Identity Crisis

I think I am probably one of the biggest hypocrites out there.

I cringe at the thought of anyone publically saying that they like Anime or Japanese culture in general.

When someone regales me with their stories of the two-week holiday they spent in Japan, I have a nasty thought in the back of my head that says something along the lines of “Yeah, but you didn’t go to the real Japan!”

And don’t get me started on my hatred of white guys that go out with Japanese chicks!

In a way, I think that I’m really just defending my own investments in myself, and defending my own (probably fragile) self-image. I’m a young father who happens to love technology, photography, Japan, and the oddities of the internet. I’ve spent a lot of time studying various aspects of the above, and I continually try to be learning something, no matter what the current value of that something may be.

I’ve spent a lot of time carving out a niche in the universe that is distinctly “me”-shaped, one that will define me throughout my life, and hopefully make me memorable enough so that I will exist in people’s memories once I have shuffled off this mortal coil.

So when I see a white guy with a Japanese girl, I feel like my place is challenged. When I see a group of kids flicking through Naruto in the bookshop, I look upon them with disdain. When I read a decent Hanako fan-fiction I am filled with some kind of sick resentment, picking holes in it anywhere that I can without reason.

Why am I dumping this here? I don’t know. I imagine that everyone has this existential crisis many times in their lives, and that is why people try to “re-invent” themselves. Especially those of us who are insecure enough to trust the internet more than our flesh-and-blood friends.

But, since everyone else “re-invents” themself, I think I’m going to go with a different path. I’m going to evolve into a new form of myself. A spontaneous leap forward.

In fact, I think that this is exactly what happened about 3 years ago. I had met a girl (who is now the mother of my daughter), I had pushed for a new job to be created for me, and I stopped doing a lot of the things that I had previously liked doing; watching heaps of anime, building figures from said anime, and writing a VN being the obvious victims of this evolution.

I still like doing those things, but not anywhere near as often as I used to. Even writing things like Final Finale can only happen on the rare occasions when I put all other things aside for an hour or so.

 

But you know, I think that’s a good thing. It’s good to move on, to get older, better, wiser. And I have finally learnt that I can actually learn things from other people, even if they may be less intelligent than myself. I think that is the most important lesson that I have learned in recent history.

 

So let me sum up by saying that you don’t need to feel threatened by others who have similar interests as yourself. You also shouldn’t assume that you can’t learn anything from anyone else. Part of being a human (even one as socially inept as myself) is the sense of community that you can find somewhere. I imagine that some of you reading this may have had similar feelings; that ichor-like hatred of people who only like “popular” anime or the “tourists” that claim to have life-altering experiences after only dipping their toes in the culture of your choosing.

I think I have a ways to go, but I’m going to work on being more accepting. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some new friends that I can introduce to things like Katawa Shoujo. Maybe I’ll read a fan fiction that makes me love Hanako in a whole new way. Maybe I’ll have my original view validated. Who knows? That’s one of the cool things about the future.

And remember, the future is a finite resource. At some point we will all be lying on our deathbeds, with only a sip of future left in us. When you’re lying there, surrounded by your family and friends, do you want your last thoughts to be “Damn, that was fun!” or “Fucking wannabes.”

 

tl;dr – Final Finale 5 is done.

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18 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. I actually really enjoy a good existential crisis. We should be reminded that we only have so much time, and push ourselves to really be serious about making the most of it. In that way, I really kind of envy Hisao for his condition. He can’t lapse into “das Man” and inauthenticity for very long. There’s plenty of pain and suffering involved in that, of course, but still I’d take a short life that’s truly and fully lived over a long, tepid, mediocre one.

    Having a passion always seems to imply taking some negative attitudes. I can understand completely getting territorial about a character you made, I’d probably do the exact same thing. Though the thought actually occurred to me today to ask for your input on my Hanako fanfiction, but I guess that’s out the window… Although, if you pick them apart you might be just what I need…

    Anyway, I like the way FF is turning out. I look forward to seeing where you take it.

    1. I actually don’t mind helping people with writing and such. In fact in some ways asking me about how to write Hanako makes a lot of sense to me.

      It’s the random assumptions and the misinterpretations that do my head in…

      If you want to discuss things, best place is either twitter DMs or a PM on the KS forums.

