I’m In….

With less than 24 hours until I’ve been clean shaven, clothed, and sent off into my personal voyage of hope; I can’t help but feel terrible at my lack of updating the world on the most recent changes in my plans.

Even while my life required me to keep moving, I never stopped keeping the thoughts and wishes of those closest to me, with me, as close as anyone can ever be.

Plan Until the Plan Changes

A wise man once told me this phrase. If you go full-throttle into everything you do without ever taking time to contemplate the world around you, how can you know you’ve gone in the right direction?

As many of you know, Eastern  Japan was devastated with recent tragedies. The scope of which I have never been witness to before. Honestly, I still haven’t had such an experience, being that my work keeps me in the far west of Japan. That being said, my heart bleeds with the need to help. I do not wish to bore you with endless dribble about a possible self-righteous holier-than-thou messiah complex. I only want to do my part. Being that I have the ability to set aside months of free time, I’m lucky to have the chance to give as much as I can.

So How Does This Change Things?

I must apologize. I’m in love with my hike. I’ve planned every piece of it for years, and i’ve been looking forward to it for even longer. My apology goes out to those who’ve donated money. This is because my hike has changed. I will still complete the entirety of the buddhist pilgrimage around shikoku. This will be the first 40 days of my journey. However after this, I will go to eastern Japan to help with transporting food and providing spot translation. (I definitely can’t translate, however I can provide simple, “Do you need water?” translations). There are a few companies I am looking at, so I will let you know when I decide (after I have completed the first section).

Eventually, I will complete the journey by traveling the old roads of Japan. However, to assuage my need to do my part, I must go to Eastern Japan. I will still portray your wishes and dreams the entire time, but if you would like your money back please let me know.

Where’s the FAQ and the Contribution Page?????

Yes… I haven’t had the time to post since the earthquake. My apologies for this! However, be rest assured! I will post everything after the hike. From there, I’ll make a documentary and everyone will be in the credits as well as on this website!

So… You’re Really Doing It?

Yes. In 11 hours I will shave my head. 7 hours after that I will leave for the biggest journey of my life. Please check back to this website every once in a while, or follow me on twitter or facebook. I will let you know where I am.

As ineloquent as this post may be, let me end it with this. We all have dreams, right? I’ve said it many times, but it begs being repeated. We all have dreams. I want to prove those dreams are worth it!

I will do just that.

I promise. 約束よ

FAQ Part 1 – Religion

So many questions follow the initial ‘Why?’ I receive every time I mention my hike to those around me. I thought it would be relevant to post some answers to this blog to give some insight into my madness.This is the first post of a three part series. Parts two and three will deal with sport and intention accordingly.

The following post deals with religious inclinations. If you’re here for the purpose of backpacking tips and other such awesomeness, feel free to skip this post. Within the next few days I will be posting another article as an update on my exercise and equipment. If you wish to continue, by all means do. And if you wish to argue, suggest, or simply comment – I’d love to hear! PLZ people!

You’re not Christian?

The single most asked question I receive (when in Japan) is this question. Massive media-induced stereotypes aside, yes – in fact- I am not a Christian. For anyone within America, this question seems rude and too direct. You can safely assume that most people in America are either Christian or hold similar values, right? Well, in Japan, this question is akin to inquiring about your favorite color or what music you enjoy. This isn’t out of racism as I’ve often mistakenly assumed. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is It stems from lack of exposure. If most of the western people you meet are missionaries and English teachers, who don’t shout their religious beliefs from on high, you’d feel the same way.

Why aren’t you Christian?

This question doesn’t come up often because generally my friends don’t seek conflict. I do, however, know that many people really want to ask this question, so here’s the best answer I can give. My lack of Christianity can be most easily described through three key factors that make up my personality.

One, I kinda love spirituality. Two, I kinda love science. Three, I kinda love everyone.

My love for spirituality leads me on starving rampages from the ancient mythologies to the recent holy scripts. I’m fascinated by our collective need for something outside of ourselves. Whether that be forgiveness, connection, or a dislocation from loneliness. I can’t help but feel connected to each account I read. How, then, am I supposed to go against my love for Greek gods, Shinto spirits, and modern philosophers by declaring them as nothing more than mistaken ideology? I fear that we will always be searching for the unknown and I can’t possibly disregard the meaningfulness, whether metaphorical or otherwise, of those other beliefs.

