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Where Was I?

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Sometimes it’s hard to write. I procrastinate. I finished a book but it’s in Lulu limbo now. I have to finishing editing it. I get sidetracked by life. Things are moving fast but they appear to be moving so slow.
After five years, I’m still here in Japan living outside of Tokyo. People here, appear to have no patience. They don’t want to wait and act as if they can walk through anything like phantoms. It’s impossible to understand. I ride my bike and I don’t drive. My kids are in school and seem happy but sometimes I look lost. I have a job and what I need. Nobody outside is waiting to mug me or shoot me with an Ak-47. Now it’s winter time and I miss the sun. Socially I’m bored. This is life. Its up to me. I’m back on Facebook after three months away but it’s not the same. I’m not the same. Where am I going? I don’t know. I need something more. I think it was a good idea to come here but sometimes I want to go home. This summer I will. Usually I’m a little scared. I went home not to long ago to see my grandmother. She was a vegetable in a hospice. It made me mad and sad. Dying is hard sometimes because people want to keep you around. I don’t want to go out like that. I want to live but when it’s my time, let me die. At the moment the world is fucked up, it could be worse, it could be better. Japan, isn’t happening. I’m not happening. I’m a father. That’s the good part. Maybe it’s good to be at this point. I can’t go back in time, we all want to. Usually there is something that has to be done. I have a lot to do. In the mean time, I’m trying to write it all down. I teach a lot but sometimes I want to jump out of a window and see if I can fly. It’s not possible. I try my best. At times there is no conversation at all, just little quips and jokes about things. A friend is moving back to his country. He’s finished his tour but my mine is just beginning. The house is finished and we play house. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s not. What is friendship? I don’t really know but then I have to ask myself what is a friend. I can’t worry about it. I know more about who I am now and some of the little parts of me, like Ghana and Quakers and DNA.
Where was I?

Hacker, hacker go away!

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My thumbs are cracked at the tips and hackers got on my nerves last year.
So, I turned off my Facebook page and my Likedin page because it got to the point that they were trying to get me to change my iTunes password and Paypal password but they, who ever they are can’t spell on the fake links they were sending me so it didn’t work.

What did work was some phony Likedin page that sent some malware to my phone and I watched in horror as all my mail was sucked away into cyberspace and the later I got some screwy Likedin email that looked legit but when I opened it, showed a copy of a census image I had sent to a family member because I’m researching my family history. That was the last straw for me so I just dropped out of social networking until I could figure out what to do. I re installed the software on my phone and now its better but it’s also too late for me too.

I miss my friends and sharing my life with everyone but I just didn’t think it would go this far and it really pissed me off. So, now maybe I’ll read more and well I can email the people I really need to connect with. I just wonder why me? Like I stated on my Facebook page before I turned it off, it’s too easy. That’s why they do it. We are all so gullable which is why we fall for the okey doke all the time. I thought I could outsmart them but I fell prey to a fake friend requests on my SNS sites and so now I’m in the dark.

This could be a good thing for me too because now I’m doing all the things I didn’t do when I was always looking at what people were posting or saying and also posting stuff myself. I’m not against it at all but I just felt like the only way to throw the hackers off my ass was to just shut it all down. Now I’m waiting and contemplating like Loose Ends.

I have a friend that does not use Facebook. He tried to tell me it was bad. I didn’t agree with him and I still don’t, I just fell prey to my own openness. It’s sad that you have to be so careful and look so carefully at the email addresses that come into your mailbox. It takes away from the fun and the real intent of being close to people but like in real time human beings are predatory and will look for any opportunity to take advantage of someone and so cyberspace is just one more imitation of real life. Though we recreate ourselves online we also show are true selves sometimes.

I don’t know how long I will stay like this. I told myself I would keep everything shut down for a year. How long will it last? I’m not sure. At the moment I’m not going through any withdrawals. I actually feel good too.

Being online is great. I’ve found friends and lost friends online. Now I wonder where it will all go. I miss my friends but if you really want to contact me, you’ll find a way. I just felt like I had to do it.
Pow!
It sounds like I murdered someone. In a way I did, my online self. Though parts of me are floating around in cyberspace, I can’t do anything about that. At some point I might change my mind but for now I’m unplugged. A little!

