So I was suppose to wrap up my annual retrospective today. What actually happened was my new years resolution of messaging everyone in my diary. Turns out… there was a lot of people. And a lot of them responded, and responding to the responses took some time. I’ll say about an hour. But that’s not what took the most time. I started watching code geass on netflix. Omg. It’s still so good. It’s a masterpiece. I’m watching it Japanese subtitled and it’s crazy. Well. I know the plot inside out so it’s more like I’m learning the japanese way of speaking. It’s just… code geass is so good.

But honestly, I feel like a wasted a whole day watching code geass. On one hand… I appreciate it. I enjoyed it. I told myself I wouldn’t be hard on myself. I’m still borderline sick. But maybe my recovery is slower because I’m enjoying myself too much. I spent my days sick just play Persona 5 and watching anime. It’s so… enjoyable. It’s almost like I don’t want to go back to work. But it’s not work… since I really enjoy it. I have found that I’ve struggled to… meditate. I still meditate… but I struggle to focus partially because I’m sick… but also partially because Persona 5 and anime is just so… simulating?

One of the lessons that I’ve learned is that… I always get out of self prescribed laziness. So it’s probably good. I should keep letting myself watch anime and eat food. I ordered two donburi’s for my meals and I didn’t leave my house. OMG. 12 manga volume of code breakers arrived today. It only cost me $15. For 12 volumes. So about $2 per volume. My mind is blown. I spend $15 for 3 hours at a manga cafe. Shit. I can start building my own manga cafe almost. rofl.

I definitely feel really spoiled. Having the manga… it’s so nice. Just arrive to my door today. Ordering delicious food. I gotta pinch myself to make sure this is reality. I mean. Wow. www. Okay. I guess I’ll write out my annual retrospective properly now that I’ve expressed how lucky I am.

Emotion - For some reason I still have a fear of rejection. Even though I know that my fear is irrational and my anxiety doesn’t reflect reality. I mean. Logically, I believe that there’s nothing that I can’t handle. But things still scare me. It’s weird that I have a fear of rejection despite the fact that I’ve been rejected by so many jobs and so many girls. /shrug. After writing the relationship part. One thing I want is to be more honest with myself. And recognize when I’m running away due to fear. The other is… I wanna allow myself to be more vulnerable I guess. It’s easy to be a selfish asshole… or is it? One of my friends, her new years resolution was to be more selfish. I think… I’m already selfish enough… so it’s probably time for me to… be nicer? I think I’m already too nice though. I dunno. I think… just being more honest and open with myself and others is my emotion goal for the year. That and recognizing real fear from fake fear.

Physical - I’m close to the best physical shape of my life. I can run a 7 minute mile as a warm up now… and my goal for this year is the 5 minute mile. I’ve been going to the gym 5 days a week in Japan and I’m diligently training for the human flag. I think I’ll finally hit one of my life goals… when I can do the human flag this year.

Relationship - I think… I’m autustic. LOL. It’s like I’m KY (can’t read the environment) but rather I think I need more mental effort to read the environment. Hmmm. Even that’s not true… when I was burned out and tired I could still read other people’s emotions and grasp subcontext in conversations. But here’s a funny story. When I was leaving SF. I was talking to a friend of mine… and I was like “Come visit Tokyo you can crash at my place”. And then he was like “Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about visiting Japan but now that a friend is there I’ll try and plan it”. And I was like. Wow. What a coincidence. Another one of your friends is going to Japan?! I didn’t say that… and it was like… months later when I realized “Shit. I’m the friend of his that’s going to Japan”. Uhhhh. I guess maybe that makes me KY. But I’m not gonna use autisim as an excuse. It’s self diagnosed and I’ve thrived in social situations… so it doesn’t really matter. I just think that it’s interesting. That was a pretty big digression… mabe that should’ve been in the emotional section. The other thing about relationships is that… I think for my time in Japan I’ll try and have a serious girlfriend. But not only that… I want to be more vulnerable? I think I’ve approached all my relationships in the past.. not caring because I didn’t want to expose myself. In all my relationships I never really exposed myself. I think I’ve read too much on negotiating and how you always want to negotiate from a position of strength with a good batna or whatever. In reality… you always have an alternative. So. I guess I’m gonna be even weaker? But… I want to be strong. hmmm. Well. I’ll see how that turns out I guess… expose myself for heartbreak more. lmao. That’s a quirky new years resolution.

