Tag Archive | dating

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.

Eight Ways To Win My Heart

I greatly purged one of my social networking profiles over the past few days. There was a lot to be removed, not that it needed to be removed, but much of it felt like it was from a different time and no longer felt relevant in my current life. Honestly, I could delete that profile entirely, but I have friends who are both there and on Facebook who would express a certain amount of concern if I gave up on it.

I was removing many of the “journal” entries this evening. There was a series of entries that were a “writing challenge,” as they were introspective in a lot of ways. Some of those entries were still relevant, but they were more meaningful at the time that I took on the writing challenge.

Day Three’s entry, Eight Ways To Win My Heart, hit me the hardest. It was completely relevant, still to this day. Let me go through each item, with an explanation to follow.

1) Visit me. I’d prefer it if you made a special trip just to see me, but I would be just as thankful if you took the time to stop on your way through town. I’d drop everything and drive to see you, unless you had any objections to it. Knowing you actually visited me would make me feel good.

I was seeing a guy long-distance at the time, as is usual for me. This was before my Mom passed, so it wasn’t a serious relationship. But it also wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, just that it always meant a lot to me when the object of my affections would take the time to visit me, so I didn’t bear the burden of being the one who had to travel all the time.

2) Show me a good time. I do a lot by myself, from trips to the mall, going to the movies, even running errands sometimes. With others, there’s always that chance that you might want to do something that the other person doesn’t want to do, and you’re either at a stalemate or at least one person suffers through much. If you genuinely want to do the things I want to do, or your ideas for fun actually interest me but I hadn’t considered them, then I’m sure we’ll have fun together.

I try to give everything a chance, unless I’m absolutely morally opposed to doing a particular thing. This was me calling out for someone who does things instead of just talking about doing them. Doing things with another person is usually more fun than doing them alone. I’ve had to drag people to do things I’ve wanted, and instead of dragging me to things they wanted to do, I’ve had to deal with their resentment for having to go with me. That really ruins the fun of getting to do things with another person. So, if the opportunity presents itself, I will do things by myself because it’s easier that way. But I totally want someone who will get excited at taking me to different places and doing things together.

3) Listen to good music. “Good music” doesn’t refer to bands I already like, but bands you like whose music blends into my playlist. I’ll gladly tell you how I got into some of my favorite bands, because there’s usually a guy involved (as if you couldn’t tell).

Still so very true. There’s a guy behind my Kyosuke Himuro binge-listening and binge-viewing sessions, and Himuro’s music does blend in so well with the rest of my iTunes playlist. It got to the point where it went from “I like that song that you just shared” to “oh yes, I’ve heard that one, it came up on YouTube, and it’s pretty good!” and most recently I’ve been sharing the links, like “he also has this song that I’m fond of, I’m surprised you haven’t shared it with me yet.” But enough about that. The way to my heart is through my headphones, and that probably won’t ever change.

3a) Take me to a concert for your favorite band. Don’t complain if I ask you to go to a concert I want to attend.

Basically combining the second and third statements. Yes, it happened, someone didn’t want to go to a concert I wanted to see. And then I met my ex fiancé sometime after that, and he did the same thing except we actually went to the concert. I’d go to a concert by myself, but I actually want someone else with me for safety. I dragged my Mom to a concert once, and I knew it wasn’t her music, but she actually didn’t complain, she was just entertained by the other people who were there for the concert as well. She might not have kept me safe, but she was the one person who needed to know that I was still doing well. So if you can be a better companion than my own mother, you’ll have my heart.

4) Compete with me. I don’t care if you win or lose, as long as you don’t throw the game for the sake of my ego.

I went on a date once for dinner and miniature golf. I would hit the ball where you should hit it, and this guy routinely tried other ways of hitting the ball around the course. I should have dropped my putter and left before we were even done, but I played through the whole game. It was horrible! Please, kick my ass, make me vow that one day I will win against you. For me, it keeps things interesting. At the very least, it means we have to keep doing the thing that you won against me until I win, and then hopefully you still want to play so you can reclaim your title. But if I always win, it’s actually boring for me, so I need someone I can equally compete with.

5) Give me a direction in which to broaden my horizons. It doesn’t matter if you and I weren’t meant to be after all is said and done. If I learned something new during my time spent with you, I’ll still think of you when I have to recall what I learned.

“I’m using you to learn something.” When you put it that way, people sound disposable. I just want each new partner to have something different than the last one, something that I have to learn about or come to some kind of realization. I don’t want a partner who is some combination of things I already know. If I learn something during my time spent with them but things weren’t meant to be, then I’ve learned something new. If I only learned that I shouldn’t be with someone like that person, then I wasted my time. I don’t care if I learn how to play a tabletop roleplaying game, a card game, a new language, a new kind of food, a different religion, or how not to let plants die, what matters is that I learned something.

6) Treat me like I mean something to you. Show me off. Talk about me. If I’m kept as a secret, I might think you’re ashamed of me. If you are ashamed of me, polish me up until I shine like you’d want me to. If you’re proud of me, I’ll be just as proud to claim you as my own.

