This wasn’t my first time to Japan, but it is the first time back in Asia since 2011. My first time in Japan was actually in 2008 after I found a teaching job in Korea I went to Fukuoka, Japan for a visa run.
I made this video a few weeks ago actually. I talk about Japan, Fukuoka, culture, compare it to San Fran a bit and then watch some cool koi and check out some gardens in late January.
I moved out of the Katae sharehouse June 1 and this is an update.
You may love this place. Seriously. You might really like it. It might totally suit your needs, so take this with a grain of salt.
Now I am going to share a little of my experience there.
What I liked:
The location is in an alright area near Fukuoka university and Nanakuma station, but quite far from downtown. I had a bike and would ride like 10-15km a day to judo and jiu-jitsu classes.
What I didn’t like:
You have to sign a contract for 6 months. I didn’t like that. And I left after 4 months, but she gave me my deposit back.
If you have your girlfriend over to stay the night you have to pay like 2-3,000 Yen or something. Just one night doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.
There is a sort of forced sociability there.
Some of the people.
The owner is a bit pushy about being “friendly” and smiley and all of that. Now I am a pretty easy going guy by my very nature and friendly enough as long as you treat me with respect, but if you don’t then I am not going to be nice to you just cause.
She said something about “tatamae” which is the Japanese word for being sort of fake and polite, but I am more of a “honne” kind of person.
There were some people there that I didn’t like for a few different reasons. Actually by the time I left I didn’t like several of them.
I am debating going into some of the stories and about some of the people there, but I won’t waste my time now.
This place is more Japanese too, like maybe 80% and a few I suspect have issues with foreigners. Maybe there were 3 foreigners and like 6 or 7 Japanese. The first sharehouse was a little more mixed when I was there, but you can read more about that below.
The room I had was quite large and fine, but noisy as it was above the kitchen and there was no door. All of her sharehouses there that I stayed in Katae and Fukudaimai were old and noisy.
The sharehouse thing is not for me.
In fact I only stayed there and here in another sharehouse because that was the only cheaper option without a long term visa. If you have a long term visa I would just rent your own room.
Maybe if you are younger you may like it, but I don’t see what the point is other than it’s cheaper. I don’t think I would have liked this anymore if I was 10 years younger. I am an introvert and like privacy.
I don’t need to have fake social talk.
Although if you can rent your own place you can get something as cheap and better since it’s your own apartment.
Anyways you may love this place.
UPDATE: Maybe 3 or 4 days ago I moved into a different NSJ Sharehouse and so far it’s better. I like my room better, it’s less noisy and my annoying neighbor is gone which is the biggest perk.
I have been living in this place for about 2 weeks and honestly I think it’s a piece of shit. I was planning on writing a review later, but this just triggered it. It’s 2:32 am and I am up because I can’t sleep.
2 out of the last 3 nights I have been listening to my neighbor go in and out of his room at 1, 2 and 3 am. When he shuts his door it sounds like he is shutting my door.
This place is very fragile. It’s like I could jump through the wall.
I do yoga in the morning and vibrate my legs on my mat and when I do that the whole house shakes.
I can hear my neighbor through the wall talking to himself. I can hear him push the button to turn on his heat. I am surprised that it is still standing. The wall between us is more like a curtain and I am surprised that this place hasn’t been destroyed by a typhoon or earthquake.
It’s not made out of cement. It probably is thin wood framing with thin walls, but nothing like 2×4’s. It’s really wimpy and COLD because it’s not insulated.
Even the shower water doesn’t get that hot. It gets kinda hot, but not that hot so you end up spending a longer time in the shower.
Supposedly someone cleans the place too for a discount, but they don’t do a very good job. Well, the surfaces are clean enough, but the toilets aren’t cleaned.
It’s cheap and well you get what you pay for.
I am the oldest one living here. There’s like a kid living next to me who is still in college.
Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for my neighbor. But it’s like you have pseudo privacy. I have turntables and do some music and other creative stuff and just feel that is unsuitable in this house.
Oh yeah the other thing that she said before I came when I was asking about how soundproof one of the rooms was something like, “if you want soundproofing then maybe Japan is not for you”.
Like all houses in Japan are like this one???
