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Friday, February 10, 2012

The Soft Parade

Hi there... I thought I would take a short break from writing about my past life in Japan for a brief moment.

I have been writing in this blog non-stop, every single day sometimes twice, three times or more... every single day for an entire year.

I do spend a lot of time writing about my past life in Japan from 20 years ago. At first I thought it would be fun - and a lot of times it has been fun... walking along a path I had though long since over-grown with weeds... but this diary I've been writing from... whew.... it takes a lot out of me.

Perhaps it's age. Perhaps it's just moving on. Perhaps it's just perhaps. But a lot of what I write about I had no knowledge of until I read my diary for the first time since I put pen to paper - that's how long ago this was.

My good friend Matthew, of whom I shared many a time with in Japan, he freely admits that he too has forgotten about most of the things I have written about.

To be honest, up until this point in time - 2012 - I have only read the day's events that same day I type it out for you here in the blog. I do not read ahead. I am often as pleasantly surprised or disgusted as you are with either how I have acted, or others have acted or merely what Japan has been like. You may have noticed that the people of Ohtawara-shi (my home town), nay, the people of Japan, have treated me with kindness and respect for the most part, while the so-called gaijin (foreigner) contingent has been less so generous. Obvious exceptions, of course. Matthew, Kristine, James, Colin and a whole host of others you haven't met yet. Even Ashley... though she also fits into the other category.

What I find particularly galling or shocking, is how my life in Japan 20 years ago has mirrored the life I currently 'enjoy'. Ups and downs. Women trouble. Work. New situations I had never heard about before being thrust into my face as I am supposed to act and react to. You know... life. But it just seems as though things sucked a lot then. Read between the lines about how I feel now.

But... after the recent events of life in Japan circa 1991 - the Thanksgiving debacle - I just had to read ahead. Oh my god... I haven't hit bottom yet. But at least I read far enough ahead to know that even from the gutter, one can still look up and see the stars. I'm paraphrasing Oscar Wilde here. So... it gives me hope that things will get better in 2012, too.

A couple of days ago - at work, where I write all day long - my publisher told me how I appear to be the most level-headed person he knows - always with a smile on my face. A co-worker told me how he was impressed by the fact that no matter how much I needed something done right then and there, I never forgot my manners and always said 'please' and 'thank-you' and tried to make others feel better.

It made me feel good. It made me realize that even if we don't know how we impact the world, we do... whether it's through simply being there at the right place and time to say 'thanks for doing a great job' or just holding a door open for someone... it makes a difference - even just a tiny bit.

So... I just wanted to say to all of you readers who stop by and come back again (and again and again) as well as those who just stop by - thanks.

I thought that writing about the past was cathartic. It's not. It's merely a means to an end. I get to know there are people out there - all over the world who have read something I have created. And for a brief moment in  time, I was a part of their life.

To quote Jim Morrison of The Doors:  I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.

That's you. That's all of the people I ever talked to or smiled at while in Japan. That's Ashley, and Matthew and Kanemaru-san and Hanazaki-san and Noboko, Shinobu, Takako, Kaoru, Maniwa-san, Suzuki-san (all of them). It's those long dead. Dead, sometimes forgotten, but when read by you... they all live again in youth, glory and allegory.

I have no idea what I am writing about. Melancholy I guess. The previous blog entries have really taken a lot out of me. Toss in nicotine withdrawals - and voila! I get maudlin.

I really just wanted to say that Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife is fast approaching its 1,000th entry. I had always figured that if I could get this to 100, I would end it. Seems like I can't end it. I spend anywhere between two and three hours a night writing this stuff - on top of the eight  hours I spend writing for work. Why did I think I needed to do two more blogs?


Like I said. The previous blog entries about MY life have taken a toll... I just needed a break. I'm tired. I mean... just look at that damn photo of me in a Shinkansen (bullet train). No seats. Bad hair. Tired as all hell. But still smiling.

I'll get back to work tomorrow. Something interesting, okay?

Somewhere this dog shall have his day,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog is by The Doors. It's always been my favorite song by them - for about 40 years now:


  1. I see... You claim that writing for the last year has made you tired? Ha! 1000 posts? I see that this blog was started on Oct. 16, 2009... By my calulations that means you've ONLY been doing this for 847 days. As you know, young grasshopper, "the journey of 1000 miles begins with one small step." You've done 847 small steps. You got 153 more to go before 1000 and then another 9,000 before enlightenment.

    Your students anxiously await your messages, master.

    1. My first blog was on July 11, 2009. Until late January of 2011, I wasn't posting every day. After a slew of problems at home, I decided to refocus on one thing I could control - this blog. I posted every day for a month or two - and when that earthquake hit, multiple times a day.
      Tell, me Mike... how did YOU FEEL when you wrote about the hospital stay? Enlightened? Sad? Happy? I feel all of those and more when I read what I write.... shock, dismay, revelation... and then see patterns and parallels... probably seeing things that don't exist but my subconscious wants to see, so it does.
      But really - this past year... whew... thanks for your kind advice and help these past few months. I am soooo lucky to have been able to 'meet' you. One day, eh?