Tag Archive | dating

Things I Hold Onto

After a little over three months of knowing him, Libra and I have reached a point where we care about each other, but it won’t go beyond that.

For the past week, I’ve been dealing with figuring out what I want out of this now. He wanted physical space, I gave him that plus emotional distance. I have shut off the part of my heart that felt like we could have been something special, that everything I was willing to give could and would be reciprocated.

I wish Mom was still around. All I have is a mess of boxes to show of the life I had with her, which Libra and I made a special trip to New Jersey just to get all of those boxes. Now they’re consuming the entrance to the house, this wall of boxes that keeps me from my TV and therefore my ability to play video games and just forget about life for a while.

The boxes have been an issue between Libra and I, though I’m not completely against the idea of parting with many of the things I possess. The problem is the difficulty in actually parting with things.

There’s porcelain dinnerware that I could use for special occasions… except I’d be nervous about breaking a piece or scratching it somehow. So I should sell it off and not worry about it… but I worry that I’ll accept less than what the set is worth, and the buyer will resell it and make a profit.

There are items I insisted on keeping because they were aesthetically pleasing to me… some of which I know that Mom and Grandma would have reminded me of who owned that item and how long it had been in our family. I don’t remember any of those stories. I also don’t know if I’ll ever use or need some of the things I kept.

There are collectible toys, and t-shirts, and things that I bought as retail therapy while I lived in New Jersey, because I had the money and I had no one telling me I shouldn’t have these things. And as I go through the boxes, little by little, I’m happier when I uncover something I packed from my childhood home instead of things I packed from New Jersey.

Overall, it’s emotionally overwhelming, realizing that I will have to permanently part with more than just what I’ve decided to part with, that there are some things I will never have again because… because… I can’t come up with a good enough reason. I could buy certain things again, I could get married and have a porcelain dinner set on my registry that I might enjoy more, if I even think I would use it. I could buy more Funko Pop figures, I could buy more t-shirts, I could fill my closet and my walls with things that… look good.

Well, there are some things that cannot be replaced. I found a notebook that my Mom had used to copy her diary into. I took a break from working the boxes, and spent the next hour or two reading every line. The diary mentioned my father in a few places, but most of it seemed to be about this guy named Joe. Mom was clearly in love with Joe. My Dad, however, had been an on-again, off-again guy that she dated, who seemed to be a bit more possessive and into my Mom when he started to come back into her life, though she was still more interested in Joe. And while everyone else seemed to give her cards and such for one birthday, my Dad gave her a bouquet of sweetheart roses, when he wasn’t even her main squeeze at the time.

I kept looking at the reusable shopping bag that I put Mom’s jewelry box into, and I didn’t want to deal with it until today. Most of the jewelry is costume jewelry, nothing I really want but I found a few pieces I might keep. There was also a photo of Mom with another guy, and I had an issue pulling it out of the section it had been set into because the photo was laminated. Once I lifted it free with the use of a brooch, I turned over the photo. Mom often wrote who was in the photo on the back side, usually writing the date as well. On the back was written Joe’s name along with my Mom’s name.

I can’t question why she still had a photo of an ex, as I still have physical photos of my exes. It made me wonder, however, how much time was spent wondering if she had made the right choice to marry my Dad, or if maybe things would have been better with Joe, because I don’t know how things ended between my Mom and Joe at all.

It’s strange, and yet oddly comforting. I feel like my Mom’s love life is reflected in mine right now. Libra is my Joe, the guy who seemed amazing just to talk about him, but he’s not the guy I’m going to end up with.

If there was one hard-to-swallow pill from a year ago, it would be that I should just live my life and deal with the here and now. Living in the here and now got me to living with J, which broke my heart because I hoped there was something there. Living in the here and now brought me here to live with Libra, which broke my heart because I wanted more than he wanted to give me. But living with Libra is forcing me to deal with things I didn’t want to deal with, which I seem to need to do. And if I can sell my things and make enough money, I can go where I still feel I’m meant to be.

I’m going to meet my Japanese friend.

