A Year in an Instant


Day 43

Instant photo for Day 43 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


Some habits have changed.

I brush my teeth every afternoon after lunch. I have a toothbrush and toothpaste in a case on my locker. Before I would only brush my teeth at home, but now I see others do it in the public restroom so I don’t feel ashamed.

I shower in the evening instead of in the morning. Going to bed without showering now feels dirty. In the morning I wash my face and go to the gym where I shower again. Before I would always shower in the morning, which was also very time inefficient.

I switch on my aroma diffuser before leaving home in the morning so my tiny apartment smells like lemongrass when I get home.

I don’t cook. Food in Tokyo is generally tasty, affordable and healthy. I don’t think I’ll buy any kitchenware anytime soon.

I watch all my series, listen to all my music, podcasts and audiobooks from my phone. Before I would watch it from my laptop. But now I leave my laptop for work and writing only. I barely open it at home anymore.

I study Japanese from a café after work. Cafés stay open until late and are extremely quiet. I find it very easy to focus when there is a lot of people around to ignore.

I like this new routine.


I love how the rain washes away all the tension and humbles the busy city people. I also love how this photo captures a translucent umbrella blurring the lights in Shibuya. It’s one of my favourites.

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Day 42

Instant photo for Day 42 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


Today has been a very standard day of work. This is a photo outside of the Hikarie building that I took when leaving the office. I feel like writing about my routine.

I have a daily routing of goal-setting. Every 6 months I set 6 goals that I aim to accomplish by the end of those 6 months. These are long-term goals. I write these goals every day on my notebook before writing a list of all my tasks for the day. This helps me connect what I'm focus on accomplishing that day with the long-term goals. I then rate the tasks for the day from “A” to “E” according to how important they are. I focus on completing all the “A” tasks that day.

Right now my long term goals are, in no particular order: 1. “I have a toned body”; 2. “I have published an authentic diary”; 3. “I have £8,000 in savings”; 4. “I have designed a socks collection”; 5. “I speak fluent Japanese”; and 6. “I now dress a lot better”. I know some of these goals are small-minded, but they are important to me. Other goals, like speaking fluent Japanese, are probably impossible but aiming for something hard to achieve will usually make me work harder to achieve it. Writing these goals in the first person present tense is important to help me feel like I can achieve these goals.

Additionally to this I also have a system for weekly planning. I create 53 lists of to-dos, one for each week of the year, and assign tasks that need to be done each week to that week. Birthdays, routine appointments or tasks, bills that need to be paid, etc. That’s a good way to keep things I can’t do anything about right now out of my mind.

Day 41

Instant photo for Day 41 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


I’m at the Gohongi Streamer Coffee Company near Gakugeidaigaku station, the nearest one to my apartment in Sancha. This is a beautiful two-floor wooden and bare concrete coffee shop. There seems to be much more focus on brewing drip coffee in this store compared to the store in Shibuya. I spend all day here writing my diary.

While exploring the streets of Sancha I came across the Setagayasankannonji temple and the sake shop I took a photo of above. I’m ashamed to confess that it took me more than two weeks to wonder around, discover the local cafés and restaurants.

Day 40

Instant photo for Day 40 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos

I went to pick up a television at Kamifukuoka from my friend Jason.

Once at home, I setup the TV and confusion follows. First of all, the remote has numbers from 1 to 12 rather than from 0 to 9. Then, there are 3 channels under the channel 1. I zap through the channels and see a comedy show, anime, and a show teaching Mandarin. Perhaps learning Mandarin in Japanese is a good way for me to learn two languages at once.

At the Family Mart I bought some どら焼き (dorayaki) a treat made internationally famous thanks to the anime Doraemon, some dried cod fish and tangerines.

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Day 39

Instant photo for Day 39 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos
Tokyo must be the perfect city to be alone. Shibuya is the area I consider home, although no one can ever consider it one’s own.  Most of my awake hours are spent discovering the next coffee shop, watching the locals swim through the streets in a whispery choreography. The garments on people’s bodies change as the temperature drops this November, but the sunlight has stayed for the next season.
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Day 38

Instant photo for Day 38 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


I’m working from building opposite my office. This is a French bakery of three floors with an excellent view of the Shibuya station. The air outside is crisp in this fresh November morning. I take time to build more internet, write these notes and watch people.


There must be more to life than drinking coffee at different locations. Gambling where to get lunch. Reducing conversations to what the language barrier allows. How can you love a city that will never truly let you belong? I should’ve known Tokyo is just a crush.

Day 37

Instant photo for Day 37 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


My trainers are old and dirty. They travelled with me in Japan for the first time, second time, they went with me to San Francisco, New York, Portugal, Italy and every evening to the gym. My trousers are too skinny and the black in them is too light. My jacket is old and you can see bad waxing job I’ve done to it.

Tokyoites dress too nice and make me realise all these things. Today I went shopping for some new clothes. I don’t feel like I need them as much as I need to feel that I belong.

I took this photo in the morning on my way to work. It’s a sunny day and umbrellas are drying outside an apartment in Sangenjaya.