Gaijin Smash

I Am a Cat

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on June 20, 2008

Many of you may have noticed that I make it a point to avoid “blog” when making entries here or on Outpost Nine. There are quite a few people doing me the favor of reading; I’d like to give everyone something more entertaining than what I did today, or what TV show I’m interested in, or what random place I went to. But you’ll have to forgive me if I slip into a blog post every now and then, and today is one of those occasions.
I’ve been in Japan for five years now. And I’m at the point where I’m wondering if my time in Japan is at an end.


I no longer like my job. There are various reasons why, none of which I really want to get into detail about. I would quit now if I could, but that’s not really a viable option. My contract ends at the beginning of 2009 – I have decided that I will not renew. So the question now is – what to do from there? There’s a few jobs I can think of here in Japan that I really want to do – if I can land those, I’ll stay. If not…then maybe it’s time to go back?
The funny thing about work is – it’s work. Not everyone is fortunate to love their job. And everyone has to deal with bad working conditions regardless of what country you live in. Annoying bosses, difficult co-workers, stressful projects and what not – these things are not exclusive to Japan. But I am starting to feel like I’m just not suited for the Japanese workforce, especially as a foreigner.
One of the most common jobs for foreigners in Japan is that of the English teacher. It requires little to no prior experience or skills, and is commonly available. But, even if you actually like teaching, the job has a very real limit. The system was designed to only accomodate an individual worker for a limited time – maybe two or three years, tops. As such, institutions aren’t interested in cultivating employee relations for a long and rewarding future, but rather getting the most out of you until you leave and someone else takes your place. Not to mention that, unless you plan on becoming a teacher, the job gives you no credentials or experience towards finding employment in another field.
For the few who do venture outside of the English teaching world, now you have to deal with the Japanese workforce, which is notorious in its own right. In Japan, working hard means working long. Good workers are the ones catching the late trains home everyday. While I’m not at all opposed to overtime when the situation calls for it, I don’t like the idea of having to stay late just for the sake of staying late. I have a life outside of work – I have a new wife, a baby coming sooner or later (no, she’s not pregnant now…), and hobbies and what not. If everything I have to do at work is done on time with no errors, then at the very least I want to be able to go home and see my family. Unfortunately, doing so means you’re a lazy worker who isn’t motivated to help the company succeed.
Also, Japanese society is built upon social hierarchy – everyone has their place. And there’s little to no equality, you’re either higher up on the ladder, or lower. Those who are higher love to kick around those who are lower. They got kicked around when they were juniors, and now that they’re seniors its their turn to do the kicking. I saw this plenty when I was an English teacher; sannenei bossed around ichinensei because they had seniority, and even in the teachers room, older teachers loved to take the piss out of younger teachers (see: The Story of Ms. Cinderella). While this is plenty unpleasant on its own, also factor in that we foreigners may never get that seniority status. After all, we are outsiders – Japanese people have a hard enough time factoring us into the social ladder at all, much less at the top of it.
After five years, I’ve more or less gotten used to living in Japan. Random stares and McDonalds English menu flips don’t bother me much anymore, if at all. I love living in Kyoto, and even have favorite date spots I like to take the wife to on weekends. I’m very comfortable with my life here…outside of work. I’d love to stay here a few more years at least. Of course, the big problem is money.
I have decided that I want to be a writer. Obviously, I’ve got a book brewing about my experience in Japan, but not just that – fiction, non-fiction, I just want to write. And if I may turn my modesty off for a second here, I think I’ve got some degree of talent for it. While I am still young, I feel that this is something I should go ahead and get started with. The problem with writing as a career though is, until you “make it” in the profession, that it doesn’t have the stable income as a regular 9-5 job. I am an amateur, and I don’t know how long it will take until I can depend on writing as my career. Meanwhile, I have a wedding coming up in less than three months that I already can’t pay for, and past that regardless of whether I stay in Japan past January or not I’m going to need money just to live and take care of my family.
So, I’ve got a lot to try and think about and figure out. And not a whole lot of time in which to do it. If I told you I had even a general idea of what to do or how to do it, I’d be lying. All I can really do now is work with what I’ve got and try to make things happen. I would like to stay in Japan for a few more years for various reasons, but right now its too early to tell if I’ll be able to or not. I hate that everything’s so uncertain but, that’s just how it is at the moment. I’ll just have to find a way to make it work.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. Next time I’ll have something more entertaining, I promise.
(Az’s Note: This entry’s title, “I Am a Cat”, is a reference to a novel of the same name written by Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki. There are English translations of the book available for those who may be mildly interested. Why I picked it for this entry’s title…while it has little relevance to the entry’s content, this is my attempt to avoid using something like “Life” or “Musings” or something else horribly cliche.)

