Real Estate in the Metaverse

I purchased my first parcel of land in the Metaverse. Specifically, it’s in the Mars neighborhod, on Satoshi Island in the world of Cryptovoxels.


When someone asks me what the Metaverse is, I usually start with a question, “are you familiar with the book or movie, Ready Player One?” More than half the responses are usually yes. If not, I ask if they are familiar with virtual spaces that you can build in such as Second Life or Roblox.

I became familiar with the term coined by Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash that I read around 2008, although it came out in 1992. I played a lot of video games growing up and was a huge fan of Star Trek’s holodeck and this was the experience I was ready for.

Very simply, the Metaverse is a shared 3D virtual space where people are represented by digital avatars. Some are owners of land and they build on it – galleries, parks, houses, shops – really whatever your imagination allows in the space you have to build with.


There are various Metaverses to choose from, but the ones my circles talk about the most are The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Cryptovoxels.

There are a few reasons I chose to buy a parcel on Cryptovoxels: people in some of my communities were buying properties, it reminded me of Minecraft, my son started a clothing line to sell clothes for avatars, and it seemed a lot less competitive to buy land because it’s a bit less polished than the other options. As a DIYer, I prefer it when things are a little messy and I like getting in early.


I am forming my plans for this space, and I am imagining that I will create a gathering space for experimenting with different practices that I do in the real world such as forest therapy. You may think that won’t work, but for the past few months I’ve been attending virtual forest bathing walks so why not?!

How To Buy

If you are intrigued, the first thing you need to do is play around in the space and get to know it. See if it’s something you can imagine spending time in and investing in. It’s like “real” real estate in that you own the property and you can also sell it. There are no guarantees that you will make a profit, so never spend money you can’t live without.

  1. Look at the properties for sale on the map.
  2. Buy from Cryptovoxels when they release new parcels or make an offer on a property that someone owns
  3. You will need an Ethereum wallet and eth currency. I use Metamask but there are others to choose from.
  4. The sale goes through Opensea.


I’m brand new and have more questions than answers. There are very helpful resources including the Discord community. If you buy a parcel please let me know and I’ll teleport over. 😀

What’s with the Tiger?

Tara Tiger Brown and Brian Brown

The one question that I get asked more than any other is, “Is Tiger really your middle name?”

Most of the time the question is asked out of curiosity because it is an unusual name, and sometimes there’s a glint in their eye that tells me that they are hoping that it’s some marketing ploy and they just found me out.

I hate to let anyone down, but the truth is, I added Tiger to my name because I loved my Dad.

My Dad’s nicknames for me since I was a little girl was “Tiger” and “Tiger Brown.” In fact, I don’t have a single memory of him referring to me as “Tara” except for when I was in big fat trouble.

My Dad died on December 19th, 2010 after battling colon cancer. To remember and honor his memory, I added “Tiger” to my middle name. It’s really that simple. It’s really a bonus that I was born in the year of the Tiger and it happens to be my favorite animal.

Another question I get asked is if it’s legal – meaning did I change it on my Passports or Drivers License. The answer is no, I didn’t. At the time of my decision, I was living as a permanent resident in the US and traveling a lot. If you have ever changed your name, you know it’s difficult. If you have ever changed your name while living in another country you know it’s the most painful experience of you life. And now that I’m a citizen of two countries and living in a third country where I can barely speak the language, there is no way that I’m going to change a single letter or katakana on my legal documents. That being said, my husband informed me that in the US, usage is 9/10th of the law, and because I’ve been using it since December 2010, then technically it’s legal. I haven’t looked into it myself so there might be some caveat there.

Maybe one day when I’m settled in one place, then I will change it “legally.” Then again, my legal middle name is related to my Mom, so I would hate to lose that connection with her.

So, yes, Tiger is really my middle name because I choose it to be, not because the government recognizes it as such, but because it’s important to me.

My name is Tara Tiger Brown and I am not special

You Are Not Special

I recently finished listening to the book, The Courage To Be Disliked. I was skeptical at first because it is marketed as a “Japanese phenomenon” and that didn’t line up with my 18 months of experience living in Japan. This country is immersed in a culture of shame, every other word is an apology, beauty ads bombard you at every turn and every effort is made not to inconvenience another person. It didn’t add up to me. Of course, I am no expert in this culture, I barely speak Japanese and my friends that are Japanese are kind of westernized, so trust me when I say, I am Jon Snow and I know nothing.

