Wednesday

Silence is a learned behavior, explicitly taught. A lot of classroom time is spent striving towards complete silence. Do not speak, do not tap your feet, do not close your pencil case too loudly. I understand, we are living in close quarters here and respecting each other’s space means cultivating silence. At the same time, sometimes I want to disturb that peace. I want to whistle in the hallway or tap dance in the classroom or fart really loudly in the teacher’s room. Nothing too horrible, just enough to startle people out of this odd belief that we can control…

Tuesday

This life, this set-up, it’s all a slapdash construction-in-progress initiated by someone who refuses to acknowledge the sharks circling her little vessel, adrift in the sea. I have made a houseboat out of a busted-up canoe and have strung up tiny fairy lights along the roof, though we can’t turn them on because the motor isn’t working by which I mean to say there was never a motor in the first place. Don’t tell the kids that it has been me back at the stern, hand-paddling us along, making engine noises with my lips. I don’t want them to panic….

Tuesday

A while back, I asked a friend of mine if I was unrelatable, if I had narrowed my circumstances beyond what can be empathized with. Along with this message, I sent a picture of the full moon over a pagoda. I sent it not to compound my inquiry but because it was what I was looking at as I was chatting with him. I did not receive a reply and perhaps that is my answer. I find myself withdrawing further and further from the maddening crowd and I do not feel that my socially-minded comrades appreciate it. I do follow…

Tuesday

I started this habit a few months ago, buying a bouquet of flowers from the greengrocers near the station, to pay tribute to my period. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my monthly flow, not just of blood and emotions and hormones, but of time, of creativity, of instinct and intuition. The start of my period, the waxing of the moon, this is when the wild thoughts come out to play, the extreme impulses. I used to feel crazy because I was ashamed of the feral side of my imagination, my untamed heart. It…

Sunday

What I am doing, in terms of writing this book about my life in Japan, is not easy. Actually, fucking hard is a pretty accurate description. Pulling everything out, smoothing it down so you can see as much of the story as possible, without the wrinkles and creases we have made to protect ourselves, it is not an easy task. When I first started, it was exhilarating. I thought that everyone should engage in such a project of self-examination simply because there is so much within us that we blindly accept but never fully recognize or understand. But now I…

Friday

This week, I received some terrible news about someone who has a permanent address in my heart. It is game-changing news, the type that makes you reevaluate everything. I learned about the situation in the morning and in the afternoon, I attended the school’s peace assembly. The nephew of Sadako Sasaki, the girl who folded a thousand paper cranes in order to fight her illness with hope and inspired countless people around the world, was the speaker. He spoke of his aunt’s courage and gratitude. How her final words were thank you. It was a lot to handle. I am…

Monday

Jason was telling me about this sculpture he is working on and I felt a pang of jealousy at his ability to delve so deep into the fantasy surrounding this weird cat/temple creation. It has been a while since I created any ideas from scratch. On the other hand, I find the reality that presents itself to me to be the captivating one. It is bizarre and unexplored and gorgeous and cruel and absolutely constructed. Why make up a proxy when such a beast lays before me? I walk through the supermarket with music from a century ago coursing through…

Tuesday

Raining in the morning, forced to walk in the street to avoid the crowds of umbrella-wielding elementary school students dominating the sidewalk. The news of a knifing rampage in Yokohama came at the end of second period, the teachers called to the vice principal’s desk. School children had been attacked, we must be vigilant, bracing ourselves for copycats. I remembered the incident in Tomio, a girl taken after school by her mother’s long-term stalker, her body found in a ditch the next morning. Back then there were no school gates, just open entrances. There were no ID badges, no security…