Road Trip Part Three (Amore And More? Part Four)

Our story so far involves J dating again, and in response I planned a trip to meet a guy I’ve known a while but only online. As part of the trip, I figured I would stop in Edgewater, NJ so I could go to Mitsuwa Marketplace once again.

After my stop to the bookstore and the shop that sells almost everything else you would want from Japan, I headed into the supermarket. My goal was to only buy things I wanted or might need, things that I couldn’t easily get in Syracuse at one of the local Asian grocery stores, and since I was far from home I couldn’t get anything that required some kind of refrigeration.

I got some makings for okonomiyaki, such as the powdery nori (basically seaweed sprinkles) and fried flour bits (think of it as tiny batter drippings that are fried). The special okonomiyaki flour was about the same price as what I pay around here, so there was no point in buying more.

There are hard candies flavored like some of Suntory’s beverages such as Dekavita C and CC Lemon, which I first bought from Mitsuwa though I never tried looking for some of the other beverage flavors. I couldn’t buy any more CC Lemon while I was there, but I did get another bottle of Dekavita C, and I found the cherry drink and the honey and lemon drink that are also featured flavors of the hard candies. The cherry drink was good, but of course I enjoy the hard candy as well.

I found Hello Kitty Pasta! Unlike the Rilakuma spaghetti I’ve purchased previously (which I didn’t find this time), the Hello Kitty pasta is shaped like Hello Kitty and flowers. It was $4, and it’s not even a pound of pasta, so I’m not sure if I want to eat it or keep it around for looks.

About $75 later, once it was all back home and in the pantry and elsewhere, I was asking myself what I bought. And yet, it’s been two weeks and I still haven’t consumed all of it.

Before I got back to the car, I got myself something for lunch. Previously when I’ve visited Mitsuwa, I was in the mindset that I only lived about 40 minutes away so there was easily a next time and it could be sooner than I could imagine. With that mindset, it didn’t matter what I bought to eat for lunch, because I’d be back again to try something else. This time, since it had been over a year since the last time I was at Mitsowa (which is hard to believe that time really passed that quickly), I figured that I had to get something worth the visit. I paced from one eatery to the next, trying to figure what I wanted. I settled on ramen, but I went for the combo that included natto. Oh yes, I was going for natto.

From what I’ve gathered, natto is pretty much the Vegemite of Japan. It’s an acquired taste that is seldom enjoyed by foreigners. Let me put it this way: imagine you’re eating beans, like kidney beans, but they’re in a sauce that requires fermentation… oh, and the sauce looks like the thin, stringy slime they use in movies depicting alien lifeforms. Natto is supposed to have a strong scent, from what I’ve heard, but my natto served on rice and topped with green onions was rather mild in taste and aroma. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it, and ended up not finishing my ramen because I just couldn’t eat anything else.

But then I got dessert on my way out the door, most of which traveled back to Syracuse with me. I ate the coffee jelly when I got to the storage unit, which was dumb of me because it was topped with ice cream. I knew it was topped with ice cream. For whatever reason, my brain thought it would be fine to wait that long before eating it. The ice cream was soup, of course, but it didn’t make a mess and was quite tasty as anticipated.

At the storage unit, it was lightly raining. As I packed the car, it seemed like a lot of things I had in storage were affected by the moisture in the air, as boxes seemed slightly damp and such. Well, my goal is to empty out the storage unit by the end of this year, maybe, so aside from a  few things I desperately wanted to get out to make sure they survived, I just loaded up the car with whatever was nearby. Within an hour, I was back on the road, and this time I was heading for home.

The whole trip was exhausting, but exciting. And I did find love, as I had hoped.

It wasn’t for my date, which I’m sorry to say and yet I don’t regret it. Being around him feels like being around my exes, which is only a bad thing because I wouldn’t be giving him the chance that Mr Smith probably deserves. And yet, maybe it’s just my inner workings being hyper vigilant and trying to avoid a repeat of the past, a past where I wasn’t happy, where the relationship I had really wasn’t what I wanted.

If anything, the love I found was for myself. I focused on what I wanted and what I needed to do. I did what made me happy. And I told people about it, because I wanted them to know that I found something that made me happy and they might enjoy it as well. I did things so that I wouldn’t walk away with regrets, or at least that I could say I tried. I met Mr Smith, and I had been wanting to meet him for a while, but now I know I like him as a friend and I don’t want to lose that. I tried natto. Heck, I spoke three words of Japanese to a vendor, which always made me nervous because I never wanted to assume that any Asian person was Japanese or could speak Japanese (and yes, it was a positive experience, or so it seemed).

