I went from reading around 30 books a month in two languages to hardly reading any, because I lapsed into the ‘I’m gonna re-read the hundreds (if not multiple thousands) of fanfics I have on my Kindle again’ phase.

(And I have a weird relationship with fan fiction, where I have a couple of specific fandoms, two which are based on TV shows I’ve never watched a single episode of (and not going to), and another one is Star Trek, and mostly skip the porn and any lengthy angsty staff, and focus on fluff-and-comfort and weird comedy AUs.)

Problem is, there is only one kind of books I want to read, and it often feels like it’s the opposite of what ‘publishers’ and ‘public’ believe constitutes a good book.

In fact, the only books I would say fitted into the ‘what I need from a book’ the closest were self-published books with a relatively small fan base.

And what I need are the books that make my life better, that bring something positive into it. Books that are not based on the nauseatingly popular ‘angst is cool’ and ‘death, gore, suffering, and pain are even cooler’ presumptions.

I went through the phase when I read all kinds of books the world has to offer—the classics, the dead white guy hits, the award winners, the problem works—when I was a teenager. I had two good English Lit teachers in high school who also chose books meant to teach you something (Color Purple, Black Rain, 100 Years of Solitude, etc). I also did my postgrad thesis on women’s literature, including people like Tony Morrison, Joan Didion, Dorothy Alison, Loise Erdrich, and others.

And the thing is, that was more than enough. I don’t need any books that try to teach me about monsters in my life anymore. The things people call ‘profound’ and ‘raw’ and ‘deeply influential’ and ‘unsettling commentary’, with all the ‘exploring the challenges ans struggles’. I don’t need books that focus on the portrayal of horrors, pain, human problems, conflict, hatred, prejudice, drama, and all the other negative things that for some reason are considered to be a must-have for a book to be a bestseller. It’s like people think that a story is only worth telling if there’s pain or sadness in it. Like ‘good’ is not enough to be interesting.

I need books that banish and eradicate horrors, pain, human problems, conflict, hatred, prejudice, drama. Books that focus on good, happiness, love, and comfort.

And honestly, I don’t get why they are so hard to find. Why people are so obsessed with angst and drama that they think a book cannot be considered a book unless it has some hurtful drama in it.

It’s why I binge-read so many weird romances in the last year, because they felt like the closest you could come to literature made for fun and comfort, but then even the silliest comedy-romance books (in any genre) would have some ‘weird unnecessary drama’ phase around 70% into the story, like they all went through the same cookie cutter. Like someone told all writers and publishers that a book won’t sell if you don’t put some unnecessary angst and stupid drama into exact same spot in every book. And I’ve literally read hundreds of them, and found out that about 90% follow the exact same pattern.

Right now, I believe that books that don’t make my life better—and I don’t mean some “educational” and “how-to” crap, I mean the books that make me feel better, that bring me positive emotions, that make me smile, that take me somewhere where I don’t need to deal with angst, pain, and drama—are just not worth my time anymore. Why would I willingly spend my time on something that bring me negative emotions? Why do other people do?

So once again I find myself too tired of angst and drama to open any of the 100smth unread books I have piled in my apartment, and am hiding in a ton of fluffy fanfiction instead.

I’m aware that I’m very very late on this train, and by ‘late’ I mean the train has probably come and gone so long ago most people already forgot there was a train, but

I’m watching the US Bachelor for the very first time in my life, because I caught it by accident on the TV, and experiencing this very weird sort of glee…because:

I really don’t like the guy (like, I’m sure he’s fine, I just wouldn’t want to touch him with a 10ft pole and the more I watch the more I dislike him),

I hate his ideas of ‘dates’ (and it’s kind of amazing how people can do this with straight faces and squeal in delight at all these things. I’m yet to see a single one I would want to participate in even with a person I liked (upd.: well, fine, they finally went horseback riding in the mountains so I guess there was one)),

I don’t get how these women can subject themselves to all this (and in public! on the TV where everyone will see!) and why they behave the way they do… Actually, I think I just don’t get these women at all.

