Finally! I found a friend to go to Antarctica with me! I'm so happy.

Finally! I found a friend to go to Antarctica with me! I’m so happy.

I get up around 12:00 or so today. I decide to head to UNIQLO to pick up LifeWear, which has an article which has an article written by friend I met the other day. But time is very tight, and today David introduces me to Cici, a childhood friend of David’s that he met in Georgia, who is living in Ho Chi Minh City. So I decided to meet her near the tallest skyscraper in Southeast Asia. Since we both like cameras, we decided to do a photo session.



Under a crazy tall building.


I get on my bike and head for the shopping mall where there is a UNIQLO. Nearby is a park where we meet and a café. I successfully get a Lifewear magazine at UNIQLO.



Finally meeting with Cici.

I don’t know why, but I was less nervous than most people I meet online. Perhaps because I knew David so well, I was convinced that being David’s friend meant that I must be a good match. I felt a certain sense of security.

As I was taking pictures of the building with my mirrorless SLR camera, Cici came over to me. She must have recognized me from behind, because she came over to talk to me and we hugged. Hugging in Vietnam is really rare, and it was only because she is from Europe, where hugging is customary. But first she asked for a handshake, which made me wonder if perhaps she was used to Vietnam.

I am not used to handshakes, only hugs, so it was a forced hug so to speak lol.



We spent about two hours talking at a nearby cafe.

From then on, we head to a nearby café. At first the topic of conversation begins with the customary “It’s so hot!” I ordered a black coffee and Cici ordered something like tea. We sat at a nearby table and talked.

Cici’s eyes were very swimming for the first half hour, as if she was not used to talking to people she had never met before. But I knew how it felt. I used to be super introverted, like this when I was in high school or in college when I was really distrustful of people and was recovering a little bit. So I knew her personality right away. So for some reason I felt a kinship with her and felt comfortable conversing with her.

Never in my life have I met someone as interesting, and unique as she is.

What was really interesting was that the first thing we talked about when we arrived at the cafe was “SpaceX’s rocket.” Usually when I go somewhere with a friend I have never met before, we usually start out talking about our jobs, how hot it is in Ho Chi Minh City, or some other such trivial thing, but not in her case. I also love SpaceX, and the other day, for the first time, there was a launch experiment of a giant rocket combining the “Super Heavy” and the “Starship,” so we were talking about that as well. It was really fun. Like her, I hate talking about “weather” and “everyday unimportant stuff” and it’s boring. So it was only the best to talk about this out of the blue.

I wondered and asked her what her personality type was, and she said she was an INTJ. In other words, the type of 0.8% of the population. She was the type of Elon Musk. Truly, her personality was exactly like that. She loved science and seemed to love talking about theoretical things. I loved talking about those things, too. After SpaceX, we talked about chatGPT, Boston Dynamics robots, and other topics such as “In the future, will there be time machines?” We also discussed whether the age of the Terminator will come in the future. All of the topics we talked about were really interesting, and we talked about “calculus and algebra in mathematics,” and she talked about machine learning, which she is currently putting a lot of effort into. I don’t know C++ or JAVA at all, so I was talking about how difficult it is, but apparently she doesn’t like mathematics very much either. I couldn’t believe that she had taught herself the basics for 6 months. I could only think it was amazing.

She apparently works as a teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, coming to high schools and middle schools from time to time to teach English. When I heard that, I thought it was amazing that she is teaching English in front of so many kids. I don’t think I could do that, so I thought it was amazing. I also thought it was very brave of her to do that without being able to speak Vietnamese.



It was very interesting to hear about her time living in China

Besides, she told me about her life in China, as she had lived there for two years, which was just as the Covid2019 pandemic was beginning. She told me about her life in China during the quarantine and I learned a lot. I learned more about China.

During the pandemic, most of the classes in China were online, and I felt that it must have been very difficult.

As we talked, she opened up to me and started to look me in the eye and talk to me, which made me very happy.

