Tokyo Tantrums

Japan ~ Tokyo – 2015

Tokyo has a big city sort of reputation to it, an air of grandeur accompanied with a sense of mystery somewhere within the non-stop luminous glare of the lights and the 24/7 rush…

So many films have painted a picture that has made an impression on me, and because of this it was high on the list of places I wanted to see…so when I realised I had a long weekend coming up I didn’t hesitate and booked it up straight away! Just a couple of hours to get from my home in Korea to the unknown world beyond – armed with nothing but a friend’s recommendations (which proved invaluable) and a feeling I was soon to be in my very own Lost in Translation remake…

Lost Trans GIF

Sidenote: when travelling you really do need to think long and hard about who you will actually travel with. Well maybe not too thorough – nothing too ridiculous, but at the very least you need to see a clean bill of health (both physical and mental), a criminal background check, and dental records. Also check their voice and typical conversation topics as otherwise you may be locked in with the most boring groaner on the planet – which is never going to be fun. With this particular adventure I was meaning to go alone originally, and then at the last minute a lady friend of mine tagged along…which brought some erm, shall we say – complications? 

Anyway I mean this sincerely when I say that Tokyo is a marvel. So much to see and do, a far cry from the more reserved and traditional parts of Japan I had visited earlier in the year.  But oddly I found it manages to retain a fantastic balance between the two often conflicting sides; you see one second I’d be staring up at a 60 foot tall science fiction juggernaut in the form of the powerful Gundam, the next I was wearing a traditional yukata and relaxing in an onsen…then I’d blink and be back to the mad rush of the Shibuya scramble crossing! I was completely in my element, roving around searching for the weird and wonderful, straining my neck to try and see as much as I possibly could…it was everything I had dreamed about for so long, and so much more…

Shibuya GIF

But yeah: the ghost at the feast…the wasp at the picnic…the drunk and slightly creepy uncle at the family reunion. Hmm, that last one was a bit weird, but you get my point – this is the part of the story where I say what didn’t go so smoothly, and most of it had to do with my travel companion: hence my warning earlier. You see I try my utmost to remain as friendly and light hearted as possible during trips, as from experience I understand that it can be a pretty stressful period if you let the small things seep in and truly affect you…if you do that suddenly the foul smell of a certain street, the incessant honking of horns on the road, or perhaps even your friend’s breathing can have you suddenly enraged beyond all comprehension: like smashing an axe into a locked door screaming “heeeeere’s Johnny!”  sort of level rage. So it’s best to take a deep breath instead, and just let most hiccups roll off your back…

However, my lady friend didn’t share this ethos…which meant that any small thing became the reason for a monumental day-ruining mood. Juxtapose that dark rain cloud along with my attempted cheery sense of humour and you had quite a pairing; something like if Voldemort was to meet one of the Teletubbies. Well actually that’s unfair (to he who must not be named): it would only be like that if Voldemort had the emotional range to both grimace and groan about public transport, and literally burst into tears about the levels of salt in Japanese food…as it stands I don’t think he is quite on her level yet.

I can understand the frustration though, Tokyo is huge and it’s far too easy to become dazed and confused by the sprawling subway system: which I honestly think was designed by someone throwing spaghetti at the wall, and saying: “that’ll do just fine.” We took many wrong turns during our days there, and the hours were long and well travelled…but I don’t see how it helps remaining silent or dragging your feet along as if you are a pathetically non-threatening zombie, or almost defunct robot:

Robot GIF

There is an answer to such problems though, and one which I will gladly share with all of you…and that is; beer. Yes, you heard it here first! The golden elixir is the perfect remedy to all sorts of ailments, including the frustration you may feel when a friend (or something more) is becoming more than you can bear. Thankfully there was a so-called “English pub” just off a side street near to the Shibuya crossing…where for three times the normal price I could enjoy beer, ales, and all that good stuff as if I was back amongst the smoke and laughing guffaws of my homeland…“Wait, it’s how much?! Jesus tap-dancing Christ!? It’s not worth that!”

But yeah, that’s how things go! Ups and downs, smiles and frowns…you have to take the good with the bad, and try to carve out memories that will last: and despite all the issues we were still able to do that…pretty much.

However I must now look for an AA meeting in South Korea: so yeah, wish me luck. 

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The Friend Zone

I have a HUGE, HUGE problem – you see, I have a friend…

I KNOW – TERRIBLE! BUT IT GETS WORSE…MUCH WORSE…

This friend, unfortunately…is of the opposite sex. It’s unthinkable! Unfathomable! Urghhh, I can’t believe this madness exists in the world…it’s made even stranger as it doesn’t feel weird, I mean it feels the same as a regular same-sex friendship – but it is NOT – I am in the friend zone; a desolate land that no one wants to be, ever…it’s kind of like a desert of broken souls, and unimagined dreams…and the fact that I didn’t realise I was here, makes it even worse, even more sad, even more depressing.

This was me and my so called friend, just before I found out about my wretched, and impure soul that our so called friendship was built around – 

Harry Hermione GIF

People actually feel sorry for me, and so they should. I’m a total, and utter, loser. I didn’t know I was breaking any rules…I just thought I had a friend, a nice-normal friend…but no…I was in the friend zone all along – the betrayal, the disgusting series of lies…I feel so stupid, how did I not see this coming?!

All those times we laughed and joked, just like real friends. All those times we met for coffee, lunch, dinner, and hugged goodbye – just like real friends. All those times we discussed opinions, vented about our relationships, or family problems – just like real friends. THEY WERE ALL A FILTHY ILLUSION.

I felt like Neo in The Matrix when I heard the truth…I saw all of the memes, read all of the internet stories, heard the lines in films and TV – they flooded through and everything suddenly made sense! Guys – just like me were realising they were “friend zoned”, and were waking up, aka – “getting out of the friend zone like a boss!” 

Desert GIF

It doesn’t matter that I am in a happy relationship with another girl, and that my “friend” is with a good man…what matters is that we now realise, despite the fact there is no sexual attraction whatsoever – we do not love each other, we are actually in love with each other – because we are of a different gender, and that is the only possible solution…we must battle this friend zone thing together.

After all you can NEVER just be friends with someone of the opposite sex, the world says NO – even if you both say, YES.

I’ve called her up…she hasn’t been in touch since – she was kinda freaked out – which I understand, it was a shock for me too; but surely it will all make sense soon, and she will pick me up from the friend zone. It’s the only way either of us will be able to survive this life.

Roll Eyes GIF

Did you relate to my tale of “woe”? Then make sure you like the facebook.com/storytimewithjohn page – we can make it through with each other’s help. 

(p.s. I know this kinda thing does happen sometimes, I am just trying to make the point that it is not always the case! After all I have a number of amazing friends, some who just so happen to be male, and some who just happen to be female! So can we cut the friend zone bullshit out, already?!)