a full day for the teachers who have 20+ energetic children to educate.

Five Things (That Bring Me Joy)

Another Sunday, another list. For some reason I’ve stopped writing a weekly Five Things post, however, today I’ve actually put a bit of thought into this one while bug fixing some CSS. There are a number of things that I’ve found bring me a great deal of internal peace, which may as well constitute joy. None of these items are alive, as I don’t count family members or pets as things. Instead, this list consists of activities and situations.

The first item is one I’ve already mentioned, as it spawned the creation of this post.

Bug Fixing in 10C

Generally big hunting and fixing is a pain in the rear but, when it comes to doing the same with 10C, I feel quite happy — particularly after a problem is isolated and eliminated. This might be due to the long history I have with the project or the code base itself but, regardless of why I’m happy when fixing issues here, there’s no denying the smile that comes to my face as I fire up the code editor, a handful of browsers for testing, maybe a JSON parser and a MySQL client before getting down to business. Hopefully this small pleasure doesn’t turn into dread anytime soon.

A Responsive Computer

Fortune favours the foolish, and few are more of a fool than I. That said, the new 15” MacBook Pro I received from the day job a few months back has completely changed the amount of work I can get done at any given time. The machine is incredibly capable given it’s a modern Core i7 system with 32GB RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. In plain English, this machine has got the clocks and it rocks. Photo work seems to take just as much time as it did on my 2015-era Core i5 MacBook Pro, but everything else is night and day different. So much so, that I sometimes forget just how much time I spent waiting for the previous machine to perform its tasks.

I’m quite fortunate to have the opportunity to use this machine, and thankful to the people at the day job who made it happen1.

Walking With Podcasts

I really enjoy my occasional walks to the hill in a nearby park. It’s where I go to centre myself and just watch the world go by. It’s also the place where I like to listen to podcasts featuring people way smarter than I’ll ever be, talking about complex issues and providing a perspective that is generally new to me. Armed with another way to look at a problem, I’m better able to examine my own point of view to see if there are errors or areas that can be improved with more concrete thought. Listening to these smart people does generally make me feel so intellectually inferior that the gulf between my knowledge and theirs appears impassable, but this is part of the process of learning. Seeing what knowledge I lack offers the opportunity to research and investigate specific areas. Complex ideas require targeted learning. Nothing can be properly understood with a general knowledge.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s November, which means I can enjoy chocolate again without worrying about the sweet treat melting before it hits my mouth. Chocolate chip cookies are great, and I’ve missed having them.


Over the last year or so I’ve been reading photography blogs and watching videos on how to compose shots and generally use a camera properly. While I’m nowhere near the novice level just yet, the quality of photos I take now supersedes anything that I did before having a DSLR camera. When Reiko and I learned that we were going to be parents, we wanted to have a camera better than a cell phone. To that end, we found a good deal on a Canon Kiss x7 and picked the unit up a couple of weeks before the boy was born. The iPhone takes some pretty good photos when the light is just right, but the Canon’s larger sensor and optical zoom lenses more than make up for its bulk. I’ll gladly bring the bigger device on trips just for the quality of the output.

And that brings this article to a close. Every one of these items were greatly appreciated at least once this past weekend, and many are appreciated each and every day. Given the struggles that have been overcome in the last decade, I’m often quite thankful for the good fortune that has recently come into my life.

  1. As a result of internal politics and personal vendettas, there was talk of using the request for a more capable machine to shove a weak Dell in my face because the company “doesn’t support Mac”. My options were a Dell notebook with a bad screen and insufficient RAM, a Dell notebook with a bad screen and cramp-inducing keyboard, and a Dell desktop with a Core i3 and an RSI-encouraging keyboard+mouse combination. The next time I have a Dell in my possession will be the same time I see just how buoyant a modern Windows PC is, because I’ll shove that piece of garbage in the IT water cooler just to make a point.

Keeping It Local

Today the family and I threw caution to the wind and went out to do something new: picking persimmon from a nearby orchard. This was the first time Reiko and the boy had the opportunity to do this and the weather really couldn’t have been better. Blue skies above. Relatively warm temperatures in the sun. A breeze that carried a light fragrance of the fruit trees and nearby mountain. One really couldn’t ask for a better Saturday.