And really, the whole idea of this show, with all it’s falseness and insincerity, the whole ‘I’m gonna have this long ‘romantic’ date, talk about feelings, and make out with this woman…and an hour later I’m gonna do the same and make out with another woman’ and then rinse and repeat about 20 more times? (I do hope he rinses though, because that’s a lot of making out with strangers) And everyone knows it and acts like there’s nothing weird about it?

It’s like watching a fascinating Animal Planet documentary, although I’m actually supposed to be same species with these monkeys.

Also, I don’t think it’s really healthy to keep watching by getting hooked on the feelings of ‘wow, wtf is that/I kinda really hate that’ I get with literally every next thing I see on this show, but here we are.

I think I need to watch the Bachelorette. (which I never knew it existed until yesterday)

Japanese society may be extremely rigid and unforgiving in many ways.

But it’s also kind of extremely understanding and welcoming to all kinds of kinks, weirdness, and otaku-ness. Especially when it comes to making money from all the said kinks and otaku-ness. Which means it’s pretty easy for people who are into some specific things (sometimes harmlessly weird, sometimes outright wrong…from having full arena concerts for holographic anime characters instead of real singers and to all kinds of fetish sex places, including common pubs where you can pay to touch women’s breasts all you like) to find a niche and fellow-minded people to realize their wishes and live true to their weirdness.

It’s a land of contrasts, and I think what makes it special is that you can find your own niche of extreme here, your own safe place, be it the clean places where everyone follows social rules or the underground places where everyone goes to enjoy breaking them very explicitly, and you can choose the world you’d rather live in here.

I, admittedly, land on the rather rigid side, and the weird places and things people do I sometimes hear about still blow my mind from time to time.

People may have a lot of things.
You may even look at them and think, ‘Oh, they have so many things I don’t. They have so many things I wish I had. I would be so much happier if I had the things they have.’
And by ‘things’, I mean all things. Like family, friends, money, careers, houses and homes, hobbies, plans, places to be and people to talk to. All the things.
But the problem is that no matter how many things people have, it doesn’t mean that they have the one thing they need to keep living.

I’m sure many people noticed/knew about this all these years, but I just made this discovery for myself for the very first time.

How funnily the world is connected in all the weird places.

I’ve been avoiding using Uber Eats and instead relying on the more organisation-based food delivery services because there’s a certain comfort in the illusion of the ‘professionalism’ they afford. As in, the delivery people are people who do it as a job, and feel a bit more reliable.

I’ve decided to try it, because with this virus business there are now lots of very interesting restaurants to be found in the Uber Eats database that I probably wouldn’t found otherwise.

I tried.

The short version: It got delivered to wrong building. I had to go out and sneak into the next building to pick up a bag in front of some stranger’s door. Since I contacted the support before I found it, the Uber Eats support refunded me full price of the order and added a 500yen(almost $5) coupon. I now feel very uncomfortable, because even though it is a correct move on their part, I didn’t want the refund because I still got to eat the food.

The long version: There were some system problems with entering my address—it kept not showing and I tried re-entering in couple of different ways. In the end I made sure I entered all important information somewhere.

I also selected the option to have the food left in front of my door. Which is logical in the current times, but might have been a big mistake.

Our building has locked entrance, so unless the delivery person is let in by someone else entering/exiting, he would have to ring my room to be let in. I expected him to ring me anyway.

Instead, while I was waiting for the doorbell, suddenly I received the notification that the order was delivered and done. I went to look outside my door: nothing. I got my shoes and went down to see if he could’ve left in the lobby: nothing. I looked around the floor to see if it’s in from of any other doors: nothing.

