Life in America (or at least San Francisco)

Some of my friends have been complaining I haven’t been updating my blog. There’s a bunch of reasons not the least of which is I now live back in the USA so I don’t really have much of interest to share. When I lived in Japan I felt like I was sharing things friends might want to know or at least not have easy access to but now anything I share is just random thoughts. I guess the blog part of my site though has always been random thoughts but then again I think the motivation to update it is not there like it was living abroad.

As for life in America, I’ve been back a little over 3 months. Some things are good, some are not so good. My job is of course way better than my job in Japan. Sure I got to work on a great game but I felt isolated and not really a part of the team even if I wrote most of the code. Now I’m working with several friends on an English speaking team and so that part of my life is much better.

Another is that I’m paid a normal American salary for a top game programmer which is far more than a Japanese programmer. Sure, money isn’t everything but I don’t feel like a failure like I did the most of the time I was in Tokyo. In fact, one of my, uh…, “friends with potential”, visited me here from Tokyo. I’m not sure I wanted to hear this but she said given my new apartment it would be easy for me to find a girlfriend. Of course I don’t want a woman that wants me for my money which I told her. She said when she saw my apartment in Tokyo it really turned her off or rather gave her pause whether or not she was interested. WOW! I don’t think I wanted to hear that either from her and maybe that’s evidence of why we never went beyond friends. Still, it was validation of how I felt about my living arrangements in Tokyo. I meet one woman a couple of years ago that I could swear decided against continuing to see me the moment she saw my apartment at house party at my place. That’s something I couldn’t verify 100% but still, it’s one thing to live in a 300sqft place sleeping on the floor at 20-25 in Tokyo. It’s another to be living that way at 40+. Well, that problem is fixed.

My commute is a curse and a blessing. I thought the added 15 minutes over my Tokyo commute wouldn’t matter but the difference is in being downtown in Tokyo vs. living and working in separate cities here in the Bay Area. Somehow I need to get my company to move from San Jose to the San Francisco. I can see if I did that my life would probably be much more like my Tokyo life. Going out after work easily and meeting friends often. In my new situation I get home not earlier than say 9:30pm to avoid the traffic and by that time most of San Francisco is closed and friends are settled for the night. I guess that’s also different. Except for movies most entertainment in Tokyo is open until at least 11pm. Bars, Izakaya, Karaoke, Clubs, Ramen and many other food places are open till 5am.

On the positive side I’m using some of that commute time to study Mandarin. Some people have suggested I take the train to work but another friend that works with me says it takes 2.5 hours one way so I think I’ll skip that. If I worked for Yahoo or Google they have private shuttles to get people down to their campuses. Too bad I can’t hitch a ride.

Another thing that has come up recently is allergies. Most of my life I have had allergy problems from time to time. I thought it was just a part of life but that’s apparently not the case. While I was living in Japan I had no allergy problems. I wondered about it but now it’s confirmed because now that I’m back in California all my allergy problems have come back. I’m not saying Japan is better than California in that sense. Hay fever and the like is just as big a problem in Japan with millions of people affected, maybe more than here in California. Maybe it’s something people get as a child in the area they live in or maybe it takes time to work its way into your system but for whatever reason I didn’t have the problem in Tokyo. My mom says it’s the same for her. She moved to Florida and her allergy problems have basically vanished. It certainly makes me wonder, short of a cure, if I should consider living somewhere else in the world eventually. Especially right now I’m having one of my worst hay fever episodes ever.

I think the thing that bugs me the most so far though is looking for women. It is embarrassing for me to admit that I never had a Japanese girlfriend in the 7 years I was in Japan. At the same time, I met the most women there. One reason was probably because I tried a little harder, going to various singles activities but I think the bigger reason was that I had a larger variety of friends than at any other time in my life. Here in the USA my friends have generally always been people from work. We work together, go to lunch together, sometimes get dinner together and maybe see a movie once a month. One of them always becomes a close friend and we might do some things on the weekend. Unfortunately up until now, that meant all my friends were game development geeks. There are almost no women in game development and most of us geeks don’t have girls hanging around to introduce to our friends or at least that’s been my experience. In Tokyo, several of my friends were not in game development and meeting their co-workers was always 50%+ women. Financial, I.T., Graphic Design, License Management, Localization, etc. So, they’d go out, invite me and I got a change to meet far more woman than I ever did here even if nothing ever came of it.

Well, now I’m back in the USA and so far it’s the same as it ever was for me. There’s only one woman between the two internal teams of about 25 people at work and if the guys at work have female friends to invite out to activities I’ve seen no evidence of it.

All of that brings up another reason I don’t blog much. That’s because probably the #1 thing I would want to write is about the woman situation in my life. Unfortunately most of women in my life at some time or another get around to reading this stuff or will be informed by someone who does and so I really don’t feel like I can talk about it. I’ll say a few things though.

