Why This Record Now Exists – 15 August 2012
This is the first post in a blog that I have started in preparation of my upcoming trip to Japan. I’m from Charleston, South Carolina (hence the chucktowner moniker), a student at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, and I’m studying abroad at the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS) just outside of Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.
The above is the broadest reason I’ve started this blog, reduced to bare bones and honest facts. The below is – well, the juicy flesh that covers those bare bones and honest facts, which will keep you interested in ifoundthewub. I feel if I fully explain to you why this record now exists you’d want to read more of it.
Selfish Reason No. 1 This Record Now Exists – It focuses all my anxieties and apprehension into a single place – a public place – where I can express them and have you fine people read them and scratch your heads over what I’ve written here. You will, I guarantee it.
Truthfully, my motives behind this blog are multifaceted and, at the core of it all, selfish. This is a huge undertaking I have chosen to accept and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive or – dare I say – afraid. I mean, I’m a hulking black guy who’s going to spend a year in Japan for the sole reason of becoming fluent in speaking Japanese. The term 外人 (gaijin, a foreigner) doesn’t even begin to describe the awkwardly out-of-place-edness I’m sure to feel the second I step off that plane and out into some huge metropolis I’ve only read about and seen on television and heard about from others.
Selfish Reason No. 2 This Record Now Exists – I’ll have too much to say, and Facebook won’t cut it.
Another selfish reason I’m doing this is because this is too important for the likes of Facebook to handle single-handedly. This is not to say that I’m going to ignore the ‘book to the exclusion of all else – it has its merits, like anything else. It’s just that this is something worth recording in a more… concrete and formal fashion, I think. I post interesting things on Facebook. Regularly. I’ll post interesting things here, too. Constantly. They’ll be a great deal longer and more personal… like a diary, right? Right.
Selfish Reason No. 3 This Record Now Exists – I want to become the best damn writer I can be.
At Clemson I am a dual Japanese and English major, which means I read and write almost constantly when I’m at school. Oftentimes that entails reading something tedious and largely by force, and then regurgitating well-organized thoughts onto a properly-headed paper of varying length. But that’s not the case here. There are no deadlines to meet. There are no points to defend, or sources to cite, or bullshit to sift through. This is something I have chosen to do of my own volition – yes, because I want to reflect on everything I’ll see and hear and touch and smell and taste and DO, but also because I want you to come as close to seeing and hearing and touching and smelling and tasting it all, and maybe that’ll spur you to DO it all yourself. Maybe not in Nagoya, but perhaps Moscow, or Istanbul, or London, or Toronto, or Chicago – wherever you think you might want to go. The better written this blog is, the more you’ll feel what I write here.
Selfish Reason No. 4 This Record Now Exists – I want you to read my blog.
By now – if you’re still reading this, kudos, by the way – you may be saying that these reasons aren’t really selfish. I mean, I am sharing them with the public at large, after all. Right? Well, yes and no. I guarantee that everything I post here will be the absolute truth and accurate to a fault, but at the end of the day they’re simply my opinions on my observations, not the gospel truth on what your opinions and your observations would/will be if you experienced the exact same things I do. So I guess, in a way, it’s like I’m tricking you into into sharing my experiences with me. And isn’t that what writing basically is?
Selfish Reason No. 5 This Record Now Exists – It’ll prove that I will survive this experience.
This post comes a couple weeks before the adventure of a lifetime begins, at the end of a killer summer that was the most important one in my twenty-six years of breathing. I’m leaving a lot of stuff behind me – family and friends; things I cherish and things I hate; braincells and bar tabs and the Battery – stuff I grew up with and know quite intimately. This will be the first time I’ve ever flown on an airplane. This will be the first time I’ve ever been further west than Atlanta. This will be the first time I’ve ever spent Christmas without my mother. Damn straight I’m feeling apprehensive. But not so much so that I won’t jump in head first. Yeah, I’ll struggle a bit. I won’t feel the bottom, but I’ll learn to swim. And I’ll be fine. I mean, look what I have to look forward to – Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and the Shinkansen and the subway and Fuji-san and walls of skyscrapers and obnoxious neon signage and street food and karaoke dives and used panty machines and God knows what else. I’m a freak for Japanese infrastructure, if you haven’t noticed. And that’s more than enough reason to go.
One more thing, folks. Many of you might be wrinkling those brows at the title of my blog, ifoundthewub. It’s a reference to a Philip K. Dick short story, “Beyond Lies The Wub.” It’s about a spaceship crew that lands on Mars and purchases a wub, a strange creature described as slightly porcine in appearance. They keep it with them and don’t realize that it has telepathic powers until they take off with it and have a few weird “conversations” with it. Then, they all become wary of it, argue amongst themselves about what to with it, and one of them eventually eats it, after which he (named Franco) becomes possessed by the wub. After he had eaten it.
It’s a kick-ass story, I love the title, and I think, metaphorically speaking, it’s quite fitting. So there.