I was cleaning the garage with my dad to free up some space upstairs. The three of us had moved into a well-meaning but expensive apartment after getting bounced from place to place, catalyzed by career changes, study abroads, and a foreclosure. The first months neccesitated us to cohabitate with what was usually out of sight, a family of grey Sterilite containers glaring at us as a physical manifestation of procrastination. Unable to face our hesitations, my dad rented out a garage, not at all far from the apartment. Our problems now cost us money, but within painless boundaries. Stocked with stuff important enough to retain but not enough to have at arms reach, we were rearranging the milleu of dust and cardboard with a passive sort of temperament. We knew neither of us had the heart to throw anything away, it's a familial trait that's plagued multiple moves. As proof of this, a forgotten bottle of SSRI's surfaced. So forgotten I was surprised to find my name on them.

It was an odd sensation to have something so significant be seemingly eclipsed by everything else, tucked away in a proximate relative to the trash can. At the time I was reasonably content, my schoolwork progressing as expected and my personal life, if a bit unfulfilling, was just fine. Its renewed presense was proof that my emotions then were as transient as when I was at my lowest: A benign reassurance both sanguine and terrifying. And yet, something managed to eclipse that time in my life. Was it a numerical sensory overshadowing, or a unconscious choice to shed the intertwined emotional baggage associated with those years? Iunno. But that bottle of anti-depressants stuck with me and I threw it inside my nostalgia box, a distant relative to the childhood toys, plane tickets, and candy wrappers.

  • My issues, while not marked by opaque quantifiable trauma, was a proper nuisance. A few persistent anxieties with no proximate solutions coagulated into a lingering, polemic voice hanging over my head. It constantly parroted that my apex was over, that continuing to live this way was self-infliction. My hopeful insistence that "the best was yet to come" would turn maladaptive once things didn't work out. Constantly waiting, waiting for something to sweep me off my feet, to transcend and transform my day-to-day.

    It also meant I was constantly at odds with my neuroticism while fully understanding that picking apart my life circumstances under this mindset was fruitless and masochistic. Thinking about coping mechanisms when you don't know what to cope with. Drafting a schedule when the rest of your life is an improvised mess. Getting frustrated for living the last week on autopilot, floating through life like everyone does effortlessly. Being pragmatic with fragmented knowledge is just acting on delusions, and that's exactly what I was trying to do. Trying to desperately extract or make some contrived meaning to something I did.

  • My schoolwork suffered accordingly and with it, I lost my only source of incremental positive reinforcement. I lost 20 pounds in a short period, the inside of my mouth would constantly bleed from biting into gaunt cheeks. My head started shedding hair like it was trying to cosplay a barcode. I lost plenty of sleep, the "vomity" part of the morning normalized. The creeping fatalism of my day-to-day had no definite cause, and no justifiable source. And in a way that dissatisfaction and ambiguity, the lack of hard borders, was the most distressing of all. Even now I have to consciously take a step back and confront my emotions as if they're something superficial or supplemental to me.

    Of course it was all accompanied with multiple levels of guilt. I wasn't subjected to more explicit origins of trauma. I had no financial anxieties or food insecurity. I was surrounded with an intact familiy and an intimate group of friends. Being conscious of all these priviledges I had made me devalue the significance of my own issues. That's a persistent problem I have even now. And it's not a particularly good coping mechanism either, the origin of your worries left untouched.

    Therapy was long, meandering, and intrusive. The first counselor had the emotional temperament of a garage door, and I couldn't escape the sensation that under his protocols was a thorough layer of judgement. Introduction of the second therapist meant that we had to start from zero. The evaluation to undergo CBT took close to half a year and by that time, our move was finalized.

  • this will probably just turn into a verbal diarrhea repository for my ongoing dissatisfactions with life

    I’ve attempted to mediate monotony and desire starting during childhood. I hated the perennial suburban landscape of white walls and popcorn ceilings. I felt increasingly insular, my hobbies irrelevant. I desperately wanted to grasp the bigger picture, my life trajectory. That materialized in the form of grades, and I wasn’t doing to well. Another self-perpetuating cycle, understanding the futility of your situation, and putting in less work as a consequence.