Okay, I’m going to Japan. Meeting my Japanese friend would be a bonus, and yes I hope it happens, and that this is the fairy tale part of my tale. He’s been in my life since about a week or so after things ended with the ex fiancé, and he dealt with me going insane while I was sleeping on my friend’s couch. He introduced me to Japanese entertainment that hadn’t been presented to me before, such as Downtown and Kyosuke Himuro, and to this day I listen to Himuro like it’s melodic comfort food because it’s a part of me now.

He spoke to me through songs, he wanted me taking care of myself when I was at my worst, he stayed in the background while I lived with other guys. I had to do what was best for me, and I feel like I hurt him in the process. But what have I been doing the whole time? I’ve been shopping at Asian supermarkets, buying books to understand how Japanese people think and how they handle romantic relationships, and I’ve basically been low-key preparing myself for a life with him. After all of that, I don’t want to go to Japan solely to meet my Japanese friend, I want to go because I want to go. If I don’t get the guy, maybe I’ll get someone else, or maybe I’ll just live and do what makes me happy.

Whatever happens, I now have a diary of my own, where I talk about the guys who had my heart and what became of them.

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Tipping The Scales

I barely slept last night, or so it feels, and I spent this morning in the realization that I am dating another woman’s ex.

The new guy needs a nickname, because it’s clear that I’m not about to let him go, and he doesn’t seem willing to go anywhere. I will refrain from using the moniker that was bestowed upon him by his ex wife. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to call him Libra, which is his astrological sign (opposite from me, being that I’m an Aries). Also, it has a nice ring to it.

I had asked Libra if he wanted to visit me for my birthday, which was only a week after meeting him. He agreed, and I spent the entire week in anticipation of seeing him again.

Upon telling J about the plans I now had for my birthday, he told me he would have to cancel the plans he had made to spend time with me instead. I don’t even know how sincere he was, because every time I asked whether he’d mind if I had a get-together in the house or if I considered getting a few friends together and do something out on the town, I wasn’t getting much input from him on what he would be willing to allow or if he’d even join in whatever festivities I had settled on. But now I had a date. It almost felt as if I was being asked to choose between a new guy who wanted to see me again, or a guy who doesn’t want to date me but sees me every day anyway.

And I chose Libra.

In my spare time after work, I tidied up my room a bit. It was still a mess, but I forced myself to do some organizing that I had been putting off. When I had a day off, I redeemed my Red Robin birthday burger and accidentally wandered into a dress store after that. Maybe it wasn’t entirely accidental, but it wasn’t necessary, as I had dresses back at the house in my closet. I just felt like I needed something new. I found a cute black and white floral dress that was knee length, and then I picked up new shoes so I wasn’t wearing flip-flops (the only shoes I have that aren’t in storage and aren’t sneakers or my boots). I got absolute approval from my best friend, but J wanted to point out that I wasn’t cleaning my room.

Finally it was date night, and my birthday. I made the right decision to dress up, because it meant he had to dress up a bit as well, and I was treated to Libra wearing a black collared shirt with purple stripes. However, I didn’t make the right decision to not get a reservation at the fondue restaurant I planned to go to, however he was running a bit behind in getting to the house so it was what it was. When we were seated, it was around 9:30, but we had a fairly quiet table in the back room of the restaurant. By the time we finished, most of the mall surrounding the restaurant had closed up for the evening. It was a delicious dinner that I paid for, and he picked up the tip because I hadn’t taken out enough cash from the ATM.

I had to work a morning shift on my birthday, and another day shift the next day. As I worked, Libra drove around the city, occupying his time as he saw fit. He picked up lunch from Arby’s and met me outside my work building where we sat in his Frankentruck and ate. He went back to his thing after lunch, and I finished my work day.

That night, we went to the grocery store to pick up dinner, and we also picked up an ice cream cake because I was craving one for my birthday. The whole scene starts adorably enough, where he put 34 candles on top of the cake and lit them all. It ends with me having 34 candles in my mouth because I was starting to lick the whipped cream off the candles but Libra kept adding them to my mouth before I had removed the previous candles. Pictures exist, and laughter still ensues just from remembering that night.