It could be all in my head but I’ve found it extremely frustrating to try to find a girlfriend. People like to say I’m picky but I don’t see it that way. I see it as I have a feeling of what would work long term and it’s exceedingly rare I meet that type of women and it’s even rarer, in fact in the last 9 years I’ve only met one that I thought was long term that was also ( a ) available ( b ) had some chemistry and ( c ) was interested in me and that was 9 years ago before the first time I went to Japan. Since then I’ve met maybe 4 women that I felt could be long term and that I felt some chemistry with but they were either not available, not interested or both.

Of course chemistry rules over all. My last girlfriend didn’t really match my ideas of what I think it would take to go long term but for the time we were together our chemistry was pretty great. My point is, I’d probably get into something even if they didn’t meet my ideas of long term compatibility if there was strong chemistry but so far no one with that chemistry who is available and interested in me has shown up.

I’ll say what my ideas of long term potential are. You’ll probably unthinkingly make fun of me but they are pretty short, just super rare. The #1 could be described as someone that respects, appreciates, and finds interesting what I do. That is that I make video games. I think I was born 10-15 years too early because the number of 41 year old women that can respect or appreciate video game creation is very close to ZERO. It might sound stupid to have that as I criteria for someone but turn it around and think the opposite. Think of a musician being with someone that hated his music? What about a movie director with someone that thought movies were a waste of time? Could you be with someone who thought what you did for a living was stupid and childish? That’s what most women, possibly most people over a certain age think of video games. I’m convinced, when I put “video game creator” in a dating profile that most women pass on me by that alone. Well FUCK THEM! I’m not going to stop being who I am just to get a woman. Still, it sucks because that’s what my life is like. So, when I say in the last 9 years I’ve only met 4 women that had that quality AND had some chemistry it’s probably not too hard to believe. Of those 4 they either were not available or not interested and so I just have to keep looking but damn it, it’s effing depressing.

Yes, I know now the advice will be “well, don’t put video game creator” in your profile. Yea, maybe but I’d rather filter out those women that have an issue with that than leave it out only to meet women the have an issue with it but will put up with it once they get to know me.

It’s a cultural issue as well. This doesn’t *really* bother me that much but then on the other hand I do have to avoid thinking about it or I can get worked up. The other day a friend of a friend was telling a story about some guy inviting her and her friends to a Wine and Wii Party. They were at a bar and it was hard to hear so at first she thought he was saying a Wine and Weed Party as in a party to drink wine and smoke pot. She finally cleared it up that it was Wine and Nintendo Wii and for anyone who’s played at Wii at a party, including her, she knows how fun it is and why someone might suggest that. But then, she showed the exact problem I described above. I don’t remember the exact words but she said something to the effect of “I thought a Weed Party was strange but a Wii party it just geeky and stupid”. Of course she didn’t mean anything by it but with a little thought she might have noticed she just called me, my entire adult life and career geeky and stupid and whatever other derogatory statements you want to add in there.

It’s kind of like people that are into cosplay or anime or trekkies. The majority of people not only don’t respect them, they ridicule them. Those people need to find someone that can except them as is where as I’d say the majority of people out there, instead of accepting, appreciating and supporting a hobby like that would think that person needs to “grow up”, “get a life”, “get over it”. The truth is the person doing the criticism needs to grow up. There’s nothing more strange about any of those hobbies than being a sports fan yet one is social acceptable to most, the others are not. I’ve meet maybe 4 women in my entire life that could not only hang with that kind of stuff but actually embrace it. They were 10-13 years younger than me and not available or not interested.

Like I said, I’m sure chemistry trumps all though it seems just as hard to find as the rare woman who can hang with a video game creator. Add them together and it’s near impossible.

  • genkigaijin

    I feel the same way. I aways thought that Japanese women would be the best for dating, so I lived in Osaka for 3-years. I did have many female friends but nothing that ever developed long term. I don’t think women over there are “easy” at all, like a lot of unethical people would have you believe. I had a lot of what I call Gaijin Trophy dates, when you go out for one night and then after it, no more contact. I had fellow college students be nice to me and lead me on only to correct their English homework at the library. I got a lot of empty promises from my Japanese female friends. On the other hand, at least they would go out with me. Back in the US, I just can’t see myself dating that much. It hard to find people in the U.S. with the same common interests like Jpop, anime, and video games.

  • uk_designer_matt
    Problem of perception

    I think one of the biggest problems is the perception women have of the people working in the industry Gregg. If you tell someone you are a video game programmer, before they have even spent anytime with you then a barrier can go up. I think they need to know, but at the same time as they are getting to know you or already like you. Then it becomes more acceptable because that other initial barrier of “is he nice or someone I am interested in?” has gone.

