Monday, March 18, 2013

[ 11 / 52 ]

Week Eleven: Walk A Mile In My Shoes
Week Eleven

I bought these shoes a few years back and have used them as my go-to pair whenever I travel anywhere that takes me a little off the beaten path. They're little more than a thin layer of canvas attached to a thin sole, but they're tough SOBs. They've withstood taifuns in Taiwan, explored the Temples of Angkor Wat, patrolled the streets of Saigon, and much more. Suffice to say, they've taken a bit of a beating.

But none of it was as brutal to them as my trip down to Central America. Our first day out, we headed out to climb one of the volcanoes around Antigua in Guatemala. A little boy at the base told me that my shoes were no good. I laughed an carried on. The shoes survived the volcano. They survived when I ran through jungle forests with them. They survived hiked up mountains and when I went swimming in caves. That little boy couldn't have been more wrong.

They might look a little worse for wear these days, but they're still holding up strong..I'm not sure where my next adventure while be, but I know I can count on these shoes to take me there and back.

Friday, March 15, 2013


放置される (houchi sareru) - To be put on hold or left alone

Yesterday marked exactly one month since I last heard from Google, when they asked for my interview availability.

Google is my dream job. It's where I told people I wanted to end up back when I was still applying to schools. It's the company that, above all others, I want to end up at. Being stuck not knowing where I stand is difficult, but I will wait as long as necessary.

Back when I was in middle school, I was a huuuge geek. One of the nerdiest things I did was play the card game Magic: The Gathering, and I was really good at it. So good, in fact, that I qualified for the Junior National Championship tournament when I was in 7th grade (yes, there is a Magic National Championship. We can't all be cool kids).

I won that place playing with a strategy that was simple, ruthless, and effective; one that I had fine tuned and modified tirelessly throughout the qualifying process. There was nothing fancy about it, but it worked incredibly well. Come time for the big tournament, however, I felt like I needed a style that was more sophisticated. Somehow I came to the conclusion that what I had being doing wasn't good enough and that the occasion called for something more. So I changed my entire game plan for the finals to a much more complex approach. In the end, the new strategy worked out just ok, but I knew deep down that my original style would have done better.

It was a choice we often face in life: stick with your convictions, or do what you think others expect of you and hold more highly. In my experience, compromising to meet the values and expectations of others is rarely the best choice.

Truthfully, Google is a tough job to land and there is every possibility that it doesn't work out. I'm looking around for backup plans, but I'm being very picky about it. Some would say beggars can't be choosers, but I refuse to accept that mindset.

There are a lot of tech companies out there hiring, many of which are very prestigious places in the tech world, but aren't really of interest to me deep down. Likewise, there are plenty of positions available at great companies, but not necessarily for the roles that I want. As difficult as it is to still not have a summer internship lined up, I am committed to standing my ground as long as possible. This summer is a chance for me to try something new and see if  it is the right career for me. Taking a job just for the sake of having an internship defeats the whole point of that.

I remain hopeful that Google will still give me a shot. And while I can't count on a positive outcome from them, I refuse to go after stop-gap positions that are a Plan B at best. If I can stay strong and hang in there long enough, I am sure the right opportunity for me will turn up eventually.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

[ 10 / 52 ]

Week Ten: Drink Deeply
Week Ten

Even though it's early March, we're already getting amazing weather here in Berkeley. I love to spend the afternoon out on the back porch, laid out on a lounge chair, my Jambox providing the tunes while I read or do homework. Today, I was out there studying for exams and decided to grab a glass of cranberry juice to cool off a bit. As I was heading back outside, the sun shot through my glass and lit it up in the most brilliant shade of red. It was hard to capture that in a photo, but I'm really pleased with how the color and the shadows came out.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

[ 9 / 52 ]

Week Nine: California Sakura
Week Nine

About a week ago, trees all over Berkeley suddenly burst into bloom. I'm not sure if they are actually cherry blossoms (their red leaves make me think no), but they reminded me of sakura season in Japan. I always loved sitting with friends, eating and drinking away a weekend afternoon under the trees. I hope they are in bloom over there too when I visit in a few weeks...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Back in the Game

やりなおす (yarinaosu) - To do over or try again

I'd made it a goal in 2012 to complete the 52 Weeks Project - posting one picture every week for a year. I had made it about a third of the way through and was making some of the most interesting pictures I have ever taken. And then my computer died.

With just a few months left before I was set to move back to the US, buying a new computer with a Japanese OS (or paying a ton to get an English one) didn't make sense, so I got by borrowing my girlfriend's under-powered Sony netbook. Unfortunately, it didn't have anywhere near the horsepower to run Lightroom and its tiny screen meant checking the quality of my images was nearly impossible. Unable to process my RAW files, I was forced to abandon the project.

Over eight months later, I decided to have another go at it. I spent most of January travelling and it took me into February to share those stories, but I've finally cleared enough time to start posting my weekly photos to this blog. So far, I'm pretty pleased with the shots I've taken (even if some of them were done at the last minute on Sunday night) and have started taking my camera out with me more often in search of cool images.

This post is meant to share my shots from the first two months, and hopefully I'll be posting new ones on a weekly basis from here on out. I am really excited to see where the project takes me and my photography.

Week One: Looming Week One 

Week Two: After-Dinner Thoughts
  Week Two 

Week Three: Blue Sky, Blue Water, Blue Suit Week Three 

Week Four: Rubix Cube Domination Week Four 

Week Five: What Color is Your Hair? Week Five 

Week Six: For Whom the Bell Tolls Week Six 

Week Seven: Yukata Blues Week Seven 

Week Eight: Noodle Soup for the Soul Week Eight