The Eclectic Generalist?!?!

This web site is dedicated to notice, pay special attention to, examine scientifically (sometimes), arrive at as a conclusion (sometimes), to remark casually (frequently),  and celebrate (ALWAYS) life, living, working, playing, the various tools and technologies we utilize for all of that, and, yes, a sprinkling of how my weird and wonderful life in Tokyo fits into all of this.


A bit of history (very contemporary), a bit of technology (mostly fun, generally useful), a bit of trend-spotting, and a LOT of people watching



Regardless of how you discovered this site, whether your visit to this site is accidental (as in the case of a false positive for a Google search you ran)  or intentional (you are a curious friend or acquaintance) I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to you for taking the time to stop by, imbibe a bit of your beverage of choice, read some of my various bleatings and rantings, and (I sincerely hope) offer your thoughtful responses to what I bring together and present here.  

As you will discover in my profile (Who IS TokyoObserver), I am not a scholar, but I do appreciate careful research and craftsmanship in the presentation of information and opinions; I am no longer active as a journalist, but I still understand the importance of balancing the needs of objectivity in reporting with the subjectivity of personal experience, cultural biases (implicit and explicit), and perspective; I am not a specialist, but at various points in my life, I have taken the time and invested the time and energy to thoroughly learn a pretty wide variety of fairly specialized skills, and tested each in the “real world” work place (testing myself, to see if I really “got it” or not.).....

Many of the technologies I have mastered along the way have gone through massive transformations since the years when I first learned them:   

.... Compare, for example, the tools and processes of film-based photography of the early ‘60s with today’s digital photography.....

.... Or  first generation broadcast TV news ENG (Electronic News Gathering) video editing.... (with a typical “travel kit” for simple news story editing and satellite feeds being a minimum of 14 cases, each one weighing from 20 to 40 kgs) with today’s “One man band” kit for full pre- and post-production of full-length movies or TV programs (1 17" MacBook Pro, a complete pre- and post production studio in software, 3 digital video cameras, with batteries and chargers, all required cables and accessories and 30 hours of video media, all fitting in a single, fairly compact briefcase that weighs practically nothing) .... 

This is truly amazing stuff to us “old timers!..... (And I am such “an old timer” that I know how to edit and splice film and separate mag-strip sound!)

I have been active professionally in boat-building, healing, teaching, journalism, rights & permissions in publishing, project and event planning and co-ordination, travel coordination for Japanese TV crews traveling abroad, nutrition and health care, computer consulting, economic development in the Asia-Pacific region, and the list goes on....

My own hyper-active curiosity keeps me interested in and paying attention to the changes these fields have undergone over time, even in those areas where I know, as interested as I am, I am probably never going to be active again. 

I feel like the proverbial “kid in the candy store”, day after day, and I love every minute of it! 

And, as interested as I am with all of that technology, it pales in comparison to my interest in PEOPLE.... their lives, their strategies for making their way in their lives and work, the work itself, their tools, their loves and hates.... the whole enchilada!  I love it all.... 

.... And, perhaps most of all, I notice and enjoy all those juicy ironies that sort of get bundled along with anything related to humanity and “the human condition”!

Take for example, the heading at the top of this page.....

Just to make sure that you and I really ARE on the same page, let’s clarify that title:

Tokyo:  A famous if little known city located somewhere in the Far East, more specifically, on the island of Honshu, in the country known as Japan.  

(Trust me!  It is VERY real!  But it is also, at the same time, so weird, so amazing, at times, that I sometimes have to pinch myself.... “What?!?!.... That CAN’T be really happening!!!!  For sure, I have PLENTY I want to share on THAT subject, but that will come in later posts!  <<smiling>> )

Observer: One who observes, i.e.  

ob-serve  vt.[ < L observare  < ob-  (see OB-)+ servare, to keep ]

1.  To adhere to (a law, custom, etc.)  

2)  to celebrate (a holiday, etc.)  