Dying

My grandmother who was more like a mother to me was finally taken off life support. I wasn’t there because I was back in Japan, which is now my home. When someone is dying or dies that is close to you, a lot of thoughts go through your mind. You start to think about how precious life is, all the good times or bad times you shared with that person or others. All the things you would like to do with your life, have done or have yet to do. So as I sit here sometimes and peer into my computer screen and look back at home I think about how some things haven’t changed in America and the Americas and the world for that matter.
People risking their lives trying to get into the U.S. to start a better life or to find family members, trying to escaping catastrophes back home. Police brutality on the streets of U.S. cities, where it seems to be open season on black people again. Or maybe it’s further away from home with bombs being dropped once again on some city in the Middle East using U.S. warplanes in the name of humanity or two cultures fighting over dirt in the names of their religions.
What are any of us to do?
Well, you could move to Japan but you would probably be bored and move back to New Orleans, Los Angeles or Staten Island or maybe back to Honduras. I can hope at some point in the future that all of this will change. That black people will stop killing black people. That the police will stop shooting unarmed teenagers. That the cold war will finally end. That if you believe in God like the next human being you’ll finally start following your faith and make peace with the world. Maybe all of this is just wishful thinking but I would like to hope that one day this will all come true. I guess it’s just a fantasy.
Home looks scary.
The longer I stay in Japan the scarier back home tends to look sometimes. Like maybe I can’t live there anymore but when I’m back home, I feel fine and I love it and think about how important my friends and family are that I left behind, in real time, not just on Facebook. We can all do better I feel, by being better people and caring and not so much that we will get angry enough to kill someone for their Nike Air Jordan’s but care enough to just be human beings and not feel inadequate because we don’t have some material item or that someone looked at us the same way or cut us off on the freeway but enough to stop the violence.

F#$# I$

It’s funny how in life you worry about something and years later realize that it was all really going to be ok. That you were moving in a direction and that things were going to be fine. That the time could have been put to better use but you make it through and then it’s something else that appears up ahead on the road. What are we all chasing? I’m trying to figure that out. For the moment I have to enjoy myself. My children are happy, I have a job and health insurance and a great wife. It could be worse. I use to worry a lot and I still do sometimes but now I feel different about it. I have to live with it. I don’t stress out like I use to. I do know from dealing with different people that you can be confident but insecure and egotistical and insecure and that large ego types don’t like to be ignored. That knowing people sometimes is like adding up numbers and after a while when you look at the balance sheet you realize that the sum total doesn’t look good.
From Japan looking back towards home I have realized so much. There is always more that you want but there a lot more that I know I don’t want. People are suffering for reason that are based upon pure greed and narcism. I can’t go for that anymore that Daryl Hall and John Oates. So success can be what makes you happy or what satisfies you everyday so that you can get up every morning and do your job and support yourself knowing that things will get better, like having faith in God. Things can always get better.
The casa is getting closer to completion. I never thought it would happen this way. I always imagined myself getting a house in the U.S. and living there with my family but maybe I’ll start here. Maybe we all get what we want but not always in the way we thought it would be. There are things that we are chasing and it destroys us a little bit at a time. You think you know someone well, like a family member but when they die you realize what their life was really like. You find people wanting to be friends with you on Facebook because they are now middle-aged and a little bit lonely. Bullies look older and less frightening. Ex-girlfriends or boyfriends don’t look as appealing or as steadfast and maybe you realize you were right all along because you stuck to your path despite setbacks and you can feel that in a way you won part some small victory like your favorite heroes on old-school Saturday morning cartoons. IMG_2825

Waiting

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My grandmother is dying. It’s difficult accepting the fact that the person you once knew will no longer be the person you know. At this point life becomes ever so much more real.
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Now you see family and they see you in all of your different forms and you see them. It feels good to be home though it was a journey coming from Japan to the Bay Area and adjusting to time-zones and looking for wi-fi and air terminals.
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I made it. Now I’m thinking about a woman who was not only my grandmother but my mother when she needed to be and taught me so many things about life.
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Live can change any moment and all the time you think that you are prepared and you’re not and so you move onto the next thing but we are sticking together and you have to remember that the most important thing is family unity at this moment.
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Vida