    I don’t think anyone should hide what they do or their hobbies, it is just the way they are presented. Your job and past times are part fo who you are, but people you want to become intimate with need to see the person seperated from those and then they sit on top of that person’s total persona. I hope that made sense.

    Good luck in finding someone Gregg. I’d suggest experimenting a little bit. Go someshere new and attempt to get a date without telling them initially what you do, try putting Visual Entertainment Designer as a job title on your speed dating form and most of all relax – women seem to arrive in your life when you least expect it and at the moment they seem to be foremost in your mind. Because they are you may be putting up a barrier to them and don’t even realise it.

  • Hey Matt,

    I see your point and I agree that might get me a girlfriend but I think maybe you are missing mine. I’m not looking for a woman that can start liking me and then “put up with” or “accept” that I’m a video game creator when she finds out later. I’m looking for a woman that hears/reads “video game creator” and thinks “wow! that sounds like a rockin job” or something in that direction.

    I know lots of graphic designers for example that can make amazing stuff and their girlfirends or boyfriends can appreciate it as in “wow, that’s amazing” or “that’s great!” not “I guess it’s okay but I really don’t get graphic design”. Well, I’m looking for a woman that can “get” video game creation or at least appear to have the possiblity of getting there.

    I’ve only ever met a few women like that, all of them unavailable.

  • J


    stand by your principles. Giving in to them and accepting compromises will cause frustration and disappointment in the long run.

    Greetings from Tokyo.

  • Ryu

    I don’t call it a compromise. Even Miyamoto’s wife had not been interested in video game until Nintendogs and Brain Training came out.

  • uk_designer_matt
    Problem of perception part 2 🙂

    I think the main point of my post was that there is a barrier there for a lot of women because they don’t understand what you do. You may find a girlfriend does go “wow” at your job after she has gone “wow” at you. They are 2 seperate things even if videogames are a big part of your life.

    Personally, I think getting a girl you like playing LocoRoco and enjoying it before she knows you worked on it would get you the wow factor 🙂

    Finding a woman who already appreciates or thinks videogame work is cool is difficult, but is getting easier due to the popularity of the DS and Wii among women. I doubt this is as much the case with 30+ women than 20+ but it is still the case.

    I am speaking about this not as an interested bystander, but as someone who has spent several years in the industry. I took the approach that if a woman likes you then they are more accepting of what you do. Don’t get my meaning of “accepting” wrong though. I mean they will actually take the time to understand what you do and appreciate it – remember games still mean “childish” or “immature” to many people.

    Again, I wish you luck in finding a mate Gregg – whether it be someone who already appreciates our field of employment and passion, or a girl who knew nothing about videogames, but comes to appreciate it through a relationship with you.

  • Ryu

    That pressure is not cultural, it’s more universal IMO (Confucian vs Catholic).

    That said, I agree with you that it’s best to have someone who understands what you do, but it’s not so simple. Can you get enthusiastic about what a woman does as her job or hobby as much as you want her to know what you do? It’s a mutual thing.

    A game developer is a highly professional job just like a stock trader who does stock trading all day. Probably his wife won’t fantasize about his job, but I don’t think his family is always unhappy.

  • Hey Ryu,

    Miyamoto’s wife for me was an example of everything wrong in Japan. Of course I don’t know his relationship with his wife but the stereotype in Japan is you marry a pretty women then work 10am to 11:30pm 5 days a week and often weekends, have nothing in common with your wife and grow apart. The fact that he picked a wife who hated video games until DS/Wii only reenforces my stereotype that marriage in Japan is not about love or spending time with a best friend for life it’s about pleasing parents, doing what’s expected and having kids because your supposed to.

    While I know that’s not true of every relationship in Japan it is true of a large percentage. Korea and China have similar cultural pressures.

    So, I don’t take the fact that Miyamoto got his wife to finally except video games as encouraging. Instead I take it as he chose poorly by American standards and I feel sorry for him that he’s probaby not that close to his wife.

  • Hey Ryu,

    Rather than say I would need to except and enjoy what my wife does I look at it more of I need to find a girlfriend / wife who does something I can support, believe in, encourage etc.

    To give an example, if I met a women who was seriously into numerology or astrology, not mildly for fun but seriously into it, possibly even doing it for a living, even if I had chemistry I wouldn’t go down that path because I would know I can’t support her in that interest. It’s fine for her but I’m just not the guy that can support that and in fact I know since I disagree with that kind of stuff so much that even if I tried to suppress my disagreements deep down I couldn’t do it.

    A seriously religious woman would probably be out too. Usually people who are seriously religious need to be with someone of the same religion because their religion requires it. Sometimes the partner can convert and that might work but most of the time the partner doesn’t convert and they either break up or if they do continue there is a constant problem because the religious one can never fulfill their religions duties. Anyway, knowning I wouldn’t convert I wouldn’t go for a religious woman. It would save us both lots of frustration.