    With that path gone, I focused on the sort-term. From the start I knew it was a slippery path down unimpeded hedonism. The male orgasm would be an apt parallel with what I feared. Transient, surface-deep, I trusted it less than Harbor Freight branded food.

    And so I attempted to find a medium. Short-term gratification with long-term progress. I found limited successes here, some more than others. But work thoroughly sodomized this delicate arrangement, sapping away all my time. It sometimes becomes latent and I carry on my day-to-day. But the absence of ambiguity doesn’t equal happiness in my life. In fact, I looked to that as another source of distress. I took pride in my neuroticism. No matter how futile and maladaptive the outlooks introspection bred, I took pride in a deliberate, conscious day-to-day.

    It’s stuck in a closed loop of subjectivity, wholly isolated from academia or even mainstream introspection. Normal people are busy, they have things to do. It doesn’t take much to gratify them, nor do they look to their surroundings with a sense of perpetual xenophobia.

    And I think that’s a fundamental crux to my identify. I’m constantly devaluing my issues like most people do, but that doesn’t delegitimize its existence. That’s why I have to elucidate everything. To catch myself on autopilot and thoroughly interrogate my “of course I would do that” side. That’s why I think other people, their fascinations, and their creations are so compelling to me. I view my life perspective in a very insular perpetual mindset. Other people live their lives with completely different sets of rules. For me, that also becomes a source of half-hearted envy.

    from the bonjournal:

    I've been trying and failing to contexualize my lack of introspection ever since getting here. There's two ways I can frame the entire thing: my neuroticism was born out of deficiencies in suburbia and deemed irrelevent now, or I've unconsciously learned out to ignore it. Neither looks particularly flattering to me. I've accepted that my obsession with progress and hobbies was a byproduct of time constraints born through working and the fatalism of knowing my life wasn't going anywhere. Might as well cop some cheap short-term gratification by buying shit, right? Issue is that framework for approaching my day-to-day has fallen apart since getting here. As a result, I'm unable to analyze my personal life with any sort of earnestness. Escapism to ambiguity.

    But there's one terrifying prospect that I'd rather not visualize: I might be content with my current life. It would make sense if my neuroticism was born out of a generalized anxiety about my life trajectory. I constantly felt I was at a crossroads with options slipping away every day. Now, I don't stress about hobbies because clothing and film cameras satiates me. I don't think about my career because I have shit lined up for at least the next year.

    But that also means this is the emotional apogee of my life. In my mind satiation shouldn't feel both overwhelming and deficient like this. It also means the range of issues I faced in suburbia are just latent, not buried and dealt with. Directly tied with my life circumstances, things can get just as bad as before without my experiences here being a meaningful lesson. Again it simply feels like monotony was replaced with a more involved monotony. And above all, there's no academic outlet to look for direction. There's no objectivity in my perceptions of life progress. Self-help books written by dusty spiritual men are less productive than boofing veterinary tranquilizers.


    I think one of my persistent personal failings have been a lack of imagination or foresight, to imagine myself under a different set of lifestyle circumstances without scrapping my repertoire now. I have a tendency to rigidly adhere to some ideology in living, an unconscious framework for rationalizing actions within my day-to-day. This drastically changing is distressing as evident by the journal entries for when I came home from college. My thinking in regards to gratification and hobbies were completely shattered, I actually had some degree of agency. I'm not terribly good at changing gears and it makes sense that I'm unable to really imagine drastic lifestyle changes.

    4/15/2015 (Journal Entry)

    Don't adopt a "The best is yet to come," mentality like I did while I was depressed. For me it wasn't working towards a goal. It was relying on fate to hopefully steer my life into something that it wasn't heading towards.

