L: LaLaPort Adventure (A Personal Blog Post For Once)

Phil from 2009, looking plump and signing karaoke.

 I used to have a blog called “Drill Bits: A Weird Guy in Japan”: http://philipoverby1.blogspot.jp/ (if you care to take a gander) in which I talked a lot about my experiences in Japan and would occasionally spill the beans on various personal things that were happening in my life. When I started Philip Overby’s Fantasy Free for All, I decided that I wanted to maintain a bit more distance and not delve into my personal life as much. As I had already lived in Japan for a while and made all my posts about favorite places, learning the language, myths, etc., I felt like I ran out of meaningful topics.

Phil from 2014, a little less hair and enjoying the best steak I’ve ever had in my life on Valentine’s Day.

 I created this Fantasy Free for All blog because I knew I had a whole lot more to say about the fantasy genre, my first love when it came to fiction, movies, games, almost everything. However, I crashed into another wall. I felt like giving writing advice or tips became another topic that ran out of steam for me. I was wracking my brain trying to think of topics and then one day I just decided: “Well shit, I’ll just write whatever I feel like.”
So that’s what I’ve been doing on my blog since. Sure, I probably don’t have as many hits now, but that’s not why I made the blog anyway. I made it to hopefully connect with a small group of people. People who are interested in the same things I am. People I can meet who love fantasy as much as me. People I can read about on their own blogs and see how their writing journey (or whatever) is going.

That said, this is my personal story for the day. I wanted to document it because it felt different. Momentous in some way.

April 12th, 2014 is the day I ate a McDonald’s breakfast, felt like warmed-over shit and decided, “I need to take a long walk to burn off this pancake sausage monstrosity I just inhaled.”

My journey began with this. It whispered to me, “I am full of syrup and salt. Consume my essence and begin your adventure into the wild unknown (straight along the path of a busy highway).

So I did. I walked. And walked. And walked.

I didn’t know where I was going. I just started walking. Before long, I started passing farms and fields as I trekked along the highway, watching butterflies flutter as robotic techno orchestral metal played on my iPod.

My feet hurt after about an hour, but I continued on, reaching a place named…wait for it…Hard-Off. Yes, this is the name of a place. It’s a kind of second-hand store for mostly hardware, videos games, cameras, musical instruments and the like. Get it? Hard=hardware, Off=discount. Hard-Off.

OK, get it out of your system.


As I’m looking around Hard-Off, I’m realizing how it’s a trip down memory lane. Not only are they playing music from another store I used to pass on my way to work in Fukushima (a store called Off-House), but there are so many ass-kicking bits of nostalgia laying around. Just seeing old 80s and 90s video games made my nerd-sense tingle.

Found this awesome art for a game that never came out in the US. Sucks, but damn, look at that art!

I continued to browse until I found a section of musical instruments. One thing in particular stood out to me. A very cheap violin with its case. I imagined this was probably owned by some boy or girl who parents probably had lofty goals. Their son or daughter would play in a big orchestra one day! But alas, there sat the old violin, collecting dust and sitting there lonely, probably never to be bought.

It made me think: I too have sacrificed my dreams in exchange for stability. Nothing wrong with that, but I guess it’s not for me. I’ll always want more in life and never be content until my dreams are realized. I know I have to balance work and my dreams, but it’s just getting heavier and heavier on my soul that I have to make drastic changes for good in the near future.

I left the store, thinking about how many dreams have died, left discard alongside the road like the trail of broken umbrellas that littered the side of the highway. 

Tired, sore, and thirsty, I saw a huge building looming, emerging out of the cloudy haze. Civilization! I quickened my pace as cars whizzed past me on my left and a bamboo forest sat on my right. The dichotomy was not lost on me. I was walking a path between the established, safe way of travel (cars) and the old, dirty, difficult way of travel (hacking through a bamboo forest.) So what way would I really chose?

Soon I reached the end of my journey: LaLaPort Yokohama, a sprawling three story mall the likes of which I’d never seen. The mall is alive in well in Japan, that’s for sure. While it wasn’t insanely busy, it was remarkable how much was going on there. I marveled at their state of the art theater (but didn’t watch a movie) and longed to try a waffle and curry restaurant, though the line was too long. Alas, waffles and curry would have to wait another day.

The view from LaLaPort’s third floor.

I drank a Starbucks Frappacino and wrote notes about this very blog post.

I began my journey with McDonald’s, had a lot of thoughts about nature, the fast pace of our lives, and how I needed to harness my dreams and goals again, and I ended at Starbucks.

When you break it down, my adventure was to travel from McDonald’s to Starbucks. Sounds horrible when I put it that way.

But it was much more than that. It showed me I do have a dependence on the modernities of life, but at the same time, I long for more. I yearn for a different path. That’s why I walked. I walked because I wanted to stumble upon the unknown. What I found was more of the same. Dreaming about the past and doing what I always did. It woke me up though. Seriously.

Sometimes you do just have to walk and see where the road takes you. It may take you to somewhere painfully familiar, but sometimes it will take you places you didn’t expect. Places you didn’t think you ever needed to be.

OK, so that was long, but I couldn’t “Twitter-fy” this post or make it more manageable in small bites. I think I wrote it more for myself anyway. I needed to just get that out. I hope that it can help someone in someway though.

Just try a new path every once in a while. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself (or don’t learn).

Thanks for reading. And take a walk. You might just love it.