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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fourth Of July In Japan

Happy Fourth of July to all the Americans. It's the 242nd anniversary of the commemoration of the declaration of independence from Great Britain.

Of course, the actual Declaration of Independence was voted on and agreed to on July 2, 1776... so I guess I should have said something two days ago.

Most of my friends are American. Most of the people I met outside of the Japanese in Japan were also American. My best friend in Japan was American. The first woman I ever slept with was American... and yes, that was in Japan. Heck, the guy I talk to most these days is also an American.

Personally, I think they are all closet-Canadians, so I'll just leave the door open a crack in case they ever want to leave the closet.

As such, I have a lot to be thankful for... thanks, America.

I'm pretty emotionally burned out these days. These past weeks... work and stuff... my muscles ache in my shoulders, my body and brain are tired from being unable to sleep...

I'm just anxious, I suppose.

I was like this when I realized back in July of 1990 that I was going to Japan as part of the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme... and I suppose many of you may feel the same way as you embark upon the same journey I did 28 years ago this month. Don't worry... Japan will be a fun learning experience for you as long as you go in with an open mind about everything.

You can NOT go with the idea that whatever you see the Japanese do is dumb relative to however your country does something. It's a different way of doing things, and they do them that way because they have determined that that is the best way of doing it.

No matter how hard you try and convince them (Japanese) otherwise, they have their reasons. You learn that little lesson and keep it tucked away in your brain and you'll have a less stressful time and will be able to fill your soul with awe and wonderment.

"You're sick of hangin' around and you'd like to travel,
Get tired of travelin' and you want to settle down.
I guess they can't revoke your soul for tryin',
Get out of the door and light out and look all around."

One month from now, this blog - Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife will be celebrating it's 10th anniversary... which is pretty cool.

Much like my trek to Japan, I figured I was one and done in a year. I certainly did not expect I would be writing about Japan 28 years later, nor doing so for 10 years let alone writing every single damn day since February of 2011.

It's been a cathartic thing for me... it helps me clear my brain, while 99 percent of the time allowing me to learn something new about the country or something new about myself.

To quote The Grateful Dead, "lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been."

Andrew Joseph
PS: At the very top we have an ukiyo-e entitled Ikenohata Hanabi (Fireworks at Ikenohata Pond), by artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1870-1917).
PPS: Video above my signature is Truckin' by The Grateful Dead in 1972. And that bit that's all in italics up above... it's also from this song.
PPPS: What's interesting is that I was only going to use that long, strange trip line... but when I examined the lyrics to the song in greater detail, that italicized paragraph said what I wanted to say. 

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