Maybe it’s for the best if J’s house is just my home base for now. I can’t imagine it’s going to help my love life, as potential suitors might think J and I already have some kind of relationship and they might decide to not invest much time with me. But maybe I’m not supposed to be in love with anyone here, not even J. Maybe J exists to keep me from feeling lonely, to get me back on my feet and figure out where my life should go from here.

And maybe there’s an adventure in my future, a trip to Japan and not just a Japanese restaurant or supermarket. Why do I feel like I’m being called there?

And why have I really been brought back here to Syracuse? Because I could do without living with an unrequited love while he dates someone else. I never would have remembered I had a thing for him if I hadn’t moved back here. But I do have a good environment now, where I can think critically about anyone in my life. I know that J isn’t perfect, Mr Smith isn’t perfect, even J’s date isn’t all that wonderful.

Since I do have love for J, I do want him to be happy, and if it’s with his date and not me, it might be for the best. After all, getting tied down with J would only keep me in Syracuse. If I’m meant to be in Japan, then I need to be ready and willing for the opportunity when it comes my way.

So that was February, or at least the major parts of it. My birthday comes at the end of this month, and hopefully something exciting will happen between now and then. If not, I’ll find something to get excited about. Mark my words.


Road Trip, Day Two! (Amore And More? Part Three)

Previously, J started to date a new girl, and as a result I sent a message to a longtime internet friend who I hadn’t met before. After a four hour drive, I was at his front door. We ate sushi before driving into Connecticut to play mini golf and walk around a mall for a bit. After that, I drove him back home and headed for my hotel.

My logic for hotels was that I wasn’t going to make a reservation, that asking for a room in the evening and leaving in the morning would earn me a reduced rate. Maybe that would work under normal conditions, but I was trying to get a hotel room between Valentine’s Day and the weekend that followed.

Not to mention, the hotel itself had a view of the Hudson River, as it was next to the Hudson River. My room had a view of the shopping plaza I had to go through before I got to the entrance to the hotel itself, but I wasn’t there for the view anyway. No, I drove to the Comfort Inn in Edgewater, New Jersey, because it was supposed to be my cheapest option and it was closest to Mitsuwa.

When I booked my room, the only option I had was two queen beds. I’m fairly certain I had the last available room in the hotel for the night, but I can’t complain because I did have a room. I was in room 111, but my mind didn’t think of the video game Fallout 4 at the time, all I could think of was the numerology significance. Three 1’s is a good, positive number. Four 1’s would be better, but I’m not about to suggest that my room number wasn’t good enough. Anyway, I carried in all my stuff and put it on one bed, then went here and there while in the process of settling for the night. I checked in around 8 pm, but it was almost 10 before I forced myself to sit down with my can of pasta because I was starting to get a headache from not having eaten since sushi. It was at this point that I realized I forgot to pack anything remotely resembling a bottle opener, so my bottle of sparkling apple juice went unopened. The can of pasta had a pull tab, so I didn’t need a can opener, but I didn’t bother to bring a dish to use in the microwave. And yes, my room had a microwave. But I considered it more of an emergency ration to have a can of pasta in the first place, though I was thankful I had the foresight to pack it regardless because I was exhausted.

I turned the TV on and watched the Olympics while eating the pasta from the can. It was a good day.

I woke up the next morning, and I woke up, and I woke up. The bed was too firm and the pillows were too soft for my liking. I kept having dreams that I couldn’t remember. It was just before 7 when I texted J and told him that I hadn’t slept well, but I would try to get more sleep in. About 15 minutes later, I texted him again and said it wasn’t to be, that there was too much noise in the main hallway to get back to sleep. I was in the main hallway, four rooms away from the front lobby. Not only was it just noisy enough to keep me awake, I also had a song stuck in my head.

A couple days before departing, I asked J if he wouldn’t mind giving me a wakeup call and playing guitar for me since I would be missing out on that by being out of the house. He said no, but agreed to send me recordings he’s made of songs he has covered. I chose a couple of songs, which he sent to my email. However, none of my chosen songs were Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, a cover of a song by The Flaming Lips. So I was playing the original version on YouTube while J sent me a link to the cover he made. I played both versions before I rolled out of bed and got dressed and such.

In fact, I mostly played my Japanese music while getting ready for the day. It was my thought that I would set a certain mood for myself, because I was heading to my favorite Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa Marketplace. And I told myself that maybe I would find love while I was there.

Well, there was an Asian family of four that ate breakfast at the table next to mine at the hotel, and as I was leaving, they were taking pictures near the row of bushes that framed the spot where I parked my car. So the first love I found was the familial love between parents and children. It might not have been the romantic love I was looking for, but it was love and I found it right there in front of me.