IMG_2297 Japan the school year starts in April and ends in March. So, I just got started at my regular job in Ikebukero and my father calls me early in the morning and tells me my grandmother is in the hospital and it looks bad. I had a thousand thoughts inside of my head after hearing that. I had been wanting to go home but not this way but now I guess I got my wish and like they say be careful what you wish for.
My grandmother what not my grandmother she was my mother too. She helped raise, mold and scold me at times. She’s tough and she’s fighting as I write this in my hospital bed to stay alive. Now, relatives and friends are visiting her waiting, hoping and praying. In a few days I’ll see her. I can’t wait.
At this stage of my life so much goes through my head. A lot of people my age are not here and those that are, a few are in bad health. I have a family and I try and take care of myself so that I’m here for the long term. At the end of the day health will make choices for you, no matter how much bling or bang you got.
I’m ready to go home. Just a few minor adjustments and arrangements and I’ll go to Narita airport by train and take off. I hate flying but living so far away from home what can I do? The tough part about living abroad and so many know this is the distance and sometimes absence of family. I’ve been in Japan for four years and I keep telling myself that one day I’ll go home and it keeps taking me longer and longer and more things keep happening until one day I’ll turn around and it will have been twenty years past. I can’t even list all of the things I’ve had to let go of and at times I’m still holding on too. I miss my grandmother a lot and now I may never see her again. She has done so much for me and still does. So, while I have time, I will leave and hope and pray for the best that I can get to her in time before she leaves me and our family forever.

Go for Selfie

IMG_2011How many pictures can you take of yourself? I’m not sure but now instant gratification couldn’t get more real or overdone.
Get over yourself?
In this era self promotion couldn’t have gotten more self gratifying .It has become a necessity. If you are not trying to put yourself out there then who will?
I like Facebook and I even went through Facebook withdrawals after finding some people I knew from a long time ago but some of it is like, “look at me! I’m doing this!! ” Great, keep it to yourself!
For me it’s a sharing tool for some people it’s way to just show off. Or maybe I’m just jealous and not having enough fun.
I can’t travel right now. I’m stuck in Japan while our house is being rebuilt. I miss my family and friends and so the things I share about myself let the people I care about be a part of it from far away. Maybe there is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and not being selfish but some us are self-aggrandizing are selves too much.
You can also never be too proud of yourself and acknowledging your self worth.

Funny Money

I recently went back to school and it wasn’t cheap. Like a lot of post graduates,I’m in debt but I’m working. My debt isn’t getting smaller but I try to make a dent in it when I can. Not even Bit coins could bail me out.
My father has a little saying, “When the money is funny the white boys act funny!” He didn’t just mean any white boys but the rich ones, the,”Happy Boys Club,” the Wolfs Of Wall Street types because there are a lot poor white people too and they formed the Tea Party. Heck, there are a lot rich black folks too and they won’t even associate which a poor schmuck like me. For a minute the richest man in the world was Mexican.
It all sounds bad but what dad was alluding too was the economy or you could say the world economy is shaky. Technology is not going anywhere soon and what does the U.S., my home really make anymore? Culture is our greatest asset. Education is important because it can mean the difference between being a have and a have not but not even educated people are safe from the present economic dull drums. Now it’s all about self promotion. You need a selfie and some social networking skills and voila you can pump yourself up and make some cash. A few of us thought Bitcoins would help out but just give me some old greenbacks and I’ll be fine.
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Pussy Galore

Putin sucks! Pussy Riot is cool. Stand your ground is wack! I can’t reiterate more how much I disdain black on black crime as well. I’m far away from home but not from reality. From afar the U.S. looks as crazy as any other country. In Japan, I can’t escape the oodles and oodles of oohs and ahhs about everything. I feel like I’m living in a vacuum. There is a certain amount of political discussion that is missing here or maybe I’m missing it because it is not being displayed physically like I’m used to because here there seems to be some sort of verbal third dimension where things just disappear. People move in straight lines to the point of collision so either you move out of the way or you crash like a test dummy into what ever is in heading in your direction. With a lack of space, yes the Japanese have become perfecters of its utility but publicly in a social context they are lacking.
In the U.S. you can make friends so quickly you might think that you created Facebook only to find out that the person has a hidden agenda and you are about to be de-friended. In Japan people are very layered, it’s hard to know if your are a friend and acquaintance or a temporary friend but it’s a lot more honest I feel sometimes than the guy-smileys I have met back home who only wanted to take my well guarded rhyme sheets, to quote De La Soul.
I’m happy, don’t get me wrong and well I feel for the Pussy Riot girls who were horse whipped protesting in Sochi. They need help and the government is definitely not helping. They could be like Femen but that might be a little to extreme thought they are basically fighting for the same thing. As always, I miss home but there exists a part of the U.S. that has not adapted to the present. The reality is that all those jobs we so coveted in the past are not coming back. Millions of people are still unemployed and looking for work. A lot of people like me with post graduate degrees are poor and working at Target or fighting identity theft. We are suppose to be middle class or the new middle-class but unless we are working at a start-up or making some new app smart phones, wepussy-riot-500x2821 are in for a long economic struggle. Nobody wants crack or cocaine anymore they want prescription drugs or molly so they can escape the new millennium.