This actually depends on the person now. With my ex fiancé, he did talk about me and such, but it felt more like, “I have a girlfriend!” and less like, “she’s an amazing girlfriend!” Maybe I wasn’t amazing, I’ll say that much. After all, he kept bragging about how awesome of a boyfriend he was, which is something that I feel I should have been doing if he wasn’t already doing it. Anyway, as long as the person I’m with doesn’t act like I don’t exist in their life, I’m fine with that. But if no one asks about the existence of a significant other, then I don’t mind if I’m not being talked about. The moment someone asks about me, I hope I’m being represented accurately and I’m not just shrugged off as being an acquaintance or just a regular friend,… but, I can also understand if the person being spoken to is a busybody who doesn’t need to know everything that’s going on.

7) Save the day. You don’t have to thwart the dastardly deeds of criminals. You can get away with grabbing takeout when things get crazy, or saving me from people and situations by giving me an excuse to flee with you.

Takeout because you don’t feel like cooking is just laziness, in case you needed to know. Takeout because there’s no time to cook is saving the day. instead of excusing yourself from a conversation I’m in that I can’t seem to get out of, find a way to make an excuse for me as well. It’s not that I’m too polite to get myself out of conversations I don’t want to be in, it’s that I’m too nice or too passionate and can’t find it in myself to break away without thinking I’m going to be rude or that I might be able to contribute something to the conversation. So yes, save me from myself.

And finally,…

8) Give me a reason to think of you and remember you. Make sure it’s for all the right reasons, too.

Anything already mentioned applies to this. Surprising me definitely helps, but it has to be a good surprise. Look, I don’t like calling all the shots. I don’t want to tell you there’s a concert that I want to see or that you might want to see, and then tell you to buy tickets. Actually I might want to buy the tickets as a surprise to you. Better than that, tell me you’re taking me with you to some place, and surprise me with taking a walk during sakura season in a place where the trees are all in bloom. Or get my hopes up for going to a concert and surprise me with a sakura walk. Or tell me it’s just a walk surrounded by sakura, which it will be until you do like Elvis does in all of his movies and pull a guitar out of thin air and begin to sing a song. The possibility exists that you could convince me that you’re going to do any of these things and then do something else that you came up with. I don’t mind what happens, just as long as your intent is to make me happy.

Is this list selfish? Of course it is! It’s how to win my heart, after all, not what I’ll need to do to win yours. And every person is different. Cooking to win one person’s heart might cause resentment in another person who would rather do all of the cooking. Competing with someone will only last so long if the other person can’t stand to lose. So, if I want to win someone else’s heart, I need to know how to win their heart and not use the “universal” methods of doing so.

That other social networking site is not likely to win any hearts, just so you know.

Infidelity In Japan?

A few videos have popped up on YouTube about Japan and cheating, and I made the mistake of watching them because I started thinking.

 

“A man cheats on his wife because after they have children, he sees her only as a mother…” When I heard the guy in the video say that, I thought that’s sad, because I feel like she might want to still feel like the woman he fell in love with and not just be the mother to his children. I feel like that would drive her to seek attention on the side as well, someone who can make her feel like a woman again.

“A man might feel alienated because his wife and kids have a routine that he’s left out of.” I’d try to capture some of those moments he’s missing out on, and wait for him to get home from work so I can be like, “you should see our kid taking their first steps!” If I was making lunch for the child to take to school the next day, I’d want some input from the father as to what should go into the lunch, even if it’s a note wishing the child has a good day and does well on exams or whatever. I don’t ever want to have children and just rely on their father for financial support. I want him to make time and be a part of their lives. It doesn’t matter if the kids are asleep when he gets home and he can’t actually spend quality time, I want him to take an interest in what happens in their lives and I want him to have a say in what the kids do. When the weekend rolls around, guess who’s coming with us to the park, or to fly kites, or stay at home and do other stuff?

Oh, what were some of the other reasons they mentioned?

There was also some talk about how it’s expensive to get a divorce in Japan, not to mention the fact that it’s socially unacceptable, and also the father won’t get to see the kids again. But that’s exactly why a couple should resolve things before there’s any infidelity, or don’t get married in the first place. This is especially true in regards to having kids, which is why it would be a good thing to wait until after marriage to have them, but to also make sure that both parents understand what one expects of the other in terms of the parent’s involvement in raising the kids. Otherwise, it won’t really make a difference if the father doesn’t see the kids again if he never took time to see them to begin with.

Personally, I don’t want to be seen only as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one of those suburban moms that drive around in a sensible vehicle and attends PTA meetings and who’s the voice of reason and whatever else, because that’s boring to me and it’s just not who I am. First off, if I’m the voice of reason, we’ve got a problem. I’m more likely to suggest that the kids should go run with scissors before I realize that they don’t know I’m not being serious. Second, if anyone starts begging to go to a Pokemon Center, or any kind of popular anime-themed store or cafe or such, it might be me and not the kids. Although, if I have to watch children’s television all day, I won’t be able to tolerate it. When their dad, my husband, gets home from work, I’ll be so glad because I’ll be around another adult again and can do adult things and talk about adult subjects, and hopefully he won’t reject me when I try to spend time with him.

I don’t want to be in a position where I’m just seen as a mother, and my partner uses that to justify having to go to another woman even if I’m not made aware that he’s doing so. I don’t want to feel like I have to go to another man to be seen as a woman because my own husband won’t look at me that way anymore. What will it take for my husband to hurry home after work (and drinks with the boss, if he must) to see me waiting for him, ready to remind him of why he married me? Unless he married me solely for the sake of having his children, in which case I’ll feel disappointed that our relationship wasn’t more romantic.

It seems like if I don’t want to be seen as just a mother, and the father doesn’t want to feel left out of the lives of his family members, it seems like my options are to not have kids or find a guy who won’t forget why he fell in love with me in the first place no matter how many kids we have.

That’s not to say that cheating is wrong on all levels. Some people don’t really mind it, some make it work out. I can completely understand marrying someone just for money or just for the sake of having children with a person, then dating someone on the side and not caring about what that person can do for you other than being fun for the evening or for an extended period of time or whatever. It works because a person will always have that new relationship energy, they will always have a fun relationship that they can end when it stops being fun, but they still have something serious that they can build upon. It’s not my thing, but as long as no one’s feelings will be hurt, I won’t say anything against it.

But I plan to marry for love, and while I know that love changes over time because people change, I want to keep putting in the effort to be loved for who I am and not for what I did do or could do for another person. My husband may be the father of my children, but he is first and foremost the man I fell in love with and that’s how it should be. Likewise, I might be his wife and the mother of his children, but he should still see me with the same twinkle in his eyes as when he first met me, and I want to make sure those eyes still sparkle for me and me alone.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Another video was a street interview video where people were asked their thoughts on cheating, to which most of them said they wouldn’t allow it and wouldn’t do it in their relationships. I have to hope they’re honest. After all, it’s fairly easy to convince a foreign girl that you’re a Japanese salaryman who works long hours, when you’re a part-timer who’s also a two-timer. Also, Japanese people don’t seem to be as confrontational as Americans, which means it might be hard to know if there’s an issue until it’s become an even bigger issue, so you won’t know if you need to do something until another person has already taken that role and done that thing. But knowing that there’s Japanese people who say they don’t tolerate something that seems to be common in Japan, there’s a good chance of having a decent relationship.

It’s always going to come down to communication. Even if only one person is saying what they feel and what they want, the other person should respect that.

But I’m making a big deal over something I don’t need to be concerned with right now. Still, it’s never wrong to consider your feelings in a hypothetical situation, so thoughts like these are still helpful.

Digits

I’ve had the same cell phone number since I was in high school. I carried it with me to New Jersey, and always laughed a bit when I had to explain where my area code originated. My mom’s phone number was the same series of numbers except for the last one, so as long as I remembered one of our numbers I could recall the other one. Since I’ve had that phone number for over fifteen years now, the last thing I really want to do is to change it. Thank goodness for smartphones and being able to block numbers very easily.

I probably should trust that a conversation will end, but lately I’ve reached a point where I’ll block a caller if I’m uncomfortable with them. That’s really the only reason I have for doing it, is that I’m uncomfortable with the person. Do I know that they’ll say something which might pull at my heartstrings and blind me with my own emotions? No, I don’t know if they’ll do that, or if they’ll start to belittle me because I hurt them or something.

A couple of days ago, I went out with a friend for dessert with one of her guy friends. After I got back, she added me to a group chat as a means of passing off my phone number to the guy. I wasn’t okay with my phone number being given out so easily, and when I questioned her about it, she said, “he’s a nice guy.” I let it go, thinking we were talking like friends, albeit a bit perversely but that seems to be a bit normal for the friends I tend to make.

Fast forward to tonight, when I comment on the fact that the guy hasn’t texted me at all today and I’m surprised by that. According to my friend, I was sending mixed signals, and he understood that I didn’t want to talk to him.

It amazes me that in this age of communication, we somehow manage to communicate less.

If I ever wonder what someone is trying to tell me, I ask them. I’m not even the type to assume that kindness is a green light for anything else. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to directly ask another person about their intentions.

Oh, awkward moments, of course. If your feelings for another person aren’t returned, then life continues as it normally does. The only time things get awkward is when you change your behavior towards them because of an unfavorable outcome. If you can accept that you’re friends, or colleagues, or whatever you are to each other, then that is what you are. You don’t have to start a relationship right away. Sometimes it takes a while for love to blossom, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s good timing, but sometimes one person isn’t looking in the right direction, or maybe they need to see you do something amazing to see you as a life partner. The only one who makes anything awkward is the one who can’t shrug off whatever happens and continue living life normally.

It’s another reason why I don’t mind giving up on dating right now. It’s not that I don’t want to have feelings, because emotions can’t really be controlled. It’s just that I want to be a little more critical of what I’m falling for. I want to know people a little better before I give out my phone number. I’ve had a longer relationship with my digits than I’ve had romantically, so it should be earned. If someone wants a piece of my history, all they have to do is ask about my phone number, and they’ll learn it’s more than just a direct line to reach me.