I was already beginning to suspect what happened, because, unfortunately, there are buildings 1 and 2, with the same name, next to each other, and I live in the building 2. I looked over at the building 1 (because both buildings are in the ’empty square shape’ and you can see through), but I couldn’t see all the doors on the floor to say for sure. Besides, with exception for some taxi drivers, no delivery person ever made this mistake, as far as I know, because the tenants’ names are displayed on the rooms and mail boxes.

I contacted the UberEats support saying that the order wasn’t delivered. I then saw that the driver had uploaded the photo of the delivery and realised that he really must’ve delivered it to the next building and just left it in front of the door. I walked to the next building imagining if I’ll have to ring the person who lives in the room with the same number as I and ask them if they have food in front of their door. However, luckily for me, the building 1 doesn’t have the same locked entrance as we do, so I was able to just walk into the building, take the elevator to the same floor, and find the paper bag with my food in front of stranger’s door.

I brought the food home and messaged the support again, saying that I have solved the problem and found the food myself in the wrong building. I sent in the ‘evaluation’, and while I put the honest negative for the delivery to a wrong place, I still added a tip…well, because he did actually deliver and uploaded the picture of it.

A few minutes later the support wrote me back that they have refunded the full price of the order, and added a complementary coupon, and are very sorry for all the inconvenience. They ‘looked into the situation’ and found out that the delivery guy completed the delivery without the following proper instructions, and while they won’t fire him, they will make sure he won’t be making same mistakes again.

Thing is, this whole situation left me very uncomfortable. While, logically speaking, they are probably right to do it this way from the business point of view, because he did make a mistake of not making sure he delivered to the correct address and not contacting me (I don’t know if he ever rang the door bell in the other building)… I really would rather not get refund since I did get the food and he did actually deliver it, even if he made a mistake.

I may have a habit of glorifying people a bit too much when I don’t know them. As in, in my head, I actually imagine someone who tried to earnestly do the fob, believing he’d done everything correctly, and then receiving contact from the company saying that I told them he didn’t deliver the stuff and he won’t get paid because he made a mistake. And I don’t like it.

I hope at least the restaurant won’t have to be involved (not that I was completely satisfied with their delivery either, though) and UberEats will cover the price, instead of taking it out either of the restaurant or the driver.

The reason I wrote this long rambly post is that the feelings I have on this issue don’t really match with what I feel like I should be feeling.

What I probably should be feeling is relief that I don’t need to pay for this overpriced and stressful meal. The delivery person made a mistake. The mistake was avoidable, but he didn’t take steps to avoid it.

What I actually feel, is guilt for involving all these people (the restaurant, the delivery person, the UberEats people in general) and making their day worse by deciding to order food I didn’t really need that much. It feels like it wasn’t even 100% the delivery guy’s fault, because of the whole situation with two buildings and fact that I didn’t want to interact with people and requested the ‘leave in front of the door’ delivery. It also feels like it was me who should’ve taken more steps to ensure there was less margin for error for other people.

I also wasted 3 hours of my Sunday on processing this issue and it feels like a fail all way through.

…If I ever use Uber Eats again, I’ll have to remember to add a ‘make sure it’s the correct building’ to the notes.

‘Do you want to be an adult or a child? Children require comfort even in a crisis, because they can’t understand how urgent things are. In a child’s world, it’s all about them: how this affects me, how this makes me feel, why is life so unfair? An adult sees a problem and tries to fix it. They think of other people and they plan their actions aware of the consequences. …’

(c) Ilona Andrews, Sapphire Flames

Fun fact:
I’m too lazy to look up the exact ‘anti-smoking’ law that was passed recently, but
On the scale of our company (around 1800 people?), in accordance with it, all smoking areas on the premises will be removed before April of 2020, no smoking areas will be established going forward, and people won’t be allowed to smoke anywhere inside or outside the company (since you’re also not allowed to smoke on the street). Anywhere.

So, factually, smoking people will not have a single option to smoke since the moment they arrive at work until the moment they leave 9-10 hours (at least) later.

(including all kinds of electronic and vaping smoking devices)

I have a strong suspicion you won’t be allowed to smoke anywhere except inside your own house very soon in this country.

