Fulfilling the weeb dream

If anyone knew me 20 years ago, they might remember me as an anime-obsessed weeaboo who loved everything Japan, even more so than my own Korean heritage.  Most everything I was interested was related to anime or Japanese culture, and I even took four years of Japanese between high school and college to further enhance my fascination with the culture.

All the time, I would’ve loved to have visited Japan, but when you’re a teenager and have no money or means to make such trips happen, that was more or less of a pipedream that would probably never happen any time soon.

Eventually, I grew out of it, further embraced my true heritage and kind of went on with my life. As the years passed however, I’d watched people all around me eventually make their pilgrimages to the glorious nation.  Few have ever said anything bad about it, and generally everyone has nothing but glowing things to say about their trips to Japan.  But for whatever reasons, the boyhood dream of visiting glorious Nippon had always eluded me.  Just about all of my closest friends had been to Japan at some point and I began to feel like everyone but me had been there.

When I got with mythical wife when she was still mythical girlfriend and she made me realize foreign travel wasn’t as unattainable as I’d been living my life believing, we started going to a bunch of other countries together, as she too had already been to Japan, and it was mostly on the backburner for her.  Plus, by this time, I had stated that I wanted my first real foray into Asia to be Korea, holding loyal to my actual heritage, although that notion kind of went down the toilet when a European cruise we took, ported in Kusadasi, Turkey, which is technically on the Asia side of the country.  Fail.

Anyway, what I’m getting to is the fact that the time has finally come: I’m going to Japan.

All it took was a global pandemic and the country to close their borders for airfares to the glorious country to drop to make pulling the trigger a no-brainer, especially since I could cash in some SkyMiles to outright cover one of our fares, bringing our overall cost to laughable numbers.  But regardless, our tickets have been purchased and our dates set, and soon, I will be fulfilling the 20-year weeaboo boyhood dream of visiting the land of the rising sun.

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Not surprising, but still sad

I found out recently that the Hooters Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas is going under, and I can’t help but feel a little melancholy at the thought of that.  It was definitely not the most glitzy and must-see destination of all of the Las Vegas casinos, but it was still one of the casinos that seemed like it might actually have some staying power, based on its fairly decent location at the south end of the Strip and just the general fact that they were Hooters, a company powered primarily on one of the staples of Las Vegas’s commerce: boobs.

Then again, the south end of the Strip hasn’t always been that advantageous, especially looking at the sad state of properties like the Tropicana, Excalibur, and the revolving door of identities that Hooters was before it was Hooters, and it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that even the mighty titty-centric Hooters is even failing.  Especially considering that in comparison to the many casinos that employ go-go dancers and lingerie dealers, Hooters’ signature uniforms have become somewhat tame and daresay conservative, and their business model has grown stale in a city that’s always changing, in the name of making money.

It was a few years ago in which I went to Hooters last, when mythical wife was still mythical gf and it was her first trip out to Las Vegas ever.  We were staying at the neighboring MGM Grand, so we wandered over to Hooters, just so she could get the full gamut of casinos, seeing as how the night prior, we had wandered around through bougie joints like the Cosmopolitan, Aria and City Center, so now it was an opportunity to see some of the more tired and less-than-glamorous joints.  And walking into Hooters, it was the very definition of tired and defeated, with carpets that looked like they haven’t been changed since 2000, the odor of stale cigarettes, defeat and desperation, and barely any dealers working the floor.  Granted, it was a little earlier in the day, but it was still kind of a reminder of the harsh reality that not everything in Las Vegas is glitz and glamour.

Ultimately, it’s of no consequence to me that Hooters Casino & Hotel is getting shut down, because I’ve only ever stayed there once, and I don’t always go there whenever I go out to Vegas.  When the day is over, the emotion I feel is mostly based on the simple fact that it’s a change to something that I’d grown accustomed to, and there’s no secret that change itself is one of the chief evokers of emotion these days.

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Life as a married man, brog post #2

Honestly, there’s not nearly as much to say about the honeymoon as there was the wedding.  Frankly, much of this was split into two posts mostly because of my OCD of wanting to make sure a wedding photo was with the wedding post, and so that some picture from the honeymoon can also get displayed independently, therefore necessitating its own post.  Still, not to say that I can’t spout off about a honeymoon, but in the interest of transparency, this is the true impetus of this post coming to fruition.

Frankly, we’re just happy to have done a honeymoon, especially immediately after the wedding.  We’ve seen it happen to enough couples, where a honeymoon is planned anywhere from months to an entire year after the wedding to actually happen, and in some cases not even happen at all.  Yeah no, no disrespect to those who embark on similar paths, but the both of us most definitely wanted to have an actual honeymoon, where we could actually relax and take a well-earned break from the life of planning a wedding on top of our normal working lives.

In a nutshell, we went to Disney World for a few days, stayed at the Polynesian resort, and then transitioned onto a Disney cruise for the next week, where we sailed to Mexico for a few days, hit Disney’s private island Castaway Cay for a day, and then came back home.  The wife drove most of the itinerary, since she’s at least 200x more into Disney than I am, but I’m more than happy to go along for the ride, as long as the vast majority of my trip could be spent relaxing, eating like a pig, and generally having very little commitments at all.

Overall, my missions could very well be considered accomplished.  Maybe a little too much, because I still have no earthly idea what I’m doing with my life whenever I have free time back home.  I just watched Chinese Super Ninjas for the 80th time in my life last night, because I couldn’t triangulate on one better thing to do with two free hours than that.