He left on Sunday, and since we agreed to take turns visiting each other, the next trip was mine. There’s not much to say, it was dinner and movies and learning that if I put cannoli filling on his nose, I will have cannoli filling all over my face.

The night after an impromptu dinner visit, last night, I was reading a link he had given me days ago. Instead of reading just the page he had linked to, which was on a message forum somewhere on the internet, I read the first page of the message thread and continued from there. The thread was mainly from the perspective of Libra’s ex wife, and as I read her words, I kept an open mind. After all, I know I have a slight bias towards Libra. I also consider myself to be a writer, and as such, I paid attention to how she had written her characters. She portrayed herself as a loving mother who wanted to do some soul searching, and Libra was the husband who couldn’t deal with how she was living her life and how wonderful it had become. I read all about how their marriage fell apart, and how she blamed Libra, but she never tried to fix it and never had anything positive to say about Libra. That is, until the end when she said she missed the stability and security of her marriage to him.

Libra was already asleep, so I just left a lengthy message to tell him I read it all this time, and even gave him my thoughts.

This morning, it wasn’t until after we talked about it for a bit that I realized I was dating another woman’s husband. Well, ex husband. But everything I do, everything I want to do, she’s already done it with him, more than likely. Anything I try to do to be romantic, I might open an emotional wound without knowing. All of this, because some woman wasn’t happy with her own life so she had to ruin Libra’s.

But here’s the thing: I’m not her, and I know this.

I am Marybeth, or Luna if you prefer. I lost both my parents during my 20s. I have a narcissistic brother who I can’t deal with. I have two ex boyfriends and an ex fiancé. “The baggage that I carry would sink a thousand ships.”

While I may be worried that I’ll do something that reminds him of his ex, at the same time, I’m comparing him to everything I’ve had before. I compare him to my exes, for which there is no comparison, I barely knew what I wanted and I seemingly went for guys who were nice and who seemed to like me back. I compare Libra to my Dad, though I usually just think of how Mom would approve of his Southern and country qualities, which doesn’t even describe my Dad at all.

Tuesday morning, he offered me a choice between lemon meringue or key lime Greek yogurt, and it wasn’t until I chose the lemon that he mentioned buying the blended yogurt because I preferred it over fruit on the bottom. None of my exes have bought something based on my preferences.

I found a thoughtful and caring guy who is playful and mischievous. I found him because some other woman forgot what she had. And I’m keeping him because I have a fairly decent grasp on what I want, which is to say I could use more people like him in my life. So yes, he was another woman’s man.

And now? He’s my Libra.

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.

Amour And More? Part One

Ah, February. I want to call it the month of love, but that seems obvious when you consider that Valentine’s Day is the midway point, it’s literally at the heart of the month. Hey, I rose to the occasion with the pun, and that one as well (rose? roses?).

Here in the Casa De J, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with us both getting a box of chocolates. I got him a tin that looked like Iron Man that was filled with chocolate, and since I wasn’t a fan of that brand of chocolate (regardless of the fact that they weren’t going to me), I bought him a bag of Valentine’s M&Ms as well. I got a Whitman’s Sampler box… from a Mr Smith, not from J. I didn’t get anything from J.

It’s been an interesting month, and I would have documented it sooner, but I’m still in the process of rearranging my bedroom.

I suppose I should begin somewhere. I feel like this is best told in two parts, his life and mine, yet it’s the overlapping events and emotions that connect the events of this month into a web of a story, it’s not simply linear. I will do my best to recap the whole thing, though any missing details are either for privacy or my brain skipped over them.

I suppose we should begin by saying that J is dating someone.

Their first date was spent here at the house, and it started before I had arrived home from work. When I got home, I presented myself and said a greeting, then I didn’t want to bother them or get in their way, so I excused myself and went to the kitchen to start doing dishes to pass the time. I don’t think I had been home for a full 10 minutes, in fact it felt like I had only been there for 5 minutes, and they were heading up to his bedroom.