    2/23/2016 (Journal Entry)

    Today I realized that I was intentionally starving myself from stuff I enjoyed. MEybe it's to make the monotony feel better. Maybe like music, I don't want to revisit the memories associated with them

    12/5/18 (Journal Entry)

    How I regard nostalgic memories continues to be a cocophany of emotions. Fondness, regrets, yearning. I do my best to avoid ambiguity, yet this aspect of my life has remained indeterminate. I don't know what mindset is right for me when looking back, nor do I have any external references in how others do it. And I don't how it has influenced my behavior today. I'd like to say it hasn't, but there's "zero" days where I choose to isolate myself from anything meaningful. Mind you, this is when I have time to myself. I get my shit done to whatever degree is neccessary, yet I struggle in managing my personal life. Time and time again there's limitless potential on the web, yet I often avoid the things I really enjoy. Research about a next purchase? Headphone forums and Analog photography groups? Easy. Finding new music? Manga? Anime? Movies? I avoid it. Anything that would remain as a lasting, emotional memory has some threshold I just can't get over.

    3/31/2019 (Journal Entry)

    I had some time to think and that got me down. Not that I hate returning to the dorms that much, but that being back home revived a previous, very acerbic mentality on suburban life. The sense of futility regarding hobbies and the raging isolation was starting to creep back into view. The way I contexualize my lifestyle is no longer really applicable either, and it took a shockingly long time for me to realize that. "Short-term Happiness/Long-term Progress" complementing each other was the benchmark for my life when I was feeling really shit. Back then "long-term" served a genuine purpose, to keep me from dropping out of high school and resorting to cheap, immediate sources of gratification at home. No clue what purpose it serves now. Through visiting home I also learned "Short term" is increasingly iffy as well. I can no longer just "enjoy" something. I'm always concerned about longevity and pragmatism. Sewing eclipsed all other hobbies while I was back, and it made the stuff I incessantly focused on at the dorms seem childish and hedonistic. That didn't last either. So what now? Do I transition my mentality to one where "short-term gratification/happiness" is the bottom line? Don't my mixed feelings on suburban life contradict that? Do I try to find what "long-term/progress" means to me now? How will it change my daily reportoire?


    And how will I react when I'm dropped into "real society?" 7 hours of my day isn't tied up with obligations, nor do I have any tangible worries. I don't have any crippling ilnesses, nor any financial troubles. Can the preoocupation of trying to staying alive really grant me enough stimulation that I'm satisfied with my day-to-day? This "best of yet to come" ideology that I recognize is harmful yet adhere to anyway is reducing my life to waiting. Since middle school I've been waiting for something to sweep me off my feet, insistent that anything my surroundings won't satisfy my curiosity. My life is left static, grinding away at this self-fulfilling, isolationist prophecy. Out of it I've attempted to weave some semblance of gratification and progress out of this vaccum. Naturalistic behaviors like hobbies are reduced to fruitless pragmatism and bottom lines.

    It all evolved into a neurotic fixation, a futile pursuit of answers in an environment I didn't understand or care to explore.

    And there's a sudden reiteration that it's not normal to be dissatisfied with your day-to-day. I may mentally disparage those that "waste their time", but that's just my personal benchmark that inexplicably casts "progress" over any sort of immediate gratification. Your roommate scrolling through Instagram? His life is more gratifying than yours.

    It's an anomaly to have 1 day out of the month be a "good day," the rest fading into the backdrop and with it, my perceived passage of time. Nostalgia operates on something fondly reflected upon, no matter how artifically disingenuous or rosy. What do I have that I'll look back on favorably?

    Suicide hasn't crossed my mind in a hot minute, but I can definitely visualize my state of mind trying to acclimate to proper adult life.


    The pressure is on as I don't have the "student" excuse as a senior in Japan. I'm not particularly enthusiastic, even if it's the right thing to do. Not that I'm ready to resign my life as a NEET. I find myself looking more and more over videos of people who live out in the countryside, showering under suspended water carboys and shitting in paintbuckets.

