This time of year is best spent on reflection (because if not now, when right?). So much is happening during the year, and we’re so busy just living, that we rarely take the time to pause and take stock of what’s been accomplished, remember what we’re working towards, or how we’re handling it all mentally. So, when things start to slow down during this last week of December, I think as a society we traditionally use the time to reflect.
Having always been a very task-oriented person, I often times find myself gravitating more towards the desire of completing a project or event as opposed to the act of simply participating in it. It wasn’t until the past few years in my life that I was taught to be mindful of the present, or, ‘enjoy the ride’ so they say. While the wording of that saying may come off as childish and a bit pedestrian, there is merit to being able to live in the moment. I’ve learned that checking in with yourself existentially every once in awhile can be beneficial.
They say that the coming of a new year gives us all a fresh slate to work from; a new beginning that allows us a mental reset of our lives. This is a bit deceiving, as we need not wait until the end of the year to modify our actions, but it does provide an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months. As far as time keeping goes, a year is a pretty significant measurement. We typically evaluate our successes and failures based on what we accomplish within a years time, and give ourselves goals for the new year with the intention of having achieved them in yet another year-long period. We continue this forecast of achievement year after year, basically for our entire lives. For that reason alone it’s a significant occasion.
The past few weeks have felt like slow motion to me. If ever there were a time I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of life, it’s been the last month of 2016. With a countless amount of social gatherings, the holidays, media works, preparing for next years attack events, managing work contracts, traveling across California to spend time with family, and my entirely unplanned for storefront issue, it’s been non-stop for me and honestly one of the most stressful months of my life. 2016 brought the site 78 new posts ranging from event coverage to car features from Japan and the US. I’m proud to say that despite a lower post count, we’ve continued to grow at an increasing pace.
Thursday morning Kayla and I set off to Tokyo via the Tokaido line out of Yokohama Station. I really dislike going into the city with a car, especially to Tokyo. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of Tokyo in general, and it’s just further compounded when I’m driving there; it’s not so much the driving, but the parking really. We were walking around Meiji Shrine when I got a message from Kubo at Garage Work. He was asking if I wanted to stop by the shop that afternoon. I was literally in Chiba the day before visiting Masao at Technical Motor, and from a fiscal standpoint wasn’t quite in the mood to be going back again, but honestly, I could never pass down a visit to the one shop that influences me in a way no others do.
As I stepped outside, leaving behind the warm confines of the heated living room, I could quickly feel the chill lifelessness of the Yokohama winter surround my exposed face; an invisible, biting veil of wind that seems to only exist when the sun is below the horizon. It was just before 5am and the morning sky was still dark, nearly void of stars as they dodged their way in and out of view of the low hanging clouds. With my gloved hand, I shut the front door to Sekinei’s house, and waited motionless on the porch for him to get ready. So there I stood, unseen save for the haze of condensation from each exhaling breath. Giving up the fight to keep my eyes open, I slowly closed them and let my mind wander until it decided to focus on the present.
I’ve always wondered about the truth of this euphemism. Certainly, we’re living in a time that alludes to the necessity of being in a state of constant undertaking. Does this mean that our prior successes, our past experiences, are in danger of being forgotten so easily? If everything we did wasn’t held in such permanence, I’d be willing to bet that not many people would remember much of what we accomplish at all. I have a feeling it’s a product that stems from the instant gratification we’ve come to expect out of the modern world. I’ll call it the, “What’s next?” mentality. If we commit to something we love, and prove our worth in whatever it is we’re working towards, how soon will that worth be forgotten if left in a state of idleness? What frequency of action need there be to maintain an integrity for us, and at what point does this frequency beat out value?
Kansei Kougaku (感性工学) – a design methodology that serves to elucidate the user’s emotional response into the realm, or sphere so to speak, of a product or commodity. Founded by Hiroshima University Professor Mitsuo Nagamachi, the concept of Kansai Engineering, at surface level, allows us to link an individual’s physical and psychological reaction to the properties and essence of a product. This theory has not only become a well-studied notion that can be applied to an almost endless amount of applications, but has also given us, as inherently unique individuals, an opportunity to view nearly everything man-made with a sincere empathy – whether we are conscious of it or not.
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