I find I usually get into disagreements–or, misunderstandings, with the men who love me. These men, really, are wonderful, true, devoted, understanding and more than willing to wait for me. I’ve avoided them like Penelope avoiding the suitors as she waited for Odysseus to return. I have no heroic lover going crazy to come home to me, yet, I make these men wait and wait.
Japan wasn’t a part of my life plan but since I’ve been here it’s changed my life. Japanese men never figured into my heart plan and like an acquired taste have become a little obsession. No, I mean, frustration.
In my time there have been two who were angels but for some silly reason nothing matured: timing, too much travel, selfishness. There has been one who has driven me crazy as I submitted to his every whim and inconsistency until I had to snap out of it. And, each day, I fall into a little stupor, a little crush, as I find myself more attracted to the men around me who may never know me.
I can provide excuses for the men who love me. Like a coquette I can be evasive while being attractive. Yet, for this unique specimen of the Samurai variety it’s another game. Other foreign men have given me tips and step-by-step plans but I prefer a more organic approach to friendship and love.
Lately, because I think I want to stay here longer, I feel that learning the language will enable me to have deeper friendships with Japanese people. For the most part Japanese women are heaven sent. Perhaps, I’m a ladies man. Regardless, I want to know more about the culture and have my own special Japanese friends and/or lovers.
So many unbelievable things have happened to me here. More than I could have ever dreamed. True love cannot be purchased. And loving others–romantically or platonically–can be challenging as well as rewarding. While I’m not sure when my soul mate–Japanese or not–will show up, I can only remember what two friends said. Find somebody who will love me for me. And, it doesn’t matter who I love: it’s who loves me that matters most.
For some people the glass is half-full or half-empty: they have positive or negative points of view. For others, their cups run over.
My brother wrote to say this morning I’m going to be an uncle–again! My sisters and brothers are parents; I’m the oldest. At first it was cute to be the fabulous gay uncle but now it just seems lonesome. My parents will be new grandparents except they won’t have a grandchild from their favorite son: me.
I love children, especially my nieces and nephews. Understandably, I won’t ever reproduce–not even if I wanted to. Moments like this are heartbreaking.
Some of my siblings are married and others single, but single parents have the comfort and love of their children. For single gay men there are material comforts and the stylish life–friends, discos, shopping, giving yourself every thing you’ve ever dreamed of.
Regardless of my personal accomplishments I am always yearning for something more. Ultimately satisfaction is within and not outside of myself; neither can I expect satisfaction from another human being.
Before coming to Tokyo I gave a set of vintage goblets to a friend. Recentely, a friend who came to visit gave me a pair of gorgeous Italian flutes. Now they are in my kitchen, perfect for me or to share with someone special. My thirst may be unquenchable but I know how to find refreshment. And I always drink in style.
I was going to write about how lonely it feels being so far away from my family and close friends and how after 2 years I’m still single and how tonight on such a cold and gloomy night, I’d rather be with someone just to feel the warmth of another’s arms. But all I have is a pot of ginger tea and a feathered blanket so I really shouldn’t complain about how much I’d rather have someone who was mine tonight: a brother, or sister, a mother, or father, a friend or lover, to whom I could say come over
People pop Champagne to celebrate: weddings, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries. It has now been two years since I learned of my diagnosis. I had planned to find a moment to reflect, write my secrets and fears down on paper–then burn it, freeing myself from fears and secrets, but didn’t.
There is nothing to celebrate but I find that this time of year I reflect on the day I found out. Some people like to say it is easier to get hit by a bus and die than to pass from HIV but there have been days when I thought the bus scenario wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t really want to die but I don’t mind isolating myself.
I could go on about living a positive life and being super optimistic but even that becomes exhausting. Now I just want to be. I think of my purpose and while I am true to my purpose I am often self-conscious about the changes in my body/appearance and that is hard to accept.
I feel lucky to have life and I celebrate that. But I also have to be responsible and treat my body with more respect regarding nutrition, exercise and treatment. I cannot afford the luxury of not caring about my well-being.
So, this second year, I am aware that this diagnosis is here to stay and is not just a temporary thing. I know if I stop being self-conscious and let my true self shine then I’d be able to really transcend my inhibitions. Being positive is not a big deal if I am truly positive and not negative.
Maybe at this time I can learn to appreciate my breath and be satisfied with my life: that, I can consider celebrating.
Fall is near. I can feel a gentle breeze in the evenings walking home from work. The mornings are cool, too, and I don’t want to leave my bed. Last night I felt I could sleep forever–in someone’s arms.
Over the summer I ate a lot and worked out a lot and noticed a difference in my body and mind. I was on an island. There were many interesting people on the island…and lots of boys who liked me. They were not gay…they were just boys who found me kakoi! It was nice to meet nice boys.
Tokyo life is getting better. I am discovering that it is not so bad. My friend wrote me a letter saying everyone in Japan wants to embrace me, that the culture wants to embrace me. I’m embraceable. Japan….is embraceable.
I am not worried about anything today. Not health. Not death. Not about being single. Many people ask, Why are you single. I can only say it is not my time.