    So I agree with you. I guess just add that to my list though. There’s lots of women I could support as well as lots I couldn’t. I need to find one I could.

  • Pundit

    I’m sure there are many great women out in the world that are both amused by video games and have great respect for people that have strong technical skills. Definitely don’t expect to meet them in the small cultural circle around your work. You have to find regular hang outs not associated with work. Volunteer doing something you have an interest in if you can spare the time. Get a dog and walk it around your neighborhood and everyone will know you eventually.

    When you meet someone you enjoy being around and she enjoys you, it gets easy and clicks. Its not about having the same primary interests. You feel understood when you express yourself, and likewise you feel you understand her.

    Here is my advice: if it doesn’t click, and you don’t feel understood or cared for, don’t waste any time being partially interested in someone. If it does click, it will be easy. Don’t assume you know how women think or what their prime interests are, if you meet someone good they will surprise you and spark your interest. You’ll like the way they talk and think. But that doesn’t mean they think just like you. Its all about respect and discovery.

  • Difficult Criterion

    > Well, I’m looking for a woman that can “get” video

    > game creation or at least appear to have the possiblity

    > of getting there.

    I think you may be dooming yourself to a life of celibacy if you are seriously going to adhere to that criterion. You are describing a best friend or coworker, not a person to have a relationship with. There are probably only a handful of women in the world that would truly satisfy that requirement, and they may not be compatible with you in your other requirements.

  • Gramurai
    If two are right for each other

    Welcome back to the States, Gregg. You lived the Stranger in a Strange Land life for a long time. I hope you feel good about your experiences there. Can I ask you if you are ever thinking of going back to Japan to live again? Or do you think you are back for good?

    A lot of things in this post hit very close to home for me. You touched on the difficulties that you had at your work at Sony. My wife is Japanese and she wants more than anything for us to move back to Japan, but I am very worried about what my work will be like back there if we go back again. I’m worried that I’ll be totally isolated and unrespected no matter what work I do. I lived there myself for 4 and a half years as an English teacher, so I’m very familiar with what life as a gaijin is like, but I’m not sure how it would be living there now that I’m older and have a desire to have a better career.

    As for your struggle with trying to find a mate, I wonder if your experiences will be anything like mine. In my experience, I have found that the only real criteria that made any sense for me in finding a woman was that she be my kindred spirit. If she and I were in phase with one another, then all the other problems would be insignificant. I, too, have trouble with astrology and taro cards and such. But I could even accept a woman who was into it if she was my kindred spirit. I have indeed met a woman once who was into such things as that who I thought I was in phase with. Her perspective on astrology and that kind of thing was utterly fascinating to me.

    With my wife, it is the same thing. She and I are from totally different cultures. What in her culture and in mine constitute a good person are very different. As a result, I often do things that she has a hard time accepting and vice versa. The biggest problem that we’ve had is that her background makes it hard for her to accept a man who isn’t dedicated to a single job all of his life, which is problematic because I, as a gaijin, don’t feel that I need to follow a single career path my whole life to be a good person. In fact, I think career changes are healthy and, in fact, I am in the process of changing mine. But in the end, on a very deep level, we understand each other and respect each other beyond this level of behavior difference. That’s what kindred spirits do. We care for each other too much to be stopped by such problems as my desire to change jobs and life direction.

    I don’t know if the same will be true for you, too, or not. But in my own experience, when you find the right person for yourself, it won’t matter that you make games or that she likes astrology. If you and she are right for each other, you will discover that from her perspective, astrology is just another way of perceiving reality and consequently is actually quite fascinating, and she’ll discover that games are much deeper than she ever realized. And you won’t let these difference stop you. That’s how it worked out with me.

  • Well, “kindred spirit”, at least for me comes across as even stronger than “chemisty” and I said that chemisty is probably all I really need.

    On the other hand, people who I felt were “kindred spirits” were always into similar things. So, given my experience is that people with similar interests come across as “kindred spirits” it makes sense for me to be looking for those kinds of people.

    As for the problem of being a “difficult criteria”, yea, that’s my point. At the same time I’m not going to settle for a woman I really have nothing in common with and who will therefore not be my friend on top of being my lover.

  • Quaker
    Somehow I think you’re looking at it wrong

    I’ve been with my girlfriend/wife for more than 10 yrs now. She is a very intelligent individual and we have had many intresting discussions over the years about men and women and how they see things differently.

    She often says that Shania Twain got it exactly right in her song ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’

    You see, for women (and I’m not saying this in any derogatory manner, quite the opposite) its not about what you do, its about what you could do together. Sounds simple and it really is: if you come across as a person who is occupied in things that are difficult for others to get involved in (your work, videogames etc), its is difficult for others to approach, no matter what their idea of video games is.