    I'm left looking for the merits of conventional employment of packed seminars and interviews. Languishing in a dirty Ikebukuro apartment while working 70 hours a week isn't a motivator for me. If anything relinquishing the opportunity to marry a breathing human being and regressing back to the countryside is a genuine option. And it's nice to have that, the priviledge to keep reassurances in the back of your mind that you have several safety nets before complete destitution. I'm a country boy. My conception of "Japan" has unwaveringly remained the unmanaged forests and grotty houses of Saitama. It's why my directive in life was to escape the oppressive asbestos facades of American suburbia. Now that I've escaped to Japan I recognize that suppressing questions of "home" is not as easy as jumping ship.

    I don't love adulthood. I wasn't at odds with an abusive household or control-freaks to run away from, this newfound freedom to eat candy bars for dinner isn't much of a motivation. While bouts of depression have certainly tried I haven't completely relinquished my interests to the degree that slaving away in a yellowed cubicle with machiavellian coworkers becomes my main source of gratification. I don't care about status or income, I try to live as a minimalist. And maybe all these factors have prevented me mentally of looking for a full-time poition in any serious capacity. On the tails of a rocky high school life, my community college existence was defined by my conviction to become the least intrusive parasite to my parents. Even after moving to a new country I get the creeping sensation I haven't shifted away from that mindset, even with a new host.

    Maybe my conceptions of Japan, intimately associated with my childhood, led my trip here as a subconcious escape from turning 18. Trying to recover my carefree memories of playing in the countryside by wholly rejecting adulthood, by regressing fruitlessly into a child. Or maybe it is a fear of rejection, to sell yourself by distilling your existence down to lines on paper so someone can judge your worth.

    6/14/2021 I'm at another life intersection. It makes me truly curious as to what the closing vignette looks like for some people. That's always been my allure to art. Not its ultimate, complete form but the motivations underpinning its creation - the surreal landscape, the plasticine pastel bedroom, the triumphant orchestral score. The libido that extends far beyond passive consumption, an uneasy confidence driven with the thought that their creations will have some novel merit, an undiscovered mental landscape.

    Apply that to real-life. The spaces of offices and households, the domain of hopeful optimism and necessity. It's easy to say your toil is in pursuit of a specific object or landscape, an opulent German camera you finally paid for or the sacralized nuclear family contained in a six digit hovel. Marriage is a great aspirational example. The great new moral panic is this newly discovered population, the unwed. Unproductive at its most basal, in the US it seems to be an iconoclastic trend, people asking whether the institution of marriage is really relevant. in Japan it's a pragmatic balance of time. Considerations for love often fall behind weekly 60-hour labor obligations. In a country unconcerned with the self, society is again asking people to fall on their swords for the sake of economic productivity.

    Anyway, I'm truly curious about what other people's idealized landscapes look like, especially when enveloped in the grotty imagery of careers and hangovers and mandatory overtime. What are people working towards? That's the main issue, none of the people in my circle are old enough. Like marriage there's no best or worst case examples around me, no precautionary tales or aspirational landscapes. I can really only approach moments like this with a mindset of harm reduction. What career choices can I make now that I won't regret later.

    6/24/2021 I can't get drunk anymore. Before coming here I wanted to experience angst and repression and existential dread japanese-style in a dirty off-white tokyo hovel. There's a sort of a masochistic allure to suffering, chasing new emotions. But this ain't it. The sort of novel curiosity has been replaced with anhedonia, for now. I've been getting bored. That's a bad thing. I distinctly remember sociology class at the boarding school. There was this incessant fervor on part of the Japanese teachers similar to the American in-class moral encouragement not to drink and smoke crack and have kids at 11. There were less christian-normative lessons about wearing jonas brothers-branded chastity rings and sleeping with bundling boards but the general expectations about adulthood were still there. Japanese teachers were a bit more explicit in their mission to turn us from school kids into human capital. "Shakaijin" is a word thrown around a lot. "Member of society." Horrible little exclusionary word isn't it. Its presence deletes the family unit, deletes social mobility, deletes self-interest.