My love for science, though, doesn’t immediately make Christianity my enemy. Many priests, and monks were scientists. My favorite, Gregor Mendel, devised experiments, explaining the method of inheritance (Read: Genetics). Even the ‘Big Bang’ theory was initialized by a Belgian Priest.  No. Really, I have an innate urge to research, test, hypothesize, rinse, and repeat. With the many disregarded sections of biblical verse (e.g. “Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”), it doesn’t withstand my personal litmus test of ethereal believability.

My love of everyone comes directly from my Christian upbringing, so why does it cause me to lose faith? Simply put, as much as Christians seek to help the world, the doctrine of Christianity can be and has been equally as destructive as any other religious dogma. I’m always fascinated by the outward love of Christian missionaries in the same way I’m fascinated by the outward love of EMTs. I have seen, read, and learned of atrocities made in the name of God, and I can’t rectify that severe disparity (although I’m thankful of those who do compassionately give without expectation).

So, You’re Buddhist?

No, not exactly. At least not yet. Even though the first part of my journey follows an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage, I don’t consider myself Buddhist. Does this disqualify me from the quest for Nirvana? Happily, no. Buddhism and the path to Enlightenment bears similarity with my own beliefs on existence.  The early Buddhists found Enlightenment through personal meditation and observation of the interconnectedness of life. I’m hoping I can come to a personal understanding of the world around me. At the same time, I wish to represent others in the same journey towards understanding.

Okay…. What gives you the right to do this?

Nothing does, really. I mean, what gives us the right to do anything? Right? This questions is extremely difficult to answer because it assumes I was born in a religious jail cell, applying for parole. In fact, we all have this right.

I’ve invited the world to give me their prayers and intentions as to be a vessel. I’d like to take those intentions with me on my journey to represent them, through sweat and tears, to the best of my ability. Every faith, throughout the world, speaks of determination and sheer passion as a means in conversing with the unknown. I’d like to earn forgiveness by those worried about my spiritual inclinations by serving that communication for them, daily, to the best of my ability.

Personally, I feel that faith and morality are important. It’s important to treat other people and your environment with love and fairness. It’s important to trust a world exists beyond your understanding. It’s impossible for any single person to understand everything there is to know about the universe. And possibly I am wrong about any given faith. To the truely faithful, I would love to have a chat over coffee or tea. Drop me a line!

As for my hike; If, by walking in the footsteps of those before me (and ‘with’ Kobo Diashi ) I fall into Buddhism, Christianity, or any other spirituality, I will gladly continue testing it as any good scientist would.

The Rhyme Scheme of History

In less than 2 months, I will hike through Japan to prove the possibility of such an adventure. I will be hiking on a well-known pilgrimage as well as two historic routes. As self-explanatory as the 88 temples of shikoku may be, the two historic roads require further explanation.

“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” – Mark Twain

As a student of history, I feel the importance of events in our recent past further extend our ability to predict events in the future. I’m not proclaiming the often versed, “History repeats itself.” For I don’t believe such things. Instead, I believe a study of history should mimic the study of a psychological profile. Just as people tend to waiver between sorrow and happiness, so do we all – as a society.

As a quick disclaimer; I am, by no means, an expert on history. I’m merely an amateur enthusiast.

The Forest Men

When I was a child, I had access to an awesome set of legos. Specifically, I was obsessed with these forest lego-men. I would spend hours creating a society of forest people. At first, the most decorated lego-man was the king of the tribe. I developed his leadership qualities (that gained him such a position), but over time this started to seem unfair and tiresome when I had to come up with more reasons for why he should have more power than the others. From there, I made all of them equal members. As a kind of faux direct democracy, they made every decision together. Being a child, I was exhausted by having to juggle so many opinions and eventually fell back on my King Kris. (Yes… yes, I appointed myself king).

Now, as an adult (well, overgrown child – per se), I cycle through these principles with any game I play. Each time, I inch closer to a better approximation of the ideal leader paired with a fair representation of those within the group. By no means am I the one who came up with these ideas, but I am one of the many who repeat such a process on a regular basis. Some kids play house, some play war, I played leadership.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that I believe this cycle bears resemblance to the cycle of history. We tend to see themes that run through any time period. Each time a theme runs it’s course, it’s modified and perfected for the next era.