She seemed to love industrial design and wanted to design rockets, cars, and airplanes. That surprised me. I had never met anyone who wanted to design rockets or airplanes, so I was very happy to hear that and at the same time I thought that if I were to design a space hotel in the future, I would ask her to design the exterior lol. She also seems to love sports cars, just like David, I thought, “They really are alike.

She is learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which I thought was amazing. It is really rare for a girl to learn Jiu-Jitsu, and she just started just 3 months ago. She told me that there were only two girls in the venue, including herself. That surprised me. I had been practicing aikido for seven years and had quit at the rank of purple belt. I told her that I had quit aikido at the age of purple belt. I was told that even if it is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, doing some kind of martial art will strengthen your body, make you stronger, protect yourself, and make you healthier, all of which are good things. I think it’s a really good thing.



I also talk about all kinds of science.

We also talked about humanoids. She was very surprised when I told her that I had majored in biology in college. And she was very surprised. In relation to this, I told her that if I could copy my brain to an AI that replicated me, we would be immortal, and she asked, “Well, if you succeeded, would the real human Kota’s brain and the AI Kota’s brain be in the same state after that? What happens to the human Kota’s brain?” Yes, that’s right. I was debunked. I had not thought about what would happen if two people existed in the same world. She also asked about the time machine, “If I were to develop a time machine in the future and my future self killed my father, for example, a paradox would occur and that self would not exist, right? So, considering this, a time machine would be difficult to develop.”
So I said, “No, what we are living in now is one world, but even now there are hundreds of millions of parallel worlds on the same line, and I think our small decisions are creating many patterns of parallel worlds. One of the parallel worlds is the one in which my future self who came in a time machine killed my ancestors, but this world is different from ours, so we exist now. So, when I think about it, I felt we exist in many different worlds, I shared my thoughts.



We decided to go for a walk in a nearby park.

After two hours of enthusiastic conversation about various subjects at the cafe, we decided to go to a nearby park. The park there was interestingly large and was also a photo spot because of the mass of skyscrapers nearby. She had bought a Canon film camera while in China and showed it to me. The film camera could zoom in, and I was very surprised when the lens popped out. She also told me about ISO and the price of film.



Taken with the DSLR I brought with me


We also talked about the price of film, since it has gone up so much lately. She showed me some pictures and apparently she liked to shoot landscapes. So I asked her, “What made you decide to use that angle of view?” I told her that a film camera can’t see the image until it is developed, and that is what makes it interesting because it is the real thing. She immediately understood my opinion, which made me very happy.

There was a large tower-like structure, so we climbed up to it. The sun was setting. It was very beautiful. I was taking pictures while adjusting aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and ISO. She may not be used to me yet, but when I told her I wanted to take a portrait, she didn’t look back at me. But on the other hand, I was feeling that it would be nice to photograph her in the back, as it worked well with building. We first met for the purpose of taking pictures together, but before I knew it, we were talking about science and movies all the time. We talked for about an hour at the tower. She seemed to love science fiction such as The Matrix, Star Wars, DUNE, Star Trek, etc. She also told me about Thai movies.



The talking didn’t stop on the little tower.

I also talked about what made me want to become a street photographer there. I am a very shy person, so when I was in Georgia, I really couldn’t make friends, and I felt very lonely every day. So I thought that if I called myself a street photographer, I would have an excuse to approach people I met on the street who I wanted to be friends with or who were interested.

Besides, I shared the memory of not being able to go into a restaurant alone. When I was in Paris, I had a friend, but he went to university every day, so I spent most of my time alone. I was very shy about going into restaurants alone, and for some reason I felt lonely, so I thought it would be better to eat at a more modest restaurant than to eat alone, and often went to MacDonalds after all lol.

She apparently loves to go to restaurants alone, and she often goes to restaurants alone because she always likes to think in her head. So when I heard that, I had nothing but surprise and respect. I admired her mentality and bravery so much. I was inspired and inspired a lot, and I wanted to overcome the barrier of “going alone to a restaurant!” She seems to be a vegetarian, and she told me about the reason for that. Apparently, when she sees “meat” or “fish” she thinks of it as “animal” and cannot consider it “food”. When she sees an apple, it is a fruit. But when she sees “cooked meat,” she can’t help thinking of chicken, and that’s why she doesn’t have an appetite for it. I see.

