On medieval maps, where the known world ended, monks used to name unknown places “Here Be Dragons”. More than half a millennium later, this still holds true. All alone in far-off places where each detail of common life is different from what you’re used to, dragons are indeed what you encounter. In solitude. It is often said that people around the world tend to be and think more alike. That is a misconception. Only on the outside we are alike. But common ground is always within eyesight, if that is where you want to arrive.
My name is Daan Bauwens, I am a freelance writer and investigative journalist. I have worked in Milan, Tel Aviv, Casablanca, Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish South-East, Brussels, Tokyo, Kyoto and now New York City. I come from Belgium, arguably the most central country in the world.
“The Chronicles” is a series of reflections on “the other”. In two senses: the others are the ones that surround me. But even more than that, I am the other in these places, trying to cope with a radically different cultural mindset. The series consists of experiences that all truly happened, described with detail from my own very personal perspective. Truth is a personal thing.
The Japan chronicles is a collection of events I collected while researching Japanese business culture and accidentally stumbling into Zen. These – often absurd and sometimes dramatic – events were recorded in 2012-2013 and are currently being turned into a novel that is set for publication in the course of 2016.
The New York chronicles are being experienced as we speak, on a ten-month stay in New York City doing research on multiculturality and racial tensions in the world’s most diverse city. I do take suggestions from readers on where to go to and what to experience.