History, Rinse and Repeat

It’s no hidden thing that I love history. In fact, I make that boring quality known quite often. I’ve chosen to walk on two historic roads for the purpose of experiencing that cycle. That cycle I wish to walk is the cycle of geographic, societal, and emotional transition. Now for a little history (bear with me).

The roads I will be walking, the Nakasendo (Mountain Route) and the Tokaido (Eastern Sea Route) were the two roads connecting Kyoto and Tokyo during the last feudal era in Japan. These roads were created and regulated with the purpose of spreading the control of the Shogun (the feudal king) throughout the country of Japan. By controlling the path traveled, they had a better chance to extend their power outward. These roads were used by everyone from lords (whom were required to leave their families in the main capitol city), to merchants, to wanderers. This narrowing of routes gave the Shogun an easier to manage system of travel, and a firmer grasp on the civilization. What I’m most interested in, though, are those who traveled on this path. Those are the footsteps I will be walking in. From politicians, to concubines, I want to feel the routes they walked on, connecting the two hearts of this land.

The Footsteps of Transition

With that, I will be following in the footsteps of many from all walks of life. I’m extremely excited to do so, and I wish to make that transition to see into the eyes of those who came before me. I wish to learn from the previous cycle to become better informed about the cycle ahead.

Socrates, The Cave, and The Matrix Effect

I’ve always been of the opinion that the moment I stop learning will be the moment I stop living. I don’t believe this is true for everyone in the same way I don’t believe everyone needs three cups of coffee in order to crawl out of bed every morning. It is, however, my brand of addiction. I only hope to spread this addiction to whomever may be willing to hear. And here’s why…

“They resemble us, I replied. For let me ask you, in the first place, whether person so confined could have seen anything of themselves or of each other beyond the shadows thrown by the fire upon the part of the cavern facing them?

Certainly not, if you suppose them to have been compelled all their lifetime to keep their heads unmoved. And is not their knowledge of the things carried past them equally limited?

Unquestionably it is.” – Plato, The Republic (Socrates’ quotation)

Reality is what we make of it. This statement has been true for thousands of years. As long as we are individuals capable of awareness, the world is open to interpretation. That being said, how do you define what’s real? and what’s the point of this whole conversation?? Right? Well, run with me for a minute.

From Socrates to Neo

Plato, in his exhaustively long (yet enlightening) tome, The Republic, he describes an allegory of a cave. The most simplistic interpretation of this allegory parallels the concept behind the Matrix trilogy. The idea is this; There’s this cave, right? Basically, everyone in the cave must watch a shadow play on one of the walls. All of these prisoners believe this to be the real world. That is, until, one of them escapes the cave, finding the world to be much larger, and vast with possibilities. The escaped prisoner goes back to the cave in order to free the other prisoners. His purpose, not only that of waking up the others, but more so to share a world brimming with possibility.

Now, rinse and repeat. Replace ‘prisoners’ with ‘people’, ‘one of them’ with ‘Neo’ and ‘the cave’ with ‘The Matrix’ and you’ll have the basis of a hollywood blockbuster.

“I Can’t Do That”

This over-simplification of a fascinating allegory sits on this blog to serve one purpose. Daily, when I explain my plan to hike 2,500 km through Japan; friends, coworkers, students and acquaintances greet my goal with the same statement, “I can’t do that.”

“I can’t do that.”

This statement of impossibility pains me with every utterance, for the reason I’ve decided to go on such an adventure is in complete opposition to this statement. To end this short post, let me quote the first blog post that graced this site many months ago:

We all have dreams, things we wish to accomplish in life. I’ve heard from many people, “…dreams are only that, dreams.” From the bottom of my heart, I seriously, desperately, and fiercely need to believe they’re wrong.

I’m going on this journey for many reasons of both a professional and personal nature. I’m going to document all of it here, in order to do just that. I want to create an example to show people, they can achieve those dreams. Because I think they can.

And I will prove it.

Trust me.

I’d Like To Take You With Me

The following letter goes out to everyone who may want to accompany me on this wonderful journey. I was given a template from a friend of mine who I am forever grateful to. My version of the letter is as follows.

