Tuesday, May 10, 2011


After my long, lovely vacation, coming back home felt like coming back to a place where someone else had lived. Only after Christmas and New Year's two years ago, when I went home home, did I experience this much of a disconnect on coming back to my apartment. Why? My best guess is that staying with Mr. and Mrs. M allowed me so completely to escape from the job, the boreout (not a constant, but a recent issue), and the subtle accumulation of the stresses of living alone, that I actually experienced something sought by everyone on holiday. Refreshment.

(As an aside, I believe the longterm emotional health of Japanese society is not sustainable as long as people are unwilling or unable to take vacations of any meaningful length.)

Refreshment. That, and when I looked at my desktop calendar, I recalled the price we pay for Golden Week in Japan: there are exactly zero public holidays for the rest of this month and next month. The next one won't be until July 18th, Marine Day, and it falls just before my international association's busiest program. (In fact, I will probably spend Marine Day making sure I'm ready to move out of the apartment at a moment's notice, since my successor will
move in during the middle of the program.)

Luckily for me, I still have 15+ days of vacation I can theoretically use. Theoretically, since I've known for months that I'll never be able to use them all. Still, it's nice to know I can afford to take off an afternoon or even, I may say, an entire day to mail 5kg boxes of books, haul futons to the cleaner's, swab the decks, and otherwise take care of business.

The most important order of business at the moment is tracking a quarry that is successfully eluding many people today, in Japan, in the US, in Australia, across the globe.


Oh job hunting, how I hate you.

"I'm scared of it," said a friend of mine recently. "Maybe one reason I'm staying on at this job is because I'm just too darn scared to be job hunting again."

I can't help but think that the whole field of career counseling and the whole experience of job hunting has a long period of evolution to undergo. Until it does, though, we poor chaps will have to go on knocking at every door and performing feats of verbal and mental agility to convince not only potential employers but ourselves also, that we are right for this position, or that that position could have been invented just for us; we are so looking forward to receiving the honor of a phone call with this company, or truly excited for the opportunity to try to convince the higher being at that company that we are his next Most Valuable Employee.

And in the end, perhaps, we will emerge bedraggled but vaguely victorious, having earned the right to put our names on timecards, desks, or cubicles. We will breathe successive sighs of relief at having finally escaped the grisly game of Unemployment Fruit Basket Upset. But eventually, within two hours or two months, we will almost certainly ask ourselves if we might have found a job that was more satisfying, if only we had persevered a little longer.

'Cynical much?' you may be thinking.

Only realistic, I hope.

But at any rate, I don't hold with being trapped by adverse circumstances. Day by day I will mark off another knocked-on door, I will knock down the barricade, and in the end the only thing that will be trapped is my quarry.

Would be nice if it pays okay.

Let me never be in a position to appreciate this.

But never let me lose the ability to appreciate this...
Tee hee.
Gotcha, Ginza!

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