As readers of this blog know, my boyfriend is a sweet, sexy, sporty guy in his early thirties. Up to now I have always referred to him here as "my BF." It's time he got a name. Please welcome "Tobi" to blogland. Tobi, by the way, is from Japan and his enthusiasm for raw fish is inspiring. Let's just say that Tobi knows good uni when he tastes it. He's also an accomplished cook who makes delicious traditional Japanese dishes.
This week Tobi and I are going on vacation to Japan. Actually, he's already there visiting his parents. I will join him, and we'll spend a week together seeing the sights, with a few days in Tokyo and the rest in the countryside, including two days at an onsen (hot springs) resort. (Hot springs are incredibly popular in Japan. It's a major element of the culture.)
In Tokyo we're going to check out all of the standard touristy sights but also make our way over to the gay neighborhood, Shinjuki Ni-chome. Neither of us has been there before. It's said that there are 200-300 gay bars and restaurants crammed into this little neighborhood.
I'm very excited about the trip. We love spending time together as a couple, and as far as Japan goes, it will be great for me to have a native guide, especially one as adorable as Tobi.
Being gay is not easy in Japanese culture. The culture treats almost any expression of individuality or difference as unpardonable selfishness. There is intense social pressure to conform. Tobi emigrated to the U.S.-- not knowing a soul here-- because living in Japan as a gay person wasn't feasible. Tobi's emigration to the U.S. reminds me a little of Brady's recently posted Plan B.
Japanese society is very conservative socially but this is not religously motivated. Tobi has had little exposure to Christianity and finds it foreign and somewhat frightening. His experience with Christians (of the non-Mormon Bible-thumping kind) has left him skittish.
We generally spend our lives immersed in our own culture. Its conventions become part of us, and its myths become our reality. Getting to know another culture intimately is a way of breaking open one's own. I myself have found comparing the Japanese gay experience with the Moho experience to be enlightening, and I think being a gay Mormon is easier than being a gay Japanese person. (Sorry, guys.)
Anyway, now you know a little bit more about our situation. I'll fill in more of the gaps in future posts and I'll be happy to answer questions entered as comments.
(I'm still not 100% adjusted to the idea of using pseudonyms, but I think it's less stilted than always saying "my boyfriend.")