Kyoto, Japan

It’s my thirteenth day on the road. Even in this short time I’ve mostly forgotten the day of the week and fallen out of habits. It’s easy to remember to bathe every day and to eat. It’s harder to remember to eat at the right times, to respond to email, and to check in with friends. Being far shifted from United States time means waking up to dozens of emails, notifications, and text messages. I wake up around the time the United States is headed to dinner.

Japan already feels like home. The first few days that I was traveling I missed San Francsico, missed my apartment and my bed and my favorite restaurants. Now my mental “home” has shifted to a few security blankets I keep around: my bag, my music collection, and my favorite websites. I can feel at home if I need to just by putting on some songs I like. If I stay the night in the same place more than once that place starts to feel like home too.

In my apartment most habits were driven by the physical environment. This sounds silly but it’s true: I kept my toothbrush in the bathroom to remember to brush my teeth, my shoes in the closet near the clothes, my notes to myself in a place where I was sure to go: on the desk near the keyboard.

These days the only place I’m sure to go is into my phone and my bag. Daily reminders get sent as push notifications from my calendar. Everything in my bag goes into the pocket where it belongs: flashlight on the left, then camera batteries, business cards and usb drive, pen, notebook, power supply, headphones, sunglasses. I can make sure I’m packed up and ready to leave somewhere just by checking if all the pockets are full.

One thing I’ve forgotten along with forgetting the days of the week is to take a day of rest. After arriving in Kyoto last night I walked around the city, checked out a temple during it’s last few hours of cherry blossum festival, and then went to sleep for 12 hours. I was exhausted. I woke up and everyone from the hostel was already gone.

It’s now almost 2pm in Kyoto. I’ve been out shooting and meeting people and exploring Tokyo and Kyoto all day for the past three days. Jet lag is catching up. Today is going to be my day of rest. I’m going to find some bandages at the convenience store to cover my tattoos and then head to a Japanese Onsen public bath for the next few hours.