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Portrait of Nystrom as a Young Man

I was looking through some old papers today and came across this blast from the past.

This is me in the kitchen of my apartment in Tokyo, probably in 1991 or so, which would make me about 23 years old. I had just graduated from college and rented that old, single room, second floor flat in Tokyo. There was only a squat toilet, and no shower or bath. Every other day or so I'd ride my bike to the sento, the public bath, where it cost about $3.00 to get myself clean.

The sliding wooden windows and doors had huge cracks at the jambs, which made it extra cold in the winter. The wind would blow right though, and everything would rattle and shake during earthquakes.

The Daily Paul was not even a twinkle in my minds eye. I'd never heard of Ron Paul.

I had those sunglasses that were just like the ones Andy Warhol was wearing in the poster on the wall behind me, and I thought the picture was clever.

Just found it today, and thought I would share.


What were you doing in 1991?

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I wasn't even born yet!

I thought that was a poster of Elton John behind you at first....haha.

“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.” -Malcolm X

I was only 5-6 years old in

I was only 5-6 years old in 91. Had plenty of fun back at that old house. We moved the next year.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

Michael Nystrom's picture

"We moved the next year."

And suddenly, just like that, everything changed. Right?

That's what life is like. Long periods of stability where nothing much changes, everything just kind of inches along, and then suddenly there's a big discontinuity. You move, you go to a new school, you graduate, you break up with a girlfriend, your mom dies. (My mom died when I was 19)

Suddenly the whole landscape changes. It is a new season - the season of the new house/school/job/life without a mom.

The old season has ended, and looking back, you realize that season is over, and it is never coming back.

There's only one direction to go: Forward.

Thanks for sharing.

Actually things are changing

Actually things are changing again. Having been stable for 20 years, things started getting bumpy and by the end of this year they will undoubtly different for me.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

Hmm, 1991

I was exploring theology, and doing what I love: teaching children at a Early Childhood Education facility. Come to think of it, not much (in that area) has changed. (just doing it on a smaller, more intense scale :)

Yet much has changed: I'm married to my best friend (You are my lover and also my friend is engraved on our rings), I am no longer a Republican straight line ticket voter, and I have my own children to raise and teach. I was blindly following the RNC, not realizing it was simply the flip side of the statist coin.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

it was a good year for us--

involved with our young family back then--

but I don't remember anything other than that, when I look back, I miss those times--

I miss those old Japanese 'houses'--

even the toilets.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Michael Nystrom's picture

Were you in Japan, too?

in the early 70s I spent time in--

Tokyo (Minami Senzoku), Kichijoji, Hibarigaoka, and Yamato--

I loved it. I don't have much Asian "blood" (though there is a family legend that we have an Asian ancestor), so I had no connections with family there--

I lived 'on the economy', though--that's what it was called back then--where I only visited an American-style grocery store for the cultural experience; I used the little street markets, where you get fish at one store, chicken at another, some veggies at one, etc.--

never saw an American home when I was there, and I admit that I love the traditional Japanese home, even if it's a tiny apartment--


I'd rather have a Japanese home than an American one, but it's very costly to get over here--

I like how the bath (ofuro) is separate from everything else--

Yes, tofu, the corner 'cafe' with the big pot of stock with chicken feet in it--

the entire thing--

I never missed American food, but I did miss Mexican food--


I don't eat wheat, but I do eat rice--

Being in Japan was what opened my eyes politically; I met some very interesting people, older people who had experienced the war who helped me to see that, though the Japanese government/military was certainly guilty of some crimes, the Japanese people were as clueless as Americans were--

I saw their perspective, and it was mind-changing.

Oh well--

I'm forgetting a lot of it; I did speak Japanese for a while, but I've forgotten most of it; the problem is that Japanese is a very fluid language and has changed so much, taken on so many American/Western words--

but watching movies such as this:


I find that Japanese very easy to understand.

The modern Japanese culture really blows my little, old mind--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Let's see - 1991. I was 13/14 so I would have been reading

None Dare Call it Conspiracy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Anarchist's Cookbook, and looking pretty much like this:

(I'm the cute one)

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Ha! That is fabulous!

I'm guessing the bigger kid in blue.

The Anarchist's Cookbook. Never read it. Is it worth it?

Maybe I should take up speed reading.

Is that kid still inside of yoiu?

That's me! Who knew the blond kid would turn out to be a playa


Most of the 'Cookbook' is now available online... a lot of it is outdated, like how to make free calls on a 'pay-phone(?)'. Most everything in there - like how to make exploding light bulbs - is a lot more fun to learn by watching reruns of Burn Notice on USA.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

In 1991, I was wore multiple pairs of differently colored socks

so I could pull the cuffs different distances over my pant legs and match the colors in my shirt.

So, I'd say a picture where you're wearing the same style of sunglasses as Andy Warhol is wearing in a poster behind you is clever.

Defend Liberty!

Michael you look so Cool.