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112 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Indeed, times can become tough. Just hang in there for now, things will ease with time. Best of luck to you.

  2. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Indeed, times can become tough. Just hang in there for now, things will ease with time. Best of luck to you.

  3. Ihmhi said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Good to hear from you Az. The position you’re in can really be a pain in the ass, but you are bound to find something you like to do if you just keep searching for it. You have a loving and supporting fiancee and that’s something not a whole lot of people can fall back on, so keep that in mind when you’re feeling down.

  4. Priam said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:15 am

    I was wondering how well the acclimating thing was going, and figured the merciless ‘ganbatte is mandatory’ kind of unspoken code might wear a foreigner down with all due haste. Kudos on sticking with it this long, seriously.
    Hopefully, Mrs. Az is at least open to the idea of not being in Japan for an extended period, otherwise your options are somewhat more limited and my sympathies are with you. Best of luck regardless landing those jobs you mentioned. Maybe nailing that 1-kyu is a key to the process?
    If you still doing the donations thing, I’ll see what I can do about pitching a couple hundred your way in a week or two when I’m sure this wisdom tooth stuff I did today isn’t going to bite me in the ass any further than it already has. Be well, and fight the good fight.

  5. Pitmaker said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:25 am

    I read that book for a class. Very enjoyable. Actually,that book reminded me to go check this site. >.>

  6. Leon said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Oi!
    Mate, I don’t know if you noticed but Kyoto is _the_ worse place to be as a GJ. Even if you’re a Japanese not born in near Kyoto-area you become gaijin. I moved from Europe to Japan and let me tell you that working long hours is just as same as anywhere else, just the principles are different. All you wrote in your post stands, however you shouldn’t be looking so down on everything. Once you start understanding how things work here, and most importantly, stop asking questions that start with “why” then you’re completely ready to be here. I’m pretty aware of the fact you’ve already known all that, but that’s the way wheel turns here. If you don’t like it, the customs are open 24/7, just like Lawson and K πŸ˜›
    Apart from that. Gaining financial freedom is everyone’s dream, and if you want to become writer you cannot count on hours with your family, especially not in the beginning. Stay with your current job, start writing your novel (which I believe is going to be a success and I’d be the first to buy it!), and after you’ve sold thousands of copies, be ready to deliver next. Being your own boss is the biggest bitch you’ll ever come across, believe me when I say it.
    Cheerz
    Leon

  7. Lenore said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Good luck with this whole mess, Az. I feel you’ll probably need it.
    Silly Japan, burning people out of their funny!
    To be a bit more serious, I’d like to say that I wish you can find a way to stay in Japan. It just wouldn’t be the same otherwise.
    Ganbare, Az-sensei, eh?

  8. Amanda said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I’ve read Wagahai wa Neko De Aru (I Am a Cat), interesting book =D Would I be out of line if I asked if you’ve read Botchan?
    I’ve written fanfics for nine years now (don’t look at me like that…), since I was fifteen, and I wrote original short stories before that. I’ve been wanting to branch back out into original stories, but at the same time I’ve been kinda wanting to write a memoir of sorts, mostly of my life for those same nine years.
    (Fanfic writing did help keep me sane, but if I explained what happened during the past nine years we’d be here a while. The whole world knows about one of the things that happened, in any case. Anyway, enough seriousness…)
    Don’t be afraid to branch out into (non-)fiction writing. I say if you want to do it, just do it! Yeah, it’s a different style of writing, but I get the feeling you’d be a natural at whatever you try your hand at!

