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 Sad Eyes…

I find young children to be very attentive, certainly a lot more than people give them credit for anyway. It’s easy to look at them playing – pretending to be chasing after an imaginary monster, taking out evil ninjas, or goodness knows what else…and think that they are not clued in to the real world in the same way we are. But in actual fact they are a lot more involved in their emotions, and consequently less guarded with them – this is probably because they don’t have all of the usual adult complications, and worries. Well, that’s one of many reasons, but let’s not get into that!

What the hell am I rambling about this time? Alright, I’ll cut to the chase! You see the day that I was just wandering around, in a bewildered daze...I was actually feeling so lost. I am a positive person, or at least I’d like to think so anyway – but I have these drops down to deep, and rather dark depression every, now and again. Sometimes it just pops out of nowhere – like an evil little gnome….kind of…anyway, it whispers things into my ear, and allows for its wickedness to permeate into my living thoughts. Everything becomes tarnished, and everything becomes shitty in my view…a little bit like Cinderella – but in reverse. So imagine I had the fantastic chariot, the clothes, the dream life so to speak…and then this nasty little critter comes along, and suddenly all I see is a fucking pumpkin.

Pumpkin GIF

Not ideal. But anyway, this time around it was to do with the fact I’d just broke up with my girlfriend – we had tried to work out our problems, but they repeated themselves as they so often do. Sometimes you just aren’t making each other happy, and there’s not a lot more to it – just because you want people to change doesn’t mean they do. So this time it is done for good in my head…it’s not so much that I want someone else, it’s that I don’t want to be in a toxic negative situation. I’m certainly not installing Tinder, or hitting the town, and being all “hey good-lookin, how are”…okay, I’ll stop there because I’m making myself cringe. But yeah, I’m not doing any of that. 

I’ve told myself I can focus more on my work, write more – be more productive or whatever…which is a plus…but unfortunately I’m not a robot- so those in between days when you’re alone, those are the ones that sting. Those are the ones that the gnome comes out for…

So come Monday morning I was feeling a little better, but still sad. Still would have much rather just sat in my pants, feeling sorry for myself…listening to one of my favourite “boo-hoo lfe is so unfair to me” break-up songs – front runners are Kid Cudi – All Along, and Nirvana-Something in the Way – the gnome loves them too, they’re horribly beautiful – and make me want to shoot myself in the head.

Blam GIF

But anyway, I headed into school, desperate to not let it effect my time with the kids.  It would be unprofessional, and unfair after all. So, I made sure I was extra-lively, I put on my best Jim Carrey mask, and bounced off the walls even more than usual, my expressions were far crazier, my voices even more weird…the kids were smiling, and laughing – I was doing well, or so I thought until one of the children, Angela – tapped me on the shoulder gently…

“Are you okay?” she gazed up at my face, examining me without a single blink –

“Of course! Today we are going to the PLAY ROOM! WOOOOO!” I replied, with a silly little jig, as the other kids cheered…

“Okay? Really? Teacher…has…sad eyes.” 

Why GIF

Well maybe it’s true…actually it certainly is. But there’s happiness out there, just have to find out where. 

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p.s. apologies if there aren’t as many posts during this weird time, once I’ve booted the gnome in his face, all will be well in the world again. And services should resume as normal! 

Lost Marbles

I think I may have just lost my marbles…not literally obviously – I mean I don’t even own marbles in the first place, so it would be impossible to literally lose them. Also I’m quite careful with things, especially with particularly precious items – and I’m guessing they must be pretty fucking special marbles if people bemoan misplacing them quite so much. And make such a huge hullabaloo even when other people do the same with their own…

So yes…metaphorical marbles. I may have lost mine. Although I must say I wasn’t certain – so naturally I turned to the glorious all-knowing oracle we know and love – The Internet…she had this to say:

Losing Marbles

Well I’m not living under a bridge like poor Jimmy, but I do still feel slightly mad. I left my house today needing a change of scenery, I told myself I’d find a cafe so I could continue. But I didn’t find a cafe…well I did actually, I found several – but I didn’t stop. I just kept walking, and I was like “well, that was a cafe? Why didn’t you go in? What’s going on here?!” But I wasn’t listening to myself, or more to the point – I was, but I was ignoring my own queries every single time I passed a perfectly good place.

Just wandering around, then waiting for the lights to change – and then across the road I’d go, then down a street, then around a corner, and on again…and again, and again…sometimes seeing the same faces of stranger’s – who looked bewildered at having spotted me three times in fifteen minutes. I tried to look like I had direction. Like I had an urgent appointment. A business meeting…a lunch date…something that normal people do…

I feel deranged. 

And all of this was poorly glossed over by the music that trickled out of my earphones. A droning crooning…about hearts falling off things, or into things…or something along those lines anyway. It began to grate on me, so much so that I would shut it off completely, if it wasn’t for the fact I’d hear the world’s external sounds. Better this, than that. 

But where do you buy marbles? All this coffee, and no fucking marble shops – I haven’t even heard of a marble shop now I come to think of it, have you? 

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