Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tokyo for 6 months.

If there ever were people who kept up with this blog, then they have definitely stopped checking to see if there is anything new on it. I think it's been two months or so since last post.

I know that I've wrote some drafts where I mentioned this, but I can't remember if I've actually stated here that I have been accepted into a study abroad program at Waseda University in Japan. Well, that trip is coming up soon: September 11th is my fly-out day, to be exact. The Al-Qaeda connection between Portland, Oregon to Tokyo, Japan, via Korean Air and with a lay-over in Los Angeles, is probably pretty slim, so I'm not terribly worried.

Realistically, it's probably a security-hell day. I'd probably get tasered and detained if I, say, had to literally run to the bathroom. If anything, we should be paying attention to the other areas of social life and gathering where we congregate in dense packs, and where we will most likely not be on alert. But that's another post, isn't it?

The reason I have not posted anything -- or for that matter even written anything on this blog -- is because I've been focused on short story writing. Fiction writing. Stuff like that. I've been busy with writing this summer, to be sure. There may be a day when I actually post a story. The one I'm writing now has more or less been culled from my experiences working at a call center, where I heard both hilarious and tragic stories from customers who initially dialed to order a pumpkin pie or a Christmas ham, or some starter flower bulbs, or some shitty, overpriced northwest-themed clothing. Many will know exactly what I'm talking about from that last sentence.

I will be starting up another blog soon, in order to detail my Tokyo experiences. I recently was awarded a scholarship from a well known organization, and though it is not a requirement, they suggest things like blogs and YouTube V-blogs, or whatever. It's part of my payback for their handsome reward. Fair enough, and easy enough: I have to create a follow-up project that informs students of my experiences, and, more importantly, promotes the foundation.

I have this idea that I'll form two blogs: one for foundation purposes, and one for everyone else. The foundation blog will be full of bland generalizations of Japanese culture and society, like: "The Japanese are a neat, detail-oriented people that prize stillness and beauty; beauty in the simplicity of a budding flower, or stillness in the glass-like surface of a pond,..." Better yet, I'll have the music of a shamisen plucking away in the background. This is always the case in any television program or documentary you see (at least in America, but I suspect just about everywhere) about Japanese culture. Doesn't matter how cool or interesting your show is, you're required to have ethnic-appropriate music playing in the background. How are we gonna know if they're Japanese without that fucking shamisen?

The other blog will ask questions like: "Remember all that talk about finding used school-girl panties in a vending machine? Well, I'm setting out today to find out if that urban legend is true or not." Or, "how do people really feel about the possibility that their waters may be poisoned by radioactive waste?"

I don't believe that the foundation really cares that much about what's on a blog; they'd probably just take a line or two from it to insert into a promotional thing, or to put up on their website. So two blogs might not be worth the hassle of a cheap joke. At the very least, I will have a blog, and it will detail true thoughts about what I'm experiencing.

This blog will probably get a few posts as well, but the reason why I am doing a Japan-only blog is because I like the idea of a block record of events -- something that I can go back to reading about a specific time and head-space. As anyone who has traveled knows, the head-space is unique. You carry a mix of emotions with you the entire day. It's invigorating, it's exhausting -- but you feel alive and connected. Maybe it's manufactured in your head, but at least it's the kick in the ass that gets you to think and to feel. Daily routines, while maybe never fully dismantled, have to be co-opted to the particular scenario -- so they're still new experiences. And the sensory overload is different everywhere you go.

If you write about traveling, well after the trip, you'd likely present an image of endless excitement and thrills and curiosity. And even if you write about the other facets of traveling and surviving -- sickness, missed bus stops, lost items -- you'd be likely to sugarcoat it; talk about it in a comical way, like you were the type who only got vaguely annoyed by things: you lost your luggage, and you "hated it," but not really because everything turns out okay in the end. When I speak about my experiences I even do that. I don't know if you can help it.

However, unless you delete or burn them, you can't take back the words you wrote down when you were there. I kind of like that. When I look at the journal I kept about my first independent travel -- Italy and Spain on this account -- I can see the days where I was genuinely not having a good time and was even questioning my reasons for doing it. I cringe at some of the stuff: the bad writing, the overwrought sentiments, the weird and ridiculous thoughts that I considered worth writing down, etc. I went on some tangent about becoming a yogurt producer with creative flavors that I care fuck-all about now.

Still, I intend to keep that journal for as long as I live. That one I wasn't prepared to share, and still am not.   In blog form, I'll have no choice. But that will be the fun of it. Till next time.