Category Archives: Showcases

Around the world: Tokyo

So many people in the subway station everyday, similar to how full the metros get on Canada day back home. Yet there’s barely anyone talking. Everyone’s quiet, polite and going somewhere.

The whole environment, somehow makes being a Hikikomori very easy. A relief actually at being one as everyone else is doing it. Everyone is playing games, reading manga and doing nerdy things. Even the girls, the grown ups, people in suits, woman dressed impeccably for work… Geisha in Starbucks. It makes such nerdy activities so normal and there are no social stigma attached to it.

To be honest, I really like this part of Japan. But with it, comes the long working hours, the drinking, the smoking, the delicious food… but I am not sure I want to live in an environment where it is so easy to slip into such a life.

The judgement and the stigma of such a life in western society kept me going for greater things. Without it, I’d probably slip into this kind of murky living where today feels just like yesterday.

Tokyo is actually less expensive than Osaka and also less expensive than Canada. I realized that Vancouver is probably one of the most expensive place to live in the world when I think of London and Tokyo as cheaper. Speaking of which, Tokyo is one of the cities that I consider as a permanent city to settle down. My conclusion is that it is a nice place to visit for the food, but it is not what I need in my life. Even though the food is good, most of it is empty carbs based dishes. No wonder most of the Japanese have the rounded face ship often associated with people who are skinny fat.


Around the world: Kyoto

Winter in Kyoto is very much like Vancouver winter. It doesn’t rain as much, but is cloudy all the time. I’d have to say that the weather here is nicer than Canada. I wonder why they don’t have as much problems with foreigners coming in and snapping up apartments like we do. Vancouver’s answer to its real estate problems might lie with Japan. However, I have a suspicion that the answer might be immigration.

It’s been a week now since I Ianded in Japan. I am starting to see some girls as pretty. This gradual change of beauty perception always amazes me. The same plain looking girl I met a week ago is actually pretty. Or it could just be that Kyoto woman is prettier than Osaka woman. Makes me really wonder if she will still be pretty when I am back in Vancouver and looking at her through Japanese eyes.

I am also starting to understand the reason for the creation of these Japanese Shut ins. The environment is really conductive to such a lifestyle. Things are just way too convenient and the food is everywhere. Not just any food. Good quality food. So I can see myself getting really fat from eating if I live here long term. No wonder most of their manga starts off with some ordinary shut in guy with a job where they are burnt out. The politeness, lack of eye contact, social rules. The all contribute to a diminished human contact and chances for relationship to build.

Even though I’d love to live in a city in Japan with so many conveniences. I don’t think I can withstand turning into a social shut in.

Health Update

The site’s doing well, even without any effort on my part. It seems that Google’s modification to its search ranking algorithm is bringing me more organic traffics. The blog traffic is no longer dominated by my Triphasic sleep experiments so it gave me some boost of confidence.

Lately, I’ve been adjusting to the new primary focus on health in my life. I took the chance to narrow down and understand some heart problems I’ve been having. What I found are surprising.

There have always been this weird heart palpitation especially during times of extreme physical exertion. This has been a major limiting factor in how much I can exercise and how hardcore I can get physically with any sports. The methodolgy I used to isolate the culprit is simple. I abstain from one major item I consume each month in order to narrow down exactly under which condition I will experience irregular heart beats while exhausted.

I have previously cleared caffeine from the potential lists until I read about new FDA ruling where cafes have to say that coffee causes cancer. There are so many conflicting research on coffee that it is hard to tell who to trust, but this FDA ruling jolted me to revisit the assumption. So I went in and searched for the drawbacks of coffee while disregarding all positive research as I know that big coffee money will pay people to flood the internet to drown out negative articles. Just like what the tobacco industry used to do and more recently the climate change debate.

The side effects that are already known: Need to piss constantly. Hard to fall into deep long sleep at night, dry mouth, migraine from withdrawal. Flushes water from body.

I searched from caffeine’s effect on non-human living creatures and found some interesting parallels with what I experience. Here’s how caffeine kills insects.

Caffeine’s potential lethality extends to more than just creepy-crawly insects: When given the option slugs purposefully avoid caffeine dipped roughage and snails exposed to 0.5% caffeine solutions die within days (8). To find out how it kills snails, scientists monitored their heart rate: hearts beat faster at low caffeine concentrations, but at concentrations of 0.1% and above, the caffeine triggered a deadly erratic and slowed pulse. Source:

And why is caffeine toxic for pets as they lack the genes to properly metabolize caffeine.

Pets that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate and
become hyperactive.

Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias,
which can be dangerous.””Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias, which can be dangerous.” Source:

So, what if I am a human who lack the genes to metabolize caffeine? Then I’d have the same problem as these insects and pets if the caffeine ever reaches the same % amount of concentration per body mass.

For me, the reason why it is so hard to pinpoint the problem down to caffeine is because of three particular quirk about the heart problems I experience.

1. is the fact that the symptom only appears 2 days after my body experience a complete abstinence from caffeine and the random heart palpitations last for two days.

2. It will only happen if I did physical activities involving cardio.

3. Like carbs, there are just too many food in the western world with caffeine in them. It was very hard to completely cut it out of my diet. Chocolate, most teas, Oreo cookies etc etc. Even trace amount resets the two day clock for my body to completely flush out the caffeine.

My guess about the random heart palpitation is that caffeine increased my heart rate and as it disappears, the heart has to readjust to the previously slower heart rate.

Changing heart rate. Why is this worrying? Because it does not feel like changing heart rate at all. Also after consulting with a heart doctor and wearing a heart monitoring device for two days the doctor showed me the ekg graph and said: “Your heart basically stops beating and jolts itself back at random intervals violently. That was why you feel a strong uncomfortable beat.”

I will miss that warm feeling of sitting in a café and typing away on my laptop on a warm sunny day, but it is a necessary sacrifice for my health.

On another topic. The new year planning see my grocery budget increase to $600 a month and dining + fast food to $500. I absolutely had no idea what to do with the extra money as $200 ~300 was the maximum I’d spend on grocery within my daily calorie envelop of 1600 kCal. I got my chicken, pork beef and veggies. It did not occur to me that I can just upgrade the quality of the food until recently.

So instead of those cheap chicken drumsticks, I now get the top of the line chicken breast. Instead of ground beef, it is now Ribeye steak or any quality steak I can find. Wild Atlantic Salmon as a good filler that doesn’t blow up the calories. Veggies are veggies, not much I can do about it. I am still limited about the restaurant spending part as I have yet to figure out the problem of eating out and still keeping to my low carb diet of < 1600 kCal.

Shouldn’t be worth mentioning except I noticed a difference in my hunger level as I increased the quality of the food I consume. I don’t feel as hungry when after eating higher quality ingredients. Even though, pound by pound, the equivalent low quality meat provide the same protein content and calories as the high quality meat.

My previous diets of Paleo and then Keto was hellish as I was low on energy and hungry all the time. This time around with higher quality food. There’s none of that hunger and none of that exhaustion. Go figure.

Anyway, take all of these with a grain of salt. It’s all anecdotal evidence of my own experiments. I am just happy I solved two of the most annoying health problems I’ve been happy.

Drink, Dive, Dance 5: Gemma

Gemma_ArtertonI was reminded of a summer fling today while reading about an actress. My fling looked like a younger version of Gemma Arterton without makeup. A mixture of German, Belgium and Dutch blood. Skin as pale as snow hair as blond as gold. German blond, not the viking’s platinum blond. So I will call her Gemma from now on. Before her, I wasn’t into tall women with strong square jaw and a curvy body because it is the exact opposite of Asian culture’s standard of beauty, but after Ylva and Gemma, that look have taken root in a special spot in my heart.

It’d always remind me of how naturally we went from fun adventurers who bumped into each other on the road to wild night of care free sex. Then they mess you up because that’s all they wanted and leave you in the dust for someone else on a whim. Northern European women are strange like that.

I couldn’t understand why I was so sexually attracted to this not-too-pretty women beside me and remembered thinking as we walked down the streets in Paris and London; “Why is everyone staring at us.” Later that night as we lay in bed, sweat glistening all over our bodies, I asked her: “Are you supposed to be hot in your country?” She didn’t say anything, but she took out her phone and started showing me all the guys she’s slept with and the current contenders who are trying to bed her: A Mexican and a Dutchy. She have also told everyone about everyone.

“What kind of cruel game is she playing with everyone’s heart?” I had thought and just brushed it aside as an European thing cause I couldn’t deal with this weird extreme open view on sex and relationship at that time. I mean, if I was the Mexican or the Dutch guy at that moment knowing what she was traveling with me, I’d feel like shit. But apparently they know.

Most fun summer of my life probably. Gemma was extremely open to new experiences and she is a very sweet, submissive girl. Never complaints about the conditions of the environment we are in. Whether it’d be a shitty hole in the wall, or on top of a cliff with nothing but bread and water for lunch. She loved all. Almost reminds me of high school romances.