Maybe if you read this you might find the place to be o.k. for you, but don’t expect much. Expect something like a dormitory room hostel with curtains between the rooms. Remember you get what you pay for.
It’s on the cheaper end, but actually it should be cheaper considering the quality of the place. And from what I have heard from other people living in Fukuoka it’s not that cheap. I have lived in a lot of places across the USA, Taiwan, China, Korea and now this crappy place.
Honestly I don’t really have anything good to say about this place. There’s other people and well I don’t really give a fuck. I’d rather live alone and have a more simple life instead of living with random people and neighbors that complicate your life.
I left San Francisco yesterday after living there for almost 6 years. Time flies and now I am sitting in the Taipei airport waiting for a connecting flight to Fukuoka.
My last few days was spent trying to get rid of stuff and get ready for my trip.
It always seems last minute when it comes to traveling.
I will be living there for probably at least 6 months. For starters I will be on a tourist visa, but then may try to get a cultural visa for studying judo or maybe, just maybe look for a job teaching English in Japan so I could get a longer visa.
My goals are to live in Japan, learn Japanese, train judo/jiu-jitsu, work on ESLinsider and some other creative projects.
ESLinsider has been able to sustain me over the last 6 months or so. Hopefully that will keep up and then there is always WWOOF’ing if that fails.
Every time I move my stuff that makes me question how much I need it. My DJ stuff is really heavy. I brought with me 2 cases that have my turntables in them. They weigh 40 lbs each.
I’d like to do a street performing show with my turntables, but that is tricky thinking how I will move it around.
Actually that is less tricky. I have some ideas for making a cart for them, but the trickier part is where am I going to keep it? I would need to live on the ground level and be able to wheel it into my home.
In another hour or so, boarding starts.
Haven’t slept much in the last 3 days. Hopefully tonight I will.
It’s hard to change your habits and make a move. But really it is not as hard as it seems because now I am on my way. This move all started with me buying a ticket and then filling in the blanks.
It started in a state of uncertainty.
It’s more of a shoot first aim later strategy.
So I am still aiming, but I think I am off to a good start. I have a room in a share house all lined up and will be paying less for rent than I did in San Fran.
And it can’t be much worse than that.
My desire to live in Japan started way back before I taught English in Taiwan in 2004. I sort of beat around the bush and lived in China, Korea and Taiwan and now finally I am going to Japan.
It won’t be the first time there, but it will be the first time to live there.
San Francisco is a nice place. It has a nice environment being on the ocean and there are some surrounding mountains. The weather is pretty mild too. It rarely gets hot and it doesn’t get that cold.
There are some other nice things about it and I have met a few great people here.
I have lived here for more than 5 years and there are some things that I do not like about it. And for your information I have also lived in 7 US states, 3 countries and traveled to many countries in Europe and Asia.
Because of some of the things that I mentioned above San Francisco attracts a lot of people. However, there are just too many people for me. There is too much competition for everything.
I also lived in Shanghai and that’s even more crowded (like 20 mill.) probably for similar reasons. People flock to the popular places. It’s a big city and well at this stage of my life I have had enough.
There are a lot of parks you can go to, but on the weekends there are just too many people in most places.
Most people aren’t that friendly
Maybe it’s just the big city thing. There are too many people and space is precious and people are encringing on your space, so you just want to tune out and put your headphones on.
Maybe some of the cooler people here in SF have been here their whole lives.
They were raised here.
I met quite a few cool people in the jiu-jitsu and judo community although like other communities they can be kind of hard to break into. The community at CCSF has been good.
If it wasn’t for them I would pretty much have no social connections.
So it’s not really an easy place to make friends. Most people are transient in SF. Some are homeless transient types and then others are just here for school, a start up, or a short time.
The ones that have been here a long time probably don’t like the transient types. And well I am not that socially outgoing so that’s not going to make making connections easy.
I have been here 5 years and aside from jiu-jitsu/judo I don’t feel any more connected to this place than when I first arrived.
It’s kind of an eye sore. I mean there are a lot of homeless people here and part of that reason is because some are actually sent here from other cities on a free one way bus because of the social welfare programs.
The other cities don’t want these people so they ship them here.
You can see people shooting up on Mission St. or even Montgomery St. and you have to watch out where you step in some places because there is human shit and needles on the ground.
