Something Different? (Ghosts of Nagasaki Excerpt)

I didn’t want this to be another expatriate thing—not like a Hemingway or Fitzgerald story; not the Sun Also Rises—no gaudy foreigners walking from swank club to swank club, the excess of the Roaring Twenties following close behind. A partner to the Lost Generation, making our way from one debauchery to another—not this time.

My first night it seemed kind of like that. Our little cadre of friends—gaijin (the Japanese word for foreigner) walking around Shinjuku, with a few chosen Japanese friends in tow. Drunk youth, full of impropriety, we vaguely wandered from one gaijin bar to another. Talking about going to Thailand, it could have been us talking about going to a Spanish bullfight.

We weren’t all American, first of all—Welsh, British, Australian, it was a nice mix—and we weren’t all artists and writers, although there was a surprising number (we made a majority). But it wasn’t going to be like that—only this night was going to be like that—because even though the 1920s was characterized by the Lost Generation—and believe me, nothing characterizes our generation better than the adjective “Lost”—this was going to be something different. This was my story, and I was not disenchanted, I was not lost.

Or at the very least I was in denial.

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