Nihon Nerd

Just an American nerd living in Japan.

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Bonus Edition: Overcoming Fears — October 17, 2017

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Bonus Edition: Overcoming Fears

OK, so I lied – my 5 part series about my Japanese journey actually has a bonus 6th part. But I promise I won’t lie again. What? You think that’s lie, too? How dare you! Why, I would never lie about not lying again. Who do you think I am? Don’t say, “a liar,” please. “Stupidly handsome,” “Totally rad,” and “Crazy fearless” are all acceptable, though. Particularly “crazy fearless” since that ties nicely into the theme of this blog: overcoming your fears. Continue reading

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 5: Living the Dream — October 10, 2017
Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 4: Following the Dream — October 4, 2017
Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 3: Regrets Are Unanswered Dreams — September 26, 2017

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 3: Regrets Are Unanswered Dreams

γ‚ˆγ†γ“γ! Guess what? Thanks to your ability to piece together multiple words to form sentences, you’re now reading part 3 of my 5 part series about why I decided to peace out America. Yay for literacy! Thanks for sticking with me. You’re the best. I want to say I love you, but that may be too forward. So instead, I’ll just say you’re my favorite person to read this blog until the next person that reads this blog. Savor this moment. Because I know I am. And… Done.

Continue reading

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 2: Single Rider: Fast Pass to Happiness — September 18, 2017
Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 1: The American Nightmare — June 12, 2017

Becoming the Nihon Nerd Part 1: The American Nightmare

So this is where it begins, eh? Yikes. Where do I start? Is this thing even on? *taps mic* Yep, we’re live. So… Um… Err… Oh, hi! πŸ‘‹πŸΌ My name is… Wait, you already know my is Michael? Wow! You’re so smart. Well, guess I better get to it then…

I joke, but writing this first blog won’t be easy for me. Because, as you may have figured out by now, I don’t take myself too seriously. Cue “mind blown” explosion GIF in 3… 2… 1…


But I do take my happiness and well-being seriously. And I’m not joking when I say I recently wasn’t very happy nor was my being all that well either. To be frank, both sucked ass. So much so, on September 10, 2016, I did something I rarely ever do: I wrote a “serious” post on Facebook (gasp!). Here it is in full (apologize in advance for my potty mouth πŸ’©):

<serious post>

On this day 1 year ago: I wrote a stupid post making fun of sports. It got 2 likes and 2 comments. Baller. But I’m not sharing that (sorry, Facebook).

Instead, I’m sharing something that I don’t normally share (sorry, pride): On this day 1 year ago I ended a 3 month relationship. It was mutual. Best breakup ever: “This isn’t working. Oh? You agree? Sweet. Bye!”

Why am I sharing this? Because I’m depressed, duh. Seriously. It sucks. It hurts. I’m tired. I hate this feeling. But I just suck it up and move on. And I do a good job of masking it. Y’all prolly don’t know. Why should you? I post stupid bullshit. You see me on roller coasters and say, “Oh, that Michael – he’s so happy!” Hah! Fooled you.

But this isn’t a pity post. It’s an apology for all the times I neglect to hangout with my friends or don’t respond to requests because I’m not happy with where I’m at in my life. It’s for the times when I’m not motivated to be social at work. Or I don’t call my family because I hate pretending like everything is cool (I suck at that, admittedly).

That, and some advice for anyone in a great relationship: If you ever come close to fucking it up, think of this post. You don’t want this to happen to you. So be happy. Be humble. Be grateful. Don’t fuck that shit up. Because if you do, I will seriously find you and punch you in the balls. Even if you don’t have balls. I don’t care. I’m an equal opportunity crotch-puncher.

That’s it. I gotta go walk to Japan Town to (attempt to) escape a submarine. Wish me luck (I’m an awful swimmer).

</serious post>

Good news: I did escape the submarine (thank god!). Bad news: I didn’t escape my funk (yet!). But I’m proud of myself for letting my friends know what I was going through. Admitting I was depressed, especially publicly, took a lot of courage.

Because I knew I had a problem. And I desperately wanted to get better. I may not have known it at the time, but this post was my first step in doing that. So how did I fix things? Um, duh: I decided to move to Japan! Now you know. OK, bye. πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

Oops! Sorry for the spoiler. Sure, the end result is obvious to me now, but it certainly wasn’t at the time. In fact, it was the complete opposite – I was lost. And my life was spiraling out of control. Here’s why…

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to live the so-called “American Dream.” Now the American Dream is different for everyone, but here’s how I’d describe it:

  1. Find love/get married
  2. Eat a cheeseburger shaped like a football while watching NASCAR
  3. Start a family
  4. Adopt a Bald Eagle and name it ‘”MURICA”
  5. Buy a home

Seems easy enough, right? I thought so, too. Especially because I was watching my friends achieve this dream right in front of me in real life and on Facebook. I’d open my News Feed and it’d look like this:

  • Post 1: Friend A just got engaged. Good for them. I hope they’re happy.
  • Post 2: Friend B just got married. Good for them. I hope they’re happy.
  • Post 3: Friend C just ate a burger shaped like a football (I wonder if they’re watching NASCAR?). Good for them. I hope they’re no longer hungry.
  • Post 4: Friend D just had a kid. Good for them. I hope they’re all happy.
  • Post 5: Friend E just bitched about Trump again. And so did Friend F. Friend G… H… I… J… K… OK, I GET IT – TRUMP SUCKS! ANYTHING ELSE? OH GOD… NOT ANOTHER DOG PICTURE! *closes browser*

OK, so this may be a slight exaggeration (except for the Trump bitching – that’s totally true!), but it wasn’t far off. And after reading this kind of stuff on a regular basis, it got to the point where I felt like I couldn’t relate to my friends anymore. Which may have been OK if I was younger, but at 34, I felt like there was something wrong with me. And that led me to ask these questions:

  • Why couldn’t I find someone?
  • Why couldn’t I get married?
  • Why couldn’t I have kids?
  • Why couldn’t I buy a home (oh, yeah – that’s right… I live in San Francisco – lol!).

But it did make me think… Did I forget to check the “Live the American Dream” box on the Life Happiness Form or something?

Because watching everyone around me achieve these dreams made me feel like Charlie Bucket peering through the candy store window watching all the kids get diabetes in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


B-b-but, I want diabetes, too! And the American Dream. Mostly the latter (no offense, Mr, Brimley). But with each passing year, it was becoming pretty obvious to me that it wasn’t going to happen. America Dream? Pfft, more like the American Nightmare.

It wasn’t long before I was digging a hole of depression for myself. Nothing was making me happy and I desperately needed a solution. So I went the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-route and tried to erase the American Dream from my memory. I did this by cutting off all communication. I stopped posting on Facebook/Instagram. I stopped reading my News Feed. I stopped hanging out with my friends. I figured if I lived in isolation, I wouldn’t have to worry about wanting the things I thought I’d never have.

Guess what? It worked! Well, to a degree. The time away from social media/interaction allowed me to think about what was missing in my life and what steps I needed take to make things better. The first step? Asking myself this simple question:

What makes me happy?

My answer would help guide me to a solution. More on that in part 2….

BTW: I apologize for this somewhat depressing first entry. Trust me, I’m not one to dwell on negative things nor am I the type of person who fishes for sympathy. Partly because I’m stupidly humble, but mostly because I suck at fishing (seriously – I can’t catch crap!).

But in order to understand what led me to making my radical life change, I needed to let you know the unfortunate circumstances that instigated it. Luckily, there’s bright side. And I’m seriously happy to share that with you. In the meantime, watch this corgi twerk: