Category Archives: Weblogs

Ten years, eight months later, leaving Japan

All my bags are packed I'm ready to go

I'm standin' here outside your door

I arrived in Japan in the spring of '02. Arrogant and unsure, excited and cautious, with just a couple of suitcases and almost no contacts on the ground.

Over a decade later it is now time to end this chapter of my life and begin the next one. Over the years I have laughed and loved, cried and screamed, achieved some of my greatest triumphs, spent days cowering in my bedroom hiding from imaginary monsters. I have made a great many amazing friends who will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I have lost a small number whose absence still haunt my thoughts on cold winter nights. I have achieved a great deal, yet I often thought of myself as a fraud.

And I have learned to love this place. So much it tears at my soul to leave. But leave, I must.

These past few years I have often lamented the lack of leadership in this country, the bleak economic future, the degrading social structure and the lack of good Mexican restaurants. But this is not why I leave. The problem is me, not you.

But the dawn is breakin' it's early morn

The taxi's waitin' he's blowin' his horn

Already I'm so lonesome I could die

More and more I have noticed my weaknesses getting strong, my strengths slipping away as I have lost my direction. I have been comfortable. I found, not what I longed for, but what made me feel comfortable. I was letting fear of the unknown push me around in exchange for safe, clean public transportation and one of the best lifestyles in the world. I left my apartment every day and never feared that a lion might eat me before I made it home that night. Life was just too easy.

Lately I have been looking for a catalyst. Something to take me out of my comfort zone and get me living a forward focused life again. I have been looking for the end of the world. And damn, if I didn't find it.

Oh baby, I hate to go

There's so many times I've let you down

So my apartment has been disassembled, pieces scattered to the winds. I arrived with just a couple of bags and I leave practically in the same condition. Ive traded in all I have for a chance at a new start. And I couldn't be more excited/terrified about it. There are so, so many things I will miss. My comfort spots and my hidden secrets. I'll miss the friends I have made and I'll miss the rich texture of living in one of the most complex and rich cities in the world. I'll miss the world class arts scene and the geek enclave that has been both my home and playground for the last few years. I'll miss the way you can understand what a total stranger is thinking without a look, word, or gesture, but by simply understanding the context of the moment. I'll even miss learning how to be lonely in a city of over 12 million people. Oh, and I'll miss late night combini runs for curry-pan. They are awesome.

Every place I go, I'll think of you

Every song I sing, I'll sing for you

Luckily i am not giving all this up forever. In truth I expect to be back in just a few months. My new job includes a focus on Japan that will bring me back often and keep this country well on my radar. But this is no longer my home. My hat stays on my head or hand. The next time I walk the streets, it will be not as a resident, but once again as a visiting alien, collecting samples and abducting livestock for dark sinister… Err Ok that one got away from me there.

I hope I am making the right decision. The fact that I am so unsure about this move makes me feel that I might finally be getting back on track. For any of my friends who may be surprised by this news, I apologize for keeping this quiet. In truth this was all quite sudden and really only became a real plan a couple of weeks ago. I intend to have my “going away party” but I'm afraid it will have to wait until next year sometime when I can get back for a few days,

So after ten years and eight months this will be my last post as “Steve from Tokyo”. Coming soon (I hope) will be a posts from my new home and life. For these precious years living in one of the most spectacular cities in the world, from the bottom of my heart, “thank you”.

Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane

Don't know when I'll be back again

Oh baby, I hate to go


A Question?

Today has been a very surreal day. Online, I have been following continued scandals in Media with the #notw, Japan has seen quite a few developments in recovery efforts from the earthquake, food contamination and continued problems with the nuclear reactors, and a major story development with the sentencing of Lindsey Hawker’s killer. Not to mention a major OS upgrade for Apple computers, 2 new models, both in my potential upgrade path.

In the real world, it’s been a normal, very pleasant day. Had lunch with a good friend, met another later on for a quick chat and update. Not to mention phenomenal weather. Starting to feel a split between my real and online persona and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Online I feel tied to a world much larger than myself and follow events that have little to do with me personally, yet when I look at the real world around me, I feel like I could turn it all off and lose nothing.

Or maybe I just need some caffeine

Blogsy Test #2:

Somethings just not right.

Workin on it now

Test post via Blogsy

Posting from an iPad 2 with the Blogsy app. Here are some pics from today’s wireless Japan expo.

Read the rest of this entry

Tokyo CGM Night Episode 5: The Otaku Strike Back

Another day, another networking event in out lovely city.

Today was a special treat though as the event was CGM Night. My personal favorite as it focuses on content production rather than handing out business cards (although there is a fair amount of that taking place too).

Thanks again to Andrew Shuttleworth and Danny Choo for creating such a great event! For more about CGM Night, click this link.

Tonight I met lots of chaps from Google, quite a few idols and models, and got to spend time with some of the great friends I have been making in Tokyo over the last few months. Was also great to see Paul Papadimitriou who will be heading back to Manila tomorrow, but will always remain a big part of the community here.

As usual I shot way too many pictures. I usually try to filter most of them out, but tonight I focused on portraits and I didn’t want to cut out anyone, so most of them are here. The slideshow below will be quite long I think, but there are some very beautiful people in there, so hopefully it’s worth sitting through. So click the poster below and start the show!

In addition to the general hang out atmosphere, there were the regular Jan-Ken taikais, which I always seem to get close to winning, but never take home a prize. And a group of Akiba-kei otaku were there to show everyone the Top secret Akiba dance. Brrr. I still feel shivers. Take a look.

I’m looking forward to the next CGM Night and what new surprises Danny and Andrew have in store for us.