There is also a lot of urban camping in SF, Berkeley and Oakland.
People say the tech scene has taking over
I personally don’t know much about this as I have only been here for 5 years. I did come here first in 2002 and did think about moving here then.
People say that it has taken over the city and caused gentrification. It’s apparently not as interesting as it used to be.
Class and race issues
I feel like I get some racism and prejudice here coming from some people and often lower class African Americans. Some say there is “white trash” which I think is kinda true as I grew up in a place kinda like that with a lot of “rednecks” or “white trash” if you will.
I mean the term is kinda derogatory as they are people, but yet these kinds of people lack manners, education or something.
And well I have to say there is also “black trash” too.
That’s a subset of the African American population that is low income, not very happy, educated and who probably blames the white man for all of their problems… which reminds me of a video on Youtube (an ad) about the “black card“.
San Francisco is pretty diverse, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is living happily together. It’s very politically correct, but that’s just politics. How people act is a different thing altogether.
A lot of people assume that just because I am white I am richer or whatever.
I currently get food stamps…
You know that’s just temporary just like San Francisco is. And I guess that’s one good thing about San Francisco is that there are a lot of social programs for the low income.
However, some people don’t like that about SF.
Class and money
I am not sure if this has anything to do with San Fran in particular, the USA, western culture or whatever, but people definitely judge you by how much you make or don’t make.
If you are a “street performer” you’ll get a lot of shit. Some people will love you – at least superficially and others will treat you like shit.
To them you might as well be a homeless person.
You probably already knew that. All that competition to live here makes it expensive. That includes rent and transportation and probably nightlife (which I just don’t do) if that is your thing.
The place I live
Although the location is nice and convenient (in Chinatown) it is by far the ugliest, lowest quality and most expensive place I have ever lived. Where I live the people are mostly low income and I can say most of them are not that happy or healthy.
A lot of people have died since I have been here too in this SRO. Some from old age and others from suicide or drug overdoses.
There are bed bugs and dust mites. Here is where I learned that I have a dust mite allergy.
Anyways my time here is coming to an end and I will be happy to be out of here around the new year.
I had a realization yesterday while hiking out in nature at McClaren park.
It was this…
Often the coolest path is the one that many people don’t go on. It might be more difficult or less trampled for other reasons, but it’s often just better.
I once read that all emotions could be boiled down into two: love and hate. And I certainly do not love feminism.
How could I like it? It’s all about resentment. I remember being told one time that feminism is about “equality”. I think actually my sister might have told me that.
However, if it was really all about equality then why do they call it feminism? Shouldn’t it be humanitarianism? Or fem-masculinism? Or perhaps something else?
Sure you may have been discriminated against because you were a woman. But you are not alone and there is always someone out there that had it worse than you.
Most everybody suffers from discrimination in one way or another. And we all discriminate in one way or another too. As Jordan Peterson said relationships are the most obvious way that we discriminate.
Think about it.
Why did you choose the person you did? Why not someone else? In fact why not anybody or everybody else?
That would be less discriminatory.
I think feminism has nothing to do with equality. That’s like an excuse. It seems to me that it’s a group of bitter, angry and/or resentful women who want more rights and more power.
They want more rights and more power.
You are not actually equal either. You are similar, but there are inherent biological differences between men and women.
For example, in the most egalitarian societies like in Scandinavia women and men tend to default to more typical work roles. Females doing more social and caregiving type positions and men doing more engineering, science and computing roles.
I am sick of seeing the word “compassion”
I was on the bus yesterday and I saw a girl – that’s a right girl, I could have said woman, but I naturally said girl and she was filling out an application that had a question on it.
It said, “What is your definition of compassion?”
I think they should have said, “What do you think our definition of compassion is?”
It’s like a buzzword now, but…
It’s being used in such a superficial way by “morally superior” people.
I got in a little argument with my sister and father the last time I went home about some law that they are or were trying to pass in Canada about making it mandatory to use certain pronouns to refer to transgendered people.
I think that is stupid.
Do you what you want, but why do you need to have a law that makes it mandatory to use certain words for you and your ways?
There are no laws for such things for men and women. Why the f*ck should we make up more laws and more privileges for a supposed new sex.