I wondered how vegetarians could think like that. So she invited me to a vegetarian restaurant and I decided to go with her. Normally, almost all Vietnamese people seem to be chicken eaters, and she had never met a vegetarian before. So she felt bad about inviting them to a vegetarian restaurant for her, so she said she would go alone.

I understand her feelings. But if it were me, I would buy vegetables and other ingredients at the local supermarket and cook them at home. I would feel embarrassed and lonely, and I would feel sad to go alone. But she said she felt like she could “immerse herself in her own world,” and that she enjoyed it. So I thought she was a very interesting person and very different. I really felt like I was doomed, since she was only 0.8% of the total population lol.

When we were in the tower, we also talked about the déjà vu in the story of the movie Matrix. We were talking about how the world we live in today is a world created by an AI 3000 years in the future, and we are living in it without realizing it. Then she said, “At least, we are thinking and creating things with our brains, so I hope that is not the case.” I thought that was true. But if AI can even control our brains, I wondered if what we are thinking is controlled by AI. It got complicated in many ways. But it was a very enjoyable story.



It’ll be nice and dark.



Shooting with a larger F value


We talked about driver’s licenses, and I told her that I do not have a driver’s license yet, but that I would like to get an airplane license first because I want to be able to fly freely in the sky. To my surprise, she said the same thing, that she would rather get certified to fly than get a driver’s license. We were really the same lol. I told her that I wanted to try skydiving and jump out of the sky, but she said she was not very good at heights. I thought, “Then why do you want to fly?” But I thought it was nice that we have the same goal. She is 28 years old, but she doesn’t look that way at all. Maybe that’s why a lot of students at school want to exchange Instagrams with her lol.



After withdrawing money from an ATM, we took a cab to a vegetarian restaurant

I had no more bills at all and had to withdraw some, so I went to a nearby ATM to withdraw some money. Cici looked it up on Google Maps for me too. While we were on our way to the ATM, we talked about foreign countries. She told me that her family is very international and that her mother and brother are in different countries. Don’t you ever want to go back to Georgia? I asked her if she wanted to go back to Georgia, but she said she didn’t know when she would go back next. I told her about the cost of living when I was in Georgia and how there were only Russians around. I also told her that milk cost 8 lari (400 yen). She told me that the last time she was in Georgia was in 2019. Already 4 years ago. That means I haven’t seen my mom for 4 years. I can’t believe that anymore, I feel she is so brave. And to come to China and Southeast Asia by herself, to get a job as an English teacher, to make a living by herself, and then to go on an adventure to Thailand and Cambodia by herself. This was truly unbelievable. I have never met anyone like this in my life. So it was a great inspiration for me.

After withdrawing 500,000 dong from the ATM, we took a cab to a vegetarian restaurant. Until the cab arrived, we talked about massage. We talked about Thai massage and Vietnamese massage, and I told her that she had apparently never had a massage before and that I really wanted her to have one. I recommended Japanese Shiatsu.



Vegetarian restaurant, interesting food

The vegetarian restaurant was quite luxurious. It was so crowded that it was hard to believe that it was a vegetarian restaurant at all. We were shown to a table for two near the outside terrace, as the restaurant was located outside to begin with. She seemed to be a regular here and often came here alone. I couldn’t believe it anymore. What kind of a person would enter such a luxurious restaurant with so many customers alone?, I thought.

Now I would never be able to enter a restaurant alone. So at that point, I was just amazed. We looked at the menu and decided to order coconut since we both loved coconut. Then we decided to order vegetables and hot pot to share.



This seems to be the salad lol.


What surprised me was that it was not a vegetable. It was filled with shimeji and mushrooms and served with rice crackers made of rice on the outside. I had never imagined that this was a salad. That is why it was really interesting. The nabe was also very interesting, as it was filled with something like dumplings, kikurage mushrooms, egg noodles, and many other things that you would never see in Japan.



Vietnamese hot pot. Delicious and unique taste.


