The end of an Era, the beginning of a new one

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In life there are always compromises. Either we’re talking about love, passions, or everyday situations.

Getting into Japanese Music, more than five years ago, was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. It pushed me to write and improve my English, to travel like I never did before, to empower my passions and motivations, to meet wonderful friends and people, to live some of the best moments of my life, and to grow up as a man. But, differently from anyone, it also brought me to detest my place and my people after seeing all the beauty that there is in the world. To despise the everyday routine. To be blind towards all I had in front of me when I wasn’t traveling. I was putting the most important things of my life on hold to focus exclusively on something bigger than me, that I couldn’t possibly achieve, cause partly fueled by anger.

That, my dear friends, is a mistake. And the answer to why everyone around me progressed in life while I was trapped in the same situation. The discovery of Japanese music was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. A wonderful and extremely beautiful chapter, that today, as all things, is coming to an end.

As I get closer to my 30s, I feel like I should start building my life, here, with the people around me. To find a new job, new motivations, and, most of all, someone to love, the most important thing in life. All things I’ve been ignoring to focus on passion, when passion should be a pleasant and secondary (in a way) thing.

I loved and will probably always love Japanese music, while Japan, as a whole, will forever represent a huge passion in my life. It’s unforgettable, it’s a treasure that is part of me. But the time has come to start a new chapter, to build everything from scratch and stop escaping from reality. In the last five years, I’ve only been happy when I traveled far from home. From now on, I’d like to be always happy, no matter where I am.

So today, I’m announcing the end of all my writing activities on Japanese Music. Land of Rising Sound will close, while Perfume Disco Blog will remain open as long as Perfume are active, as I’ve always promised.

This wasn’t a difficult decision, cause I’m genuinely excited to start a new chapter, and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me. Hopefully, lots of love, like the one all of you shown me throughout these five years, in the hope that I will be able to see you soon again. I cry everytime I think about all the times we spent together, and I want to live these moments again in the future, with you, and a happier mind and attitude from me, to make them even more special.

We will see each other again soon, my friends.

Love you all,
Alex

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Land of Rising Sound will close soon, probably in less than a month.

My project, the website run exclusively by me that took me eight months of hard work to create, and another year to maintain, and costed quite a sum of money, has failed, together with the goals that I wanted to reach. Because I’m honestly exhausted. I can’t take it anymore.

I made my best to make it become what I wanted with all my strength. The problem is, sometimes even all your strength isn’t enough to keep up with your ambitions. Especially when it comes to Japanese music, most people don’t care if an album is good or bad, they don’t care how the industry works, they don’t care about the impact some groups have on the international market. They want gossips, the last confessions of celebrities announcing their weight or how many fucking children they want even when they don’t have a partner cause they’re so full of silicon even in their ovaries they can’t have a child. Or the lineup of the next Music Japan show. The kind of stuff every “website” about Japanese “music” covers. Who cares if the last Kyary single is a pile of shit, it’s Kyary, it’s popular, so it must be good!

But no. I don’t give a shit about gossips and the stuff people wants to read. I want to write about music, and I’ve probably chose the wrong industry to analyze songs and artists. No one cares about the quality of music, and that’s probably why there isn’t a single music review site in Japan, excluding the ones made by fans. Which is a shame since its full of valid artists.

I tried the “freelancer” way, but no editor sane in the brain would hire a non-native english speaker that dropped high school at 16.

Still, it’s not the industry, the casual listeners, the editors, the gossip catchers or the lack of interest in music. It’s my fault. Cause when something that’s yours doesn’t work, it’s your fault, even when you put all your energy in it. What I did wasn’t enough, and it was done wrong. Period.

This will be my last post on this personal blog as well, a blog that became a “crybaby articles compilation” at this point. The only writing you’ll see from me will be from “Perfume Disco Blog”, because I promised it’ll be active as long as Perfume will be around. That’s probably the only thing I truly enjoy, cause I love Perfume and their fans, despite the shadow of new pages about them is starting to surpass my blog as well. I can’t buy likes on Facebook, I’m sorry.

Thanks everyone for the support, you’ve always been close to me with your words, and I truly appreciate it. Much love to all of you.

See you.

  • Alex

Walking in circles

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During the last month I started suffering from anxiety disorders. I’ve never really suffered from it before, not in concerning forms at least, but it’s getting me a bit worried now. It just happens in certain situations, while traveling in the car when not driving for example, but also when doing regular stuff at home or when I’m out. I can’t seem to get out of this stressful state of mind.