1991 my husband and I were raising two young sons, it was the most important thing I ever did in my life.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Debbie's picture

Yes it is, quilting.



lol I read and upvoted the comment above yours

without realizing *who* had said it. So when I saw your reply, I was confused. My first thought was that you were countering that you thought the most important thing *you'd* ever done was quilting. Personally, I wouldn't put quilting in the same category as raising children, but hey, to each his own. I figured you had your reasons! Then I noticed who you were replying to. Oh!
Btw, I love the striking quilt on the cover of this Libana CD. It's great music, too! http://www.libana.com/img/Merch_Items/Fire_Within.jpg

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I was 3 years old in 1991...

I was 3 years old in 1991...

Liberty spans many generations.

We all share this eternally evolving present moment- The past and future only exist as inconsequential mental fabrications.

In 91 we'd moved from the city

I was enjoying our first house, painting & wallpapering, planting flowers, creating a vegetable garden, training a puppy... So how does the joke go? You play a country-western song backwards to get your house back, your spouse back, your dog back... Well, the dog's long gone, but I'd sure like the house back. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Man's Best Friend

'My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend And I Sure Do Miss Him.'

OK i haven't said this in public yet but i said in on chat

scrolling down I was like wait that's Andy Warhol and down I did get the reference and know something? When we were young and worth looking at, we were really young and worth looking at.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

Way back when in '91...

...I was soon to start homeschooling our 10y.o. son.
Listening to Zappa, X and the Dead.
Had a New Age Rasta Ganja t-shirt.
Active in local Libertarian activities.
And, had been supporting RP for 4 years!

'91, I was in elementary school.

I don't have any scanned pics of me from '91, but here I am Xmas '92, outside with my brother in our yard. I looked sad or mad but I wasn't. I think that it was from the top-down angle; the photo taken from up on the back porch.

My hair was bright red-pink ahahahahaahahahahha. I went to have my hair cut & dyed blue; the local hair stylist - a nice lady who was a friend of my mom - assured me this color would "be like blue." I got home and my hair definitely wasn't "like blue."

scawarren's picture

LOL... you was so cute. That

LOL... you was so cute. That look on your face reminds me of my nephew TJ who is now in the Navy and stationed in Omaha.

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain
Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong. - Ron Paul


Thank you.

1991 ?

Wow that is going back. Spring in 91 Johnny thunders finally sucummed to his lifestyle. Sad vacation becomes a auto biograhpical instead of about Sid V.

I was doing some spoken word and poetry open mics, selling chat sheets after my set for a drink or any other donation. Was just getting to the end point of my lifestyle of excess. Lucky I got out alive. RIP Johnny and and all those in club 27.

I fell right into the NYC music of the mid & late 70s which birthed the early 80s California punk scene. It was truly great garage bands and powerful scene. Not many of my peers found a path out. Turned out we sold the fire in our eyes and our youth, cheap. Much wreckage and waste.

This a strange world. Today was a gift from God.


Liberty = Responsibility

In 1991

I was having the time of my life: Sophomore in Music college, playing in a great band, met my 1st serious girl-friend, and happy to become independent.

Similar to you, I never imagined a politically active life (I'm actually running for local office here in Philly), however it all has been a worthy trip and I do believe that we live in interesting times.

Thx for sharing, MN!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thank you everyone for all the great responses

Even though I didn't reply to them all, I did read them all. We've got a real diverse bunch here.

And yes! I'm an artist (but I think we're all artists - I'm just aware of it) I was an art major my first year in college. After some detours, I worked as a web and print designer during the Web 1.0 bubble. And more recently, I went through a period when I was doing silk screening of posters, and prints.

My life is like a spiral. School, art, travel, school, travel, business, school, art, travel, web guy, politics, travel. Travel seems to be pretty dominant. It's that old Wanderlust.


"I guess it must be wanderlust...

... or trying to get free
From the good old faithful feeling we once knew" (G. Lightfoot)

Thank you. sir, for the "visit".
It's as if you've ventured into my home....and we've got to know each other a bit better.
All of us!

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Why not just change the DP to the Daily Nystrom?

You could pass for a celebrity.

Just use 'old' pictures.

Lot's of famous bloggers use 'old' pictures from before the collagen left their faces.. and their noses started to droop.

I just peed a little... laughing at my own joke!

Hey! How about the Daily Fun House?!

"Portrait of the Artist...

...as a Young Lady"
...by Seatrain:
"an American roots fusion band based initially in Marin County, California, and later in Marblehead, Massachusetts."
And in 1991, I was still diggin' their tunes:


"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

first child was born in 1991

I guess that makes me old enough to be a parent to an awful lot of the respondents below :-)

I think those early lean years, as you describe Michael, make some of the best memories looking backward.

It is genuinely heartwarming to read through this whole thread. My thanks to everyone who has contributed, but especially to Michael for having the good sense to start it. This community has a lot of positive energy.

For sure, I have *never* been as cool as Michael in this photo!

I'm voting for Peace.