Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm home

OKAY, so, you wanna know the reason for The Beat's hiatus? I can finally admit it to the blog world...

I have textbook reverse culture shock. No big, right? To the long analysis we go!!

According to the first site Google popped up when I searched said pathetic, but totally real ailment,
, "reverse culture shock" is usually described in four stages:

1. Disengagement
2. Initial euphoria
3. Irritability and hostility
4. Readjustment and adaptation

(My thoughts in bold-parenthesis.)

Stage 1 begins before you leave your host country. You begin thinking about re-entry and making your preparations for your return home. You also begin to realize that it's time to say good-bye to your friends abroad and to the place you've come to call home. (THIS WAS HARD. A month or so before I left, I could never have a conversation with someone without them asking me exactly when I would be leaving. I don't blame them for wanting to know how much time I had left, but between the goodbye dinners, the farewell parties, the promises that I would send my Oita-karass postcards or visit them in the near/distant future, the last ditch effort to travel to places I knew I would probably never see again, the enormous amount of packing I had to do, the souvenir shopping, the canceling of cell phone, bank account etc, IT WAS ALL A CONSTANT REMINDER THAT EVERYTHING WAS COMING TO AN END. Oh and leaving my lovely bf. Sigh.) The hustle and bustle of finals, good-bye parties, and packing can intensify your feelings of sadness and frustration. (Umm, this is from a study abroad site.) You already miss the friends you've made, and you are reluctant to leave. Or, you may make your last few days fly by so fast that you don't have time to reflect on your emotions and experiences. (Hence the lack of proper blog entries as of late. Apologies to my three readers, I guess.)

Stage 2 usually begins shortly before departure, and it is characterized by feelings of excitement and anticipation - even euphoria - about returning home. This is very similar to the initial feelings of fascination and excitement you may have when you first entered your host country. You may be very happy to see your family and friends again, and they are also happy to see you. (Yes, yes, yes. Don't get me wrong, even though I loved living in Japan, it was time for me to go. I was genuinely excited to go home and start a new adventure. I love my family and my friends to death and I could not wait to catch up on what I missed out on for the last year and a half.) The length of this stage varies, and often ends with the realization that most people are not as interested in your experiences abroad as you had hoped. They will politely listen to your stories for a while, but you may find that soon they are ready to move on to the next topic of conversation. (That's not true. At all. I can entertain people with my boring stories abroad for hours.)

This is often one of the transitions to Stage 3. (HA! Psssh, whatever!) You may experience feelings of frustration, anger, alienation, loneliness, disorientation, and helplessness and not understand exactly why. (Reverse culture shock, duh? Or PMS. I digress. At this very, very moment sitting in my bed at 1:33 a.m., I'm in this stage. People who know me can attest that most of the time I'm right sprightly and high off the life bong, but I am one sad, lil' blogging emo girl right now. I could give my right arm to go back three months in time.) You might quickly become irritated or critical of others and of U.S. culture. (That Vegas trip. The state of Arizona. Actually, the thing that's pissing me off the most right now is the most insignificant thing ever BUT WHY THE HELL WONT THE WIRELESS WORK IN MY ROOM??) Depression, feeling like a stranger at home, and the longing to go back abroad are also not uncommon reactions. You may also feel less independent than you were while abroad. (Yuuuuup, and I've gained like 5 pounds. Ohhh I love dem french fries in my burritos, fuck yeah!)

Most people are then able to move onto Stage 4, which is a gradual readjustment to life at home. (Phew! But being sad makes me stop stuffing my fat face.) Things will start to seem a little more normal again, and you will probably fall back into some old routines, but things won't be exactly the same as how you left them. You have most likely developed new attitudes, beliefs, habits, as well as personal and professional goals, and you will see things differently now. (True. I feel like I have changed for the better--I take off my shoes indoors! Such clean floors!) The important thing is to try to incorporate the positive aspects of your international experience while abroad with the positive aspects of your life at home in the United States
(I'm now getting too optimistic and therefore have to stop trying to cheer myself up. Being sad is so much more conducive to the creative writing process.)

