Monday, November 28, 2011

STONEWALL LGBT: Events around Tokyo


New Year's Eve Events

I'll be in Nichome for New Years. Keep reading, I found a girl's and boy's event in Nichome for New Year's Eve.
Have a good end to 2011, Everyone!

GIRLS' PARTY 【Grand Panache Count Down Party 2012】
OPEN 22:00~4:00

The Address
東京都新宿区新宿1-19-8 サンモール第7ビルB1  

Open: 21:00 から1月1日の13:00
Price: 23時まで入場¥3,500
Flyer: ¥4,500 Door: ¥5,000

Special Countdown Showtime: TOY BOYS and TOY GIRLS
VJ: Maki


venue:AMRAX @ 渋谷
fee:\2500(nd)/¥2000 with flyer(nd)

NEWS---MOTEL, a women's bar in Shinjuku Ni-chome has moved locations to a bigger facility. See flyer below.

January 15th 2012-----LGBT Coming of Age Ceremony and AfterParty

LGBT Coming of Age Ceremony
Date/ 2011.1.15(Sun)
Time/ Main Event:15:00~(Open 14:30)After Party:19:15~(Open 19:00)
Fee/ Main Event:1500yen After Party:1500yen
Place/ Seijo Hall(6-2-1 Seij, Setagayaku, Tokyo)
★Reservation is needed to attend Both Main Event and After Party
Official site/

::::::UPDATE END::::

I send out emails to the people who live in Stonewall's Block 3, which includes the area around Tokyo. Since a lot of out-of-towners might end up in Tokyo in order to fly out, they may be able to catch some of these events. So here's the mail:

Dear Block 3bies,

Happy Friday to you all. I hope you're having a good day! I have the list of Block 3 Stonewall members and attached it to this mail, as well as a few updates and events coming up that I found after the last bulletin.

Getting to Know our Block 3--UPDATE
On Facebook, there was a request for members to get a list of the names of the other members in their area, along with which cities they live in and contact information.

In the last email, I announced that I was collecting your permission to release your contact and location information to other members. Thank you for those of you who responded to the mail.
I received 5 responses , made the list, and attached it to this email.

If you'd like to be added to the list please reply to this email saying "Yes, please add my name to the list, include my contact information and send it to me when it's completed." This list will only be given to Stonewall members.


The Stonewall leadership thought it'd be helpful to have some peer support sessions going on to talk about some of the issues that affect us in Japan. Just a relaxed discussion. Please send your Skype account name to Mike Moses" block leader gmail account if you want to participate, as well as any specific questions related to the main topic you would like to discuss during the talk. Of course, your information will be kept confidential! The more the merrier!

Topic: Negotiating an LGBTQ identity in the Japanese workplace

Date and Time: Thursday, December 1st at 9:00 pm

Sponsor: Stonewall AJET


Current Event Reminders

The Ring Party at Warehouse 702 (Tomorrow)
Nov. 26 BOYS ONLY Location's website

Panache Girl Party in Nichome (Tomorrow)
Nov. 26th GIRLS ONLY

Tokyo Pride Volunteer Prep Meeting

Nov. 27th from 2pm-4pm, Nichome
Also, for those of you who'd be interested in volunteering to help with next year's Tokyo pride, the first information meeting is going be held on Nov. 27th from 2pm-4pm
at Shinjuku Culture Center (In Nichome). Tokyo Pride will be held on April 29th, 2012. And of course, this will be a Big Stonewall Event!!!!
「Tokyo Rainbow Pride2012」ボランティア説明会
27 November · 14:00 - 16:00@新宿文化センター
Volunteering for Tokyo Pride might be a great way to make new friends in the Japanese community. At Osaka Pride, I saw a few foreigners wearing the "Pride Organizer" shirts, so you'd most probably be welcome to join as a volunteer.

