07 July 2008

Getting worse before it gets better

I don't think I can manage to write anything these days that is not woefully sentimental about leaving Japan and all the bitter-sweetness and anxiety and excitement that seems to have flooded our little apartment. We swing between all of these feelings, sometimes within a couple of minutes. And maybe I shouldn't say we so much as I. Yoko and Naomi hold up well, not fearful or anxious, probably because their responsibility in the whole thing is rather small. I, on the other hand — I am the one moving my little family clear across the world to follow my dream and even though I am convinced that it is right and necessary and good for us in the long run, it is very hard.

When I came to Japan, I famously had two bags and my guitar. One of the bags had about fifteen hangers in it. Hangers, I thought, would be very important when I touched down and needed to look good and not wrinkled before our guests. I wasn't sure if I would be able to buy them easily.

This time is the opposite. Everything gets thrown out — we'll get it there, whatever it is. We are making plans to live life without a car, a choice that will make aspects of our life difficult, but will ultimately allow us to survive as I suspect the cost of gasoline will continue to increase and we could quickly get to a point that we are insuring a car that we can never use anyway. This means we have to find a place close to shopping and relatively close to the school, but I don't think that will be that much of a problem. I've seen a couple of nice places near the city centre that are not too expensive. We are going to do one bedroom instead of two, I think. Try to start out small and figure out what we can and can't live without before buying anything.

The university is giving us very little help in getting over which is something I suspected would be the case. The Universities of Leeds and Birmingham both have very elaborate programs for helping international students with housing and bus routes all mapped out. The OU being so small is really not equipped for that. You'll just have to figure it out, it seems. Do your best and hope that no one takes advantage of you.

Still, I am trying to take in Japan for the time I have left here. Look at things a little longer than I usually would and savor what it is I think I will miss. We are going to see Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya in our swing down south, so I should be able to at least have those memories to access when people ask what Japan is like. I can say that I have been all over, seen a lot of it.