Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Asshole Ghost in Tokyo

 It was bound to happen sooner or later. Hell, how long can an American live so detached and removed from all the Monday Night Football, Hot Dogs, guns, apple pie, rebellion, lame beer, arrogance, nationalist pride and raw aggression before something starts to change. Yeah, I have been to some pretty twisted places in my mind during my life in Tokyo so far. I started out as a hillbilly who was just happy to not be in the United States to something all together different. My path though Tokyo has led to places in my mind I thought did not exist. I have been damn near all the way to the bottom of hell in ones own mind during my time in this city. I have pretty much seen the beauty and the darkness of Tokyo and it has taken my mind right along for the ride. Yet, I have been able to notice something about me which I did not notice before. I am a bit less American than I once was.

Don't misunderstand me dammit! I am not turning Japanese or any lame crap like that at all. It is more of a change of perspective. If you dig deep enough in this blog of mine, you will find all the little pieces of this journey in all it's silliness, madness and illogical glory. It has took a lot for me to reach the point I am at now. There are post buried deep in this blog in which I go on and on about temples, food and little places I liked. You will also find angry rants on things which drove me mad. There are also a few post in which I express my loneliness while being stuck at a internet cafe for a night(I went though a period of sleeping in internet cafes just to escape from everything). There are drunken rants along with drunken tales. I even got a post or two about having a damn mental break down. I tried to stop smoking a few times, which ended in failure and promises to myself to stop drinking heavily.  I have wrote about teaching English and some of my theories about it. All of those things have led up to the point I am at now.

Not Anti-American; Not Non-American; Not Un-American but....less American.

Asia has changed me. I have learned that the soft American lifestyle, which many Americans still enjoy despite all the unemployment and desperation they are facing, is something truly odd in the world at large. The idea that someone can be without a job for years on end and still have enough to eat and a decent chance at not ending up homeless is very strange concept indeed. It is only in America that someone can be morbidly obese yet still demand and expect it to be, not only acceptable, but discrimination if someone calls them out on it. To call someone a fat ass in America is damn near a sin from what I have learned. In fact, to expect someone to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and at least try in life is also becoming a sin. Now, I understand all about class struggle and how this effects a person's upward mobility. I am not talking about class struggle here. I am talking about the unique American ability to simply declare, "I don't care about anything but my own feelings toward anything. I like living in a bubble because the government, and society, must take care of me no matter what I do." This whole idea of "failure does not matter" and "everyone must accept me no matter what I do to myself" can only be found in such a nation as America. I used to think the exact same way because after all...I am a child of America.

Yet, these days I am less of an American than I used to be.

It is no secret that I grew up pretty damn rough. I know hunger and I know what it is like to fight to survive. But, even in my worst days in America, my life was far easier than the working poor in China or Vietnam or for that matter Japan. When you are poor in most parts of the world, you are really fucking poor. You really don't have shit! At least in America, I did have some food to eat. Bless the goodness of Regan cheese and Regan powdered milk. At least I had people around me who could provide me with some happiness. My parents were damn poor but there were others around who had enough money to give a little taste of what other kids had. I stole things just to take care of myself, but to some poor kid in China, my idea of stealing would make him laugh. Hell, you never see the kids that hang out in Yokohama? They are some rough bastards to say the least. I have seen those little fuckers fight over damn near nothing. Those same kids usually live in an apartment the size of a McDonald's deep freeze; and most likely just as cold in the winter. For fuck's sake, a guy in Vietnam came up to me with no arms asking me if I wanted to buy a book about the Vietnam war! After seeing and experiencing things like that, I have become less American.

Yes! It has become harder for me to accept people who are big as a Hummer screaming about how everyone should cut them a break. I have lost some of my ability to understand someone who leaves a comfortable life, with a decent place to live and a decently stable job yell about "my rights! my rights! Everyone is a fucking racist!" When I hear someone complain about how much society sucks and they hate it all, but do damn little other than bitch and point the finger without working towards making the situation better, are sad in my mind. Those who do little to add or enhance society demanding to be handed to keys to the kingdom all the damn time! What the fuck is wrong with you people? Really!? You want everything society has to offer without getting involved in society. You want to just walk into a perfect situation without having to earn your metal. That type of attitude and behavior has made me less American.

Yet, with all that said, I was not feeling this way them I first came to Japan. Yes, I bitched a lot and failed to understand some of the things which were going on around me.  Yet, the longer I lived in Japan, and traveled around the world a bit more, I started to see that the American way of life truly breeds weakness and arrogance. I feel that at this point the weakness of arrogance has all but been beat out of me. Yes, I am still human and have my moments when I cry, doubt myself and feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Yet, now I have developed a distaste for those who have it all and still complain that they are not shitting pure gold.

Less American? Yes! Un-American? No!