A found letter from Japan

I found this today.  It is from last August….  I suppose I sent it out in an e-mail to people… but I might have just considered sending it out, and never actually did it.  I have edited only the name of the town… just ’cause… you know, Japan.  😛


My dearest family (and my friends who are like family),
I write to you from my new home in T—, Japan.  It is a small suburb of Tokyo, with a whopping (supposedly, anyway) 100,000 people.  I am tasked with assisting English language teachers at two different high schools in the town, one of them an art school, with specialties in painting/drawing/arts of that sort and music, and the other school a sort of engineering-for-mechanics-esque school.  My vagueness is purely due to the fact that no one seems to be able to explain to me about the schools.  On that note, no one seems to be able to explain anything to me clearly.  Guess that’s why I’m here in the first place – to help them with English, and to learn Japanese.
Going along with the lack of understanding point, I literally have no idea what’s going on around me a good amount of the time.  I was sort of trapped in my apartment the night I moved into it – I had purchased a futon (Japanese version of  a mattress – not too sure if I’m fond of it yet, ‘cause I miss my bed, but I think I can handle the futon alright) and toilet paper and towels, but that’s it.  No one could give me a map of the area (and didn’t think of it except for when I specifically asked for one); I didn’t have a copy of my address; and I don’t speak Japanese to be able to ask people for directions to get home if I went out and got lost.  Oh, and I had no phone or internet to look up where on earth to go without a paper map.
And, the best part: My predecessor told me that she had a lot of things she was giving me, so I wouldn’t need to buy most things like a fridge, storage, dishes, “that kind of stuff,” she said.  Way-to-be vague… 😛  So I had to eat food from 7/11 until she delivered her stuff to me… three days later.  No way to cook anything, because she has the electric burner for me to use.  No way to keep anything cold, so I couldn’t have fresh food of any kind for lunch at work (slash at all, since 7/11 isn’t entirely in the category of ‘fresh food’).  No way to feel like I’m not just possibly going to die (Yes, I realize the drama here.).
On top of it all, I was super stressed that I kept asking about going at least to get me a phone number, so that I could use the internet to function (map, translation, where to buy what, etc.), and they, unconcerned, mentioned that someone could take me some time next week “probably”, but I had to know exactly what plan I wanted and from which company.  Thanks, dude.  And how exactly do you propose I figure out that information with no internet, no map of the town, and no Japanese skills?
How did I solve the problem?  I went to meet another ALT (Assistant Language Teacher (Terminology for my program)) in Tokyo.  We’d become friends during the brief orientation in Tokyo earlier in the week, and she was up for helping my get a phone, so I didn’t have to stand in the 7/11 parking lot for super slow, choppy internet anymore (which I’d only discovered the night before).  Plus, I just needed some love.(1)
So I spent the day in Tokyo.  After two hours in the phone store, and using a translator (real person) on the phone, I had a new phone and a decent phone plan for the next two years.  We then went to Starbucks for a break and free wifi (for my friend to use), and we each caught up on all of our e-mails, messages, etc. from a million different people.
We then walked around a bit, and visited the Tokyo Tower area.  I had this realization as we passed one part of a temple there, that still hasn’t fully hit me.  Back home (USA), we have houses, etc., designed to look like traditional Japanese architecture, yes?  When I was looking at the temple building, my background, passive thought was the same as when I see such styles back home… and then I realized that this building is not made to ‘look like those buildings in Japan.’  This building IS ‘those buildings in Japan.’  It’s still sinking in.
(1) I can note here that I’d actually gone down to Tokyo that Friday night, just after discovering that I had internet in the 7/11 parking lot, which is down the street from my apartment (so I was able to find it without getting lost or anything – FYI streets don’t exactly have names here).  I was absolutely ready to cry from the stress of sitting around, waiting for people to take forever to accomplish tasks – unfortunately, my supervisor has never done this sort of thing before, so she had to have everything explained to her multiple times – and not knowing how I was even going to get dinner (I only found the 7/11 that night).
A friend who already had a phone (because he speaks Japanese, and so figured it out while we’d all been at orientation), happened to be in Tokyo for a festival with a coworker and the coworker’s friend, and invited me to come down for the evening.  So, I managed to access train schedules (just barely with the internet connection there), screen shotted them, and set up a rescue plan, should things not work out (i.e. I knew 7/11 had internet, so I’d go find any 7/11, and the friend would come find me there), before rushing off to Tokyo.
I walked right into my friend when I arrived in Tokyo, and was given a nice, big hug.  Hugs are really one of the best medicines.  We watched the tail end of the festival (very cool with dancing performances and drums and bells all along this long street), and then all went to dinner.  Turns out I only live a town over from the coworker’s friend, and she and I decided to be friends.  (We’ve been in touch ever since.)
Post-a-day 2018

A request of you…

Dear people who happen to follow my weblog,

Would you happen to have the e-mail/notification containing the post I made on August fifth of this year?  It seems to have disappeared from WordPress, and I very much would like to have it back.  It began as follows:


More than they can handle? – hannah ananas

Riding the trains recently, I am often reminded of one of the – if not the – first times I rode on subways. I was with my mom and two brothers, and we were on vacation in Washington, D.C. I was around age ten or twelve. Throughout the trip, we used public transit. While we…

Post-a-day 2017

You’ve got mail

During the credits of the film “You’ve Got Mail”, there’s a song that comes on where a guy is singing about how he is going to sit right down and write himself a love letter, ‘and pretend it’s from you.’  I’ve been thinking about it since then, and I’m going to do just that for myself.  I don’t know who you are, exactly, but I believe you are out there somewhere, and, if we were together – meaning a pair, duo – now, you might send me this email/letter.