Dear Friends,

This letter details two pieces of news, an offer, a request, and an invitation! I hope it finds you well during these cold winter months. Without further ado!

NEWS ITEM #1:  I’m leaving

I’m leaving my job, and leaving Yamaguchi Prefecture.  After 2 and a half years of working for SES, I will be leaving the company on April 1st, 2011.  I’ve had a wonderful chance to meet so many amazing people. It’s very hard to be packing my bags, getting ready to leave.

However, this doesn’t mean I am leaving Japan. In fact, I’ll be taking a break from work to fulfill a lifelong dream.

NEWS ITEM #2: A three-month pilgrimage

Since coming to Japan, I’ve fallen in love with the culture and history. On April 2nd, 2011, I will venture forth on a journey through the heart of Japan. My route will combine three famous routes into a 2,500 km hike. I will be hiking around the island of Shikoku, visiting the 88 temples of the longest walking pilgrimage in Japan. From there I will trek through the historic roots of Japan on my way to Kyoto. Then I will take an Edo era route, the Nakasendo, through the picturesque mountains of Japan, from Kyoto to Tokyo. After this I will walk the Tokaido route back to Kyoto with a detour in order to climb Mount Fuji.

THE OFFER: Your intentions

This leads me to the offer.  In the old days–just as today–few people could get away for a pilgrimage that would take months.  So, often, a village would get together into a sort of “mutual aid society” and appoint one member to go on the pilgrimage for the group.  He would represent their requests at the shrines and temples along the way.

I would like to do this for you.  If you will send me your intention, I will solemnly promise to present it:

  • at least once a day on the Tokaido and Nakasendo portions of the walk, as well as in front of the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) of Nara; and
  • at every one of the 88 temples on Shikoku, meaning an average of almost twice a day.

What qualifies me to do this?  Well, for one thing, I will be walking, which is a sort of offering of discipline.  I will also be keeping the pilgrims’ vows: becoming vegen, and abstaining from sex won’t be much of a problem.  In addition, I will not drink alcohol during the trek, and I will be endeavoring to control my speech, by not lying, speaking ill of others, and so on.

What sort of intentions can you express?  Traditionally there are two kinds.  The first is a request.  This is where you ask for something–a new job, success on an exam, a wife or husband, health for a loved one, a good school for your child-or non-personal things, such as an end to domestic violence, or for world peace, etc.  The second type of intention is giving thanks for any the above that have already happened, or just simply for the gift of life itself.

With this, I’d like to invite anyone I have the chance to meet in person to sign one of my bandannas. This act further solidifies the connection between your intentions and my journey. If you’re living in America, let me know of your address and I can send a bandanna to you. If you live in Japan, let’s meet up before I leave. At the latest, please come to the party listed at the end of this letter.

Please send me your intention by e-mail to Kris AT krijali.net , and I will present it as faithfully as possible.

THE REQUEST: Your contributions

Let me be perfectly clear: I will present your intention whether you make a contribution or not.

But there is a kind of cosmic principle that says if you are serious about a request or thanksgiving, you will do something to show your sincerity.  One thing you can do is to agree to express the intention YOURSELF for as many days as I do.  Another would be to pray for me as I carry the intentions of many.  And of course another would be to contribute financially to my trip.

Three months is a long time to be “unemployed”-and homeless!  There will be lodging expenses (though I will sleep out as much as possible). I’ll also be creating a documentary for the journey. And of course, a man’s gotta eat!  So your help would be appreciated.

The people in the old days understood this.  The “mutual aid society” was truly mutual: the people who sent the man on the journey paid his way, and often pitched in to help his family while he was gone.

How much should you give?  Anything would be appreciated (and as I said even no contribution is perfectly acceptable).  But as a guideline, I have set up four “circles” where your name can be listed on my website (unless you specify that you wish to be anonymous).  The four circles are:

  • The Intentions Circle: 2400 yen or $24.00 (US) or more, representing the hours of each day; each one of equal importance.
  • The Tokaido Circle: 5300 yen or $53.00 (US) or more, representing the 53 post stations of the Tokaido
  • The Nakasendo Circle: 6900 yen or $69.00 (US) or more, representing the 69 post stations of the Nakasendo
  • The Kobo Daishi Circle: 8800 yen or $88.00 (US) or more, representing the 88 temples of the Shikoku pilgrimage

Please tell me by e-mail the amount you wish to contribute, and I will send you information on how to make your deposit or deliver your donation.