3)     a) to notice (something)  

        b) to pay special attention to (something)

4)  to arrive at as a conclusion  

5)  to say casually; remark  

6)  to examine scientifically

(My choice?  Let’s see, now.... <<thinking>>   I’ll take “All of the above”.  ALL of these work HERE.)

ec-lec-tic (also e-clec-tic)  adj.   [ < Gr ek- , out  + legein, choose ]

selecting or selected from various sources –– n.  one who uses eclectic methods

–– adv. ec-lec’-ti-cal-ly  –– n.  ec-lec’-ti-cism

I like to think of this as being the polar opposite of the oh-so-common attitude of “not invented here” so often found in far too many professional, educational, and business environments..... Which is, itself, most typically a kind of allergy to new or unfamiliar ideas, approaches, methods, and opinions.

So, I guess that means, in this context, the process of gathering together and sharing of a variety of contrasting, apparently dis-similar, previously un-related ideas, experiences, tools, methods, and strategies, etc... 

Letting them bang together a bit... like flint and steel.... and see what we get!


(Guess what!  There IS no entry in my dictionary for this word!  Obviously a conspiracy being foisted on us all by the specialists among us!  Beware!)

Actually, I DID find an entry in Wikipedia.... Intriguingly apropos to this discussion, even if only (seemingly) by accident!

<< start of quoted entry >>

Generalist and specialist species

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Generalist) 

 [Which means that there is no entry for that word!]

A generalist species is able to thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions, and if a heterotroph, has a varied diet. 

Specialist species can only thrive in a narrow range of environmental conditions and/or has a limited diet.

Omnivores, which eat both plants and meat, are usually generalists, but herbivores which eat a variety of plants may also be considered generalists. A well-known example of a specialist animal is the koala which subsists almost entirely on eucalyptus leaves. The raccoon is a generalist because it has a natural range that includes most of North and Central America, and it is omnivorous, eating berries, insects, eggs and small animals.

The distinction between generalists and specialists is not limited to animals. For example, some plants require a narrow range of temperatures, soil conditions and precipitation to survive while others can tolerate a broader range of conditions. A cactus could be considered a specialist species. It will die during winters at high latitudes or if it receives a lot of water.

<< end of quoted entry >>

Perhaps, a more suitable definition, for our purposes here, might be the following....

A person who has acquired a critical mass of skills and work experience in a broad range of (not necessarily related)  professional disciplines, who has both the pan-disciplinary perspective and vocabulary to bridge the common interdisciplinary communication crevasses, who can function as both a facilitator and interpreter for effective interdisciplinary brainstorming, planning and project/process coordination....


Someone who just gets a lot of satisfaction from discovering, mastering, and serving in a diverse series of interesting forms and areas of human endeavor..... AKA, work 

(Actually, “work” sounds SO proletariat: I prefer the term “serious play”, but whatever!)

So.... I suppose we have reached the point where you have begun to wonder who or what this “TokyoObserver” actually is....

Let me assure you that, contrary to your most likely first impressions, he/she/it is most certainly NOT a Super-Ball bouncing around in a squash court covered in talcum powder!  

(Although, on further contemplation, that metaphor might come in handy, later, as we go along...)

.... The approach presented here may at first  APPEAR to be both random and “accidental”.

Do not be deceived. It is neither. 

Rather it purposeful, intuitive, and synchronistic in ways that MAY (hopefully!) become increasingly evident as time goes on.

I feel compelled to point out, at this point, that I, personally, need lots of variety in my life, to avoid going totally bonkers, with regards to Food (glorious food!), Music, People, Ideas, and my ever varied work at hand. 

Variety is, for me, NOT simply the spice of Life, it is the Staff of Life!

So, essentially, this web site is dedicated to


pay special attention to, 

examine scientifically (sometimes), 

arrive at as a conclusion (sometimes), 

to remark casually (frequently),  

and celebrate (ALWAYS) life, living, working, playing, the various tools and technologies we utilize for all of that, and, YES

a sprinkling of how my weird and wonderful life in Tokyo fits into all of this . 

