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A whole different reality

A whole different reality

It’s one thing to talk about people yachting around the world in a boat they sold everything to buy. I recently ran across offerings that exist on a whole other scale.

Want to rent truly astounding yachts for 10-20 of your best friends? Yachts that come with crews of 10-20 to cater to your every food, bar, and piloting need? Do you have a cool half to million+ dollars for a single week’s rental? Then Morley Yachts is for you.

Go check out their offerings – offerings that only the 1% of the 1% could afford.

…and it made all the difference.

…and it made all the difference.

I am grateful to my family for giving me the gift of faith. After graduating from college, I served the Church full time for 11 years. But gradually, in the quiet intimacy of adoring Jesus in the most blessed sacrament, he revealed the difference between doing God’s work – and fulfilling his will.

The Lord was inviting me to be exclusively his own, he was inviting me to embrace a contemplative vocation at [the] monastery.

Sister John-Mark Maria of the Poor Clares in Tonopah, AZ

This is a profound realization – one that many in ministry work should heed. There is a difference between doing the corporal and good works we are called to do (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, educating the ignorant, defending widows, orphans, and the outcast, etc) and doing God’s will.

I think almost all issues and divisions arise in our church and faith lives because we’re more interested in doing the good works we believe should be done, and not to truly abandoning ourselves to do God’s will. If we all truly believe we’re aligning ourselves to the same, one, true God – then there should not be division.

But this is not easy. Consider Jesus during his last days. He had arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. He was greeted by the crowds with palm branches and shouts of acclimation. The crowds were ready to crown him king and let him lead them to victory over the occupying Romans. With his own disciples, he had just instituted the Eucharist at the last supper. He knew well he was about to be betrayed and handed over. It would have been nothing at all for him to have avoided arrest, he could have performed miracles to astound the chief priests and Pontius Pilate and easily become a leader or king of Israel. Yet he did not.

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” 39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
40 When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.* The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”

Matthew 26

As sister Maria mentions, the only real way to learn God’s specific will for you is to spend time in quiet prayer. I’ve often found that the easiest way to tell if someone is really representing God is to observe how dedicated the person is to their prayer life. Daily prayer that consists of extended periods (30-60 min) prayer – preferably in front of the blessed sacrament. Prayer that is not just reading a book, full of distraction, but is a quiet opening of yourself to listening TO god instead of speaking AT him.

This is critical because I believe almost all divisions and arguments between believers are caused by people that are doing more of their own will vs abandoning and trusting in God to direct each person to their chosen path. This is critical for each of us, because Jesus himself told us:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:21-23

time++ by TODTOWN

time++ by TODTOWN

Happy 2020!

The countdown to midnight on Dec 31st always gets me to thinking about time.

time++ is a public art installation commissioned to visual artist Raven Kwok by TODTOWN. It combines the aesthetics of computer generative art and the function of time service. In this customized generative system, particles that represent the current second are added with the elapse of time. With each assigned a shifting size and distance threshold, these particles form a self-organization and collectively display the current time in hour and minute.

Star Wars Kabuki

Star Wars Kabuki

For one-night only, Three Shining Swords took the stage at the Meguro Persimmon Hall in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on November 28 for an unforgettable night of cultural storytelling. A unique adaptation of George Lucas’s 1977 brainchildthis Star Wars kabuki play focused on the franchise’s latest episodes, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and stars one of Japan’s most renowned kabuki actors, Ichikawa Ebizo, as Kylo Ren. 

Skip along to 14:00 to start the fun.

Japan travel resources

Japan travel resources

Black Buddha – Excellent experiences and shops not found in the normal guide books to hit up in Tokyo.

TimeOut Tokyo – a great list of local events, reviews, and current events to attend. Great to check out right before you head out.