      1. From an objective standpoint it makes perfect sense. It’s pretty doubtful anyone will ever know the character better than you. If I’m looking to get her “true to life”, there’s no better source I could turn to. It’s just that you really are THE source, the creator of the source material of which I’m making a derivative fan work. You set the standard I’m trying to meet. Taken in context, it’s sort of like asking Orhan Pamuk to look over the draft of my first novel. It’s a bit intimidating, not to mention audacious. Nevertheless, I would like to take you up on it. If nothing else, it’s not every day one gets an opportunity like this for sure. I would like to have a solid, finished draft ready though, something I can actually stand beside and have some modicum of confidence in. It might be ages and ages before I arrive at that though, depending on how life goes.

        Everything else aside, I really do appreciate it. It’s truly great that you’re so willing to engage with fans like this. You have inspired and are inspiring a lot of people, myself included. Thanks again for everything.

  2. (Apologies if any of this comment seems out of line. I sometimes get into a preachy lecture-mode.)

    I wouldn’t say this is hypocrisy. I’d argue that it’s only natural.

    You’ve grown up, and your perspective on this has changed. You see people who claim to get the same effect from less investment and you resent them, rationalizing that they must be getting a lesser experience. In many cases, arguably most cases, they are, but you don’t care even if they’re getting the same experience (or, God forbid, a better experience). You put in the time and effort, so no one who put in a smaller investment deserves what you rightfully earned through blood, sweat, and tears.

    You see people who are like how you used to be, and you wonder why they’re so blind to all the problems with that lifestyle. You’ve learned how much of an idiot you were, and wish you could imprint your life story on brass knuckles and beat your life experience into them.

    Hanako stories are much the same. You’ve put years of effort into who she is, both passively and actively. It’s not hard to resent a 15-year old who spent 3 hours with her declaring that she’s perfection incarnate. Fan fiction will never live up to your standards, because the fools don’t realize that she hates strawberry, and her favorite flavor is melon with just a tiny bit of honey.

    Being more accepting is usually a good thing. No matter what you do, you never can escape the idiots and the jerks, so you may as well learn to live with them. Being patient and giving a little guidance is nice, but you need to accept that not everyone wants the help (even, or especially, when they need it). Also, as I’ve taken to saying in a general sense: You can’t fix the world, but you can fix yourself. And if you’re a better person, you’ll find that the world can be a little brighter a place.

    Getting married and having kids doesn’t mean you’ve stopped growing up. Some would argue it’s when you first start.

    1. I have this problem where my posts end up more whiney than I orignially anticipate.

      That may be a good or a bad thing; who knows.

      Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of continual education. My list of random certifications is long and varied.

      I think I’ll be doing a bit of a follow-up post on this one when I write FF 6. I almost wrote it today but instead decided to update my tech blog instead.
      Anyway, back on topic, I’ve recently come to the ephiphany that I am more of a generalist than a specialist, but I’m a damned good generalist. I was the youngest head of department at the Sydney Opera House, and also the member with the shortest run from “grunt” to manager. It’s just what I do.

      If you ever went to uni and studied your arse off just to pass, then I’m the guy you used to hate. I would sleep through lectures on particle physics and still top the class. I’m just that kind of guy.
      But it’s taken me a good decade to realise the extent of my hubris; although I can work out most things without breaking a sweat, it’s usually a lot quicker just to hear the story from the horse’s mouth. That is to say, learning from someone who has actually done what you think you can do.

      As for the Hanako fans, there’s another bit of duality right there. I love that people have found varying degrees of pleasure in Hanako’s story, but at the same time, I find it hard to think that anyone could appreciate her in the same way that I do. I know that this is self-serving bullshit, and I know that I’ve felt the same thing about characters that I didn’t have any investment in (e.g. Mion from Higurashi).

      When I was pondering this I realised that I wasn’t protecting a character, an experience or an ideal, but I was protecting myself. I’ve always seen myself as someone “different” (and, given my above example from uni, you may see why). WHen I see people starting to encroach on the metaphysical territory that I have marked out for myself, I just start getting defensive.

      I think I should have included that stuff in the original post, but meh. At the time Ijust wante to announce FF 5 (even though I tought it was 4).

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. That was a real read, to actually make a real post I had to load up notepad and write notes. Hopefully my terrible writing skills doesn’t offend, anywho here goes nothing.

    First, the real … is all part of someones experience, ok it might not be your experience. But you can guide their path to coincide with yours. As for white guys dating Asian girls. Its a part of life to have your peeves. I cannot recall how many times I have personally shouted at someone at the supermarket for not putting their trolly in the place where you put the f**king trolly, the morons……Wait where was I (looks at notepad) ah.

