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karasu
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16 Jan 2007, 6:07 am

Salutations all. I'll preface this by saying that, like many here, I've not been diagnosed with anything *ever*, so my reason for posting here is a bit on the side of wanting to get a feel for the situation, and maybe gain a better understanding of myself in doing so.

The thing is, I have a problem. Kind of a serious problem. Like many people coming to this forum, I'm read through a lot of the literature and am feeling pretty inconclusive about whether I might potentially have some sort of autism-related developmental..issue, but that's not really the problem.

The problem, basically, is my total lack of ability to form relationships with, or attachments to, other people. I do alright online, I think because of the actual physical distance between me and other people, and the lack of needing to be "on" all the time--that is, not needing to constantly be alert for the precious verbal and nonverbal cues that allow for smooth social interaction.

So I'm intrigued, but a bit hesitant, about the forum here, because it's possible that it offers an opportunity for me to meet and interact with others who share some similar experiences of lacking those fundamental pieces that allow a person to know when, how, and if to react to the words, actions, and behaviors of others. This is a big deal for me--I'm 28 and although I have assembled a functional, adaptable, well-constructed set of mechanisms, systems, and behaviors that allow me to interact well with people in social situations for hours on end (and I say this not to sound horribly conceited, even though it probably does, but because I'm proud of what I've been able to construct) I've never had a romantic relationship and don't really have any close friends. Moreover, I'm not sure it's possible for me to have either of those to the degree that most people enjoy, because just interacting with people requires constant awareness and observations, as well as the ability to be able to react in a certain way to any given number of thousands of cues and behaviors combined in a variety of ways, and this is understandably exhausting and makes the idea of having a close real-time interpersonal relationship seem both daunting and impossible, because I would never be able to relax and be myself.

The problem is that up until today I've never considered the possibility that my lacking of the fundamental mechanisms for social interactions that all those around me seem to possess and take for granted may not be a freakish aberration but in fact something normal, and maybe be even related to some of the other things that make up who I am. I'm currently living and working in Japan as an ALT, a naturally isolating situation made all the more so by my inability to reach out to those who are around me--there are two ALTs in the next town and I have not, in the year and a half I've been here, visited them once or even called, nor do I go to any of the social events held in the area for the other ALTs. I've always blamed and berated myself for my inability to do these things, so it's natural now that I wonder if the problem may not be a mere defect in my resolve or capacity to act like a human being, but something more basic and fundamental. Anyway I speak some Japanese, get on really well with the kids I teach and generally like them more than the adults. I like anime, I read voraciously, I love music and have an insane amount of CDs, I like comic books, I enjoy reading science articles, magazines and websites, I spend too much time on wikipedia, I suck at math and logic puzzles but I have a gift for the written word, and I am a total social freak and deep down inside, I know it.

Thoughts?



Tim_Tex
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16 Jan 2007, 6:53 am

Welcome to WP!

Tim


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DivaD
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16 Jan 2007, 7:35 am

welcome :D what is an ALT? is it like a foreign language teaching assistant?

i know what you mean about the difficulty with attachments. social interaction is hard enough, but the sort of socialising where you build relationships and friendships and make attachments is extremely overloading... and not only is it overloading, it's also essential to stay relaxed if you're trying to build friendships, otherwise it doesn't work! no wonder us autistics find it so hard.

hope you enjoy it here!



karasu
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16 Jan 2007, 8:07 am

DivaD wrote:
welcome :D what is an ALT? is it like a foreign language teaching assistant?

i know what you mean about the difficulty with attachments. social interaction is hard enough, but the sort of socialising where you build relationships and friendships and make attachments is extremely overloading... and not only is it overloading, it's also essential to stay relaxed if you're trying to build friendships, otherwise it doesn't work! no wonder us autistics find it so hard.

hope you enjoy it here!


Yup, the ALT position is an "Assistant Language Teacher" post via the JET programme, which brings people from a wide variety of English-speaking countries to Japan, and allow the students in otherwise insulated communities to interact with a wide variety of people, albeit in a one-on-one kind of situation. Thus the problem of isolation that most JETs encounter-some of us handle it better than others, since we're more wired for spending long, long periods of time on our own. Alcoholism seems to be rampant--it shocks me that most people's idea of a way to spend their time is to go out drinking--and nothing else. The lack of imagination just blows my mind.

Thanks for your kind words. I'll keep an eye on the comm for a while and see what kinds of people are about. Honestly although I can get on well with people in the short term, doing it in a long-term way is nigh-impossible, so any online forum is handy. Maybe a little too handy--if I spent less time on the internet in theory I could be out having a life...but probably not. XD



Prof_Pretorius
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16 Jan 2007, 9:39 am

If this is too personal, feel free to tell me to butt out.

Have you tried dating Japanese women?? Are they interested in American men? Do you go to Japanese pubs??


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DerekD_Goldfish
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16 Jan 2007, 1:38 pm

"I love music and have an insane amount of CDs"

how many?
I also have an obsessive interest in music



karasu
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16 Jan 2007, 5:28 pm

Prof_Pretorius wrote:
Have you tried dating Japanese women?? Are they interested in American men? Do you go to Japanese pubs??


Actually, I am a girl, so it's less likely I would date Japanese girls--but having said that, I'm also unable, apparently, to date since it's difficult to have a relationship with someone when hugging or having them put their arm around you makes you uncomfortable. @[email protected]

But yeah, I know another ALT, American, in the next "town" which is actually the same town since it has merged with mine as of last year, and he has a Japanese wife. I think they are interested in foreigners in general, but more those who are younger and who live in less rural areas--here I am still something of a freak as I'm the only gaikokujin around the place. Going into town, I'm less likely to attract attention. I'd say it's a matter of personal preference on the part of the individual chica.