Ironically, she left me for a rich old man as I was starting to convince myself that it actually might be ok to make a baby with her. Alles ist gut. I suppose. I do not believe anyone can hold a free spirit like her. Wish her the best of luck in life and best of things for her.

2017 year of becoming


Growing into my place in society is a slow and long process. I planned it this way as I’ve heard so many story of people crashing after instant fame. It is scheduled to be a 3 year process and year one is basically simulating life starting from zero to minimum wage. Yes, I’ve been here a long time ago but because of pouring close to 75% of take home pay on improving my place in life and increasing experiences the amount of actual spending money/cash flow verges on below poverty.

For this year, I lived like every minimum wage slave and spent everything I got. It was already pretty good and comfortable and I realized how much my life sucked back then. I can also better understand how some people could live the life they lived while making less than me. Anyway, this lifestyle is done.

Next year, I transition to the lifestyle of a professional. I honestly cannot imagine how much more hedonistic my life will become. Before, I never understood why people say cash is king or cash flow is important, but now I understand that it determines your life style. Everything cost money, the only people who gets to experience “The life” without having to work are hot girls spending someone else’s dime. It’s funny how I thought being able to talk and beg my way into getting free shit is actually a good character trait. Little did I know that these are traits that are looked upon favorably for women, but for men, people lose respect for you.

Death of Valor

Took me a while to figure out. That last part. I believed in the American dream. Starting from scratch, never take anyone’s money and always repay kindness. I believed that being able to make it on my own will teach me important lessons in life. On top of that, I didn’t borrow anything. The most I was in debt was when I bought my first condo and took on that mortgage.

And it did teach me many lessons. I had to take a hard and pragmatic look at the true state of what I was born with and what I am good at as well as dispelling the media lies about society’s rainbow and unicorn view of human nature. I had always known about human nature and the outcome based on it, I just refused to believe it was true because it makes the world so dark and cold.

Here’s where that dark view on the world shines. One of the thing I am good at, is figuring out how a new system works. Once I was able to admit I was wrong look at human nature as a new system, I devised controlled tests that allow me to figure out the truth. Before I did this, I spent two years believing in the inherent goodness of people. That’s the reason for the soul searching/meditation/yoga period. What I learned during that time is that I suck at telling lie from truth and was deceived by quite a few shady fellow.

I “believed” in people’s good intentions and took things at their face value. That style never suited me anyway. I was always better at being skeptical and working from the belief that all people are selfish and what I think is evil and immoral are actually not when people look at the situation from the belief that they are the center of the universe. The closest approximation I can find in popular culture is Mark Baum from the movie “The Big Short”. I find that I have taken on some of his habit of asking to clarify and explain while agreeing with people who says I have no idea what I am talking about. It comes from the transition in mindset where my ego and reputation in that moment with someone I do not care about no longer matters and what matters is whether or not my theory can be disproven and I come out ahead on the outcome. Everyone else is just a guinea pig to bounce the idea off of.


It’s a major decision. I’ve been on the fence for too long as being pumped full of caffeine gave me a false sense of ability to get things done. This year, I went through numerous cycles of complete abstinence and complete immersion with coffee and have finally figured out its effect on my body. I suspect, that as I age more and my body become more reliant on caffeine, the negative effects are more pronounced. Being able to objectively list out the effects can also be partly associated with meditations which allow me to be more sensitive to changes to my internal state.

What I believe happens, when I consume 1 cup of caffeine, that is not enough to provide my body with what it needs, is that it puts me in the withdrawal state. Which means runny nose and a general sense of vertigo with headache. It also comes with a decreased sense of upbeat outlook on life. I am also less enthusiastic about completing tasks. Electing instead to repeat mundane useless things.

I had thought that caffeine helps me get things done before as well as keeping me awake. But whatever benefit I gain from longer period of wakefulness is lost with the general sense of wanting to get complex matters done. My ego is more fragile, so I tend to avoid things that have negativity with it. Once I consume enough caffeine, of course the negative traits of withdrawal goes away, but then I get stupid and prefer doing stuff that are repetitive.

Evolution of thought

Three major change in the way I think as the ramp up in cash flow increases through out the year.

First is how my purchasing habits evolved. I’d buy all the different choices to do the same thing and make a decision on which one I like best. Then I’d buy enough of the one I picked to last for the rest of my life since most vendors nowadays disappear after a few years. I also don’t bother with returns anymore since that takes too much effort and time.

Two is the fact that I no longer need to make sacrifices… Usually I can have the cake and eat it too. Insane when you think this is how the majority of people live their lives too.

