Sayonara, and thanks for all the Natto
This may be the final posting here at Sushicam. This should not come to a surprise to anyone since the pace of “recent” updates has been about once per year.
When I started this blog way back in the beginning of 2000, (has it really been that long? ) I was updating it about 2-3 times each week. Updates were that frequent for a variety of reasons:
• I was new here and had just got my hands on a digital camera and was busy exploring Japan
• I was looking for something to keep my time occupied as I was in an unhappy marriage and needed a good reason to spend time away from home (exploring and taking pictures)
• I needed something to occupy my time when I was at home (writing about my exploits and posting my photos)
I decided to start a photo blog, but I could have just as easily taken up a different hobby. But photography it was, and this quickly evolved into quite a serious pursuit, with Japan being the backdrop for my explorations.
This rapid pace of updates continued until the 2006 timeframe when the site got hacked and was completed deleted. This kind of took the wind out of my sails, and I never quite recovered.
Another thing that happened at that time was that I got divorced and had better things to do with my time than photo blogging, namely jumping head first into the dating scene. That was A LOT of fun while it was lasted, a very busy-crazy time. To be a single male foreigner in Japan can be quite a whirlwind experience. And to make a long story short, eventually I found a new girlfriend, and then that was what took up all of my time for the next 5-6 years. Eventually that relationship fell by the wayside, for a variety of reasons. When it ended I did dabble with dating again, finding a new interest in Osaka, which while extremely fun while it lasted, also turned out to not be right for me.
By that time I was tired of the dating scene, and feeling somewhat disheartened, so I kind of resigned myself to being a permanent bachelor, knowing that it is better to be in no relationship than being in the wrong one.
So, to find an outlet for my energies I decided to start doing more traveling. However, having covered Japan pretty extensively for more than a decade I decided to start doing more traveling throughout the Asia/Pacific region .
The first trip on my list was Palau, which was great. Very different from anywhere else I had been, and just the kind of change of pace that I needed.
But as great as my Palau trip was, for my next trip I decided to try something new. In order to get a more authentic experience in each place I went, I decided the best approach was to NOT buy a travel guidebook, feeling that I would feel pretty stupid to show up at my destination(s) only to find a bunch of other tourists with their travel guide books seeing and doing the same things as I was. So I joined a dating website, not with the intention to find a new girlfriend, but rather for the purpose of finding tour guides for each of the destinations I was travelling to.
This approach worked out fabulously for my trip to Cebu . I ate at some great traditional food restaurants, was introduced to the local nightlife scene, and had some great day trips, the best of which being a privately chartered catamaran that I spent a full day on (sunrise to sunset) shuttling around to various snorkeling spots. It was the real highlight of the entire trip.
With that success under my belt, I then set my sites on mainland China.
But here is where the story took an interesting turn.
Because I had a profile posted on that dating website I would get a lot of messages from women, most of which were very short like, ”Hi”, or “You look nice”, etc… obvious shotgun approaches which I deleted, not responding. But one day, shortly after I returned from Cebu I received a very nice message from a girl in Vietnam . She had obviously read my profile in detail, and she also took the time to ask me some questions, as well as tell me a little about herself. Since I had not yet travelled to Vietnam, AND because her message was so nice, AND her profile photos were drop dead gorgeous, I replied to her. And to make a long story short, I cancelled my plans for a trip to China , and three weeks later I travelled to Vietnam , meeting Phuong in Ho Chi Minh city where she lived. While I was there we took a trip up to Halong Bay in northern Vietnam , and it was on an overnight boat cruise in Halong Bay (while I was crippled by food poisoning) that I proposed to her. She said “Yes”, and three short months later were were married, happily ever after. :)
It may come as a surprise to some of you, to finally learn the original motivation behind this website. But even though I initially started this blog as a way to kill time, it did quickly grow into a labor of love for me. And the best part of all was the people I got to know through this site. Some I knew for a brief time, quickly losing touch. Others periodically reached out to me to tell me about their own exploits of living in Japan after having been motivated by this blog to take the plunge and move here. Still yet others have passed on to the great beyond (I still miss you Joe, AKA “Pachipro”), and then there is that handful of others which have become life long friends. I treasure you all, for you all have played a part in my life, making a much richer experience.
If this blog has taught me one thing, it is that life is really all about the journey. We have destinations in mind, plans for the future, and dreams we are trying to make come true. And that is good. We all should be reaching for something. But don’t forget that before you get to the end, there is a whole lot of interesting people, places, and things to meet, see, and do along the way. So keep your eyes and your heart open, never lose that sense of wonder, and the world will show you some wonderful things.
Thank you all. I wish you health, happiness, and fulfillment in everything that you do.