Spring is Coming.

It's been a while since I wrote last, and it was one of those silences that got harder to break with every week that passed. I got back from England a few days into January and suddenly found I had nothing to say. It's a strange situation for someone who usually writes to excess.

Nothing's too new, is part of the problem. I'm in a bit of a rut, maybe. I exist in the gray spaces between days and nights; I wake before the sun comes up and arrive at my windowless dungeon as day arrives. I get home from my morning shift just before noon and usually take a nap. It's been so damn cold that I only want to huddle in my room until evening rolls and then trudge back to Berlitz for my night shift. I'm back home and in bed before night has properly fallen, usually. I have this feeling that I'm in hibernation mode right now. Spring is coming, and then I will finally be able to come out of the little shell I've been hiding in.

I've grown pretty used to this routine, the six-day weeks, the long, pointless breaks in the afternoon. Which is not to say I enjoy it. But I stopped feeling sorry for myself long ago, once I realized that most of my Japanese students, who make about what I make, also work from about 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., except they don't get the long lunch break in the middle. They work straight through. Most of them would love to work six hours a day in a foreign country. So what's my problem?

I've made so many plans, this dark winter, it's become hard to keep track of them all. I've planned trips to every continent on the globe, contemplated dozens of career changes and considered schools of every major and vocation. My latest plan is to save up enough money to buy a motorcycle next spring and explore South America for about six months. Seriously. That's fifteen months from now. I don't even know what I'll be doing next week, or who I'll be, but I keep making these absurd long-range plans.

There's anything wrong with that, but it does make me impatient. Last week I was stewing and fretting: "Why don't I have that motorcycle yet? Why? Why?!" Chill, dude. I need to learn the difference between planning and preparation. There is a difference.

Barely six months ago I was eagerly planning Tokyo. Have I given up so easily? I've realized all my grandiose plans amount to: "Anything else." I'm lucky to be here, even if I whine about teaching English occasionally. If I left, I would miss Tokyo. I'm trying to remember that, these days. There are still things to be done in this city.

It's been hard to move, these past few months. Literally hard to move; I've been sluggish from cold and malaise. The thermometers in my house have been hovering around 45ºF, sometimes dipping into the thirties. I can see my breath in every room. It's unimaginably cold and it sucks, especially showering and shaving. We have heaters, but they dry out one's throat terribly, and can lead to a cold. "IF (do OR don't) THEN damned."

But spring is coming, and I think it will be a good spring. I've been talking to a few Japanese guys about starting a band, and we jammed last week. I've found a jazz instructor and a mesh-headed silent drumset for under $400 which I may buy. Soon I can also buy a bike and take to the streets. I've decided it's time to start living a little more, setting some things in motion. Enjoying myself more.

Still not sure when I'm coming back, or if I'll even be returning to Minneapolis if I decide to leave Tokyo. Earliest date: September. Latest date: Never. More specifically than that, well, I have stopped making those kinds of plans.

1 comment:

  1. I totally get the feelings you are describing in this post, as they mirror many of mine being stuck in Oslo. A dark cold winter and somewhat lazy days don't create contentment. It becomes impossible to feel sorry for oneself yet also impossible to change the situation.
    Funny though, we react differently. I long more and more for Minneapolis and rootedness. You seem to be coveting an even greater escape.
    But we are in different situations: I am returning in three months and you could have a lifetime. Good luck...