The taste was just as good as usual. It was the first time in my life to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. She then showed me the food she had eaten in China. It was totally different from what I had imagined, and I learned that Chinese food in Japan is from one region of China. It was a great discovery that even in China, each province seems to have a completely different cuisine.



It’s outside, so it’s crazy hot lol.


She then showed me pictures of her travels in Vietnam. She told me stories of her trips to deserted islands, to places of natural beauty, and even to Cambodia, where she met Japanese people. I really enjoyed those stories. I thought to myself, “I really want to visit Cambodia and Laos next time I go there.”



She wants to go to Iceland! Me too!

We also talked about countries she would like to visit and live in. Apparently, she would like to live in Iceland. A country I am actually super interested in too. Iceland is the second or first most expensive country in the world, believe it or not. A black coffee costs about 1,300 yen. The population is really small, but the nature is very rich, and apparently there is a midnight sun, which she would like to experience. She had never studied abroad, and I told her that I had studied abroad in Russia, and that although there is a midnight sun in St. Petersburg, I had never been able to experience it, and that I would definitely like to do so next time.

We also talked about how if I were to live in Iceland, I would love to buy a camper van, DIY it, customize the whole place, and live there while moving around. That was really great. I thought that would definitely be fun. She doesn’t like the heat, and I don’t like it either. Iceland is said to be about 20 degrees Celsius in the summer and 0 degrees Celsius in the winter. It was warmer than I had imagined. So it was the perfect temperature for us.



Finally! Finding a travel partner to go to Antarctica!

She also wanted to visit Antarctica. So I immediately said, “I want to go to!!!!!!!, too.” I was so eager to go to Antarctica. I really want to go to Antarctica. She was surprised, too, and said she had never met anyone who wanted to go to Antarctica. So we agreed to go together if we have the opportunity in the future. I was also researching the route to Antarctica and the cost, and found that it costs between 600,000 and 1,000,000 yen in Japanese yen. Not expensive at all. We could definitely go there! I thought.

So, I decided to set a deadline and go! This was probably the best moment for me in Vietnam. Having friends going to Antarctica was nothing but happiness. And even to be able to talk about Antarctica. When I told many people that I wanted to go to Antarctica, they said, “You are so strange! or “Oh no!” are the only responses I get. I think everyone is different. Everyone has so much individuality. I don’t know why they don’t want to go to Antarctica. I think everyone is really boring. I was really happy to find such a partner in such a situation.

She also knows Studio Ghibli, and when I mentioned that Totoro’s music was playing, she immediately understood. She is a movie fan, so she had watched more Studio Ghibli movies than I had. Her knowledge is really deep about everything, and I’m impressed.

When she asked me what my last name is and I said “Ishihara,” she said, “The name of the vision test is Ishihara test! It was made by a Japanese person!” I didn’t even know that. I felt she was really knowledgeable.

She was very surprised when I said some of the phrases “I like you” that I had learned when I was in Georgia. I don’t know what they mean because they were just told to me, but some of them were Bad words lol. The Georgian tongue twister were really difficult, and I couldn’t even catch the pronunciation first lol. She was also surprised when I tried to say, “The Director of the Tokyo Patent Office has refused to grant me a leave of absence on short notice today,” which is Japanese tongue twister. Even I couldn’t say it properly, so it must be really difficult.

So we enjoyed our meal. We talked for about two hours, and then it was time to close the restaurant. The price was 650000 dong, and when I tried to pay, she said, “You are a tourist, I’ll pay.” So I thanked her very much. I really appreciated it. So I thought, “If I meet her again in Malaysia, I would like to pay her.”



Walking in Saigon after dinner

After dinner, we walked around Saigon. Near the restaurant there is a war museum with helicopters, bombs, and airplanes used during the Vietnam War, so we talked about that. I was surprised that I had thought that Vietnam had lost the Vietnam War. She said that in the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese soldiers who knew about Vietnam, which had many swamps and never stopped raining, took advantage of the terrain and defeated the U.S. The U.S. didn’t know anything about it and didn’t know which side to go to. The Americans had no idea what they were doing, so they had a hard time. That was a real surprise. And it seems that the U.S. sprayed some kind of chemicals, which often caused leukemia or cancer, or the birth of children with no hands or deformities. What a terrible thing, I felt.

