Monday, July 21, 2008

For the Record

I love Japan. And I love living in Japan, despite what my previous grumblings about old people in sun hats and censorship on pubic hair might have misled. (Really, I was only pissed that the dry cleaner was closed when I went to pick up my suit.) But even given my affinity for this country, teaching is an entirely different matter, and a career change that I anticipated would be immensely rewarding has been largely discouraging. Imagine, if you will, trying to explain to a confused and increasingly frightened Japanese child the verb ‘do’, one of the most fundamental words in the English language, without just flailing your goddamn arms about. So, ‘What did you do on Saturday?’ becomes, 'What (questioning shrug) did you (point point point) do (goddamn flailing) on Saturday (point to calendar)? Clearly, teaching is meant for someone with much more patience, tenderness and better control of their profanity, and it came to me one recent morning as I sat Indian style with a duck puppet on my left hand, calmly watching my student lick the bottom of his own foot: I don’t want to do this anymore. Around about the same time Sherry and I received matching folded letters in matching green envelopes from the corporate office. Mine was addressed to Brandon Sensei, Sherry’s to Sherry Sensei, and they were offers to renew our contracts for another year. Sherry and I conferred in a smoke-filled restaurant over a dinner of crab pizza and pork kimchee. I took a sip of my whiskey and she says ‘I want to quit’, and I say ‘I need to go to the bathroom but I don’t know where my shoes are’, and with that it was settled. The Jansas are coming home. We will return after the first of the year, which means I have approximately 5 months to master the art of ninja, embark on a mystical journey through the Shinto spirit realm and get a yakuza style back tattoo (Mt. Fuji set against the Cadillac insignia. Or vice versa). I will miss Japan tremendously, and reminiscences of our year here will remain a constant source of comfort throughout my life. But Sherry and I are ready for the next adventure. We miss family. We miss friends. And we have a small, white, mohawked pup at home whose absence has left a smoldering spot in our hearts, and who I'm anxious as all hell to get back to so I can have him plated with gold, chained, and hung around my neck in permanent adornment as if I were some bejeweled rapper from my iTunes playlist. Plus, I have a writing career to begin.


dylan said...

music to my ears!!!

O'Pine said...

One great adventure morphs into another. I'll look forward to buying you a beverage upon your return.


terryo said...


Sheez. I'm no good at these "doing things in order" things.

It'll be good to see you two!

Ella Pink said...

Dude... Can I say I had these same thoughts over 6 months ago? lol I just started speaking Japanese to my kids instead of trying to explain in English. >_>;;;

I'll miss you guys!! I'll still be here if you feel like visiting! Although... I'm going for a company change.