Add to all this a bit of history (mostly very contemporary, but don’t get me started on the topic of 1421!), a bit of technology (mostly fun, generally useful), a bit of trend-spotting, and a LOT of people watching!

Now for the serious stuff!

Finally, I would like to encourage you to actively participate in the dialogue as it unfolds hereinafter, pro or con.  

There is plenty of room for discussion, argumentation and debate, as far as I am concerned, but like any other game, sport, or martial art, there ARE certain rules about what is “allowed” and “not allowed”, if you want to join the game..... What might be considered the “cost of admission”.  

Mine are simple:  All ideas, positions, experiences, and opinions are equally welcome here, if presented (and responded to) in the spirit of mutual respect and tolerance. 

A lot of the excitement of sharing and exchanging ideas is in the process of defining, comparing, contrasting, and testing the relative merits of each other’s ideas, and, IMHO,  the more of this sort of thing, the better!  

Just like for gold, silver, and a good loaf of bread the refinement of ideas may require a bit of heat.  This heat, therefore, CAN be a good thing. 

A well used kitchen tends to be the hottest rome in the house! And THIS is almost ALWAYS a VERY good thing!

However, when and if you take issue with the info, ideas or opinions presented hereinafter (mine or anybody else’s), please stick to testing the relative merits of the info, ideas, and opinions. 

Demonstrations of viable evidence and rational thought processes are (and always will be) particularly appreciated, while childish displays of emotional pyrotechnics at other’s expense are NOT.

Do not stoop to name-calling or slander to make your point.  It will not win you any points, nor will it be tolerated. 

I may be a child at heart, when it comes to my interests, but I also expect mature, respectful, adult behavior when it comes to communication and the exchange of ideas.  


I treasure my time too much to waste it on anything less, and I suspect that this might be true for many others who might choose to visit this site, regardless of any political, racial, religious, philosophical, gender, or age orientations or biases that may be involved.

If you are so convinced that you have nothing to learn from what others have to offer, or are convinced that "only the righteous have the right to live, prosper, and be heard (and we all know who THEY are!)", you probably won't be happy, or find much of value, during your visit here. 

Thankfully, the internet is a wide, wonderfully varied world, with something for everyone.  I am sure, if you look hard enough, you are bound to find someplace you can call “home”.

One last issue:  In part because this is so much a part of my own character.... and I personally get so very little opportunity to express it, living here in Tokyo as I do.... teasing and “tongue in cheek” joking, punning, and mutually enjoyable humor IS certainly allowed, even encouraged. 

As always, like the use of seasonings and spices when cooking, it is always good to stick to “a pinch of this, sample the result, a pinch of that, sample the result” approach.... 

Unlike face-to-face encounters, neither you nor I can see all the various faces of the other readers out there, nor can we hear their tone of voice... there is no visual or audio feedback loop!.... and even NO response at all can mean a LOT of different things to different people in different contexts!

As mentioned above, most assuredly....  Insults and name calling are NOT welcome here.  

While the distinctions I draw here may seem a bit “archaic”, in today’s world, they are “the House Rules” on this site. 

Treat others with the same respect you would want to receive from them.  




In one respect, this site will be just like "the Real World":  For every action there are consequences.

Besides.... I have LOTS of free time to devote to cleaning out any "noise" that may accumulate.  <<wink>>

Likewise, if the only ones that are attracted to this site are socially maladjusted malcontents, I may make a separate site, later, just for them, where they can be as nasty as they want, and where I can REALLY poke fun at them in kind!

As for all who are naturally curious, are convinced that we can all find ways to make a tangible and positive difference in this world, and are interested in the exchange of ideas to that end.... 

Hang in there!  The "serious play" is about to begin.

Last but not least, be advised that the act of posting to this website constitutes your agreement with and support of the code of behavior outlined above.  

Thank you, once more, for joining us.


(AKA Milo Parsons)

Tokyo, Japan