Walking Towards the Picnic Area

A friend of mine and I worked at an Apple orchard while in high school. The trees belonged to the shop teacher, Mr. Castle1, and he would often hire students to come pick several thousand apples over the course of a couple days. Most of these apples were destined for ciders, and the most appealing were generally given away as gifts. This was hard work. Much harder than one would expect. However, the work was also incredibly enjoyable. We worked outside in the clean air while joking around and filling baskets with fruit. Come dinner time, Mr. Castle would fire up the barbecue and we’d all feast on burgers, hot dogs, potatoes, and corn. It was a time of carefree bliss.

Today reminded me of this simpler time.

After a little picnic, the boy couldn’t wait to run around the large lawn, laughing and singing the whole time. Reiko and I got in on the fun while other families watched as we played around like a bunch of children.

Having the luxury of these simple pleasures makes the difficulties of adult life easier to bear. I often wish the boy were “just a bit older” so that he’d be more independent and able to do things himself but, at the same time, I want to enjoy this innocent time in his life.

  1. Mr. Castle was one of the most encouraging teachers I’ve had the privilege to know. He bent a number of rules to give students opportunities and I can safely say that because I could take advantage of this, I was able to explore my passion for computers before they were generally available to families.


A neighbour of mine recently asked for some help to resolve a long-standing problem with their phone, an iPhone SE. Helping people with technology related problems generally leads to an endless number of follow-up questions and phone calls, but it's hard to say "no" for something so simple to someone who will live next door until one of you pass away1. I agreed to take a quick look and he handed me a phone that appeared to be well taken care of.

The first of three reported problems involved the device displaying an "incompatible accessory" message occasionally when it was being charged. I've seen this in the past myself when the Thunderbolt cable is a little worn out so asked to see the charging wire. The cord was brought out and I could see right away that it was a brand new, Apple-brand Thunderbolt cable with absolutely pristine connectors. Not leaving anything to chance, we plugged it into an outlet then get the phone connected. It started charging, but would stop whenever the device was put down.

A bad Thunderbolt port, perhaps?

The second problem had to do with a pair of EarPods that were used with the device. Just like the Thunderbolt cable, these looked brand new. When they were plugged into my neighbour's iPad, they worked just fine. Both headphones had sound and the remote was flawless. On the phone, however, sound would only come out of the left headphone and the remote was unresponsive.

Corrosion in the headphone jack, perhaps?

The third problem was with a USB memory stick that could also connect to the phone. When the phone and the memory stick were pushed together hard, the connection would work and data could travel from the phone to the stick and vice versa. However, when pressure was taken off the 3rd-party accessory, the connection was lost.

A poorly made Thunderbolt connection, perhaps?

My neighbour then proceeded to tell me a couple of stories about the phone and how he hasn't been able to receive pictures of his grandkids for few days as the device is out of storage space and he can't copy pictures to the USB stick. While he was doing this, I tried to visually examine the ports on the phone, flashing some light into the headphone jack and the Thunderbolt port. There was what appeared to be a bit of dirt mashed at the far end, but nothing too crazy. Still, it seemed like a good idea to clean in out before investing too much time into solving the three problems.

Using a toothpick, I poked at the bluish dirt and started to pull the foreign material out … and pull the foreign material out … and pull the foreign material out. Rather than mere dirt, enough lint had collected and been jammed by the various connectors that neither the Thunderbolt cable nor a headphone plug could fit all the way into their respective ports. After a minute or two of cleaning, we tried the cable, the headphones, and the memory stick again. Everything worked perfectly.

It's not often that I ever think to examine the ports on my phone but, after removing what appeared to be several belly buttons' worth of lint from the neighbour's device, the 6S that generally stays in my back pocket received a thorough cleaning as well.

  1. He's in his early 70s. I'm thirty years younger and not Japanese. Given the lifespan of people in this country, he'll likely outlive me by a couple of summers.

