Starting over with everything..

I lived and worked in Japan for a long time and have come back in a time of economic and ever present family drama to try and gain a foothold in my so-called home country. Armed with nothing but dog fur, a crappy car, a laptop that hates me, I try to see how far I can get.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Should I stay or should I go now?

The Clash are brilliant aren't they? Some of the lyrics have been haunting me lately, maybe not in the same context, but you know what I mean. Leaving or the idea of leaving has reared it's ugly head and is just staring at me in the face, especially as I see my good friends here leaving soon. I can't help but be nostalgic, weepy and grumpy to the world. A part of that is because I'll miss my friends and I'll feel the void after they leave whole heartedly. Yet, another big part of my discontent right now lies within my own self. What the hell am I doing here is a constant theme running through my head as of late.
I try to consider the possiblities:
1. I am running away from home
2. I am avoiding starting the next part of my life
3. I am scared to leave what I know
4. I have a good job that I mostly like and am used to doing it
5. I am lazy
6. I hate living in the States
7. I am waiting for a miracle to occur to change my life and give it infinite meaning
8. I love Japan (mostly) and I don't want to live anywhere else at the moment

Some of these definitely carry some merit but other more positive ones outweigh the others so much it makes them seem insignificant unless I'm obsessing about leaving like now. I feel I made the right decision to stay. I have a midget asshole to thank for this decision mostly, but none the less if there were no midget assholes I may be super, super resenting my life if I made a different decision. So hurray for midget assholes!

This post is more like a public note to self, so I apologize. I tend to talk to myself a lot and that's only natural that I extend that habit to my writing skills, so I apologize to the three people who read this. I think the there are certain things that I'm gonna watch for that are certain signs that I need to get the hell out of here as fast as I can.

Warning signs
When these apply I'm outta here:
(copied from a 'You know you've been in Japan too long if...' website) think "white pills, blue pills, and pink powder" is an adequate answer to the question "What are you giving me, doctor?" think 4 layers of wrapping is reasonable for a simple piece of merchandise.
...a new Gaijin moves to your neighborhood and you know immediately you will get his mail for a while. think the meaning of a red traffic light is: "Hurry up! 10 cars now in quick succession, and then we'll think about slowing down."
...when you get on a train with a number of gaijin on it and you feel uneasy because the harmony is broken. think the natural location for a beer garden is on a roof. ask fellow foreigners the all-important question "How long have you been here?" in order to be able to properly categorize them.
...when in the middle of nowhere, totally surrounded by rice fields and abundant nature, you aren't surprised to find a drink vending machine with no visible means of a power supply...
...and when you think nothing of it when that lonely vending machine says 'thank you' after you buy a coke. stand before a sign on a bridge and ponder the possible meanings of "Bridge Freezes Before Road." notice you've forgotten how to tie shoelaces. rush onto an escalator, and just stand there. find yourself bowing while you talk on the phone. think US$17 isn't such a bad price for a new paperback. don't hesitate to put a $10 note into a vending machine. don't think it unusual for a truck to play "It's a Small World" when backing up. really enjoy corn soup with your Big Mac. can't have your picture taken without your fingers forming the peace sign.
...on a cold autumn night, the only thing you want for dinner is nabe and nihonshu.
...when you believe that the perfect side dish to eat with a juicy, deep-fried pork chop is a pile of raw, tasteless, shredded cabbage. are speaking in English but all references to money come out in Japanese. answer "hai!" even when speaking English to non-Japanese friends. select shoes based on how easily you can get them on and off. think any lunch costing less than US$10 is cheap.
..."Ohio" no longer means the state. don't think twice about sitting on the floor barefoot in an expensive restaurant. can back into a Japanese parking space -- without your passenger getting out and guiding you in. look forward to winter in your Japanese house so you can store beer and frozen foods in your bedroom and bathroom. stop turning on your windshield wipers before you make a turn. would not only settle for Taco Bell, you would actually kill for it.
...people ask, "Do you want to go by car?" and you respond, "No, I'm in a hurry." can't remember saying 6 bucks was too much to see a movie.
...your daily knowledge of the exchange rate would make a commodities broker proud.