After breakfast, I did a final check of the room, even cleaning up after myself so it would be a little less work for housekeeping. I don’t think I left anything behind, but I really didn’t unpack much, either.

I checked out of the hotel, which was basically just telling the front desk that I was checking out since I had already paid for the bill when I checked in. Then I drove to Mitsuwa, where I had my choice of parking spots because the parking lot was empty.

It was 9:30 am, and if anything, only the grocery store was open.

I have a ritual that I start with the Kinokuniya bookstore, then Little Japan USA, and THEN I go into Mitsuwa. And the other stores opened at 10 am, so I had a half hour to wait. I took some pictures of the Hudson, and of the store fronts. I wrote to my Japanese friend about the trip so far, but he was being a man of few words. Finally, I think I walked into the bookstore at 10:01, not entirely sure if they were really opening for the day or still preparing to do so, but I was running out of ways to pass the time.

One of the books I got at the bookstore is called The Japanese Mind. I’ll have to write about it later, because it’s been interesting to read.

In Little Japan USA, I got a lucky bamboo and two gatcha balls with black cats playing instruments. For some reason, I was called to get the bamboo, like something in me said I had to have it. I’m actually surprised I’ve kept it alive for two weeks so far, as I’m not usually good with plants.

As for the supermarket itself, I set a rule that I would only buy things I absolutely wanted or needed, that didn’t need refrigeration (especially not if something needed to be kept frozen), that I couldn’t get in the Syracuse area. How did I do? Unfortunately I have to save that for next time.

Logan Paul and Hamada, or What Not To Do In Japan?

So the month is drawing to a close, and before it’s February, I do want to get an entry out that deals with something other than just what’s going on with my life.

First up is the Logan Paul scandal. If you haven’t heard or you actually need to be reminded, this kid named Logan Paul went to Japan and recorded a few videos for his YouTube channel, one of which took place in the “suicide forest” where he went out of bounds and happened to find the hanging body of someone who successfully managed to commit suicide. Sounds like no big deal, right? Well, he was making light of the whole thing, and as it was posted to YouTube, he had no respect for the person who took their own life nor did he have any respect for that person’s friends and family who may have been affected by having to see that. There are other videos of Logan Paul around Japan, where he has a good time but at the cost of being disrespectful to those around him.

If you’re new to my blog, you might not be aware that I want to go to Japan someday. People like Logan Paul would ruin the opportunity for me to do so. A major aspect of Japan’s history involves them being closed off to much of the rest of the world, not allowing foreigners or foreign influence in the country. Although they’ve opened up, they’ve accepted people from other countries and have welcomed parts of other cultures, there are still Japanese people who don’t approve of outside influences, mixed dating, and the like. Japanese people also try to maintain harmony and respect towards each other and their environment. So if you have a foreign kid come in, and he acts like a ten-year-old whose parents think it’s fine to not keep an eye on him, then it’s going to make people upset. Worst case scenario, they make things more difficult, if not impossible, for a foreigner to enter the country or stay for an extended period of time.

It really irks me to know there are people who go to other countries and expect that it’s okay to act like they’re in their home country. It wouldn’t surprise me if those same people see a foreigner in their home country and expect them to act like they’re not a foreigner, especially if a foreigner comes to America and Americans start to dictate what is considered “American.” But I digress, just a bit.

Commentary aside, Logan Paul’s actions weren’t even acceptable by my American standards. I say “my American standards,” because we have people over here who insist that “boys will be boys” and probably wouldn’t hold him accountable for his behavior if he did the same things over here. I care more about what happens as a result of his actions in regards to how the Japanese people will react, though I’ve heard he has lost a lot of support  and YouTube stepped up after people petitioned for action to be taken. Regardless of whether or not you can view his videos, there are others out there who were either influenced by him or have the same mentality, not to mention that Logan Paul himself is still out there somewhere, and they could ruin things for those of us who would have far more respect.

My next issue I wanted to bring up was about Hamada. I’ve previously mentioned that I’m a fan of Downtown and the Gaki No Tsukai series. Despite having the ability, I did not watch the latest No Laughing Batsu challenge when it streamed on New Year’s. I didn’t find out what happened until my Facebook feed was covered with articles about Hamada, the round-faced member of Downtown who’s often compared to a chimpanzee, doing blackface as part of his costume.