10,000 Hours of Something Else

Many, many years ago, before a time when the Toronto Blue Jays were back-to-back World Series champions, I spent a remarkable amount of time playing a tenor saxophone. The instrument was borrowed from the school I attended and, as one would expect, I played in the brass band with 49 fellow students. The saxophone was a wonderful horn with an attractive sound when one learned how to effectively play a reed instrument, and it was something that I wanted to excel at. There was band practice three times a week and, when there wasn't, the sax would be carried home or to a friend's place where it could be put to use for an hour or two before dinner.

There were no illusions of being the next Kenny G, though. While the act of playing music was incredibly enjoyable, it wasn't going to be a career. The last time I had a sax to my lips was in 1991, playing in the band for the graduating class of that year.

While I'm not keen on picking up the saxophone at this point in time, I have been seriously thinking about trying my hand at the acoustic guitar. This is thanks in part to Spotify, which has a seemingly endless supply of playlists dedicated to the instrument.

Classical Gas Sheet Music

A lot of the hobbies that I've invested time into lately have all involved using a computer at some point, be it photography, exoplanet exploration, podcasting1, reading, writing, chatting, sketching, learning, or coding. Everything seems to revolve around a screen and Qwerty keyboard at some point to accomplish a goal2. It would be really nice to do something else for a while, though. Ideally something that will take me away from the computer.

An acoustic guitar would certainly do this3. Just as with the sax, there would be no illusions of a career in music. The purpose would be to play some of my favourite songs and maybe jam with the family from time to time as they play one of the other instruments in our house. We currently have a piano, a violin, and a trumpet; all of which would sound nice with an accompanying guitar.

The only real challenge that I see is dedicating the time. Everything else can be solved with practice and perserverence.

  1. I'm still recording every so often, but rarely ever publishing.

  2. Baking is probably one of the few pastimes where I am not sitting in front of a computer at some point.

  3. As would a lot of other musical instruments, of course.

Rewatching Evangelion

In the summer of 1997, when I was impossibly young and attending college, there was a great deal of commotion on IRC about an animated series from Japan called Neon Genesis Evangelion. It had everything that a young man might be interested in, incredible machines, lots of action, a story that had realistic characters that evolved over time, and sexual innuendo. As luck would have it, there was a video rental shop on the way to school that carried a small selection of anime, including the first three VHS tapes of the series. On a warm Saturday morning, I rented the videos and got together with some friends who shared a similar interest in Japanese pop culture to see what the series was all about. As many people who have seen Evangelion would attest, the story was absolutely remarkable. I was hooked.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

The availability of anime in Canada at the tail end of the 90s was spotty at best. Fans of the genre would often have to travel great distances to find a hobby shop or comic book store that dedicated half a shelf to the art form. I remember one summer day where a high school friend of mine and I drove nearly 150km to downtown Toronto because there was a rumour that Silver Snail, a large comic book and collectable shop, had recently started carrying VHS tapes, DVDs, manga, and even figurines of the more popular shows. The rumour proved to be correct, and we both gladly spent more than we should have on whatever tickled our fancy the most. Evangelion, however, proved hard to collect. A lot of places would carry the first half of the series, which was 26 episodes in length, but few offered anything after episode 14. It wasn't until somewhere around 2004, nearly seven years after my introduction to the story, when I could at last watch the entire series from start to finish; largely thanks to sources in newsgroups and BitTorrent.

Discussions about the show online always struck me as a little shallow. Evangelion was written like a good Pixar movie, in that people of varying ages can enjoy it as much as their understanding of the world and themselves allow. I knew that the message in the show went much deeper than I could comprehend at the time, but lacked the resources to gain the insight required to better understand the core subjects. There was no denying that the show was not about giant mechs taking on bad guys intent on destroying Tokyo-3. The show was also not about religion despite the myriad of references to interpretations of Christianity. The message that I took away from it at the age of 24, which was during a very low point in my life, was that the internal demons that encourage us to believe we have no value are ultimately wrong and the best way to overcome the feelings of isolation and self-loathing is to talk to people and make some connections. Whether this was a valid interpretation or not is almost irrelevant, though, as I decided to tread back into the world and make those connections I sorely lacked.