    The sociology teacher was a special guy. He looked like a character from an 80's Japanese crime drama, a contradictory vessel of a slowing metabolism and a sun-blasted veneer. You could easily imagine him spinning a featherlight revolver around while chasing suspects around Ikebukuro, constantly adjusting his aviator sunglasses. Despite this he didn't eat meat, something about the stuff resembling people. He did eat fish though, of course he did. In his paternal crusade to keep us from slagging off the metamorphosis into adulthood he said "you don't want to be like the guys who hang in front of convenience stores all day, saying 'anything interesting happen' to each other, do you?" Poverty or moral destitution wasn't the worst case scenario but boredom was.

    1/20/2022 I'm doing alright. Adulthood is alright. You need learn how to keep yourself occupied.

    3/15/2022 A few weeks ago at Saizeriya I told / I really wasn't making the most out of my time here. I think it's an easy conclusion to make with how I melt into the furniture but I'm surprised at how easily and concisely it slid out my mouth. Inevitable life circumstances are something you just have to endure. To say otherwise is the big short to yourself, to say that your current living arrangement will never change for the better. I don't believe in that anymore. At the same time I don't have some idealistic landscape to work towards anymore. I can imagine what landing on a high 5-figure income job must be like, I can imagine a post-covid routine, but none of it seems particularly appealing. Turning 25 is as unimaginable as turning 50. Repeating the same mistakes from high school. All the more reinforcement to what I wrote in prepping.html, I don't live for myself, I live for other people.

    10/26/2019 Back in that constricting little popcorn ceiling apartment in the US, I used to have these moments of passion, usually catalyzed by a particularly engrossing documentary, manga, music, or picture of clothing. I'd feel like my perspective had dialated to something new and novel or previously disregarded. The rest of my day would become a frenzied pursuit of whatever I was fixated on. Looking up inspo, sewing clothing, looking for new anime. I haven't had that happen to me once since coming to Japan. Artbook stores and clothing shops somewhat mirror those moments, but it's quickly extinguished by monetary restrictions and the inability to extrapolate beyond what's on the table. Y'know, lack of internet and all.

    so while Japan is amazing at ingratiating your imperious hunger for stimulation, it's shallow if not done deliberately. This is significant to me in two ways: My original fear of getting acclimated to a US-Japan disparity in stimulation has somewhat been relived. I've found that I make conscious distinctions between shallow and meaningful experiences, and the general noise of Japan falls within the former. Commuting to class, walking around the apartment, and sporadic trips to take photos aren't satisfying enough for me to dissect each day and see what I've accomplished. While I used to regard the practice as a maladaptive neurotic nuisance, the ability to persist with such daily scrutiny means you're really making the most out of every day. It also means I've been unable to have meaningful experiences isolated from external factors, and not through a bottleneck in free time. Haven't sewn up any new clothing, haven't found any new music or anime to become a life bookmark, etc.

    Secondly, wow my life heavily revolves around the internet. Coming home isn't particularly comforting at the moment. My contientious relationship with / is one, but the lack of internet means there's a severe bottleneck in what I can do. I don't particularly miss movies, games, or manga, since I still have a decade-long offline backlog to go through. Videos and general web surfing is what I truly miss, especially looking up photographers or artists that I've seen at book-off while Vinesauce or Jerma autoplays in the background. Zero new music, TV, etc. For media all I've been doing is look at the past, whether for the sake of convenience or some nostalgic masturbation.

    Anyway, this went long. Conclusions: 1. Less fear about "getting used to it" 2. I need to figure out my wi-fi situation 3. how2make friends.

    but oh fuck what if this emptiness doesn't change after I get wi-fi and a sewing machine? quaking in fear at the thought of that. also quaking in fear at the thought of graduating next year without a job lined up . I don't know what the fuck I'd do without neocities. Journaling in a txt document where I only bitch about life? R*ddit review posts about my hobbies that can be diluted down to "8/10 cost effective gud?" All these ramblings and essays just compartmenalized somewhere in my mind to be neglected and forgotten? Me finding this site has probably been the most significant change to my personal life within the last 5 years.


  • Last day of classes before the holidays. It's frankly sobering reading my old journals. Here's one from a year ago:

    "Yeah, it's just been really odd. Classes are great, roommates are great, I'm just bored. Parties don't interest me and chasing tail seems exhausting. Change comes from within but I'm starting to question whether this is just another vacuum. I need to develop aspects of my life that will carry over when I'm done with this place. Still 2 years go by astonishingly quickly. Can't have any regrets. I really need to create new friendships and reanimate my hobbies."