Personally, blackface doesn’t offend me, and I’m about as white as fallen snow. Does that make it right? Does that mean it’s acceptable? Probably not. In America, we have a history against people of darker skin tones, so blackface is offensive to anyone with any compassion towards non-white people. Japan, however, doesn’t have our history of slavery, discrimination and segregation, and it seems like it’s just another skin color to them, that it’s another version of non-Asian or foreigner to them (I could very well be wrong, which is why I said it seems that way).

But Hamada wasn’t just dressing up as a random black person, he wasn’t trying to be a caricature of someone of African descent. He was basically doing cosplay of Axel Foley, the lead character of the Beverly Hills Cop movies. In my opinion, if there was one person to ask about whether or not it was offensive to dress up like that, I would say that Eddie Murphy should be asked, as he is known for playing the character Axel Foley. Should he have just been an Asian Axel Foley, and not done the blackface? Or was it necessary to be more accurate about the character? Despite the character of Axel Foley being iconic in a sense, should they have chosen a different American cop from the movies?

Honestly, it’s not for me to judge, because it doesn’t affect me. “Yes it does!” you may cry out. Well, if I sit here and say how offensive the act was, there will be someone who will say it was just for the sake of comedy but not as a means of insulting the character or anyone who shares his traits. If I say it’s not offensive, whether it’s just that it doesn’t offend me or that it’s not offensive to Japanese people, then I will get someone who will tell me exactly why and how it’s offensive and why I should be bothered. I won’t do blackface, I’m not one for dressing up like that, and I can’t really stop anyone from doing blackface if they’re going to do it anyway.

The best I can do is just educate anyone reading, to be mindful of your actions and how it affects others. Not everything you do will bother people; some will care, others won’t. What’s fun for you may negatively affect others. I’m not saying that you won’t ever bother people by being more mindful, or that the right choice will be obvious, but just putting forth the effort will be worthwhile.



The Long And Short Of Why I Want To Travel Far And Wide

There are some things in this world that I shouldn’t have to explain.

Maybe I should rephrase that. There are things in this world that can go without an explanation.

No, that’s still not quite right. What about, once a person has made a few mistakes in life, they start to learn from them and can probably make better-informed decisions later on?

Well, I’ve made enough mistakes with this introduction. I guess all that’s left is to explain a few things. It seems counterproductive compared to the intro I was going for. Or, did I do everything as I wanted to do, and it’s now exactly what I was thinking?

Plotting and scheming aside, the point I’m trying to make is that I sometimes feel criticized for wanting to go to Japan. While it hasn’t been said in so few words, the statements come down to things like, “you should give up on going, I can’t understand why you would want to go to Japan, you will be disappointed when you get there.” I usually hear, “do you have to go now? Can you wait 10, 15, 20 years?” Why should I wait? I’m not getting any younger, my body isn’t becoming any more capable. I already have to wait until I get enough money put aside, and that wait will be long enough. But when I hear people ask why I can’t put off the dream of going, I feel like they’re really asking why I can’t give up on going altogether.

Clearly, I need new friends. Or I’m overthinking things.

The short answer is, Japan makes me happy. I feel like people who care about me should want me to be happy.

Why does Japan make me happy? It just does. I can’t really explain it, and I know if I try to explain it, I might lose the magic. But of course, I apparently need to explain the whole thing.

It didn’t start with Wakkanai.

My Dad was stationed in Wakkanai while he was in the Air Force. I don’t remember if there were slides. For you kiddies out there, slides are basically physical photos that you can shine light through, and you put a tray of them on a special projector to help a room full of people fall asleep quickly. Anyway, that’s not important right now. He was in the Air Force as a Russian linguist. For you kiddies, the United States had a grudge against Russia for a number of years, and it was called the Cold War. My Dad basically translated radio transmissions.

When his time had ended over there, he brought home some stereo equipment that probably still works to this day. I was raised with the knowledge that Japanese electronics were superiorly made in comparison to American electronics. I watched the movie Gung Ho, and admired the Japanese work ethic. I think I watched Big Bird Goes To Japan as a child. But, I barely knew anything about Japan, I barely had an interest in Japan.

I had an interest in the Moon.

By the time I became a teenager, I loved looking up at the moon and stars. Astrology interested me, and I learned that my sign, Aries, was a fire sign. And then I was flipping through the channels on TV one afternoon and saw a cartoon with these girls who defended Earth in the name of the name of the moon or one of the planets. I saw a bit of myself in the title character, Sailor Moon, but my favorite character soon became the one who’s a fellow Aries, Sailor Mars. When they weren’t saving the day, they were living their lives in and around Tokyo.

I started watching Tenchi Muyo as well, and even a bit of Yu Yu Hakusho. Eventually I watched Fullmetal Alchemist.