Oh Kojima-san…

Coming out on the stage in gamescofm discussing how Norman Reedus’s dick can be used as a weapon and a tool to connect the fractured world.

Also,

he kind of went from being mysterious and showing stuff that was ambiguous and impossible to interpret, to showing and saying too much about spoilery character settings all at once.

I sometimes manage to stay away from television, news, and real world in general so well that when I catch a glimpse of it by chance I suddenly find out that parts of country are being washed away with level 4 (out of 5) evacuation alerts, a number of very prominent and very famous tv figures got in organised crime-related trouble (which in this country means a big reconstruction on the tv scene because they will need to replace big tv shows that were in the same spots for many years and people who everyone was used to seeing all the time), and that some of my favourite (and very talented) musicians were arrested.

Feels like this world is never going to convince that there might be a merit in not living like an ostrich.

Yet, I believe what really grinds my gears, and prevents me from leaving this topic alone and not wasting my energy on thinking about it for 2 days already, is that if the situation was the opposite, as in, if the main characters were supposed to be from somewhere from Africa (or say Asia or Middle East), but instead white British actors were hired to play their roles, there would have been 10 times more outrage.

And then thousands of people who never even read the books would also flock to protest and express their outrage once they’d sniff it out, because how dare the tv producers not respect people’s races and cultures.

And I highly doubt the author would have been able to write her ‘proud post’ about how she thinks the cast is just right, and she never even remembered that her own main character had eyes of a specific colour. and that he is ‘right for the role in every way that matters’ (except race, because race doesn’t matter). Because she would just get stoned for that.

…In everyday circumstances, I would be among the first to say that race doesn’t matter. Because, in everyday life, I don’t really care (and, to be honest, my cognitive abilities are failing enough that sometimes I can’t tell Japanese people from foreigners when I’m outside…).

But when we talk about integrity of cultures and world settings… I think every culture and setting should be equally protected and represented as it was historically, or as it was written to be.

Japanese things that ‘everyone’ knows and likes and expects you to know and like, but I inexplicably can’t stand on some biological level and really don’t want to have anything to do with:

  • Studio Ghibli
  • Nintendo (including Mario, Zelda, and pretty much every IP of theirs)

It’s an opinion that is equally difficult to express among Japanese people and not-Japanese Japan fans. And even more difficult to express when you work in gaming…

I do hate this very common occurrence of an almost empty cafe filling to its capacity 30 minutes after I sat down hoping to write in piece and quiet.

It’s not like I even come right after the opening hours or right before lunch hours when it could be logically explained and expected.

Specifically looking for a quiet spot in a quiet book cafe just to see it get overcrowded in less than an hour after you sat down is…just sad, frustrating, and feels like an insult when you’re in an especially self-centered mood.

upd. It’s also the same with the toilet. Say you sit with a clear view of the cafe toilet (1 person at a time kind of deal) for an hour and can see that it’s not crowded and no one is waiting in front of it, in fact it’s rarely occupied. But the minute you decided to go, not only someone tries the door less that 30 sec after you lock it behind yourself (before you even manage to take your pants off), you emerge to see a 3-people line waiting for you with offended expressions.

It makes me feel stalked by a crowd of humanity.

And reminds me of that feeling when I was going around taking pictures in parks and more often than not some old man would start following around and stop to take pictures at the exact same spot at exact same angle I did a moment ago. I’m not even kidding.

Yes, I did mention an especially self-centered mood. But it’s hard to blame my moods when these occurrences keep piling up.

I’ve never let it bother me much before, but last time I was in new local supermarket they were having a マグロ解体ショー (tuna filleting display/show ?) there, calling people to watch it like a spectacle, and all I could think was “they’re making a show of dismembering a dead creature” and couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I’m not a vegetarian (not that I didn’t try) and will definitely eat tuna, but it’s the whole ‘making it into a show’ aspect that disgusts me about humans