  9. Kosetsu said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Aw, man, that’s tough to hear. I hear ya on the bit about becoming a writer anyways. Good luck finding a job to support you and yours that you will enjoy in the time it takes before you really hit it as a writer. I know I’ll be one of the first in line for a book. ^_~
    How’s the missus feel about the prospects of you (and possibly her) leaving Japan?

  10. anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:43 am

    As somewhere who’s been where you have, I can say this: don’t sweat it. There ARE jobs out there that will let you get where you want to go. Freelance translation is one – I do it myself as a sideline, and it pays very well if your Japanese is up to scratch.
    Or do what others have done – take up English teaching, which leaves you with a lot of free time, and then use that productively to write. I have 2 or 3 books by authors who did just that.

  11. Muller said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:49 am

    I’d buy your book/s. However…don’t authors recieve a paltry 10% of the book earnings, or something like that?

  12. patrick said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:51 am

    If you want to write and don’t have enough for a book, why don’t you write a screenplay or tv show pilot? Since J-dramas are relatively short ~15 hours total, you don’t have to slog it out for years like a syndicated series.
    Write one in english and Japanese. Maybe you can be the next Densha Otoko and become super rich and famous…

  13. Tash said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:54 am

    A writer! Az, that’s really cool, definatley go for it! You do have real talent, I check this site everyday for updates cause you’re so entertaining ^_^ Whatever you write, sometimes its funny, sometimes its sad, but it always connects. Let me be one of the first to wish you good luck!

  14. Cs said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I think you’ve got a high chance of getting some good deals with all the stories here.
    You’re an inspiration to all the people that want to make it work in Japan.
    But we all know, all good things come to an end.

  15. Duncan said, on June 20, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Do you want to be a writer or a novelist? A lot of professional writers make a pretty good living doing articles. Yeah, it takes a while for “Rolling Stone” to come knocking but you can earn a living at it in the meantime. The only place I know of as a clearing house for writers (among other skills) is Elance. They use a reverse auction system and their rates aren’t great but it is a way to build up your portfolio and earn some money in your spare time as well.

  16. Liv said, on June 20, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Hi, Az! I really feel your pain; while I love living in Japan, I really hate the box a foreigner is put into when it comes to work. If you don’t speak Japanese, you can teach English. Or teach English. Or teach English. Or maybe work at a bar. Or maybe teach English. Or, if you’re a writer, maybe get work at one of the very few English language print mags – if they’re even hiring. Or when that doesn’t work out, maybe you could teach English?
    You have more options than a lot of the foreigners here because your Japanese is quite good. Still, as you mentioned, your box isn’t THAT much wider and, of course, there’s the whole Japanese work ethic thing. It’s so frustrating – I’ve only been here a year and a half and I’m already frantically kicking the corners of my box in.
    Like you, I’m a writer – not only that, I was a writer who swore I’d never teach. Teaching English seemed barely tolerable only if I was going to do it for just a year – my original plan – but now that year has stretched into 2 and I’m unhappier by the day. Before I moved to Japan I was a critic, EA and editor and I’m dying to get back into that kind of work but, of course, the English language journalism situation here is limited. What I’m trying to do now is looking for those kinds of jobs but, when they, of course, don’t pan out, I’m using my free time to write my own novel. I recently went part-time with my school which gives me 4 days off a week so I’m trying my best to appreciate living in a country where I can even support myself on 3 days of work a week. This would have been impossible where I lived before, in New York City, where I could never seem to make time to work on my book. Lemonade, Az! Lemonade!
    If you want to get into writing for a living, the internet is truly your best friend. There are so many webzines and webblogs that are looking for contributors it’s not even funny. Portfolio clips are everything when it comes to getting writing work, and you already have loads of great clips from this blog (if Festering Ass invited you to join their network, I believe they are considered “published”). The English language mags like Kansai Scene and Kansai Time Out are always looking for writers. Are you part of any writers’ circles in Kansai? That might also be fun to get involved with and feel like a writer, which helps a lot in our situation.
    You do have a lot of thinking to do – is Yobo-san willing to leave Japan? Until you make your decision or find something suitable here, think lemonade! Good luck!

  17. Jon said, on June 20, 2008 at 6:15 am

    if you wrote a book i would buy it. ive always romanticized about writing also, i just have absolutely no talent for it.
    i hope to visit japan at some point in my life. if i do and youre still there. i would like to shake your hand.

