Posted in comedy show, LGBTQ in Japan, YouTube Videos

Comedy Shows!! December 9th and 15th

Hey all!

Doing some shameless self-promo here. I’m performing at two comedy shows this month with two different but equally beloved and important groups.

First up this Saturday is the “Out of the Closet Comedy Show!” I’ll be performing the “Snatch Game” with two other members. We’ll also be auctioning off items for Rainbow Railroad, an LGBTQIA+ organization that helps queer refugees.

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But that’s not all! I’ll also be performing with the Tokyo Women’s Comedy Club in “That’s What She Said IV: Christmas Cheer.” For this event, we will be auctioning items as well to go towards awareness and prevention of domestic violence.

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Please head on over to either event and watch me try to be funny. It’ll be a blast!

 

Posted in Japanese Langauge

Post-JLPT: Feels, Advice, and PANIC

Taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 meant a lot for me. Unlike previous years wherein I was just taking it for assessment of my language ability, this time it was a step I wanted to take in a different career direction. I’ve been a teacher in Japan for 6+ years and have really enjoyed it, but for all the enjoyment I know that I don’t want to be a teacher forever.

And so, in the video I talk about how I felt after the test (spoiler alert: not victorious) along with what I did in order to study for the test. Even though I’m certain I didn’t pass, I listed a few books here in the video that might help others pass the test (unlike me). Most of these books are easily found online, so I’m going to list them down below. It takes hours upon hours of studying, usually people who pass in one year on their first try have gone to a language school and studied 8 hours a day up until the test.

I’m not giving up, at all, I’ll re-take it again in July. Until then, I’m in a bind because without the N2 certification I can’t prove that I’m proficient enough in Japanese to do something else. If I could, I would turn back time and tell my JET self to quit fooling around and just study harder so I would’ve already passed the test by this point. For those of you in Japan and thinking about sticking around, GET ON IT! Or you’ll end up like me with t-minus four months to go with no certificate and no job prospects other than English teaching.

Use these to study:

Nihongo So-matome

Nihongo So-matome JLPT N2: Grammar - White Rabbit Japan Shop - 1

It describes itself as an 8 week study course to prep for the JLPT, but honestly you should study these way before 8 weeks so you can review all this information before the test again. They’ve got books for all the parts of the test: vocabulary, kanji, reading comprehension, listening, and for all levels N5-N1.

TRY! 日本語能力試験 N2 文法から伸ばす日本語 改訂版

Honestly, this is my new favorite Japanese study book. It puts all the vocabulary and kanji into understandable contexts and situations wherein you would find or use them. You can grasp the grammar lessons well since there is context as well as explanations for the grammar in English. This study book also has listening test in addition to the vocab and grammar you need.

Kanji Master

The Kanji Master is the one I studied the least and I regret it. It has the kanji practice for the kun (phonetics) but also does the all important hiragana to kanji and back again checks that will be so important on the tests. If you’re wanting to pass, get a hold of this book and go through all of it. I found it late, so I couldn’t take advantage of it like I wanted to, so don’t make my mistake.

Remember though, even if you study and study these books, it’s not enough. Read Japanese books, newspapers, watch dramas, make sure your Japanese immersion is coming to you through more interesting, and thus memorable, ways. Otherwise, you won’t retain this information, and you’re going to need it in your future job, not just for a test.

Anyways, I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I’ll figure something out I’m sure. I’m worried, but I’m confident that I’ll find something so that I can stay in Japan. I have built a life here, and I don’t want to give it up just yet. I’ll be fine, it’s just hard to think that way after a small setback in the plans. But I’ll just keep going, and hopefully something will come around.

 

Posted in Japan News

Vote out the Scandal in the Scramble!

Democrats Abroad, Japan hosted the event “Vote Out the Scandal in the Scramble!” on November 5th, 2017. I was there to film and get some perspectives of the attendees, as well as show my own support against the Trump administration and all it’s been doing since he and the Republican party took over the White House.