I'm only halfway there. Gotta go work now.


  • At 6:51 PM , Blogger tosuboy said...

    very amusing! you should copyright those...

    remember, if this helps, that wherever you were in the world you'd still be having the same thoughts - not particularly comforting, but true nontheless!

  • At 11:10 PM , Anonymous jamie said...

    I would agree with the last commentee, shit happens and then it gets tough.
    Your certainly not lazy and i cannot think of many other people more equiped for living here in crazy land Japan than you.

    There is nothing wrong with staying if you are not completely sure of what to do. Its a wonderful life(bare faced lie!) so be relaxed and don't worry about listening to what you should do and concentrate on what actually means anything. Your happiness.

    Damn! where is Doctor Phil when you need him?

    Stay away from Russians and all is good! :)

  • At 1:36 AM , Blogger Bunkie said...

    Ok I am giving you the ONE reason which overrides ALL others... the one reason indicating that you MUST stay.... ME !!!

    Seriously what would become of me without u... my faithful joyful, bitching and boying partner !!!

    Please... don't leave me this way...

    Takeo... and Lisa... would fall apart at the seams without u

    I clearly understand that this is all very self-involved but I don't care... I want and need you here so there !! U can't leave !!

    xx xx xx

  • At 4:25 AM , Blogger Aine said...

    Sarah, your venting sessions bring me so much enjoyment. I'm so sorry to laugh at the expense of your sanity but that was hilarious.

    If it's any consolation, I was in exactly the same boat last year. Exactly. And I did even pack some boxes at one point. my entire team left, people you rely on, the ones who phone you on your landline every night of the week, and there was no wee japanese girlfriend to break my fall. It will be hard by times, especially when you get all the shiny new recruits, and everything starts to feel like groundhog day, i became one of those third years who HATES any groups outings because then it'll become apparent that you do indeed have leperacy (sp?), BUT I don't regret in any way staying here. I didn't know why I was staying but there was something. You have a list of reasons which tell you that your heart wants you to stay. If you left, you wouldn't ever be able to take up your life here again, in your lovely apartment, in the town you know. You evidently aren't ready to close the door on this place so don't. It will all fall into place. Trust me.

  • At 5:09 AM , Blogger sarah said...

    Thanks for the encouragement ya'll. Lee, you speek da trut broda. It's like you psychic.

    Jaime, I will take your advice on the shifty Russians and thank you for the words of encouragement?

    Lisa, cute little Lisa, I would never leave you (unless I was paid lots and lots of money, or maybe if someone threw in a cute man in the deal, or.. nevermind) you needn't worry, I just have moments of crazy.

    Aine, no worries, I revel in others misfortune also when I get the chance. Just makes me feel better. Like listening to Tracy Chapman, if she's that depressed you're life's got to be going better, no? I am completely following your logic and a big part of my stick 'em to it spirit is due to the fact I love my apartment and town. Is that a good thing or bad? Eh well, you're right things will sort themselves out. I'll catch ya'll later. xoxo

  • At 5:10 AM , Blogger sarah said...

    Jamie, sorry I spelled your name wrong, it's too close to my brother's name!

  • At 7:44 PM , Anonymous sarah a. said...

    Sarah, lovely, I know you belong in Japan. You can handle the crazy better than anyone I know! However, if you change your mind, I hear N. Carolina is absolutely fantastic. We can drink mint juleps together, and I'll work on finding a place with a wraparound porch so we can drink our southern cocktails while rocking in our rockin' chairs. You can play the guitar and by the time I can afford a place with a wrap around porch, I will have mastered the banjo. Hot damn! Yeeehaaaw!


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