OMG! I’m writing another blog? I AM writing another blog. AHH!
At this point, I should just accept the fact that I’m going to write a new blog every week. But once I do that, I just KNOW going to miss a week. So, to keep that from happening, I’m going to stay impressed with my ability to blabber bullshit every week. And I do that by screaming. Lots of screaming. So let’s get that out of the way, shall we?
ON THE SCREEN!!!
THEY JUST KEEP COMING!!!!
WILL IT EVER STOP?
RETHETOICAL QUESTION FAIL!
Ah… All better. Speaking of staying impressed, I also find it impressive that I’m not dead yet. Or living in a Shibuya gutter. Because, at the time of this writing, it’s my 6 month anniversary living here in Japan. To celebrate, I figured I’d reflect on my time here so far and where I see myself 6 months from now (hopefully not dead nor in a gutter!). Let’s get into it!
So yeah… I’ve lived here in Tokyo for 6 months. Has it really been 6 months (it has!)? I mean, really (yes!)? I don’t believe it (believe it!)? You’re lying (I’m not lying!). Maybe it is real (duh!). OK, I accept it (finally!). Thanks for letting me know (you’re welcome!). You’re the best (aww, thanks!). I really do believe I’ve lived here for 6 months (yep!). Without a doubt (phew!). No lies detected (thanks for believing me, me).
SIKE!!! There’s absolutely NO WAY that I’ve lived here 6 months (…I hate you/me…).
I mean… Looking back, it is true; I arrived in Tokyo on September 13. And here we are 6 months later. Insane. A LOT has happened in that 6 months. But, at the same time, I feel like I’ve BARELY started. Mostly because it’s true; I still have a LONNNNNGGGGG way to go. But even with my high standards, I gotta give myself props for actually doing this. Because, shit, looking back it’s a goddamn miracle I’ve managed to make it work (so far!). I went into this whole thing with the expectation that survival = success. So, based on that benchmark, a WINNER IS ME!
Honestly, though – I’m just thankful. STUPIDLY thankful, really. So much so, I wanted to list all the things I’m thankful for here in Japan:
– My アパート: Neighborhoods are a BIG DEAL to me. Back home in San Francisco, I absolutely ADORED my old ‘hood (Inner Richmond). I spent about 8 years there, and in those 8 years, I really got to know it well. I discovered my FAVORITE restaurant in the city (Halu) and became good friends with owners. So much so, I used to do things like run free FB ads for them and bring them HUGE bags of free snacks from work. And it’s through them that I developed a deep love and respect for small businesses, which has really helped me shape how I run my own. This is why I ALWAYS thank my customers for supporting me. Because I want them to know they’re not just buying cute crap, but they’re also helping me live my dream… Of sending them cute crap. Which, to me, is pretty powerful. And why I genuinely appreciate it, even if they don’t know and/or care.
So when I was scouting places to live here in Tokyo, I knew I wanted to live in a neighborhood where I’d feel the same way. I wanted to have my local spots. I wanted to see familiar faces. I wanted to feel like I was part of a community. And, so far, I absolutely feel that way here in Nakameguro. My local Tokyu Store is where I spend most of my nights; I know all the workers (and they no doubt know me!). I eat at my local Curry Shop, Curry Shop (lol!) every Friday. I write my blogs at the same Starbucks in front of the station. I love it. I really do. I’m just so goddamn thankful I was able to find a place here. I love my apartment. It’s so humble. It’s so small. It’s so PERFECT. It’s everything I need. My local gym is a 5 minute walk from my apartment. It’s a 15 minute walk to Shibuya. There’s literally 3+ dog grooming shops in a 1 mile radius, which will ALWAYS be funny to me (WHY ARE THERE SO MANY?!?). And the best part? Right now it’s CHERRY BLOSSOMS, BAY-BAYYYYY! So with that said, I lucked out. I really did.
– My business: This one is pretty obvious: I’m SOOOO thankful people are actually giving me a chance. I know that may sound weird for me to say. But Michael – you’re selling cute crap! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? Yeah, yeah – I know that. But I’m also just some random dude running a one-man operation online in Japan. So the fact that literally hundreds (soon THOUSANDS) of people have put their trust in me to deliver on my business promise is beyond humbling. Every thank you message I receive kills me. It’s hard for me to take a step back and understand what it must be like be a customer of mine. Because, for me, I’m not doing anything special; I’m just sending people stuff from Japan. So what, right? But for my customers, I’m (presuming?) it’s an opportunity to experience a part of the world they may never get a chance to see. So maybe it’s special? I dunno. I’m too humble to admit it. And too cheap to actually buy a real bed. Yes, I’m still sleeping on my busted air mattress. I’m a mess.
– My local post office: This may sound weird to you, but I REALLY am thankful for my local post office. Because, man, they’re SO SUPPORTIVE even though they have to put up with my crap EVERY DAY. No joke, I send between 20-70+ mailers EVERY DAY. And my mailers are bulky, cumbersome, and take up a lot of their time. But they’re super, super nice and I LOVE them for that. I also like how I’m kinda buddy-buddy with them now. They know me by name. They smile every time I come (despite the fact they should be SCREAMING in TERROR). They’re the best. I also bring them presents every now and then. Because they deserve it. The fact one of the workers STILL wears the Stitch Ufufy keychain I gave her brings me SO MUCH joy. I’ve made an impact on her life, albeit small, but an impact. That’s crazy to think about.
– My office: Last one! Although I could keep going. But I won’t. Because I’m tired. And so are you! Well, you should be. LOOK AT ALL THESE WORDS. Jesus. There’s gotta be AT LEAST a dozen dozen of them, right? I think? Dude… My brain is sooooo hurting trying to think about that. Instead, I’ll talk about how I LOVE my office. Like my apartment, it’s humble. It’s small. It’s PERFECT. The best part? It’s FIFTEEN minutes away from the Tokyo parks. That’s crazy convenient. Cool! That’s about it. Let’s WRAP THIS UP!
So, yeah – been here 6 months. Accomplished a lot. But I also have many, many (MANY!) more challenges to overcome. The biggest challenge is TIME. And the lack of it. There’s a STUPID amount of things I wanna do, but I’ve been having a hard doing anything that isn’t directly involved with my business. It’s getting better, though. I’m becoming more efficient. With leads me to…
WHERE DO I WANNA BE IN 6 MONTHS?
Not dead. Definitely that. Living a gutter? Nope. Not that either. Honestly, I don’t expect a lot to change in 6 months. Besides growing my business (duh!), the only thing I REALLY care about is learning the language. I’ve totally slacked on studying since my classes ended in January and it’s really bumming me out. I want so badly to learn. Because NOTHING brings me greater joy than talking to people in Japanese. Well, thank you notes from my customers are up there, too. They’re BOTH great. How ’bout that?
Thanks for reading. And if you’ve been following me from the start (or if you just started reading), THANK YOU. Seriously. It’s not always easy motivating myself to write every week, but I do this because I want to show folks it’s possible to live your dream, even if your dream is making next-to-nothing living in a foreign country spending less than $10 a day on food and sleeping on a deflated air mattress. YEAHHHH!!!
See y’all らいしゅう!