Diamond Cutter
Dec 2nd at ARCH in Nichome

Human Rights Demonstration regarding Ishihara's, the Governor of Tokyo, homophobic comments
Dec. 03 from 1:30pm at Kashiwagi Park, Shinjuku
For those of you who are interested in politics and human rights change in Japan, there's a demonstration on Dec. 03 from 1:30pm at Kashiwagi Park, a 5 minute walk
away from Shinjuku west exit. Here's the map.
Last year, the governor of Tokyo made some tacky comments about homosexuals. There were demonstrations after his criticisms asking him to apologize, and he never did.
If you want more information, and can read Japanese, here you go
東京の中心で人権を叫ぶ ~石原都知事の同性愛者差別発言から1年~」
12.03 sat. 13:30新宿区・柏木公園集合/14:00出発

JUNON BARTHOLOMUE Mixed Event Dance Party in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
Dec. 3rd, P
lanet Cafe, Hamamatsu

Gaymix Party 10th Anniversary Party (Boy's Event)
Dec. 9th at Arch. (Nichome)

LA NINA Party [Girl's Only] in Shibuya
December 10th, Saturday
Here's the venue's website

GOLDFINGER ---Shinjuku, Nichome
Dec. 17th, Saturday
Here's the event's link

Shangri La: White Christmas Ball [Mixed, but mostly guy's event]
Dec. 23rd at AGEHA
Mostly Boy, but Mixed event
Join Mixi and go to this link

DEC. 24th in Shibuya
Here's the link to the party
Here's the link to the map.


Future (Block 3) Major Events [Please send word to Facebook or here if you hear of an interesting event in Block 3]

Tokyo Pride April 29th, 2012

Dinah Shore Weekend in California during Spring Break (March 30th-April 1st) in Palm Springs
(There's a group of girls in Japan who are going to California for Spring Break, if you'd like to join)

Dyke Weekend May 4th, 5th and 6th (More information coming soon)

Feel free to share your ideas about what you'd like to see in Stonewall here or

I'd really like to share more events for you BOYS, so please be on the look-out and share them with me!!!!!!! I feel bad that my posts are so girl-centric, desukedo......

And, that's all I got for you in this installment of Block 3 Info Blast.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Most Important Thing I've Learned by Living Abroad

I read this blog calling for submissions to answer "What have you learned by living abroad?" via twitter, and thought it'd be fun to respond. Afterwards, you should put a link to your post in that site's comments section. Okay, soooo......

Have you ever wondered about the phrase, "You are your own worst enemy"? Whenever I deeply think about about some catchphrase or overly used English idiom, my thoughts naturally cross the bridge of wondering how to say it in Japanese.

But think about it for a moment,"your own worst enemy". Hmmmm.....

Do you ever sabotage yourself into producing less, having less fun, being unsuccessful at various challenges, by using the incredible power of self-doubt?

When you move to a foreign land, where you don't speak the language well, or know the usual way of doing things, you spend a large percent of your waking life in varying states of confusion. I find it funny that even when I dream in Japanese, I don't know what's being said to me.

[Aren't you hilarious, Ms. Subconscious?]

In the beginning, many tasks such as signing up for a cell phone or bank account appear impossible if you don't have a translator with you. In these certain cases, even a dictionary won't do you much good. After some time, to everyone's relief, these types of tasks become easier.

However, many people, myself included, fall into the "I can't speak [insert the language of where you live here]" trap. Despite studying, and seeing benchmarks that their level is improving, people often shrug off some annoying task like calling the post office to re-deliver their package because of the fear that their Japanese wouldn't be understood over the telephone.
Actually, I'm talking about myself, in this case. I was notorious for asking for favors of my coworkers during my first couple of years in Japan.

Now, these fears aren't in any way irrational. I had plenty of experiences where a Japanese service employee becomes frustrated by a language barrier and stops trying to explain, only to tell me to bring an interpreter next time. After enough of those experiences, it feels safer and more comfortable to just ask a Japanese friend, co-worker, or partner to call for you, as if you were a child who's too young and inexperienced to use the phone or discuss adult matters.

So here's where I get to the point. [Oh look at you, ガマンさん] The most important thing that I've learned to do is slap myself in the face whenever I say the words "I don't read, speak, understand Japanese well enough to _________" Now, I won't usually do the slapping of my face if I'm in public, but I do put it on the list of things to do later. Because, there's no excuse....absolutely no excuse to limit the things you can do just because of a language barrier.

There was a point in time when I found myself saying that for everything. When it was time to research a travel destination, book a hotel, train tickets, rent a car, call the post office, return the phone messages I'd get on my cell phone answering service. The list goes on and on. Then, I started realizing that I had gradually stopped asking for help, and just started doing without these things. I would just decide that it was too difficult to get tickets to some event using the Konbini machines, so I wouldn't go.

