[Random] Thoughts,  Black[ness],  Japan[ese],  Queer[ness]

Sixty-six // Thirty-three

One-third of my life.

That’s how much of my life I’ve lived
outside of America.

My so-called “home country.”

Eleven divided by thirty-three.
Point three three three three three three ad infinitum.
I.e. thirty-three point three three three three three ad infinitum
OR sixty-six point six six six six six seven percent American.

Except not really, but whatever.
It feels that way and
for the six more months that I get to say it
I’m going to say it.

66.667% American
33.333% Other…?


Currently, 64% of Americans do not have a valid passport
I can’t relate to that.

1 in 10 Americans has never left their home state.

Yes, I do consider myself incredibly fortunate

to have been able to
go where I’ve gone
seen what I’ve seen
lived the life that I’ve lived.

Thanks to that, however
my place within the social category of “Other” 
feels that much more canonized.

“Hey, you remember when Obama–?”

No, I don’t remember.
I wasn’t around for that.

“Give me a sec and I’ll call us a Lyft.”

A Lyft…?? Ah, right. 
I’ve heard that that is a thing
but still don’t understand it.

…Marijuana’s legal now??

When I left America in 2007
Motorola Razr flip phones were The Thing.
Who could’ve imagined.

Get lost in the middle of Nowhere, Japan?
No Google Maps or Google Translate to save you.
Better try your best with the maps you printed out
from the communal computer in the hostel’s lobby.

First Android phone came to Japan
I switch carriers the second pre-orders open.

Being the Tech-head that I am
is the very reason why I haven’t
saved a penny in this goddamn technophile of a country.

Visited Nagasaki

on a cold day in December 2008
Visited over 20 prefectures, actually
but Nagasaki will forever be a fav.

Beared witness to the Truth that is
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum
Daigo Fukuryuu Maru
Fort Cunning Bunker (Singapore)

Seen the versions of history
that get written into
Japanese textbooks
American textbooks

Seen the way that
Japanese politicians
American politicians
Australian politicians

Discuss the realities of
‘comfort women’
nuclear weapons

And will never again be the same for it.


The election of Obama.

Students young and old ask me
the only black person they know
what I think about the first black president.

I hate being that for people:
THE black person they know
THE representative for an entire race
But eh, I’m used to it by now.

Scribbles about gender and other random stuff in my journal.


That was a trip.

The readjustment that was
being amidst English speakers again
except they spoke The Wrong English.

How long did it take to stop asking
people to repeat themselves
and to stop acting like such a “twat”?

“Where are you from?”

The End.

“At least you’re not one of those Boat People.”

“One of those refugees,” you mean.
No one actually said it
but the implication was there.

A unique blend of culture shock
and simultaneous reverse culture shock.

Thankful for the company of cats
and the internet to keep me sane.

Admittedly less thankful
for the years of Playing House with my ex
but it is what it is.

Could have also done without
Aussie Immigration
dragging its feet with my visa
and then forcing me to leave the country.
But eh. Whatever.

Lived and learned.
Am thankful for that.

Landed on my ass in America
escaped back to Japan
at the first chance I got.

I’m practically an expert at
starting life over from scratch by now!

Even have a Japanese driver’s license
and a pet hedgehog this time around.

Two years after
less than 100km from
the Fallout Zone that is
Fukushima Daiichi.

the company responsible
fulfilled its mandate:

a $50 bank deposit
(“apology money”)
a script for free iodine pills
(“Doomsday pills”)

Good job, Prime Minister fuck you Abe.

The election of Trump.

The next day, 5-year-old R-kun comes to class
the first words out of his mouth
“Sensei, why did Trump win??”
He asked as if I had an answer.

The next week spent fielding
more of the same
when all I wanted was
to stop being people’s
Go-To American.

Being an American had become
so fucking embarrassing.
Even Bush Jr. wasn’t this embarrassing.

An entire decade spent
observing America
from afar.

Random brief glimpses from the inside
followed by acute reverse culture shock.

Thank god I’ll be back in Japan by the end of the week…

Except not this time!

America isn’t the America I knew.
Did I ever even know it at all…?
So distorted by time and a lack of B12
is my memory of America
and life in America, now.

Then again,
the America I knew
was an America seen through
the eyes of a newly fledged
“”young adult“” at best.

I’ve never truly “”adulted“” in America.
Never had a car payment.
Never signed a lease.
Never paid my own health insurance.

#America you piece of shit.

Never been openly queer
in America.
Never been read as a black man
in America

Never been A LOT OF THINGS
in America.

Eleven years ago
at twenty-two years old
I may have been more than
66.667% American
when I set out in hopes of
freedom and self-discovery.

But truth be told
I’ve always felt like “Other”
just not in relation to
citizenship or nationality.

at thirty-three years old
I may be no more than
66.667% American
when I return in hopes of
facing the reality that is America

But truth be told
I’m not sure how well I will fair
with this added sense of “Other”
compounding the reverse culture shock
compounding the other “Other”s
that I struggled with so many years before.

What I do know is:

Eleven divided by thirty-three.
Point three three three three three three ad infinitum.
I.e. thirty-three point three three three three three ad infinitum
OR sixty-six point six six six six six seven percent American.

Working myself up to
one zero zero percent ready
to do this whole
all over again.

Regardless, I know
that each time I do restart
is better than the last.


An origami crane made by a student at my school's Cultural Festival.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

One Comment

  • Caspian ;)

    According to the moon magic book I’m reading persons with their moon in Pisces and sun in Gemini are born storytellers….definitely believe that, reading this.

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