As all of you know, I’m pro-LGBTQIA+, and someday I may want to marry a woman. As I’m Bi, there is a possibility that I’ll marry a man. Then again, I could marry a transgender person of some variety, or I could marry an intersex person, or- you get the idea. In the end, I want the freedom to marry a person that I love, and I want that freedom for all my friends and family.

The Transgender Ban, the anti-trans restroom bills, allowing religion as an excuse for discrimination against LGBT+ people (and by extension, other religions, blacks, etc.), all the social equality progress made under the Obama administration isn’t just being pushed back, it’s being outright attacked and destroyed. These fucking tweets that Trump puts out in support of all these vile acts, instigating more than a few of them, he is ruining lives and he doesn’t care.

If you’re looking for a blogger or vlogger who just puts out fun and happy daily distractions about day to day life in Japan, I can’t be that person. I expect more than a few people to get pissed about my opinion, and to summarily remove me from their following list. Regardless, I can’t stay silent, I’m not the kind of person who can just talk about the good things in life and ignore the obvious bad.

Still, opinions don’t change things, votes do. If you’re on my side (or even on the opposing side) and you want change, you need to vote. Go to VotefromAbroad.org and you can get registered to vote while living in Japan or another foreign country. It’s so important to make your voice heard and to be counted in this democracy, so please sign up to vote.

Posted in Uncategorized

On A Depression Swing

I’ve been sick for about two weeks, but I’m finally getting well again. As one can imagine, being sick for that amount of time is not a fun experience. I was running back to the doctor each week trying different antibiotics until one round finally worked, which put a small strain on my money situation.

Also, if you hadn’t seen from the previous posts, I was a part of a comedy show, a Rocky Horror shadowcast performance, and went to a friend’s Halloween party. All of these things were fun, and I’m glad I’m kind of stretching my wings out into different things, creating new hobbies. All the same, also put a big strain on my financial situation.

In between all of this, my cell phone screen got cracked beyond saving. Due to it being shattered, I couldn’t upload anything to back-up. Why? Because the only way anyone can unlock their phones these days is through a touchscreen, and phone companies still haven’t figured out how to help you without unlocking your phone…which can’t happen if your screen is cracked. You get the idea. I spent a good 30,000 yen and then some to get it fixed, after trudging through a typhoon to get to the store over in Kawasaki.

All these problems, I realize, are first world and self-inflicted problems. I put all these responsibilities on myself, I didn’t say the magic word “No!” to any of these events, and I should’ve been more careful with my phone (although it just fell from my bed to the floor while encased, so…I dunno, accidents happen). Still, it’s all accumulated to the point where I found myself on the verge of tears throughout this whole week.

And as per usual with me, I haven’t told anyone about it. I was a part of an online peer support group not that long ago, but my problems seemed insignificant in comparison to other people’s so I just downplayed all my issues.

Then, my uncle died.

When I first received the news, I was with people. We were having a good ol’ time. So I found a dark and quiet place, sobbed long and hard into my hands. While everyone else was dancing, I was trying not to go into a full on breakdown. I managed to get myself out of that hole by bribing myself with, “When you get home, you can shut off. You can cry and stay in bed all day. You’ll do nothing but go numb. Go through the motions now, feel super awful later.” Amazingly, it worked.

I went back to my friends, smiled and joked around with them, not ruining a single thing. When I got home, I threw myself in bed and didn’t get out of it for twenty four hours, until I had to go back to work. My physical illness got worse. I’ve been told heartbreak can manifest in physical ways, and I get the feeling that’s what happened. The next few days I had fever spikes and a cough that wouldn’t quit.

See, my uncle was a good man, a bit gruff and rough around the edges, but a good man. I didn’t know him much when I was growing up, as he lived in California and I lived in Kentucky. This summer I went to visit my mother in Las Vegas, so I got to see him and my aunt. Both of them were interesting to meet with all of us being adults. We could have actual discussions, about things that mattered, about family here and there. My uncle bought us all beer, and I discovered his good tastes and mine aligned.