    Sounds like someone who is truly grounded in life, eh? This perceptive shift in my worldview and self-image these last 4 months have been indescribable. I thought I'd always be the pessimist, the mute guy in class. Have always loved talking to people but it doesn't lead anywhere in community college or even Uni. Naturalistic intersections are short, artifical ones take too much deliberate effort. I couldn't extrapolate my hobbies beyond idealism, nor could I share any of my excitement with someone proximate. Specialized hobby shops were too far and too expensive, located in tiny gentrified enclaves of passion in a sea of serialized commodities. Distance in the US played a big role. The lack of effective public transport compounds the already lengthy distances for someone without a car.

    And yet, I've always been thoroughly hesitant to think that a change in setting will solve all my lingering frustrations in life. There's always disconnected lofty idealism attatched to Japan, and I've always wondered if I could come to terms with all the grey concrete and collectivist apathy underneath the veneer of lights. I'm different from those "i love japan for their culture" types. But is my praise, and by extension, my motivations to go to Japan valid? Convesely, are my feelings of contempt and fatalism regarding their social arrangements valid? Realizing "fuck, i've been acting on delusions" has persistently been one of my fears, and I centered my outlook on life around elucidating whatever was steering my life trajectory. Are my incorrect (or at best, grossly overstated) anticipations about life in Japan steering me in a direction that I will regret? Am I simplifying the main force behind this dissatisfaction in my life? What if I get there and it doesn't match my preconcieved notions? What if I get there and nothing changes? What if I get burned out? What if I get used to the sensory assault?

    But what alternative was there, really. Until recently, apathy pulled the strings in my day-to-day. I convinced myself that languishing here was an integral part of living, just as 330 million Americans get by just fine. Satiation was never the goal, just keeping my head above the passivity threshold so analgous to depression. And so I lived. It wasn't particularly enjoyable. I would've probably enjoyed drugs.

    But fuck me dead, this place has facilitated my rebirth. I died once when I decided to keep my head down, and again when I accepted my circumstances as static. Today I can go outside to take pictures and there will always be an interesting subject out there. I can sew up clothes and wear them without looking like I'm cosplaying. I can get my film developed at a cute little camera shop and get home in 2 hours. I can cycle through what I wear according to the weather because Japan has seasons. I can talk to people and following up isn't a massive pain in the gooch for both of us, And above all, my environment encourages all of that. Specialized hobby stores for weirdos, a sprawling subway system, even something as benign as weather is more dynamic and exciting. Everyday I'm beaming with excitement, I'm that American in class now. And it feels natural. This has aways been who I am, Japan helped me see that.


  • Getting hyped up with the South African guy over how hot the bird from Kemono Friends is.

    I find myself being the extroverted american these days. Back in community college I was in absolute awe of the jerma-lookin personable guys. Friendly and open with everyone and just dissolving into conversations like they've always been there, like the smell of garbage permeating your kitchen. Moving borders meant a clean slate, no more baggage. Adhering to what I consider an idealized view of people, it's immensely gratifying to be "that guy." Meeting the South African guy was mind-blowing, talking about personal benchmarks of progress into 3am the same day we introduced ourselves. But that was under vastly more intimate parameters: now the tempo of class has much to contribute, seeing the same faces in sporadic vignettes. Accordingly, I feel like the percentage of vapid small talk has grown exponentially. Maybe I should've chosen a sharehouse instead of this apartment. I also think it's also the fleeting status of a senior. In 6 months not only am I severed from this Japanese uni, but my home Uni as well. Separated from school as a social insitution for the last time. I miss my Irvine buds, my disgusting Canadian buds.


