03 March 2009


I've been reminiscing lately about how Takeshi and I got to where we are now. Things are not well right now with our current situation and environment.

Certain people who know me may have different ideas about exactly why we decided to move to Japan last May. I'd like to say that it was all planned out but it wasn't. The real reason that I agreed to move to Japan with Takeshi was because he was terribly unhappy with his situation in Lancaster, PA where we had been living before moving. I was going to college there, about to finish my BFA in graphic design up in another year or so. He was, at the time, working at a restaurant where that he couldn't stand, and Pennsylvania is not the culinary center of the country by any means. I was needing to stay in Lancaster because my degree, but we were being torn apart because he desperately wanted to move elsewhere, and he stated that he also missed his family in Japan. His parents had just recently moved back to Japan, after living in Alabama for many years. I'm sure this hit home for him, and I'm sure he was starting to miss them. The grief got so bad that at one point, one night, he seemed as though he couldn't stand it anymore. So in an effort to help him out and ease his despair I finally said, "Ok well, fine, let's move to Japan. I can finish school online there." He wanted to go, I was feeling the obligation to stay, but we couldn't imagine living apart. We were officially married through paperwork, only about 1-2 weeks after moving here. We never got to have a wedding or honeymoon. Takeshi keeps telling me that we can save up for a honeymoon one day, but right now I doubt that very much. I try to not get my hopes up. We started our marriage, right off the bat, with frustration, and with rushing to get ourselves situated in this country.

Now, we've been living here for 8 months. From my perspective, I went from being in the States where I WAS somebody, who was in school, had a car, and had a goal and a purpose in life, to being a nobody, in a country where all the natives are afraid of you, where I am still struggling to learn the language, no longer with a car, not in school again yet, and without a job.

Takeshi works long hours everyday, usually from 10:00am to 10:30pm. Right now he has Thursdays off, but it's not enough. We are staying in a small K1-sized apartment in a small city with nothing to do too much, beyond the small boundaries of the mall and shopping centers. We don't see each other at all, and now have come to the point where we can't find anything to talk about when we're together, since we're apart so much. I want to have a job again, since I am usually battling huge guilt over the fact that I can't hold a decent part-time job without knowing the language a hell of a lot better than I do now. Takeshi is the only one who can earn money right now, therefore his long work hours.

Since we have moved here, I spend every day in the apartment, trying to do whatever I can - cleaning the apartment, doing chores, making meals for Takeshi when we gets home at night from work. I do not go out that much at all, unless I need to buy food, or whatever else. I haven't talked to anybody else in person for a long time. I have no friends yet here. I sit at home and surf the web, draw, listen to music, nap, space out, study Japanese, and wait for Takeshi to come home.

Perhaps if we were in a bigger city like Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya, then I could find other English-speaking foreigners to talk with the do things with.

We're trying, TRYING to decided whether or not to move back to the States in the future, but when the hell will that be, if it ever happens at all? We need to get him a work visa, and therefore go to Tokyo to turn in the paperwork in person.

I'm not going to say that we made the worst possible decisions early on, but most days I really regret coming here. I love Japan for many different reasons, but I do miss having a purpose in life. I hate being an alien. I feel like my life is going nowhere, while I watch other people have fun, graduate from college, have weddings, and indulge in things that I only dream of.

I keep trying to tell myself that one day we'll have stability, a house of our own and settle down - I'll have my degree finally and have an internship or a job, Takeshi won't have to be working 6 days a week anymore. That I'll have a big group of friends to get together with - that Takeshi will have friends too.

One day we could have those things. But right now, I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It may seem to other people who talk to me, that I'm pretty well emotionally, but everyday is hard for me - to not be depressed, to try to think positively. Right now, the bad days are outnumbering the good. And all I can do is try to keep my mind off the real questions, problems, and the unknown in my life. I just don't have it show too much in front of Takeshi, since he has enough to worry about already.

I guess I'll just keep dreaming about it!

1 comment:

Uni said...

*Sigh* I really thought your decision to move to Japan was rash. I sympathize with your empathy and dedication towards your hubby but at the same time you should have thought more realistically. You thought so much about him it seems that you didn't seriously consider your own future. Seriously, online courses?! (This is a graphic design degree not some English or Math degree where you can punch things in online) You only had ONE more year to complete at PCAD until you had your BFA in Graphic Design. TK couldn't hold out that long for you??! Luckily for you it's never too late to finish school.

I thought the same thing when you rushed out of the apartment when we were living together in PA. It was like this odd rash (rather immature) decision to move in with your bf (imo it was all just an excuse because you couldn't face me like an adult)-- *cough* Personally, having the semester to myself was probably a good thing because I've decided to live by myself next semester. Things happen for a reason... Ok maybe we shouldn't get into that ordeal again.

...Moving on...

I think deciding on whether to live in the States or Japan should be a cooperative decision between you two. When my parents married they had a similar dilemma (though not as drastic) where my dad's family lived in TX and my mother's in MA. They decided to move to someplace within relative equal distance to the two states... so, Maryland. My mom always told my Nana she would someday move back to MA once they got more money but it never happened. It ended up keeping their children (me and my sister) separated from family... really, we only get to see our extended family once a year. I envy people who live within a 5 or 30 mins drive from their grandparents... who they themselves take for granted. You need to keep this in mind too, future children, if that is what you two would want someday.

I can also see how rough it is for you... if my parents moved to a different country I too wouldn't feel as "attached" to the USA as well and may be more open to moving to another country for my bf (if that's where his family lived). Of course, I never know what TK thinks... I can only go by what you state in your journals... Overall YOU seem so depressed. :'( I can see you're having some exciting times with the culture and food but if this doesn't get better I'd seriously consider relocating.

Because TK already has his degree in culinary arts he will have an easier time finding a job in the states (and getting a temporary work visa) if you need to come back here to finish your degree. However, what also concerns me are the major differences regarding graphic design in the US vs. graphic design in Japan. Because of the culture differences and how they read things I myself would be scared to death to try to immerse myself into trying to design for another culture. (But that's just me... you probably have a hang of the language/culture after living there for nearly a year).

As for Lancaster it DOES suck.... but to cheer myself up I always think ok less than a year and I'm outta this joint! :)

I'm sorry for the whole dump on you, I just wanted to get some (extremely) honest opinions out. I hope this helps you rather than hurts you. <3

PS. (I know I know... back to the "bad" topic) but I just wanna say cuz I knew you thought it too... Graham was such a fucking nasty ASSHOLE. I look back at things and did kinda feel bad you had to be around him and his rudeness when I had him visit me in Lancaster and I'm sorry :( I'm also sorry if I ever made you feel uncomfortable by having that guy friend over (whom I don't even talk to anymore, we've decided to split ways).

Anyways, today is Ric's & my 1 year anniversary! :D If you ever decide to come back to the US we'll have to hang out sometime and you can meet him, he's much more pleasant lol.