I didn't realize how terrible this behaviour had become until I met *Yinsan. I was instantly interested in this girl because she was interviewing Japanese women politicians and filming a documentary about it. I was fascinated to hear more about her project, so I volunteered to help her with whatever she needed. It wasn't until I met up with her at her Sakura apartment, a short-term housing facility for foreigners that I realized, she's just a short-time visitor here from Malaysia. I had lived in Japan for far longer than she, and despite her having a very basic command of the Japanese language, she had ventured on this monumental task of making a bilingual documentary in Japanese and English.

When I first realized the fact that she wasn't so familiar with the workings of Japan, I tried to bind her with the same invisible restraints that I do to unconsciously limit myself. I asked her, "How on earth are you able to know what direction your interviews are going in when you're without an interpreter." How are you going to complete this film with so little budget when you have so much translating that needs to be done?" How annoying was I, right?!?!?!

She then just flat out told me that somehow, in some way, she'll do it. She's got to, she's already been given the budget for the film, and has no other choice but to make it to the end.

And this is when I realized how important it is to have this type of mentality when you're living abroad, because life is naturally going to be harder to tackle. The thing is, that this is the quality that most interviewers for overseas jobs are searching for in a person, and a lot of us are easily able to give the correct answers. But when it comes to doing this day-by-day, even after a succession of failures, the challenge becomes more daunting.

Since making this discovery, almost everyone I meet is either someone who's still using the language excuse as a crutch, or someone awesome who's grabbing life in Japan by the 金玉, and finding solutions to whatever challenge they're faced with.

Whenever I feel a challenge coming on, I now always look for alternatives for ways of solving the problem that I may not have thought of before. Only after that, will I revert to asking for help.

Just don't forget the face-slapping. That's crucial.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nanowrimo (Day 1: 1696 words)

Part of the reason that I've avoided the JET programme as the subject matter for one of my Nanowrimo projects is because I really want that one to be "right". In my other projects, I've dealt with characters, situations, nationalities and languages that I know really well, or at least feel confident with conjuring. However, because of the international nature of the experience in the JET programme, it's harder for me to create these characters, and feel as if it's authentic.

Secondly, I can't decide on the time frame or point of view. Let's start at the beginning. What was the beginning, actually? Was it when I walked through each airport exit stage, escorted by smiling strangers in matching T-shirts, while feeling more alone than welcomed? Or was it when I smiled out little white lies to a panel of Japanese interviewers about the extent of my resiliency, and ability to shake things off that may perhaps become culturally and repetitively annoying? Or was it when my best friend at the time wooed me with images of adventure and hi-jinks in a foreign-er than foreign land?

I do think it's most appropriate to start on the day that I fished out my horrendously heavy luggage from the baggage claim, and struggled to carry them out the automatic doors, where a great wall of wet heat greeted me to Japan's unexpected tropic, cured ever so conveniently with a "hanbaiki" delivered bottle of bitter green tea. But that's not the point. It's not about me or my experiences. It's about meshing together others' lives in a way that reflects the sky of a single day.

By the way, I ought to interject here before I get too far into what I intend to do and forget to introduce my objective to the reader. Perhaps the someone skimming through these mish-mashes tends to get peeved when one talks about a project in which they intend on partaking before they've had a chance to see it. If you hate when people spoil entertainment events through updates and a poor sense of written tact, then perhaps this Nanowrimo isn't for you. If you have even in some point in the past, had this happen where you wished that you hadn't heard anything at all before partaking in entertainment, be forewarned. This Nanowrimo November 50,000 word "novel" month is going to be dedicated to all my sussings-out of how I intend on portraying an experience as a member of the aforementioned journey through teaching English in Japan.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I can go ahead and release the built up strain in my eyes, and allow them to roll around and succumb to all the sarcastic stretching they need after that last paragraph. I mean, for reals, do we really need yet another English teacher in Japan writing about her impressions of how the intricacies of living in this place affect the people around her? I must ask myself what do I think it is that sets me apart from everyone else who's writing about these people in this place all over their cleverly named blogs? I must and I have. I know that I'll be the person writing this portrait of a young group of women and men, and because of that point, my scent will be in its nuance, my fingerprints on the mirrored letters from my extra bouncy, slightly loud keyboard. Yes, this much is true, however, however, however.....

My desire is to portray "the" experience to the best of my ability. I suppose the dear reader ought to feel sorry for me for attempting such a holographic task. There I go reaching for the shiny sandwich hovering above a dream-ful sleep. And, there I go with my food metaphors and wordventions. Ya, well, you know where to go if you have a distaste for that kind of thing, as well as where to stay if you don't.

