The bloggings of an Upstate NY-born Tokyoite. Now with 20% more verbosity!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mission accomplished

Here I am in my new place. There are trees outside, the air is noticeably easier to breathe, the streets wider and the whole atmosphere of the town much less busy than before. To think I moved about 6.6 kilometers and 4 stations away! (although I am now technically in Saitama prefecture and not Tokyo) But that's the difference a little distance makes in this cramped corner of the world. I went from cement-box city and living in a crappy one room apartment to a spacious 2DK (3 rooms, including a full kitchen) with a park visible from the window. There's a baseball diamond and a running track in the park, not to mention tennis courts I'll never use. The public library, post office and public gym including basketball courts (!!) are all a stroll away. I haven't played basketball in almost 2 years, and I hear there's a club here, I might just have to join. They know they want the tall white dude on their team. Oh, and the kicker is since it's a public gym it's only 100 yen per entry, about a dollar compared to the 9000 yen monthly I was paying before, close to 100 dollars!! Goodbye Tobu-Nerima. In fact the the night before I moved, having pushed myself to attending a friend's closeby concert even though I new better I remember walking home and cursing out every corner of the city. Ya know, because I could. Suffice it to say I'm already much happier here.

Speaking of happiness, I broke up with the girl I was seeing last weekend. That was my first real breakup over here, and we dated for almost 4 months. It's all for the best and I'm better for the experience and all that wash, but what I learned more than anything else - besides the fact that my lack of of passion for rabid consumerism a.k.a. not loving "going to shopping" kills my chances with about 99% of the women in this country - is what it's like to date in Tokyo. One word: busy. I've grown to dislike that word ever since I first moved her but most especially while I was dating this girl. People put themselves through impossible schedules here, and this particular lady was working two jobs simultaneously both of which were her own business ventures. I thought that was pretty cool at first... until I realized it meant the chances of seeing each other at least once a week (or even twice a month) was comparable to the likelihood of icicles forming in a volcano. We had fun anyhow, and I'm over the bummed out phase which follows any breakup and enjoying my newly re-discovered freedom. I could say a lot more on the subject (I sort of let it overtake my life for a while because I'm gullible like that) but I'm not the kind to flood my blog with such "emo" posts. Not when there are much more urgent things to write about, like....

-how I'm enjoying working at kindergarten's more than I had expected. Not only is the supplemental income quite a nice bonus, but the work is hands-on, high speed and excellent life experience to boot. Definitely a young man's game though, so best be wary of how long I wade in this pool (and how yellowish the water is)

-how I'm reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, not because it's over 1000 pages... ok that's part of it, but not JUST because of the density and my attraction to ridiculously huge goals (see: mastering Japanese and becoming competent in Mandarin Chinese before 30; teaching at colleges; world domination) I'm intrigued because a) I like anything remotely philosophical and b) so many people love and hate this woman. I specifically remember an episode of South Park where I think Officer Mackie calls it the most boring book ever or something to that effect. Never one to blindly accept opinions, I had to see for myself. Plus the Singaporean kid who sold me all his awesome furniture for really cheap gave it to me when cleaning out his apartment. A double win situation.

-how my new place is pimped out. I can cook now: 3 burners and a decent-size fridge at long long last. I just came back from the supermarket with a haul of vegetables and meat and I am elated. My diet and workout have went to crap in the last 2 months, really got to get back into the rhythm now that I'm almost settled in.

And on and on I can always go. More writing means more to proofread though, which in turn means the less chance I'll actually do the proofreading and then you won't ever be reading this at all so I'm cutting the line soon. But before that, one more thing: My work schedule is heavy lately, that's my excuse for not putting as much into the blog.... but I've realized something very very important in recent days. Dire. On the verge of epiphany even: I like the busyness. Am I becoming a tokyo-ite like my workaholic of an ex-girlfriend? Not the case at all. I have this habit of getting trapped in my head and over-thinking in roughly 23 directions at once, and the only way to stop this train without hooking myself up to a morphine drip or going into a coma is to keep myself moving. Almost constantly. When I'm teaching, as grueling or tiring as it can get at times, I'm engaged in a dialogue with another human being(s) that has a distinct purpose. I was telling myself over and over that I had taken on this extra workload for the money, save for college this and that but it's really all secondary. What's first and unalterabley foremost is I've found work I enjoy doing! Not to mention I'm young and full of energy I need an outlet for, so I've wedged myself into the system. Sort of like that last tetris block that needs an extra bit of toggling, I didn't go quietly or without a struggle but here I am. In the machine. Part of the system. A cog in the beastly machinery.

Here's an uplifting poem I wrote on the train home today:

And I leave you with this note to all listeners of anything remotely metal: Starkweather's "This Sheltering Night" is the best record of 2010, period. Go buy it. Good day to you all.

"Father pestilence rasps in cicada speech / His countenance crowned in a halo of flies / Multifaceted gaze transfixed on the hourglass / Tactile sensory perception in crepitant hands // Reveals flaws in parchment derma / A regalia of weeping sores / In this place where the air is stagnant with the weight of disinfectant and decay / An unknown geography to place his head to the ground / Commune with all creatures damned and divine / Teeth rattling tremors emanate from approaching footsteps // Time has always been the enemy / I wish to slip this skin for rebirth" - Starkweather


Kyle Akuma said...

Congrats on technically moving to the New Jersey of Japan!! I bet you are going to miss Mr. old ponytail muscleman though!!

Bummer about the woman you were dating, but you have a vibrant personality whether you believe it or not. I think you won't have any problems starting a new relationship, but no rushing, get yourself situated.

I'm glad you are enjoying this new post with the youngsters.

Also new starkweather and integrity demolish!!!!

Take care of yourself man!!!

ps. I donated my hair at the end of April. It came to about 24 inches of hair cut and they said they could possibly make two wigs with my mane.

Benjamin L. Belcher said...

Kyle- Thanks man, always nice to hear from you as well. Good move on the hair donation, I would if I had any to give!

LoL, I am not missing those retired old brodogs, not the slightest bit. I just went to the new gym today, no freeweights but much more open and overall friendlier... Plus table tennis!!

How's life treating you?

Thanks for reading. Now it's off to work for me