Calls Home from Japan| Part One |

|By Sushilove51 | Photo by | J. Wilburne|

“I can’t remember anything without you”

-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

*I know “K”. She’s special to me. Even so, I always wonder. As I bite into a piece of Sushi. How perfect it’d be if my brother were at the table. I remember our talks*

“I love you Bro” I said to him.

“Listen, man that’s too much” he’d say swiftly.

“Later, Then”

“But, for the record, I love you Big Bro!”

That’s how our conversations ended. It was easy showing affection over the phone. I don’t think we could tell our feelings face-to-face. I imagine it lighting up the world with awkwardness.

5,000 miles of ocean apart from each other had an effect on our brotherhood.  The tone in our speech carried a more caring sound. Compare that to the times we wanted to kill each other. Fighting and Punching. Promising we’d never forgive. We could never keep the promise.

If the sunrise brought an argument. The sunset we’d laugh about it. Near the beach side with a chilled beer. In our teens staring at the ships with blackened eyes. This carousel of ours was chaotic. Nevertheless, I cherished it. The fights were welcomed. It seemed as if the harder we did, the more we forgave, the more we loved and proved to each other that we were solid.

Remembering the hardships of youth is something I try not to do. I could cry over those details. Instead, I look at the good of it all. The fact we survived. He was there always by my side. If he wasn’t I’m not sure if I would have. I told him about all my hurt. I listened to his. We would get through it.

I’ve heard others comment on our relationship claiming that he was the lucky one. They saw me and the way I cared for him. The truth is that I needed him more than he’d ever need me. I was always the sensitive one. He could turn it off. Escape from the pain mentally. I felt it all, I over thought about everything. The moments that warmed hearts and the ones that broke them.

I remember driving thru Los Angeles traffic when we had conversation about our futures. That sort of turned prophetic. We had just left a military recruitment office. I had just made a verbal agreement to join. When this happened we knew that our tandem would never be the same. Even as we talked about it getting stronger.

We started by recapping those years we spent trying to find our place in the West. Journeying together trying to follow through with our plans. We slept at our friends’ houses, studio homes, cars, couch garages.

We ate off the dollar menu, church fellowships, random Barbecue’s and birthday parties. We laughed and had a ball. Unforgettable memories at the boardwalk, laying on the beach. The smell of fresh paint from Graffiti. The sound of connecting a punch. Our foolishness. The temptations and giving in to them. Nothing from that life was sustainable. No one could live that way forever. It had to end eventually. Never land was a fairy tale.

The drive thru L.A. brought a feeling that this was the end. We never saved enough to get our own place. There were times when we did have money for a lease. But, who knows where it all went. The only evidence we have are Polaroid’s of those forgotten nights.

“It’s good that you’re joining. I going to work out Bro”. He said to me.

I reminded him that he would be next. As soon as he lost the weight.

“Yeah, I’m getting a head start. You’re coming too” I reminded him.

“It’s awesome thinking about the places we’ll see” He added

“Who knows?, Italy, Hawaii, Somewhere in Europe, Poland!” I guessed.

That’s when he made his prophecy.

“No, I have a feeling exactly where we’ll be. Japan! I know it!”

He guessed right. He said this months before I graduated Basic Training.

Remembering that conversation seemed like he knew the future or that he was used as a vessel to reveal it. Or a lucky guess. Whatever it might be. I look at it as a bridge that gave me peace throughout our separation. I often think about that car ride years later. Believing that I’m on the right path.

When I first arrived to Japan I called him every other day. To motivate him. To remind him. We have a plan. We’ll travel the world and get a home. But things changed. It got harder to get a hold of him. We would talk every other week. Then every two weeks. Then months. Then I began to look at it as something we couldn’t control. It was inevitable that life was separating us.

I think in the middle of our two years together we knew someday this would happen. The times we had with each other was to be enjoyed. One day it would never be the same. It will never be like it is. And it never was. He never lost the weight to join the military. Every time we spoke about life he never seemed interested in the idea. He would always tell me about some odd job he was working at the time instead of getting into shape.

