Categories
Blogging Journal Musings

Year Five

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.

Categories
Japan: Living Journal Musings

Ridiculous!

My Picture 1

It can’t all be serious! I think I’ve been sounding more or less like a brooding trogolodyte these last few weeks, as if all I do is walk around with a personal cloud raining on my head. Well, you can rest assured that I haven’t died quite yet. As evidenced by this interaction with my new computer, there are moments in my threadbare office when even I can loosen the bolts a bit and come undone. Hope this doesn’t make all of you lose faith in my sanity!

My Picture 2

What to do? This place has gotten me all twisted out of shape. At times I don’t know what is up or down and I have doubts about my own ability to show some backbone…

My Picture 3

Never fear! Everything that you thought was important, is not. Everything you held most dear, an illusion. You can laugh it all off and never lack for material…

My Picture 4

But, of course, it is then so easy to let it all go to your head, that indifference and pooling of outdated trivia…

My Picture 5

All my life I struggled with what it means to be a truly good person. And the closer I try to come to the ideal, the more the mirror reflects what looks like… a gnome?

My Picture 6

I seem to be a dichotomy, shoulder to shoulder with my own headaches… What’s that? You want me to pop the blackhead on the end of my nose? Sometimes I just don’t appreciate being frank with myself…

My Picture 8

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just be yourself. No need for exaggeration. Even if all the color drains from your eyes.

My Picture 7

Okay, I give up. I’d rather close my eyes and float away on daydreams than shoulder the burden of embarressment. Oh? I guess it’s true what they say… the best writing comes when you skip the “I’s” and settle for the “he’s” and “she’s” and “they’s”. Why focus on yourself?

Categories
Journal Musings Poetry

Waking to

Water Lilies Great Meadows
Water lilies in autumn, Great Meadows State Park, Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A. 1990

Here, let me murmur a bit about the light today, the falling of heat like a rain of down from some passing flock. The passage from sleep to that soft transfer of thought didn’t stop at the window. I stepped out and showered in peace, wings of stillness rising and falling about me, where only yesterday the air shook with trepidation. I waited in the bated morning, expecting a voice to shatter the emergence of it all, but the interval lasted, pregnant with silence. For a time it was just as I imagined, me and clouds scratching by overhead, heading north-northwest. Speed or a trendy displacement had no place in that brief perfection, as if I was given a reprieve. But I dared not blink, lest, in that eternity of blindness, time forsook me, and the slow ghosts of change failed the quickness of my eyes, too slow for remembrance. Even to mouth the news turns the encounter to dust, so, as I speak, the light is lost, sifting through wire, long, powdery, and loved into absence.

Categories
Blogging Journal Musings

Shaking Out the Dust

Lots of wisdom in the comments from everyone, so much so that it feels bigger than my mind at the moment. I took time in the quiet of my morning living room today to slowly follow the lessons of a Pilates workout, my first time, breathing in and out, concentrating only on my respiration and my muscles and enlongating my occupation of space with my bones. After an hour and a half it felt as if toxins were being expelled with my exhales and a ball of fire, like a little sun, rising in my belly. The heat this generated burned throughout the evening, right through my classes, a long-missed cheer that had me bursting out in my characteristic laughter that always echoes through the school and makes my boss put her face in her hands, shaking her head.

So a good day, the heavy demon expelled, like fog breaking up in the sun.

I need a little more time to reflect on everything everyone wrote before I attempt a reply. If I try to write now it will just spill out in a leaky mess, with no coherence. But the cogs are working. And the ears are listening to the pulse, tracking the motion of the spirit, which always moves with the delicacy and deliberation of a snail.