I don't go to pubs or bars of any kind. I don't drink, it's insanely loud, and I always wind up with clothes reeking of cigarette smoke.

Anyway, nothing personal in your query, so no worries! :) (You can tell I'm a girl by how many smileys I use when I talk. *sigh*)



karasu
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16 Jan 2007, 5:36 pm

DerekD_Goldfish wrote:
"I love music and have an insane amount of CDs"

how many?
I also have an obsessive interest in music


Greetings fellow music aficionado!

I have at this time 162 discs. I don't know--is that a lot? Only more than half of those are ones I've bought since coming to Japan--there are a few I left back in the states. They're gonna be a b***h to get home, no matter how I do it. *eyeballs CD rack* And I keep buying more, because no matter how many I have, it's never enough! And it never will be! Arrrrgh. (There's also the stuff I've downloaded, but I don't download music that often because then it takes up space on my puny laptop hard drive, or involves the extra step of burning to a CD...I feel so technologically behind...)



Starr
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16 Jan 2007, 5:39 pm

Hello karasu,

Welcome aboard! :)



DerekD_Goldfish
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16 Jan 2007, 6:33 pm

karasu wrote:
DerekD_Goldfish wrote:
"I love music and have an insane amount of CDs"

how many?
I also have an obsessive interest in music


Greetings fellow music aficionado!

I have at this time 162 discs. I don't know--is that a lot? Only more than half of those are ones I've bought since coming to Japan--there are a few I left back in the states. They're gonna be a b***h to get home, no matter how I do it. *eyeballs CD rack* And I keep buying more, because no matter how many I have, it's never enough! And it never will be! Arrrrgh. (There's also the stuff I've downloaded, but I don't download music that often because then it takes up space on my puny laptop hard drive, or involves the extra step of burning to a CD...I feel so technologically behind...)


ive more than 1500 albums a litle obsessed but not overly so
since your in Japan I recomend you check out Mono if you get the chance japanese band I had the plesure to see here in Ireland recetly enough deserve to be a lot bigger than they are.



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16 Jan 2007, 8:35 pm

DivaD wrote:
welcome :D what is an ALT? is it like a foreign language teaching assistant?

i know what you mean about the difficulty with attachments. social interaction is hard enough, but the sort of socialising where you build relationships and friendships and make attachments is extremely overloading... and not only is it overloading, it's also essential to stay relaxed if you're trying to build friendships, otherwise it doesn't work! no wonder us autistics find it so hard.

hope you enjoy it here!


well said. i was trying to articulate this sentiment to someone today but couldn't find the right words. thanks!


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karasu
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17 Jan 2007, 3:05 am

DerekD_Goldfish wrote:

ive more than 1500 albums a litle obsessed but not overly so
since your in Japan I recomend you check out Mono if you get the chance japanese band I had the plesure to see here in Ireland recetly enough deserve to be a lot bigger than they are.


I...am consumed by jealousy. Also gladness that I don't have that many albums because trying to ship them home would break my bank.

What sorts of bands do you favor? Specific music interests, genres, etc? I go through phases, but I've found at the moment I quite like Tom Waits.



DerekD_Goldfish
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17 Jan 2007, 7:57 am

karasu wrote:
DerekD_Goldfish wrote:

ive more than 1500 albums a litle obsessed but not overly so
since your in Japan I recomend you check out Mono if you get the chance japanese band I had the plesure to see here in Ireland recetly enough deserve to be a lot bigger than they are.


I...am consumed by jealousy. Also gladness that I don't have that many albums because trying to ship them home would break my bank.

What sorts of bands do you favor? Specific music interests, genres, etc? I go through phases, but I've found at the moment I quite like Tom Waits.


Storing them is quite difficult one day im going to have to get a John Peel esque extemtion to my house for cds/vinal
I love Tom Waits id have his babies if it were phyicly possible
I like a wide range of genres from folk,punk,post-punk,jazz,power pop, post-rock, shoegaze, eletronica
give me some more artists you like and I will give you some recomendations



karasu
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18 Jan 2007, 4:30 am

DerekD_Goldfish wrote:

Storing them is quite difficult one day im going to have to get a John Peel esque extemtion to my house for cds/vinal
I love Tom Waits id have his babies if it were phyicly possible
I like a wide range of genres from folk,punk,post-punk,jazz,power pop, post-rock, shoegaze, eletronica
give me some more artists you like and I will give you some recomendations


Ooh! Well, let's see, right now I'm listening to Blackalicious a lot, because they are 10,000 kinds of awesome. Do you have any thoughts on albums by the Roots--I've been meaning to add them but am unsure which would be the best to start with. Sigur Ros is probably my current "favorite" group, and I also like the Flaming Lips, a little of Beck (on occasion), Sufjan Stephens, and the Raveonettes. These are probably the ones I listen to most frequently at this current disc-cycle(that and the inimitable Mr. Waits, o'course) but there are many others, like David Byrne--I got the album by Matisyahu and have thus far been very impressed. I drool over Toots and the Maytals.

Have you heard anything by Joe Strummer? He has an album of Spaghetti-western inspired tunes I've been debating about getting--thoughts on this, if you've heard it? I'm kind of on the fence about it.



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18 Jan 2007, 5:45 am

Welcome! You make long posts.