Yup, this was my apartment in Japan. Not shown: My futon that was later replaced with a proper bed once living on the floor started to become a problem for my back.
Shot with another new-to-me-at-the-time camera: Holga 120WPC.
By the time I took this picture, my life was firing on all cylinders. A pretty good job. All of the stress and ill-will I had in Korea mostly stayed there. And while this apartment wasn’t anything to write home about outside of saying, “Yup, this is my apartment in Japan.” it was perfect for a single guy who was planning to stay that way.
The last year or two of my time in Korea saw a parade of what could be generously called “Bad women” enter and exit my life. For my own sanity I decided that Japan was going to be a no relationship experience. Much to the puzzlement of everyone I met there.
I know, I know… “Being single is not hard to do for a guy with your looks!” Har-dee-har. But I feel that the lack of two people trying to deal with each other’s bullshit contributed a lot to my happy feelings about my life while I was there. Sure, Japan had it’s stresses and annoyances, but I didn’t have to deal with those stresses and annoyances when I went home at night. And a different set wasn’t there waiting for me.
For the first two years, my free time was taken up with exploring the area I was living in. I saw and photographed a lot of the Miyakonojo plateau (Everything not a mountain on this map) by bike and by foot. I traveled to, and explored, most every notable city in Kyushu. These are the sorts of things you can do with all of the disposable income you’re not spending on keeping a mate happy.
Digression time! Let’s talk notable cities in Kyushu;
- Fukuoka has all of the big city stuff. But that can all be found in a dense, easily walkable area. This makes the city seem smaller than it is.
- Kumamoto has a lot more people out and about than most cities of it’s size. Great if you’re a street photographer. And if you like Japanese history the castle is pretty cool. There seems to be an abundance of attractive men and women there for some reason.
- Nagasaki is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to, historically important, and very small. A weekend trip at most.
- Kagoshima is a very mellow place that also has a lot of historical importance. The volcano is a mixed blessing as it makes for great photography but lousy breathing.
- Miyazaki, Yatsushiro, Omuta/Arao are all variations on the same thing. Low traffic port cities with a rapidly greying population. Sort of like Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s like I went around the globe to wind up where I started.
- I never made it to Saga and Oita but asking folks got me a review of “Meh” for them. Beppu sounded interesting for the hot springs, but I decided that my vacations would be better spent in Osaka and Tokyo.
Now, here’s the thing about traveling while single. You can’t turn to someone and say, “Wasn’t that cool?” The best you can do is show your photos to someone who likely doesn’t care when you get back(Like you). And you can’t sit down and ask, “Where should we go next?” Having someone fill in the gaps when your imagination/ sense of adventure fails you is a boon when traveling.
Then again, you won’t have any arguments about which bus to take or what to have for dinner. And no one is going to sicken you with their bathroom smells. Add on top of that the constant terror of making sure a child isn’t eaten by wolves and I can’t see why anyone would want to cohabitate.
Towards the end of my time in Japan I had been sucked into the abyss known as the MMO. So, you know, fuck me.