real time update

Entry Info

First Class Backpacker Random Photo GalleryFinally, I'm pound to announce the launch of my travel photo gallery "First Class Backpacker Random Photo Gallery"
I've been developing this site for months. In fact I'd made the very initial mock up on the last October when I was on the train from NYC to LA (as I had nothing to do there!) and since then I've invested a significant amount of time on this project.(This could be the reason of the blog's delay, perhaps..)

Anyway, just have a look at the gallery and you'll like it. I promise.
Oh, by the way, don't forget to turn up the volume.

Entry Info

1st (Sat)
Jan 2011

coming back to Japan!

2010 has gone and it's already 2011. I'm finishing off this entry at JFK JAL first class lounge while waiting for the return flight to Japan. The flight is going to be operated by JAL's flagship seat setting, "JAL SUITE". It's perfect for the finale of First Class Backpacker, isn't it?

Looking back to a year ago, 31th Dec 2009, the overture was a classic comedy. Having used my "first" first class flight, I'd arrived at Bangkok in high spirits but on the very first night I was tricked and ripped off. Since then I haven't been lacking for any small troubles and laughing, such as missing flights, overslept, hangover and so forth. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for that I managed travelling during this whole year without any critical accidents.

I read over again the first entries writing about the purpose of this trip and I suppose my missions are reasonably fulfilled. So deep and rich are the memories of this trip that I can instantly recall where I was and what I ate 9 months ago for instance. It would've been impossible to find such interesting experiences if I'd stayed at Japan and kept the daily life.

My aspiration of 2011 is finding the way how to transform those daily life into rich memories. It depends on your perception whether your life is exciting or dull. The truth to be told, I sometimes felt tired of travelling when the unusual trips were becoming my usual days. However, because of that I know what entertains, inspires and energises me, I can finish this travel with a lot of pleasure. Presumably, I'll be able to make my daily life's memories in Japan deeper and richer if I try to follow my callings as though I'm on the trip.

On the other hand, in terms of updating this blog, I'm thinking over it and bit regretting it too. I'm prone to compromise the updating schedule trading with the quality. I could've been a tougher client for myself and published it often. Anyway, I'll keep writing my travel journal after coming back to Japan. Even though it takes a couple of years, I have to keep the promise with myself. It should be fine as I mentioned before, my memories on this trip are surprisingly clear. It wouldn't be blurred providing the logs of twitter, the private diary and the huge collection of the photographs. Please keep up with me for a while if you are still interested in my travel stories.

Speaking about the plans after coming back to Japan, I'm planning to stay at my family's house at Shizuoka for a few weeks and then settle in Tokyo again. I'm now seriously craving for working. Web designing, translation, photography, speaker, errand or whatever if you have any interesting business chances, please talk to me.

Well, it's time to go to the next destination, Japan which is just one of the destinations of my travel. Probably it's going to be longer than previous ones. But my journey will continue forever.

Entry Info

Even though I'm digressing from the main travelogue, I'd like to write about personal news which has had a significant impact on me. Well, this is a kind of a real time update of the trip and please join my monologue.


One of my friends who used to play guitar with me at the high school's club is going to make his major debut for a Japanese top label avex. Although I haven't seen the broadcasted version yet, his song is already featured as the Coca Cola's CM song in Japan. Heday, a male vocal and guitar player of a band Layla Lane is he.

Without any exaggerations, he could be the one who has had the greatest influence on my life because since our high school days he's been proving that the dream is only achieved by your own capacity. When I joined the high school's classic guitar club, he was one of my seniors. But not only playing the guitar at the club, dreaming to be a rock star, he was writing a lot of his original songs. And after graduating the school, he decided to go to the US for musical training despite his bright academic aptitude at the most competitive high school of the region. His challenging attitude, ignoring the noises around him and just following the declared dream, gave me huge courage when I came to decide my career before my graduation from high school.

Since then I'd been hearing a lot of amazing news such as that as a studio musician he became a friend of famous music producer, played a session with Ringo Starr etc., and a couple of months ago, the news about the tie-up with Coca Cola Japan came. What's more, the debut from AVEX is this time. It's a classic success story everyone would dream about. Probably, he is a sort of blessed person. Yet, not just because of luck, he must have had the capacity to catch the blue bird when it approached him. When I finished reading his detailed path on Layla Lane's profile page(only Japanese), I made a big sigh. Hey, what breakthroughs have you been making?

