Tag Archives: work

Leaving When Possible

Time has passed so quickly even though I don’t do much. It’s been a year since I’ve written here and even longer since I’ve written about what’s happening in my life.

I’m definitely leaving Japan. I’m just not sure how or when. I have a vague idea of what I want to do now. I want to make things with people. Specifically I want to work on movies or plays. I want to know others who enjoy creating and aren’t afraid to try things. I just need to figure out what my first step should be.

Last I wrote about my life, I had just started a new round of Japanese lessons. I did that for three months, took the JLPT N2 for the third time, and failed by one measly point. Around the same time, I stopped teaching English and started working in the kitchen of a yakiniku restaurant, which was one of the most stressful and demanding jobs I’ve ever had but also fairly rewarding. Every time I went into work, I had to use Japanese. Only Japanese. And I did it and kicked ass, toward the end of it at least. I did it for a year before quitting last month because I wasn’t making as much money as I needed to. I’ve gone back to teaching English, and as much as I don’t like it, I’m feeling better about it now because I’m sure it’s temporary.

I’m leaving Japan.

Also since I last wrote, my husband and I visited my hometown of Los Angeles for a week last August. It had been the first time in over two years that I’d been out of Japan. The whole week I was overwhelmed with how easy it was to live in a first language. I’d forgotten how easy it was. Or maybe I didn’t know it before because I always took it for granted. Even when I spent a year in Nagoya as an international student, I was still able to rely on my first language. My classes were in English, my classmates spoke English, my advisers spoke English. It wasn’t until I moved to Tochigi three years ago that I really felt how frustrating and completely isolating it is to live in a second language.

I realized that my goals and dreams are hard enough of my native language. So why would I waste effort and energy trying to do them in a second language? Especially in a country that doesn’t want me, that I have no reason to be in.

I thought about what has led me here, how I could be so unhappy in the choices I made. I thought about what teenage me had wanted for her future. I thought about the praise my high school teachers and writing instructors gave me. What would they think if they knew I was sat here, unhappy and doing nothing with the talent and ambition they had seen?

I’ve decided this has just been one long detour. It’s time to start carving out a way back to the path I wanted to take originally.

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Filed under Japan, Personal

Choo Choo, All Aboard!

I’m not sure what just happened, but after a week of feeling happy, positive, and motivated, including this morning, I had a miniature meltdown.

It came so suddenly and hit me hard like a speeding train. I felt so hopeless and couldn’t stop crying. I felt alone because I barely saw my husband this week and was alone all day despite the fact that it’s Saturday, because my husband had a work event. I felt angry at my husband for leaving me alone. I felt overwhelmed with anxiety about the work week starting again on Monday, despite the fact that I’m currently working only two days a week. And I felt like trying to write was pointless, that I’ll never get better, even though I spent all morning making progress and feeling good about my story.

This meltdown is technically still happening. I’ve managed to stop crying and pull myself away from the couch, but it feels like anything might start me crying again if I’m not careful. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m trying to reason my way out of it, because there’s no reason I should feel this way.

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October 5, 2013 · 5:31 pm

David After Department Store

I’ve recently started a new job, working for a department store. I usually spend my breaks sitting by myself, eating a snack and briefly catching up on the Interwebz. Which I enjoy. I like this relaxing break from being around others. But today I felt obligated to spend break with everyone else, going to Starbucks and then sitting together in the mall food court.

I sat there quietly sucking my iced mocha while everyone around me talked, and I felt so out-of-place. It wasn’t only because I’m a new worker, and it wasn’t age-related because we’re all within maybe 5 years of each other. What happened was, the girls gossiped and the boys talked about sports, and each gender made fun of the other. There was no middle ground — it was clearly uncool to stray from the stereotypical topics for each gender.

It was like watching a movie with poorly developed characters. Or watching kids during lunch break in elementary school. Sitting there was so suffocating. It was like they look at everything through an empty paper towel roll; their field of vision seemed so narrow.

Is this kind of social interaction normal? The people I’ve been interacting with for the past 4 years have almost exclusively been fellow college students. Am I just too used to hanging around the “liberal college crowd”? Or could it even be because I spend more time online than in the “real world”?

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Filed under Personal