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Friday, November 6, 2015

When You're Alone

Here's something for those of you now living in Japan - perhaps you've been there since August as a first year on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme... 

There's a phenomenon in Japan where, after living there for a while as a visitor that you get lonely.

It seems strange - especially with all of the people you come across on a daily basis.

But thanks to the language barrier… or another brick in the wall… no one ever really gets to know you.

You feel lonely. Depressed. Wonder what the hell you are doing in Japan… what the hell you are going to do with your life…

That feeling can last minutes, a day (me), repeated every so often, a week, a month or more… and for those whom it seems like it's part of your daily life, you need to try and get over it.

It could happen around the holidays, or one's birthday, or simply because it's another day in Japan.

That feeling would come quickly, and leave just as quickly, going away for long periods.

Maybe it's because I have either a short attention span or… or… what the hell was I talking about? Aardvarks? No that would be ridiculous.

Oh yeah, maybe because I let myself become awash with the freshness of discovering something new.

That was actually a goal of mine. And let me tell you what that means…

It means that for every single day in Japan, you have to discover something new… a word, a cultural thing… something about you… whatever… just something new… and when you do so, you haven't wasted the day.     

Anyhow… it's funny how easy it is to be alone… to be a stranger in a strange land.

Before I went to Japan, during and afterwards, The Doors were always a favorite music group of mine.

When I was an extra in the Bette Midler movie Stella, I wore a Jim Morrison tee-shirt as part of my working man look - you can see me at around the 47-minute of the movie. No, I kid you know. 47. If you've been paying attention, that's one of those weird numbers that seems to follow me around, though truthfully I made it that way. I only ever wore a 4 and a 7 when I played soccer for 15 years. There... the secret is out.

Anyhow, The Doors have this great song called People Are Strange: 

People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down

When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange
When you're strange
When you're strange

(There's more, but it simply repeats the above lines)

 Knowing I was called Ame Otoko (Rain Man) by the Japanese is also amusing when I listen to this song.

I wasn't like the title character in the movie, Rain Man, but whenever I traveled in Japan, it rained. 100 percent of the time. I've had worse nicknames. Ame Otoko is also, in Japanese, Candy Man... it just depends on the kanji (Chinese-style alphabet) used.

You're gonna get lonely while you are in Japan. Try to minimize its destructive effects.

Here's the opening stanza for the Candy Man song (from Willy Wonka, the original movie, of all places):

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two
The Candy Man
The Candy Man can

The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good 

I guess it all depends on your view of things. 

To battle possible loneliness, I'd recommend you don't call home - that will make it worse. It's a reminder that you are in Japan and they are not.

Instead, in my opinion, I would suggest you instead call up anyone else who speaks the language you speak there in Japan and casually let on how you are really feeling.

Betcha you'll find someone who cane relate.

I found that instead of me feeling all sad and blue, I would act the guidance counselor for others, which of course helped me.   

No one realized I was like that either… me… Mister effing personality… me… the guy who can talk to anyone about anything at anytime even after just meeting them… the thing is, being Mister Personality was something new for me, after having been extremely shy, quiet and somewhat reserved.

I hadn't even had my first date until I was 22... and was still a virgin at nearly 26 when I arrived in Japan.

So, yeah...  I got lonely in Japan… even after sleeping with 30+ women… in fact... that over-compensation might actually have made it worse.

I know... even I don't feel sorry for myself for having all that sex... but it was sex without a lot of emotion...

Obviously, there were a few women: Ashley, Junko and Noboko - with whom I shared as they shared.... but sometimes...  

I just wanted someone to talk to… 

And, for the record... I'm not feeling lonely now. After all, I have all of you to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Here's a stanza from Kansas, and their great song, Carry On Wayward Son:

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Somewhere, I'm not in Kansas anymore,
Andrew Joseph
PS: I wrote this ages ago... not sure why I never published it... or, ye cats, maybe I did. I still have something like 90+ other blogs I started and abandoned for one reason or another. Still... I always finish everything I started... 
PPS: I actually have a Golden Ticket... got it signed by the actor who played Mike TeeVee in the original Willy Wonka flick! I just couldn't find it in time for this blog's publication. I have a lot of stuff...

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