My New Philosophy 

A few weeks ago a friend messaged me to tell me about a guy she had met who was Japanese, nice, funny, smart, dressed well and was tall. Most of those things I don’t actually care about and as I had PMS I basically told her I’m not interested in meeting anyone. I also told her I have enough friends. 

I discovered he lives in the shithole place I used to live and ironically enough, the same place as my ex. That should have been warning bells enough. 

Without going into detail I discover he not only smokes pot (something I won’t tolerate) I also discover he fucks around and is yet another guy to assume I am a huge party person and have a list of men on call for every whim and fancy. He then insulted me further by insinuating I could have an STD. 

I’m angry for a few reasons:

Number one: I’m sick and tired of men assuming things about me. I enjoy my life and going out with friends but most of my Friday and Saturday nights consist of staying at home watching dramas or reading a book. Or cycling somewhere to get rid of the frustration I have with arseholes like him. I don’t even have one guy I would ring for a booty call and even if I did, no guy seems to understand that I have never have and don’t ever want a sex friend/fuck buddy/whatever terminology you want to use. I don’t use people and I don’t want to be used either. 

Number two: I’m pissed off that I knew I was right to say I didn’t want to meet him but then felt sorry for him because of where he lives. Not my problem. 

Oh and about the STD, I don’t have one and the only reason he said that is because he assumes I’m like him and fuck everything that breathes. 

Yes I’m pissed off. 

That’s why my new life philosophy and dating love philosophy is all about the following statement:
I have never wanted to and still don’t necessarily want to get married but I do want someone to spend the rest of my life with. I don’t have a list anymore because I will accept whoever I fall in love with no matter what they look like, their nationality, geeky habits, whatever. They will do the same. 
Hence I’m not dating AT ALL anymore unless that person would be willing to marry me. Why waste my time and why waste theirs if they are the type of person who just wants to fuck everything in sight and have what I consider to be shallow relationships because they’re scared, been hurt in the past or just want sex? 

I don’t give a fuck if someone agrees with me on this or not. I don’t need or want your opinion or your approval. I won’t be changing my mind on this unless or until I meet the person who is going to make me believe that not all men are arseholes who constantly disappoint me. 

I’ve had enough of that. 

If I could change one thing about myself… (okay maybe a collection of things)

It wouldn’t be anything physical. I’m really not the kind of person who cares much about that. You either like me as I am or not at all.

I would, however, change the fact that sometimes I am too nice and too understanding and I apologize even when it’s not my fault because I hate conflict. I would also stop giving so many second, third, fourth, fifth… chances because I always get hurt and I find that I am constantly feeling disappointed. I make excuses for other people’s behavior and I blame myself a lot of the time when clearly anyone and everyone can see it is the other person. I’m not saying that I don’t have faults, but I’m well aware of mine and I will admit to stuff when I need to.

Yesterday I saw a guy I used to be involved with who was… to put it bluntly, a bit of a cunt to me. He was interested in me being white (He’s Japanese) and that was about it. He wanted sex with no strings attached and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want the same thing. Anyway, yesterday I saw him walking towards me and before I could put my head down and pretend I hadn’t seen him, he said hello. I wish that I could say I ignored him, but no, because I’m a nice person, I smiled and even waved.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?!

Friends tell me this is why people like me, but sometimes it’s a super annoying thing to have to deal with. At the moment I’m in a situation where I really am feeling as though there is no point. I’m not someone who gives up. I’m not someone who runs away when things get difficult. But, I do think I’m putting in a lot of effort and I’m not feeling that I’m getting what I need or want in return. I’m tired of feeling insecure, I’m tired of feeling second best (because I’m not second best!) and I’m tired of having to beg for affection and attention. In the beginning I thought it was a fault with me. No, not at all. I’m human and I need human contact. I like being alone, but affection and love and touch is essential for every human and when one of those needs isn’t being met… you find it from another source. At the moment that other source are my friends and family who are the rocks in my life. I’d like to be able to rely on another ‘rock’ in my life… but I’m not sure they want or even need me…

 

I’m in one of my ranting moods…

And this is not just because I feel like complaining, it’s because there are issues out there that need to be spoken about and too often they are hushed up because people find them uncomfortable to talk about. These people piss me off because they’re weak-minded and just think that by ignoring something it will either A. go away, or B. won’t intrude on their little piece of peace, safety and security in the world so therefore it doesn’t exist. To you people, fuck you.