    I had a couple of friends that were stuck in a loop. OK looking, genuinely caring and humorous, artistic blokes that were been given the thumbs down by the collective womanhood to my great amazement. They were single for 10 yrs, and I never understood what the hell it was about. Until they finally found their soul mates.

    What happened was 2 things: 1) they got a hobby 2) they actually made some space for someone else to get into. 

    I have a third friend who is exactly like the two others were before. Going straight from home to work and back, always talking about work, no hobbies. He has, to my best approximation, a snowballs chance in hell of finding himself a woman they way he’s going. And it ain’t got nothing to do with his sexy job as a lighting designer.

    Well no point in preaching. However, I think you should continue writing your blog. I didn’t come here to read about Tokyo or Japan, I came to read your take on it. And San Francisco is not exactly the most ordinary place on earth either. I think you’ll find plenty to write about.

  • thanks for the encouragement

    I should say it’s not that I can’t find women. I can, I’m not proud to say this but I turned down several over the last 3-4 years. Not because they weren’t great people. Some because although they seemed like they should match in every way we didn’t have any chemistry. Others because even though we had some chemisty it was clear we had nothing in common past that.

    The typical relationship starts with as that part where you are super into each other but after a few years it changes into something else. I’m looking for a woman that I feel I’ll still want to be around when we get to that “something else” period. It could be that I’m gun shy because I married a women when I was 25 that I had chemisty with but that I didn’t have anything for later so when that second (or is it 3rd) phase of our relationship came it was clear we were not the type of people who would be good friends. We were only the type of people who were good lovers for lack of a better way to put it.

    That fact that turning down these women has meant I’ve been single for so long sometimes makes me think I should have just had casual relationships with them and see where it went. You can read lots of advice against that though because often things happen and you can end up in a relationship that’s hard to get out of but that clearly shouldn’t be continuing.

    Anyway, let me make it clear. I’m not looking for a woman who can just “get” my career. I’m looking for a women who I can do things with together just as you suggest. The issue is what those things are. My impression is a women who “gets” what I do will also be someone who likes doing similar things.

    Here’s an example. I’m not saying Jane Pinckard is my type or that if we were to meet we have any chemisty (who knows). But, she’s clearly someone that would like doing some similar things. She runs the Game Developers Conference. She used to work at She’s interested in the art of game making. She’s interested in the future of games, in the social aspects, in their deconstruction, in their meaning in the large world, in their ability to tell or teach things other mediums can’t.

    Now, I’m not saying a women has to be that into my field. What I’m saying is I’m looking for a women I can do things together with who happens to like doing similar things. A perfect example, a political activist would probably do well to be with someone that wanted to participate in similar things. Maybe they both like going to “Save the Planet” rallies. Maybe they both want to volunteer to help their favorite candidate. Maybe they both read political commentary and discuss it.

    Now, Imagine someone who is very much a political activist paired with some who could care less and just wants to watch TV sitcoms and go to starbucks now and then. I’m sure you can imagine a situation where that works out but I suspect the sitcom watching person will generally not be interested in the political discussions or attending rallies togehter or any of those “activities”. So, I would suspect that even if at the beginning they have some serious chemisty eventually things would not work out.

    I hope that helps visualize the need for someone that can at least be one close the same page. I met very few women that could share the things I find interesting. I don’t want a woman for whom all I share is dinner and sex.

  • docstrange

    Very interesting thread, I’m locked in. I wanted to comment on the apartment thing.

    I have had incredibly sweet apartments in opulent parts of town, and I’ve had sh-thole apartments. My years of experience have shown me that most women that actually like “me” are only marginally concerned with my living quarters (that is, assuming my apt is neat and clean). If a woman cites your apt. as a reason for not getting more involved with you, she’s full of it, or she wasn’t really into you as a serious mate. The proof of this are the many thousands of shiftless bums with no money and no apt. living off hot, educated women. Apartment is not a real factor in dating a woman that’s really into you.

    About interests (career and such), I think it’s being unfair to oneself to compare career to one’s spirituality, or political leanings. Granted, some people take career/political beliefs so passionately, that they find it hard to separate from other parts of their lives. But most successful marriages I’ve encountered (and I haven’t encountered that many successful ones) the success of the relationship had little to do with mutual interest in the other persons career. It was based on mutual respect of “the person.” Think of the married couple James Carville (democrate pundit) and Mary Matalin (republican pundit). I’ve seen them go for each others throat in televised political debates, but there is a passion and respect between the two that clearly transcends politics.

    It’s funny, when I started reading your post, the first woman I thought of was the Jane you mentioned. But if you’ve followed her blog over the years like I have you’ll realize that she was actually in a very long and deep relationship with a well known and respected geek (Justin) but their intersecting interests could not save a relationship that was destined to end.