Financial - Shit. I did pretty bad here. Well. Aside from the fact that I quit my job and have no income… my spending in Japan is basically unmetered with no budget. The good thing is I planned for this… so it’s not like I’ll run out of money. The other thing is… I was really stupid in the financial market. Man. I lost alot of money to this raging bull. The thing is… the bull market now… it just defies logic because everywhere I go and everyone I meet… it seems like everyone is struggling to make money. And yet stocks keep going up. Dafaq. It’s really like… the market can stay irrational longer than I can stay solvent. The funny thing is that… I think I lost around $10k. That’s uh… really messed up. It’s not even the 10k that bothers me… of the 10k… probably 8k of it was a repeated mistake. Like. It’s the same mistake I made previously. Urgh. Man. Maybe because I like Never Learn by JJ Lin I purposely never learn? Nah. I think I learned. I paid a 10k investment lesson.

Spiritual - I started meditating everyday in Japan. I’m also reading this meditation book. It basically outlines the 10 levels of meditation. Once you reach level 10… your god tier… or dalai lama tier. I’m not gonna lie… I’m meditating for really selfish reasons. I want to be god tier. The way I see it is… anything that you can achieve through drugs you can achieve through meditation. Marjiuana is great. But imagine you could be in a permanent marijuana state… through meditation. Or Molly. Shit. Molly is an indescribable feeling… and you can always feel like that. Without the negative side effects… through meditation. I’m probably only level 5…. but apparently you can reach level 10 through 3 years or so of dedicated meditation. Meditation actually helped me out a lot. It’s helpful for stopping the negative spirals… and just recognizing your fears and emotions. It’s definitely one of the meta skills. Working out and meditation is like the two pillars that support everything else that I want to achieve.

Time - I spent the first quarter of the year… just being super busy with work. Most of my diary entries were about me napping and missing workouts and yoga sessions and then beating myself up over it. That and getting high on marijuana and then writing down my brilliant insights. Food is so delicious etc. It’s funny though. One of the posts was me really looking forward to Persona 5, Star Ocean 5, and Final Fantasy XV. Persona 5… I really did enjoy every moment of it. Nerd chills man. But I have Star Ocean 5 and Final Fantasy XV right behind me… and I’m choosing to watch code geass in Japanese. Watch code geass for like… the 7th time. Well. I guess it’s the first time since I’m watching it with japanese subtitles. It’s crazy but… I actually didn’t start shuffling until this January. I met so many cool people through the SF Shuffle group. Also Miles is just super cool in general. He plays guitar/percussion/piano… yeah I have a huge man crush on Miles.

2nd quarter - I went to dominican republic for my cousin’s wedding. That was so much fun. I surfed for the first time and went ziplining. You know what’s funny… both activities were so much fun when I went. But the thought of ziplining.. I distinctly remember worrying about ziplining. Watching the video’s and the first person point of view of ziplining… I kept thinking I’d fuck up and die. Hehehe. It’s like… little kids go ziplining… but I’m the retard that’s gonna die. I was already starting to … uh not want to leave SF. I had the most beautiful studio. It was so fucking prime and it was rent controlled. Work was a 10 minute walk. I’m living the silicon valley dream! But I knew that I had to leave… because… if I didn’t it would just get harder and harder. I think people give up on their dreams because… the alternative is certainty. Certainty is good. It’s so comforting. I also went to Phoenix, Arizona. That was pretty fun.

3rd quarter - travelling the US while I wrapped things up in SF. I went to EDC. Going to EDC was… it was really fun. It was also a really strange event because it’s like… the think and grow rich came true. You know how when you have a dream or a thought… and it just stays in your mind? And then somehow the universe hands you a golden opportunity? I really wanted to go to EDC but none of my close friends were going… and I didn’t want to plan a trip solo or travel all by myself to a big event like EDC. Then I found out my dance friend was going to go cause her sister wanted to spend time with her. Then in May… as I’m talking with my shuffle friends they ask me about renting a car for them since their under 25… and I’m like what for? Oh… they going to EDC. Shit.. so of course I ask them about it. Is there extra space in the car? What about the hotel? Turns out there is extra space in both the car AND the hotel. Shit. Ok. I’m gonna go. Just gotta buy a ticket. Go to work the next day and I was like… I’m probably gonna go to EDC since the stars aligned blah blah blah. Coworker was like. Oh. I want to sell my ticket. I’ll sell it for the original price that I bought at the earliest possible time. DAFAQ?!?!?! I thought that I was in an anime… that level of coincidence… it’s just… I can’t believe it’s reality. But that was reality.

