AIA#143 Searching for ATMs in Japan and the Lone Expat



A long time ago I had a history professor that said, “Define happiness and I’ll show you a man that is happy.” 

I’m writing this from my cozy little apartment here in Japan.  The small city is lit up under a beautiful night sky.  Some cars can be heard going by every now and then but it’s  still a quiet Sunday night.

Today I woke up and got coffee from the fridge.  I love Japanese caned coffee.  I worked on a writing project for a good couple of hours.  Later, I did some laundry and cleaned up my apartment.

Recently, I was talking to a friend and he asked me if I was happy.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation we had and I’ve been replaying it over in my mind.  I’m not sure why he asked me this.  I think he might be unhappy.  He’s a good guy and he has a decent job back home and lives in a very nice city.  He’s always been a friendly and happy person.

“Am I happy?”

I answered, “Yes.”  But of course I’m human and I get lonely.  Loneliness is when you want someone to talk to or be with and you don’t have anyone.  I think it’s more about ” “thinking you’re lonely” than actually being lonely.  Being alone is be by yourself and being content to be by yourself.  I did have some moments yesterday that were lonely.  I was going to grab a burger and needed to find an ATM machine.  I found one but it wouldn’t take my card.  I found another ATM but it wasn’t open. Ugh.  I walked a few blocks and finally found a 7-11 ATM.  As I was walking I was thinking about how it would be nice to have a friend to talk to or just hang out with.  Since I just moved here I don’t know anyone.  But I don’t consider myself lonely.  I think the reason many people never leave their hometown is they don’t want to be alone and experience being alone in a new environment.  I’ve lived in more than a few countries and I’m very used to being on my own.  If fact a lot of times I prefer it.  I went back to the burger place and ordered.



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