One time, I was near the comic and gaming store and decided to drop in. I found manga, and bought one book as that was all I could afford at the time. But after I started working and driving, one volume of manga turned into over one hundred. I was a bit addicted.

When I was still in college, though, I started getting into L’arc en Ciel. I remember looking up song lyrics and translations in the computer rooms while I was between classes or after I had finished up whatever I was working on. After I graduated, I bought an iPod while working at my first job, and I had some Sowelu and Utada Hikaru songs along with some L’arc on there.

It wasn’t an interest in Japan, just in Japanese media, but I was happy. Life seemed to be going well for me, I had both of my parents, I had started working and had a car to get around.

And then I met a guy.

When I first met him, he kind of had a significant other. She didn’t really want him, and had ended things with him by the time I saw him again. They were both at a party that one of my friends was hosting, and I was there as well for no reason other than I was invited to a party. He was there because his now-ex was going to be there, but he felt a need to heal his wounds by getting drunk and crying on the sofa. I had knelt down next to the sofa, the armrest being all that separated me from his feet. I wanted to help, I wanted to be supportive. He ended up calling one of his friends who drove over and picked him up to bring him home.

This guy’s life was a bit of a wreck. Someone broke into his station wagon and stole things from him. He was driving a station wagon because that’s all he could afford at the time, and it was already falling apart. He was also living with his brother, who looked Korean. He actually looked Japanese to me, but was apparently half Irish and half Korean. His brother had a different father and was full Korean, if memory serves me correctly.

Not that it mattered what he was, because to me he looked pretty good. I really didn’t feel worthy of being around him. Oh, I should mention that after checking up on him the next day, one thing led to another and I started going over to his place nearly every day. I thought things were going somewhere, but I had never had a boyfriend before and I had nothing to base my experiences on.

One day, he started talking about looking at newer cars, and had his heart set on one at a local dealership. Knowing his struggles, I did what any foolish girl would do. Well, because I felt a bit guilty for enjoying Japanese stuff while I had an interest in an Asian guy, I sold the manga and gave him the money to put towards the car.

After about a month, he didn’t want to see me anymore. I learned a lot in that one month, more than I really care to explain. But I lost my interest in manga, and my interest in everything else waned as well.

The second time wasn’t as good.

Eventually, I bought more manga, though my collection wasn’t as impressive as it originally had been. I didn’t read the volumes as often or as quickly. But I met a guy at work who became a bit of a friend, nothing more. To some degree, he got me back into anime, but I wasn’t as interested as before.

I went to an anime convention with him, my second ever anime convention. I remember feeling like I had outgrown anime. I was surrounded by people cosplaying characters that I didn’t recognize. There were anime titles I had never heard of. The finest moment was meeting Vic Mignogna, voice actor extraordinaire (seriously, look him up on IMDB or something, he’s in nearly every English-dubbed anime you can think of). Aside from that, the day was a bit of a waste.

Eventually, I was rescued…  by food.

While working at a well-known grocery store, I bought The Manga Cookbook. Unfortunately my ingredients were limited, and I could barely make anything in the book despite the grocery store having an Asian food section with imported goods. I did try my hand at making udon noodles, though, which turned out alright.

While working that job, I lost my Mom, which caused me to move to New Jersey. Okay, a lot of things caused me to move to New Jersey, most of which were bad decisions. While I was living in New Jersey, my boyfriend at the time introduced me to Mitsuwa Marketplace. At first I was interested in going, but after going I was in ecstasy! All the ingredients I couldn’t find before, I could find at Mitsuwa! And there was a bookstore nearby where I could buy manga in the original Japanese! And I spent more money than I should have, but it was necessary.

I returned a few more times after that. I always made sure that I ate something from the food court, because there was no way I’d be able to make anything that tasted quite like it should. I loved the feeling I had while I was there. I came home after my first visit, and realized that I didn’t have any L’arc songs in iTunes, just a couple of Hyde’s songs. I started tracking down all of L’arc’s albums on Amazon and eBay, which gave me a bit of an endorphin rush when I bought another album and when it finally arrived.

I had forgotten how happy I once was to listen to Japanese rock and pop music. I listened to Horizon, and it reminded me of a dream I once had. But the food also made me happy, because everything was new, and everything I tried was amazing.

Japan was where I needed to be.

