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…

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…

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…

Saturday

This morning, I went out early for breakfast and bento goods and took the camera along. It was bright already at 5 am but the streets were relatively deserted. I passed trucks waiting to deliver goods to the grocery store, elderly couples out in matching track suits, swinging their arms twice as fast as their legs were going. I stood beneath a tsubame’s nest and watched the parents dive into the river and return to the little mud cone that held six chicks with big triangular mouths that gaped into a wide diamonds when the parents called out to them….

Thursday

The light is perfect right now in the evenings as I ride my bike home. It stays bright until a little after seven, undermining the power of clocks. Block after block, the smells of night rising, of summer rising: curry and garlic, incense, roses and jasmine. I have been too busy at night with a project to get up early and write. It is a short-term schedule change and one I believe will be fruitful. Staying up at night is now a little exhilarating, along with the strange reality of waking up at five-thirty instead of three, the insistent sunlight…