Three is that I don’t criticize people in position of powers anymore. Nor do I have such an inflated ego that I believe I am in any place close enough to criticize them or make comments and suggestions. Take Trump for example. He’s a very easy target and I understand what most people think of him, but I will leave the criticizing to people who’ve been presidents before because I understand now that I do not have all the facts that someone in that position of power is looking at nor do I understand what it took to get there.

Every field gets bigger and harder as you climb up and I’ve lately been involved with more and more intense projects that I understand what it took, no matter how stupid and one sided an argument is. Comments like “You don’t know what you are talking about” or “Are you stupid?” are common and usually an indication that I am onto something. In fact, all my greatest ideas have encountered statements like this. It is similar to what silicon valley venture capitalist believes. That if a lot of people hates an idea, then they are usually on to something. Funnily, I can’t find any psychological research on this topic. Maybe one of you university psychology students who read this blog can get something started on this.


20170810_141616 From bulking to flailing about on everything to the surgical strikes designed for a pro to the final keto diet cut today. The whole journey took 5 years. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I had a general idea that I want to be fit and the general consensus is that Brad Pitt’s body in fight club is fit. It just so happens that he is the same height as me so I looked him up. 155lb at around 10% body fat. There was a lot of theory reading, a lot of trying things out and understanding what each modification does to my body. My dad actually said that I am the first member of our family history to achieve a 6-pack.

This is one of the intense projects I took on which contributed to the evolution I mentioned in the previous section. Initially, I was skeptical about everyone claiming they can achieve strength that are twice what I was capable of. From that, I thought one of two true is the reality: everyone else is bullshitting or I am just very out of shape and am deluding myself. What do you know, it was a hard pill to swallow, but I was deluding myself.

Five years later, at my peak and before the shoulder injury. I reached 2x the average male adult’s strength based on weight and repetitions. Now after the injury, I am maintaining a 1.5x ratio. If I remember the progress correctly, it was about 2 years of stumbling about with cardio and light weight. Then 3 years of pure strength training starting from 3 times a week at 1 hour each and ending with 6 times a week at 2 hours each. The dedication needed was incredible and meeting other like minded individual whom you nod your head to everyday is also incredible.

To get there, I had to learn all about nutrition, correct forms and research everything about a cycles of working out. Now I am learning the painful lessons of recovery. Specifically injury recovery. Like every idiot, I thought my body is invincible and never planned for recovery. I wanted to reach the top too fast, just like everything else I do. This is when I began to consult with professionals in sport therapy and discovered all these new information about our body and my own experience correlates with their theory. Shoulder injuries takes about 3 months to heal. My body is not genetically made for strength but for flexibility and the bone structure is not made for pushing weights up from my shoulder. Which explains why I can never do a hand stand. Which sort of sucks since I live in North America where body strength is highly valued.

So my left shoulder has one small hairline fracture at the clavicle and a couple of knots (about 10 different places) and one torn tendon. I couldn’t lift it up higher than shoulder height and touching the skin on my shoulder makes the whole thing hurt. These all started from the hairline fracture which made the rest of my shoulder adjust to tackle the weight. The good that came out of this is I finally balanced my left side strength with my right side, the bad is that I had to stop for 3 months and set back my improvement by about 8 months.

As you can see, I went into it thinking I just need to lift. Came out knowing that there is a lot more I need to do. Lifestyle change, plans, food time and money. The biggest lesson I learned though is that the details to reaching the top is a lot grittier and to think I know what it take is to be conceited. Most people don’t want to hear about the struggle and just want to hear and see the result usually. Which contributed somewhat to the lack of information.

Progress Earliest Record I think it was 2011 tmp_15667-abs-1082911424 Dec 2014 tmp_15667-abs201455839292 Feb 2017 tmp_15667-20170213_1927152515438 March 2018 tmp_15667-20170331_142704-88860620 May 2018 20170512_171013 At my prime in August 2018 20170828_121045 Back 20170828_121108 20170828_121154Untitled                        

Drink, Dive, Dance 4: Alessia 2

There’d always be some shitty cafes beside the dive shops serving bitter tasting mud that they’d try to pass as coffee accompanied with overpriced croissant that resembles the pastry by name only. By some shitty unwritten rule, they’d always have 2 tables on the side of the road exposed to the dust for you to sit and sip your cup of mud.

The reason why these coffee shops survives, and I am really guessing here, is because of all the early morning divers who have to show up at the dive shop at 6 am in the morning after a night of dancing and binge drinking. Divers are always tourists and tourists always party the night before. The tables outside is for divers to keep an eye out to see if their dive group is departing. Logistics and organizational skills are not the fortes of people living in the country side of Asia.

