University of Pennsylvania (Robert)

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    Nippon ga suki desu.

    By Hasselhoff
    Oct 17, '06 9:07 PM EST

    I've got to keep this one short since mid-review is on Thursday. But I'm at work in the PC lab and it's very difficult to get any real work done here. Plus, I have to do one last entry during my week as featured blogger. By the way, that was a terrifying sight to see upon first waking up! Seriously, I was famous. I can't count the number of people that came up to me informing me of my fame. Kind of frightening.

    I should be a salesman for VRay. I gave a presentation to my visual studies class last week as well as a few stragglers. The response was pretty positive and I think it generated a lot of interest. I'm still digging it and slowly learning how to use it. I wish I had a week or so to just play with it. I use it randomly just practicing between classes etc, but I still have a lot to learn.

    The other night I was walking down Locust Walk towards my apt around 1 am. Some black guy (it's part of the story, I'm not racist) comes slightly limping up to me and says “Which way is west?” I point and say “That way.” He starts walking beside me and says “How far to 69th street?” “About 30 blocks.” “SHIT. Thanks man. I'm just a black man. No need to be scared. The last guy just spit on me. Racism sucks.” “Oh wow, that's too bad. Not good.” “I used to teach at DeSales University. You heard of it? Where you from?” “Around Reading” “Oh yeah, near Allentown. Undergrad or grad?” “Grad” “Where did you do your undergrad?” “Lafayette” “Oh yeah, near Allentown. I've been HIV positive for two decades. Don't worry, you can't get it from just talkin'. I did talks at twenty colleges around there. Talked at Lafayette. They made me an honorary Leopard. I'm too tired to walk 11 miles.” I gave him $.50 and he went away. It was really strange that he knew so much stuff about schools in the area. I kind of wonder what his deal was. I wonder if he really was a prof., got mixed up in drugs or something and became homeless. Or maybe he just had a fascination with area schools. Strange. I told this story to another guy and he said he got the same story.

    So I'm starting to really consider moving to Japan for a few years after I graduate. I have a hook up to Sejima, Kuma, Tezuka (who actually went to Penn and does EXACTLY the type of work I really like), Pelli/Mitsu, and Ito. She said if I'm interested, let her know and she can help me get my foot in the door. My only concern is sugoi urban induced insanity and scurvy. I also slightly worry that I may never come back to the US. It's this weird torn love. I love Japan and want to stay there for a while in some capacity. But I also don't think I want to stay forever. BUT, I have the kind of personality that I might never come back...Jump style. It only costs $2000 to ship all my shit door to door, Philly to Tokyo. I already got some quotes. I could probably also pay off my loans really fast since I would have no time to spend any of my earnings.

    Ok, time to work on mid-review stuff. Thanks to all for a wonderful week of fame!


    • liberty bell

      I giggled every time I saw that "Faces of Meth" image of you on the front page, Hasselhoff!

      Go to Japan. Go for it - if you don't, for the rest of your life you'll always wonder what it would have been like if you had.

      Oct 17, 06 9:39 pm  · 

      Tezuka does nice nice work. I had not heard of them before...
      the first time I googled "tezuka" and got some crazy manga stuff, Tezuka Osamu...

      Oct 17, 06 9:47 pm  · 

      You'll love Japan. but you won't stay forever. You don't know me, but trust me on that. Architects have a lot of freedom from their clients in Japan who don't want to step on any toes. It can be a great thing. Go.
      BTW はじめまして and your blog is one of my favourites!

      Oct 18, 06 1:57 am  · 

      hah. would be cool if you moved to tokyo, robert. though i am betting you prefer to live in kansai, no?

      kark is right, most people eventually move on. i tried once or twice. all of the people i knew when i first came here are long gone, and now i am one of those old-timers i used to meet who have been here so long it seemed impossible.

      but i will move in a heartbeat if i get the right opportunity. i was talking to my wife about this recently, and we sorta realised that while london would be nice to live in again we would really have to earn a lot more money to be as comfortable as we are in tokyo. it is strange but japan is just incredibly easy to get by in. salaries are generally not so bad, taxes are low-ish, healthcare is good, food is amazing-good, and in tokyo at least there are opportunities to do cool stuff as architect or is easy to stay...til something better comes along.

      tokyo is, btw, not so urban crazy as you might think. i usually hear birds more than traffic from my flat, and i am not so far from the centre.

      Oct 18, 06 2:15 am  · 

      ジャンプさん、 今香港にいますが、6年間日本に住みました。悪いことは言いませんけど、長くは住めないね! 因みに、わたしはアメリカ人ですけど...

      Yeah, for a real hairy urban experience, try Mumbai.
      Tokyo doesn't have the "Chinatown feel" to it that so many people expect. Easy to live there so long as you learn how to separate your garbage into 6 different categories (you must remove that plastic wrapper from your plastic Coke bottle and dispose of them in seperate containers or else a man in a suit will visit you with posters and brochures explaining how to do it the right way in 8 languages) and... don't feed the crows.

      Oct 18, 06 2:32 am  · 

      too true.

      you like hong kong better kark? i woulda thought it more tough to live in (unless you got money) than tokyo...?

      apologies for hi-jack robert.

      Oct 18, 06 7:53 am  · 

      No problem. Good advice, good stories. Actually, I think if I were to live in Japan I would prefer Tokyo to Kansai. I love Kyoto and my OSaka peeps, but I think Tokyo would be easier for a baka gaijin like myself. I don't think I could do Osaka for very long. Tokyo has the nice hills and stuff which requires things like, open space, because sometimes you just can't build. It was more something I noticed this past time since I spent so much time in Kansai. Then I went to Tokyo/Yokohama and was like "Wow, there is a lot more free space here than I remember, and trees and wind." Even this summer, the area where I lived, Konanyamate, between Kobe and Osaka, was really nice, pretty chill, yet very accessible. About 20 minutes to either city, but with places to go in town. It's that morning commute and the insane heat that gets me. Tezuka's office is about 5 miles from Shibuya and looks rural comparatively. I think I could do that. But I'm also mildly terrified of the next Kanto earthquake.

      Oct 18, 06 9:21 am  · 

      Also, travel between Tokyo and the US is cheaper by up to 50% sometimes.

      Oct 18, 06 10:26 am  · 

      Tokyo crows are pretty fucking evil. Too many stories about taking the trash out, and then they bomb you!

      Oct 18, 06 2:29 pm  · 

      lol. crows was always stealing our metal clothes hangers (for those who don't know, most people in japan hang their clothes to dry outside; no electric dryers), presumably to build nests...we switched to plastic. crows stopped thievin. but we got nicer birds here too. tonnes of noisy nocturnal beasties actually. nice to have the trees that attract them, shitty that they chirp all night long...;-)

      tezuka would be a great office to work in. i loved their corten hall/tower project in the art village. it stands out from their houses and other projects quite a lot.

      Oct 18, 06 7:21 pm  · 

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