In fact, his talent of writing music was standing out from our high school days. Admiring to the Beatles and Queen, he wrote most of his lyrics in English. He also composed the music by himself and vocals, guitar, base, piano, drums he played all of the roles of the band for making his demo tapes. In those days, I had a quite a few friends who were forming bands but he, who kept making only original songs, was totally different from those who were just playing band games. I still have his songs from those days in my iTunes and even now I sometimes pick them up as well as the other major hit songs. I hope to find the remake version of those songs someday in the future when Layla Lane gets their break.

As the 20 century era was transiting to 21st, I, who was captivated with creating 3D graphics, used to help his technical side after school as I was good at handling a PC even though we belonged the same classic guitar club at the school. Mastering the music sources from his MTR by my PC, burning original CDs with the CD-R writer which was quite rare at the time, designing lyrics sheets in earnest by taking photos with a digital camera and such and such. Actually I liked these activities very much because I'd realised that despite my pleasure in playing guitar I couldn't devote myself completely to the music industry but I could contribute to his creation by my calling. As both of us were perfectionists, we pursued our "professional quality" (yet, on reflection I can laugh away the quality from the view of a professional) and I believe those creative processes were much more thrilling than the activities from ordinary colleges.

He made a lot of unforgettable episodes and I'd like to share one of the most impressive scenes. It was when he participated in a band music contest for high school students with his band members. After the brilliant victory of the first local stage, if they'd won the first place of the provincial stage, the door to the final national stage on which many major labels were keeping their eye would've opened to them. As usual they performed their original English song featuring about Christmas. What's more, all of the band members dressed to kill in formal suits. Though it's from a fellow's view, they presented so extraordinarily as high school kids. The audience looked rather more flabbergasted than amazed. Anyway few people were able to comprehend their English lyrics.

The result was that they unexpectedly received "jury's special award". In contrast to the other bands who accepted the special award with big smiles, they looked very dissatisfied and just commented "We are very disappointed because we came here to get the final stage". From this episode, I found how cool people are who focus on the apex and how difficult it is to actualise it. Only a winner could go to the final stage and the rest were the same as the losers. The consolation award wouldn't console them. Nevertheless, in retrospect, thanks to the defeat at the time, coming a very long way round and making a definite advance, he finally made his major debut at this time as Layla Lane. Really, this is "Connecting the Dots". Although we don't know when it happens, every incident connects to the future.

Well, in retrospect again, the very first motivation of me creating web sites was spurred by him saying that he wanted to have a band's web site. In order to meet his demand, I started learning about html from books. The first site was a typical "trendy" site which poorly used frames and emboss effects. In those days, I still devoted myself to 3D graphics as well but afterwards I became fascinated with Flash5, which I bought by academic discount, and started considering my career path to the web industry. Therefore, it's not an overstatement that he has been the greatest influence on my life.

I set out on the round the world trip after 3 years meticulous preparation. I believe I have been achieving a lot of things but after 10 years from those days I can't think of myself having caught up with my respectable friend. Maybe he's running far ahead. Ah, how fortunate I am to have such an inspiring person close to me. I want to make more breakthroughs, pursue my ideal and accelerate myself. I know I can't be satisfied with myself but I just want to feel the elation of making headway. For me, who started pondering over the future plan after coming back home, his leap means far more than simple auspicious news.

Do you think it's nonsense to compare yourself with somebody? I don't think so. I do think it's nonsense to get depressed because of the comparison but it's great to have a person whose existence forces my chin up. I don't need to do the same things as him. I'm delighted too, though envious of his achievement. In case, I feel envious, I should give a try. I know he is just a human being although he appeared to us like a superman at high school. I presume he's been making a crazily tremendous amount of effort as usual. Learning from his attitude, I'd like to go beyond my limit.

Anyhow, the band of my friend from high school days, Layla Lane is going to make their debut by a single CD "Happy Lane" from avex. You can already order it from Amazon. It would be great if you could think of getting the one. Now, I'm just wondering what if the song enter the charts but whatever he achieves I wouldn't be surprised anymore but give it my big applause.

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