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Friends on Pause

I land in Narita Airport, Japan, pull two thousand Yen out of the ATM, and get on the train for Tokyo. From memory I walk down familiar streets until I get to the New Zealand Embassy in northern Shibuya, where my friend Elliot lives. I haven't seen him in almost two years, and have only emailed a few times since then, but it's as if I never left. We joke around, walk to dinner, and make plans for the weekend.

The next day I pop my Japanese SIM card into my phone and call my friend Toby to let him know that I'm around. He tells me about a party he's throwing in Yoyogi park, so a couple other friends and I join him.

Nothing about these individual scenes is particularly noteworthy. That's the point. In various places around the world I have enough good friends that I can have a pretty normal life there while visiting.

Video of the Week: Mr. Curiosity

On Where Pianos Roam

Last week while I was in Alabama, I went with my friend Toby to buy my very first Jason Mraz CD.  I've always casually admired his work over the years and have heard from numerous folks about how great a singer and lyricist he is.  I stood in Best Buy trying to choose between which three of his albums to buy, and Toby (who happens to be a huge fan) more or less made the decision for me. I wound up purchasing this .  .  . This is actually his second album and arguably his best so far.  (Though I hear that the latest one holds its own quite well.)  It's called Mr. A-Z, and I've been listening to it in my car all week.  Overall, it's a solid album full of lovely pop gems like Bella Luna, Wordplay, The Geek In the Pink, Plane, and the amazing first song Life Is Wonderful. His lyrics and delivery lack pretentiousness.  They are often quirky, fun, and surprisingly insightful. One song, in particular, has really connected with me.  I've been playing it on repeat a whole lot, and coincidentally, it is a piano ballad that transitions into cello in the latter half.  Two of my favorite instruments used to great effect in one song!!!  How awesome is that?  He even sings opera close to the end!! Mostly though, the lyrics resonate with a lot that's been on my mind lately.  It cuts to the core of things that are too important to let go. This week's Video of the Week is a fan-made video of Mr. Curiosity.  I found it on youtube, and appropriately enough, it highlights this song's lyrical power.  Mr. Mraz is a gifted man, and I hope to hear more from him for many years to come .  .  . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_JMBWd-c4] I hope I never stop being curious about such delicate things .  .  . -gordo

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