AN INVITATION: A party

Finally: If you are in the Shunan area on Saturday, April 2nd, please come to my send-off party at 1 p.m. in Ryokuchi Park (send for directions).  You’ll have the chance to shave my head, I will don my walking clothes, and I will have my last drink before I hit the road.  That evening, I will travel to Shikoku to begin the journey.

Please:

  • Send your intentions by e-mail to Kris AT krijali.net
  • Let me know if you plan to make a contribution at the same address
  • Come to the party if you can!
  • Check my website frequently: www.project-go.com

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please keep me in your thoughts.

Namaste,

Kris

プロジェクト ごー!

The following letter goes out to every Japanese person I know who may want to accompany me on this wonderful journey. I was given a template from a friend of mine who I am forever grateful to. My version of the letter is as follows.

皆さん

寒さの続く日々ですが、皆様にはますますご健勝のこととお喜び申し上げます。 この手紙は、大事なお知らせ2つと、ある申し出、お願い、ご招待についての手紙です。じっくり読んでくださればと思います。

お知らせその1:もうすぐいなくなります

仕事を辞め、山口県を後にすることになりました。2年半勤めたSESを4月1日をもって退職します。この2年間半この仕事を通して、たくさんのすばらしい人々との出会いがありました。だから今、荷物をまとめ出て行きがたい状況です。

しかし、日本を去ろうというわけではありません。自分の抱いてきた夢を実現するために一時的な休暇をとるのです。

お知らせその2:3ヶ月間の巡礼

日本に来て以来、日本の文化そして歴史に感銘をうけてきました。2011年4月2日より、日本の中心部を巡る旅にでます。自分の旅路は3つの主な道のりを歩くものです。(合計で2500キロになります)まず、日本で一番古い巡礼とされる四国88のお寺を訪ねて回るものです。そこから、京都に向けて出来る限り古い道をたどって歩きます。宇治、奈良、吉野を通り、高 野山まで歩くことになります。皆さん御存じかと思いますが、高野山は四国巡礼を始めたと伝えられる弘法大師が終焉の地とした所です。そこから、江戸時代からの道である中山道を通り東京まで向かい、そこから東海道を通り、その途中で富士山に登りたいと思います。

申し出:皆さんに代わって祈願をします

ここで、ある申し出についてお話することになります。昔は(今でも同じですが)何ヶ月もかかる巡礼に出られる人はほとんどいませんでした。ですから、よく村全体が「相互扶助協会」といった形で集まり、集団全体のために巡礼にいく人を1人指名しました。その人が、巡礼で訪れる神社やお寺で皆の願いごとを代表で祈願するのです。

これを同じように皆さんにしたいと思っているのです。願いごとを知らせてくだされば、代わって祈願することを堅くお約束します。

ñ 中山道や東海道では少なくとも一日1回(奈良の大仏と高野山の弘法大師でのお祈り含めて)

ñ 四国の88のお寺全部で、つまり平均して一日2回近く

私がこれを行う資格がどこにあるか?というと、まずひとつには、歩くということは、修行という一種の供物をすることになるからです。それに、巡礼者のたてる、誓いも守るつもりです。その間は菜食主義者になりますし、女人禁制はほとんど問題にならないでしょう。さらに、道中はお酒を飲みませんし、嘘をついたり、人の悪口をいったりしない等、話すことについても自制するように努力します。

どんな願いごとができるのか?というと、2通 りの願いごとができます。ひとつは何かの実現を願うもので、転職、試験での成功、結婚、大事な人の健康や子供の入試合格、または個人的な事ではなく、家庭 内暴力がなくなるように、とか世界平和といった事です。もうひとつは、先にあげたようなことが実現したことに対する感謝や、生を受けたこと自体に感謝をさ さげるものです。

これに伴って、出来る限り皆さんに直接会ってバンダナに署名をお願いしたいのです。これは私のたびと皆さんのお願いの繋がりを固めるものになります。アメリカにお住まいの方は、住所を知らせていただければバンダナを郵送します。日本にお住まいの方は、私が出発する前に是非会いましょう。できましたら、手紙の最後に書いてあるパーティーに来ていただければと思います。

