Nathan’s life changed when he was 7. A genetic mutation allowed him to develop a superpower…the ability to become a Pokemon master! Or so he thought. This virtual world enthralled him and he spent a grandiose number of hours staring at a 2D screen, with his thumbs twiddling to no end. Cast all illusions aside; he did have a life in the real world as well. OK, you’re right. He did spend most of that time with friends who also lost themselves in the phenomenon, working toward the ultimate goal of catching them all. How he wished he could sick his Lv. 100 Mewtwo and Dragonite on the bullies at school. Hyper Beam would have demolished them! Nathan’s parents admired the imaginative spirit of their son. He had fun.
Reality check: Middle school – angst, puberty, first crush, friendships lost and found. Pokemon moved to the backseat as a hobby; no longer a lifestyle. Other passions emerged including art, baking, poetry, and mathematics. He had indeed become more learned as he matured. Success in school was easy. He could regurgitate facts to please his teachers. High school was another level to beat in the fickle game Nathan played. He realized that at this age, innocence gets tossed out the window like a cheating ex’s junk. Sexual awareness kicked in, clicks formed, and the world turned against those who weren’t, heaven forbid, cool. Nathan cowered on the sidelines, ate lunch alone, and kept waiting for the 3 o’clock bell to ring. What did he truly appreciate of the immense world around him? He couldn’t even answer that. Was he happy? No.
Out of complete and utter boredom, he once took a Pokemon Personality Quiz. This was the result:
Evidently, something was wrong. How did a feverishly giddy child end up so lame? So normal. College was next. Hold up, what?! Nathan was pessimistic and apathetic. College is the land of freaks who want more of life. They seek understanding and don’t need approval to be content. Passion is the smell of the air. This was no place for someone who used up his childhood in a fantasy, and regarded everything else in vain seriousness. During the fall of 2009 after Nathan graduated, he boarded a plane and flew for 20 hours across the Pacific Ocean to a little island called New Zealand. He spent the next 2.5 months in an apartment with four strangers, and spent his days as a zoo volunteer. Where did this courage come from? It emerged from the necessity for Nathan to find clarity. Soul searching can begin at any age, and is a perpetual experiment. Nathan was introduced to fresh perspectives and he was able to interact with real-life Pokemon: the animals of the Wild Kingdom. When he returned home, his family could sense immense growth in him. He even wanted to do more and more. Next destination: Puerto Rico. Deep in the jungle he sweat out the two best weeks of his life. He aided in the research of indigenous frog, lizard, and tree species with a dynamic group of individuals. He loved it so much that he did the same thing in New York!
So you think Nathan is ready for anything? Not hardly. But now he can be one of those passionate kooks who goes to college and has the desire to be a part of something bigger than himself. All right, so what the hell does this have to do with anything? Some cheap way to give an inspirational pep talk? Nah. Expressionistic catharsis.
Nathan still plays Pokemon. Yet Nathan doesn’t know much about Japan. He knows that people are fascinated by its futurism and that it has created abstractions of empirical status such as anime, Hello Kitty, pop art, and Pokemon. He would love to know more. He has faced both relatable and unique circumstances thus far in his life. He is ready to soak up what he can. Japanophilia is new and exciting to Nathan, so bring it on!
They are out there!