It’s not the accomplishment, but the incremental progress towards a goal which truly satisfies our soul.

Stumbling toward my dreams while caught in a summer storm.

Vincent Van Patten
7 min readSep 15


I’m sitting at Osaka Chakai, a matcha cafe in Osaka, Japan. This cafe was my buddy Santana’s living room while he lived in this country.

His experience here emanated from his fascination with the foamy green matcha poured behind the counter.

But it was the shop owner, Kauru, who gave him a home and a purpose while in Japan.

My Kitsune pin sits next to me on the large wooden table.

For the past year, this mystical silver fox has guided me on countless adventures throughout Japan from the surface of my shoulder bag.

I’m giving the pin to Kauru to send in a care package to Santana. Mexico has him now. He loved this kitsune.

I came from my favorite soup dumpling spot. It started pouring rain when I walked out the door.

I ducked under an awning and “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy started playing on my headphones. The timing couldn’t have been better.

The rain fell harder and bounced off of the ruby red vending machine across the road, quickly inducing the smell of wet pavement, metal and earth, a timeless scent which speaks to my soul.

I felt happy, very happy, under that awning. Happy as I am now writing this, with an amalgamation of notions and actions carrying me into a new chapter.

A page has turned, marked by turning 28 earlier this month, but more so because of the steps I’ve taken, my mindset’s deviation.

I now have a mustache. I like it.

Underneath the surface of my mustache and my skin I’m settling into a flow of doing what I love with less pressure and more gratitude.

The rain fell into repose.

When it did, I walked through the soft haze towards one of my favorite shrines, Osaka Tenmangu, a Shinto shrine founded in Osaka in 949 AD, now a sanctuary of red and emerald green tucked within towers of grey, buildings of steel, alleys and lights and humanity persisting.



Vincent Van Patten

Exploring what lights my soul on fire ❤️‍🔥 Living in Japan. For my writing, podcast, photography and much more, check out