I've got alot of work ahead. Coming to Hong Kong has been a very interesting experience. Not so much because of Hong Kong in particular. For what I thought about Hong Kong I'll post an article about it in a few days with a few pictures etc... Here though I want to talk about me and some things I was pretty upset about over the last few days.
I came to Hong Kong for many reasons. One, because in Japan it's summer vacation. I have 3 weeks off and as it's one of the few chances I have to leave Japan it seemed like I should take it. If I didn't I'd just hibernate in my apartment most likely.
I can't say I really wanted to come. It's not that I don't think visiting new places is cool. Hong Kong is particular cool in my opinion, it's that it's my first time traveling alone. I came more because I felt like I would feel worse if I didn't go somewhere. Like if I didn't go somewhere I'd be upset at myself later more so than actually wanting to go. I really have not travelled much at all. Canada, Mexico and then of course Japan. That's it. That's not to say I don't like travel. My excuse is that I've never really had travel friends. More specifically I've rarely had a girlfriend to go travelling with (or friends for that matter). Either way my vision of travel is me and at least one other person together checking it out.
So, coming to Hong Kong by myself has been pretty frustrating.
Something I noticed recently and especially on this trip. Although I already knew I was shy I've noticed some very strong influences on my behavior. At least my single guy outside of work behavior. There are at least 2 things that I seem to always try to avoid. One is avoiding being embarrassed. Most people do this to some level or another. I think I may do it more than some but I'm not sure it's so much stronger than most people.
The bigger influence though is the desire to never offend or bother ANYBODY ELSE!!!! Some examples: I have 5 pairs of wireless headphones. Having 5 is not the problem, having them at all is. Nobody else I know uses them. Why do I have them? So I don't bother my neighbors while I watch a movie or TV. Everybody I've asked rarely if at all considers their neighbors when they watch TV or listen to the stereo. I'm always amazed at how loud my friends can be in their apartments. Some of you who have watched movies at my place before have seen me adjust the TV volume during the movie. That's because I'm afraid I'm bothering the neighbors. It doesn't stop there. I tip toe at night. I don't flush the toilet sometimes, waiting until the next moring instead. I've been embarrassed to have a cold and be coughing and blowing my nose all night because I know the people below me or next to me can hear me and I'm probably making it hard for them to get sleep.
Taking that further. I haven't gone to any of the restaurants in my neighborhood because they have never had to deal with foreigners and I feel with my broken Japanese and trouble understanding anything outside the small bounds of my Japanese knowledge that I'll just be trouble for them.
It's one of the things that has hindered my learning Japanese in general. In the beginning I may have had to ask somebody to repeat what they said 5 to 7 times. After doing that a few times I just stopped speaking because I don't know about you but I know that I would probably get upset after being asked to repeat myself 5 to 7 times and not wanting to be trouble for somebody else I stopped. It's gotten a little better but still, rather than ask somebody to repeat themselves generally I'll just try to fake that I understand.
So, coming to Hong Kong these kind of issues have come up quite a bit and really made me angry and much of my trip not so fun.
For example Hong Kong is supposed to have great food. I wouldn't know though because as I walked around and searched for places to eat I noticed that, unlike Japan, (1) none or few of them seem to be setup for single eaters (2) almost ALL of them are FULL!!! That second one means for me to enter I'm being trouble. I'm one guy going to take a table for 4 since that's all they have while other groups of people are waiting.
The language issue also came up here making me not want to enter. It is not true that everybody in Hong Kong speaks English. Maybe in the larger hotels or touristy shopping centers but not in the local restaurants. For me that means that again for me to enter I'm going to be trouble for somebody as we try to figure out how I'm going to order. The result? I ate at a chain of fast food places called Cafe De C??? 4 times mostly because it was one of the few places that had a few pictures of the food so I could point. Unfortunately the pictures are not near the place you order so pointing to the picture on the wall across the room and trying to communicate I want the 3rd thing from the bottom in the middle picture...lets just say my "I'm being trouble for somebody" part of my brain was screaming "Just run away and go to MC Donald's!"
At another place I went to 4 or 5 times called Saint's Alp Teahouse (though for better reasons. beacuse they had Zhen Zhu Lai Cha − Pearl Milk Tea) Anyway, the last time I went to one it was almost full and again, not wanting to be a bother I waited at the entrance for the waitress to stop being busy and come seat me. The result? 3 other couples entered in front of me and just took tables without asking and although the waitress had definately seen me waiting she didn't say a thing and just want on to serve them. I left.
This is also an excuse or possible reason why I haven't made any friends in Japan. Not wanting to bother anybody unless it's clear they are not going to be bothered then... by my problem..., I'm not going to bother them. So for example while I have no problem talking to people at a job or talking to people at my conversation club because it's clear my talking is not a bother (or not supposed to be) Talking to anybody outside those situations is another matter.
If I hadn't been in Hong Kong alone then there would have been other forces at work. I wouldn't have taking up a table for 2 or more with just 1 person. I would have also had another person depending on me to *do whatever*. That turns the *bother* issue around because NOT making a move, NOT talking, NOT entering a restaurant would become a bother for my partner therefore pushing me to *do whatever* to avoid being a bother.
There are lots of other related issues. I generally don't like receiving help from others because I feel like a bother for example.
I'm not sure how to fix this problem. Do I just become Mr. Annoying. Crank up my stereo at 3am? Barge into a restaurant like an ugly loud American etc....
I got a few books on being more confident. We'll see if they help.
That's not all of it. Coming to Hong Kong, not that it's really all that different from how I feel in Tokyo but being here alone I've been pretty damn lonely. Yes, I did meet a couple of people but, one was really busy and so he really didn't have time to meet. He did get a some time to show me around. The other, well, I guess as that was a dating kind of situation she just was not interested. Besides it is pretty strange to meet somebody on a date when they are on vacation and actually live 1500 miles away.
Although I was told by one person that in his opinion, "Hong Kong has the ugliest women in the World" I couldn't disagree more. Although Tokyo may have more *model* like women, Hong Kong appeared to have alot more of the kind of women I'm looking for. Seeing them all and not having a girlfriend was also making me pretty damn lonely.
Yes I know it's all in my head. I don't really know if most pretty Tokyo women are really not nice people (the stereotype of a model, just want money, nothing upstairs, etc.). And I don't really know if the women I saw in Hong Kong that may not be as *model like* in looks but are very pretty and appear to me (at least in my imagination) to be smarter, stronger and much more down−to−earth (read fun, not uptight, easy to hangout with, not always conserned about the latest fashion and that they are doing what is *proper* according to whatever magazine they are reading etc...) But, that is my hallucination about Hong Kong women. Maybe it's because of all the women in my school I immediately liked both of the ones from Hong Kong as soon as I met them. My illusion makes me want to move to Hong Kong in order to have more of a chance to meet someone like that. Too bad game software is at 100% piracy here. Toys'R Us doesn't even sell video games because it's so bad.