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One Year

Just over a year ago I was in this same place. It's a short and touristy row of shops leading up to a temple in Asakusa, Japan. Last time I was here it was my first time in Japan, which meant that I was so enthralled with being there that I didn't realize what a tourist trap it was.

Now I'm here again and I see the place in a different light. I've lived in Japan for almost two months now as part of my year long trip around the world.

As I look up at the paper lanterns dangling above the street I have a thought.

Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen

On More from a 3 Minute Record

The only way to start this adventure is with my favorite album of all-time. The clever among you have already discerned my Springsteen fandom from the title of this blog. Though the song that lyric comes from is not on this album ("No Surrender" is on 1984's Born in the USA), it was too appropriate to not use.

"We busted out of class, had to get away from those foolsWe learned more from a 3 Minute Record, baby, than we ever learned in school"

Though I was not born in New Jersey, I have Garden State blood running through my veins (probably not the best visual for a state with Jersey's cleanliness reputation). Both of my parents grew up in New Jersey and my grandparents were there for most of my childhood. To be from New Jersey is to be connected to the Boss. There aren't really words to describe that connection and I'm fairly certain that there is no other artist who is as easily identified by or with his home state as is Bruce.That feeling of solidarity shared among those from New Jersey is puzzling for outsiders. We know our beaches aren't the cleanest. We know it sucks that you have to pay tolls to drive from one end of the state to the other. We don't fake social niceties for manners' sake (Speaking in generalities, of course). Simply put, NJ is a punchline for most of the other states in the union, yet there is something that unites all of those people (most of whom leave the state, but we'll get to that in a bit). Part of that something is Bruce Springsteen.

"I didn't understand his music for a long time until I began to yearn--until I began to question the things I was doing and making in my own life...it was about stories of lives that could be changed... I never again felt like a loser. When you listen to Bruce's music, you aren't a loser. You are a character in an epic poem about losers."-- Jon Stewart, Kennedy Center Honors 2009

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