  • Time Out Love Tokyo Awards 2017
  • Top 100 best shops in Tokyo
  • Particularly interesting
    • Tokyo Hotarudo – a shop of Taisho period (1912-26) merchandise.
    • Shin-Yoshiwara – unique souvenir shop that captures the spirit of Yoshiwara, Edo-Tokyo’s legendary red-light district.
    • Beams – 6 floors of dizzying clothing, crafts, and art.
    • Tokyo Kitsch – Unassuming little shop selling traditional, quirky and, as its name suggests, kitschy Japanese souvenirs
    • Kagaya – One of the city’s longest-running smoke shops and deals in everything from standard cigarettes to cigars, pipes and lighters. You’ll find fine Cubans alongside product from places like Dominica, Honduras and Nicaragua
    • Kakimori – Specialist stationary shop. Kakimori’s has a massive range of pens, inks and letter sets. Best of all are the made-to-order notebooks, prepared in five to 10 minutes.
    • Hanashyo Nihonbashi – specializing in Edo Kiriko glassware
    • Atelier Sougeikan – Atelier Sougeikan offers calligraphy lessons where you’ll get a chance to decorate an item of your choosing, such as a fan or a lantern, and take your creation home with you.
    • Karimoku 60 Shinjuku – Turning out exquisite, retro handmade furniture since 1940. The company’s creations are all made from domestic wood and designed to suit Japan’s smaller homes.
    • Tokyo135° Shinjuku Alta – An offshoot of the nationwide Tansuya chain, Tokyo135’s Shinjuku Alta branch attracts a diverse crowd looking for slightly funkier kimono for all occasions.
    • Pass the Baton – modern recycle shop. You’ll find a range of second-hand items, including antiques, furniture, clothing and art – many of which have been previously owned by well-known celebrities.
    • Solakzade Solakzade’s Harajuku boutique is home to a distinctive range of unused vintage and antique frames sourced from Japan and around the globe. The shop has a particularly broad selection of styles in its 10,000-frame trove, including a few shades that date back all the way to the 1800s.
    • Mask Shop Omote – a favourite among the city’s actors, mask-makers and headwear enthusiasts. The selection ranges from the usual to the fetishistic, including Venetian-style masks, medical gear, Hyottoko (Japanese-style clown masks), and items with animal motifs.
    • House @ Mikiri Hassin – high-concept clothing by up-and-coming Japanese designers alongside select secondhand items from overseas
    • Nude Trump – long-standing vintage clothing shop with a chaotic jumble of outré garments and accessories with all kinds of studded, sequinned and fur-print oddities.

BucketList – top 50 things to do when in Tokyo

Love Tokyo Awards

Tokyo Foodcast – Insider food and sake discoveries in and around Tokyo, with occasional side trips thrown in just for fun.

Conde-Nast 25 things to do in Tokyo

Tokyo Illuminations for the Christmas season

Random and interesting things:

Coded Field

Coded Field

Coded field is part of “Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13” organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture).
This is a public art program that takes place surrounding the Zojoji Temple in the historical and traditional Shiba district.
Structural and geographical data of Zojoji Temple will be analyzed by using programming “Code” and is generated in virtual “Field” with this coded information embedded. That invisible information will be translated into light and sound and experienced in real space through balloon-shaped special devices developed independently by Rhizomatiks. Dance numbers are performance by ELEVENPLAY

Learn more here:

Sim cards in Japan

Sim cards in Japan

Traveling abroad has never been easier – and one of the things that makes it so easy is having an internet connected cell phone. Access to google maps, train schedules, email, video chatting, and IM’s makes travel a breeze. Finding free wifi, however, isn’t always easy/convenient. It’s much better to have data through your cell plan.

Sadly, US telecom carries are barely above highway robbers compared to most of the world – especially when it comes to overseas travel plans. The cost of adding overseas for even a few days/month can far outstrip the cost of just getting a local country plan.

Turns out, someone has done a good job of comparing all the different sim plans in Japan. Just figure out which one works best for you and buy. You can often pick up the sim in the airport, or even have it mailed to you before you even leave home. Now that’s convenience.

Just don’t forget to bring a paperclip so you can do the request brain surgery. 🙂

Pre-paid sim plans:

Pocket WIFI plans:

Garmin Fenix 5x and custom maps

Garmin Fenix 5x and custom maps

A good GPS can save your life out in the wilderness. I always carry one with me when heading out climbing or hiking. But GPS units are somewhat notorious for being expensive, heavy, burn through batteries, and often have clunky UI’s and features. Some units charge you money for map updates. Things are getting slowly better.

I currently own a handheld Garmin Oregon, but had a friend who has the Fenix 5x watch. I was amazed how well the interface worked and the quality of the GPS. The Fenix 6 was just announced, and older units went on sale. I recently saw the Fenix 5X on sale for $299 during an early Black Friday sale and couldn’t pass the opportunity up.

The next question is – how are the maps for hiking. The default watch now comes with Garmin’s excellent maps and are upgraded regularly for free. My well-healed hiking friend says he has yet to find a trail in the Pacific Northwest that’s not in the default maps.

I was even more happy to learn that the Fenix 5X allows you to upgrade your maps yourself – including open map packs and systems. I tried out the maps on GMap – which include more details and topo features than the default maps. Using the free Garmin BaseCamp software package, you can copy the free maps from GMap into the tool’s list of maps, then load those maps onto your watch. I found the process to be really smooth and worked without much fuss.

Follow the directions/links on the Hiking Guy’s website for instructions on how to upload maps too.