What do I love about Japan? Sometimes it is hard to say. Sometimes I bitch a lot about what I don’t understand. But bitchiness is a sign of bitterness and it is best to be better instead of bitter. I love Japan because it gave me a new life. My world is new. My dreams are new. And as muzukashi as it can be it is also a very beautiful life.
daily, one can compare the pros, cons and similarities of life in the US and Japan. In terms of food, people usually complain that US portions are grossly plentiful and that Japanese dishes are more suitable for the palate; that, in time, Americans in Japan get used to bite-sized portions at often obscene prices.
as for me, i’d rather a super-sized value meal from an American McDonalds any day. of course, American super-sized value meals could feed six four year olds in a developing nation, but, ever so conscious of being thin” i need as many calories as i can stomach.
in a diet frenzy world i’m in pursuit of acquiring not losing pounds. there’s the sexy South Beach Diet
mama and papa visit me in dreams and we talk about the things we never discuss in life, and, for some unknown reason i wonder why i hide and try to suppress the fact that i will die.
in my new room my dreams are crystal clear but i have no fear of spirits that loiter near my soul. sometimes in visions i see myself in bed in a room all white, safe and sound, mama at my side. i never recall what we say but often i run away. i run with all my might but mama is constant at my side.
in other dreams papa and i talk man to man but it makes me cry when i hear the song by elton john about the things unsaid between fathers and sons.
one day, papa said: now i know why animals eat their young.” it made me think of the painting by goya–grotesque in its depiction–of saturn eating his children. parents and children and dreams gone wrong. a wounded beast i live in exile.
alive today for which i give thanks. so far from mama and papa but i am a man. when night falls and dreams and spirits come i pray my heart will continue to beat till morning’s sun.
sometimes my heart beats faint and i cannot find my pulse. then a feeling comes over me like i will drown. i reach for air and open my lungs
I met person A in a DISCREET setting where things should be kept confidential. Not knowing many people and being open-minded I thought it worthwhile to be friendly with person A. One day person A and I had a non-romantic dinner-date and person A brought his ex-boyfriend, a gaijin, whom he had told about my diagnosis. I am not open to people about my status because Tokyo is a SMALL WORLD and I’m a private kinda guy. I was livid with person A and his audacity to *help* me–putting my business out there.
The other day I saw person A by coincidence in a public place and I was equally surprised and pleased to see person A–Hisashiburi desune. Person A was with a different guy this time–Nihonjin. My Japanese is sub par but enough for me to be atama ga ii. Anyway, the Nihonjin asked person A where he knew me from and person A, not thinking of my privacy blurted out that private place again. Not only was I disgusted but really annoyed at person A’s lack of DISCRETION.
I don’t know about anyone else but I find it hard to develop genuine relationships in Tokyo–with gaijin and Nihonjin alike. Most people wear masks and are FAKE, PHONY and are usually NEVER WHAT THEY APPEAR TO BE. I think that it is possible for us to acknowledge each other without giving away the MYSTIQUE and MYSTERY that are vital to our existence. It is not just about that it is also about PRIVACY. You don’t want every TOM DICK & HARRY knowing your business do you? I don’t!
In another (somewhat private) situation I met person B. Person B and I hit it off and was open with each other from the start. But person B has lived abroad and has a different sensibility so I was not uncomfortable talking to or even being open with this person. We had a mutual understanding. The same day we met I had to meet someone else for the first time and I invited person B along. Now there were 3 of us and we all had good chemistry. All night people wanted to know how we met but we were cool enough to elude prying questions from STRANGERS. Person B and I could even communicate without our new acquiantance picking up on what was going on between us. I would go out with person B anytime and do anything with person B and even share with person B because person B, unlike person A, is TACTFUL and DISCREET.
My two cents is please respect other people’s PRIVACY.
It was said innocently but freaked me out. People have commented about my weight before and it never bothered me–until I learned my diagnosis.
When gay men are asked about their weight there always seem to be a double entendre–at least to me. Are they trying to tell me something? Do they want me to admit something? Is it THAT obvious.
It is clear that my body is changing. I used to work out a lot–five days a week; sometimes twice a day. Working out was about mental health and keeping fit. In our body conscious culture toned and muscled bodies are (literally) to die for.
Truth is I haven’t been eating. A year later and I still don’t get Japanese supermarkets. Grocery shopping is a hassle. Everything is too small and overpriced. I once went to Costco in Makuhari and thought nothing to spend a fortune on super-sized portions that last longer. I believe in getting more for my money.
The comment freaked me out–not only because it was exclaimed in front of others–but because I know I have to start treatment. People who don’t take care of themselves look ill. That’s what my social worker said. While we can camoflauge our bodies in baggy jeans and oversized sweaters wearing a veil is not optional. I fear the side-effects but the disease in itself is of the wasting kind.
My plan of action is to practice better nutrition. Then start meds. A gym membership wouldn’t hurt either. I used to take life for granted but now I can’t. My external appearance is beyond my control. But projecting an aura of health and well-being is the best face lift I can afford.
my sister called the other day. it was her birthday and she felt a new sense of importance in her life. unfortunately, on a day full of promise her hairdresser died. all of 26, another life lost to the MONSTER. that’s what i remember a woman calling the 4 letter word back on the east coast. from that thing?” i asked. from “that thing” she said. we never verbalize the 4 letters because of my clever nephew who is always around. also