The search for a job can make anyone go a bit insane. The thought eventually popped into my head that I could move to and work in Japan, so that became the plan before I even knew what I was getting myself into. But a plan like that is good to have when you think of all the angles, and in my case I realized that my then-fiance and I were two entirely different people. Ignoring what I had to consider for myself, I realized I couldn’t have my fiancé travel with me to Japan because the flight would be too lengthy for him to deal with his disability, and then he probably wouldn’t want to go out and do anything with me once we were there. Not only that, but leaving him behind meant that we were back to having a long-distance relationship.

I like to think that the entirety of that discussion was one of the many factors why we broke up. Our relationship left me broke, but it also left me with the freedom to go and do what I want to do once I’m not poor. Since I put more thought into going to Japan, I know what I need to do to go, and I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t go.

So what else?

I’d like to think I’ll eventually meet someone while I’m in Japan, and maybe I’ll give in and have children, thereby helping out their birth rate and keep it from declining further.

If I’m in Japan before the Olympics, maybe I can get into hospitality and be of some use when the place is mobbed by tourists who speak more English than Japanese. Otherwise, I could always just assist in teaching the language.

My interest in Japan isn’t anime and manga. I might go to a concert, if time and finances allow. I might do some video gaming-related things. Or I might decide to be boring and check out as many temples and shrines as I can. If I lose interest in Japan, I could go elsewhere.

I’ll have to go over on a student visa and go to a language school, then work part time to make a living. I can’t get on a work visa because I don’t have the right credentials, and it would be cheaper to get my bachelors degree in Japan. But it is possible for me to go to Japan, I just need to get my finances in order before I can go.

Tomorrow, I think I’m going to make a PowerPoint presentation of this entry, then save it onto my phone so I can make the argument at a moment’s notice. Basically, the Japanese stuff makes me happy, and so I’d like to go to Japan and live there for a while. I know what I need to do to get there, and unless you’ve travelled abroad, you can’t say that I don’t know what I’m doing. But there are things I can’t plan for just yet, because airline tickets change prices, tuition costs increase, rent goes up, so those things will have to wait until I’m at a point where I have to consider such things.

This is what I want. This makes me happy.

I’ve spent enough time trying to make others happy. Now I want to do something for myself.


My Waifu! ^_^

All right, so after all the views that I’m getting for the entry about Charles (Charusharu), it seems like people out there are curious about him or are already watching his videos. If you haven’t, here’s his latest from his alternate channel:

If he said his waifu was Sailor Mars,… I don’t know, I think I’d be done with the internet at that point, because otherwise I’d sit here and be all, “OMG Sailor Mars is my favorite of the Sailor Senshi and I have her deck from the collectible card game that came out and she’s just my favorite and I…”

Relax, take a breath, don’t be awkward…

Scratch that, it’s too late. I’m already being awkward. Might as well own it!

So what is a waifu? As Charles’ video explains, using a definition from ye olde Urban Dictionary, a waifu is basically your two-dimensional wife, it’s the character you would marry if it were possible to do so. The male version is a husbando. It’s not really limited to anime characters, your waifu/husbando can be a musician, an actor, or a character in a movie or book or television show.

My comment earlier today was to say that my husbando was Hyde from Vamps and L’arc en Ciel. It’s not entirely true.

My husbando, right now, would probably be Kyosuke Himuro. He has a voice like black velvet when he’s singing ballads, and I think the perfect evening spent with him would be spent under the moonlight of a summer’s night with him singing to me. He also has a well-toned body, like he works out and eats a fair amount of protein. Some of his body language suggests he has an ego, which would be nice to be around a guy with that much self-confidence. I like watching his concert performances, because I like his energy and the way he moves along with the songs. He also seems like a bit of a playful badass with a heartfelt side, but I have no basis for that other than his songs and just how he seems to act.

My waifu would probably be Hyde. I know, he’s a guy. But he has a more slender figure than Himuro, and Hyde has also cross-dressed as Harley Quinn and as a geisha-like character, so he’s rather androgynous. Just like Himuro, I wouldn’t mind being serenaded at night by Hyde. Hyde has a slightly deeper, slightly raspy voice, but it’s still nice to listen to. Hyde’s energy on-stage is different from Himuro, in that it comes from Hyde’s shyness and bashfulness. Hyde rocks out to his music just the same, but his dancing and spinning seem to be more of his personal enjoyment of the music. Back to his bashfulness, I think I would have too much fun, every now and then, doing things that would make him blush. I think he would be fun to be around by day, sometimes even at night. If we’re on the same wavelength, he seems like the kind who could tap into my sadness when I’m feeling down and make me feel like everything is going to be alright.