This is just one of many, many articles that illustrates the sexist, discriminatory world that many people face. I won’t just say women, because discrimination is not just restricted to sex or gender. This is just one example. I will say, however, that crimes against women and indeed, the shit that some poor women have to put up with disgusts me and makes me want to take the patriarchal society that they put up with down a few notches.

I haven’t finished.

Jack’s Jaunty Journey: The Love Hotel

So the other day I was asked to write a brief summary of a “deep, underground culture” place in Hiroshima for the GetHiroshima magazine. A lot of the places I go to have already been written about and many places I go aren’t underground, so to speak.

But then… I had the fantastic idea about visiting a love hotel and writing about that experience. I’d been to one in Hiroshima two years ago, but obviously I wasn’t in journalistic mode and taking photos during my time there would have been for another reason entirely! 😉

I happened to mention it to my best friend who happily volunteered to help me out for a night of adventure and shenanigans.

We met at a local convenience store and walked a few blocks to where the hotel was located. My friend had actually been there about 15 years ago, but hadn’t been back since.

The funniest thing of the night happened just as we were walking in.

I noticed a car just outside the hotel and in the dim light I looked at the driver, who in turn, looked at me, I looked again and suddenly I said to my friend, “Shit, I know that guy ! He’s the chef at my favorite bar!”

My friend pulled his hood over his head even tighter and we both cracked up as we entered the hotel lobby.

Now I don’t want to give too much away because if you really want to read about it, you can do so in the magazine, but… I will include a few stories from our time there that won’t be in the magazine.

As best friends, obviously neither of us were going there to use the hotel for its ‘real’ purpose. We did, however, take advantage of the free condoms (which my friend discovered and threw across the room to me), the free porn channels (of which we discussed how they made the sucking noises sound more real- the secret is lotion!) and of course, like all people (well the ones I know anyway), we bounced on the bed and stole all the free samples of shampoo, face lotion and toothbrushes.

Walking home, my friend said his wife had asked him what he was doing for the night.

His reply: “I’m helping a friend to learn Japanese.”

Yes, learning Japanese definitely includes cultural experiences. 😛

 

Giving up or choosing to walk away?

The Japanese verb, ‘頑張る’ (or ganbaru) is perhaps one of the most-used words in the whole language. It refers to the idea of persevering or more commonly, to do one’s best. It can be used in various situations by both an individual speaking about themselves, such as, “頑張ります!” (ganbarimasu; I will do my best!) to asking another person to do their best, “頑張って!” (ganbatte; do your best).

In fact, just recently when I sent a message to a Japanese acquaintance saying, “Good luck!” for an upcoming test, he was puzzled as to why I’d used English rather than Japanese. The above phrase is not only used to ask another person to do their best, but is also considered to be the equivalent of ‘good luck,’ and is therefore, far more potent in meaning than my simple words.

On the other hand, as with all translations, reducing it to one meaning in English is doing it an injustice. After speaking with another Japanese friend just before writing this post, I believe the word is far more encompassing than any phrase that exists in the English language.

His opinion is that the word denotes to do THE best, not just YOUR best. In other words, striving for perfection, and unless this perfection is reached, it is seen as a failure. It’s an interesting take on the translation, because in Western countries, trying one’s best does not mean having to be number one and if you don’t succeed, than you’ve still learned something in the process. He believes that Japanese people are afraid of making a mistake and therefore, they are reluctant to try in the first place. I had never considered it this way, but it may be so. Until he mentioned this, I had a different opinion.

To me, Japanese people are always trying their best. In fact, I would say that even if they don’t succeed they try again. They are extremely resilient. Their history of being self-sufficient despite a lack of natural resources (such as their closed-doors policy during the Edo period) has resulted in them being stubborn to a fault. Again, this is my perception, but as someone who is equally as stubborn, I can relate and totally understand. They have faced many set-backs in their history, yet they have emerged stronger than ever. Their strength and perseverance is something I greatly admire them for.

10 years ago I was someone who gave up easily if a situation wasn’t working to my advantage. I felt though that it was more like running away from a problem and it certainly didn’t fix anything. In fact, the problem reared its ugly head in a different and slightly larger way the next time it appeared. In the end I stopped running and I faced it. I still use this same approach and in the past two years living in Japan, I’ve become a resilient person too. I both admire and fear this new me.