    I think expecting to find a woman that likes or respects games is not impossible, but if you set that as the bar for hooking up with a serious girlfriend, I agree with a previous commenter that you may be in for a long wait. That said, you couldn’t be in a better place to find such a woman than in San Francisco. Now you just have to start going to those tech parties and see what’s out there. Good luck!

  • Qualifying

    Thanks for the thoughtful advice

    Words and my lack of ability with them don’t seem to conveying what I mean.

    Apartment: It isn’t about the women. Like I said I both of those women dropped several points because of that. Instead it’s about personal feeling of accomplishment. Say for example one progression might be 18-22 dorms, 22-23 roommates, 24-25 first single apartment full of hand me down furniture, 26-27 nicer apartment in nicer area with nicer things. Car might follow a similar progression. Used beater->used but okay car->first new but cheap car->new mid priced car.  Well, I followed those progressions until I went to Japan at which point they I took a nose dive back to the bottom of those progressions. That bugged the crap out of me. I felt like was failing. The point about the women bringing it up was just that for me it was confirmation of what I was feeling. It has nothing to do with the women and everything to do with me.

    As for the career. I picked a poor choice in words. Drop that it’s my career and assume it’s my passion. I personally think your example of James Carville and Mary Matalin is perfect. They are both into politics. That is EXACTLY what I see that makes that work for them. I would guess they both respect that they both want to change the world through public service. That’s the commonality they share.

    As for Jane’s example. Like I said, chemistry trumps all so we can only assume that whatever chemistry her and Justin had they lost.

  • anonymouslady

    I can’t help but comment, maybe because I want to say “hang in there.” There are normal attractive women out there that enjoy techies like yourself. Classic example: my brother works as a Network Eng., is a total tech geek spending countless hours playing video games and managed to marry a gorgeous woman that breeds race horses. Go figure. Women don’t have to “get what you do” for a career, just learn to appreciate it. Personally, I think most people are still mystified/intimidated by people in the tech industry.

    I’m a 28 yr old female that worked in the networking software sector for 6 years and must admit I think your chances of finding love with a co-worker are pretty slim, because most of those working in any tech industry are mainly men. But, at the same time I have seen love bloom between the oddest combination of people, like a program developer hooking up with a project manager from one of our clients. Maybe I’m an abnormal woman for being obsessed with The Sims and Halo 2 (I must admit none of my girlfriends are gamers like me), but we are out there and in the same boat as you are. What guy is going to appreciate a girl that spends 6+ hours playing the Sims, and hogs the Xbox for a little Halo??? You would be surprised. Keep looking and good luck on the hunt. My motto when it came to dating; be open to dating lots of different people, but weed them out as quickly as possible so that you can find someone you actually enjoy spending time with. You just never know where you will find them.

    By the way, I lived in Japan for 7 years and my mom still lives there. She is a Korean married to a Japanese man, and runs a hair salon in Tokyo. This is my personal thought on why you didn’t have a girlfriend in Japan…I think that Japanese women are too afraid to bring you home to mom and pop. Culture, respect, etc are all important and I hate to say it, but bringing home an American man probably wouldn’t sit well with most traditional Japanese families. Just my thoughts…

  • thanks for the thoughts.

    I think like I kind of mentioned in a comment above that “wanting a women to *get* my career” is not really what I meant to say. Rather what I think I meant to convey is that I feel like a women who *gets* my career is more likely to be the type of woman that has the qualities I think will work out long term. Of course other women could also have those qualities.

    As for not hooking up in Japan. There are a few large obvious reasons.

    #1) I didn’t meet very many women I had chemistry with. I met lots of women. We’d go out to lunch or dinner 1, 2 or 3 times but with most of them I felt no spark. Those few women I did feel chemistry with were not available or not interested.

    #2) Up to this point in my life, something I am actively working on changing, I’ve been the type of guy who’s relationships come from familiarity meaning my past girlfriends have all been people I some how managed to hang out with often for a couple of months before anything happened.

    I don’t mean I wanted them and hung out. I mean we were just friends with no interest past being friends for a few months before we’d become attracted to each other.

    Except while I was in Japanese school I really never got the chance to hang out with any available women on a regular basis in order to get that familiarity. I did have a non-Japanese girlfriend while I was in Japanese school. We were in the same class together for 3 months before either of us got interested in the other.

    I did get to hang out with unavailable women on a regular basis but that’s not really much help.

    Whether this is true or not, it seems like the image is that most guys see a beautiful woman and just “want” her. They pursue, get in a relationship and later deal with compatibility. So far that just doesn’t work for me. I rarely find myself instantly attracted a women so if I meet one somewhere and go out with her a couple of times there has to be some spark, some chemistry quick or else I’m not going to keep it going.