Thanks. Now what? To New York is what! Where I can go on another year-and-a-half-long journey, of course! Any ideas for a NY-themed blog name? Major site revamp to follow!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New entry because I feel guilty for not writing anything substantial for a month...not that any of my previous entries have any substance nor will this entry have substance either.

My year and a half in Japan is finally winding down. The contract is officially over May 22, and with grad school looming in the very tangible future it now feels like I'm on fast-forward. So how was Japan like: The inevitable question that will be posed. The saying goes, Hindsight is always 20-20, but I think I hold a skewed, blurred vision of this whole experience, and Lorraine's 24+ years of life in fact. What will I ultimately think about this foreign experience? I'll likely give people a 6-word summary of general adjectives that wont do any moment I've had here justice. "I had a great time." "I learned a lot." "I drank a lot of chu-hi." "I hate teaching children." "I met amazing people." "I picked up like 12 Japanese words." "Saved some money."

More later..

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I got into grad school!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I wish you would step back from the ledge my friend... spare me from seeing your insides splattered all over the front of an express train.

The trains were late last week because someone threw himself or herself (or their-selves, ewwwwww) in front of an express train and slowed everything down, domino effect. It was the third time my train was delayed by a jumper. The other incidents happened in locations further off, and I could only imagine what happened, but this time I saw actual carnage. I didn't think that the train I sat in on my way to work would pass by that very bloodied express. As my train inched slowly by, our rubbery necks swiveled starboard to catch a passing glimpse of the vacated ghost train. It evoked an image of a gravely wounded soldier sulking back towards home base. The folks in my train were quiet--I mean, Japanese passengers are already a quiet lot, but this quiet was due to stunned silence. The impact of the body (bodies??) left a jagged, blood-stained crater to the front car. Imagine an egg shot by a BB gun.

A gruesome image I'll remember for the rest of my life. It got me thinking about suicide--the act of, not committing it, obviously.

(Coincidentally, ironically, poetically--whatever--I was reading "The Bell Jar" at the time. Horray for mental health!)

Anyway, yeah, being hit by a train moving at 300km/h would be swift and painless to the jumper but what about everyone and everything else inconvenienced by the jumper in the process? It would delay hundreds of thousands of commuters and traumatize everyone on the train and the onlookers. A perfectly good train RUINED. And SOMEONE has to clean up the bloody, bodily shrapnel. I think the worst bit is how the bereaved next-of-kins not only suddenly lose a loved-one but are also handed a very fat cleanup tab. I think families can be charged up to $1 million depending on the magnitude of the impact.

What a great way to make everyone hate you! Of course you'd be too dead to have to bother with the collective resentment. Bitter cowards, the lot.

If I HAD TO think of a way to kill myself, it would only be after all my close friends and family died, and, taking a page from the season 1 ender of Nip/Tuck, I would tie a bunch of Christmas hams to my body and throw myself into crocodile-infested waters so no one would have to deal with the cleanup and the 'gators would get a nice meal.

Anyway, this was a veryveryvery morbid entry and if there were anything more interesting going on in my life I would be blogging about that instead. An entry about how I'm tackling "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1" on guitar would merit 4 sentences. But Tristan, the BF, shrewdly pointed out I've been slacking on 'da Beat, so I slapped this lovely entry together just for him! You're welcome, hunny, and Happy Valentines!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Akemashite omedetou!

Happy new year!

I have been way busy lately but its been way too long in-between. I’m slightly embarrassed about where I’m composing this though—I’m being one of “those people” who bring MacBooks to Starbucks.

So I’ve been up to lots lately! Since last November’s L.A. coup d’etat, I—

• …turned 24. I had two birthday parties in successive nights with my Oita/Beppu bestestsesseseses. Night one, pimpin’ the Moet, night two, pimpin’ sparkling red wine. In a remarkable display of grace and maturity, I neither binge-drank nor harassed strangers either night. And I remembered everything from night two.