That is just dumb.
Anyways so they seemed to think I was like some sort of homophobe or some conservative freak because I don’t support that.
If you are homosexual then good for you. Do that. But I can’t relate. If you want to get married to the same sex then do that. I am not going to try to stop you, but I still can’t relate.
It’s not my business.
And don’t try to make it that either. I have met a few gay men who seem to be attracted to straight men or think they can convert a straight man or even go so far as to touching a straight man.
But you should keep that to yourself and find someone who is into that not someone who is not into that.
And the same goes for the transgendered folks.
It’s like baseball. If you like baseball then great, play. But I have no interest in baseball.
Homosexuals are roughly 5% of the US population
That number is from the book, “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are”. And it’s based on what people are actually doing online and what they are searching for in the USA.
Of course there are differences between locations as the place where I currently live is in San Fran and that number is way higher.
And I would guess that the numbers of transgendered folks are on average less than homosexuals.
So should there be more privileges for a tiny minority of people compared to the vast majority?
That doesn’t make sense.
Like o.k. you are a human, but are you actually an exceptional person? I understand that you want to be exceptional as I’ll mention below…
Here’s an advertisement I saw in the BART.
In my opinion this is the worst ad that I have seen on the BART. Like you are going to be amazing if you dress up like this? More on attention later.
The World Health Organization used to define transgendered folks as having a mental health problem. But the LBGT groups did a bunch of protesting and that changed in 2018.
These politically correct groups have some power, but are they correct?
You were born in the right body
First off many think that they were born in the wrong body, but you had no choice. I think that is a problem and you have issues. Lots of people regardless of their sex have stuff that they wish they could change about their body.
Some people are lucky and attractive and others are not. That’s the way it is. Life is not fair.
Transgendered folks have high rates of suicide
Your first response may be that is because they get a bunch of shit from other people. Well, maybe but some places are more accepting than others such as in Scandinavia.
I know a lot about attention and how to get it by changing my appearance. When I dress up, paint my face and do all of that I can get attention. I think some people just want attention – so they change their sex or pretend to be someone else and look different.
Just like the transgendered performer in the pic above. It’s about attention.
They want to be different because they will get attention. But just know that attention is not necessarily good and it won’t necessarily make you happier. I know that.
It’s maybe just a phase.
There is a chance that if you are transgendered or gay that it is just a phase. You might not feel the same way ten years from now as you do now.
You are probably influenced by the internet.
There is so much weird porn out there that so many people are getting influenced by it. Maybe they think that it looks cool to have a set of boobs and a dick.
There is a name for that genre of porn too, but I can’t recall it.
It’s all in your head
This is just stupid.
I hate seeing this shit which is posted on the public library bathroom in Chinatown, SF.
99.9999% of the time there are just 2 sexes – male and female. A hermaphrodite is a mutation and other than that if you think you are somewhere in between then it is all in your head.
You were born with either two XX chromosomes or an XY set of chromosomes. You either have a penis or a vagina. There is no in between.
That’s all in your head.
That sign was probably the work of more protesting and what not by the LBGT community.
It’s not like you can just choose your sex and who you are.
But, yeah you can pretend or get surgery or take hormones, but you are just messing with nature if you do the later two.
You have limitations and one of those is your body.
Look, do what you want, but in my eyes you don’t deserve any special rules or privileges because of your made up sexuality or because you are gay or a feminist.
I can’t relate.
Like I said earlier I have no interest in baseball so I am not going to go to the game or hang out with them or pretend to like it.
Back to “compassion”
So those were some of the things I mentioned and then my sister says something like, “well how about a little compassion?”
I said I am not the Dalai Lama.
Later I sent an email to her and a video titled something like, “Compassion is a vice” that someone made from one of Jordan Peterson‘s clips.
And I never heard back from her which was like 4 months ago. Which I think means I am getting the cold shoulder, ghosted, the silent treatment or whatever you want to call it.
It’s ironic that the word “compassion” was used, because ignoring someone for months on end is not anything like compassion.
It’s a word with meaning, but it’s a word that is getting abused and certain people seem to have their own definition and agenda behind it.
Back to feminism.
I think feminists feel entitled as well as some of these other groups. They feel like you owe them something and ironically in their quest for “equality” I think they just became more like men – their supposed oppressor.