    Those few times I do meet someone where we have *instant* chemisty or where at least I feel enough to want to actively pursue something always seems to get in the way.

  • Yeah! Stick to your guns!

    Yo man, I’m glad that you’re blogging on a regular basis again! I miss talking to you and all the guys in Tokyo!

    I respect that you stick to your guns on your standards. it takes a big man to be able to do that in the face of an incredibly good looking girl who has almost everything you’d want. I feel the same way at times, because I refuse to go out with any girl that wants to use me as English practice. Even though I’m not dating anyone right now, I’ll be damned if I become the token Gaijin date/boyfriend.

    Keep it real! BTW, say hi to Ben for me, har har har. 😀

  • Plastic

    It obviously never occured to anyone that making video games is (at least it was in 90% of cases untill now) a stupid, unimportant and throwaway job. The fact that there are even silliest things around isn’t any excuse.

  • Pops
    Proud game maker

    Is a throwaway job one that requires vast knowledge of real time computing? It a throwaway job one that is in constant demand in a multibillion dollar industry?

  • Quaker
    Throwaway jobs

    I was recently in China visiting factories. It was my first time there, and what I saw blew me away. I saw gigantic industrial parks, thousands of factories spewing an ominous grey cloud that covered the whole sky. During my week long visit and travelling through more than a thousand kilometres, I never saw even a patch of blue sky and even the sun was just a dim dot behind the smog.

    And what are all those factories making ? Mostly unimportant stuff that we find ‘necessary’ to fill our empty lives – clothes, TV’s, cars, whatever. 

    In my opinion, the vast majority of the manufacturing industry is ‘throwaway jobs’, making sh*t just for the sake of consuming. I make industrial tools, but I make no mistake in thinking that my profession is somehow ‘nobler’ or any more important than that of a game maker: we are all making stuff that, at the end of the day, people could live without.

    The only people I have come across whose jobs I genuinely respect are midwives, doctors and undertakers.

  • Plastic

    The fact your job is demanding (as in requires a lot of knowledge – that’s not really demanding, try to work in a field for 15 hours to see what’s demanding) doesn’t automatically earn general respect – there are some professions I personally respect that are hard, demanding and badly paid and others that are generally respected where you sit in the office for the whole day speculating and earn huge $$$ but I don’t think high of them. Sure, there are people that think doing “demanding” stuff (like holding your hand in one position for very long time without cutting your nails so they grow into your meat – a holy guy in India) is super cool by default.

    I’m working for one of the major, major videogame developers, and my solution to this is doing badly paid sidejobs (I’m a designer by education), but that’s just me. The last thing I did I’m really happy with is some educational brochures for dental hygiene that are to be distributed in local communities – there’s no contest between helping someone to avoid pain, complications and huge expenses later in life with throwaway entertainment: my dayjob is such a stupid spectacle compared to this. I still love it in this life-combination though, it’s a very good technical exercise (so I’m motivated to do it to the best of my abilities) and it’s $$$.

    So: are there any real reasons why anyone would automatically respect you for working in videogames?

  • Plastic

    “The only people I have come across whose jobs I genuinely respect are midwives, doctors and undertakers.”

    Something like that, yes 🙂

  • Arby
    Give thought to this!

    Gregg, Reading this entire thread I come away with a couple main points that probably sum up the entire problem:

    For some reason you’re looking for validation of what you do. Why is it necessary for your mate to “embrace” what you do? You speak in very black or white terms, saying that the the woman you want will embrace it completely, and then the alternative is women are disrespectful of it. I find it very interesting that you don’t consider for a moment that many women could probably just be indifferent to it? (ie: not embrace it, but not dislike it either).

    Think about it, you’re looking for this woman who’s going to totally dig games, but I don’t see you mention anything about THEIR career. What if she’s just a secretary? Do YOU have to totally embrace secretarial work?? No, that makes no sense. What if YOU were an accountant? Should you only date women who dig math and are “totally into” accounting? When looking at it from that perspective you can see how ridiculous your expectation is. The “chemistry” you mentioned above is what a solid relationship can be based on. But for some reason what you seem to want is an “adoring fan”.

    In the early days with my girlfriend, she was a bit wary that I even played games, but all it took was sending her an article that showed the average age of gamers was 18-35. That made her understand her perspective of it being for kids was just wrong, and since then she even buys games for me. She’s not really into playing games herself, but so what. Games is just one hobby among many. She likes gardening, I don’t. I like gaming, and she plays only 2 games ever. So what? We’re going on 7 years together now. You can’t expect to spend every waking minute sharing the exact same experiences.

