Saturday

Last night, near eleven, my eldest decided to have a meltdown because his phone was being confiscated. We took the phone because he had violated curfew and neglected to do anything we asked before he left the house. So it was a fair and predictable consequence. He’s sixteen, though, and of a generation that has mentally merged with their technology. Losing his phone is equivalent in his mind to torture. He proceeded to have a full-on panic attack-esque fit which caused a raucous in our tiny apartment late at night. One of the things that came out of that emotional…

Tuesday

I turn forty in a few weeks. I am okay with it, truly. Glad of it, in fact. Turning forty means I somehow survived my thirties. I am working on something, a retrospective of the past decade. I am thinking of giving each year its own space, bound in its own specific sentences. It will not be an easy task. It has been a long decade, a hard one wrought with loss and woven with joy. I learned a lot. More than I thought I needed to know. I gave birth to two babies in this decade. Moved more times…

Saturday

It has been a strange week, a week of shifts and stops. I’ve been doing nothing in the evenings. Not reading or finishing the painting or the story. Not even helping the kids with their homework. I have just been coming in, closing the curtains, and going to sleep. Is that shameful? I am not sure. Perhaps. I set my alarm for four and sleep through it. I wake at five and lay there staring at the ceiling. I am trying to figure something out but I am not sure what it is. I start Japanese lessons next week. It…

Wednesday

It is strange how we hold these people in our heads, long after they are gone from our lives. Their opinions, criticisms remain unsullied by other more agreeable perspectives. Perhaps because they voiced our fears, gave a tangibility to the shadows of the heart, we preserve them like jars of jam and pickles and put them up on the mantle when they should be down in the cellar. I have been back at work for a few days now. They have been quiet days, days dedicated to preparing for the approaching busyness. For the next few months, it is just…

Tuesday

Well, we have returned from our week’s journey. Three cities in four days is a race, not a vacation. Making sure that we had everything on our back before we jumped on the next bus or train was a big worry but we managed. This was the first time in a long time, as I mentioned before, that we traveled as a family. We have been moving and moving for so long that traveling for pleasure was not really in the cards, for it is not just moving but unpacking and buying new things and getting used to new schedules…

Sunday

Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon writing our trip itinerary. This is the very first time we have ever been so precise with our trip planning. It feels strange. I don’t like to travel like this, to know which train to take, to know precisely how much the admission fees will be and where we’ll eat dinner. But four kids and only four days to see three cities requires organization and foresight. After all the work I have been doing to prepare for the trip combined with the housework and homework work I have put in during the last two…

Saturday

I cannot sleep past 5 am anymore.Even if I go to sleep at 4 am, I am up and at ’em by five.It is necessary, in such a small house full of feisty people (let’s make it sound more charming than it is, shall we?) to have a little bit of quiet before the day gets off the ground. During my regular working days, of course, I wake up early in order to study or write, but that has been suspended with the long stretch of holiday days. Instead, I get up, turn off the air conditioners, drink two glasses…

Friday

Today I am meeting a locally-famous teacher-trainer to discuss becoming a coordinator for a language teachers’ group here in Hiroshima. It is a group I liked when I lived in Nagoya and part of my attempt to meet my teaching goals for the year. As an adult, I avoid these positions of responsibility after spending my adolescence as an environmental activist. I don’t like to be, well, looked at, I suppose. And yet, as The Smiths sang, shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to. And I would like to get tenure. I know,…

Thursday

Next week we go to our old stomping grounds. It is exciting, the prospect of travel, mainly, but also of reconnecting with a place that was once our place. It is an interesting experience, to overlay your tattered psychogeographical map with the present reality. Not just the present reality of the physical place, the new buildings that replaced the ones you knew, the street vendors who always said hello who have disappeared into retirement or ash. No, the biggest change is your perspective. The people we were when we first arrived in Japan were the ones to capture that initial…