Sunday, August 15, 2010

half way

A lovely friend suggested a blog called Sunday Scribblings, and maybe it's just narcissism or too many friends who tell me I could write a book (I mean seriously, we ALL could write a book, right?) but anyway, I took the bait and wrote for their prompt.

I've come back from my cycling trip early, mostly because of the rain but partially because I was just too lonely and partially because if I'm doing so much solo soul searching, I want write. So here's a start. A full report for the week's bike journey will come sometime this week (with pictures... and maybe video)


though I keep trying to dig my feet into life here, I can't seem to stick. something has changed and though I try and try to re-invest myself into this life, I can never manage to get myself more than halfway in.

Let me be clear. I am glad that I've come back. I'm glad that I am slugging it out in this job, learning so much, lucky to have such fantastic students. I am grateful for my apartment on the park. I am endlessly happy about my road bike and the adventures to beautiful places it takes me.

I realize I am lucky to have an interesting and well paying job that people respect (even if it is stressful and makes me miserable many days). I am still lucky.

I realize I am lucky to have friends here that helped me out so much when I arrived and was broke and homeless.

I am grateful for this adventure of living abroad, for better or worse. and the five years I've been away from America.

Yet, I don't know how to sound like I'm not complaining and keep my optimism and positivity and still admit that I'm disappointed. and I feel down right betrayed by some of my decisions.

Somewhere in the miles and miles of cycling, I started to think that really, Tokyo is a city for innocents. It is a city for the young at heart to come to feeling like they will make their name, make their fortune, grow up to be the adults they always wanted to be. Those who come like this, full of enthusiasm and wonder at the lights, the language, the food, the trains, the singing, the cherry blossoms, the money you can make and don't leave, they keep that innocence, somehow. Sure, the drunken singing looses it's charm when you step in vomit a few too many times and the marvelous trains become boring after commuting on them for years, and the language either grows comfortable or levels out somewhere in your brain... the shine wears off, of course. But for those that come here with little experience, they grow into a certain--this is just how things are here and this is where I fit. I was like that. When I left, that's how I felt. There were good days and bad days, but I had created a place in all this that I felt like me and like this was home.

So when I returned to Japan, I felt like I was returning home. and everything smelled the same and the jingles over the loud speakers were all the same and it felt like slipping on an old coat.

But as I try and try to settle in, the coat actually doesn't fit that well anymore.

I can go for weeks with no one sincerely asking me how I'm doing. Sure, there are the friendly coworker greetings and small talk. Sure, there are drinks with people I'm trying to get to know but don't really yet have anything in common with. Sure, there are the occasions when schedules with an old friend match up... but generally, I don't talk sincerely with anyone very much.

but the part that gets me is that everyone tells me this is normal. everyone tells me that here you can't really expect to have a social life or see friends more than once or twice a month.

so I spend my weekends on my bike and my evenings in the gym. better than playing on facebook all the time.

After a week of biking by myself and hardly speaking to anyone, I got back to Tokyo days before expected and have complete failed at coming up with any friends to see until much later in the week. but this is normal, this is too be expected. everyone is overworked and double booked.

this is so frustrating.

I used to love how I was never good enough for Tokyo. Here I really have to work on being pretty enough or smart enough or nice enough or thin enough. In some ways, I love how this pushes me to be better. Or I did. Now I'm tired of it. I want to just be me and be good enough sometimes.

so I'm half looking at moving on when my contract is up in March. but still trying to invest as much as I can into my time here.

if soul searching was a sport, I'd be training for the olympics...