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Just as living with LA traffic day after day made me hate cars, living with central Tokyo's population density makes me hate people.  Tokyo is so crowded with people that even an uncomplicated excursion is exhausting.  Train stations, shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, bars--people ooze out of every possible orifice.  Over the years of living in one of the most crowded cities in the world, I've developed certain skills and tendencies to cope.  Some of them are embarrassing, but all of them greatly relieve the annoyance caused by living under such people pressure.  Consider this advice on becoming a Tokyo hermit if you happen to share in my frustrations.  Consider it me-deprecating entertainment if you do not.

Stay At Home
The most easily-executed is to simply stay at home.  I don't ever go out anymore.  Tokyo has sadly turned me into an agoraphobic, and my countryside-bred wife shares in my affliction.  The local grocery store is our primary source of sustenance, and the very local Lawson convenience store is a godsend.  Internet shopping is my best friend.  Did you know that you can order toilet paper, tissues, sanitary napkins, rice, and maple syrup online from Jusco?  You can.  It's Jusco without the crowds--in other words, an enchanting Internet garden of heavenly delights.  And what I can't find on Jusco online, I can most certainly find on Rakuten.  Goddamn, I love Rakuten.

Japan's logistical systems are so impeccably tuned that just about anything can be delivered to your door.  What a great country that allows recently agoraphobic me to conveniently wallow in self-bred hermitism.  Only my wife and Kuroneko delivery guy know of the excess to which I utilize Internet shopping.  The Kuroneko guy and I are on a first-name basis.  I get that small-town feeling without all the small-town bullshit.  Kuroneko Takashi fills me in on the local gossip (Yuko's pregnant again!), and the rest I get from the 7 o'clock NHK news.  Goddamn, I love Kuroneko.

Don't Make Any Friends
Don't get me wrong, friends are great.  But the problem is that they inevitably want to go out and do stuff once in a while.  Unfortunately, this is rather incompatible with my Tokyo hermit status.  So don't ever make friends in Tokyo.  Facebook friends and long distance friends are okay because those "relationships" are usually maintained electronically, but don't ever make real in-your-face friends in Tokyo.  It's just not worth having to deal with the crowds.  If you already have friends, get rid of them.  Trust me, you'll thank me.

If you absolutely insist on having friends (why??), then command them to come to your place to hang out.  Buy a bunch of video games, movies, porn, and stuff (online of course) to lure them in.  Like flies to honey they will come.  Ask them to bring the food and drinks, and you've successfully installed the "fun" locally and even got a free meal out of it.  It's an apt solution if you're a wimp and not yet able to fully sever the ties.

Talk To Yourself
I'm proud to say that I have 2 best friends in the world: packing tape (I'll explain that later), and me.  I have a fantastic relationship with myself.  We share intimate and detailed conversations / moments, and I always seem to know what I'm thinking.  All my worries and troubles in life melt away, and I give myself unparalleled advice.  Hanging out is ultra convenient, and no challenges or rocky paths are ever encountered in the course of the relationship.  It's truly a match made in heaven.

I used to talk to myself silently, but for the sake of cerebral clarity, I gradually raised the volume of my voice.  I hold conversations with myself full-voice, and I rest enchanted by the mental gains.  Try it and see for yourself.  Self-whispers inside the head are hard to make out, but full-volume dialog is clear and well-remembered.  Some may call this a sign of psychotic madness, but I label it an apparent sign of genius.  Great people talk out loud to themselves, and I'm not just talking about drug-abusing homeless people and schizophrenia patients.  I majored in psychology, so I'm not crazy.  I definitely know what I'm talking about.

Be An Asshole
Tokyo is full of people, making it an uphill climb for any aspiring hermit.  And when it comes to hermitism, the old adage "nice guys finish last" couldn't ring more true.  Assholes on the other hand, get what they want out of life and rarely have to deal with the debilitating baggage and soul-draining stress of socializing with other people.  Thus, my final bit of advice is to be a total and complete asshole.  Asshole-ism brings all other steps to becoming a professional hermit together with a kind of beautiful, zen-like symmetry.  It's mystical and magical and enchanting.  Don't be too perplexed by its inherent power, though.  Here are a few concrete examples to help you get started:
  • Don't ever do "favors" for anyone.  Helping someone move, watering plants, giving up your seat on the train, helping the less fortunate, and stuff like that is just gonna lead to trouble.  You don't want trouble, right?
  • Don't ever make eye contact.  Eye contact leads to social interactions, and that's just gonna cause more trouble.  Look down.  If you're a man, you can alternatively stare at women's breasts and rear ends while licking your lips.  If you're a woman, you can stare at men's bald spots and spare tires while giggling like a school girl.
  • Refuse any and all invitations to stuff.  Accepting invitations will inevitably lead to more invitations.  Cauterize that pattern right away.
  • Embarrass people.  If you find yourself somehow locked in a social situation (it happens to the best of us), embarrass those around you by talking really loudly, using foul language, scratching yourself, picking your nose, farting, burping, insulting people, etc.  Excuse yourself to use the restroom, then get the hell out of there.  Be creative and develop your own individual style.  If you do your job right, you'll never be bothered again.
And never being bothered again is the motif of this lesson.  Being a hermit is certainly not easy, but if you're highly motivated like I am, then you'll reap the great bounties.  Tokyo is indeed a crazy, bustling city; however, my Tokyo life flows swimmingly like a crisp mountain stream situated on a fluffy bed of soft white feathery clouds.  Sounds nice, huh?  Well, it is.  Best of luck to you, friend.

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