Mind Wrap


Evening view of Mt. Fuji from Mt. Takao

Last winter view of Mt. Fuji from Mount Takao, before the spring haze sets in.

I want to apologize to everyone for not being around for such a long time. I mean to write every day, but recently I got involved with a huge project designing the international brochure for Keio Plaza Hotel. For those of you who don’t know what the Keio Plaza Hotel is, just try picturing yourself doing the brochure for the entire chain of the Ritz… and then having it be the first time to do such a big project. While it is exciting and certainly a lot of fun to be given basically free rein to come up with a completely new concept for the hotel (it’s hard imagining that I will be responsible in part for the image that the hotel projects to all international visitors who come to Tokyo and stay at the hotel!), and that I basically have a budget to make most graphic designers drool, I must say that the pressure is enough to whiten a few more areas of my goatee.

The first night after I met with the hotel public relations team and descended from the dizzying heights of the Imperial Suite (the hotel is one of the biggest and tallest buildings in Japan) down into the restaurants, passing some 1,450 rooms and 27 restaurants, my brain was so frazzled by the sheer complexity and numerousness of services and facilities that I went into a panic. I lay in bed awash with too many images and sensory overload, and with the looming tower of the hotel glaring down at me, demanding to know how I, this little blip of a graphic designer, would dare to presume to grasp the concept of such a giant entity. Somewhere around 3:00 in the morning I thought my sense of self was going to go nova, and I entertained the thought of just giving up, no matter the shame, embarrassment, and inconvenience I would cause to those I was working with.

But then it occurred to me, damn, this is just a silly little pamphlet, not the actual planning of the hotel itself! And then I thought, it is only a hotel, not some baby whose life was in my hands. Just a hotel.

And that’s when, for the first time in my life when facing what I imagined was a truly big personal crisis, I consciously seemed to wrap my mind around a concept that seemed bigger than I could grasp. I realized that that’s how ideas work and how a single mind could handle seemingly overwhelming situations if the mind itself is given enough leeway. I conjured up the image of my hand wrapping around the hotel and squeezing it down to size. And it worked! The moment the hotel became this little idea and the strength of the idea of simplicity stepped in, suddenly my whole body let go of the tension and I could feel myself breathing easier. Within ten minutes I was fast asleep, the exploratory half of my mind free to roam the cosmos of invention.

I hope I can learn a lesson from what happened and use it for how I deal with my life in general. Perhaps until now I’ve always imagined my life is being somehow much bigger than my spirit, but I wonder if what I can imagine and what my trail though the years actually is are not actually the same thing. It is certainly something to ponder.

10 Responses

  1. Denny

    Some life decisions ARE momentous. But in the end we must, as don Juan in Carlos Castaneda’s novel says: “Choose a path with heart, and follow it.”

  2. miamh

    OMG if you find that you are able to do this every single time a situation such as this one presents itself please let me know! I do that positive visualisation stuff but I seem to be falling down somewhere! lol.. Good luck with the brochure.. I’ve been to the Keio..look forward to the outcome!

  3. susurra

    Your spirit and creativity have vastly more potential than this pamplet could consume. Let yourself imagine yourself huge! The resources of the universe are at your disposal.

  4. Isao

    Hi, your finding gave me a new insight into how I should think of life, job, relationship in general. I’ve been trying to live together with the occasional crisis elements, not to get away from them nor to fight against them. It works but still lacks a practical method to treat the fear when it’s roaring around. Good luck with the project, I will have a good reason to choose Keio Plaza.

  5. Pica

    What an incredible image, the hotel-in-the-hand. This was very helpful to me. Hope you are able to use this elsewhere also.

    Let us know when your pamphlet’s ready! I’d love to see it.

  6. Beth W.

    The hotel-in-hand was a very helpful image for me, as well. I may use it tonight, when I’m lying in bed not sleeping, trying to develop some solutions to current challenges. Thank you for that, and the marvelous photograph.

  7. ntexas99

    How wonderful to be given this opportunity to shine – congratulations. Your acknowledgement of both the sheer hugeness of the task at hand, as well as the visual resizing to a manageable proportion, both speak of your vision and breadth of experience you bring to the table. May this be the most fun you’ve ever envisioned! All the moments of the usual stress and deadlines and such will surely be there, but with this revised vision of the task, surely you will also have the inner ability to enjoy the sheer pleasure within the task as well. Congratulations, indeed.

  8. Thomas Sturm

    Congratulations on this project! Sounds very exciting and I’m sure everything will be going well… the hotel is lucky to get such a bright mind to work on their brochures.

    And I also like the way you got the problem down to size. As always, it’s very inspiring to visit your blog.