    Its nice to have hobbies and a generalist is a nice way of being a real person. Ok it is nice to have a PHD in soil chemistry, but if that chemist has to talk to another PHD in Oil chemistry to get the oil out of the soil and a PHD in biology to get the organics out of the oiled up soil. Life is going to get confusing very quickly.

    As for kids reading in a bookshop, it personally reinforces my hope for the next generation or two, ok it is not exactly reading war and peace, but I would rather see kids reading than texting X Y about Z and turn their noses up because why read when you can watch a video.

    During my time in America (im an English ex-pat who is constantly called Australian) I have had to reinvent myself in a fashion, I was always forced by my parents, peers and others to go into IT because I was good at it. Did not matter that I would rather Bore my own eyes out with a rusted up plastic tooth pic than fix my superiors printer, then be told how replaceable I am. Which forced my resignation at that company after 6 months. At the time of writing I am working as an operator for a oil company recycling fracking water (hence the PHD analogy) but I do not know where in life I am going, and I am constantly soul searching to find the right path for me, I guess all that to say, its nice to have a path. But do not follow it to strictly because it may end before you want it too.

    As for real life friends compared to internet friends, I can completely agree. When I moved to America, I lost my girlfriend and a lot of friends because I wouldn’t stay in the piece of shit town to this day I cannot call home and during the first few years in America, I became practically suicidal due to the fact I could not get any friends or a job because I was either too tall or English, if it wasn’t for the friends I met on the internet, I don’t think I would of been writing this today.

    I think that is about enough writing in a reply and hopefully cleared up a few things for you from another perspective, as for wanting to be remembered. I do not think for you that will be such a problem, just think how many people have read about hanako and perceived their “waifu” in such ways to their own personality. More of a problem, you will be remembered for this as your greatest achievement and if you want to do something out of your comfort zone, you will be reminded of this for at least the rest of your life.

    Personally, I want to be remembered as that one really tall guy who is really polite in real life, a bit of an odd personality and has an unhealthy addiction to tea. Anymore respect I will be happy, anyless it is their loss.

    As I finally finish this response, my kettle is now out of water and my tea leaves now taste like brown water from the tannin like a thick tar infused with the inside of my teacup. I will leave this little tidbit of information. You might be the best at what you can do, you might be the best at what others can do. But if you fail at something than succeed, you are wiser than any lucky person in the universe, and to me you will always be a tax dodger.

    P.S

    I would be honored if one day, I could buy you a drinks as I hate to say it, but hanako’ story arc was the beginning to my new life of not knowing what the I want to do with my life

    P.S.S I am not spell checking that, im filling up my kettle

  4. An interesting read, cplcrud. Like most of your posts, in fact. However, this one is a bit more… /different/ than the others, to put it one way. Are you sure that it is, in fact, the feeling of having your identity challenged that gets you so worked up over these things? If it is (you seem pretty sure of this, at least), then why? How is it that you’ve come to the conclusion that these things will break the identity you’ve worked so hard to create?

    My advance apologies if this curiosity is no good.

    1. I think, really, it’s just down to that insecurity that all of us have. We try to make ourselves unique though various means.
      This usually works amongst your initial groups of friends; your’e the “nerdy” one, or the “sporty” one.

      But then, when you are subjected to the wider world, you realise that those things that made you unique are actually shared by a great number of people.

      It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed by the fact that despite your great efforts, you are still simple one person lost in a sea of billions.

  5. Hello Crud. I’m just reading through your old posts because there’s lots of wisdom to be had here. Your post got me thinking:

    First off, I’m not like you: I have to slave away to keep up with the geniuses in class, and even then, that’s not enough sometimes.

    When compared with people like you, is anything I do worth something at the end of the day? Everybody seems to have their lives thought out while I’m still floundering around, nearly drowning in this overwhelming storm of worries and mediocrity.

    Looking over your posts, it seems like you’re really smart and fortunate. I’m just wondering if I’ll be worth anything compared to that when I go out into the world with my college degree.

    I guess I’m just worried about the future, and seeing you like this, with a (as far as I know) decent job, and a family of your own, I feel kind of intimidated. Ideally, I’d like those things too, but do I really have what it takes? I’m not a genius by any means, so I’m a little scared. I’m willing to put the work in, but will that really be enough?