Besides EDC I went to LA for anime expo and just to hang out. It’s funny. In LA… I retraced my steps from the year before to end up at the EXACT same restaurant and I think I ordered the exact same thing. I think… I was really stressed from work. They say when you work a lot.. your memory goes whack. Anyways… this was 2016 july. And I didn’t remember that I went to that spot in 2015 july. I ended up in the exact same location ordering the exact same thing. Taking lyft/uber to and from the same place. Well. My housing was different. And of course I was a different person. This was after I quit work so I was a lot more chill. It’s just.. crazy that I would not remember and end up in the same place. I went to new york for like… one week. But that one week was so much fun. My friend took time off work to show me around. I feel so spoiled and lucky. New york is so beautiful. So much media / film takes place in new york. Walking in central park and grand central station… it’s like being transported into the movie. I definitely want to live in NYC and learn the subway lines etc. To be NYC fluent. That’s something that I want for myself in the future. And finally I returned to Toronto. My home of 23 years. It’s funny. I was only in Toronto for… 6 weeks but it felt so long. Sigh. My time in Toronto I was living with family. It’s weird. In SF… I walked from my house to the gym and it takes like 25 minutes. In toronto… the gym is also 25 minutes away yet I take the car. It’s like… walking is dangerous or something. Or rather… I think your brain is different depending on the location… that’s my current train of thought. It’s like… when I go back to Toronto… I regress to back when I was a kid. Maybe because I spent most of my adult life in SF and most of my time as a kid in Toronto. I just feel weak and kid like in Toronto. Or maybe because I was living in my parent’s living room… and that just feels sad as opposed to having my own place in the heart of downtown in a major city. /shrug. That’s weird. That having your own place makes you think and act so differently.

4th quarter - I finally arrive to Japan. I ended 2016 on a great note and feeling. On Christmas day… I went to bbq in a public park, and then we went to an onsen. Then we went and got famous delicous ramen and karaoke. My American senpai visited me and he treated me to gourmet yakiniku. It was $250 for the both of us. The beef was so good. It literally melts in your mouth. It’s so think and flavorful… yakiniku is different from steak. But the taste is just so good. Then on new years eve… I went to karaoke with new friends. Japanese futago to boku no america no senpai de. It was so much fun singing Arashi/Exile/Deep/Eminem. I think my english has gotten slower though… I struggled hard with eminem when it used to be so easy. So that was basically my last week of 2016. But when I first moved here… my diary entries were kinda sad.

I moved into a sharehouse initially and the conditions were really bad. The ceilings were super low and I would hit my head at night when I took a piss, the place was kinda dirty. But I was living the dream in Japan. Finding housing when you don’t speak Japanese… is pretty damn hard. When you’re unemployed… no one wants to rent you their place because Japanese favor stablility over all else and not having a job means your unstable and worthless. After finding my place I had to furnish it… and that was a struggle because I couldn’t order from nitori/ikea online since it’s all in fucking japanese and I was illiterate. Even now… I’d say I’m mostly illiterate. Hmmm. One of my goals is to reach the level of fluency to be able to order from nitori online and have it shipped to my place. I didn’t have a bed… and when I first moved in there were roaches. Fuck. Roaches. Roaches scared the shit outta me. I think I was in fight or flight mode at night because I had to kill a roach my first night here. Now… I’m used to it. I’m like desensitized to roaches. It’s like. Fuck. A roach. Sigh. I’ll go spray it to death and then clean up.

I only had one friend when I moved here and in Japan everyone everywhere only speaks Japanese. So it was a very lonely and isolating experience. I mean… even though it was lonely and isolating… it wasn’t too bad. I mean. I think once I set up my TV and PS4 I was pretty happy. But then playing Yakuza 0… I understood nothing initially. Things were so fast. And text made no sense. It was weird. I told myself to just play / watch anime / practice talking to people. Eventually it’ll click. I just had faith I guess. I remember going to sign up for a gym. The person was like… if you sign up online we’ll waive the $30 fee. I was like… the online is too hard. Then she’s like… bring a friend that’ll help you with the forms. I just went - fuck it. I can figure this out. It took me like 45 minutes to fill out the paperwork to join the gym in Japanese but I did it. Same with my ID card… it took me a solid 3 hours of struggle and waiting in line but I did it.