• …finished applying to three of the four J-schools I’m currently selling my soul to. I’m so siiiiick of it all. I’ve been thinking about grad schools for half a year now. It’s officially over Feb. 1. I think the only reason why I’m writing this entry now is because I should be doing something more constructive like filling out FAFSA forms, and/or studying for entrance exams, and/or cracking out another highfaluting statement about how my stellar grades and involvement with extracurricular activities demonstrate my motivation. I’m most inspired to blog when I shouldn’t be. It’s more fun this way.

• …acquired dual citizenship….I’m an official Hong Kong citizen. I can now vote, work, and legally live in the motherland, but in truth I’m more stoked about the shorter lines at HK International customs and excursions to Macau.

• …celebrated another holiday-themed visit to Lan Kwai Fong with Cousin Jasmine. Where it was all fun and games, and free champagne, and free Jello shots, and free Patron, and general arrogant swagger until we got into our first ever crazy-bitch scrap, not with each other but with genuine bitches. I’d rather not go into detail but this incident totally nullifies being 24 and being sensible.

• …hit up Okinawa. An otherwise perfect winter vacation of sun, beach, and hiking—if it wasn’t for the rain that had violently spit all over the damn place every other day. I did spend a blissful day on an island in the sun, playing and having fun, and it made me feel so fine I couldn’t control my brain, hip-hip.

• …got a brand new perverted Japanese man story for ya, Beat-niks. On the third day of the Okinawa trip, I invite along this 30-ish Japanese dude, Yoshida, from our hostel to join Tara, my travel buddy, and me in a day of sightseeing the coast in a rental car. Now, homeboy seemed normal enough and spoke about as much English as I did Japanese, so I figured it would be a fun day of Okinawan-exploration and language-exchange. The day went off harmlessly, Yoshida helped us get our rental, he helped us navigate the roads, we saw some fish at the aquarium and we tried our best to understand each other. I mean, yeah, Tara and I did notice him leering and lingering on occasion, but hey, we’re cute. On the drive back to the hostel, I asked Tara to stop at a hotel parking lot so I could take a picture of the sun setting on the beach. I get out of the car and the dude follows. I notice that he has a slight limp in his gait. As I’m snapping some photos, buddy grabs his package and says to me in a strained voice,
“My cock is hart.”
“Um, what?”
“My cock is hart! Can you help me?”
“Um, NO! I can’t help you with that.”
Frightened and confused—I thought to myself, “Did he mean his cock is hard or his cock hurts? Wait, why does it matter, it’s gross either way and this guy is a pervert.” I run back to the car, and seat myself in the passenger seat next to Tara.
Tara is speechless and obviously uncomfortable. Yoshida jumps into the backseat with his hand still on his crotch, pissing and moaning.
“Ittai, Ittai!” said the fucker and some other things in Japanese. Ittai means “pain” in Japanese.
So I guess that meant his cock hurt? I asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom and he said he did. The only thing I could think of is to drive to the nearest convenience store. Besides the unpleasant groaning, it’s awkwardly silent in the car as we’re driving. I suggest to Yoshida that he should rest or try to sleep and he mumbles that when he sleeps his cock is “hart”…so I guess it meant that his cock is hard?????? I couldn’t help but think this guy is going to kill us or rape us.
We finally arrive at the nearest convenience store where I tell Yoshida to get out.
He refuses to leave.
He asks us for tissues.
We don’t any so Tara and I get out, leaving him alone in the car.
Horrified, we burst out of the car and into the store and immediately analyze what happened. Among the exclamations…
“I think he has blue balls.”
“Did he just come in his pants????”
And so on. We find him some tissues, we leave the store, we throw the tissues at the fucker, we drive back in complete silence the entire way back, we drop off the rental, we part ways.
Okinawa ’09, Always in my heart.

• …gave up chicken. Only for a month though.

• …celebrated ’10 Tokyo style!! Three days in the Big T. One night was so ridiculous that I can’t actually write about it.

• …got hit on by an 18 year old. SWEEET.

Okay, time for sleep.