All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Keeping the Adventure Alive

When I was preparing for my blind leap into the Land of the Rising Sun, my mother had two reservations:

1) She was a little bit nervous about her innocent baby flying to the other side of the globe, into a foreign culture, with no knowledge of the language or customs, to a town she'd never heard of, with a somewhat sketchy job, all alone, for an indefinite amount of time.

2) She'd never gotten the chance to do something cool like that.

silhouette of the artist

Before I moved overseas, I had always been a bit shy, a bit on the fringe of things. Some of my friends would strongly disagree with this, but they are only my most intimate of friends. The average classmate or coworker of mine knew little to nothing about me and had probably never had a conversation with me.

Then I moved to Japan.

Part of my motivation for going overseas was the need to stretch my wings. You know the feeling you get in your legs if you sit in a cramped back seat of a car for too long? That feeling that makes you want to do jumping jacks and run around in circles? It was like that, only it wasn't in my legs; it was in my whole life.

So I stretched.

I don't think I really noticed the change 'til one day i was at Starbucks with Don (our usual pre-work ritual) and he asked me a funny question: "So what's it like to be the only girl in the office?"

"I'm not the only girl in the office."

"Yeah, you are."

"No... there's Erica, and both our bosses, and the Japanese staff... There are lots of girls in the office."

"All right... What's it like to be the only hot girl in the office?"

"What?! Just drink your coffee."

This very brief conversation led to deeper contemplation on my part and, eventually, to a total paradigm shift. It was true -- looks aside -- I was the only girl in the office who ever did anything. because I wasn't particularly attached to my roommates, I was out with guys from the office every night -- 80s night once a month at The Metro; fish & chips at the pub; Bruce Lee movie nights; nabe parties; discovering new hole-in-the-wall bars in Shi-jo; karaoke marathons 'til 4 a.m.; Christmas caroling (my god, whose idea was that?!); a thousand beers in dimly lit izakaya; loitering around San-jo bridge when we couldn't afford anything else; and train beers every single night after work. Inintentionally and for the first time in my life, I was right in the hub of the social scene.

For the most part, this was due to the perfect balance of yin and yang that was my friendship with Don. No one alive is more unlike me than Don. We were therefore an inseparable and flawless team. He hatched a scheme, I hopped on board, and in three seconds flat, the shenanigans were in full swing and anybody who was anybody was with us -- the idea man and his hot sidekick makin' the magic happen.

hi, dom.
Don is going to hell for being irreverent at the Kobe earthquake memorials... and several similar offenses. I'm going to hell for laughing.

You can imagine my dismay when I got home and had no Don and therefore nothing to do. Nothing to do. I now have to create all the trouble I get into on my own, which is an awful lot of work.

However, one thing I did decide was that I needed to share the new, adventurous me with my mom, who doesn't think she is adventurous at all. Today, my mom and I went white-water rafting for seventeen miles down the Hudson river. Seventeen miles. Go, mom!


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