    1. Okay, so this requires a bit of a longer answer.

      First up, remember that I finished my undergraduate degree 11 years ago. That is a significant difference.

      I also spent the first 4 or so years flapping about without much of a career plan.
      Luck plays a certain part in every story, to be sure, but there is also a lot of effort. When I finally found a job that I could be good at, I worked many, many hours at being the best I could at it.
      I put in the overtime to keep educating myself, and that has helped as well.

      That being said, I’m not exactly the life of the party, i have only a few friends, and I travel so much for work that sometimes it is like having a family only part-time.

      It is a bit of a dense read, but try and read “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Kahneman and “Flow” by Csikszentmihalyi.
      The key message from both of these books that applies to your situation is that you need to set yourself some realistic, and yet challenging goals, and then work on those.

      Natural talent isn’t the only indicator for success. Yes, it helps, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge. More important is your disposition and giving yourself as many opportunities as possible for luck to work its magic!

  6. How do I give myself opportunities? You mean like internships and volunteering?

    Also, how did you know what you want to do? I know you said you flapped about for four years, but how did you find that job you were sure about?

    I’ll get to those books tonight. Also, I don’t want you to think that I think you only have luck and natural talent–you obviously work intensely hard to get where you are, and it definitely was not easy.

    At the end of the day, I’m just saying that I’m unsure of what I want to do, and that I want to find out what I want to do quickly so I can apply myself fully and get to a good, stable position.
    And on top of that, there’s always the nagging fear at the back of my mind that I might not have enough money to provide for a wife and/or child, if I ever am fortunate enough to have them.

    Thank you for your advice. I’m glad I can finally talk to someone who’s been in my present situation or at least something similar.

    1. I still don’t know what job I want to do. But I’ll keep doing what seems interesting.

      You give yourself opportunities by simply doing things. If you think working as a vet would be fun, then look for a job at one. Go online and find people to meet that work there. Start some basic studies.

      But if you constantly spend your time worrying and not moving, then you will find your opportunities limited.

  7. By moving, do you mean just doing the best you can, trying every opportunity you can reach, and believing that the future will be all right because you tried your best?

    I think that sounds good enough. I’ll try some basic studies and maybe do research into various jobs and things that I find interesting…I don’t think it’s too late.

    But I don’t understand the first part, where you said you still don’t know what job you want to do. From everywhere you’ve been and all the people you’ve met and experiences you’ve gathered, I thought you’d definitely know what you’re doing.

    I mean, you have a job and it probably works out, financially at least. You’ve done well for yourself (and are hopefully happy with the job you have), and you’re still not sure? I just can’t wrap my mind around that.

    But it’s reassuring, in a way. All this time I thought I’d have to know precisely what I wanted to do when I leave college and throw myself into the world with a clear cut direction in mind–now I see that this isn’t necessarily the case.

    I think I’ll just work hard in college, explore my options, and go from there. You’re right that I can’t keep worrying about the future–I’ll never focus on what’s in front of me if I keep doing that.

    I think I have it now, at least a little. I hope you find out what job you want to do.

    1. Well, let me explain a little.
      In high school I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I made it all the way to the last testing procedure before being dropped for some reason.
      So I switched to radar operations, but that was boring as shit, so I left.

      Then I started working at an AV rental place, then moved into theatres, then into touring music.

      At some point I wanted to start a recording studio, and actually started renovating may parent’s house with the aim of buying it off them.

      Then I started working at the Opera House as a Stage Mechanist, and quickly moved into the Audio department.

      From there I moved into the Technical Support area, broke that department and started a new one, looking at systems integration and development.

      Then I moved to my current company as a sales manager, and have since moved into General Management.

      So there wasn’t really one thread that led me to here, but when there were chances, or I wanted to learn more about something, I just went for it. I’m not sure if General/Sales management is where I want to be, but to be better at it I am continuing to read and study on these topics.

      But what comes next? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll stay in senior management. Maybe I’ll come up with something and become an entrepreneur. Maybe I’ll build that studio after all, or take a 6-month break and try to write a “real” book.

      In any case, unemployment in the first world is relatively low at the moment, so there should always be a way to support yourself.

      1. O_O
        So much stuff…
        How did you try all this out while college was breathing down your neck?
        …and I don’t want to imagine your resume right now. It reminds me how painfully bare mine is…I’d better work on that.

  8. Sorry about the double post. Didn’t realize it went through.

    …not sleeping…maybe I should give it a try. Or maybe not frequenting this blog so much.

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