Today my blog is five years old. I’m amazed that I’m still at it after my first post in 2003. Since that time the blog worked its way into an important aspect of my life and the way I think. It helped me meet new friends and challenged me to sometimes think deeply about how I saw things or how I acted. Much more than a diary, it grew with my thoughts and often branched out from interactions I had with others. Intellectually and perhaps emotionally the blog acted as a slate to compare myself to.
So much has changed since I started the blog, so much of what I wanted to do here has mutated and adapted, so much of how I feel about myself and the world has evolved. The rage against the war has quieted and my very lifestyle has taken a big sidestep way off the path I had earlier imagined my life would be. If I am honest I can’t say it was for the better, at least not yet. I just spent two months almost totally solitary, without anyone to talk to or go see (my university doesn’t allow the teachers to go anywhere during the two month break). I’m just barely hanging in there mentally and with the university school year starting up again tomorrow at least there will be contact with people to offset the loneliness. But it is a rather empty poultice due to the school’s awful indifference to its employees and the terrible morale. In my whole life I’ve never worked in a place so unorganized, full of discrimination, and rife with resentment.
But I realize it is just a stepping stone and I must endure for a while. In the meantime I am making plans. I hope to get a degree in environmental education and eventually work with place-based education, hopefully while still using my background in writing and art. I’ve been researching online degrees and, for later, resident degrees at different educational institutions, places like The North Cascades Institute and The Antioch New England University Department of Environmental Studies. I’m not sure I can follow up the education with good jobs here in Japan, though I do hope to spend some time with Kevin from One Life Japan and learn a bit more about alternate lifestyles in Japan. I’m not even sure that getting yet another degree will help me in the direction I want to go at all. I’m more interested in grassroots education than the big, disconnected world of academia.
Socially Japan has been a disaster for me and as I see it right now it is time to move on. In August I hope to take a few weeks and visit Vancouver, Canada and take a look around at possibilities. I think it has all the advantages I am looking for in a place to live, including all the natural wandering grounds I need so badly, a diverse culture, a softer political atmosphere, connections with Asia, and relative proximity to my mother and brother on the east coast of the States. I also have friends there so I wouldn’t be starting out completely alone. I still think about New Zealand, and want to visit possibly next winter, but it is awfully far from family. But I haven’t completely ruled it out yet. Of course, I still have to find a way to get into any of these places I am looking at.
It’s really too bad that I couldn’t find my place here in Japan. Maybe it is bad luck or maybe it is my terrible social skills. It doesn’t help that I am shy or that I don’t like pushing my ambitions on others, though I know that in order to survive and get your way in the world you have to be aggressive. That’s the Japanese aspect of my personality, I guess. The only thing is that it doesn’t work if you’re not Japanese, so I end up being humble without the benefits. But who needs benefits? (^J^)/”
Keeping at the blog for five years has been an interesting ride. It still hasn’t ended yet and I hope to organize it better so that I can post more regularly and keep in better touch with those who visit. If anything it is the people I have met here that have made it all worth it.
13 replies on “Year Five”
Happy Blogday, Miguel!
I’m glad you’re thinking of coming to this coast.
It’s been a hard five years, I know, but my sense of it is that you’re traveling lighter, now, and have grown into your own gentleness, if that makes any sense.
Happy 5th blogiversary, Miguel! Your writing, photos and now drawings always give me great pleasure. I look forward to more of the same. And, wow, you are coming to Vancouver?!! Oh, we shall meet!
Look me up if you come to Vancouver this summer. Hell, if you make it to Victoria you can stay at my place. If you want help finding a job I can help with that, too.
though I’m not in or near Vancouver
I think it might be a wondrous place for you, Miguel
I definitely think
on the basis of what you have reported
lo these many months
it’s time for you to leave Japan
the sooner the better
Miguel, congratulations and thank you for so many beautiful words and photographs and for the way you have shared your soul and your journey with all of us. I think of you as a true companion, even though we’ve never met in person – not yet! – and am also grateful for the many deeply thoughtful comments you’ve left at my own blog. I’m glad to hear you may try a different geographical place for a while; but here’s to our next five years of online life!
Miguel — how exciting to think of you moving in this direction! Happy blogday. Just a couple of weeks after us; what an interesting five years it’s been for us too.
Hi from …Vancouver!
Congratulations on writing so much of worth for 5 years, and making some decisions about your future direction. I think it will all feed your creative life. Your blog shows that you are full of ideas and picking up energy as you go. Happiness in the changing and learning. 🙂
The North Cascades Institute looks great. I thought about going there myself for a while. It seems like they are doing exactly what Tomoe and I want to do with One Life (though on a much larger scale).
Can’t wait to have you here.
Happy belated blogday, Miguel. Thanks for all those words and pixels! 2003 was the year so many of us got into this, I guess because that was when blogging started to reach outside of hard-geek circles, and also because of frustration at the invasion of Iraq. Anyway, I hope you find a better place soon.
Happy belated Blogday!
My fifth blogging anniversary is actually also just one month away – it seems we all started at about the same time. The Iraq war had probably much to do with that for a lot of us.
I’m glad to hear that you are making new plans, and from your blog posts it looks like you are building up steam for the change! It’s good to have goals that look worthy and need some (or quite some) energy – it gives our lives a direction and forward motion.
Vancouver is a great place to live. We are currently living in San Francisco and are wrestling with the US to finally get some sort of permanent visa status, but we always said that if this doesn’t work out, Vancouver it is! 🙂 We have friends up there that we visited last year and the quality of life in that city is great. Just for one example, the Chinese restaurants all over town there are amazing – we ate like kings while we were there… And like SF, it is a city built with shorelines everywhere, which is something I like about both places.
Belated happy 5th, and many fulfilled returns.
M-Congratulations, happy 5th! (Sorry to be late to the party, J and I have been traveling to China. ) It has been such a gift to be able to follow your journeys over these years. Excited to hear you might be heading out our way. Be sure to let us know when the time comes, you are welcomed to make a stop here on your way to Vancouver. xo, L
Congratulations :^) I began blogging at the start of ’04 (switched blogs halfway through ’05), and I, too, find it interesting to see how the feel of my blog has changed.
You know you’re always welcome here in Aotearoa, Miguel.