What’s weird is… looking back at the struggles… when I was struggling. It did feel like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I’d never be able to speak Japanese and converse with Japanese people. Yet… now I can do it. I can feel my Japanese just getting better and better. Even though I was struggling with the FFXV tutorial. You have to HOLD triangle to teleport to a place… I kept pressing triangle. Too jokes. I guess the 2 months of struggle in Japan made me stronger and better. Just having faith… turned out to be the correct decision.

I guess it did help. It reinforced what I knew. It’s always better to believe and to be optimistic. Beating yourself up is never the correct solution… even though I still tend to beat myself up. I think… that’s the consequence of growith asian parents. They just beat you up verbally when you fail. I don’t think that’s healthy… but I can’t blame my family / parents anymore since I’m an adult now. But still… it’s hard to reprogram that voice. Maybe I’m actually crazy since I have an abusive voice that talks to me. lol

Anyways. On the whole - 2016 was fucking amazing. I met so many new people, went to so many new places. Almost everything that I set out to do… I did. I’m living the dream in Japan. There’s pocky in my place, green tea ice cream in my fridge. Onigiri is 5 minutes away. Ramen is 10 minutes away. Manga is on my desk. Final Fantasy XV is sitting on my PS4 stand. I don’t even. Life is fucking good. I’m really thankful for the opportunity that I’ve given myself. I have ambitious goals for releasing apps in 2017. I have faith that I’ll do it. I’ve envisioned it for so long… like how I’ve envisioned EDC. I think the stars will align and I’ll make it work. I’m super excited.

What did I lose this year? I lost my amazing home in San Francisco. The california life was so good. I’m not going to lie. I think most of my social circle is in california… but it’s a choice I’ve made. You have to make sacrifices in order to achieve. So in reality I guess I didn’t lose that much.

What went great? I moved to Japan. I’m living in Tokyo. It’s been my dream since I’ve found out about the Japanese/Canadian working holiday visa. I have a decent Japanese social network of people to hang out with and I built it from one friend that was introduced to me by another friend. So I came to Tokyo with one friend… and now I’ve built a decent social network from scratch. That’s pretty badass. I did that without speaking Japanese much.. that’s pretty mind blowing. I guess my years of training in SF paid off.

What sucked? This might be beating myself up. But I don’t think that’s the case. The reality is… I didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities. Effort. Only you can judge your effort. I know that there were cases when I could’ve tried harder and done more. And… it’s disappointing. It’s weird because… even say 10% effort or 20% effort.. is probably better than 100% effort of me from 3 years ago. And yet… since I didn’t give 100% effort… it makes me sad. It makes me sad when I KNOW I can do better and yet I don’t. It’s strange. It’s like when fat people eat junk food when they know they should go on a diet. That’s really frustrating. I was talking to a friend / mentor. I guess… what he says makes sense so I’ll write it here. You shouldn’t beat yourself up. A person has defects and mistakes. A rational person corrects said defects and mistakes. So by definition, the defects and mistakes you’re left with are the hardest to correct. /shrug. That’s deep.

What do I wish was different? That I mapped out my decision making more. There are so many choices and it’s hard to choose the correct choice when you don’t have a framework or priorities. I could work on my app, or I could go party with my friend whose visiting from America. It’s hard to make the decision unless I know what I’m optimizing for. There are times I wish I worked vs times I wish that I went out partying. I think I codified my 2017 goals a lot better though. So that should be good.

Overall. 2016 was fucking great. There were definitely some low points. But it’s through the lowest of lows that you get to experience the highest of highs. I think… I’m starting to see and believe in the cycle of life. Everything is a circle. That’s why the circle and pi is a magically number. Also… pi is really delicious.

I’m gonna end by writing myself a self reminder and a note. What you look for will be there… it’s your RAS or whatever. I keep searching for roaches and then when a roach appears it’s like validation. It’s time to stop looking for failure and pain and time to focus on the good. Look forward to the good moments and enjoy them properly. When you try to look for things that scare you… everything fucking scares you. But when you look with a curious and non-judgemental mind… you find that whatever it was that was scary… wasn’t that scary after all. Whenever I just calmly and non-judgementally looked at my problems and fears… impossible starting to look easy. So let that be a reminder to myself for 2017. Stop making it hard for yourself and just accept that it’ll be easy. Look. It’ll work out. It has worked out so amazingly so far. You’re in fucking Japan. The important thing is the action not the result. Results follow the correct action. Happy 2017 everyone!