Friday

In the mornings, I wake my children up to The Breakfast Song. Then, while they eat breakfast, it is Jazz Classics (Blue Note). If we are all in the house for lunch, it is Beethoven’s piano sonatas. And to tell them dinner is on the table, it is always John Coltrane’s Blue Train. At bedtime, it is Max Richter’s Sleep. These five stages of the day accompanied by a predictable soundtrack. Do they tire of it, you ask? I honestly don’t think it phases them anymore (except for The Breakfast Song but that is only because they are not morning…

Thursday

I am obscure. A writer and artist of no significant following, no major works or accolades. I live a small life in a small neighborhood in a small city in a small country. There is such freedom, such power in obscurity. I am indebted to no one, likewise I am not unduly influenced by dire circumstances or trends that rise and fall like waves. I try to exist beneath the waves, in that strange calm that persists despite all the thrashing and crashing above. It is true that I will be pulled along and swept ashore but only if I…

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…

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…

Wednesday

Today is the halfway mark of my summer vacation and the kids are driving me bananas. I made the mistake of not waking them up at 6 and everyone is completely off-kilter now. One of the hardest parts of raising kids in a second language is helping them with their homework. Language arts and word problems are the worst. Think about how hard it is to do algebra and geometry in your first language. Now trying doing it hanging upside down from a set of rusty monkey bars. Barrels of fun. Lately I have felt frustrated by long distance friendships….

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…