At dawn, I’d stumble back to our cabin with a bit of the ol’ sailor shuffle from a long day of diving. Swaying from side to side as I fight against the gravity called exhaustion. Everything felt heavier.

Alessia often tried to describe what it felt like seeing me hobble back like that and I’d always chuckle inside because what she experienced and what I was feeling at that time are as different as night and day. Laying in bed at night, she would tell how she’d catch herself holding her breath watching me appearing from the horizon, with my long dark hair flowing in the wind and my tanned body glistening from sweat. Such was our typical day on Poya Lisa island, a true Robinson Crusoe-esq existence, heavenly and harsh at the same time and I wouldn’t do it for longer than that. Our toilet paper would run out for example.

This happened several weeks later after I parted way with Alessia last in Labuan Bajo. I was investigating how to get on a boat to swim with the Whale sharks at Gorontalo, North Sulawesi and preparing for the final leg of my adventure in Indonesia when Alessia decided to join me after finishing her trip with her father. Alessia, it turns out, had two weeks before school starts in UK, but instead of spending the time moving in to her new apartment and getting oriented with the new environment, she wanted more adventure before getting back to the real world. So like this, our path crossed again.

The adventure through North Sulawesi was to finish a trip that I couldn’t finish from Ylva‘s recommendation. It took especially long to prepare as It is a Malaria infested region with real civil war still going on in central Sulawesi with some truly untouched jungles and still unique tribes unfazed by civilization: Tana Toraja (The mountain plateau people) and the Sama Bajau (Sea Gypsies).

Gorontalo, the place that we met for preparation is a frontier town, almost Indiana Jones-esq-ish. Imagine Indiana Jones style conditions with some modern cars thrown in and you get the idea. It has one special feature that most people don’t know of until you get there. Every year, the whale sharks (a holy grail that every diver chase after) would come around summer and feast on the fish trimmings from the sewage pipes of a fish cannery.

It was during this time when Alessia witnessed the power of the Chinese language at work and I have to admit, without Mandarin, I wouldn’t have been able to arrange the whole trip with basic official Indonesia (they speak a different dialect in North Sulawesi) and pointing at a map. Han Chinese lineage, it turns out, is everywhere in the  world. “I feel so safe and protected when traveling with you, never had to think and worry about anything.” said Alessia as we retire back into our cabin on Poya Lisa 4 days later.

This final adventure turns out to be one of my more memorable ones along with that time Mark and I got in trouble in the souqs of Morocco. Particularly because it’s the first time I had an adventure like this with a women who is able to handle such discomfort. Another time perhaps, my coffee ran out.



Drink, Dive, Dance 3: Laurence

Laurence is French, albeit an atypical one. When nobody is around us on the snowy Annapurna trail, I’d tease her about her Polish accents. She’d lower her head as a reflex and then sneak a peak at me in between her bangs, eyes betraying her anger while simultaneously trying to hold back a laughter. For the French, my Quebec accent is just way too funny to remain serious with me for long.

She is the first French traveler I’ve met who wanders outside of the French circle and mingle with everyone else. Not only that, she is perfectly fluent in English (with that Polish accent). A walking Oxymoron for those of you familiar with how typical French travelers act.

Laurence, revels in finding the cheapest place to eat and then proceed to negotiate the price down. We’d often find ourselves in some hole in the wall local restaurant to eat; grimes on the wall with a fan that’s older than my grandma. She’d sit down after ordering, napkins on her lap, back straight and then proceed to eat her Dal Bhat with the most elegant command of the fork and knife I have ever seen.

Dining, it seems, is a very important event in her blood. I’d learned the difference now her different needs after a while. “Quelque chose à manger” means, let’s grab something on the go and keep sightseeing. “Bon! On trouve un resto là.” means I need to sit down and go through the proper routine of dining à la Français.”

For her, my ability to barter even better than her was the biggest turn on. We’d often have bartering matches where we take turn at different shops to get the same items at prices lower than the other was able to get. Each one of us is fully capable of planning the whole trip by ourselves and is able to get the best deal out of it while the other person can focus on whatever frivolous adventure that we want to try. The complete trust in each other’s abilities as travelers is unprecedented.

Laurence, for me, is the perfect traveling girlfriend… except for her quirky need to experience proper dining from time to time, as if straying away too far from “culture” is too painful. But its the memories of these quirks that brings a smiles to my face.

Whenever I miss Laurence, I’d visit a high end French restaurant, lean back on my chair and just close my eyes.