In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Luckily though, my mom and dad didn’t count the three disasters that happened in Japan as strikes against my decision to live and work here. If they had, I’m positive they would have benched me with no hope of letting me leave the safety of baseball’s birth place: my home country of America.
Nope, they counted them as fouls. For those of you not versed in the intricacies of Japan’s favorite adopted sport, it takes four fouls to make an out. I only had three and was therefore still in the game.
Like many, I felt the urge to travel the world during my time wandering the halls of higher education, nose in a book, glancing up only to see if any girls were checking me out (sadly, not that many). I had that “itch” to escape the bonds of what I knew and immerse myself, both body and soul, into a whole new paradigm. Life needed clarification, and a journey away from the familiar appeared to be the best way.
Why I chose Japan as the lens that would focus my life is a rather lengthy story. In short, it’s a tale filled with anime, manga, and the influence of a girlfriend in college who just happened to be Japanese. (See? At least one girl was checking me out.) But manga, anime, and my Japanese girlfriend aren’t the three fouls I’m talking about here. Nope. What I’m referring to is completely different, and definitely not what I had expected.