Days are confused. I spend half the time trying to figure out what I should write and what to do, and the other half sending emails, with nothing done as a result except for getting even more stressed. The remaining time I do some woodworking stuff to help a friend, but not every day.

I’m wondering if it’s really my thing. I’m still not giving up on it, but at the same I question myself a lot: It’s my dream, but it’s a torturing one, made even more difficult by the fact that I have no qualification for it, and by the competitive and cruel nature of this sector. So I could give up on it, but thinking about doing the life everyone does here is just out of discussion.

I feel restless, and tired of working on my dream and on all the other aspects of my life without seeing a single result. It’s been like this for years. Nothing changed, nothing is changing. Just me walking in circles, getting tired of myself. Will it ever end? Truth is, I need someone in my life right now. Not someone in particular. Just someone.

K: “I just want someone”
J: “It’s the biggest thing you could ever ask for”

Distant

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Welcome home

If I didn’t waste my time and money in Amsterdam for two months and a half, I’d be in Japan now. Despite my experience in the Netherlands taught me much, it only made my personal situation even worse than before: Back home, with no money, and nothing done. I can hide behind the “life experience” excuse as much as I want, but the fact is, I’m here at the starting point, broke and depressed. Maybe it wouldn’t have been much different if I went to Japan, but at least now I’d be really happy and with lots of new inspiration to convey through my writing, as always happened every time I came back from the land of the rising sun.

It’s hard to face failures, but you gotta accept them and learn from it. Still, the harsh reality kicks my ass every single day despite trying to feel positive, or at least normal.

I was convinced that trying to trigger events in life by taking actions can lead to something good, but this year I had the proof that this is incorrect. Basically, if I’d never started my website (that’s struggling just like me) or didn’t go to the Netherlands, everything would have stayed the same. I took encouraging words from people around me for gold, but when they saw me coming back, they didn’t know what to say: Of course I appreciate their thoughts, but it’s sincerely disheartening to see their faces now. I swear (to who?) that I did everything possible to change the situation, but I’m not finding excuses on this: I tried really hard, to the point of feeling sick, but that wasn’t enough. Simple as that. Maybe.

Amsterdam has been a wrong choice and a huge mistake, and I’m paying the consequences of it. There’s no way I can get to Japan unless a money tree starts growing in my backyard, and with my “qualifications” it’d take so many years to gather those money that I feel sick at the mere thought of it. There’s a lot of people writing the same things I write, but in a better way, and I’m beating up my mind everyday to come up with an idea that can make what I do different. But I find my writing boring, and reading this draft before publishing it is even more boring.

My dream has never been this far from me. I’m honestly starting to think that my life is nothing but a joke, with someone standing above me laughing as I try to get out of this mess. And dreams are just… dreams.

I don’t know what to do anymore.

Coming home

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I’m on the road back home in this moment: We drove through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and now we are in northern Italy. I had the chance to see some pretty beautiful panoramas on the way, and the sun is high in the sky, which makes me feel better after almost a month of depressing weather made of clouds, rain and killer wind.

My adventure in Amsterdam is over. It’s not that I wanted to leave now: I simply had to.

Indeed the original plan was for me to stay in this house with my cousin, a friend of ours, and another italian guy for two months, until the end of August. But despite the clear “deadline” of my staying, my cousin assured me I could stay almost as much as I wanted by simply living upstairs from the beginning of September, which I did, until Monday night a discussion came out from our friend: He said the fact I was still there kinda irritated him, cause there was a clear deadline for my staying, and he’s completely right on that. My mistake was in taking my cousin’s word of living upstairs for the next months too accurately. The four of us then had a brief argument on the matter (no fighting, we talked about it openly without problems) and we agreed on the only solution available: I could have lived there for another two weeks. Of course, finding a job and a house in the Netherlands in two weeks is plain impossible (I couldn’t make it in two months) so I decided to leave yesterday, two days after that discussion that left a bitter taste in my mouth despite not wounding anyone.

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I can’t deny that these two months in Amsterdam have been very stressful: I had to face many problems, from walking every single day for six or more hours around the Holland capital to leave CVs and looking for a job, the crazy long waiting for the fiscal number necessary to work and do anything, to the incredible absurdity of banks that didn’t want me to open an account, and washing dishes in a restaurant that didn’t pay me, all of this while still looking for a job, a house, and working as much as possible on my website, other than doing regular stuff in the house that you need to do when living with other people. Most of the time I’ve been alone, excluding some nice weekends spent with my cousin and some friends.

