I’m more than 11 months deep into 21. Most would still regard that to be in the realms of relative youth, but fuck I’m feeling old. I’m poised on the precipice of the biggest event in my life thus far, of that I have no doubt, yet I don’t feel like it’s an achievement. Perhaps I’ve not quite grasped the concept of moving 6,000 miles to a country where I don’t speak the language. Or maybe those near 22 years of self-doubt that have preceded this moment have finally culminated in a surprising amount of self-assurance. There’s always the off-chance that my brain simply hasn’t registered how momentous this is for someone who’s been perpetually caught in a comfortable bubble. Whatever the fuck the reason is for me remaining so calm, I won’t question it. I can’t tell if I’ve turned a corner emotionally, or if this is just the reality of adulthood.
It’s a step in the right direction, though. The catalyst for much-needed change, and a signifier that I’ve finally embraced the idea of doing something that isn’t wasteful. Or…at least that’s what I hope. It’s easy to look on huge changes in your life with faux-prescience, believing that this will finally prove to be the spurs in your arse that you so desperately need. We’ve all been misled by the false sense of motivation in the evenings when we wind down. “Tomorrow is the day.” Yeah fuckin’ right. The entirety of these past 4 unemployed months have been that sacred twilight period of harried hopefulness.
I guess I can move away from that instinctive cynicism though, and take solace in the fact that I’ve achieved a dream that I’ve had since I was fawning over Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell reruns. (Alright, I tell a lie, I still do that. But who wouldn’t?) It was a pipe-dream – an idealistic goal that I set myself, not believing I’d ever actually see it come to fruition. But that’s why it doesn’t feel like an achievement, because it’s felt too easy. In creeps the cynicism again, but I’m 21, I pissed away my University experience, and I’ve done little to promote myself as a person who wants and loves to write and explore a genuine interest, yet I feel I’m being rewarded. I’m inspired, but lazy, and that’s entirely my own doing. I’m too comfortable with procrastination, and I think this drastic change of lifestyle, culture and location might seek to alter my seemingly stagnant mindset.
It is a monumental step forward for me. All this second-guessing is inherently human, and I guess my own way of keeping myself grounded. At 21 (almost 22) I could be on a multitude of different paths, but I’m here; I could be an expectant father, I could unwillingly still be in education, I could be serving shitty people in a shitty bar, but HOLY FUCK. I’M MOVING TO JAPAN. It’s not sunk in, and I truly hope it doesn’t so I can remain in this perpetual state of awe. I’ve written at length about my fascination with what I’d argue to be the most perplexing culture on earth, its congruence between the people and natural world, and the ecosystem of respect and progression that they’ve cultivated since WW2, but being provided the opportunity to make Japan my new home is special.
I won’t get carried away though, ‘cos I will go on. And on. And you will have to wrestle me to the ground and bind my hands to stop me from fervently mashing the keyboard, typing out my latest ode to Japan – but I’m no John Keats, so I’ll leave the poetry to the experts. Or I’ll just put it on hold until I get out there and feel like writing an angry Haiku about how much I fucking hate snow.
“Shrivelled dick and toes.
Eighteen layers of clothing,
Still fucking freezing.”
Okay that wasn’t so difficult. Eat your heart out, Matsuo Bashō. I do plan on hopefully documenting this step in my life, both in writing and video. I feel adding potential avenues for expression is always healthy and will not only help promote creativity, but also give me an alternative outlet when I don’t feel much like typing things out. Unfortunately, that seems to happen quite regularly.
I do want to write though. I want to get this abundance of thoughts down for posterity, for my own sake and honestly, for other people to read. I have far too much to say, most of it inane, a small portion of it insightful, but affording myself the opportunity to just idly toss it out there is cathartic. Not because I want to throw my troubles into the ether, but because I want to get words down on the page. Because I want to get better at this, at routinely expressing what’s circling the drain of my mind, at verbalising what I couldn’t before. To me, it feels like an exercise to become a better writer and that’s cool with me.
The idea of providing a glimpse into Japanese culture is an idea I really want to run with. If I can help harbour an interest in Japan for just one person, then I feel I’ve done something worthwhile. It’s a country and a culture that I’m deeply passionate about and I’d love nothing more than for that to resonate with other people and potentially fuel their future interests. The problem is, I’ve never been good at churning out anecdotes for others’ amusement – the over-dramatisation of an often run-of-the-mill life seems a little off-key to me. I like fiction, and I like stories but I’ll do my best. Maybe Sapporo is gonna be that necessary spark of inspiration that gets the (snow)ball rolling.
In short, I’m allowed to feel pride. As much as I like being a cynic and a contrarian, it doesn’t wear well in some cases. I’ll leave that side on Twitter where I can rile people up by saying that Logan is better than The Dark Knight (it is, blow me).
Sentimental cynic? Fuck that. Let’s never tread this ground again – you caught a rare side of me.