a measure of solidarity with my people of the jersey shore
Age: 25 (just one step from the grave)
Physical Specs: Bigger than a Pikachu, smaller than a Blastoise
Name: an obscure Boston song
Email: akrips86 AT gmail DOT com
Well, I am one of those weeaboos that everyone hated in high school in college – fell in love in Japan at the same time Pokemon descended upon the US, and I never really looked back. At the time, anime was adult, Japanese sounded like such a bad-ass language, and Heero Yuy became the model off which all crushes were based. Nowadays, I watch zero anime, speak Japanese fluently (and use it to translate government and procedural documents), and can’t make it through a Pokemon game. And believe me, I really tried – that new one? White? That’s like based off New York City, man. That desert zone is like… the ruins of the World Trade Center. And I have completely grown out of that weeaboo nerd stage and have no idea what you’re talking about.
I started this blog as a scholarship project when I started my study abroad in Kyoto, and for all of my inane nazel-gazing, it’s really helped me deal with a lot of feelings and reflections that have changed as I’ve grown older. Writing’s cathartic for me, maybe more so than art was, even though I’m not much good at writing. I’ve gotten better though – I just want to stop writing so much about myself and more about the world around me. I don’t really like Japan blogs that focus on how wacky and crazy this place is, because it’s not wacky, not really. I try not to write from that perspective of howdifferent everything is here, because I feel that always seems to place the Japanese on one side behind this impenetrable barrier. I make the same mistake at times too, but I want to always remember that my Japanese friends are people, not objects in which this white girl can tack on some life experience.
I remember a time when I wanted so badly to have real meaningful relationships with Japanese people, and wondering if it was my language skills holding me back or if it was just some cultural barrier I would never break down. I’m glad to say that, in my experience, the better I’ve gotten at Japanese, the richer my relationships have become. Being here has taught me to refrain from stereotyping, to be more confident in myself, and made me realize just how precious human understanding can be. Being in Japan has taught me about myself. Being in Japan has taught me how to live.