I admire it because I’ve learned how versatile, adaptable and strong I can be, but equally, I have been disgusted and afraid at how my views have changed (some of my views on sex and marriage have been blown away completely!) I always thought the morals and values I grew up with were the ‘correct’ ones and everyone else was wrong. Now I’ve learned that things are not always black and white like Western culture, but come in many shades of grey. That’s initially difficult to comprehend when your entire life/culture has told you something different. But… I am learning to go easy on myself and to remind myself of a phrase one of my science teachers used to use. He often gave us examples in class that challenged our views and more often than not we reacted by exclaiming, “That’s wrong!” He would shake his head and say, “It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it just IS.” The same applies to Japan. Just because something doesn’t align with your values/morals doesn’t make it wrong. It just makes it different. I’ve also learned that my morals/values have changed and that doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me human.

Sorry to go off on such a tangent, but my point is that in the past year I have seen, done and faced so much that I believe finally I can understand the true meaning of the verb, ‘頑張る’ (ganbaru).

But… I do feel that despite this understanding, there is a point where you have to decide if you will keep trying for something or if it’s time to walk away. Giving up and choosing to walk away are two completely different things and should not be mistaken for the same thing IN ANY WAY.

I have had a complicated and volatile relationship with a Japanese man since I first met him last year and the other night after I collapsed on the floor in a heap, hating myself for messaging him and yet wanting desperately for him to admit that he too wants a committed relationship, I decided: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. So I ripped his business card into tiny pieces, I disposed of it immediately and I deleted every trace of him that had ever existed. I have no way to contact him unless he makes the effort. I have been pushed to breaking point and I have survived.

Giving up and choosing to walk away are completely different things. Do not feel that walking away is giving up. The words ‘giving up’ are not in my vernacular. I am stubborn to a fault, but I know when something is no longer serving me in a healthy way and I have certainly learned when to walk away. You can do the same.

 

Boys will be boys!

Now I am lucky enough to teach some fantastically brilliant Japanese teenage boys who are not only intelligent, but also honest (sometimes too much so!) and genuinely nice kids. They’re also absolutely hilarious.

The other night I was telling them about an Australian TV show I used to watch as a kid called, ‘Mr. Squiggle.’ He was a puppet who came from the moon in a rocket and had a pencil for a nose. Children would send in their ‘squiggles’ and he would create a drawing from them. Click here for the first episode courtesy of YouTube.

Now the boys were fascinated with this aspect of Australian/Western culture and so asked me to provide them with some squiggles of my own for them to create drawings from.

I should have seen it coming… every activity we do somehow ends up with them talking about sex. They are OBSESSED. They’re normal teenage boys… it’s perfectly natural.

Every single squiggle was turned into boobs, a penis, a vagina, sperm or some sexually-related thing. They had me in stitches. I tried desperately to alter their pictures (including making a penis into ‘Mr. Pig,’ but it always came back to sex.

At the end of the night they decided to make their drawings into a book which I promptly confiscated and took home with me to throw out. I still haven’t thrown it out. It’s too funny to destroy. So I thought why not share their artistic talents with you? 🙂

Their 'book' of drawings

Their ‘book’ of drawings

'Mr. Pig'

‘Mr. Pig’

Forget Hello Kitty and Anpan Man, the new character in Japan is 'Diok!'

Forget Hello Kitty and Anpan Man, the new character in Japan is ‘Diok!’

A lover of sorts???

In a country where adultery is a cultural norm, I can’t say I was surprised to find this article on The Japan Times website. This article, however, is about the sex dolls that are now found in China for men.

Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese have always had a more conservative view towards sex, so I read this article with particular interest. Rather than being disgusted, I found the whole thing very, very sad; sad, in a depressing way.

The article outlines the reasons for providing such a doll, which interestingly enough, are identical to Japan: many men leave their hometown and/or families to relocate for work and living a bachelor’s life, find themselves wanting a companion of sorts.

Enter: sex-doll.

I am not condoning adultery in any form, but I will say that at least it is with another human being who is capable of reciprocating. As a doll, this alternative is devoid of the ability to express emotion and indeed, reaction and as the man in the article says, it has no soul.

I am deeply saddened that some people in the world are lonely enough to resort to a doll, rather than another human being. I’m concerned that these people are losing their sense of humanity and what it is to connect with others. Humanity is about talking to people, making connections with people and feeling an emotional bond with people.

I have no interest in trying to satisfy a need with something that will only ever be a poor substitute. I just can’t deceive myself like that.

Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?