End of the Line-
We’ve reached the end. I started this journey in November, 2010. Today, February 14th, 2015, is the end. I’m sad to commit these final words to my blog. I’ve experienced tremendous growth these past few years. I’ve enjoyed capturing and sharing them with all of you. But I’m also happy to neatly wrap this up. This is my 100th entry. I’m a year back in the States and my Japanese adventure is fully finished. But before I can retire JapaneseAlex let me fill in the final blanks.
In 2010 I was an English teacher.
In 2014 I was hired on as the Administrative Director for the Democratic Party of Hawaii! As you may remember, my entry into government started with the Hawaii State Legislature. There I learned how legislation actually works. Now from within the Democratic Party I could learn about the importance of elections and getting into office. I was about to see the other side of the coin.
I started work on a Monday. It was a small office and a smaller staff; my only coworker was the Executive Director. I was going to get a lot of experience. I was also starting just six days before the Primary. I was definitely going to get a lot experience.
The Primary came and went. Much to everyone’s surprise a little-known challenger beat the incumbent Governor; David Ige over Neil Abercrombie. Ige would move on to challenge two well-known opponents in the General. I had my work cut out for me.
Then my coworker resigned. A month on the job and I was alone in the office. I became the acting-executive director with two months to the general election. I had wanted a challenge with this job. Be careful what you wish for! But after 99 blogs y’all know well that I like a challenge. I dug in!
Much to my fortune we brought on a temporary staffer to help get us through the end of the year. Cyndi, a beautiful person, was an amazing coworker. Her experience and knowledge complimented my shortcomings. My youth and enthusiasm complimented her too. So together we ground out the sixty days to the election and in the end the Party emerged victorious! We won 58 out of 66 races. David Ige became the governor-elect too. Success!
Since the General Election work at the Party has continued moving at a brisk pace. The Legislature has started another session and the national party is abuzz with talks of the 2016 Election.
What an experience this has been! I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time. Of course there is still much more to learn. However this experience has validated my career choice. I’m out of the gate with momentum building. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m beginning to feel comfortable in my element. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Big Island Trip-
There are 137 islands in Hawaii. Eight of which are considered the main islands, they are: Hawai`i, Maui, Lana`i, Moloka`i, O`ahu, Kaua`i, and Ni`ihau. I live on the most populous, and the third largest island, O`ahu.
In October my friend Eric and I took a weekend trip to the Big Island. I’m still working on making a video out of our trip. I’ll share it here when it’s completed.
Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce-
In October I joined the HJJCC. I wanted to meet people outside of politics. I wanted to maintain a connection to Japan. I wanted to volunteer. I wanted to network. I think the Jaycees will be a good way to keep alive my tie to Japan. I can’t ever let that connection go!
Already I’ve attended some social mixers. I volunteered at the Honolulu Marathon, and the Sony Open. I’m sitting on the International Relations Committee. I think I made a good decision.
If politics is a game, the Democratic Party of Hawaii came as close to total victory as can be possible. Statewide the citizens of Hawaii elected 61 out of 68 Democrats, that’s an 89% success rate. We elected a new Democratic governor; we sent an entirely Democratic delegation to Washington; we retained our 24-1 supermajority in the state Senate; and in the House we lost only one seat, our control slipped to 43 of 51.
Nationally the GOP swept the floor with the Democrats. But in this blue bastion we did what we were supposed to. In Hawaii the (D) carries a lot of weight. The party here has a history of success. As such we have all shades of Democrats, and it’s really a big tent. A successful tent. It feels good to be on a winning team.
My old friend from Japan, Elisha, came for a visit in November. I met Elisha on my first day in Japan, and she made my first blog entry more than four years ago. Elisha is one of the few people I have had the pleasure to mature and grow next to in my mid-20’s. We have lots in common. Though we look nothing alike I consider her my second sister.
Elisha stayed for a week. We fully maximized her time. We hiked, swam, ate, drank, and explored like there was no tomorrow. It was a true adventure.
Where to next, sis?
A Small World-
Remember my anecdote last year where I bumped into a high school classmate on a mountaintop in Hawaii? I found it funny how small, and surprising, this world can be. Well in another twist I had a similar experience recently.
