America20xy.com. You can check out the site by clicking on the link provided. I have also been working on a collection of ten short fiction stories based on the underbelly of social issues in Japan. The stories will fit into the pulp genre of writing. I hope to have them all finished by the end of January; self publish sometime after that. I have also been keeping up with making Youtube vids, but I think I need to rethink the way I am doing those vids. Check out my channel by clicking here.
Although, this blog post is much more than me simply giving an update on my writing. As y'all know 2011 has been one hell of a year for me. For starters, this blog took a much more raw edge compared to years past. I have held very little back this year and choose instead to present a more real and raw experience of my life in Tokyo. What I did not realize when I started to write more raw was that 2011 would be a major year of self discovery for me. After years pushing certain mental weaknesses into the deep dark spaces of my mind, everything found a way to come to the surface in bombastic fashion. I have spend the majority of this year working out a lot of things about myself. Y'all have been witness to some of my struggle by reading this blog. Yet, it is time for me to reflect a bit.
I am damn sure that my mental health came into question after the massive earthquake hit Japan earlier this year. I, along with most humans living on this island, have never experienced something on the same magnitude as what has happened in Japan this year. After a massive earthquake, deadly tsunami and multi nuclear power core meltdowns a lot of gaijin bailed on Japan. I can really understand why so many people left; but I stayed because my life is in Japan. Also, when you think about it the Japanese don't have the option to leave Japan. So, it has been interesting to stay in Japan with people who have no option but to stay. Although, staying here, and dealing with the stress of the situation, caused something to snap some place deep in my mind. I think it took about two months after the quake for me to start having cracks in the armor. It started with anger. I found myself really fucking pissed off almost everyday. It got to the point in which I could not go one day without getting angry as a bull.
I guess it came from the cold blooded nature of a lot of people I interacted with after the quake. People I had known for years for saying some of the most asshole cold blooded shit I had ever heard. I remember one thing which was really over the top. I asked a co-worker of mine at the time if he thought it was wrong that our company was firing and/or threatening to fire people for leaving Japan for a week or two after the quake. His answer was the most heartless thing I had never heard. He said, 'They signed a deal to work. They are not following policy by suddenly taking time off work so they deserve to be fired. Fuck them!' It took everything inside of me not to slap the taste out of his mouth. I dealt with a lot of assholes during the first few weeks after the quake. People were being so fucked up, more than usual in Tokyo, that it was maddening to say the least. The news reports I was writing at the time also brought me a fair share of shit from people I never expected. I had one 'trusted friend' who attacked me for reporting the the nuclear cores at Fukushima has melted down. He pretty much told me that I was a liar and stupid for reporting such a thing. Oh yeah, that was a wonderful thing to hear from a friend. It seemed that every heartless asshole in Tokyo was floating though my life at that time. It was as if I had became a magnet for fucked up folks. People were operating way over their stress level and viewed me as a rock solid hill billy you could handle anything thrown at him. Well, the truth is that I also have a limit for how much stress and bullshit I can handle before I break.
The anger wore off after a lot of insane attempts to purge it from myself. I was left with P.T.S. and a slew of other things which had boiled to the surface. In order to deal with the massive conflict my mind split a bit. Let me tell y'all that I was told by a doctor years ago that was bi-polar. I was even on meds for it when I was younger. Although, I was under the impression that had it under control. This summer I was proven wrong because my Bi-polar reared it's ugly head at exactly the wrong time in my life. Suffering from Bi-polar can really fucking suck at times. For the entire summer of 2011 I was caught in what is known as cycling. People who are bi-polar, simply put, have two extreme sides to their personality. It is the same person but with two very distinct emotional view points. Bi-ploar is very different from split personality. People who suffer from split personality have to very distinct personalities which they cannot control on their own. With that said, cycling is a state in which a bi-polar person switches from one polar extreme to the other at random. It is really painful mentally. When I am cycling, sleep is very hard to come by and I have trouble understanding other folks perspectives. The only positive to it is that I become highly creative and my mind operates really fast. So, you can image what four months of cycling must be like.