Simply put, it was the tiring and stressful experience of leaving your home for the first time and learn to live with other people that I needed to do. I needed it to grow up and to know what it means to do everything by yourself, without your parents wiping your ass and washing your clothes. And I’m honestly glad I did it.

Plus, I realized that Amsterdam is not a city for me

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cool and beautiful city to live in, and people is great. I wrote about all the good things in it, and I still admire it. But for my personal tastes, it misses that “sparkle” that makes me truly love a place. So while leaving the city to go back home has been a sad decision, on the other hand, this is something that would have probably happened anyway. To live in a new place means doing lots of sacrifices, I did many, but at some point I realized it wasn’t worth it anymore for a place I didn’t fully enjoy.

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So yeah, this is how I decided to leave Amsterdam. My parents were in a vacation in the Netherlands when all this happened, so I took the chance to go back home with them by car.

I don’t know what’s waiting for me in the future. I don’t have a job anymore, but that doesn’t worry me that much in this moment, even though it should. For now I just need to gather everything, all my ideas and thoughts, to plan the next step. Hopefully this experience will make me more tolerant and patient towards my place and the reality surrounding me in Italy. I can’t wait to see my grandmother, my friends, and my dog. I’m excited to see them again.

I’ll definitely need a relaxing period after all this. I’m glad to be enriched by another experience, despite not being totally positive, and of still having that one thing to hang on to. Some nice ideas came to my mind during my trip back home.

– Alex

P.S: Thanks for your constant moral support. I really appreciate it, and it gives me strength. Love you!

That’s all folks!

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The restaurant I used to work in is refusing to pay me, so I’m thinking about destroying their fucking place with a baseball bat cause nothing makes an italian mad like being fooled by another italian.

Yesterday I paid the yearly hosting for my website, and I forgot how high the fee was: Of course I didn’t gain enough to cover it, well, actually I didn’t gain shit from it, but that’s not even the problem to be honest. At the same time, I paid the fee for the room I rented in August. I’m running out of money.

I can’t find another job. I’ve been leaving a shitload of CVs around the city and via e-mail for more than two months, talked to people and made more connections as possible, but no one is calling back. Glad I have at least provided paper toilet to so many employers.

I’ve sent e-mails to some journalists in the last few months to ask them some very brief questions, people whose writing inspired me. Of course, there is no reason why they should give two fucks about me, so none of them ever replied.

My bike is broken.

This stupid rain won’t stop.

And you’re tired of me always complaining.


That’s all folks!

Back to square one / Writing again

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In the last three weeks, something has started to work in my life here in Amsterdam.

I found a job in an Italian restaurant: They already got a waiter, so the worst position, dishwasher/handyman, was the only available. Since the dozens of CVs I left around town didn’t helped me find a job, I accepted it. It’s been extremely tiring, to the point where old aches inherited from my past job surfaced again after a long time, which honestly had me worried for my health. But I kept going because, well, I had no other choice. After six days of breaking my back, the (italian) owner told me he’d call me the next day to let me know about the work contract: I waited five days for a call that never arrived. So two days ago I picked up the phone and called him, and he simply said that “he honestly didn’t know what to do about my position” and that I had to wait another week to know something, so I just told him that I’ve found another job and that it was over. There’s no way I’m gonna work with this kind of people who can’t even manage such a small business, because they are also the ones that won’t pay you at the end of the month: I know it, I already had experiences when I used to run my own business with my father back in Italy.

As for the accommodation, it’s pretty much the same: A friend of mine here gave me his word that a room in his house would have been free in September and that I could have rented it. But apparently his flatmates, a girl and a dude who are also “friends” of mine, aren’t fine with the idea: They want another girl to make their life in the house more equilibrate. I don’t know what kind of reasoning is that, and I honestly don’t care, it’s just beyond me to be frank. Plus, in five days the owner of the room I’m living in will come back from the States, and I’ll need to move away from it, which means I’m gonna sleep on the couch for I don’t know how long. Not that I mind that much, the couch upstairs is actually pretty comfortable, and as long as I have a roof above my head everything is fine; my cousin and our friends are totally fine with it too, so I can’t complain. 

To be completely honest, despite being back to square one after living here for two months, I’m not feeling bad: Except for the afternoons around the city leaving CVs in workplaces, I spend all the other hours of the day writing at home and listening to music, lots of free time that allowed to work on my website as I’ve wished to in the last four months where I got blocked, which makes me really happy despite I’m still not doing my best in terms of creating a certain amount of content per week according to my personal goal. Basically, as long as I can write, discover new groups, and listen to music to write about, I’m honestly fine: It’s what I love to do after all. All this free time won’t last forever of course, cause I’ll need to work to live, but somehow I always feel like (and act like) my real job is actually writing, cause I think that’s what I can do best on a personal level.

