At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Monday, May 21, 2012


I've been recently on this regret kick.  I have noticed I develop a nostalgia for supposed missed opportunities when I am not enjoying the present very much.  A friend of mine wisely asked me recently in an email if I was having enough fun in my life.  I am uncertain if I am.  Yes, at times I feel very happy here.  I feel like I am always learning about new things in this culture, new words, new people.  But sometimes I get morose.  I've even analyzed this particular habit of mine.  It's almost as if I'm pushing at the recent bruises on my psyche, just to reinvigorate the pain:  the pain from heartbreak, the pain of feeling alienated and without a decent support system in Japan, the pain of sometimes feeling unsatisfied with my job, the pain of feeling lonely.  Is it normal to do this?  Is it part of culture shock?  Is it part of my artistic sensibility?  It's not like I'm down constantly.  Absolutely not.  But I don't laugh enough like I used to do.  I don't have anyone to laugh with really on a regular basis. That being said, I have had some really great moments recently and throughout the day I feel very grateful to be alive and enjoying every moment.  But I also feel like I need more stimulation.  So am I, out of boredom, poking at myself to feel something deeply?  Am I bored?  Or am I just reminding myself of my longing to feel exhilarated, to openly engage emotionally with the world.  Or is it that my subconscious is still dealing with things that I, on the surface, have pushed inward somewhere.  Do they bubble up to catch me by surprise in a memory or a thought about another time in my life that no longer exists in the present?

More fun should be on the menu every day.  I had a number of adventures during Golden Week this year and I am hoping I can continue having weekends like that instead of weekends spent indoors (thanks rainy season!). During Golden Week I went to a small uninhabited island called Komakajima. I went snorkeling and then ended up meeting some guys from Kansai who were all about the post-grad dental school life.  Their English was fantastic.  I was really impressed.  Then we went to Cafe Kurukuma in Chinen for Thai food and started speaking in Japanese and I just wished my Japanese speaking ability was much better.  I could understand their questions, but my ability to answer them was limited.  There was a tiny bit of tension that arose, which I couldn't completely understand.  I think it might have been a cultural issue as in the way we Americans were speaking so directly, even in Japanese. That being said, they were asking a number of questions that began to feel a bit interrogative.  Still, it was a great experience. I want to do this more often.  I want to meet new people on a daily basis.

 You're thinking "いいな". 

Relax, relax. 

Paradise found.
Anyways, today I had no classes so I studied 日本語 and read William Zinsser's "On Writing Well." If you're a writer or interested in writing, I recommend his book.  I also went to the mechanic today and got my car re-juiced (ATF and Oil change).  The mechanic reminded me of a Japanese version of mechanics back home in Florida.  I am serious.  Even the way he spoke his Japanese made me think of particular people I know.  He and I had a discussion on how English was difficult (he asked me if I taught at the high school nearby and I said yes, I did). He then asked me if I was studying Japanese and I said, yes I was, albeit slowly. I told him how I had such a hard time with kanji and with being able to remember certain verbs for some reason. He said that he couldn't understand kanji either and while most Japanese will tell you this, I have to admit that I believed him when he said this.  I think kanji takes so much time to learn, especially the way its taught in this country and not everyone has the ability to learn a particular way (visually or orally).  I know I'll probably never master it.  I'm okay with that though...  

I'm okay with all of it. 

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