*An epiphany came*

Looking back at all the partying. I began to think if we were always like this. Had I been too intoxicated not to notice? The signs seemed clear now.

Our parties would be the biggest mixture of people. A bunch of people with different personalities, diversity and would not normally blend. But our relationship helped bring everyone together in the same place.

He befriended a different crowd, the rough-type. People who fight with the club’s bouncer. The people who smoked weed like it was the air they breathed.

I, seemed to be attracting different people. College students, people who had goals to pursue. People who didn’t punch bouncers. People who thought I could be in a better situation.

Our crowds always started in fun until the drama would happen. Someone from his crowd would say or do something. My crowd got offended. Bottles would fly. Yelling could be heard and cars would drive away. We’d all separate.It was insane to think. A few days later we’d do the same thing. I never felt more awake. Maybe it was the love. I wanted us to work. I wanted my brother and I to live our lives together.

I remember calling home from Japan one day and no one answering. I sensed something was wrong. I tried every other day but still no answer. Weeks had passed then finally I got someone.

My brother’s girlfriend picked up the phone. She had a sweet voice. But no matter how nice it was her voice couldn’t soften the blow of the bad news. She explained to me that my brother had gotten arrested. I won’t go into details about it. But he was currently sitting in a jail facing felony charges.

This meant a lot of things for me. One of them meant he just dropped himself out of our military dreams. There was no way that he could get in. The standards wouldn’t allow a felon.

Sometimes I think if I could have done more to prevent it. Sushi and Sake is lovely. But, I want my brother to enjoy it with me.

I’m always hoping for another way.

 

  Do you love someone you have to be away from?

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Learn Japanese with Tinder

| By Sushilove51 | Photo by R. Angelo |

“I just want to say hi to my girlfriend, OK! yo Adrian! It’s me. Rocky “

-R. Balboa

 

“Itaidoshin” is a Japanese proverb that means “different body, same mind”.

I understand the message as similar to a well-known American saying, “birds of a feather”. We all know how natural it feels to connect with a person whom you experience “Itaidoshin”.

I write this to talk about a co-worker of mine. In the short amount of time we’ve known each other. We’ve soon became brothers. Mostly because, life has molded our personalities the same way. Grown up on the West Coast, Joined the U.S.A.F.,Gym Rats, Hot Sauce Connoisseurs.

Then add to that we have the same sense of humor. In which, alone can bring people closer than super glue. It’s the dry cement of relationships.

With all this been said, There is an area of our lives we are completely different.

That is our relationship with women. I’ve always been into the long-haul enjoying the pleasure of building something with. I know guys my age ask “Don’t I get bored”. But, I’ve always thought different. There’s a special type of fruit that comes from it.

It’s probably a personality trait I have or a mental dysfunction for me to enjoy the chaos of it all.

Growing together there are times we tire and irritate each other for no reason. One moment will be magical. Sipping sake on a beach towel in the middle of nowhere. The next moment will be a hardship. Making us wonder if our love will die. I like this pocket of tension, right there where the smoke is. Nothing feels better than standing still when it clears.

He on the other hand, plays the field, and has a girl in prefectures all over the country. At work he makes the shift pass smoothly by sharing his experiences and telling me where he meets them. One of those being Tinder. I know this is pretty popular among singles but I’ve never had to deal with this. Having been in a long term relationship for so long I never considered it.

He explained to me that the process is simple to start. You create a profile, Post a picture and your ready to go. Look at other profiles, Once you see a profile that attracts you. You swipe right. If it doesn’t attract you then you swipe left. He even said that he’s found some people to practice Japanese with it. This part intrigued me the most. It wasn’t all about hooking up or finding love. Some people just wanted to find groups and hang out with people who had the same interest.

