Not too long ago, I had a lot of friends who I met online. Maybe roughly about a decade ago it was pretty typical to have more online friends than “real life” friends-who-you-now-only-talk-to-through-Facebook. By online friends I mean people who I strictly met on the internet, mostly on Livejournal or whatnot before I actually met them in person. Honestly, I still have friends on Livejournal who I have never met in person!
You are probably thinking: What? You still have your Livejournal? Or for those who were born in 1998, you’re asking: What the fuck is a Livejournal? Or a Xanga or a Myspace for that matter.
The point is I have met amazing people through Livejournal alone and that is why I still keep my account somewhat active. One of those people is Gin.
I don’t have the best memory but I know I started interacting with Gin online during the early 2000 and we met in person in 2004.
I can estimate that Gin and I met online between 2001-2003 because those were the years when I got involved in the Gravitation (an anime/manga) fandom. We had a small community and we role played characters on Livejournal together. Gin was very welcoming and I was a super dork at the time. I suppose we all were.
Pacific Media Expo held their first convention in 2004 and Gin and company decided to travel all the way to California for it. Mostly because T.M. Revolution was the guest of honor and we all wanted to see him perform live. It would be overly complicated to try and explain T.M. Revolution’s association with the Gravitation fandom back then so I am not going to try but just so you guys know– fandom brought Gin and I into each other’s “real” lives. I would share photos from PMX but I can’t seem to find them! Oops… ;)
I didn’t see Gin again until I went back to Japan in 2007. I can certainly say that I’ve watched her grow up via the internet even though we were always far apart from each other. I’m pretty sure she can say the same about me. I appreciated that she has always been generous and very kind to me. Plus, she’s just a cool person and she is so funny! I remember how much she had me laughing from the very minute we met in person. I am proud of her and what she has accomplished. Despite the fact that she and I no longer have a common fandom we have kept in touch. She was in Los Angeles for a few days earlier this year and I took her out for dinner along with another friend. While her and my friend got to know each other a little and used me as a conversation starter, I was surprised at some of the things that Gin remembered about my life by simply reading my Livejournal for years and years. To me, that counts as a real friend.
These days, Gin is really into PokÃ©mon which I totally love. She runs a business shipping rare items from Japan to the US and other parts of the world, I imagine. Check out her Livejournal for information.
She let me and SailorMizz stay at her apartment during our trip to Japan in 2007 despite not having seen each other since 2004.
This weekend, I am flying to Philadelphia to be at her wedding. A big, big, BIG congratulations to her! Her and her husband have been married for about a year or so now but they are finally having the official parties and ceremonies with family and friends. It’s always a little nuts to see all my friends from my teen/college years get married and have children. It’s pretty cool that I can witness my fandom friends take the next big steps in their lives and also be a part of it. My world is a little bigger because of my friendship with Gin.
All I can say is that it pays to be open to new people some times even if making friends online is shady for the most part. You never know who you’ll meet and what they can bring into your life.
I’m excited for my quick weekend visit to Philly and I can’t wait to see Gin again. Feel free to comment below and tell me stories about your online friends too!
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