It’s been over a week since I updated. This wouldn’t be unusual or upsetting except that I vowed to myself that I’d update more frequently due to my rapidly diminishing time in Japan. You know, lock in all those sensory details, brand names, annoying conversations, and daily humiliations before they start to fade. The doors to my bedroom are Japanese-style and they slide open and shut; I buy Kagome canned tomatoes; I heard a student inform the others that only foreigners can snap their fingers; I told my landlady to “hurry up” instead of telling her that I was in a hurry. I have less than 6 months left in Asia and though I know I need to move back West to yank my career out of stasis, I’m starting to feel nervous. I live here but because I’m not particularly tied to the country by family or work, it’s never felt like “real life.” But, really, if it’s not “real life,” then what is it? It’s not like I’m living inside my own imagination. I’m affected by others and, likewise, my own actions have consequences. I’m eating, breathing, traveling, creating, helping and learning. To tell you the truth, I’m doing a lot more of all that than I ever did back home.
But I know readjustment can be difficult. Places change, rules change, relationship dynamics shift, and my career field is hard enough to break back into without the national economic crisis. On the opposite end of the pole, sometimes nothing changes at all and it’s as if you never spent whole afternoons strolling through temple grounds. Or riding an elephant. Or shouting at ungrateful children who will certainly forget you. Or trying to decipher the letter your phone company sent you. I’m not afraid of the career or relationship challenges I’ll face when I return to the West; I’m afraid of forgetting, of getting comfortable. The language and cultural barriers I face daily in Japan can certainly be difficult, but on the other hand, they keep me sharp and they train me to think outside of a box I never knew existed.
The JLPT was Sunday and that is all I’m going to say about it for the next 2 months. That, and now my head is clearing from the study cloud. I’ll be home in New York in 10 days and even though Kojima Yoshio is surprisingly hot when fully clothed, I will always think he’s a complete tool.