The Podcast Chronicles Begin

There’s a long-ponytailed middle-aged Japanese man standing at the counter right now, the back of whose shirt reads “Rock and Roll is a vacation from my f–king life.” I’m not bleeping out that word on my own, incidentally, that’s literally how it’s written on his shirt. Now that he’s turned around to face me he does have a kind of aging rocker vibe to him that seems to imply that he knows what his shirt says, but I could just as easily see a pleasant, polite Japanese girl wearing that shirt oblivious to its meaning. I’ve seen a lot of examples of that. Maybe I’ll try to start jotting each one down when I see it. Anyway, all of this rambling is merely to avoid opening this entry by acknowledging that it’s been a full goddamn year since I last posted here. Not that I haven’t been writing in the interim, though. Actually starting in May I dropped the freelance lifestyle and took on 2 part-time jobs, one of which had me writing and editing constantly, much to my delight, and for awhile there I was rolling in money (well, alright, I mean compared to my $30 a day freelance life where grocery shopping took several hours because I’d have to hunt between 4 different stores trying to find the cheapest boneless chicken and vegetables) and somewhat excessively busy, but happily so. But through an entirely unforeseen and somewhat absurd setback I find myself back in the freelance seat, sort of. I don’t really feel like delving into that whole story right now but maybe when I’m less in the immediate thick of it, when it’s fallen beyond the dead ground of the immediate past and into the past past where I can freely reflect on it I’ll tell that crazy story.

On the one hand, though, I’m in a far better position that I was a year ago, where I was stringing together a series of somewhat inconsistent jobs to try and hit my $2000/month earning goal. That’s because one of my 2 part-time jobs from last year is still afloat, and for only 3 days a week of work it puts me beyond my freelance salary goal by itself. So with a quick bit of math, that means I have the remaining 4 days every week to pursue my own projects. So let me take a quick tally of this past week and see how I’m doing:

Tuesday: today. Extremely busy at project work. Wrote a list of things in my agenda of what I want to accomplish this upcoming month. Panicked at the realization that that means an entire month has already passed in this state. Began this blog post.

Monday: work at the part-time job. Or why don’t I just say here that it’s a tutoring place where I tutor in Physics and Math. Kids were good. Gave a lecture on Simple Harmonic Motion and felt myself getting excessively invested/excited about it for some reason.

Sunday: busiest day at the tutoring place — sometimes a 12 hour day. Replied a bit testily to a couple of texts from friends asking if I was around to hang out because they should know that I work on Sundays by now since I complain about it on a weekly basis

Saturday: off day to recover from an extremely busy and stressful Friday

Friday: spent 2.5 hours editing and writing my George Takei podcast episode (undeterred by the fact that I don’t actually have a podcast) and another 2.5 hours at a tangentially journalism-related networking event (overheated, somewhat awkward, more nice/interesting people than parasitic/boring people). Oh and talked to my sister in the morning– best part of the week probably.

Thursday: work at the tutoring place. One of my lessons was cancelled and I used the time trying to force into my brain a full understanding of double-slit diffraction and diffraction gratings which for some reason is a blank I can’t firmly seize between my two hands– it keeps wriggling and breaking out of my grasp

Wednesday: too far back, impossible to tell.

Oh and sometime in this week I also became really into the “Stuff You Should Know” podcast. So much so that I actually had a dream about it last night. I was sitting with the 2 hosts in this kind of homey room that was divided between a living-room area with a couch and giant TV and the “recording” area that featured a big wooden table and the hosts sitting in front of microphones across from each other, which is an image (at least the table and the positioning of the hosts) my subconscious probably borrowed from a picture of the Reply All podcast crew during one of their recording sessions. Anyway I sat in on a bit of a recording session of SYSK and then we decided to play Xbox together and when they plugged in a spare controller for me my name appeared on the screen, which we all realized meant that somehow this controller had previously belonged to me. Josh Clark was especially surprised to the point of alarm at this discovery, but I was mostly feigning my alarm–I was inwardly ecstatic that we had this bizarre and inexplicable connection between us.

In all seriousness, though, I’m really trying to muster some forward momentum (another Physics jibe) in the supposedly more than 50% of my time that’s supposed to be devoted to my own projects. Actually that reminds me what I did last Wednesday– I had coffee with a friend of mine who launched her own podcast here in Tokyo, and she gave me some useful advice on launching my own. So I think I’m going to embark on something that I will term an Alex Blumberg-y approach to self-discipline in the face of a daunting personal project– that is, I want to record here my attempts to start a podcast in Japan. And hopefully by using such an aspirational reference in the framing of it I’ll be motivated to follow through. Probably the best advice my friend had was to draft something like a “mission statement” where you clearly outline to yourself what the concept and goal of your podcast is. Something specific and concrete that you can constantly check yourself against later– not just a flippant “uh it’s going to be about expats in Tokyo?” banner response. So there you go– later this week, my podcast mission statement.

 

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