ぜひお願いごとをEメールでKris AT krijali.net宛てに送ってください。できるだけ願い事に忠実に、代わって祈願をします。

お願い:貢献をお願いしたいのです

まず、絶対にはっきりさせておきたいことがあります。貢献をしてくださるかどうかに関わらず、願いごとは代わりに祈願します。

と はいえ、もし何かの実現や感謝に真剣な場合は、何かしら誠実さを示す行為をする、というある種普遍的な法則があります。ひとつできることは、私がするのと 同じ日数だけ、自分自身でもその願いごとを念じると約束することです。他にできることは、多くの人の願いごとを背負った私の無事を祈ることです。そしても うひとつは、私の巡礼に経済的な形で貢献をするということです。

3ヶ 月というのは、「無職」、しかもホームレスでいるには長い期間です!宿泊費(できるだけ野宿しますが)もかかります。巡礼が進むにしたがってホームページ も更新するので、インターネットと電話の費用もかかります。それに、食べないわけにもいきません!というわけで、もし援助してくださればありがたいので す。

昔の人達はこの方法に頼っていました。「相互扶助協会」は本当にお互いさまで、巡礼に出る人を送りだす側は旅費を支払い、留守の間その人の家族を助けるためによく協力をしたのです。

どの程度貢献すればいいのか?というと、何でもありがたくお受けします。(先程書いたとおり、まったく寄付をしなくても構いません)。ただ、だいたいの目安として、私のホームページに4つの「サークル」を設定し、それぞれ個人名がリストにあがるようにしました8匿名希望と指定のある場合を除いて)。4つのサークルは

ñ 願い事サークル: 2400円以上、または米ドル以上。これは毎日の時間を象徴したものです。:それぞれが同じくらい大切です。

ñ 東海道サークル:5300円以上、または53米ドル以上。これは東海道五十三次を象徴したものです。

ñ 中山道サークル: 6900円以上、または69米ドル以上。これは中山道六十九次を象徴しています。

ñ 弘法大師サークル:8800円以上、または88米ドル以上。これは四国巡礼の88のお寺を象徴したものです。

ご希望の寄付金額をEメールで教えてくだされば、どのように振り込みをすればいいか、または届けることができるかについて情報をお送りします。

御招待:パーティー

最後になりましたが、4月2日に周南市付近にいらっしゃる方は、ぜひ午後一時緑地公園(SES付近の大きな駐車場があるところ)で行う壮行会に来て下さい。(行き方のわからない人には、説明を送ります。)髪の毛を剃ってもらい、巡礼用の衣服を身につけ、出発前最後の一杯をやります。その晩に四国に向けて出発したいとおもいます。に

ñ 願い事をEメールで Kris AT krijali.net 宛に送って下さい。

ñ 同じEメール・アドレスに寄付して下さる予定かどうか知らせて下さい。

ñ もしできれば、パーティーに来て下さい!

ñ こまめに私のウェブサイトをチェックして下さい。: www.project-go.com

この手紙を読むために貴重な時間をとってくださって、本当にありがとうございます。そして、私のことを心のどこかに留めておいてくださればうれしいです。

Krisより

Ice Baths and Convulsions from the Deepest Netherworlds

Teeth-chattering, gut-wrenching, and consciousness-challenging… All words I’ve recently used to explain my newest adventure to my students, here in Japan. Every time I’ve mentioned the idea and the diet/exercise program I’ve adopted along the way, my wonderful students wonder audibly whether my sanity has been in check, or thrown by the wayside.

Change is inevitable. Controlling change creates results in otherwise impossible situations.

Just one piece of the provided puzzle; Every day, when I wake up, and when I go to bed, I heat a cup of tea, draw a bath, and throw in a few bags of ice. I then proceed to jump in, and ride it out for 20 minutes. Doing so, my body, after exercise, feels sore less, and I will possibly lose centimeters off of my waist. But why go through the trouble?

You see, recently I’ve become a fan of Tim Ferriss’ new book, The 4 Hour Body. This books fascinates me. I’ve had the chance of reading many books detailing different diet plans, different plans for gaining or losing weight, but this one struck a note I don’t usually let the world see. A secret world that few have realized exists. I’m happy to say that I’ve been a member since my 7th grade science project entitled, “Sleep Deprivation and it’s Effects on a Middle School Student.”

