Thursday, November 26, 2009

A beginning from the middle: where I just came from.

Let's start with some current projects and status:
Living in Japan with my girlfriend Celeste who I met here several years ago, and trying to stay on a more permanent basis
Searching for a job (on slight vacation from this for the next few weeks)
Intensive Japanese study
Writing a book about my life
Just moved out to Tsuruga (north of Osaka, far out in the country side), from Tokyo.

About my experience in Tokyo

I just moved out to the middle of nowhere from Tokyo. Tokyo is not a terrible city, it has it's charms, but it feels very separate from Japan, much like New York feels very separate from the US, it is an entirely different place, this is good and bad. Well for those of you who have been there, you know that there is no other place quite like it.

I like to call Tokyo a giant surreal adventure that ranges from entertaining, to bewildering, to feeling dull or confused. This is because of super advanced shiny technology everywhere. Buildings are always tall, and cover the entire city, not just any particular part. They're also almost always covers in LCD screens keeping bright lights with all the new company logos right in your face.

It's very easy to get lost, not just in a physical sense, but maybe even more so in a mental state, wondering where to go next. I really like to wander around places randomly, but in Tokyo, I don't feel like I'm succeeding in much if I do this.. unless I know specifically where I want to go, so for that reason among others, I've always enjoyed other parts of Japan for being more random find friendly.

There's still cool things, and as my time these last two months went by, I found Tokyo less irritating, and even enjoyable.. especially Yoyogi park. That's probably the real reason that I have issues with Tokyo. If you're claustrophobic at all, then it's pretty terrible. You will be surrounded by buildings at all times, and won't find much open space. Yoyogi is a nice open space though, and people really come to enjoy it.

This was not my first time in Tokyo, I'd spent a month there in the past, and always felt very lost. In all honesty, I didn't really like Tokyo... but I have many friends there, which can be a big draw in, not to mention there is much more opportunity for interesting positions rather than just English teaching (though not usually from the start, *especially* if you are an American like me, making a working holiday visa not an option).

Now having immediately moved out of Tokyo, off to Tsuruga in the middle of nowhere, I really understand just how different Tokyo is. I have a bit more appreciation for it than when I started out there. I feel like I'll be happy wherever I end up in Japan at this point.

Pictures from Tokyo:

Last night in Shinjuku, at the I-setan shop displays, check out the stories online at if you'd like some interesting trippy christmas stories!

This is down a Shinjuku road. I found this road particularly attracting.. most of Tokyo is filled with city just like this, but much less entertaining with the Christmas lights.

Another random Shinjuku shot. It's so rare to find random places in Tokyo, atleast when I go looking, but for the first time, there was something! Maybe there's more to Tokyo than I thought.

Pictures from Yoyogi park. It's huge, gorgeous, and everyone goes there just to have fun. My favorite part of Tokyo, and the largest amount of open space you'll find. There's endless fun to find, we even got randomly featured in a Japanese music vidoe on this trip!

Celeste and I in our new goth loli gear in my favourite nearby park, in Ikebukuro.

Cat cafe with really large cats in Ikebukuro! A cat cafe is a place where you can just go, hang out, pet cats, hold cats, be around cats, and lots of them. Many folk in Japan don't have a lot of space for pets, so this is their compromise. It's such a cool concept. I hear in Oosaka there's a bunny cafe, I'm definitely planning on visiting.

Celeste and I went to the local butler cafe. I bet many of you have heard of made cafes, where your waitresses are dressed as maids, and treat you as a household owner. This particular butler cafe is almost exactly the same, except your waitresses are dressed as butlers. Some butler cafes actually have male butlers, but of all the different genres, crossdressing butler cafes are the most fun environment, the employees are always very charismatic, and love talking to everyone that comes in. This particular time we went, it was Halloween week, so the butlers were dressed as vampire butlers. Therefore, I asked my butler to draw a vampire on my omuraisu! Celes had a bat drawn on hers.