Okay, so back to what I was talking about before I embarked on the explanation of my audaciously Milton-esque task of justifying the ways of JET to man. The beginning, end, and midlife time-frame. You know, I actually haven't even truly decided what any of this is. A few weeks ago, as I was pondering over some of the inherent idiosyncracies of a JET, I thought it'd be cool to have a well-told television show, perhaps shown on the AMC network, that'd be a kind of dramedy, horr-sical, romantasy. I just thought it'd be cool if it existed and I had nothing to do with it except for stealing it off a torrent site.

After that 20 second daydream, I chastised myself for daydreaming about TV, and remarked "I wonder how hard it'd be for me to try making one of those." Truth is, it sounded hard inside the confines of my cranium than it does once I put it into some text on a white and black screen. Then I thought, what if it was the kind of thing where people worked together to create different episodes using the same characters, however they could characterize them based on how they saw them. Then, everybody's scent would fuse together and no one could be able to be sniffed out individually.

I wondered how do-able it would be if one season depicted a one year time-spanning from August to July. Some characters go home, some stay, some grow, some spiral.

Well, yes, these were just some thoughts that mist-ified around my imagination, and I won't limit myself to making these decisions while I'm at this point. So the beginning starts in an airport. While introducing the faces of the characters, along with portraits of their personal effects, I'd like for all sound to be background noise of airport, however, the voices of the bystanders will be barely audible, yet definitely distinguishable. It'll be the other travelers, conversing about the spectacle that is the airport on the day of large-scale gaijin entry. Some people will be confused and asking each other what they think is going on. Some people will know about the program and share their opinions, good and bad. I definitely want both.

I am in need of another rest stop. This will be another one of the challenges of creating this project. Besides getting honest opinions from all perspectives of people who live in and around the programme, there'll be an added challenge of perfecting the nuances and understanding when things are put into Japanese. In this respect, I will have a definite disadvantage and will be in the need of help, and not only with translating. I'll also need help with extracting clear and honest opinions. I've done so much of the research already, everything's all in my head in the form of magma-tic, gelatinous mush which has burned, dried and melted around in cycles hundreds of times. I just need to keep talking to people and let these images flow out.

By the way, there's another major aspect to my image of the final project. Remember earlier I mentioned a few genres in which I'd like this to nestle between. One of the aforementioned hybrids that may come to be the most difficult to portray is the romantasy. I'm not a fan of deep fantasy tales, such as the Lord of the Rings, or even Harry Potter.

Oh no, did I just lose some readers?

Haha, kidding, no, but for real, I need fiction-some mystery in any story with which I spend a lot of time. It's kind of my prerequisite for what I find interesting and real. To me, the unreal is real, and that is that.

If at any point you think that I am blabbing on and on just to waste word space, I'd like you to call me on it. Right now, I'm tired and disappointed that on my first day, I am finding it difficult to want to finish this 1667 word post. You know what? I'll take it easy, and write more tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll dream of something awesome.

[I left, but couldn't sleep knowing that I didn't finish my full quota of words on the very first day. I felt like if I started a precedence such as that, I'd only be psyching myself out for the rest of this 30 day challenge.]

I'll try and put something non-distracting to listen to while reading. In the same way, I'll also be putting together a kind of unofficial soundtrack usually near the end of the daily post.

Day by day will bring numerous ideas, some good and some not-so-good. Either way, I'll get some stuff up here. Perhaps tomorrow I can think of some of the major events that has shaped my (and perhaps others') perceptions. Though I'm so ademant about not making this about me, besides interviewing people, my own memories will act as the spring board. Considering I have this blog which dates back to when I first came, I'll be able to conjure up some of the things that I may have forgotten.

You know, that's another element of why I've hesitated for so long. As a newbie, I didn't feel like I understood this place well enough to write such a broad account of things. However, even now, 5 years later, I still feel underqualified, and I doubt that I would ever feel 100 percent confident. I'd like to speak with someone who does.

Actually, haha, I don't. I have encountered that person enough during my time here. Which reminds me! That's one thing that I'm about, and I know it doesn't seem all that positive and happy, but one of my internal brain objectives is to depict those different characters you come across here again and again. You know, "that guy" and "that girl", "that teacher", "that konbini staff", et cetera.

However, there are definitely images, emotions, beliefs, memories, impressions, sensations that only come to you during your first experience doing something. And when you first come here, there are so many firsts. It's actually quite amazing, especially if you've gone awhile in your life without having very many occurences of "firsts".