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…

Friday

This week has been a creative wash and I just have to allow it to be that way. Working more than thirteen hours yesterday, I rode home thinking of all the things I should be working on. I try not to dwell as that can lead to anxiety. All the same, here are some projects I am working on that will not be touched until this day is over: making this new type of resin necklace using multiple ovals, chained together sewing the pockets I cut out weeks ago getting material and sewing the fanny packs that I found a…

Thursday

I am now a mother of a sixteen year-old.Such a very strange thing, sixteen years.I have moved ten times since he was born. We have been joyful and broke and silly and miserable and creative and frustrated and heartbroken and hopeful. Thousands of mistakes were made and I have plenty of regrets to bear. It is perhaps just the nature of the first child to be scarred by the unintentional missteps of his parents.I was only 23 when he was born. I thought I was so ancient then.I knew nothing. The only thing I know now is how utterly ignorant…

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…

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…

Tuesday

The fourth grade curriculum here, much like the fourth grade curriculum anywhere, includes a focus on civic affairs and history. We live in Hiroshima. Students here grow up with a heavy burden, passed along from their ancestors. And in fourth grade, they go to the Peace Park, visit the museum of tragic artifacts, and talk to foreign visitors about war and peace. As a teacher helping students with the talking to foreign visitors portion of the field trip, I attended a talk given by a survivor of the bomb, hibakusha in Japanese. She was just 8 years-old when the bomb…

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…