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Life as a married man, brog post #1

photo courtesy Matt Altmix

Let this be the first time I put in writing that I am now an officially married man, and this is the first time that I’ve had the time to sit down and write since both the wedding and the honeymoon.  After planning for both of these things for the better part of the last year, and then actually doing both things, I have to say that it feels kind of like having been on a train for a while and then having to adjust to the speed of walking all over again.  Literally, I’ve spent parts of the last two days sitting there in a dazed stupor, not having any clue of what to do next with, life in general. 

There are certainly things that should get done and need to get done, but I’m having a hard time bringing myself to make the first step in any direction to actually get started on doing anything really just yet.  It’ll all fix itself pretty quickly as daily life and routine begin to settle back down, but for the time being, it’s definitely taking some adjustment on getting back to normal life after finishing up a journey with some finishes in extreme rhythms.

As for the wedding, I have to say that I think the wife and I put on an excellent weekend for our celebration of union.  Trying to be as objective as I can for my own event, but I really genuinely believe that just about everything went so well and smooth, and I really couldn’t have asked for anything else,* as far as how the entire weekend went, from the arrival of friends and family, the rehearsal party to the wedding itself.

*except maybe some actual leftovers from our catering, which was completely obliterated by everyone, regardless of a few no-shows, resulting in nothing left for wifey and I after the wedding, but I guess that’s just another sign of success that we picked a good caterer who put out some irresistible food

I think it started with the location, and getting hitched in downtown Decatur made for a fantastic location for guests to stay where they were right next door to the venue, in an area where there were tons of restaurants and bars to eat and hang at, and a rarity in the Metro Atlanta area, somewhere that was MARTA accessible, meaning people could easily hop aboard the train and actually do tourist things.  Plus, the hotel was brand-spanking new, and the staff was outstanding beyond belief, and there’s little reason to believe the weekend wouldn’t have been as great as it was without them themselves.

Throughout the weekend, fewer things made me happier than seeing friends and family decisively doing their own things, and going out to eat or to the aquarium or the World of Coke, and making the most of their free time.  I took great pleasure and enjoyment in seeing people having a good time in Decatur and Atlanta, and not feeling like they were just humoring us, and like they actually got some time for themselves instead of feeling like they were just here for us.

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Thoughts on a European vacation

So for our 2018 vacation, mythical gf future wifey and I went to Europe.  Specifically Munich, Germany, Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna, Austria.  These are all places that I’d never been to before, but such could very easily be said about anywhere on the planet, because in the grand spectrum of things, the world is pretty large.

Needless to say, the trip was pretty much excellent.  All three places were great in their own ways, and I look back fondly to the exploration, food and drinking of each of them.

Munich, completely redeems the entire country of Germany for me.  When I was younger, I’d often said that Germany was a country that I’d most want to visit in my life, because it seemed like the one country where it was a pretty drastic change to everyday life without having to go into the bush.  In 2016, I went to Germany for the first time, but it was to Berlin, which turned out to be a city that embodied hostility, owned their unfriendliness and was just basically an unpleasant place that really made me question my choice of places I wanted to go.  I was as relieved to leave Berlin as much as they probably bid good riddance, and I really debated on whether or not I wanted to ever go to Germany again.

Thankfully, future wifey convinced me that Munich would be different, and our 2018 European vacation would both start and end in Munich, which turned out to be a pretty good thing in the end.  From the very start, arriving in Munich was arriving in a traditionally beautiful city that had classic European architecture all around, and the historic building and landmarks were stuff like cathedrals and monuments, and not just dingy vandalized wall fragments.

The people of Munich were also way friendlier, spoke more English, which is another thing that I don’t take for granted when traveling abroad, because I’m always impressed and grateful as hell whenever I go to other countries, and there are always people who can speak English as opposed to how it’s like in America where so few people speak anything otherwise.

And the trains in Munich, they actually worked, unlike Berlin, where they were always broken, closed for maintenance, and made absolutely no sense to where they actually went.  Much of our time in Munich was spent walking around from tourist destinations to bier hauses, and in a country where beer is pretty much the same cost as water, needless to say, we did a good bit of bier drinking.  Hofbrauhaus was a fun tourist destination, but Paulaner was definitely of superior quality in food and beer, but if any one place is worth remembering, it’s the literal cave like cellar of Augustiner, which turned out to be a really cool place in the end.

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I lost a mythical gf

On this day, I no longer have a girlfriend. 

I have a fiancée now.

Marriage is one of those things that I always imagined would be in my future.  Even though jaded people like to claim that it’s an archaic institution or something that doesn’t really mean much these days, the eternal romantic in me always saw it as something that I figured I’d want to attain in my life.  I’ve watched couples that I’ve always thought were great, mothers and fathers of children, and even my own parents dissolve and divorce which I’d be lying didn’t give me concerns for pursuing it myself, but it just seems like one of those things that always had a place in my life, personally.

And fortunately, I’ve had an accommodating partner throughout this journey towards marriage, and the once-mythical gf has stuck with me throughout the last four years, and kind of made it something of a no-brainer that we just might work out in the long haul.  I’m lucky to have a girl in my life that loves and accepts me, is supportive of my pursuits, and encourages me to be the best person that I can be, and I’m pretty stoked and excited to go through the awkward transition of calling her “my girl-I mean fiancée,” and eventually, my wife.

It’s funny because despite the fact that it took four years to get to this point, this is something that has been on my mind for a way lot longer.  But I didn’t want to be one of those people who were just giddy to be in a relationship, and rush straight into marriage, without really knowing their better halves, and despite the fact that I was wondering if this could go in this direction, I always erred on the side of steady, to let things grow, feel things out, and really be more and more sure of, well everything.

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