Self Preservation vs. Self Renewal

What I’m talking about can easily be expressed in two words, “Self Experimentation.” It sounds crazy, really. Thinking of this conjures up images of illicit drugs and back alleyways. Well, To calm my family down, I’d like to quickly lay out my little disclaimer:

I am in no way, tampering with illegal substances, attempting to do anything crazy, and definitely not shooting myself up with heroin or anything of the sort.

With that out of the way, let me describe my interpretation of Self Experimentation. I’ve always been interested in my abilities, strengths, and most importantly weaknesses. Why do I have acne? why can’t I do the splits? Why can I only stay awake for 56 hours without hallucinations? From these questions, I always find myself reaching for the limits of my ability and recording the results along the way. Let me say that last piece once again, recording the results along the way. I believe Self Experimentation, simply stated, provides evidence (although anecdotal at times) for those performing more clinical studies. We do this everyday. we risk holding cell phones to our face (or worryingly keeping them in our pants), why not be more conscious of things and provide results whenever possible.

That book, is, like… an instruction booklet for physical Self Experimentation. Okay, that doesn’t describe it exactly. It’s more like the diary of a Self Experimenter.

My Notes

With that, I’ve slowly been revamping my base site, http://krijali.net to showcase my present self-experiments. The first one can be described as a combination of characteristics found in the earlier mentioned literature. If you would like to learn more about these experiments, please subscribe to my base-blog and you’ll receive updates whenever my body decides to produce results one way or another!

Masochism vs. Curiosity

Some of my friends have asked me if I revel in pain. I’d like to clear everything, and say no… no, I don’t. What I revel in can be described as possibilities. What can I do? What can you do? What are we capable of, alone, and together? And for that, I do something as crazy as take two ice filled baths every day.

Where it Stands (with less than 90 days)

My Japanese tests out of the way, the best possible direction to go is onward. However, with that, the time has presented itself to regroup.

Defining core principles every step of the way leads to a better understanding of the journey we find ourselves in every day.

My Headlamp

In less than 90 days, I will hike through the heart of Japan in order to find fulfillment and learn how to support those around me. It would be a farce for me to say this reason is the end all and be all of the journey ahead. In fact, though broad, simplistic, and exacting in theme, this hike represents even more. This hike represents a milestone in my life, my career and my dreams. We all face changes on a daily basis. Truth be told, I’m not the ideal candidate for a multi-month vacation from a steady paycheck. Far from it actually.  Buried in student debt, strapped to an ever-dwindling bank account,  ever-swallowed daily by bills and obligatory requirements, pausing to regroup sounds crazy.  Instead I pause, not while shaking a fist towards the sky, not while applying for yet another credit card, not while driving myself further into seclusion. No. in fact, I pause with excitement, encouragement, and an ecstatic state of mind.

Once again… What’s the point?

To regroup, I spent the last week writing bits of blog posts. To answer this question I’d like to offer up the titles of those upcoming posts. In no particular order, Mount Up!

  • The Cake Fiend of Principles
  • Ice Baths and Convulsions from the Deepest Netherworlds
  • Socrates, The Cave, and The Matrix Effect
  • Man, That Discovery Guy Just Ate a Skunk!
  • The Impossibility of Frodo Baggins And The Importance of Improbable Goals
  • “A Bivy Sack, What the?” or “A Video Guide of Partial Sanity”

Many of these posts will come about in the following weeks. As always, I’m extremely excited to be moving forward on this quest!

The gear, man!! Where is the gear!?

It’s been an exhaustively long time since I’ve updated the world on the gear I’ve purchased for my trip. So without further ado…

“日本の会社ですよ!”

Laughing, beside myself with the irony I found myself in, the Boulder, Colorado Mont-Bell store clerk informed me that I had traveled halfway around the world (from Yamaguchi, Japan to Colorado, USA) to end up in the only North American location of a Japanese owned outdoors store. My quest for equipment and perilous research showed an earnest attempt by the world in teaching me the Campbellian hero’s quest had only just begun.

Needless to say, I decided to avoid paying tariffs on that which I could find locally once I had returned to Japan. Instead, with wonderful side quests accompanied by my family and friends, I ventured to purchase the equipment I wanted from the western world.

