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,…

Saturday

After work, in the parking lot, there was a newborn baby swaddled and facing backward in a minivan. His older sister is a sixth grader at the school where I teach, though I would not call her my student as I have never taught her. There is something aloof about the sixth graders, something that makes me feel out-of-place when I am around. But yesterday I looked at this new human, the exhausted mother, her belly still swollen, her hair mostly gray due to the lack of hair dying during pregnancy, and the intimacy was overwhelming and unexpected. In the…

Thursday

It is mid-July and the temperatures are not what I associate with mid-July. The cicadas are just starting to crawl up from their underground lair and the evenings are cool enough for a light sweater. It rained today, a decent heavy rain which will revive the plants but not cause landslides. Some people still talk about ‘when the rainy season comes…’ but it is not coming this year. It got trapped in Kagoshima by an unexpected front and flooded the southern tip of Kyushu until the mountains lost their solidity. Umi no hi (Marine Day) is on Monday, giving me…

Tuesday

Bought a new-to-me phone so now I have rejoined social media, at least on the weekends. Tuesday, Tuesday, what can be said of you? Tuesday is the day when the community center is closed, when the bakery is closed. Tuesday is the only day I really wish the community center was open, wish for a curry pan or chocolate croissant from the bakery. The contradictions run deep and fast. Made the appointments for our passport renewals in Osaka. Early in the morning on Jason’s birthday. We will arrive on the overnight bus, since with four people we are budget travellers….

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…

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…

Saturday & Sunday

It was pouring rain all day. Afterward, the wet streets were filled with the sharp scent of green plants and curry. I wear a bandage over my tattoo now. I am careful not to let anyone from my work see it, the simple star I got at 18 with my then-already-waning best friend. I am equally careful not to let my kids see the bandage, since they think of the star as a part of me. A strange line I walk. I don’t regret the star, exactly, but I wish I had gotten something less connected to another and more…

Friday

Last night, I bought a new copy of Minna No Nihongo, a beginner’s Japanese course book. I bought it because all the local Japanese lessons use the book and our old version was really old. And I bought it because I never have time to go to the local Japanese lessons and so will have to practice with J, for whom the book is an appropriate level. We are going on a trip in two months and want to be more fluent when we run into friends from our old addresses. And yet, I still blushed when putting that book…