In the autumn of 2013, while still in Tokyo, I was browsing Reddit.com. I was reading a thread about employment in Hawaii. A contributor popped up claiming he worked in the Legislature. I messaged him asking for general tips. He quickly replied with some insight, the most useful being to apply to specific offices in addition to the general resume pool. I followed his advice applying to the pool and 10 specific offices. I thanked him and thought nothing more of it.
A week later I received an email from Representative Evans’ office requesting an interview. You know how this story ends; I got the job. I completed session with Rep Evans. I worked on some campaigns and was hired on the Party. For a transplant I had plugged in very fast. It would have never happened without that stranger’s advice.
Flash forward eight months. I was having drinks with some Young Democrats. Out of nowhere Will asked me, “Hey are you JapaneseAlex?”
I sat in silence. To confess your Reddit handle was to potentially confess to humiliating Internet comments. I squirmed in my seat as I contemplated confirming my username.
Will went on, “I messaged a JapaneseAlex last year who was living in Japan and wanted to move here to work in the Leg.”
It all came rushing back.
“Yeah, I am! You’re Will! You gave me a life-changing tip!”
Will and I had become coworkers, and friends, over the year and had never put two and two together. But sure enough we had held a throw away conversation that directly led to me sitting in that seat.
“You changed my life man!”
Funny how his random act of kindness had propelled my life forward. I like to keep that in mind when I’m dealing with strangers. What’s a brief moment to me may be monumental for them.
What a small world.
I arrived in Hawaii on November 29th, 2013. Hard to believe how fast that first year flew by.
Looking back at my first anniversary in Japan, in November 2011, I wrote a list: “Why I came to Japan.” By the time I left in November 2013 I had accomplished all my goals with varying levels of success. Now for my first Hawaiian anniversary I’ve updated it. I present to you, “Why I came to
Leave Nebraska Leave Japan
I truly loved Japan. I stayed three years and called it home. But ultimately I knew I had to leave. To achieve my full ability I knew I couldn’t stay in Japan forever. To stay would have been to compromise. To compromise with another is an admirable thing. To compromise with one’s self is unacceptable.
Mature Keep maturing
Back in 2010 I had wanted to leave America an old boy and return a young man. I did that. But I wasn’t done maturing. I wanted to keep learning, keep challenging myself, and keep improving. I’ve learned this is something that I’ll never complete. This will last a lifetime.
Adventure Continue to find adventure
One reason I love hiking is the excitement at finding out what lies beyond the next peak. I often run up the last few steps in anticipation of seeing what’s there. That’s also how I view life. I wonder what my next adventure is. I book flights with excitement and curiosity. What will I see? Who will I meet? I had to leave Japan to find my next adventure.
Challenge myself Continue to challenge myself
Living in Japan for three years I found myself comfortable. I knew what would happen next. I knew what the next lesson would be. I knew the next station on the train line. Like a book you’ve read before, I always knew what was next. From that familiarity comes laziness. The brain goes on autopilot when you know what to expect. And how can a personal really be challenged if they’re not even thinking? They can’t. So I decided in order to be challenged I needed a change. I needed to move on.
Find myself Continue to find myself
Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? What are my strengths and weaknesses? I’m different than I was yesterday, and different from whom I’ll be tomorrow. I want to provide myself with opportunities and positive experiences to make sure I like the person I am.
Make money Live comfortably
I’m a Millennial. Like many of my peers I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll likely never pull a massive paycheck. And I’m okay with that. If I can make enough to cover my expenses, and live comfortably, I’ll be happy. Of course I’m motivated to make more and do better. But having done a little growing up I realize there’s much more to this life than slaving away for a paycheck and buying the newest television set. Heck, I don’t even have a tv.
7.) Dumb luck
I am a very fortuitous person. Time and again I seem to be in the right place, at the right time. I wound up in Japan because of an offhanded conversation after class. I’m in Hawaii because of a friendly message. I don’t rely only on luck, but it’s nice to have on your side.
My final entry. 100 blogs. Four years and three months. 21,654 hits. It’s been a long and enlightening ride. This blog started as a way for friends & family to keep up with my travels. Along the way it become an outlet for me to record and sort out my ideas. It’s been a long ride together. Thank you all so much for being a part of my journey. It’s the people and connections we have that make this world so fantastic. Take care of yourselves, my friends. I’ll be seeing you around!
P.S.- Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts. No matter if this is your first time reading, or you’ve been with me since the beginning; no matter if you’re in Lincoln, or some place exotic, no matter if you’re my mother, or a stranger, say something!