I realize that, when I blog, I start weaving narrative threads and allow them to simply dangle. It’s not that I lack commitment, interest or creative vision: it’s more that my threads become variegated. Regardless, I could stand to pick up the fallen stitches once in a while. Here, a handful of updates on stories I began and left without conclusions or further chapters:
The Green Tea Experiment: Still chugging. Have tired of the space-wasting free giveaways wrapped around each bottle’s neck and now purposely buy green tea brands that don’t stoop to drawing customers with tiny plastic boxes. Skin looking glowy, but that could also be partly due to the Ettusais Whitening Dry Block sunblock I’ve been using.
The Dawn Simulator Clock: An outrageously expensive piece of junk. Apparently, whoever invented the clock thought Homer’s famous epithet was “neon-orange fingered dawn,” instead of “rosy.” I could have gotten the same effect by putting a timer on my overhead florescent light. I have given the clock to Sean and we both still sleep fitfully.
The progress of my Japanese: still trucking along. The word of the day is “wakuwakusuruyouni” – which is a whole lotta sounds to mean “exciting.”
The progress of my Japanese cooking: Brilliant. Look:
It’s my nikku jaga and age dofu. Pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. The other night I fried up some octopus, which Sean ecstatically drowned in mayonnaise. I am still shuddering
The Evil Thirteen Year-Olds: Though Sean has said they’re tolerable, he has given up on them and they’ve made the new (female) Japanese pair teacher just as miserable as Merry-san and I were last year.
The kitty: He does not return.
Editorial job hunting: No dice. I’ve seen a couple of jobs advertised but my resumes and follow-ups met with silence. Par for the course. Nonetheless, I’ve been pitching lots of articles to travel magazines and English-language magazines around here so, hopefully, at some point, something will pan out.
The school term is over for the semester and there will now be 3 weeks of glorious respite. My zeal to try out the new classroom management tips I learned at Summer Camp has already disappeared, squelched 3 short days after I returned to school.
I consistently look for bright sides to teaching children and find many. Teaching is indisputably a hallowed, indispensable profession. If I choose, I have the opportunity to inspire people. Teaching keeps me legal. Teaching pays my bills. Disciplining children gives me practice for the day I have my own. Being around Japanese children helps me understand Japanese psychology. Working in schools puts me in a network of lovely people; foreigners and Japanese alike. My job is so flexible that I can support myself by working only 3 days a week, which gives me ample time to write; something that would be impossible back home in New York. Teaching is essential to my living in Japan, which I want to continue to do; I’ve never been so creative as when I’ve been here. Etcetera. Etcetera. But I suppose nothing can shake the facts that teaching is not my calling and that, honestly, I am not very good at it. One year seemed tolerable; a brief break that would give me time to figure out my next move careerwise. To my shock, the separation from New York brought everything into sharp focus and I figured it out within 6 months. Now that one year of teaching has stretched into what will become 2 and a half and I grow more frustrated by the day.
But this year is already fleeing by and soon, after these delicious 2 weeks off, it will be the Christmas holidays. And then, before I know it, it will be the end of the school year. By then I hope to have the first draft of my novel finished – it already shows more promise than I ever imagined. By then I should have had my fill of the sights of Japan and be planning to head off to what I expect will be an exquisite South Eastern Asian tour. By then I’ll hopefully speak slightly better than pidgin Japanese. By then I’ll have saved a nice chunk of money to pad my return to the West and, perhaps, fund grad school. By then things will be poised on a precipice yet again. And then I’ll be ready to get back home to work.