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“I was in the EXACT position in 1998. To stay in Japan (and formally study Ikebana and Art History) or return to America for graduate school. I will tell you: I was in a hurry to “get on” with my studies and felt that “25” was some sort of cut-off for going to grad school. I WAS AN IDIOT. It is one of the few regrets I have in my entire life. I should have stayed in Japan: I wasn’t ready to leave; I LOVED it there, and it cast a shadow over my graduate studies. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and starting shifting my focus to higher education that I stopped regretting returning to the states. Living in Japan is not for everyone, but YOU LOVE JAPAN. You can always return and continue your studies here, but don’t cut short this adventure: you will regret it. The program you seek will be here: you can always apply to it (and you don’t need me to get in!!! You are brilliant.) That is my best advice. No graduate school, no matter how beloved, will touch the adventure, beauty, grace, elegance, history, charm, and sheer quirkiness that is Japan! Finish this phase, and you will know when it is time to leave–if it is ever time to leave. I left Asia in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2006 that I found something I loved even more in the fields and coast of New England. I’m not sorry I went to UVA or lived in DC, but my heart ached for Kyoto….every…….single…..day.”

 

“…you will know when it is time to leave…”  I haven’t quite found clarity yet but this comment I stumbled upon did catch my attention. Thinking back on when I decided to leave Japan it did feel like my time was up, that I had learned all I needed to learn and that it was time to move on. When I left, I didn’t regret it and even now in the confused, unhappy state that I am in I still don’t regret leaving. I have felt nostalgia for Japan since leaving but regret is something I have never felt.

 

momiji

My Happy Place

I have found my happy place. I’ve been stressing out a lot about everything lately which includes a lot of over thinking, crying and anxiety but I’ve finally found some peace. I’ve come to accept the fact that I cannot necessarily change what will/will not happen in the future, I can only change myself and maybe steer my life in the right direction.

One of the things that has been on my mind is applying for a Japanese visa. Luckily I have a job lined up and the school that I will be working for has started the process. However, this process can take several weeks depending on how busy immigration is and considering the time of year, I would say that they’re pretty busy with applications. My school has applied for my Certificate of Eligibility but even if it does get processed in a timely manner it still has to be sent to me here, in Canada and I then have to go to the Japanese consulate to apply for the actual visa. That wouldn’t normally be an issue but the closest Japanese consulate to me is in Montreal which is a 9-10 hour drive away. I do have the option of mailing my application but that requires me to also send them my passport.

So here are the facts:

  • I have not yet received my Certificate of Eligibility from Japan.
  • Once I receive it, mailing it along with my passport to Montreal will take a couple of days.
  • When the consulate receives my passport and certificate, the visa application process will take up to 5 business days.
  • Receiving my passport and visa back from the Japanese consulate will take a few days by mail.
  • My flight is booked for August 3rd.
  • No passport = no flight.

It’s all out of my control but I’m okay with that. If I don’t end up getting to go to Japan, I will be out $900 that I paid for the flight and that sucks but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Not going to Japan doesn’t mean I would stay in Fredericton for those of you that are thinking that. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Halifax a few times and that seems like it would make the most sense.

But if I end up staying in Canada, friends, DO NOT let me go into fashion retail management again. That, is not a happy place for me.

Chaos

My world feels a bit chaotic at the moment and from that chaos I’ve been finding a bit of poetic inspiration. It’s been a while, so my writing is a bit rusty/cheesy but I hope you enjoy.

 

I wanted to tell you I loved you when you left me last night.

Broken, alone, needing your touch.

Longing to know you’d be beside me forever, beautifully


Sweet, sad departure of love discovered too late.

Uncovered from dust and time.

Timeless waves of connection.

Experience of an amateur.

Let go and let him into you, into the place that few have been, that few have dared to travel.

 

This past month has been a bit hectic for me and unfortunately I don’t think the chaos of emotion and stress will be settling down anytime soon.

Some of you may already know, but after living in Canada for the past year, I have decided to return to Japan. It likely comes as no surprise to most of you given the size of the space in my heart I have reserved for Japan and the unrelenting dissatisfaction I have been feeling since the winter.

My decision to return was not made in haste but a decision that I contemplated for a long time. It wasn’t the only option I gave myself, I also considered relocating to Halifax but didn’t want to find myself feeling the same unhappiness. I don’t think Japan is ultimately the answer to my state of mind but at least I can focus on what I love and what I’m good at while being able to enjoy a comfortable life and explore the world around me.

It’s really hard to say how long I’ll be there for this time, I’d rather not limit myself to time constraints. The employment contract I have signed is for one year so I can say that I will be there for at least a year. There are reasons I left Japan just as there are reasons why I’m choosing to leave Fredericton. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’m not able to recall what those reasons are but I’m sure once I’m back in the land of the rising sun I will remember.

I’m leaving behind some very significant experiences and people that I will have to learn to stay connected with without the convenience of locale but I am willing to do anything to keep those connections tight.

It is a bitter sweet return but as the title says, I need to go back in order to figure out how to move forward.

Why is it that when you think you’ve made a decision that feels right and you think everything is final that other, possibly better, options start to appear? This has happened to me on more than one occasion and I can’t figure out if its the universe trying to challenge my decision to see if I will stick by it or if its trying to tell me that my first decision is actually the wrong one.

My feels like a choose your own adventure sometimes.

I’d love to hear if any of you have had similar experiences and what you did.

I’ve been feeling listless lately in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. My job takes up a lot of my time and when I finish for the day (either at 5:30 or 9:30) I’m so worn out from being on my feet all day and not being appreciated that I don’t feel like doing anything but going straight home.

As a result of the lethargy I’ve been feeling, I’ve also been more prone to succumbing to sugar and fat cravings and less likely to exercise and this leads to stronger feelings of listlessness. It’s a vicious cycle that I really need to break ASAP!

you-can-do-it

As I was walking home from work today and the wind was blowing my new hair cut all over the place I heard a familiar sound. It was the sound of young men driving by shouting things that they think are clever.

“Miley Cyrus! Miley Cyrus! Hey! Miley Cyrus!”

I looked around to see Miley Cyrus but the only other people I saw were from Korea. “Oh, right,” I thought, “my hair cut.” I decided not to acknowledge the young men even though they were clearly referring to me and refused to stop repeating “Miley Cyrus!” but in hindsight what I should’ve done was twerk at them. If only I had been with friends or had some liquid courage at that moment. I’m sure that won’t be the last time I hear the name “Miley Cyrus” spoken in my direction but next time I’ll be prepared!

mileyshana

I don’t see the resemblance, do you?

When I got my hair cut I didn’t go to my hair stylist asking to look like Miley Cyrus or any celebrity for that matter but that is what I have turned into, a celebrity look-a-like and not even a celebrity that I respect. To be completely honest, I was inspired by the above photo, but nobody has to know that.

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