The Courage To Be Disliked

Having just finished the book hours ago it is too early for me to claim that it changed my life (but I’m leaning hard that way). I read a lot of books about the science of happiness and wellness and for the most part I am usually excited about the ideas proposed and many times I have implemented some of the suggestions. This time, however, it was like the authors were speaking to me personally. They knew about my inferiority complex, my constant concern about what others think, believing that I will one day find my true purpose in life and blow the socks off everyone. TL;DR my thinking is complete nonsense and I need to stop it immediately. This is especially true because the philosopher that they based this book on, Alfred Adler, says that it takes half of your current lifetime to put his teachings into practice which means I’ll be close to dead when I have this all in working order. 

I have bought into Adler’s entire philosophy, I’m ready to join his congregation, but for the purpose of this post and because I don’t want to drone on like I’m an expert, I’m focusing on one important nugget — the idea that it’s OK to be normal. To not be special. I’m not going to change the world and that’s OK. When I heard this, I literally felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I’m no longer competing with imaginary foes, I’m not hating myself for not getting on the cover of a magazine for doing something extraordinary. I’m just me. Normal me. And there’s at least a few people in my life that are happy that I am.

Maybe it was visualization or actualization, but a Quartz article by Zat Ryan, The purpose of life is to be a nobody popped up in my Twitter feed. It was written 2 years ago and I probably would have ignored it if I saw it then. Now was exactly the right time for me to see it. (Do you think it was AI? Somehow some machine knew I read the book and posted this in my feed. I digress). Here’s the best (vegan) nugget in the article that lines up nicely with Adler’s philosophy on being normal:

We’re brought up to think that we’re special, and we like believing it. But I don’t say any of this as a cynic or to depress you. In fact, quite the opposite. I say it because distinguishing between our subjective perception and the objective reality is the key to living a meaningful and important life.

Acknowledging unimportance liberates us from the grips of the self-centered voice in our head that’s chiefly responsible for many of life’s difficulties.

It’s the voice that compares us to people that don’t matter, it’s the same voice that convinces us that we’re entitled to a comfortable and easy life, and it’s indeed this voice that has us chasing arbitrary measures of success.

And the result?

We spend our time acquiring things we don’t want or need, we falter at the first sign of hardship and inconvenience, and one day, we wake up to a ticking clock realizing that, all this time, we’ve lived somebody else’s life.

The surest way to be unfilled is to walk around like you hold some sort of a privileged position in the universe. It’s not only a completely false and harmful illusion, but it also overlooks the fringe benefits of being a nobody.

Thanks for reading through a normal post by a normal run of the mill person. 

Coffee Helps Me Lose Weight (According to my DNA)

Tara Coffee Health

I know so little about what’s going on inside my body except for what the doctors tell me.

Recently I had to get a blood test to check my thyroid levels because I have hypothyroidism. I’ve been getting this check done two times a year for 15 years so it is routine at this point. This checkup, however, was different. This was the first time that I was getting my blood drawn in Japan and this was the first time that I received a digital report with my blood results.

I went in to see my doctor to go over the results and get a new prescription. He said that things looked fine and that I could continue on the same dose that I’ve been on since I first found out that I have a thyroid issue.

Data is power if you know what to do with it

When I got home I decided to look over the results myself. When I reviewed the report I realized that in addition to the levels of T3 and T4 that are checked for thyroid health, there was a whole slew of other data. I gave my knuckles a good crack and logged into the the DNA testing service, 23andme. There is a section on the site where you can enter in raw results from blood tests so I did just that.  As I entered in the data, I learned whether the levels were normal or not. I trust that that information will become useful in the future as they answer questions that their customers want to know, like, is coffee good for me.

You can (and should) tailor food and fitness routines to your DNA and lifestyle

The news is constantly reporting on the health benefits or dangers of coffee, wine, salt, what kind of diet you should be on, and whatever other clickbait they can use. The truth is, that’s terrible advice to pay attention to because that kind of information should be personalized to the individual based on their DNA and their lifestyle.

I’d like to lose 10 pounds and so I’m researching the optimum diet and fitness regime for me that isn’t a quick fix but rather a long term strategy. I was perusing around 23andme and another DNA testing service called FitnessGenes to figure out a diet plan, when a data point about coffee caught my attention.