Plus, we talked about Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump had scenes from the Vietnam War in the story, he became an astronaut and went to space, Apple (now Apple) came out and made a lot of money, and he ran all over the U.S. and did many other things and it was amazing, and how he and President Kennedy talked to each other using the technology of the time. We also talked about that.

We talked about Tom Hanks, and I mentioned that I love his Polar Express movie, and she told me that she also loved Polar Express, and that she loved the song “Hot Chocolate” from it. She rarely watches dramas, but loves movies. I am the same way, the only TV show I watch is CNN and nothing else. The only series she watched was Chernobyl, which, to my surprise, I had also seen. Not a documentary, but a drama made as it was then. She talked a lot about Chernobyl at the time, including the firefighters there who were ravaged by radiation. Apparently, her neighbors were also sent to throw down the graphite down with shovels, and I felt really sorry for them.

As I was walking along, it looked like there was some kind of concert going on and someone was singing outside. It was an amazing sight to see so many people gathered there with their motorcycles parked. It was interesting to see a concert with motorcycles stopped in the middle of the road, which is so typical of Vietnam.



She has DOGE coin too lol.

We also talked about NFT and virtual currency. We are both super interested in AI and technology, so we never run out of things to talk about lol. In virtual currency, when I was in Georgia, I tried to attend the Cardano Summit, but I didn’t know who to talk to, everyone was wearing amazing dresses and formal wear and talking about virtual currency in a party room with a beautiful night view, but I just came and hid in the bathroom and thought what am I going to do? I was so nervous the whole time, and I told her that I got a hat and a tote bag as a souvenir of my visit anyway and immediately took the elevator home lol. I really think those days are good memories. We were also talking about Elon Musk’s DOGE coin, and we were interestingly holding DOGE coins lol. I said, “Of course! I thought it was interesting that he could buy a Tesla car with DOGE coins, just like him.”

The story goes to quantum computers. A quantum computer is something that can exist simultaneously as a 0 and a 1 in the computer language, and it is said to be more powerful with enormous computing speed. I don’t know that much about it, but I was amazed at her erudition. I thought to myself, “She could definitely work for an American technology company.” That’s all I can think of. I’m sure she can do it.

She also told me that my English is very good and that I could definitely work for a foreign company, which made me very happy.



For the first time, I meet someone who understands my opinion, “For me, the moon is my neighborhood, and the solar system is my neighborhood.”

We also talked about walking. Different people have different definitions of “near” and “far,” and apparently her friend feels that what is “near” for her is “far” to them. So I said, “For me, the moon is near, and the solar system is near,” and she said, “Well, of course it is, because I can get there in 20 days with light speed.” We laughed. It was a great conversation. I love it.

I also tole her about when I was in Paris, I didn’t use the subway, but just walked all the time, so I already knew where everything was lol.

When we arrived at the Saigon Post Office, she told me that the Saigon Post Office was designed by the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower. Apparently, his name is Gustave Eiffel. I vaguely remembered his name from my English textbooks when I was studying English, but I had no idea that he had designed a post office in Vietnam.

We arrive at the famous street of HCMC, where two gold-tinted boys are standing. The scene is so interesting and funny. The architectural talk did not stop there either. She also likes the architecture of Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma. She also likes the design of nature-rich architecture using timber. She also knew the names of Italian design systems and architectural styles that I did not know, and I was truly amazed. I was amazed at how much she knew about everything. We also talked about artists, and since I was wearing a Kandinsky T-shirt, she told me about Kandinsky, and apparently I was the first person to meet her who likes Kandinsky. I was very happy to hear that. She also seemed to like Mondrian, and I thought to myself, “She has exactly the same taste in art as I do!” I also love abstract paintings, Chagall, Mondrian, and Kandinsky. She also likes Malevich. I was really happy because I never thought we would be able to talk about artists in such depth.