Hey, hon.

Just sending you a quick message.

First off, I love you.
Secondly, I miss you (Duh, of course I do.).  And, though we are almost literally worlds apart, I am okay, because you love me and care about me and are with me.
Thirdly, I love you.  Just so we’re clear.  😉  You have developed and changed so much these past few months, and I can hardly wait to get to know and to love all the new parts there are to you.  (I’m being somewhat sappy, I know, but I get to do that every so often, right? Right.)

(Now to the body paragraph(s).)

I hope you had a great day today.  We’re just getting started over here, and it’s a beautiful day.  How is your breathing?  Short, hot, and firey today, I presume, since it was a Monday.  Hopefully, you’ve stretched them out to long, slow, and deep by bedtime – I want you resting well while you are able to sleep, you know?  You’ve got to take care of yourself… keep your balance, now that you’re back standing again.

By the way, I think five minutes a day dedicated to your abdomen would get you the comfort you’re wanting for your beach-going.  You could do two and a half minutes just before sleeping, and another two and a half just after you wake up in the mornings.  That would give you a full five, and a significant improvement for that slightly-tubbier-than-usual belly of yours.  (We’ll be a rockin’ bods pair when you’re back here and we head beachside.)

Loving you with the sun and moon, babe,


Self-discovery and second opinions

Today, I am sharing with you (whoever you may be) an e-mail, which I wrote earlier today. I feel it expresses the exact reason for which I have been calm and at ease today and tonight, and even did laundry without a fuss just a bit ago, and have made plans for my next load tomorrow (and with ease of mind).

Note: The thing I am referencing, the thing to which I listened Sunday morning, is a Ted 250 talk on making hard decisions, which my dad had sent me.


Listened to this Sunday morning, and been thinking about it ever since.  Mom, I just sent you some texts about my current thoughts, but here’s an e-mail to keep you two in the loop on my thinking, and to give a space for each of your thoughts on the matter.

As I mentioned to you, Mom, I think I’m not a big business person.  (I’d been considering looking for work with Schlumberger or the likes)  I could be a big business person, and I don’t want to be one… not really.  I only want the money and the prestige for it, the respect from others, and their high opinions of me.  As you mentioned recently, Mom, other’s people’s opinions of me are none of my business.  An initially difficult thought, but a powerful and releasing one.  If I were to be a big business person, I realize (and I have always known this on some level) that it would be a never-ending effort to keep the real me alive, to maintain who I am at heart…, because the big business is not who I truly am, you see.  Suits are fun, but only on occasion – I don’t want the daily suit lifestyle.  (Though, to be fair, I might like it better if this were the norm!!  Is it weird that I can So see Rob in these?  But I digress…)
So, I think I want to do art school.  I am constantly thinking about how I want to be trained in art skills (since high school, actually), and have always somehow seen myself being in a million art classes.  I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing it, but I think I want to start with working and schooling together in [—].  I can do [Community College] evenings as a start, with subbing and tutoring and potentially teaching a couple classes part-time, as well as reffing (and possibly coaching) lacrosse.  Perhaps, after I’ve done some art classes, I’ll know if I want to go into an official school or something – I’ll at least know if I like what I’m doing, and it will only be one university semester to figure that out (as opposed to a high school semester or an academic year or more).
My main thought is that I need to focus my life around the things for which I most long, instead of finding work that provides the money to do the things I want to do, and just doing those things on the side, and often ending up not having time for them in the first place.
Mom, I know you already said, and quite perfectly, “If you build it, they will come.  Follow your heart, and the money will follow.”  (Yes, I added commas for myself.)  Nonetheless, I would love for y’all’s thoughts and ideas on it all.  You two know me best, and in two different ways, so I look most to you two for… well, everything.  😛
Love y’all!


Okay, two e-mails – I also want to share my follow-up e-mail to my mother’s response to the initial e-mail…


Haha!  Yep!  Get it.  Got it.  Good.  And I liked how what she said inspired my thinking, as opposed to all of the specific things she said for their own value and meaning.  Some was great, and a lot was “Okay…..?”  The end result, however, was an inspired thinking and evaluation of my current situation of “hard decisions” to be made.  I like looking at it as Who do I want to be out of this decision/choice? and What has integrity for who I want to be?

Love y’all.


Post-a-day 2017