I did a lot of crazy shit during the summer of 2011 in Tokyo, Japan. A lot of it I did not mention on this blog because I did not really understand why I was doing those things. I mean damn, I got into bar fights, heated arguments, drank like a fish, slept on the streets several times and spent a lot of my time diving head first into the dark parts of Tokyo. I was totally out of control. Yet, the entire time I was trying to control it all. I had so many conversations with myself in which I would talk things out. It scared me a bit because I was having full conversations with myself on a regular basis. A lot of twisted sick ideas went though my head so I had to talk myself out of a lot of insane shit. It was not until Aug. that I finally sought out professional help. It has really help going to these sessions. I talk with a professional therapist, who speaks English, about once every two weeks. This person knows a lot about the human mind that I don't so I have been able to work out a lot of things.
The thing that I have learned that has really helped is that I must accept both sides of my bi-polar personality. A bi-polar personality will compete with itself. The mind will try to find a constant which causes conflict with a bi-polar personality. So, when I start cycling the best thing to do is to accept both emotional reactions and let my own logic sort out which response is natural and which one is a result of bi-polar. I know that sounds a bit nuts but it actually works for me. I can be a heavenly angel or a hard ass demon at a moments notice so I must give my mind time to sort out which emotion I am naturally feeling. It sounds really complex and requires a lot of concentration, but I have gotten it down to the point in which is only takes a few minutes to sort out. When people see me a bit quit or appearing to be a little uncomfortable is it because I am cycling and need a few minutes to sort it out. I think there are a lot of people around me these days who understand that and tend to let me be. It is a nice change of pace these days. When I am in a social setting with people who have known me for a while, they usually let me choose how pro active I wish to be. If I just wanna hang out and not say much, more people are willing to let me do so.
With all of that, I also realized that I needed to get the fuck away from Japan for a bit. Truth be told, as much I have come to love this island nation, there is a unforgiving attitude taken towards mental health in Japan. I was lucky to find a shrink who would see me; and speak fluent English. So, I did get the fuck out of Japan for a bit. I hauled my ass to Vietnam for a little while. I am aware of the clear irony of an American libertarian living in Tokyo going to Vietnam for a little holiday. I laughed about it myself over several bottles of wine in Ho Chi Mein with my travel partner. Yet, spending some time in Ho Chi Mein was damn good for me. Shockingly enough, Ho Chi Mein is a rather liberal city for a communist nation. In Tokyo, I have to really search sometimes to find a true open liberal(in the libertarian sense of the term) environment. In Ho Chi Mein I was able to walk down the street without people staring at me. Some people would even strike up a conversation with me and be generally friendly. I spent a lot of time getting myself back on track. Y'all can see the picture I included in this post; right? Well, that is me well balanced and thinking clearly. There was no nutty shit inside of my head. I was relaxed and in control.
The experienced allowed me to come to a new way of thinking. Chris from Confessions of a bad boy in Japan first brought this to my attention and I feel it makes perfect sense; 'I am not living in their world; they are living in mine.' Such a mind set finally hit me one night in Ho Chi Mein. I was in a five star hotel drinking a fine bottle of wine. I went out on to the balcony to enjoy the wonderfully warm night air. I saw all the chaos on the street. The road was a mess of chaotic coming and going of cars, trucks and motorbikes. I thought to myself; 'Look at all of those damn people. They are fucking off the traffic rules and driving the way which best matches the situation. They are pretty much interacting with other drivers on their own terms. For them, everyone is living in their world.' So, why not deal with everyone on my own terms? Japan is a nation which can break even the strongest person. The pressure to be a bottom feeding zombie is so great here that demanding others deal with you on your terms can be a very painful experience. Although, I don't have to play ball with any sorry ass social game. I love Japan, but I often find myself judging the social structure as really fucking childish. The whole idea that no one is allowed to stand out or be unique leads to a lot of childish behavior and jealously. I have seen a lot of Japanese freak the fuck out because someone had success doing something a little different. A lot of foreigners do the same shit. I don't have to play that shit with anyone. In fact, I have learned to laugh my ass off at such people. Yeah, it makes some people really angry when I laugh in their face but they had it coming.
Anyway, 2011 has been one hell of a year. I have been though a bit of hell and I am stronger for it. I am not out of the wood work just yet but I am doing a whole lot better. 2012 looks bright.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
2011: A year of Self Discovery in a Nation Brought to It's Knees