Walking along the river in Ho Chi Minh City

The riverside was so beautiful. It was already after 23:00, so the lights of the buildings were almost gone. We walked along the river. There were many Vietnamese couples and friends enjoying conversation with each other. I thought it was nice. We leaned on the railing at the riverside and talked about ENFP and INTJ. Apparently, she loves going to clubs, but she doesn’t really like the idea of getting involved with strangers there. I’m the one who wants to go to clubs but doesn’t have any friends to go with. She said that if she goes to a club and there is a DJ playing something she likes, she wants to dance to the best. So I was just super sympathetic to that. When I told her about David asking me to go to a club when I was in Georgia, she was really surprised by that. By saying “I can’t imagine him going to a club…! lol”. I realized at that moment that people are creatures that change after all. She likes EDM music and movie soundtracks. She also likes rap music. But I tell her that I still don’t recognize rap music as music lol.



Also consider the origin of plastic waste.

When I looked at the river, I saw a lot of plastic trash and the water was very dirty. In the middle of the river stands a church. I think it is a Christian church, but it always seems to be lit up at night with neon lights, which I thought was too much like a church.

She told me a new perspective on environmental pollution: “In the end, the earth makes plastic trash.”


The earth produces amino acids, proteins, and as a result, higher dimensional “human beings,” who use the earth’s oil to make “plastic”.

So, in the end, environmental pollution is created by the earth itself.

I was moved by this idea. Indeed, if you think about it, you could say that. I was completely debunked. I have never met anyone who thinks in such a unique way, so I was really happy. At the same time, I received a lot of stimulation.



We walked across a large bridge! The view from there was awesome!

We approached the bridge and there were many couples sitting there enjoying the view. I heard that she always rides her bike here and enjoys the view. I think that’s nice too. When I was a university student, I bought an annual passport to the skyscraper (Abeno Harukas) and went to the top by myself to read books and enjoy the view. So I understand her feelings very well.



Start to cross the bridge.



The view from the bridge. Very beautiful.



A very long bridge to go back and forth.


She took out a package of “kompeito” from her bag and gave me one. It had been a long time since I had tasted kompeito, and it tasted really nostalgic. When I told her that it was a candy from my grandmother’s generation, she was very surprised. Apparently, she also loved Drops, that candy in a can that you take out one by one and lick. They went out of business last year and don’t have them anymore, but she said those candies from “Firefly’s Tomb” which is one of the Ghibli movies are very appealing. I told you that when I was in elementary school, I used to carry them around with me whenever I went on picnics.



With Cici!


There were so many cars coming across to the other side of the river that it was like crossing a highway with no crosswalks. So it was really scary. But this is Vietnam. We crossed to the other side of the river and crossed the bridge again. We were pretty tired, but we were enjoying the view. It was just about midnight. I was really surprised, because I had not expected that we would talk so much and at such an early hour.

I looked at my walking steps and saw that I had taken approximately 15,000 steps. It wasn’t as many as I thought it would be, but on a six-month average, I was ahead! But on a yearly average, I was losing… Probably because I was cooped up at my family’s house all March and April.



I hope to see you again in Malaysia, and bye-bye!

She said, “Do you want to go home? Or do you still want to stay?” I immediately said, “Let’s go home.” Because I have a meeting tomorrow morning and I’m busy, I guess. But then she looked very awkward and stopped making eye contact with me. Maybe she was sad because I said let’s go home right away and as if I became like a robot. But I am black and white, 1 or 10,000, so I guess I have this kind of personality…. I called a cab and left.

But still, I really enjoyed the time I spent with her. I have never had so much fun in Ho Chi Minh City. The pleasure of being able to talk about various topics. I was looking for someone like that! This is the kind of person I was looking for! At the same time, I was impressed that I had become a person who can talk about so many topics. I was really happy. More, I want to continue to be curious and interested in various topics. If I do that, I am sure I will meet such interesting people! I thought.

I want to go to Antarctica with you again, maybe in two years, I don’t know! It was a moment that really made me feel that way.