Fifteen years have passed since I last watched the show. A lot has happened in my life since then. The demons of self-doubt continue to bother me on a semi-regular basis, but I have never again felt as despondent as I did in my early 20s. Within a decade and a half I was able to go from being a self-loathing individual drowning in student loan debt, renting a single room in a shared house, and subsisting on a single tuna sandwich a day to the person I am today, complete with a different set of faults, weaknesses, strengths, and merits. Was this all due to an animated show about a group of broken people who believed they were saving the world from imminent destruction? No. But it certainly was a piece of the puzzle.

Two weeks ago I decided to give the show another watch as the complete original run is on Netflix and today the 26th episode was watched. The show is still as enjoyable as I remember it being as a young adult. The story still as complex. In the intervening years since watching it previously I've been fortunate enough to read a number of books and listen to podcasts on psychology, religion, personal growth, and more. I've also lived for 15 years, learning along the way and adapting to new situations. This allowed me to enjoy the story from a different perspective, as a parent and as a person who better — but not completely — understands the challenges that life throws our way. I can better appreciate the gravity of the decisions characters grappled with. I can better understand why some of the supporting characters did what they did, knowing full well at the time that it was perhaps not the best choice. Being human is not easy, but it is generally better to be than to not. Many of the greatest works of art over the last few thousand years carry this message. Evangelion implies the same.

As individuals we are all defined by our limitations and incredibly vulnerable. However, nestled in the tragedy of our failings is also our potential. When unharnessed it can appear a maelstrom of anxiety and self-inflicted pain but, when we build the courage to grapple with the chaos of being and accept our impediments, we can bring order into the world, into our lives, and into the lives of others who may also suffer. This makes life worth living.

Right Twice a Day

Once again it seems the battery in my 14 year old Fossil Arkitekt watch has given up the ghost leaving me in a bit of a jam with knowing the current time at any given moment. There are certainly alternative tools available, such as the phone, the notebook, the wall-mounted time piece, and just about every appliance in the house, but it's just not the same as being able to quickly look at my wrist and see just how far into the current day we are. Batteries in this particular watch seem to be good for just two years and, while this is certainly better than I can expect from any other battery-powered device in the house, there's a slight amount of disappointment with just how often it seems the watch needs a new battery. If I were a little more foolish, I'd likely consider upgrading.

As one would likely expect, I have an appreciation for timepieces. Smaller mechanical devices, in particular. The amount of precision and detail that is required to craft a reliable and durable watch is phenomenal and a joy to observe. The rhythmic ticking is reassuring. The unobtrusiveness is welcome.

When I was seven years old my father promised to buy me a watch as soon as I could prove to him that I knew how to read an analog clock. By reading, he didn't mean being able to say things like "It's twelve twenty" or "It's three forty-five". Many children can do this by the time they're in elementary school. He wanted me to say the time "correctly". It's twenty after twelve. It's a quarter to four. With the incentive in place, I practiced with gusto and earned my first timepiece, a wind-up Citizen watch with a white face and brown faux-leather band. That watch was worn and cherished daily up until the strap tore, which then gave my mother an opportunity to replace it with a black plastic digital device that smelled of chemicals for the entire time I owned it. In high school I had two digital watches that I would alternate between depending on the season. In college I went without anything on my wrist, choosing instead to look at a cell phone1. After college, though, I wanted to wear a watch again. Something beautiful. Something elegant.

A Fossil Townsman Chronograph with a stainless steel band fit the bill perfectly and was worn daily until it was stolen in 2005. The loss was completely my fault, as I had taken the watch off to wash my hands and arms in a public location. When I realised the watch wasn't on my arm a few minutes later, I went back in search of time timepiece only to see that it was gone. Naturally, nobody had turned it into the Lost & Found, so I was out a watch until the following weekend when I picked up my current minimalist Fossil.

If I were to choose a new watch, though, it would have to be an automatic device. Something that never needed winding or batteries. Something that would adjust itself autonomously if I were to travel to a different time zone. Something that would last far more than 14 years. Something like a Tissot Mechanical Automatic with zero complications and — ideally — no visible numbers.