I remember hugging him before he left for California, thinking it was a great start. I would come back next year, and we’d, well…

The thing about mourning someone in Japan, or really any foreign country, is that you’re not with the family to grieve. You’re not there to share in the reminiscing, you’re just left with what you’ve got. I also didn’t and don’t know if I deserve to mourn like everyone else, having only met him a few times in my life, but I suppose having seen him so soon it hurts more than I expected. I wasn’t shocked, we all knew he had health problems, but it cuts in ways I don’t have words to really express.

With everything else going on, I now feel guilty. My guilt for daring to be alive and complaining internally about it, for being sick, for breaking something so expensive, for being stupid and piling on too many things on my shoulders. I keep thinking I should be better, I should do more, I should be in America, I should devote more to studying Japanese, and-.

Fraying apart at the edges here and there until I finally become slips of nothing.

Depression always starts of as a gradual thing for me. It begins with a pressure on my chest, and it just keeps pressing down over a period of hours or days. Then I breakdown, sometimes again for hours or days. I’m lucky in the sense that I can still pull myself together and fake it at work. I’ve been on time, doing all my worksheets, getting those projects and speeches done…All the while ignoring the desperate need to curl up into a ball and just stop existing for a while.

I tell myself that I should be working on those Stonewall Japan projects too, that people are counting on me far more than I need them. I’ve gotta be stronger than this thing weighing me down. I want to live, but I don’t want to live with people thinking I’m a slacker, that I’m good for nothing, because that’ll just confirm what I think of myself when I’m in the darkest hours.

If you’re expecting this post to end with sunshine and hope, well, sorry. I’m still raw, in pain, and not getting out of it anytime soon. I’m on day three of what I expect to be a possibly week or two long depression swing. At some point I’ll crawl my way out of this mess I’ve made, but for now I am this wreck of a person. One thing to note here is that I’m admitting I’m a wreck and that it is okay to be this way.

I tell this to other people all the time, but I don’t really tell myself this enough: All thoughts and emotions are valid. My guilt, my self-hatred, my sadness, my numbness, it’s all screwed up, but it’s all a part of me and what makes me who I am. I’ll miss my uncle, I’ll stretch money until payday, I’ll go to work, I’ll just have to keep going.

Even if it’s really fucking hard right now.

Posted in Japan News, LGBTQ in Japan

Rocky Horror Picture Show in Tokyo!

Hey you! Yeah, you, wanna see a show? A Rocky Horror Picture Show?!

Come on down to MK Studio in Shinjuku. The performance starts at 10:00 p.m., a great start to a Halloween weekend! Doors open at 9:00 p.m. with some games and festivities at 9:30. There will even be an open bar with horror themed drinks!

What is The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
A British cult classic musical of no morals and all persuasions that has taught people to throw toiletpaper at film screens, do the Time Warp, and give themselves over to Absolute Pleasure for over 40 years.

What is a Shadowcast?
A group of raucous nerds that will entertain you with their silly costumes, IM-peccable dance moves and pantomine of the movie scenes in front of the film.

Just as an aside, I’ll be performing as the infamous Eddie! So if you want to see me in drag, here’s your chance. I’ll be performing “Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul!” on stage and then be a corpse later on. It’s be fun times!

Tickets are 2,500 yen at the door, buuuut if you dress up in Rocky Horror wear (as in lots of sequins and corsets) then you’ll only pay 2,000 yen instead!

And here’s something nice, the profits will be going to a Solidarity with Egypt cause. If you haven’t see the #ColorsRNotShame stories, in Egypt a huge anti-LGBTQ+ oppressive crackdown is happening by the government. Profits from the shadowcast performance in Tokyo will go towards helping out those oppressed and fighting back against the system.

For more information, the event page on Facebook will be giving updates.

If you’re interested in other ways you can help with the #ColorsRNotShame cause, there will be an event in Shinjuku Ni-Chome before our show. Check out this event page for more information!