Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sinking into Oblivion

Sinking into Oblivion

During the mid-twentieth century, scientist John B. Calhoun conducted a series of experiments to determine the effects of overpopulation on mice and rats. In the 1960s he conducted his most famous experiment, known as “mouse universe” or “mouse utopia”, which provided optimal living conditions for the mice: limitless food and water, ample opportunities for socializing and mating, plenty of nesting material, lack of predators, lack of disease, and so forth. His experiment presented the mice with only one challenge: overpopulation.

Friday, February 26, 2016

My fellow authors: looking for an editor or cover designer?

If you're looking to hire a professional editor, I highly recommend Michelle Demers, who edited my first two books. Aside from editing, she also offers other publishing services such as ebook formatting, print layout, and self-publishing consultation. You can view her testimonials here.

For professional cover design, I highly recommend Jenny Q over at (Testimonials can be found on the same page.) She specializes in historical fiction, but as you can see from the two covers below, she is highly adept at other genres as well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public

My second book is now available on Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle: You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public.

If you were frightened away by the graphic nature of my first book, Seven Nights with Ayahuasca, I can assure you that this one is rated PG, and it doesn't involve any psychedelics or detailed descriptions of vomiting and diarrhea. (See book description below.)

洋書が好きな方が居らっしゃったら、私の2冊目の本のキンドル版を発売しました。文庫版もそろそろ発売されるはずです。 You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public

去年に出した本 Seven Nights with Ayahuasca とは全く違うテーマで、「何で日本の公共の場所でぐうぐう寝ちゃったり気を失っちゃったりする日本人が多いのか」についての写真集です。英語の内容紹介は以下です。

Every day, all across the city of Tokyo, a curious phenomenon unfolds: scores of blue- and white-collar citizens end up passed out — sometimes in spectacular fashion and mind-boggling positions — on the streets, on trains, in restaurants, in bushes, or anywhere else imaginable. Come nightfall, one might stumble upon a well-to-do Japanese salaryman lying crumpled and snoozing facedown on the sidewalk, apparently walloped by a haymaker of fatigue that sent him crashing down for the count. These brutal knockout punches sometimes involve intoxication, but alcohol alone fails to explain this widespread yet unintuitive phenomenon: making a public spectacle of oneself in a society like Japan’s, where conformity and shame heavily regulate behavior.

Rife with fascinating insights into Japanese culture,
You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O. embarks on an eye-opening journey where social commentary and candid street photography explore the various societal factors — some enviable, some alarming — that contribute to this epidemic of passing out in public.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Keeping Myself in Check

One of the key components to successfully lying to myself is that I must be invested in the lie. If during my twenties I had observed a stranger who mirrored my exact behavior of the time, I might have casually thought to myself, "Jeez, that guy should take it easy on the booze." Not being invested in his personal matters, I would have had no incentive to deny the obvious about this stranger's detrimental behavior. Yet that very same behavior, when I did it, struck me as "no big deal" because I was invested in the lie: it absolved me from the burden of answering questions like "What sort of pain or unhappiness am I attempting to soothe with booze?" My ego also stood in the way, with arms folded and chest puffed out, always insisting that I didn't need to change, always eager to fill my head with delusions of grandeur.

In my everyday life it can be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to both bypass my ego and truly detach from myself mentally, such that I can evaluate my own behavior as objectively as I would that of a stranger. But these exact abilities are two of the profoundly beneficial effects of psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, Ayahuasca, etc. Later in life, specifically thanks to psychedelics I was able to look at myself from the outside perspective of someone not invested in my lie, and I saw my self-deception for what it really was. I clearly saw the pain and unhappiness that I had been trying to soothe, and I acknowledged that attempting to drown my problems in booze was not a solution but in fact another problem — one that I quickly resolved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bad beats

Despite many of my good friends being longtime hardcore poker players, I have avoided getting into the game primarily for one reason: the unappealing prospect of playing a hand correctly (statistically speaking) and yet still losing — a semi-regular occurrence known as a bad beat.

But I wasn't thinking about poker as I walked barefoot along the shore of Oahu's breathtaking Kailua beach at six in the morning. I was mostly thinking about the Portuguese man o' war, because dozens of them littered the shoreline like translucent blue landmines, their long, thin tentacles still capable of injecting painful venom even after the man o' war dies. In the dim light just before dawn, I vigilantly scanned for and weaved around landmines large and small while staking out a spot for my amateur photo shoot.