  • I struggled through an employer-supplied personality exam in Japanese, impenetrable phrases impeding my progress along the way. One of the survey's curiosities was how strategic you were. Do you plan your actions or do you wing it? Can you create and follow a daily schedule? It got me thinking. In the stuff that matters i.e. life, school, jobs, it's been ragtag, mainly because of my inability to forsee what lies ahead. There's a few crossroads moments in the last 5 years that I think about, I'm still left wondering what my life would look like now if I had taken the alternate route, what I'd lose and gain from doing so, all within the limitations of lofty fantasy. Was I right to enroll in this Uni? Would I have embraced study abroad so thoroughly if I had? Would a different part-time job have enriched my time during college? Should I have pursued that connection a little more? Should I have said something different? There's few things you can predict in scenarios like this, and my early life was littered with decisions like this. Relinquish any notion with agency and see where it takes you, that's largely what's occupied my thinking.

    But in the matters that I'm supposed to enjoy, blocks of time in my life that I have direct agency over, I've been a bit more organized. Hobby to-do lists, wishlists, show backlogs, it's been a continuous stream of desires. I look back occasionally on the notes I left during high school and it's always a strange sensation. The bulleted tasks are laughably small-scale, but I was at a point where tracking those sprinkings of desire was a pressing priority. "Organize files" and "watch X" kept me together for those years, within the confines of a grey suburban backdrop. Some bulletpoints were more distant fantasies pulling me along, stuff like "build a PC" or "__" And I still do this, drafting up shopping lists of impossibly expensive photobooks and rags of linen.

    But life isn't a hobby, it's not meant to be structured like an idealistic checklist. And it's taken me 7 or so years to realize that within this flurry of an employment cycle. I don't have an idealized full-time job or lifestyle in mind, and that contradicts so harshly on a fundamental level with these 6000-character applications at probably what is the most important time in my life. I'm not even sure what kind of lifestyle I fantasized about when I still lived in that American suburbia bubble. I'm no longer sure where the memories and idealism of grandma's house belong to. And I'm not sure laundry lists are doing me any good either, hobbies are easily discarded when you're at a bad place. I have to change how I think about and approach daily life in both halves of life, two blocks that I've kept firmly partitioned since I became a sentient organism.

    I'm not good at this whole "self awareness" thing


  • It's been well over a year since I've got here and like most things, it's been a strange experience, one I have yet to completely pick apart. It's fair to say that half of my time here has and continues to be under quarantine so it's not a wildly surprising conclusion. Still, the whirling fantasies prior to getting on the plane have become somewhat opaque. I am at that point where it takes some effort to visualize what my life in San Diego was like. Even my downtrodden years in Irvine seem retrospectively kinda nice. When watching washed-up comedians taking buses around the Japanese countryside on TV, it transports me to that mindset I had when slumped over in a chair in a chilly San Diego apartment. It looks foreign, it looks like something that is bursting with potential, potential that is out of reach a few thousand miles west. But today I when I head to Ikebukuro or Shibuya I know what I'm getting, I take everything literally. I tell myself "surely there's nothing more interesting beyond what I can see right now."

    All my hobbies that have blossomed in Japan, all the purchases made possible by living here, the potential in enjoying my daily repertoire have expanded substancially. And maybe that's the bit I'm dwelling on, the potential. I am again at a transitional period in my life. Standing still feels fine, if with the creeping sense of financial insecurity. I have regrets of what I didn't do in Uni, and I have fear of the full-time working lifestyle that's on the horizon. And like my aimless community college days I find myself chasing my own tail, lazy sources of gratification. I feel like I'm not effectively maximizing my time or presence in Japan, just like I was in the US. I need a set of hard, definitive fantasies to work towards. I am unable to fully ground my gratification in silly little insular hobbies and above all, I need human connections to keep me going.

    12/13/2020 I think living with someone else has made me less neurotic, less introspective. Whether it's one contributor in a bundle of lifestyle changes that are to blame, I'm not completely sure yet. The daily staccato of somone's else's electric kettle and online meetings, their The Classroom cone of attention splashing across you, occasional longing glares of someone wanting to talk. All aspects of living I've come to terms with since moving into the dorms at uni. I find questioning my own actions and motiviations difficult when there's easy comparisons to make with someone else.