If I had to pick an anime husbando, it would probably be Sebastian from Black Butler. At least if I promise to be with him for eternity, there would be the possibility of that actually happening. I mainly chose him because I’d likely do like Ciel and be a little shit towards Sebastian, taking sarcastic shots at him when possible but knowing he gives as good at he gets. But I’d be impressed by his work ethic and skills, because after all, he’s one hell of a butler. Can you imagine him as a significant other? If he plans a romantic evening, you know that no detail will be spared, and you’d likely have a really classy experience.

Another husbando would be Kyohei from The Wallflower. Okay, so he has his moments where he only cares about what’s in it for him, but at the same time he does care about Sunako. I might not be able to deal with him if he often thinks only of himself, but if he points out when I’m being unreasonable or otherwise lights a fire under me when I want to shut out the world, then he’d be good to keep around. Also, he’s one of the most gorgeous people in the story (not an opinion, that’s part of his character as a “radiant being” or “creature of light”), so if I really wanted to be superficial about my choices, I would go for the pretty boy who gets into a lot of fights because he’s so pretty.

Do I have more on my waifu/husbando list? Yes, yes I do. There’s at least two more, but if it wasn’t so late, I could probably think of a few others.

But don’t tell ME who your waifu is! Go watch Charles’ video and leave a comment over there. No, seriously, watch the video and comment over there, and share the video with your friends. We’re going to get 1,ooo views on that video within a week. Let’s do it!


J-Vlogger Spotlight – Chris Broad

As much as I love sarcastic humor, I can’t be as sarcastic as I’d like while writing here. The issue with sarcasm isn’t that it comes off as being bitter and possibly resentful, but that the written word isn’t always understood to be sarcasm.

However, if you want some spoken sarcasm, and you’re into watching videos about Japan, let me steer you towards Chris Broad of Abroad In Japan.

When he started his videos, they were basically like sending a letter home to say that he was still alive and doing well. After a while, he started having some fun, teaching profane English words to Japanese people and walking through love hotels. More recently, he’s been focusing on the area of Tohoku, where he currently lives and where he wants to boost tourism.

I barely think I need to do an entry about Abroad In Japan. Quite a few of his videos have been shared by other websites. He has also popped up on other channels, alongside Rachel And Jun for example, and has been featured on Odigo Travel.

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, Chris has a few videos with tips to help you improve your skills with the language. Based on his recommendations, I tried Memrise as one of the many tools I use to learn Japanese, and I have Anki on my computer though I really haven’t used it.

If your interests are about the sights of Japan, then he has you covered. Want to see a robot restaurant, with flashing lights and a stunning floor show? How about an early morning stroll through a market that sells fresh food, where you can get fried chicken for breakfast? Do you want to see the final burial spot of Jesus Christ? I wish I was kidding about anything he has on his channel, but some of these things exist.

Oh, and he does have two videos about love hotels, and a video about an owl cafe, and yet another video about a sake vending machine. All of the normal things are covered.

If you want to see Chris interact with Japanese people, that does happen in most of his videos. However, I do recommend the video where he teaches swear words to Japanese people. Play that video in a room full of people who have no issues with profanity, and you’ll get a few laughs. He also has a few videos where he has Japanese people try British or other foreign foods, such as Marmite and international chocolate. Why he subjected someone, anyone, to eating Hershey’s chocolate is beyond me, because their chocolate candy bars have an awful texture and are only good for s’mores, but that’s my opinion.

Recently he participated in a TED Talk about being a YouTube vlogger and living in Tohoku. If there was one thing to take away from that, it would be to just pick up a camera and show something awesome about where you live. Give people a reason to visit your area. Chris has found so many amazing things just in the Tohoku area, and says that it would drive up tourism if more people knew about what the area has to offer.

Lately there haven’t been many updates to the channel, with a new video about once a month or so.

However, Chris is supposedly working on something special with his friend Natsuki, and it should be interesting when that’s finished. Natsuki is… a character, for lack of a better description. If a video has Natsuki in it, the video will be far from serious. Natsuki is often involved when Chris is showing something from another country. The special project that Chris is working on will involve Natsuki running around the United Kingdom, and his reactions to things that are mundane to the rest of us should be interesting.

Chris also has another channel that rarely gets updated, called Abroad Perspective. It was started with the intention of continuing some of his reaction-type videos and being less about travel and tourism. I recommend subscribing to it just the same, if you do enjoy his videos.

I also recommend following his Instagram. If you’re aware of what many people are like on Instagram, especially with the Instagram Stories feature, then following Chris’ Instagram will be entertaining. He is his sarcastic self, starting his Instagram Stories by saying, “Yay, Instagram Stories!” He then finds something that’s not worthy of being talked about, and talks about it. One of his early Instagram Stories was a sandwich he randomly picked up at a convenience store, and he barely knew what was in the sandwich. It was worthy of a snicker, in the way it parodied anyone’s “amazing” food that they bought.

