By the way... that photo above - spectacular commentary.
Anyhow, one of those blogs is the annoyingly perky or depressing blog http://maiadoesjapan.com/, which is either quite good or quite bad, depending on how one wants to view it.
It's funny... every time I think of Maida Does Japan, I think of the old Adult Video porno film - Debbie Does Dallas, a movie that was doing it for me long before Maia was born, I am sure, so perhaps she can be excused for not understanding the "cultural" significance of her blog's title. Unless it really is an Eff U as in Maia Screws Japan?
Hell... at least she is parodying a porno film from the 1970s (something of a more recent vintage)... look at me... I'm parodying a family flick from the 1940s! But yeah... I meant to do that.
Maia... she certainly has a more chatty style of writing than myself—and I'm not criticizing that at all. It's Maia and she is certainly interesting.
While not a plug for her and her grammatical mistakes (owtch, did I just go there?! Oh yes I did), she recently wrote about the long-distance romance... about being in Japan when your boyfriend or girlfriend isn't. Or rather someone asked her if it was possible to do the long-distance thing.
Maia has been in Japan for over a year, and yet she reports that only recently did she and her boyfriend back home break up.
Maia does say to the writer requesting information that she should try to maintain the long-distance relationship.
Even if I wasn't far more cynical now than I was 24 years ago, I would still think that's crazy advice. For a number of reasons.
Holy monastery, Batman! Are we to believe that two people some 14-17 hours apart in time and space remained faithful to each other by not forming new cohesion bonds via physical chemistry in different labs?
Sure... why not? I bet that's very difficult, though.
I didn't know all this at the time, but apparently my girlfriend Ashley - whom I met on Day 2 in Japan - had just a week earlier broken up with a boyfriend back in the U.S.
I no longer know his name, don't know what he looks like - blonde, I think, but other than that, I know nothing about him. Didn't care. Ashley was available, and so was I. Despite our continued bashing of stubborn wills, I am sure we were a great comfort to one another. She was to me. 'Nuff said.
Now… there were a few 'foreign' women in Japan that I hit on like a house on fire, but they claimed to have boyfriends back 'home'. I never understood that, by the way. Wherever I laid my head - that was home. Japan was my home for three years.
Anyhow... so while they were in Japan, they decided to remain chaste.
Maybe I'm just talking out of my @$$, but I'm pretty sure it is easier for a woman to shut down and not have sex than it is for a guy. Hence Maia's advice to maintain the long-distance relationship... to at least try.
Yeah... It's why men masturbate a whole lot more than women.
Or, to quote the great Mae West... "My name is Angela, but my friends call me Angel for short. But not for long."
So… for a woman to go to Japan and to leave her boyfriend back 'home'… and I'm talking about boyfriend/girlfriend NOT about husband/wife or fiance/fiancee…
In my opinion, it's the rare guy, indeed, who won't stray… and he won't stray if you invite him to come and visit you in Japan and ply him with all the goodies you can… like festivals, food, booze and, oh god, yes! Sex.
If I sound like a jerk - I probably am… but I'm just telling you what most heterosexual men are thinking.
Think about this… by leaving your home country - boys and girls - to go to Japan… just what sort of a message are you sending your boyfriend/girlfriend back 'home'?
The message is: "My life is more important than our life back 'home'." What… you don't think people think like that?
The person NOT in Japan is wondering what the hell you are up to. Even if they trust you - and let's say they do - you are experiencing so many new things about Japan on a daily if not hourly basis - things that you can only talk about, but can never truly share with anyone who hasn't experienced it yet… unless you are one helluva great writer or videographer.
For me… just my male friends… I was away for three effing years… it's difficult to recover from a gap of that length of time… but for my core group, possible. Now… while I had hundreds and hundreds of stories to tell them and my family (the family gets the clean stories), my friends and even my family just aren't all that interested in how I saw blah-blah, or did blah-blah-blah or went to blah-blah….
My long-time friends are great guys: Kevin, Rob and Nigel… but dammit, they might care, but they aren't interested in my tales. Rob is interested in learning about new things - and so he reads this blog when he can… but the others… no… I learned quite quickly NOT to talk about Japan to others who lack an interest in the subject. My wife is one of those. No interest in Japan whatsoever, and has no clue why I bother writing this blog, or WHY I have to publish something every single day.
Why? Because I'm a writer. That's how I describe myself. It's who I am. I write about Japan because I have some knowledge about the subject… and because I have a little knowledge on the subject and enjoy learning and sharing.
As for living in Japan while a boyfriend or girlfriend does not - I would be interested in knowing for how long you stayed and how that relationship worked out.
Although… when I was in Japan, I slept with around 30 different women - some Japanese, a few Thai, American, Australian, Canadian, British, Australian… all beautiful and interesting people - many of whom I no longer recall the name of…
... but none of them mattered towards the end, when I met Noboko… whom I initially left in Japan… and… no spoilers… but let's just say that I went one whole year of not even thinking about another woman except her until… no spoilers, I said.
So yeah… a guy can be trusted 17 hours away in time and space away from the woman he loves. I am proof of that. And I'm a slut.
But let me tell you… it was tough. "Reach out, reach out and touch yourself. That's the long-distance feeling." It's also a parody of a famous telephone commercial from the 1970s or 1980s.
Here's the thing… while I admire and respect those people who travel away to another country and grasp onto their past life with a boyfriend or girlfriend… just how fair is that to them?
Also… by avoiding a romantic relationship or even a sexual relationship in Japan, you avoid and miss a whole different societal aspect of life in Japan.
And trust me… despite the politeness of the Japanese people, the Japanese people only appear to be conservative. Japan's dirty little sexual community is a whole different part of Japan that while it can be described, is more fun to experience.
|Here kitty, kitty, kitty...|
My plan was to stay in Japan for just a single, solitary year... to honor my commitment to the JET Programme and then to get safely out of Dodge.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to the Coliseum... I liked Japan, and Japan liked me right back. I made it known after a few months that I wanted to stay a another year. Kanemaru-san, one of my bosses with the Ohtawara Board Of Education asked if I would stay forever. That scared me, but I know now what he means. We were friends, and it hurts to lose a friend.
That second year turned into a third, and if there was such as thing as being able to stay longer on the JET Programme back then - as there is now - I would have leaped at the opportunity.
What if that happens to you, oh JET settler? How is it fair to keep stringing someone along while you look after your own selfish needs? Hell... Maia and her boyfriend apparently broke up after a year... sucks... I mean, she just wasted a year of this guy's life with the 'promise' that all would be the same after one year.
It never is.
Japan changes you. Hopefully for the better... but it changes you... you'll come back home and sometimes you'll realize that everyone else is still the same... but you aren't.
If you are JUST boyfriend and girlfriend, and one of you are going away for the year - do the honorable thing...
Let them go. If it is meant to be, they'll be there waiting for you when you come back. Whomever you are.
PS: Although a slut in Japan, I purposely avoided the more seedier elements of Japan… for one reason… on the JET Programme, I was there as an ambassador to Canada… can't let the 'home' country down, eh.
But… I've heard stories - even read one… later.