Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
In the past seven days I’ve flown from New York to Toronto to Tokyo to Seoul to Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to Frankfurt to Berlin.
Total travel time, including airport waiting and transit from airport to cities was 71 hours and 25 minutes. I kep track because, well, there are really a limited number of things one can do on a 71 hour journey. Counting it precisely is among them.
So, that’s 35 minutes less than three days of traveling in a period of seven days.
In that 71 hours of travel (which, parenthetically, was for the sole purpose of going to and from set events where I had the great good fortune to meet friends of the school and future TGS families) I did the following:
1. Read Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”;
2. Listen to Chris Anderson’s “Free” as an iTunes download;
3. Nibble at various airplane foods, the best of which was a Singapore Airlines Singaporean noodle;
4. Read portions of an annotated version of The Bhagavad Gita;
5. Mix Jelly Belly jelly beans into bizarre flavour combinations such as “Root Beer Cantaloupe” and “Watermelon Bubble Gum”;
6. Watch several episodes of HBO’s “Big Love”;
7. Organize the next month of my professional and personal life in excruciating detail;
8. Listen to a live Liz Phair concert from late 2008, in which she performed the entirety of her stunning “Exile in Guyville” album;
9. Write a couple of Spanish poems;
10. Catch up on a couple of issues of The New Yorker and Men’s Health magazines;
11. Buy a couple of gifts for colleagues from onboard duty-free;
12. Organize my Tumi briefcase over and over again, to the point where it is perfectly perfect:
13. Ponder a redesign of our THINK Global School business cards;
14. Fantasize about three days of rest and relaxation in Bali that won’t happen anytime soon 🙂 ;
15. Learn how to use Google Wave, which I really don’t quite appreciate yet;
16. Change the font on my BlackBerry and set the ringtone to The Eagles “Hotel California”;
17. Read a bunch of resumes of TGS teaching candidates;
18. Try to figure out (which I haven’t successfully done) how to visit a few cities I need to soon visit on business, such as Phoenix, Montreal and Mexico City;
19. Study, in great detail, my new watch magazine, marvelling at the simple beauty of some new designs;
20. Further refine my physical training programme for my planned late-2010 drive of a Formula 3000 race car;
21. Design a menu for a small dinner gathering I plan to cook for sometime reasonably soon in London;
22. Rate my favourite hotels in Europe (the winner being Mandarin Oriental Munich);
23. Plan my TGS video shoots for Berlin, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi and Hong Kong;
24. Sketch out my next “afternoon tea talk” at i.c. stars*, the charitable organization closest to my heart;
25. Reflect, generally and specifically;
26. Listen to a lot of Björk;
27. Try to stay hydrated.
On planes and in airports, 71 hours drags. But it’s also opportunity. Opportunity to be productive, contemplative, strategic, stressed, organized, sleepy, wise, restless, revolutionary, cranky and energized.
And this trip has really just begun. After a couple of days in Europe I’m heading back East, to a ton of meetings, dinners, colleagues, friends, familiar hotels, new experiences, great gyms, plenty of street food, and a vast landscape of potential.