Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Laundry Day

I literally haven't done anything fun for several days. My life has consisted of work, writing, cleaning, work, writing, more writing and watching embarrassing movies and Friends Season 7 (when Monica and Chandler are getting married). Well, I did go to a live band night and ate a burrito, which were the highlights of my week.

Maybe that's why I feel a little low about being in Japan, and I always feel pangs of guilt when I fail to appreciate my living situation and decisions. I tend to feel this way when I'm overwhelmed and stressed with various daily life issues (mo' money mo' problems), and naturally I keep thinking things would be so much easier if I were home. It's so convenient to blame everything on the place you live in when you're abroad. Then again, I'd go back to Canada and idealize Japan, thinking it was so great and why did I leave. I think there is no perfect arrangement. To be honest, I truly admire those who do decide to leave Japan and try settling back home after several years, as I know how difficult it is. Once you get a taste of living abroad, I think you get restless for the rest of your life.

I'm not planning on leaving Japan anytime soon, and I think this summer's visit will clear up a lot of questioning I constantly have about life on the other side of the pond. I'm also not feeling so restless for once, I'm actually so happy I finally settled down a little bit in my Tokyo life; a cozy home, a full time job I absolutely enjoy, a healthy routine and a solid network of friends (it's not nearly settling down, but believe me, it is in my case!). 

Maybe I miss the excitement of being new in Japan or even Tokyo, but Tokyo is so big that I could never finish exploring it during this lifetime. It's most likely just a phase, and maybe I need to tear myself away from my laptop, get over my hatred of crowded trains and find those little things that never fail to remind me why I fell in love with Japan in the first place. 

In other news, rainy season will start shortly, and I actually don't mind it that much, except for my hair.


philly said...

You said: I keep thinking things would be so much easier if I were home.

Ah! that's where the flaw is. Your thinking.

That's exactly what Hamlet said (Act 2 Scene 2) to Rosenkrantz: Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it [Denmark] is a prison.

Ironically, Hamlet was insisting on his own view that Denmark was a prison while stating that only thinking it was so made it so.

There's so much stuff out there on the Internet about getting unstuck--here's a link that a quick Google search revealed.

There is so much more.

And no, you won't necessarily 'cure' yourself of getting stuck, but when it happens you'll recognize it and wince/smile and begin to change it (again...and again...)

This is from one who has been stuck (and unstuck) longer than you as I've lived so much longer. Life is a constant review of old lessons.

KaBi said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, I must admit! Especially this post, as it plays into the feelings I've been having recently about moving to Japan.

My husband and I made the decision a while ago to move to his hometown in Shizuoka, and though the actual move is a year away, I am already stressing over it.

For some reason, what you said about "those who live abroad will always feel restless", that really hit home.

I am not sure if you have a posting about your reasoning for wanting to stay in Japan, or how your family reacted to your decision? I would like to hear more of your story! I myself have the most stress about leaving my family behind, as I have a young daughter, and my parents/siblings have expressed that they will feel like I am "betraying" them and "taking their granddaughter/neice away from them" if I chose to move to Japan.

シャヴィエルマックス said...

I usually shy away from posting comments, but since I have been reading your blog for at least a couple of years , I will venture to make some suggestions: 1- Regarding your daily commute: maybe what reallly bothers you is the noise... If true, this product may help you :
I bought one at Yodobashi Camera last year.
2- As for Tokyo: I do not think Tokyo lies behind your problems... Take a short trip to China, Nigeria, or India ( with all due respect to these countries) and you will see what I mean.
3- Vivian, for the past few years you got used to a high rate of novelties, and this rate is likely to decline.... This is quite normal... This is addictive , don't you think?
4- I know that you live in a cozy but small apartment...Hmmm... Goggle this "how to make a small apartment look larger". One way to do it is by hanging mirrors all over your apartment.
5- Stay away from your computer at home.. Hmm ...Just for some days...
Finally, when will you write a book?
Max, Brazil.

Vivian said...

Thank you everyone for the nice thoughts, and tips!! Much, much appreciated.

philly said...

I want to add one more thing (partly for KaBi), if I may. The choice to leave a family and country comes with a certain price. No question. However, choosing another country may also have immense rewards. That said, families and particularly parents can be (often unconsciously) manipulative because of their own fears and negative emotions. Hence the implications that they are being betrayed and robbed of something.

They do this in hope that you will not go away to find what is your own full and marvelous life. They hold the (false) belief that doing so diminishes their life. It's so unwise to let others' faulty thinking affect our decisions. The price is too high.

It was many decades before I realized that as loving as she appeared to be, my mother never stood behind any one of my dreams or decisions, but questioned every single one from the base of her own fear and negativity.(For my own good, of course.)

She wanted nothing more than to keep my close to her; however, it had the opposite effect. I live .4 km away from her, but the emotional distance is as huge as from here to the moon.

I wish I had understood that dynamic and freed myself of it much sooner. You can feel just as restless at home or abroad. Every decision you make has a price and a reward. I hope that life in Shizuoka is rich and rewarding in spite of the cost.

PS I loved all the things Max said. So wise.

Natural Living said...

I read you blog Laundry day and this is one of the best blog I read ever. Seriously after reading this I can say that you are best writer and keep it up!


Kayla Laura said...

This is for Philly. Your comment brought me to tears, mostly because you have perfectly put in to words my feelings in a way that I have so far been unable to express to myself and my family. Therefore, I was turning all negative thoughts on myself.
Thank you so much!

philly said...

Thank you, Kayla Laura. I'm touched. And you're welcome.

Tanya Geddes said...

Hey Vivian,

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said if you'd leave Japan you'd miss it and idealize it. Living there for a year myself makes me empathize with your annoyances with how expensive and crowded it is. Also my tiny apartment made me want to go out more, which in turn was hard because I was trying to save. The point is nothing is ideal and you know this. It's easy having doubts when you're doing something different from people back at home. Just looking at a newsfeed off Facebook made me insecure about some of my decisions to stay in Japan. Many of my friends were settling down my Japanese lifestyle made the comparison so wide. But I've since learned you can't compare to others. I also look at people who stay as extra strong. I admire you. So think like that when you doubt yourself. XO

Vivian said...

Tanya: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Indeed, the grass is always greener, and I'm torn between this 'settled down' lifestyle all my friends seem to have back home, and this life of adventures and poor living conditions in Japan. I wish I could have both!! But I think going to Canada this summer will make me appreciate my life in Japan… I also admire people who were able to leave!! Hope you're doing great back home :)

Emelie said...

"Once you get a taste of living abroad, I think you get restless for the rest of your life."

This sums up what I have been feeling moving back to Sweden!

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