On the 30th of last month, I was on vacation in Hokkaido, Japan. One month before that, I had just arrived in Sweden for a short stay between leaving my apartment in Denmark for the last time and my return to Canada after living abroad for just over two years. One month before that was my last day of work at ITU Copenhagen, and possibly my last day of paid academic work ever, after 15 years in the research business. Now I'm in Toronto writing a Web log entry; and one month from today, I expect to be on the West Coast visiting my family for the winter holidays. Five consecutive 30ths in five very different geographic and cultural spaces.
Well, I'm disappointed. And I'm more than a bit surprised, but not another whole bit more: I'm 1.89 bits surprised. That is the negative logarithm to base 2 of 0.27, which was the probability fivethirtyeight.com put on a Trump win, and the best estimate available to me of how likely it was to happen. Flip a coin twice and get heads both times, or draw a card from a 52-card poker deck and have it be a heart? Either of those is 2 bits worth of entropy (that is, of surprise), slightly more surprising than last night's main result. Not something that should shock anyone for the reason of unlikeliness, not from the point of view of the information we had 48 hours ago. Feel free to be shocked for other reasons.
I wrote my previous update on the train back to Tokyo. My trip to Japan was basically over, but I still had a substantial amount of travelling to do.
On my second full day in Hokkaido (Sunday), it started snowing very lightly as I set out in the morning. The flakes melted as soon as they hit anything solid, but it was interesting to note. I spent the morning walking through the local parks and making a leisurely way to the Bankei Ridge Winery, which is the oldest (established 2001) and also the smallest winery on Hokkaido. It's not exactly a major wine-producing region; grape wine isn't all that popular in Japan to begin with, and the climate (similar to coastal British Columbia) is such that growing grapes isn't easy.
Saturday was my first full day in Sapporo. I started with the hotel breakfast, which was pretty good. They had a good selection of Japanese-style breakfast items and even some limited Western-style breakfast food. Someone who refused to eat Japanese-style breakfast would at least not go hungry, although such a person would probably have plenty of trouble with the language, and the little Japanese-only card you're supposed to place on your table to show whether you're just temporarily away at the buffet, or have finished and left.
At last update I was preparing for the start of SISAP 2016, likely my last conference as a working academic. I gave my talk there and did other conference things, had one day of free time in Tokyo, and then spent a day travelling to Sapporo. Now it's early morning and I'm gearing up for the main "vacation" part of my trip. Remember that you can usually find photos and more up-to-date commentary in my Twitter stream.
I'm in Japan to present a talk at SISAP 2016 and do some vacationing. That limits my Net access and time for writing updates here, but it also means I have plenty of stories to tell, so I'm going to try to post more or less regularly (maybe not every day) during my trip. Brief updates and photos, usually more current than the entries posted here, will be on my Twitter stream, which see.
This is a brief update on what I've been doing since my last posting a month ago, and where I'm going next. I am writing this from Skanör, Sweden, where I've been staying with my friend Steven Baker and his family since leaving my Copenhagen apartment on September 29. I'll be here until October 9, when I fly back to Toronto.
Vincent: So if you're quitting the life, what'll you do?
Jules: That's what I've been sitting here contemplating. First, I'm gonna deliver this case to Marsellus. Then, basically, I'm gonna walk the earth.
- Pulp Fiction