  • All in all, is it a change for the worse? These cyclical patterns across the years of varied neuroticism levels and underlying worries tells me that it's not something neccesarily inherent to me, but it's one dependent on my lifestyle. I took a strange sort of pride in my neuroticism and it would concurrently become a source of shame, that I was just willfully being blown around in life without any hard contemplation. Retrospectively it was a strange paradox, having no agency but bagging on myself for exhibiting no agency. Previously I had some fundamental anxieties about school or working or money or progress or emotional satiation. Situationally there's nothing hanging over me at the moment. All my responsiblities have been met and I'm just waiting. Another new feeling to pick apart.

    3/4/2021 I should make a trip to Tokyo, no aim in particular just to clear my mind. I need to remind myself I live here, as strange as that sounds. Under quarantine I'm transported back to that unreasonably large bedroom with the popcorn ceiling, the suburban view sprawling outside my window that felt hopelessly constricting. I have greater autonomy now no doubt, but every week is a series of procrastination tied together. If I'm under this almost fatalistic mindset I had in the US, nothing will get done. I need to jolt myself awake.

    I feel more productive, more lucid at night. All the self-imposed obligations that the sky's tone angrily points to, the noise of actually productive people commuting, your simple animal desires, the possibilities of simply heading outside, they all disappear with the sun. It's a bit like dying, all your matters no longer carry any weight. You're not expected to be productive late into the night, self-imposed or otherwise. You're not meant to exist. And it's within this physically constrictive environment that puts me at most ease. Time is indeterminate, there's no sunsets to dread when they inevitably steal a picturesque day or paralyzing deadlines to anxiously watch. I end up doing things I enjoy for once like I've just been awoken from a trance. I sew, I watch, I read, I write. I write embarrasingly emotional entries like this one that I'll delete once I wake up. There I'm back under the trance.

  • 2/16/2021 Conversation about self-identity, managing expectations. We had a previous argument about how _ didn't like my almost accusatory tone in our back and forth regarding relatives but that's just how me and my buds talk. Distilling down your emotions and motives down to something. That sort of process has always been my route into meaningful introspection, and _ saw those questions as personal attacks. They did ask how you kickstart that sort of conversation with friends and that's a sentiment shared by B last time we met too. On the other hand me and welsh guy spoke about career motivations and self-reflection into 4am the first time we met. I'm surprised at just how long-term _ thinks.

    3/21/2021 The internet's favorite pair of conjoined twins Rhett and Link did a podcast a while back talking about their evolving relationship with Evangelical Christianity. It's an interesting look at someone's separation from religion because it's chock full of latent assumptions. If you're raised in Cleveland or London you probably assume that all rivers are festering streams that turn flammable on a whim. If you're evangelical it's impossible to envision a worldview without god at its center. And those topics are what they present, like trying to shake off judgement when meeting people or imagining their family role that's not the christian patriarch with all the answers. How those previous assumptions about the world and their place within it gets fundamentally uprooted by losing faith. It's interesting to see how people struggle. It's a useful assumption that, to assume that anyone, no matter how two-dimensional they like to present themselves is dealing with something. The issue for me is that it's always been a hazy assumption. This podcasts lays it out, listing specific dilemmas that I never would've thought of.

    3/30/2021 More talks with _. It's useful to me in that reiterating my process in unraveling personal issues forces me to really distill it down to something tangible. On the other hand hearing about other people's epiphanies is really mind-blowing. Some people can live with dissonance. Not that's it's a pleasurable state, just that confronting those contradictory beliefs is more work than it's worth. For me the dissonance itself is distressing, makes me feel like I'm deluding myself out of convenience.

    Some of these anecdotes I hear from _'s friends are really hard to visualize. For me it goes beyond a lack of introspection but just a lack of any sort of self-awareness. To be able to be suddenly jolted awake by recent issues after the newscycle of the last 5 years is a stunning lack of foresight. And to willingly ignore those personal conflicts is just unimaginable to me. It really goes beyond just "floating through life" but willfully repressing parts of your reality.

    Neuroticism and Introspection