Today is Thursday, March 6th, 2014. It’s 2:13 am. In approximately four days, I’ll be on an airplane from Chicago to Tokyo, where I will land and make my way through customs and obtain my resident card and pick up my luggage and board a train into the city and complete a two week training program and begin my new job teaching English at an eikaiwa school in Adachi-ku. I’ll be there for 13 months. Sitting down in the room in which I spent the majority of my childhood and contemplating the next year of my life is rather frightening, especially considering the trajectory of how it came to be.
If you had told me seven months ago that I would be moving to Japan for a year, I would have thought you were crazy. If you had told me at that same time that I would have the opportunity to travel to New York City, by myself, for an interview, I would not understand how. But I did— I was alone, I scrambled to and from bus stops in an attempt to find the upscale Midtown building in which my interview was taking place. I stopped in a corner café for a quick coffee to-go and overheard an elderly couple complaining about the freshness of muffins. I stayed in a hotel that was used in a Woody Allen film. I took the subway to Brooklyn and spent an afternoon browsing record shops and sipping coffee. I saw the buildings and breathed the air and imagined myself as a character on 30 Rock. I got the job I interviewed for. I loved every minute of it, and if I stop to think about how it happened, I have to admit that none of it would have happened if the me from seven months ago had his way. (We’ll spare ourselves the accompanying headache and heartbreak by not acknowledging that the me from seven months ago would probably have been equally happy (if not mores o) should things have turned out the way he planned, because where’s the fun in that? The romance? The drama? Wait—)
So it happened that I decided to uproot what little life I’ve made for myself in St. Louis, pack the necessary items, and move to Japan for a year. I’ve probably grown a lot as a person over the last seven months— dealing with issues that every person deals with at some point in their lives, realizing that some Hollywood-esque clichés are relatively true. (Happiness is not absolute, however all-encompassing it appears to be. Ideals are not absolute, however closely they are held. The future is not absolute, it is contingent upon people and forces far beyond anyone’s control. Trust and love are real, beautiful things that should continuously be strived for. Etc., etc., etc.)
I hope that living and working in a completely new and exciting culture will force me to grow even more as a person. I expect that growth to be exponential. And I want to share it with everyone that I can. Which is why this (previously dormant) blog will be re-awakened and repurposed as a vehicle for expressing my thoughts and sharing my experiences of living and working in Tokyo. I still have an unrivaled passion for music, so I will likely continue to use it to share songs and artists that strike me in that unique, singular way (given that the spark reignites at some point), and I hope to become as involved as I can with the local scene in Adachi-ku and beyond, so keep an eye and ear out for that as well. But I suppose this will primarily be used as an outlet for me to keep friends and family and interested acquaintances up to date about what’s happening in Japan.
Even though I haven’t posted on this blog regularly since last summer, music has remained an extremely important presence in my life. Certain songs, albums, and artists became my comfort, my confidants, and my friends over the past several months. One song in particular that I have always quite enjoyed but only recently clicked in a more serious fashion is “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” by Belle & Sebastian. It’s from their second album, If You’re Feeling Sinister (my current favorite B&S record), and it’s a song that echoes and personifies a lot of what’s been going on in my life, both internally and externally, since last August. It’s kept me looking forward to March 10th, when I’ll leave the United States for 13 months and embark on the biggest adventure of my life so far. So, as the song goes, “This is no declaration, I just thought I’d let you know goodbye.” Sayōnara! See you next April.