like many other people who spend a lot of time online, i have friends beyond the stricture of proximity. this makes timezones and trying to remember everyone’s individual utc offset a bit of a pain.

that’s why a few years ago i devised this system of time with my friend joop.

it’s based on splitting the day into four elements:

this way, the time can be told as the same for every person. for example, as i’m typing this the time is 4 hours 21 minutes into water, or mid-water, for everyone in the world. nice and easy.

all i have to remember is that, for me, i’ll tend to be asleep during fire and working from mid-air through to late water.

there’s a clock for this system up at hora.net.br (thanks joop) and dozens has written about it too, with a cute circle clock to boot which you can find here.

toki pona

this method is particularly useful for toki pona which already has limited vocabulary for talking about time in more absolute terms.

in toki pona, i call the system tenpo ko (“elemental time”) and the time blocks are tenpo seli, tenpo kon, tenpo telo and tenpo ma.

these can also be specified further with the modifiers open, insa and pini for beginning, middle and end respectively.

for the time i gave above (4h 21m into water) i could therefore say:

tenpo li telo insa

another longer toki pona example using tenpo ko:

tenpo seli pini la mi moku e kili mute·
tenpo kon la mi o lanpan e kili sin