This sparked the writer/journalist inside me. I wanted to explore and know how all of this works. I wanted to document it. So I did. I of course, gave myself some rules. Like not meeting up with them. And keep the conversation light and not try to lead anyone on. I was faithful to the relationship I was in. And this is how it went over the course of Four days.

tinder blog

Day One

     I created a profile with honest information. I didn’t make a catfish account. I wanted to use my real name, photos, purpose, and hobbies. To get the real experience. And I made up my mind to keep it just over text. I wasn’t going to meet anyone. Also, my profile had an emphasis that my goal was to learn the Japanese language better.

The first day. I learned that your given 50 swipes to choose which profiles you like. I used ten the first day. After about a couple of hours. I didn’t get anyone who matched with me. I wondered if the profile needed more touch so I googled tips on how to make it better.

-More than one picture or people think it’s fake.

-crisp, clear, bio

I wanted to know if people where alerted all the time. But the rules are that once you swipe or are swiped. You are given 24 hours for them to swipe you back in order for the two of you to match. The first night I didn’t get anything.

But, I got a little message that said someone had liked my profile. But it said that I had to subscribe to Tinder Gold so I could see who did it. It cost about five dollars a month. To me this sounded like a trick to get you to subscribe. I’m not coming from a place of desperation and I wasn’t going to behave that way. Investing any amount of money was a no-go. I also read an article that said if you aren’t getting matches with the free account what’s the point of paying just to get extra swipes.

Day Two

I woke up that morning. Opened up the Tinder App and noticed that I finally got two matches.

A whole entire day?I know I could go to a shopping mall or the beach and get a match quicker than that.

Well anyways, Back to the matches. Logistically speaking one lady was pretty far from me. And the other was almost in the same neighborhood. I wrote to both of them the same message.

“Hajimemashite” which translates to “Nice to meet you”

One of them messaged me within a couple hours. We began to text and I found out she was a traveler from Taiwan looking for locals in the area that wanted to explore the city or could show her around. I told her that I wouldn’t be available for a couple of weeks. But, I guess she didn’t read my bio about only wanting to study Japanese.

The other person was younger 19. She was more interested in someone speaking English to her. Although, I think she quickly lost interest. After a few texts back and forth. She didn’t message me until the fourth day. But, I understand how it is at that age. Having a low attention span and being on this app. She may have had her time divided with a lot of other users. I, on the other hand began to realize that I may not be good for this. I don’t know if I had the luxury of having so much time to waste.

I swiped a couple more times that night.

 

Day Three

     The next day. I had two more matches. One of them I matched up was a “super-like” option. I guess it makes them stand out. Because it wasn’t an ordinary swipe. They wanted to let you know that they really liked what they saw.

The traveler from Taiwan messaged me and said she was no longer in the area. Later that night it said her location was thousands of Kilometers away. So she was on her own adventure. The other girl didn’t respond yet.

The two new matches were pretty interesting to say the very least. The first one was 25. The one who super liked me. If she looked like she did in the profile picture. She was beautiful and I texted her the standard “Nice to meet you” But I didn’t hear from her immediately.

The other profile was very weird. Everything was in Japanese but I used google translate to understand what the profile said. It was a Pirukura style. (A Japanese photo booth where they make the people look like Anime characters.) There were two girls standing side by side. And message said this.

“This is a double account. The girl on the left and the girl on the right.

We don’t have time to message back.

But, on our free time. The girl on the left or the girl on the right will meet you where you are.”

*If that wasn’t the scariest messaged I’ve seen*

Later in the day, I had another match. Now this made me realize for sure that I wasn’t made for this. I have too much going on in my life to add Tinder in. It’s almost like another chore having to stop what I’m doing with work, my college classes, my lady, my gym time, going out with friends, to have to converse with a stranger every now and then. It takes me out of my rhythm. And I had to re-calibrate over and over again.