After being a handy man and working in a way me and my body didn’t like for almost ten years, I feel like I should just stop and realize my dream. Leaving everything and writing, improving, and reaching my goal. I can make sacrifices, I can work hard, but I’m a little afraid that I’ll also need a bit of luck… a factor that doesn’t depend on me. Not entirely, at least. Plus I got this thing on my mind, that if I won’t act swiftly now, it’ll be too late. It’s “never too late” they say, but I feel like there may be a moment in the future where I won’t be able to make such a drastic decision.

Yes, I genuinely think that leaving and risking everything to focus on my passion and make it become my future is an option. A dangerous one, maybe even stupid, with no guarantees, but an option. Who knows.

For now, I’ll keep writing and listening. And enjoying it.

30 days

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It’s been almost a month since I moved here in Amsterdam: There are many chances to find a nice and well paid work here, but at the moment I’m waiting for the City Hall to release my Service Number to actually work and open a bank account. I’ve been walking around the city giving many CVs in shops and stuff, and apparently a couple of places are actually interested in having me at work with them, so hopefully at the beginning of August I’ll be able to start working. As for the rest, I can’t complain about anything, really: This city is great. Except for the weather and the food, everything is very nice here, and I still haven’t met a single person who isn’t excited about living here, wether I’m talking to an expat or someone who’s born and lives here since forever, which is very good.

The best thing I can notice about this city is that people is relaxed and happy, because they are free of being who they are without feeling ashamed or hiding from others’ judgements: It’s not that people don’t care if you wear fancy clothes, smoke weed, pay to have sex, or if you’re gay or just look different from the “normal society standards” set by who knows who: They just respect it, because it’s your life and you’re free to do whatever you want with it, as long as you don’t hurt other people.

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I know it’s the portrait of the “perfect” country, and maybe there’s surely someone who’s rude and have stupid prejudices, but, well, maybe they are the only ones who are actually hiding, cause I never met them yet. This is probably due to the very international atmosphere you can breathe here: there’s seriously lots of people coming from all parts of the world, a situation that unavoidably leads to a more open minded attitude at the advantage of everyone. You just have a good time here, and people is very open to get close to you as well, and indeed I made lots of friends, which is always very good.

I’m starting to think that moving here has been a very good choice: It’s a place everyone can enjoy, and it goes way beyond the classic image of “marijuana and prostitutes”. Heck, I thought I could never find my passions in here, and then I found some fantastic music stores, retrogames and Japanese music shops… and even beautiful girls from all parts of the world. I couldn’t ask for more to be honest.

Once I’ll find a job, I’ll finally take a deep breathe and enjoy the city even more. And spend those money in vinyls and retrogames. Fingers crossed!

Amsterdam

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It’s been a week since I moved here in Amsterdam to relax a bit, find a work and, possibly, start a new chapter of my life.

I can’t hide it: This city is pretty beautiful. From the area I live in (which is supposed to be the suburbs, but looks stunning and it’s only 10 minutes from downtown) to the lovely city centre canals, Amsterdam looks really good and sort of a northern version of Venezia, which is nothing less than amazing. If you leave aside the red light district and its endless mass of tourists and junkies on drugs, even by night this city really has some nice sights and a very particular atmosphere. Pretty much can be said for the local people, which are very gentle, kind, and always willing to help you: I haven’t met a rude person in seven days, something that in Italy wouldn’t take more than seven minutes. Just saying.

In these days I have mainly strolled around town, enjoying its modest and comfortable dimensions and the many people walking in the streets coming from all parts of the world and from all sorts of backgrounds, which has been a very refreshing experience. Thanks to my cousin and our friend living with us, I had the chance to meet many new friends as well, all of them with a story to tell and experiences to share and always willing to help me with any information I need, whose I also had some very nice moments hanging out around the city.

Still, despite the experiences I made in the last days are all positive, I can’t deny this is a huge change from the life I lived until a week ago: And while this is definitely a positive thing, at the same time it brings some questions inside me.

