I've Survived

   It has been a week now in Japan and I am happy to say that I have survived. Unless I am a ghost and I just think I have survived in which case I won't need to make that long ass flight again.

   So far it has been a great experience for sure. Seeing another culture, country, and way of life is something not to be passed up for anything. I definitely recommend at least just going to your local China town or anywhere that has a large foreign population. It's very different from our own for sure. I come from a home town that is very much sheltered from many other cultures. There are, of course, people from all cultures there, but not enough to give you the experience of interacting with that culture.

   With the good has come the bad though and when stuff goes bad it usually seems to go very bad doesn't it? A few days ago I figured out that I lost about $400. I don't know where or when but I have an idea. I know it wasn't stolen because where I had it someone would have to really search me for it. They could have perhaps taken my wallet with a few yen in it but I have that and that was separate from my main stash of USD.
   No... what I think happened is completely my fault. I think when I exchanged money either at the airport or the second time on the street I dropped some money putting the rest back where I had it. For that I am pretty angry at myself. Usually I am very good with money. I have never lost that much before. If anything a dollar here, ten there, but never this much and never at such a crippling time.
   It isn't really about the money really. It's about being away from security that has me worried. I mean, if I had a source of income here then it would be chalked up to, "Shame on you Alex," and I would work some overtime or something. But I do not have that luxury. What I brought is what I brought. Just as an FYI, not all of my money was actual physical cash, I have some in my U.S. bank account. I just didn't want to have to deal with fees.
   Anyways why am I telling you this? Well for one thing it helps a little to talk about it. This really broke my spirit for sure. When I found out it instantly made me homesick in the worst sort of way. It actually made me want to end my trip already. Unless you have experienced something like this you really have no idea what it feels like. But I am going on and just trying to be frugal. Also it has really hit my creative side. I am really stressing and I'm doing all I can not to let it show in my videos and photos. But I just can't channel the energy as much as I usually can.
   Moving on from that, loneliness in this country is very prevalent. This too has sapped my creativity a bit. It is not because I am traveling alone either. That I can handle, and if I were with someone else they would really keep me from doing the things I want to do. In fact some of the things I do I know other people would find boring. No the loneliness stems from the culture. They don't speak to each other. They are polite and if you ask them a question they will answer you in the best way possible. But it is so hard to have a conversation with someone on the train or in a restaurant regardless of whether or not they speak your language. If you are not a cell phone they want nothing to do with you.

   I have a theory that the only way they converse with each other is if they are part of something. Like for instance if you are in the same class with them, you work together, you're in some kind of club, etc. But for those who are here for a short period of time, being part of something like that is not really an option. Now keep in mind that in my home country I am very much a recluse by our culture's standards. I do not keep in touch with people and I have very little desire to meet new people. I am rarely mean to people but my life style is just simply one that does not allow for much time with friends I suppose. That being said though, I am much more warm to strangers than Japanese people are. Again, please do not get the impression they are mean or rude, but "cold" towards those they don't know is the correct term.
   In the U.S. I could definitely stop someone on the side of the street and, given they have enough time, I could strike up a conversation about anything. How many times have you heard, "I like your shirt," or "Hey where are you from?" Stuff like that generally strikes a conversation. Perhaps you don't become best of friends and go skipping off into the sun set holding hands, but the point is we are more open to conversations and the opportunity to make a friend is certainly there. I am not sure if it is just that I am a foreigner (although that can't help the situation much) but that same opportunity does not seem to be there for me.

   This all seems like I am complaining, I know. In some ways I suppose I am but not really. It's just an observation. But all of that leads me to a story. However, it is pretty long so I will post it separately for the sake of those who do not wish to read it. But it's a good story I promise!