Day Four

     The photo you see up above is from the fourth day. I had four more matches and it said 3+ people have liked your profile. But, it hadn’t shown there profile yet. After all this I’ve yet to meet someone who wanted to practice Japanese with me. The girl who super liked me messaged me and with an exclamation point said nice to meet me as well. The girl from Day two who didn’t message me finally responded. But said something simple like “How Nice”. I forgot what that conversation was about. I don’t think I’m going to message the recent matches. Because I may not hear there response until way further into the week. I thought it felt good that a lot of people wanted to connect with me. But, I don’t have the time to give anyone my time or well thought out responses. This is exhausting. And it takes me away from Blogging something that I enjoy doing.

Conclusion

I shared this information with my lady and she thought it was interesting. Not in a bad way. Or at least she hasn’t really spoken her mind about it. But, like I said hardships refine relationships. We will be gold in no time.

 

 Has anyone tried internet dating? If so, How did your experience go?

 

+100 followers. reason I’m thankful

| By Sushilove51 |

“Domo”

 

This is a short note to thank everyone who choose to read this blog. Honestly I didn’t think anyone would. After I wrote my first post. I meant for it to disappear into the abyss. I was surprised to read that I got a “like”.

But, I’ve learned from reading the words of encouragement from other bloggers, that I have to start speaking more confidently about writing. What’s funny is there’s a familiar pattern of me needing a push.

The Genesis of this whole blog began with a slight shove.

I was at a Starbucks with good company. Two friends, Kira & Miki. I had an Iced Chai Latte and they both drank a tall complicated thing.

Kira brought her laptop and we sat there watching a show on Netflix called Terrace House. Which is a Japanese version of the Real World. Where they have a nice house, nice car. And invite twenty-something-year old strangers to move in. You just sit back and watch the entertainment unfold.

I had mixed emotions watching it. Literally, the show is both entertaining and boring at the same time. I can’t say it’s a must-watch or a waste of time. It gently tip toes on a funny borderline.

You can marvel at the fact at how much the show differs from the craziness of the Real World. And at the same time be awed by the maturity of the Terrace House’s inhabitants.

“Are they forty year olds in twenty year old bodies?”

although sometimes they can be immature and appear to be like eight year olds in twenty year old bodies. Which can be said about myself as I read this out-loud.

Overall, I like the show. It’s in Japanese with English subtitles so it helps boost my language skills.

Still in at that moment Kira & Miki didn’t think I liked it as much.

Kira saw that I was looking at my phone and typing more looking at the show.

“I could change it to something else if you don’t like it”. Kira offered.

Sounding kind of bothered I was on my phone instead of enjoying the show with them.

I was enjoying time with them. But I guess it didn’t look that way. It looked like I was in my own world. Relaxed in my seat ignoring the two and Terrace House.

“No, I like this show I just had an idea. that’s all” I told her.

“Are you playing a game?” she asked

“No, just writing something down. I don’t want to forget it later”.

“Writing what?”

I explained to them both that I like to type out my thoughts as a way to make sense of life. Events that are stuck in the drain and won’t leave until I rinse it out the back of my mind. Mostly things I haven’t told anyone. Including the emotions I felt at the time.

Personal things that would kill you with boredom.

“Oh, do you blog?” Miki asked.

“Nope”

“Why not?” she asked surprise

“If you like to write than you should” *the nudge*

I didn’t want to talk about it. I shrugged my shoulders. Sat back in my seat and tried to change the subject so she would stop digging. My writing is personal. I tried to get more into the show with Kira & Miki.

“Let’s just watch this”

Still it was too late. She had planted a seed. it sprouted and grew like a weed.
I asked myself that question over the course of a year on why I didn’t blog.

And so here we are now. finally.

I started my blog Sushi Love a month ago. And neither Kira nor Miki knows about it. But, eventually I’ll fess up.

Maybe over a Iced Chai Latte at Starbucks.

And this is why I appreciate every person that choose to read my blog and comment.

I’m a lover and a prayer and I hope everyone prospers. But I did want to ask the question.

What made you want to blog?