The Glorious, Almost-Disconnected Boredom of My Walk in Japan

WIRED | 5/29/2019 | Craig Mod
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I was on an epic walk, 620 miles alone across Japan, over six weeks. I set out on this walk not knowing what I was getting into. I didn't know that I’d meet this guy or see his amazing toilet. But I did and, because I’m human, I wanted to share that serendipity. Look! A man who is almost 70 and has run a cafe almost every day since 1984 has built a toilet for the simple purpose of bedazzling his customers! But sharing today means using social platforms like Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. And once you open those apps and stare into the maw of an algorithmically curated timeline, you are pulled far, far away from the music and the toilet or wherever it is you may be at that moment.

I have configured servers, written code, built web pages, helped design products used by millions of people. I am firmly in the camp that believes technology is generally bending the world in a positive direction. Yet, for me, Twitter foments neurosis, Facebook sadness, Google News a sense of foreboding. Instagram turns me covetous. All of them make me want to do it—whatever “it” may be—for the likes, the comments. I can’t help but feel that I am the worst version of myself, being performative on a very short, very depressing timeline. A timeline of seconds.

Craig - Mod - @ - Craigmod - Writer

Craig Mod (@craigmod) is a writer, photographer and technologist who lives in Japan.

These are complaints of my own making. But look—I’ve tried. I’ve pruned, and sliced back, and still find myself time and time again sucked in.

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