Yar!In the end, I went to REI. With the promise of a fiscal year ending dividend and the chance to vote for the board of directors (Read: membership card), I purchased American and European goods. This included:

With that, I had money leftover from the current exchange rate so I went ahead and bought a few goodies from other places:

  • A Boulder, CSolio!olorado Underarmour hat (From a hilarious store on Pearl St. with the most x-rated pasta)
  • A pair of Half Jacket Oakley sunglasses (I went for it in hopes of high quality)

Being a lucky American, I also joyously received equipment from my overly giving parents and siblings. This included:

  • A Survival Kit (Thx Mom!)
  • First Aid stuff! (Thanks everyone!)
  • Mark ‘The Big Fix‘ (Thanks Kelly (my sister), my lips will never go chapped again)
  • A Solio Classic solar charger (Thanks to my parents, I will be able to charge my video camera throughout! Standby for field tests)

It goes without saying how undeserved I am of the ability to receive such awesome gifts alongside the luxury of visiting my family and friends. It was also amazing to have the chance to speak with such knowledgeable folks at the various outdoors stores throughout the Front Range of Colorado. With the help of all of you, I’ve learned that Smartwool socks are the same price wherever you go, and of course, I had the best holiday season yet!

So, Are you still going to do it?

Yes, yes of course.  Though, not without knowing where my towel is.

The First $500

This last weekend I took a quick trip to my favorite backpacking store in this area. After spending many hours in the store, I finally made a few purchases. I have been saving for a while and it was finally time to make the first major set of purchases.

What’s most important when hiking for three months?

My First PurchaseSleep, sleep, sleep and feet. With that, my first purchase consisted of a sleeping bag, a mattress, shoes and more socks! The sleeping bag was recommended to me by a friend. It’s a Mont-bell ultra light spiral Down Hugger (#3). It’s graded for a comfortable 0 degrees Celsius, and it’s really really small.

The mattress is an ultra-light, 165 cm mattress from a company called Isuka. Originally, I planned on buying a shorter mattress but… then again, I’ll be hiking for a few months.

I also purchased Keen hybrid-life hiking shoes. I’m really excited to get out with them!

AAAAAND some socks.

The Next Step

The next step is to continue my training, save money, and work on the next purchases. Next, I’m looking at tents, clothes, and smaller items. Soon, I’ll post more on the development of the themes I want to portray along the way!

An Overdue Update

With only a few months left until my hike, it’s such a pity I haven’t had the chance to let everyone in on my current state of affairs. So, in a quick, dirty, and awesome update – Here’s the deal.

The Inevitable Wall

As with any project, there have been many pitfalls along the way. I’ve had difficulties, recently, finding time to go for practice hikes, finding time to study Japanese, and finding time to think over my goals and reasoning for such a taxing journey. More importantly, I haven’t had time to update all of you regarding the status of things as time goes on. Originally, my plan was to update you twice a week. After a while, this schedule wasn’t conducive to the events that actually went down. Plus, I want to begin a Japanese version of this blog.

So I’ve decided to update when it hits me. Easy enough, right?

Not exactly. Instead of adhering to a schedule, it’ll be difficult to have accountability. So I’ve created a system. That system is chocolate. If I finish a post, I’ll eat a piece of chocolate. Let’s see how it goes!

Given The Circumstances

With this in mind, I’ve still had many steps and leaps toward my goal. The cash needed for the hike has been building slowly. However, with each day comes a new chance to slip up. I’ve come to demand of myself a todo list in the morning. More of an anti-todo list. With a few select items, I mark the slight travesty of accomplishment. For example:

  • Don’t spend money needlessly at convenience stores.
  • Don’t waste hours without purpose.
  • Don’t check Digg every 23 seconds.

This list contains the things I wish not to do during the day. The list won’t strictly control my life, just provide a reminder of what I don’t want to do.

The Bottom Line

I’ve hit many hardships along the way, especially in the form of cash, but there’s always a chance to find opportunities in situations that otherwise seem to have none. Every moment overwhelmingly overflows with decisions. Each decision provides a different path for the future. Interestingly enough, each path has consequences and each path has benefits. Focusing on the benefits and acknowledging the consequences provides a consciousness of the situation. And so,

My new goal; Maximize every moment to it’s full potential. I recommend you do the same.