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26 April 2016 @ 01:00 pm
"All that you know will fade."  
I was telling someone the story of my first real experience in Japan the second day we were there, where softlykarou had to go to a lot of panels but I had free time. I looked at the guidebooks and determined that I was going to head down to Meiji Jingu, so I dressed, loaded up my satchel with the guidebook and map, and headed out to Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world.

I watched the people at that station use the ticket machines for fifteen minutes until I finally felt confident to use them myself, and then I bought a ticket and got on the Yamanote line, and spent the whole day out wandering the city, coming back at dinner time to meet up with softlykarou.

But  photo emot-gonk.gif

After telling the story, something was nagging at me. I remembered that my feet got torn up from the new sandals I was wearing and that I had walked one leg of the trip, but I knew I didn't walk home. I also remember walking south, past Yoyogi and through part of Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑). And in a flash, I remembered what really happened--I didn't buy a ticket. I watched people for a long time, waiting for a lull in the crush of people buying tickets so that I could go buy one myself without holding up the line or having to walk away without figuring it out, and there never was a spot in the line. I didn't have a ticket but I wasn't going to sit in the hotel room all day, so I walked. On the way back, Harajuku Station was significantly less crowded and I bought a ticket there to go back, and thereafter I was fine.

My mind rewrote the whole thing as a story of triumph over unfamiliar circumstances and persistence in the face of discouragement and, actually, it was completely the opposite.  photo emot-ohdear.png I got too worried and gave up, though at least I actually went to the shrine instead of hiding inside all day. But until I thought about the inconsistencies, I would have sworn that the first version of the story was the true one.

This is part of why I still keep a blog of mundane events when nearly everyone else I know has stopped doing so. I don't trust my memories, and writing down accounts of vacations or weekends or cultural events immediately after they happen helps preserve the first impression in my mind. Maybe no one else will read it, but I sometimes go back and read them, and it helps me remember things I've forgotten or that my mind has distorted over the years.

It's also why I'm terrible for giving advice. Sure, "Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes," but even when I do give an answer I wrap it in as many qualifications as I can based on how ignorant I am of the parties to a situation, the circumstances, whether I was there or not, whether it's ever happened to me before, etc.

I look forward to the perfect robot future, when everything we experience will be perfectly recorded for later access and we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
 
 
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