This isn't feasible just yet but, if the opportunity arises, I'd jump at the chance to have a watch that should — if taken care of — outlive me. So instead of picking up a new watch, I'll just get another battery for the Fossil I've worn for a third of my life. It shows clear signs of wear, and this is part of the reason I'm not yet willing to take it off my arm just yet.

  1. This would have been back in 1997, which meant the phone was an Ericsson KT-688.

Attention to Detail (Part II)

A few days ago I wrote a couple of sentences on how attention to detail separates artists from generalists and the subject came up this weekend while standing in line for Hogwarts at Japan's Universal Studios theme park in Osaka. This was my first time to the park and, I've got to say, Universal has a winning strategy with how they designed and executed on their money-maker, though it's most certainly not due to any careful consideration or mindful approach to park design. One might even say that the park is more enjoyable because of the lack of meticulousness that is seen in every aspect at the country's other large theme parks: Tokyo DisneyLand and DisneySea.

The family and I didn't get to spend a great deal of time at Universal Studios this weekend, primarily because we planned it at the last minute and because I had to be home for an important work-related meeting in the evening of the second day. That said, we did get to enjoy the rides and activities around Sesame Street and the Harry Potter attractions. The boy was fortunate enough to get pictures with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and a number of dance performers. We interacted with a lot of the park staff, asking questions and getting help with some of the "magic" tricks that we could do. The lines for the handful of toddler-appropriate rides we stood in moved generally well, only stopping when there was a small accident1. As one would presume with theme parks, everything was priced beyond comprehension. 650円 ($6 USD) for a 250mL cup of "Butterbeer" and 925円 ($8.50 USD) for a single postcard that you can mail to someone in the country2. But price gouging is to be expected. People are paying for memories. The products are secondary.

Disney was similar, in that we could get some pictures of the boy with Elastigirl in her red outfit, the "cast" were all incredibly friendly, and the prices were at least triple what you would expect to pay anywhere else. However, Disney theme parks are quite a bit different from anywhere else (that I've experienced) primarily due to their attention to detail. Every aspect of a Disney theme park is considered with such meticulosity that every detail of every object in sight involved a great deal of fussiness. The buildings show no sign of modern construction techniques nor is any visible aspect out of character. There is not one "normal" streetlight in the entire park. Every character statue, assuming they're bipedal, is standing straight with head raised to look just over the horizon and their shoulders are back. Even the visible nails and screws that are used on the buildings and furniture are unique to Disney. Nothing happens in a Disney park without a remarkable amount of pre-planning.

USJ3, on the other hand, cares about the look of their sets … but not nearly as much. There's patches of natural rust next to almost pristine paint on metal railings. The backside of Hogwarts Castle, which is clearly visible when walking through the snaking waiting line course, consists of industrial cinderblocks painted white whereas the rest of the castle looks like a castle. Outdoor play areas for young children have some character-based flourish, but nothing is so unique that it wouldn't be seen at a regional amusement park. Heck, parked outside the 50s diner they have a 1954 Corvette convertible, a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, and a Bill Boyer-designed 1963 Ford Thunderbird. Sure, one could make the case that a 50s-style diner would still exist in 1962, when the '63 Thunderbird hit the market, but you can bet good money that any car parked outside a period-specific restaurant at Disney would be 100% confined to that period.

Naturally, these little differences do not necessarily detract from how much a person can enjoy the atmosphere of Universal Studios. Reiko and I both agree that we probably had more fun at USJ than either DisneyLand or DisneySea this year despite the semi-planned nature of the trip to Osaka. Metal rusts. The partially-obscured back-ends of buildings are irrelevant when it's the façade and interior that people are more interested in. And how many people of theme park visiting age can really spot from a distance the difference between a car from the 50s and a car from the 60s and genuinely give a darn?

