The thing about keeping a blog (and some of you bloggers can attest to this) especially one like Loco in Yokohama, where a number of subjects are tackled from various angles; where issues are presented, debated and sometimes even resolved; where change actually occurs; where sensitive subjects are broached and dealt with in real time over an extended period…the thing is this: While your stats might be sending tsunami-strength SEO shock-waves across the Net, your brand buzzing, Yahoo’d and ballyhooed, re-tweeted and re-blogged all over the place, FB “friends” and followers out the ass, trolls and lurkers galore, often times the fact remains you have precious few readers who have followed your growth and gone through every transition with you. People who actually have a clue where you’re coming from and what you’re really about.
You pray (ok, hope) new readers have the time and inclination to delve into and sift through your archives. But the simple truth is most won’t. You are your most recent post or the post they landed on. Whether it be recent or something you wrote when you were in diapers, so to speak. Whether it be part 1 of a series or part 28.
And that’s all well and good. That’s the nature of the beast. The upside and downside of this blogging gig. You (meaning I) put it out there so we gotta reap what we’ve sown.
I’m no ingrate. I’m grateful for each and every one of the links to my blog out there. That usually (but not always) means someone is digging something I’ve written.
I like to be read and love to be dug.
However, some people will follow link-love, for example, to a post like “Empty seat on a crowded train,” (one of my first post) or any of my three “Acts of Retaliation” (where I take the piss out of Japanese,) TOTALLY ignore the dates and respond.
Now, I ain’t ashamed of anything I’ve written on Loco in Yokohama, and I leave it ALL (ok most of it) up not just so that readers can see from whence I came and get some context, or because I don’t want to have a bunch of links out there leading people to a 404 page not found error, but because I like the continuity of it. Literary documented evidence that I have grown not only as a writer or as an ex-pat, but as a person!
That I’m not stuck in a rut.
So, when these type readers leave comments on my blog asking questions like, “Are you sure you’re not seeing what you expect to see?” and “Do you think you’re seeing things through your own cultural lenses?” it doesn’t bother me so much because I get it. They haven’t read my work. And dependent on my mood I might suggest they do just that before getting into a discussion with me where I’m forced to re-hash things I’ve covered in depth. Or, I might even direct them to links where their questions are addressed if I’m in customer service mode. I mean, I know my archives are not the easiest to navigate but I have improved my tagging over the years and I did make a page with links to posts where I think readers can get a good feel for what Loco is all about.
My boy, Homeslice…now, he is not one of my readers. He reads Loco occasionally. Not full on. The main reason Homeslice knows about the issues I write about is because he’s gets it first hand, un-edited, un-embellished, or like The Bad Boy would put it, Raw like Sushi! I run shit by him verbally before it even goes to press sometimes.
And, yes, to him, I have mentioned, among MANY things, that I’ve seen women clutch their purses, as well as men pull their wallets out of their pockets and hold them over their heads once they notice me standing behind them, involuntarily and with no other option mind you. I’ve mentioned a great deal to Homeslice. Our conversations run the gamut and rarely get stuck in one gear (well sometimes they do get stuck on Japanese women, but I loathe to get stuck there and he knows it). If it did I would have unloaded him a long time ago. We talk about real shit which is exactly why I enlisted him in the first place. I get my fill of light and fluffy from my J-friends and co-workers; conversations where I can’t be the unabridged me I’ve learned from experience.
My mind is fueled by the real. Not the bullshit. And, his text sounded like some bullshit to me.
When you write about some of the things I write about you constantly have to ask yourself the above questions. And, my readers know I do this incessantly. I hate to draw conclusions without knowledge or research, and I welcome a challenge. Yes, I am sensitive, and I am very observant. But to have someone, of some intelligence, mind you, someone who has virtually unfiltered access to my thinking process, ask me such inane and obvious questions at first made me doubt myself.
I wondered, damn, is it me?????
I mean, it almost broke my heart.
Have I really overlooked something as obvious as cultural lenses and expectations???
I mean if some first time visitor to my blog came at me like that I’d be fine, but a friend of over two years doing so…well…that took the wind out of my sails and gave me pause.
After my initial ego-maniacal reaction along the lines of “Motherfucker you must be drinking the Chu-Hi, talking to me like that!” I sat in my room and thought it through and gave his admonitions the kind of thoughtfulness a friend’s words deserve.
I mean, I had a serious falling out with my closest friend of 30 years recently (as some of you might have read over at my Posterous blog,) so the whole concept of friendship and its value has been a solicitous theme over the past year or so. Losing my best friend, essentially my brother, over some regrettable foolishness on both of our parts has more than humbled me. It has been a serious blow to my self-confidence and self-identity. I find myself of late questioning whether I even know how to be a good friend.
So, yeah, I let his words in due to my current vulnerability and gave them their due out of respect to the concept.
I mean, he might have just been talking out the side of his neck. Not really Homeslice’s style, but I had had the thought a few weeks ago that he (like many of us here in Kawaiiland) was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder unawares.
to be continued…