Japan, Prose


I have finally started to meet some people who seem more open and outgoing here in Japan. It’s great because they’re always eager to meet and hang out with new people. But I quickly started to find their energy a little demanding.

During conversations, I slowly but surely start to feel the pressure that every second must be filled with words: questions and statements, amusement and agreement, smiles and smiles upon smiles; and it exhausts me.

But why can’t we disagreeeeeeeee? I think to myself allowing my whines to whirl my thoughts. If you like shopping but I don’t, it’s not a bad thing. Why can’t we just chill? Do we really always have to talk? And do we have to be so excited for everything all the time? Can’t we just sit and be quiet? Drink tea, hear music, do nothing? Why do we have to plan and make exact dates and times? Maybe I’m not ready for this level of commitment…

I sometimes find myself wanting to hide away, and I begin wonder if this is what it’s like when people know me?

I think I’ve always been most comfortable with more reserved people though. Most people I meet here choose this disposition, but unfortunately to the point that they seem desperately afraid, of life and all things moving.

It hurts me though mostly as I haven’t figured out the best way to respond to it without feeling that I’m being that excessively overbearing person. So to avoid being that, after initiating a couple statements, I usually begin fade out all my input into the conversation in some drifting-meant-to-be-subtle-but-totally-awkward kind of way. I wait to hear more from the other side, but I often don’t so I let my attempts fade and float away like feathers in the wind. But will there be hope for a next conversation? I ask myself, but I can never be too sure.

In some of those drifting conversations, I think people wait for me to elaborate with essay-long explanations of why I decided to inquire about their interests in the first place, but for me, the answer is obvious–why not? I just want to get to know you, but in the moment, it always feels like a strange thing to admit and explain.

I have come to find myself somewhere in the middle of a tricky experiment, overwhelmed by the very welcoming but distant from the silent. I feel a little like Goldie Locks looking for “juuuuuuuust right,” the way my elementary school teachers used to read it. Some days I feel less hopeful than others looking for it, but other days I start to think making friends isn’t even my real goal. I really just want to touch hearts and make people smile.

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