dandelionEvents over the past week or so have been just shy of chaos. A lot of unrelated things have been happening at the same time, all requiring my attention.

My natural tendency to get distracted with new projects, ideas or interesting stories in the news hasn't helped much either, as I often find myself several hours into researching a stray thought that crosses my mind in the midst of working on something else, which quite often was a tangent from yet another stream of consciousness.

As a result, I've spent much of my time at the computer or rushing to meetings, though I've managed to find time to hit the gym or go out for a run. In addition, Pasta reminds me twice a day, once early in the morning and once as evening approaches, that she needs to take me for a walk, so at least I've got built-in breaks.

Pasta also keeps me company when I work into the wee hours of the night, making sure I don't get lonely (actually, she's keeping tabs on me in case I get up for a late night snack).

pastaIn the midst of all this, I've coined a new term...Project Vertigo...to refer to times such as this when I'm juggling so many projects, thoughts, tasks and new ideas simultaneously that I literally feel queasy. On balance, I suppose it's a good thing. Life is definitely interesting and my days are most certainly far from uneventful.

It's the Golden Week holiday now in Japan, which is one of the few times during the year during which office workers can take vacation without fear of being ostracised, abused or otherwise sanctioned by their bosses and co-workers.

Japan, like many Asian countries, still has a masochistic office culture in which people pride themselves on never taking vacation, and where conversely, they abuse people who do. Circumstances have improved in the couple of decades that I've been coming here, but at its core, it hasn't changed much.

Individually, most people admit it's silly and largely pointless, particularly since much of the mandatory office attendance is devoted to face-time as opposed to any productive work. But collectively, it's just the way things are. Everything in Japan is slow to change. This is no exception.

Anyway, the number of people travelling overseas for the holiday dropped significantly this year, something on the order of 20% or more. It's a reflection no doubt of rapidly deteriorating economic circumstances, or perhaps more accurately, a continuation of the 20-year economic funk that Japan has been in, thanks to rampant corruption and a culture of accepting whatever the government does. Scandal after scandal, corruption case after corruption case, bumbling mistake after bumbling mistake...and still no change in government. Sigh.

The weather was brilliant this morning, so I took Pasta for an extended sit-in-the-sun session. Balmy weather + spring showers means dandelions have sprouted all over the place.

pastaI remember as a kid finding hours of amusement blowing dandelion seeds around. Today in the park, all the kids had PSPs, gameboys and the like, showing no interest whatsoever in the yellow flowers or their feathery seed puffs, so it was up to Pasta and me be old fashioned and enjoy the dandelions.