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.

Popup Ads, Pop Behind Ads. Good or Evil? (part 1)