    The next main point is perceptions from women. Most women know and respect the title “engineer”. You ARE basically a software engineer without the degree. And from what I gather, a LEAD software engineer (or are you a director now?). So why the hell would you put such a simple title like “video game creator” in a dating profile? It’s all in the marketing! Play up all your strengths (without outright lying) and down play anything that can be misperceived. You can definitely call yourself “successful”. Don’t leave anything to their imagination that you could be some basement-dwelling uber-geek.

    All in all, I think you need to get at the roots of why you need to be validated by what you do instead of who you are.

  • Those are good points Arby. The thought excersize was interesting. I have a couple of comments though.

    I do care about the career of the woman. Again, chemistry trumps all but I find a “can do” successful woman far more attractive than a “I work because I have to and then do nothing but veg or party” type. I have friends who are that type. There sole MO in life is work to travel and then hopefully meet a rich husband who will let them travel more. They don’t intend to leave any mark on the world.

    I know other woman who run their own companies, scuplt as a career, draw manga on the side but professionally, run their own cafe, have their own commercial website, a president of important clubs, home teach, …

    I’m not saying I couldn’t fall for the “just play all the time” type under the right circumstances. I’m just saying if I see a woman that is doing something with gusto it’s very attractive. That something could be that she’s successful in a career she totally enjoys. It could be a hobby or a club or something on the side. I want to be able to support her but there are plenty of women who are doing nothing that needs support. I’m less attracted to those types.

    A also agree that marketing is important. At the same time, what I don’t want is to write “engineer” and have the woman think “great, that’s respectable” then later tell her “I make video games” and her to think “oh, crap, I thought you did something respectable, now I find I’m wrong”

    I’m not looking for a fan, I look for someone that respects it. I don’t see how that’s such a big deal except because it’s video games and not politics or something else. Imagine I was a palm reader. Don’t you think I would need a partner who excepted palm reading and not think I was a complete and utter idiot or that I was a scam artist but actually excepted palm reading? I personally could never support a palm reader because I do believe it’s stupid, still, dumb, idiotic and so I know I would not be a good partner for a professional palm reader.

    So again, I want more than someone who will just tolerate what I do.

    All in all, I think you need to get at the roots of why you need to be validated by what you do instead of who you are.

    Who am I? I’m a kick ass video game creator.

  • Arby

    I hear ya… and agree with you about things like the palm reader example, as well as the woman who “does something” angle and those are perfectly acceptable types of things to care about.

    But let me push back on a couple little points:

    “Kick ass video game creator” is your *career*. And it may also be part of you beyond career, since you love what you do so much, but what does a woman want out of a relationship? Does any woman think “I want to be married to an astronaut”? (Some dumb ones maybe, but let’s disregard those ones). No, they think of qualities such as is he nurturing, is he funny, what are his beliefs, does he want kids, is he great in bed, DO WE HAVE CHEMISTRY, etc, etc. Basically those things that make up a man’s character and personality are “who you are”. I think if you have all those, it shouldn’t be difficult to have your career respected as well, and even “converting” skeptical women into respecting and admiring it.

    Basically, I’m trying to make the point that no, you’re not just “a video game creator”, you’re actually this long list of dozens of qualities of which a few of them relate to your career. Just look through this website at the experiences you’ve had and things you’ve tried or been interested in. It’s all pretty impressive. Just make sure you “market” yourself as all that, and don’t be so insecure about what you do (but make it clear somehow that you’re successful, as opposed to some guy who makes cheap Flash games on the side while working at the local pizza hut. If you leave something vague and open to interpretation, you’re giving them reasons to assume the worse).

    I can agree though that maybe it’s an extra challenge for someone in your age range. I find that women in their mid-20’s and under are way more “into” gaming than the ones 30 and over, so it just may be you’ll have to date younger women in order to find that connection you want. 😉

    Also don’t let “logic” get in the way. Women follow their emotions. I’ve had one tell me she didn’t have that “ga-ga feeling”, which I thought was ridiculous (you know, looking at it from a bio-chemical perspective!) , even though she was quite a smart, and educated person.

  • anonnanana
    On the subject of girlfriends

    I forget, did you try eharmony or, and if you did, what were the results?

  • just give it time.

    Gregg. Dude. Don’t worry so much. You are, in my opinion, adorable! Plus, I love video games- I’ve been playing since Pong. I can’t be the only one! All you have to do is put yourself out there more, in places you would not go normally….. maybe find more people who share your love of japanese food (foodies!)? Also, perhaps you can find a woman who has a career that you find interesting and then it can develop that way. Hmmm. I have read your blog for a long time now and I am so on your side. So there! 😉 Ganbatte (did i spell that right? doy.)

  • binc
    Stranger in a Strange Land

    I really miss your posts from japan.

    I’m sure if you wanted you could do the same from S.F.?

    Be a tourist in your own country. Maybe stuff that you think is boring would be interesting to us on the other side of the planet.