Indeed, I can’t hide the fact that for the moment I somehow feel like an alien here. Not only because the place is still relatively new to me, but also for what I hear and see in people, people of the same age as me who achieved goals and built something in their lives that are still following with passion to secure they future they want: They are open people, they are happy with what they do, they have problems and situations to solve, and much more. Seeing all this life coming out from them, their words and faces makes me realize how much time I have wasted in my life doing absolutely nothing, except for burning eight years of my life working for a pay that nobody wanted. Not a project for my future, not a relationship, not a single plan: other than a few (yet very important) desires I wanted to come true, I did absolutely nothing. Which kinda makes me feel ashamed when someone asks me “what did you do before coming here?”: I can’t help but feel somehow inferior to them. I’m not saying they never had a problem or something to feel ashamed of, nor that I am really inferior to them, but I can’t help but feel this way sometimes, even though for just a moment.

This proves to me how I can’t completely leave behind my past at the moment: who could, after all, after so little time? But the end of a chapter never comes without a certain impact. It’s just normal.

Still, while being generally positive, these thoughts occur to me while walking alone in the streets of the city looking for a job, or just watching at people while drinking a beer. Or maybe looking for someone like me.

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Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Closed Doors

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The First Door

It’s a mid-spring morning at school: I leave the classroom with the excuse of not feeling well and walk through the hallway. As I walk downstairs, I come across a teacher I’ve never seen before: She looks at me like a mother stares at her son after he’s done something wrong, but I act like I didn’t notice her: God only knows what’s weird in a seventeen years old guy with a hat wearing second hand clothes. I reach the reception, tell the custodian I’m not feeling well, sign a paper I don’t even read and reach the exit.

I open the door: It’s a beautiful day outside, the birds are singing, but I feel the cold deep winter inside me, a cold that could freeze the birds and make them fall on the ground in pieces. It’s one of those moments where you have to make a decision you don’t want to make, leading to the only choice left after years of trying to find a way out of a situation that just got worse the more the time passed by. I take a last look at the school hall, and close the door: The noise generates an echo inside the room that resounds in my head like a desperate scream, the final word in a chapter that lasted too long.

I couldn’t realize how long that winter would have lasted inside of me.


Sliding Doors

The typical chaos of the Rome airport slaps us in the face as we get inside Terminal 3 of what is probably one of the most confusing places ever built. I already know where to go: immediately on the right and then straight on through a dark hallway with a light at the end coming through the doors that looks like a way out of a cave: we walk hand in hand, slowly as two survivors after a storm. In only two weeks we lived a roller coaster of emotions, between love, sadness, laughters, lies, and confusion: fifteen days that lasted like an year, the feeling you get when you can’t emotionally go any lower (or higher).

We reach the entrance of the security control that’s confined by two doors, where she will enter to fly back to her country and I will remain and try to understand what happened and what we actually did to create such a situation; We took the risk to give each other our hearts to fill an empty space inside of us, to put an end to the pain of our lives, trying to fight destiny as we saw the flicker of a dream and forcedly tried to make it become reality. But you can’t trick or get shortcuts in life, and even if you try, it will be ready to kick you in the teeth and send you even lower from where you came from.

We hug each other without saying a word: she’s in tears, I don’t have the force to pull them out. Sometimes, some things get so absurd, so impossible to even tell, that it’s really hard to realize how you got to that point: Like a little stone innocently falling from the top of a mountain suddenly becoming a huge boulder as it reaches the valley.

She says we must stay in contact, I agree with her, but it’s a forced answer: I know it would make things even worse and amplify the pain. Because it’s obvious that this is the last time we will see each other: It’s not a conviction, it’s a clear fact, it’s life delicately pouring this evidence in your mind and giving a signal through your soul: You just know it’s going to be like that.

We kiss each other as if we were closing this confused circle made of madness and raw emotions. Then she starts walking through the sliding doors: As everyone kindly does in her country, she turns in my direction several times and waves her pale and gentle hand at me, the hand I hold in those beautiful nights looking in our eyes between neon lights and silent parks.

The doors close, her silhouette disappears: I will never see her again.


The Glass Door

It’s seven in the evening, another day at work is over, and I’m about to leave this warehouse that can’t hold nothing but bad memories. As I realize I’m free, he annoyingly shouts one last “wait, we have to move this piece over there”. We grab the glass together, the last one for me: I can feel its heaviness summarizing the past eight years of my life spent inside this place, between fights and sweat poured on the ground for a pay and a life that no one would have ever accepted: Sometimes that’s what motivates you even more to reach your dreams and goals. We move the piece at its place, I walk towards the door and open it: “I’ll see you later” I say.

I close the door, its metallic sound marking the end of another chapter: It was over.

As you close a door, another one opens.


♪ Sakanaction – Sayonara wa Emotion