I spot these things because this is part of who I am. The little details that go into everything fascinate me. What are the characters in movies doing while the main speakers are hogging the attention? What rarely-eaten garnishes were put on the plate next to the main dish? What kind of trim panelling was used around a door at a friend's house? How do Acer, Fujitsu, and Toshiba notebooks differ from a MacBook? All of these receive some degree of attention from me because I like seeing how people create things. Observing the creations of others generally provides a perspective on what's important at any given time. Disney wants everyone from the disinterested adolescent playing Nintendo Wii to the super-fan-OCD-types to think they're in a magical place where everything is unique and special, especially the mundane things that we typically ignore. Universal Studios wants everyone to enjoy activities based on blockbuster movies and children's characters, knowing that most people couldn't tell you the type of tires that Dr. Emmett Brown had installed on his modified 1981 DeLorean DMC-124.

There are pros and cons to each approach. For me, I think the lack of "perfection" at Universal Studios actually helped me enjoy the short visit a bit more.

  1. One boy didn't go down a slide properly and the friction caused him to flip face first onto the surface and skid down the rest of the way with his forehead acting as a brake. It was quite the sight to see. Every parent in the vicinity made a collective "Ooh!".

  2. A postage stamp for a postcard is 42円 from a convenience store and Sesame Street postcards can be had at fifteen for 100円 (15 for a buck!) at the dollar store. 925円 for a single sheet of paper with a picture on it? Just because it's from a theme park? Get out of here!

  3. USJ is what people call "Universal Studios Japan" over here. It's just easier to say three letters than nine syllables. Also, saying the full name with a Japanese tongue requires just over two seconds, which is a long time to say any single noun in Japanese.

  4. Goodyear Eagle GTs, on stock DMC rims.

Osaka Through Different Eyes

The family and I are in Osaka for the night, making this the fifth adventure in the fifth prefecture in the last five weeks. This amount of travel is highly unusual for us, as Reiko and I have gone almost nowhere in the last ten years due to having jobs where our holidays seldom overlapped, and a general lack of excess capital. While we are not quite as cash strapped as before, we understand very well that bills won’t stop coming just because they’re inconvenient. This will like be our last big trip of the year. Fortunately it has been quite eventful.

In the six hours that we’ve been in Japan’s most lively city …

  • We checked into a really nice hotel
  • We had some amazing okonomiyaki and yakisoba for dinner
  • The boy had photos with both Elmo and Cookie Monster
  • We rode some nice rides
  • Reiko lost her phone
  • Reiko got her phone back
  • Bath time actually involved a bath1

After everything was said and done the boy fell asleep within a couple of minutes and Reiko did the same. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as exciting … minus the time spent at the Lost & Found.

  1. We generally shower, because it uses less water and we don’t want to have any accidental — or intentional — drownings.

Weekend Getaways

For the last couple of weekends the family and I have been taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to see more of the country. First we went to Kyoto, then to Tokyo, followed by Inuyama, and today Kuwana1. Each of these cities is in a different prefecture, and each one was an excellent opportunity for photos. Tomorrow, if the weather and the family is up for it, we might just hit another city in another prefecture a couple of hours north from here.

While travelling across the country with a curious almost-three-year-old can be a bit difficult at times, I'm quite happy that we're venturing outside the typical areas. There's a lot of wonderful things to see and much of it will look better when it's experienced through the eyes of a child. These short trips are also an excellent opportunity to occupy the mind with something that is most certainly not related to work, which is a gift unto itself.

There is little hope of the boy remembering the bulk of what he experiences just yet, but I really hope that he's enjoying himself while out and about. He's still innocent enough that we could take him to the neighbourhood parks and he would be happy, which is certainly a blessing in itself. When we take him to distant places we're hoping to push him out of his comfort zone just a bit so that he can continue to develop and appreciate that there's more to the world than what surrounds our neighbourhood.

With any luck, if we do this often enough, he might just be able to fly halfway around the globe in a handful of years to meet my side of the family. Ninety minutes on a train followed by 13 hours on a plane then two hours in a car is rough for anyone. It can be downright unbearable to someone not accustomed to travel, though, which would spill over to make everyone else's trip just as miserable.

  1. I guess this post could be classified as the Kuwana post, though there isn't anything specifically about the botanical garden we visited.