It’s forbidden to hit a women and almost everyone including many men will be quick to blame a man or come after a man who hits a woman.
But when the same thing happens the other way around most people don’t seem to care. In fact it’s totally acceptable for a woman to hit or slap a man in the face.
And you can see this in the media. I can recall a movie I saw recently called “Colossal” that shows a woman slapping a man several times.
It’s a simple game.
If you don’t want to get hit then don’t hit anyone else. But some American women seem to feel justified with hitting a man. And there are some women out there – like some of my neighbors who abuse the fact they are female.
They’ll run their mouths and be totally disrespectful and say things that most men would never say to each other because of the possibility of physical aggression.
And the funny thing is that if something happened and a man did resort to violence with a women then they would call the cops and play the innocent little girl or make up some lie to cover their ass.
The law is mostly on their side.
The fact is that in many cases women are the ones that instigate fights.
Male and female, light and dark, yin and yang. You cannot have one without the other. You are not “god”. You are not simply the most amazing creature on earth because you have a vagina and can give birth.
I have no interest in politics and I think feminists and the LBGT community are something like political parties. I think a lot of their issues stem from resentment.
They want more rights because they are hurt and unhappy. It’s an egotistical thing. Sure you may have had it tough, but so hasn’t everybody. And if you think you had it tough then I can assure you that there is someone in some 2nd or 3rd world country that has had it way tougher.
It’s hard to get there and getting there is the battle. Actually it’s not that the place you want to go to is worse, but the difficult part is getting there or making it through “The Dip” as Seth Godin says.
It happens everyday and there are a lot of ways that it manifests itself.
In my experience it’s hard to:
to work out.
to get to jiu-jitsu class.
to start a new project (video, art, article, etc.)
to change your habits.
to get ready for work.
to start anything new.
But really in so many cases it’s just starting. It’s not the actually thing. The hard part is just transitioning from where you are now to where you want to go.
And so much of it is in your head.
For the last 8 days or so I have been working on this video. And it started with inertia. There was a sort of dread and this ughh feeling cause I knew the first part of creating it would be boring.
But at some point you get over the hump and it becomes more fun.
I also mention at the end of the video getting out of your comfort zone. I show a picture that I got from Wikipedia. It shows 3 circles within one another.
At the center you have your comfort zone
Surrounding your comfort zone is the optimal performance zone
Things in Chinatown are looking a little grim. A lot of shops on Grant Ave. have closed their doors. In fact a lot of them have had closed doors for quite some time. These are not stores on the side streets of Grant, but stores directly on Grant.
Recently a few stores closed.
918 Grant Ave.
There is a 918A the big one and a little downstairs one 918B. Both have been closed for a while and maybe 918B has been closed for a year or more. Not sure.
900 Grant Ave.
This one just closed in December. I think several stores have been in that one since I have been here. The last one sold like massage chairs.
808 Grant Ave.
This weird pink guy has been hanging around 808 Grant since they closed 6 months or a year or so ago.
801 Grant Ave.
This just closed in December.
730 Grant Ave.
This just closed in December.
729 Grant Ave.
I was surprised to see this one closing. They just closed at the end of December.
716 Grant Ave.
This one closed maybe a month ago or so.
708 Grant Ave.
Kan’s has been closed for a long time like maybe 1-2 years.
700 Grant Ave.
Floating Sushi Boat closed maybe a month or so ago.
615 Grant Ave.
Not sure when this one closed, but it’s been quite a few months.
601 Grant Ave.
This one has been closed for a long time. It used to be Food Court and then that closed and it looks like someone started to move in, but didn’t make it.
528 Grant Ave.
Not sure about this one, but it’s at least been many months.
Why are there so many closed and empty businesses on Grant Avenue?
I don’t know, but I wonder if fewer tourists are going to Chinatown than ever before???
Since I have been here in San Francisco (for 4+ years) I don’t think I have ever seen so many stores closed at once. Aside from summer, the weekends and holidays it’s often dead in Chinatown.
I don’t think it got any busier for me either.
I have seen some other stores around Chinatown with signs saying that they are going to retire or go out of business. Actually I used to think that those signs were just like “sale signs”, but some actually went out of business or closed.