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…

Saturday

I saw this comic and was thinking about my own work-life balance and how I would illustrate my days. It would take a lot of ink. The following list of things is from Thursday, which was a normal day, selected only because I wrote everything down after reading the aforementioned comic: 4:00 am- Get up to write and drink coffee. Spend most of your time responding to emails/texts and work a little on the new short story about the girl and the tanuki in the woods. 6:00 am- Start the laundry because your eldest son neglected to put his stinky…

Tuesday

Behind me, on top of my bookshelf, the enormous beetle we bought for the kids is buzzing in its plastic case. It is not a usual kabuto mushi but a pair of atlas beetles we got on the cheap at the pet store. They are very fond of burying then digging out the log in their case, a noisy procedure that disturbs my dreams. I met with my son’s juku instructor yesterday and was told that I need to pay 2000 bucks for him to attend a million lessons over the summer break. I politely hemmed and hawed and then…

Saturday

I just smashed a roach and when I went back to collect its corpse, there was nothing there. Its guts were outside of its body so where could it have gone? The violence of its death is not something I wanted to engage with at 5 am but it was big and undeterred by vinegar spray. Did it slide under the door? Will I have to see it dragging itself down the linoleum hallway? Last night, after our very long work week, we went to the downtown foreigner pub. It was really quiet when we arrived at 6:30, five English…

Wednesday

This week has been just really long. 12-hour work days and I still feel behind. It is frustrating since it leaves no time for anything else but all the same, I know that I am extremely privileged to be in my position. In the morning, I had to visit the laundromat to dry my son’s school uniform and basketball jersey. And I was passed, at 5 am, by a group of Chinese women, returning from their nightshift at a local factory. They live together, work together, shop together, always wearing colourful cloth surgical masks and baseball caps. I have never…

Saturday

Since I last wrote, I have been studying. Not constantly, obviously, as things like work and children interrupt, but much more diligently than before. I did something that was both humbling and fantastic: I bought study materials for the level just beneath where I have long assessed myself to be. The more I studied with my regular intermediate materials, the more frustrated I became because of the gaps, particularly in my grammar. So I am doubling back and filling in those gaps and already it has made a huge difference in what I hear and read on a daily basis….

Wednesday

The strange thing about figuring out finally what I am about and what I want to write is that now I must postpone my writing until I pass the test in December. I was going to take the July one but I knew I was not ready. This “I should be studying but I don’t want to be studying” issue has been going on with me since I moved to Japan, back in 2004. Fifteen years of feeling guilty and frustrated with my second language. Part of it is because I struggle with the decision to live in Japan in…

Monday

I was at work for too long today. I did speak with my coworker about his condition. And he had all sorts of questions for me. Like how did I distinguish the physical reality from the imagined reality. He said, because the only reality I have ever seen is this, which just made me very sad. He also said that Tom Clancy is his favorite author because there is none of that descriptive nonsense that just clutters up other books. Today I had this incredible longing for a friend who is no longer a friend. I used to follow that…