Time for all the links that are fit to print!

Are there any other links that would be relevant?

And were you expecting me to spotlight someone I’ve already mentioned in other entries? I’m getting there, don’t worry. But if you want me to check out any other YouTube J-vloggers, or even any Japanese blogs, leave a comment below, and I might spotlight them soon!


J-Vlogger Spotlight – CharlesTALK

Okay, I’ve talked about Victor (Gimmeabreakman, Gimmeaflakeman) twice now. He’s not the only thing I watch on YouTube, either.

I started thinking about it, and I’ve only started watching certain YouTube channels because YouTube recommended them to me. If there was one thing I really wanted, it would be a list of people living in Japan, who do videos of Japan or their life in Japan. But then, would I watch them all because Japan? What should I watch for entertainment and what should I watch if I want to learn about society and culture?

So you know what? I’m going to try and review the YouTube channels I watch, or at least the Japanese ones. Starting with… Charles!

If you’re ever on my Instagram, you’ll see it’s nearly devoid of selfies. I have more pictures of Japanese food, especially whatever I’ve attempted to cook, than I have of pictures of myself. Every so often, someone subscribes to me who I don’t know. Usually it’s an actor who seems to be struggling in Hollywood, and their likes and subscriptions are their way of getting me to notice them and their work. And hey, if I watch the show they’re in, it’ll remain on the air and they’ll still have a job, and it all works out. But I don’t do the whole “influencer” thing, so I don’t follow back unless they seem interesting.

So one day I had someone follow me who has a YouTube channel, and his Instagram screen name is Charusharu. I looked over the pics in the Instagram, and I was like, “…okay.” So I followed him back and subscribed to his YouTube channel. Sometime after that, he released a video thanking his first 100 subscribers, and I was in disbelief. I never checked his subscriber count, or how long his channel had been around, and I was one of his first one hundred subscribers.

So what’s he like?

If anime and video games are things that interest you about Japan, then you’ll like Charles. His Instagram has a lot of Nintendo-related pictures, such as Pokemon, Legend Of Zelda and some Mario. Some of his pictures and videos reference various anime titles, between classics like Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon, and more recent titles such as Spice And Wolf. I think I post more food than he does, but he’s actually posting from Japan so he gets to post more authentic foods and things that can’t or just aren’t imported over here.

His channel CharlesTALK has the majority of his videos, but he also has a second YouTube channel, Charusharu. On the main channel, he doesn’t have too many videos yet, so if you start watching him now, you won’t be overwhelmed with where to begin or how many hours of your life you’re going to lose just trying to catch up. Make sure that captions are turned on, because he often speaks Japanese in his videos. Sometimes he switches to English, but not always.

If you want to see what he’s like before you check out his other videos, I recommend starting with his two videos about the ten things he loves about Japan. On one hand, it gets into his interests, but at the same time he’s talking about some of the best things that are either in Japan or that came out of Japan. No, it’s not all video games, anime, and Pokemon! He talks about the bullet trains, the vending machines, school culture, and…. well, I won’t spoil it, but his list might make you interested in visiting Japan if you weren’t already interested.

His alternate channel only has three videos so far. Of those, I recommend the video showing the Japanese cosplayers at Nipponbashi, which is related to a video on his main channel where he interviewed some of the cosplayers.

I do recommend subscribing to his YouTube channels, and also following him on Instagram. I won’t say he’s good at interacting with his fans, but I will say he does actively give “likes” to Instagram posts and will also read and leave comments. “Interacting with his fans” sounds like I’m putting him up on a pedestal, and while this entire entry is already doing just that, I don’t really feel like there’s much distance between Charles and those who watch him. Maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t seem like a celebrity, he just seems like a nice guy who shares some of my interests (and possibly your interests as well). When I start to discuss other YouTube channels that talk about life in Japan, I’ll point out how it became more of a business venture instead of just posting videos for fun, and you’ll understand why I’m highlighting Charles now.

I suppose it would help if I added a few links.

He also has a Twitter account… so do I, but I don’t use my Twitter unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also, I don’t like being limited to 120 characters, as you can tell.

Go forth and enjoy his videos!

Meanwhile, before I get to some of the other YouTube channels I watch, I’d like to know if you already watch some Japanese YouTube channels or read any Japan-based blogs. I know I have a follower on here who IS a Japan-related blog, maybe I have more than one. Regardless, leave me a comment and tell me what vlogs and blogs I should look at next!