William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

71. Ingrid's

We went to Ingrid’s birthday party last night. It felt fun and surreal to get on the train with the rain coming down and experiencing the giddiness of anticipation.

Boy, was it ever crowded in the place she booked. There was food and fun aplenty. But I also realized why cover charges can be so high in Japan – not that I’m picking on this event, because food was included – they need the money to bribe the fire marshal!

I met a guy there who used to teach core English in the junior high at S.G.

“[S.G.] is very very low salary!”

I laughed.

“I quit [S.G.]! Now I work in public school! I get twice the salary!”

He was a bit drunk, but he had a valid question in asking me why I don’t quit. I had to think about that. Well, staying with the job is the path of least resistance (though I didn’t tell him this), but I also like my kids – I even want to stay a little longer and finish this academic year, because I think they deserve that. Plus S.G. paid for my airfare. On that note, I emphatically suggest that people arrange their own travel to where they plan to work – you neatly eliminate the possibility of your workplace charging you for the ticket post-facto, which therefore makes you a free agent, putting you in a much more effective bargaining position.

The boys from S.G. sang “You Sexy Thing” for Ingrid; I attempted to follow this with “Birthday,” and what I wanted to have come out of my mouth wasn’t at all like what actually did. Mercifully, it was a short song. I talked to M2 about it later – he killed on such standbys as “It’s Not Unusual” – and he said that for an updress special event like this, one should sing songs that one knows they are comfortable with. (It didn’t seem like the right venue for “Welcome to the Jungle,” though. =)

* * *

These foreigner-rich social events are kind of hard for me. Everything feels superficial. As F. put it, people wear masks. As I put it, we make up the Island of Misfit Toys. Most people aren’t really here because they love travel and seek out enriching intercultural experiences. I know I’m not.

I was really disappointed, because I had wanted to – well, you know, meet somebody. But I don’t know if this is the right venue. (Or the right country, for that matter.) The dating pool of foreigners and Japanese-girls-who-speak-English-and-like-foreigners-and-go-to-these-places is vanishingly small.

Even making friends isn’t always easy. Well, it’s about the same as it is anyplace. And that’s the problem: this particular group is so small that you keep seeing the same people again and again and again and again and again, and if you didn’t hit it off with them right away it just becomes super awkward. Like, “Hmm, OK, I’m going to go stand over here now,” awkward. You know, people that you see all the time that you should be acquainted with, yet you’re not ever going to be acquaintances? Unless you’re still in high school or you live in a very small town, you might not know.

I did get to talk to some people I didn’t previously know, which was super. And who knows, maybe over time I’ll get to know more of the group, and these kinds of events will become less and less awkward. I feel like an outsider, and I don’t help my own cause by leaving Ingrid’s bar repeatedly to walk around and take photos. I just don’t like the smoke and the noise and the so-called “dancing.” It’s boring and superficial.

I met a girl back in February who felt the same way. Unfortunately, we didn’t hit it off. She was sXe, and I was goofy. And that’s fine and normal – most potential pairings don’t click – except here it could be a while before the next person like that comes along!

So I’m coming to accept the fact that my choices are limiting my opportunities. I don’t think it will be so much of a problem when I get back to Canada, though. Even though the odds may still be against me, the sheer numbers of people mean that I’ll have to meet someone eventually. And I can work on not being so boring and pedantic – what was I thinking when I said to that Japanese girl who taken a photography program and mentioned that she liked macro photography that I didn’t know what marco photography was, could she please explain?

Of course, one person’s boring thing is another’s interesting thing, but I could still stand to work on my conversation skills. And I really need to stop “selling myself short.” I don’t know how equivalent this is to, “don’t be completely honest.” Input would be appreciated.

Have a good one, everybody!
Tags: birthdays, dating, events, foreigners, japan, karaoke, parties, people, photography, socializing, work

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