I didn't follow any real set of guidelines as to how I wanted to live my life - at least none that the Japanese may have suggested I follow - but rather, I wanted to ensure that while I was there in Japan, I would do everything I could possibly do as the Japanese did, only while IN my apartment, I considered it to be a Canadian territory and as such, I lived by Canadian rules there.
As such, I kept my shoes on while in my apartment when I felt like it... never at rice for dinner unless I was given some by a school lunch lady or bought some pre-cooked Japanese meal... didn't use a futon (after the first three months of my stay)... dressed with aplomb and color in my fashions... got my ear pierced... grew my hair long... wore a ponytail... never wore track suits at all at school... and as a man, kept my apartment in a state of cleanliness that confused and impressed my visiting mother (and hopefully all the guests)... bought a video game system like I was a kid... built and painted models like I was a kid... did puzzles like I was a kid... was into bonsai plants (tree bondage to create dwarf plant life) even though I wasn't an old Japanese man... did ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) even though I wasn't a Japanese women... would help the female teachers serve o-cha (green tea) to the male teachers in a fit of non-chauvinism... discussed the role of men (in Western society) as a means to kickstart a severely depressed women's movement... and so on.
Regrets, I've had a few... and you know me, I've mentioned each and every one of them... but know that I did what I had to do and aw it through without exemption... and like Sinatra sang, I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway... and yeah... I kept most of what I was doing to myself - even from my buddy Matthew... but yeah... you get the gist, I did things my way.
It was the first time I had been away from home... and like anyone in that situation, you tend to do things your own way for better or for worse... and aside from the whole woman situation... I was pretty level-headed.
That whole women thing... yes, there were times I'm sure you knew when I I bit off more than I could chew.... but I faced it all, and I stood tall (not really) and did it my way.
Okay... enough Sinatra... I'm on three hour's sleep... couldn't get much sleep last night for whatever reason... stress, I suppose... work... worrying about the kid's baseball team... was I actually getting sick? I haven't been sick in nine years... but despite all of that, I don't feel sick... and so I am not.
My advice to any foreigner thinking about going to Japan, is to make copious notes of everything... take your damn selfies when you can (avoid the bloody duckface...pursed lips... especially you women)... I look at the hundreds of photos I took in Japan... and I am in so very few of them.
Live like the Japanese do by following their rules, while still maintaining your own personal identity... you aren't Japanese... you can never be Japanese... but have fun pretending you are while knowing that.