Both DNA services, 23andme and FitnessGenes, confirmed that I am a fast metabolizer of coffee and I am more likely to consume more of it.


FitnessGenes Coffee FitnessGenes Coffee


23andme coffee

Lose It!

I track all of my food using the app Lose It! and separately it suggested that when I drink coffee I consume less calories.

LoseIt Coffee

My DNA doesn’t lie

Both my DNA and my eating habits confirm that drinking coffee can aid me in losing weight.

That’s just one data point, there are other factors that contribute to weight loss and gain. For example, I know that when I don’t get enough sleep or have a lot of stress, I don’t eat as well and then I usually gain weight.

Continue to gather data and track lifestyle habits

As I gather more data I’ll be adding it to Tara’s Strategy For Optimum Health.

These are the apps that I use and I’ll continue sharing updates as I progress with the learnings.

– Apple Watch for activity (you can also use your phone to track steps and other activity if you carry it with you all the time)- AutoSleep for sleep- Lose It! for food and water intake- EufyLife for weight measurement- Waking Up / Insight Timer for tracking meditation minutes- Moodnotes for moods

Let me know what kind of health data that you are collecting and if you were surprised by any of the results.

Tomodachi 2018

Carla Sinclair Mark Frauenfelder

When I moved from Los Angeles to Tokyo, I thought that I would only see my friends online. Thankfully I was so very wrong because I had the great pleasure to play tour guide, spa and dine with friends and family in my new home. I feel fortunate to know these incredible humans and for them to have chosen to spend their time with me.

Here’s who rolled through Tokyo in 2018.

Xeni Jardin

January. The year started off perfect with my dear friend Xeni and a spa day. Xeni was the first friend to visit after Ripley was born and fast forward 8 years later she texts him cute dog photos. This trip I had the chance to get to know her beau a bit better and it brought me great joy to see her happy and in good health.

Allen Pan

April. I met Allen through the Los Angeles Makerspace when he was an instructor. Since then he has become a YouTube star and now runs HexLab Makerspace.

Michelle Borok

April. Michelle moved from Los Angeles to Mongolia and we’ve kept in touch over our mutual love of cats and horses and a secret postcard club. Her daughter is named Terra and loves kitties as much as Ripley does but no one rivals Michelle who runs a conference about cats. We toured around and did gymnastics at an art gallery with Kozy who recently moved to Japan.

Michelle Kozy Terra

Sebastien Slek

June. Sebastien works at Warner Brothers and was one of the LA Makerspace’s board members. He’s also French as are so many people in my life since my son started going to French school.

Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair

July. I met Mark and Carla through the wonderful world of makers and the ‘zine they created, BoingBoing. To me they are both goals when it comes to how to live a creative and adventurous life. They stayed in Tokyo for the summer to support their daughter who was doing an internship. Also, goals.

Carla Sinclair Mark Frauenfelder

Mimi Ito

October. Mimi and I have worked together at a university, nonprofit and startup and everything I know about interest-driven learning and how kids learn online I learned from her. We were lucky to see her because she landed the night before we were heading out for the Philippines. She fought her jet-lag to see us which I think is the sign of a good friend. If you need an online summer camp for kids, checkout Connected Camps.

Rich Schiavi

November. Rich and I met at Topspin and became fast friends. We tried a startup together and still remained friends after. When we traveled around for a year after Ripley was born, Rich and his wife Mina and daughter Mahina took in my dog Funston. Needless to say I never got my dog back but he’s very happy in San Diego. Rich and I stay in touch by sending each other business ideas and talking about housing in the Japan countryside.

Rich Schiavi

Jory Felice

November. Jory was our neighbor in Los Angeles and he is our savior that keeps us connected to home. He brought us our mail and Sean’s bike. You could call him a sherpa but he’s really an angel. He’s a talented artist and I miss going to meditation class with him or bumping into him at the coffee shop. Jory came for a Safecast hackathon but the best part was celebrating his birthday at the Robot Restaurant.

Jory Felice

Joseph Chiu

November. Joseph is one of the first Los Angeles Makerspace supporters and since has become a contractor for Sean’s nonprofit, Safecast. If you need any engineering done, you should talk to Joseph.

Joseph Chiu

Jo Ann

December. My MIL traveled all the way from atsui Florida to samui Tokyo. It was her first time traveling to Asia and I think it was a real eye opener for her to see how active in the community the seniors are in Japan. 

Jo Ann