The one in which the obvious becomes clear to me

I suppose I should just admit that I did not think my eldest was going to get into high school. Or at least a sizable portion did not believe it would happen, mainly because he is such a poor test taker and has gone years without actually studying or doing homework. And the fact that it is a new level for us and all these other parents have been planning forever for their kids to get in, sending them to juku for hours upon hours every week from the age of ten. And yet, he got in.

Which means that most likely the other kids will also be able to get in.

There is no reason anymore to consider returning to the States.

This means I have to recalibrate my perception of the future as now I see that we will most likely never leave here.

I will probably retire in Japan and die here. This is something I have never considered before.

There are so many elements I must shift in response to this realization.

And yes, part of this clarity is a result of how America is reacting to the pandemic. Because if I get to pick teams, I will go with Team Japan, the one where public health is a priority, where it is possible to contain the virus because people are more likely to go to the hospital since they have health care, where things like washing hands and not touching everything and everyone is already standard. As of right now, America has over 23,000 confirmed cases and yet less people than ever believe that this is a big deal. To which I say, good luck with that.

I will be restructuring this space within the next few weeks to reflect my renewed commitment to staying and living in Japan. I plan to put these sort of free-writing posts under the heading of blog instead of being here on the main page. I like keeping a chronicle of my thoughts but I need to refocus on making this land my permanent home.

And on that thought, it’s now time to hit my kanji workbooks.


The one in which I walk back my decision to travel back home

Saturday morning and I am awake at my usual time to work on a new short story and perhaps get a little bit of studying in before everyone wakes up.

My enthusiasm for returning to the States to visit this summer has begun to wane. The friend I wanted to visit now seems less available than she was before and while other people seem excited by the prospect of spending some time together, I am wondering if it is best to put it off for another year, especially as the Olympics are affecting airfares.

The idea of going back to my home state served to define my current situation better. As much as it would be interesting to visit people and go swimming everywhere possible, I honestly would prefer to be here. We were planning to go camping on the Seto Islands before my plan to go back arose and if I have to chose between spending 2 days with my friend (at the expense of 2 24-hour flights) and a week exploring the islands of the inland sea with my kids, well, the choice seems obvious.

There is the other thing, the fact that the proficiency exam is in July and December, and that the teacher’s certification interview is in August. It is already the end of January and I promised myself to focus on these matters this year so I could get it over with and make life more stable for my family. With America juxtaposed against my current situation, I came to value what I am trying to do here. The idea of traveling back to the States was infectious though. And yet, 2 days is not worth undermining my goals. Another time, perhaps.

I started work on a new short story this past week. And as I was doing so, I realized that I wanted to create a collection stories with interconnecting characters and yet entirely different tones and narratives. Something about this loosened me up, enabling me to be less timid with the writing of the story, less concerned about every sentence. That is why I enjoy working on my novel, because there is a flow that short story writing does not usually have for me, where every word counts.

It is my first two-day weekend in a long time. I hardly know what to do with myself, except of course get some more coffee and crack open my kanji workbook. Today is going to be another mild day, the high of 14 degrees C, so maybe it will be a good day to take the kids on a short hike. Something to take our minds off of school and work and entrance exams and the impeachment and global warming and racial injustice and airfares and all the thought patterns that consume our weekday minds.