Welcome to Tokyo, Donnie

By Donnie | Foreigners In Japan


I’ve fallen into that same old habit again, not writing when I don’t have any good news to report, but lately I realize that’s contrary to why I started this blog in the first place. This blog was intended to be a resource, a journal and an insight into Japan life from this foreigner’s perspective.

I have been a genuine funk for several weeks. I can’t say whether it’s because I left Tsukuba, if it’s the bustle of lugging all of my things to Tokyo, having to move into shared housing, the up and downs of modeling work, having to restart the job hunt, the recent convenience store diet, or a combination of all of it, but I am out of it. I feel like a stolid shell.

Moving into a shared house wasn’t my plan, but I know from experience that everything doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. Being that my house mates are SOooo quiet, and everyone keeps to themselves (at least so far), I getting those “fish out of water” feelings reminiscent of the first time I foot in Japan.

Going to Tsukuba for the first time, was a relatively easy adjustment. Not only did I go there with my friend Emiko from training, but my first evening in my apartment I got this knock on my door from the teacher I was replacing. He told me to come with him and the other American teachers got together made dinner for us. It was one of the warmest welcomes I have ever received.

Here at the share house, despite living a with a lot more people, the welcome has been, well…tepid.

I always try to remember Mom’s good ol’ “be a thermostat and not a thermometer” advice. I try not to let situations around me control whether I’m up or down, but it hasn’t been easy in a new town and a string of hapless auditions this month. Stay positive, Donnie…stay positive.

Yesterday, I woke up because of a backache. My mattress hasn’t come yet, so I’ve been sleeping of the floor, or on the wooden bed frame that came with the place. 9:38pm.

I went to grab some salad dressing from the convenience store, just to get something green in my system, and despite the Friday-night, winter chill in the air, I paused on the road to my new place, and just thought to myself “I don’t feel like going home and being quiet on my first real Friday night in Tokyo.”

Not having much money in my pockets (getting extremely tired of having limited funds), I just walked. And I walked. And walked some more.

I purposefully left my headphones on my room floor, so I had no choice but to listen to the city around me. I walked around Oji station to get a lay of the land, but for some reason my legs just took on a mind of their own. I saw all kinds of great, 24-hour grocery stores and the walk was rather peaceful, rather charming. Before I knew it I was approaching Ikebukuro station. As I approached and could hear the pulse of the city beginning to quicken. There were people laughing, people out and a about on a Friday night, so many people. Though I didn’t know any of them, it was comforting to hear their laughter. Even the obnoxious drunk screams and yells were music to my ears.

The walk was addictive and I nearly made it to Shinjuku. When I finally got home, it was around 1:30 am. It is amazing to me that if I so desire, I can literally walk my way into some of the coolest wards and cities in Tokyo. Now some of the walks would be a lot longer than others, mind you, but that’s okay.

Tokyo is a true, living, breathing city, and I could almost feel the city’s electricity making my mustache hairs stand on end. I needed that walk.

Welcome to Tokyo, Donnie…

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  • Robb

    Awesome post Donnie. I remember some of my late night wanderings when I first got to Tsukuba…nothing better for settling the mind and spirit in a new place. Ganbare!!

    -Robby

    • Donald Ash

      Aww, thanks, Robbie! The late walks do help a lot. Man, I wish you were still here, bro. Truly one of a kind.
      Frosty…spoon…good times.

  • Living in Tokyo is not an easy thing to do. I’m not that far from you and my schedule is pretty open during the week, especially with the guy being gone for most of February. I won’t have much money either, but I’m always up for people watching!

    Hang in there!

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks Marisa-chan. I appreciate you and Koichi letting me tag along to see “The Life of Pi!” I enjoyed it!

  • Thomas

    Good luck sir! Hang in there, believe in yourself and the skies will clear!

  • comsays

    says>>>>>G

    DONT READ DO NOT READ THIS. ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY U WILL BE
    KISSED BY YOUR TRUE LOVE. THAT IS ONLY IF U POST THIS TO 5 OTHER GAMES.
    IF U DON’T U ARE DEAD IN TWO DAYS. U HAVE ONE HOUR TO DO THIS AFTER U
    READ IT hikhh

  • Goddess

    I hope things are better now. Remember why you made the choice to move and let that motivate you to keep going (along with your support network, of course). You’ve dealt with a lot. I’m sure you’re gonna pull through. ^_^

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