An Ode To Trains

I took my first train ride in three years yesterday. It’s been that long since I owned a car and haven’t set foot in any public transport. Before that, it was years of taking buses, then trains, then buses again to get to the office.

But both the car and Covid changed that. The car made me drive to the office and be stuck in traffic jams for too long. And Covid made me not go to the office in the first place for over a year.

Yesterday was an office day, though (Tuesdays and Fridays), and my fiancée needed the car (we share one). Usually, we drive together, and I drop her off at her work and then drive to my office. But it was her day off and one full of appointments.

Alas, I took the train yesterday. And I… enjoyed it? Deeply, even?

I seem to have forgotten over the years, but train rides help me unwind. All I have to do is to wait to get from A to B. And the longer the train ride, the more I can relax. It feels like meditation: longer sittings allow the brain to calm down more. You need to pass a certain threshold of pure not-doing-anythingness before the brain runs out of things to think.

And unlike while driving, I can listen to more than just a podcast. I can write, read a book (trains are one reason I want to get an e-reader, paper books are not the most pocketable), or be in a trance-like state, between being awake and asleep.

Due to Covid, most people seem to shun public transport, which leads to a lot of space and silence. The few fellow co-travellers sat far enough away. And I don’t know what the chances are to catch Covid in a nearly empty train while everyone is wearing a mask, but I think, I hope, it’s close to zero.

When we move to the new apartment in two weeks, I will have access to a train station after a three-minute walk. It is from here that I also took that train yesterday. I plan to take it more often whenever I have no appointments after work (like when I see my trainer).

And since it’s a direct train, I don’t run into one of the significant disadvantages of public transportation, inflexibility. I don’t need to catch a connection: a train being five minutes late, thus missing the connecting bus and waiting in the cold of the winter for an hour, was what made me get a car in the past.

But after three years of abstinence, I still seem to prefer trains for commuting and travelling. I am happy to be back. Trains are my jam.

I wish The Orient Express were still a thing.

Tomoe River is dead, long live Tomoe River

Ok, ok, everyone, calm down!

After yesterday's shock, I got the great news (thanks, Scott) that – while Tomoegawa is not producing Tomoe River paper anymore – Sanzen Paper has taken over the rights and production.


Sanzen has already moved production to its own machines and will start shipping Tomoe River on November 29th. However, since they took over Tomoegawa’s inventory, it will likely be a few months before we see Sanzen-manufactured Tomoe River on the market.

As it seems, they are planning to work on a true successor. According to Fudefan, it's of even better quality than Tomoe River paper.

Sanzen’s paper is impressive. It seems to take any ink you throw at it, even Kakimori’s Akitsuta, which feathers and bleeds on pretty much anything, including “new” Tomoe River.
In terms of shading, sheen, and vibrancy, Sanzen’s paper consistently outperformed “new” Tomoe River and was mostly on par with the old paper.

I can't wait to get my hands on this.

Trying out Day One again

My favourite writing stationery: Irushizuku Shin-Kai ink, Lamy CP1 fountain pen, the Hobonicho Techo planner (in black), and the Baron Fig Confidant notebook and Squire pen.

In a Discord community, I am a part of the journaling app Day One came up again, months after I stopped using it.

I've been journaling for the whole year but have done so mostly using pen and paper. Every morning, after drinking my coffee and reading the daily chapter of Robert Greene's latest book, I sit down at my desk and journal.

I write a daily recap in the Japanese version of the Hobonichi Techo. Thanks to its Tomoe River paper, I can use my favourite fountain pen and favourite ink. It's a blast; I love it. And if you are willing to get real nerdy, read this post on Tomoe River paper. (Unfortunately, it seems as if TomoeGawa might not produce Tomoe River paper anymore. Time to look for alternatives.)

Why Tomoe River Paper Is The #1 Fountain Pen Paper
Have you been on the hunt for the perfect fountain pen paper? Discover the epitome of Japanese craftsmanship through Tomoe River Paper; an all time favorite at Galen!

But even though I do – very obviously – love journaling by hand, it misses a few things: What about pictures and other metadata? What about random thoughts that don't make sense being linked to a specific day? (The Techo is mostly a planner. Every page is for one day. Even if Day One works by days, too, a random thought can live on its own as a single entry. It doesn't have to share)

So, I will try Day One again. For a month or so, I will try the following experiment:

  • Write morning pages using the iPad and Day One. The goal is to write without thinking. I am faster at doing this on a keyboard than by hand, so it might allow me to edit less while writing. It doesn't matter what gets through my head, I'll write it down.
  • Reply to the daily prompts in Day One.
  • Log pictures, random thoughts, and metadata like how much I slept (tracking this for another experiment) and if I exercised.
  • Write in my Techo every evening to recap the day, what I am grateful for, what has occupied me while it is still fresh.

It might not work out. I might forget to journal; I might write the same thing twice, I might get bored of using one of the two methods.

I'll check back in a month or so.

You need Scroll Reverser in your life

Scroll Reverser for macOS

Scroll Reverser is a free utility that might enhance your life tremendously, courtesy of Markus.

Twice a week, I go to the office where I use my MacBook Pro (not the new one yet) and use peripherals provided by the company: a random HP mouse and a random HP keyboard.

The annoying part is that the HP mouse has a scroll wheel but no third-party software. This means that I have to change the scrolling direction in the macOS system preferences. It, however, messes with the natural scrolling of the trackpad. And I can't get used to old-school scrolling anymore.

Scroll Reverser fixes this. It reverses the direction of scrolling, with independent settings for trackpads and mice. That's all it does, and it's fantastic.

(Seriously, thank you, Markus!)

#TGIBF — Stand in line, please

Welcome to Black Friday Week.

You will probably get overflooded with emails and banners, and notifications telling you of this once-in-a-lifetime deal. Be fast, or otherwise, this product you never knew you wanted will be out of stock in no time.

I unironically like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is the perfect moment to unsubscribe from all these marketing emails you collected over the previous year to get 10% off on the first order.

It's also a happy coincidence that during this week, you'll get emails from companies you didn't hear from for a very long time. It's as if they all stand in line for you to ban them to the nether realm one by one.

How considerate of them.