My Feelings Ruined my Trip to Japan
By: Jessica Kamikaze
So my first article was a massively narcissistic and aggrandizing ode to myself, but I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I’m shallow. In fact, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings! For example, I think that the Kardashian family tv shows are very contrived, but I feel like watching them anyway.
I lived in Osaka, Japan for about two and a half months when I was 21. I had a super unfriendly roommate who I avoided as much as possible, which sucked because I thought my roommate would be the key to discovering my new city. I ventured out on my own a few times with varied success (one time I was reduced to tears when I got lost and couldn’t find anyone who spoke English until I finally wandered into the lost and found office of the subway station), but I was still too nervous to do some of the more culturally unfamiliar things like going to a bath house or tea ceremony. I tried to enlist friends to come on a few little adventures with me. By “friends” I mean work colleagues and acquaintances that I had met once or twice and added to facebook. Most of them had been in Japan a long time and weren’t really down to waste a Saturday doing touristy stuff.
I’d like to say that during my time in Japan I got more independent, grew in maturity and developed a “fuck you, I’m sight-seeing” attitude, but that didn’t happen. I spent most of my nights in bars and my days either teaching or hungover. Or both. I was terrified that if I ever tried a solo adventure I would get lost or offend someone (Japan has so many rules!); I spoke no Japanese so when I inevitably got lost/confused/insulted the traditions of that great nation, there would be no one to help me.
Now, I know what you assholes are thinking. You’re thinking “Jessica, you idiot, you were an adult moving to a new country for your first job and you should have been prepared for the culture shock and uncertainty of your new and independent life!” Yea, well, I wasn’t. I clearly shouldn’t have moved to Japan alone at the age of 21. Two and a half months later, when my company went bankrupt and I went home (that’s another story!), all I had to show for my time in Japan were some pretty adorable outfits and a rampant case of alcoholism.
So what’s my point (other than to cry and complain about how I was too much of a baby to take the Japanese bull by the sightseeing horns)? My point is that every traveller feels some amount of fear and anxiety, whether travelling alone or with others (don’t try to act all tough and worldly with me, I KNOW you’ve been scared!) But there’s no reason that your pussy-ass fears should stop you from doing scary and exciting new things. So, be brave my friends! Get off your bar stools and go see some shit!!