I already had a weird feeling in my stomach prior to getting home, but suddenly I couldn’t settle down, I couldn’t do the dishes because I didn’t want to be standing or even in the kitchen, but I didn’t want to sit and play video games. I think a part of me wanted to be at the house, but part of me definitely wanted to leave and be somewhere else. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, though, or what I wanted to do. I just felt like, if I stayed I would have wished I had left, and if I left I might have wished I’d stayed.

I was supposed to be going out for karaoke and drinks with my cousin that night, but it was too early in the evening for me to get ready before we had planned on meeting, and I wasn’t going upstairs to get dressed while they were in his room, because I’d have to walk past his room to get to mine. I wasn’t sure what would bother me more, knowing they had to pause what they were doing because they heard me running around, or hearing what they were doing because they hadn’t paused for whatever reason. To be honest, I didn’t want to bother at all, but I was also not in the mood anymore to go out to karaoke.

I did leave the house. I put my boots back on, I got in my car and drove off to my favorite bakery where I got a piece of chocolate cake and an iced mocha. I hadn’t had dinner, but I was eating dessert. After I finished, I still didn’t know where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do, but I decided to drive past the house, only to find her car was still there. If I went back in, it would be like I had never left, so I drove to the mall. I found a decent parking spot in the underground garage, then sat in my car while trying to figure out what my next move was going to be.

I should add, I get this weird chill in my body a few times a day while at work, and I know it’s not from the air conditioning units because I don’t feel blowing air on my face or hands. Sometimes I feel that chill in my body when I’m at home. I felt that chill as I sat in my car, with the car turned off. Immediately after I felt the chill, I got a text from J saying that she had just left. I can’t explain anything about that chill, but just know that it happened.

I returned to the house. The scene that happened next could only be explained as me trying to verbally get out a feeling that I had no words to describe, and since I was overwhelmed, I was drawing from a place of fear. Thankfully, J was still on cloud nine, or at least he didn’t try to match my emotional output, because he remained calm and rational while I backed away from him when he tried to be affectionate towards me. It was as if I was processing everything he felt, as he later said he, too, felt scattered in that moment, but my mind was saying that any love or lust or whatever that I felt wasn’t aimed at me, even if it was.

I never went out for karaoke that night. I wasn’t in the mood to sing, or if I did, I’d have put too much emotion into it, and not the kinds of emotions you want to feel on a Saturday night. At least, I didn’t want to be that sad sap. But I was something sad, or depressed, or angry, or scared, or… something, even the next day when we went grocery shopping as usual. Then again, J has never yelled at me within the first 5 minutes of the drive to the store, threatening to drop me off at home and do the grocery run by himself because my company was less than pleasant. As we got closer to the store, he apologized for yelling at me, because he wished that he could make me feel better but didn’t know how. As we walked into the store, I turned to him and said that it was hard for me, because I wanted to be hugged and be comforted by the one person I had become too timid to hug. After we returned home and put away the groceries, I was starting to feel more like myself again, and I allowed him to hug me once more.

And I told him to change the sheets on his bed, I don’t sleep in his bed, but the thought of sitting where she might have been when they were, uh, cuddling,… I wasn’t comfortable with that. Thankfully, he honored my wishes.

Well, the whole thing cleared any doubts I had left, or at least most of them. So J is over the moon for this girl, and to be honest I am okay with it. But that means I should probably move on with my life. I can’t stay here forever, not while some part of me still thinks J and I should be a couple, and not while either one of us is in pursuit of a long-term romantic thing because potential partners may suspect we’re already a couple.

If it weren’t for the weather, I would have randomly driven to Patterson one day. Was it entirely the weather? At this point, I don’t think so, because I have a never-ending list of chores that I know I must do, and I probably did some of them instead that day. Nevertheless, I sent a message out of the blue to the friend who I was going to randomly try to meet for the first time, to let him know that I was randomly going to meet him. He asked me if it was a date, to which I asked if he wanted it to be one. He replied back and said that he was already in talks with this other girl, who he was going to meet in person sometime in May. I wished him well, then shrugged and figured the universe was punishing me for something and I was just going to deal with it.

But of course, it’s me, and I know the Powers That Be have a twisted sense of humor when it comes to my life.

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.