  18. OttawaGuy said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:19 am

    yeah, i’m sure the future wife is going to love the idea of moving to the states, i bet you didn’t even mention it to her yet.
    I’ve seen a couple of Japanese porn with Black dudes, maybe that’s a line of work you could sink your teeths in?

  19. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Well, I’d buy your book.

  20. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Well, I’d buy your book.

  21. Anpanman said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:50 am

    If you want to be a writer, have you thought of being a writer working for a company in the States? I mean, this site is the proof that there are things in Japan that interests gaijins. Maybe a company outside Japan would like to make use of your expertise.

  22. Beaker said, on June 20, 2008 at 8:16 am

    If you aren’t happy, then something needs to get changed. I don’t know enough about your life to know what it is… but the point of life is to persue happiness so good for you for trying to find what makes you happy.
    I have one rather large worry though… you make absolutly no mention of how Ms. Az feels about this. Please remember that your lives signifcantly affect each other. Whatever you decide you should be talking to her about it so that you fully understand the consequences of your decision.

  23. Jackie said, on June 20, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I can sympathize with being burned out at work.. I’m switching jobs within the next month and getting married too. @-@ I hope you can find a job that’s a little more gaijin-friendly lol. Maybe working at an embassy in Japan?
    Just wanted to say that if you decide to start writing professionally you’d have a fan right here. πŸ™‚ I love reading your entries and would definitely pick up any book you might write.
    Jackie

  24. Gomblash said, on June 20, 2008 at 8:48 am

    A writer? Good on you Az! Will your book be like Tucker Max’s and focus on stuff on the site? Or will it be compleatly different? Anyway, I will be first in line at the bookshop.
    Good Luck!

  25. Avis said, on June 20, 2008 at 8:58 am

    That sucks that you’re not happy at your job. I’m going through immigrations myself to get my husband here from Canada and let me tell you…immigrations sucks. It’s not like in the movies where you get married and your spouse can automatically move to the states. It’s 8 months to a year before they can move here.
    Good luck!

  26. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Have you ever thought about writing for an English newspaper. I remember seeing one when I went to Japan but I dont know where it was written.
    And I am sure the thought about moving back to America is a comforting thought but it is no longer an option for you unless your wife learns English. And trust me, she will go though a much more heavy culture shock then you did. You at least had a good idea on what you were getting yourself into.

  27. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Have you ever thought about writing for an English newspaper. I remember seeing one when I went to Japan but I dont know where it was written.
    And I am sure the thought about moving back to America is a comforting thought but it is no longer an option for you unless your wife learns English. And trust me, she will go though a much more heavy culture shock then you did. You at least had a good idea on what you were getting yourself into.

  28. Arbolita said, on June 20, 2008 at 9:45 am

    This is the first new post you’ve had since someone showed me this site, so I figured I’d finally make a comment.
    I think that in your decision to be a writer, you are lucky enough to already have a collection of writings you can distribute – I suppose the next step would be to find someone in the industry who is as enthralled by your experiences as the rest of us =) I know you want to branch out and try other types of writing first, but you may as well try to profit from what you already have and you know people enjoy.

  29. Yair said, on June 20, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Hey man, I believe the answer is easy for this. Move back to America. Get a Job, Work 9-5. Have time for your wife and to write your book. You know the Bay Area is a great place man. Just keep your wife out of 98th ave in Oakland at night and she will love the bay. After your writing takes off, you can live anywhere you like. You can take the Wifey to Japan for a year or two, maybe Paris, London, Hollywood…
    Im currently living in Mexico due to some family illnesses over the past 3 years. I love this place. Its amazing but you know that living outside the US, makes you cherish your country even more. I will be going back to America soon….maybe not the Bay Area again…but LA…love the city. You should do the same. Go back to the USA…get your book out…eventually, you will be able to write for a living and live where you want without a problem

  30. Neil said, on June 20, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Have you thought about organized crime? I’m pretty sure the Yakuza would be happy to have a big black guy to intimidate struggling pachinko entrepreneurs…
    Seriously though, I think you’re well on your way to a successful book. A friend of mine in publishing mentioned to me that the author of “stuff white people like” got $300K on his book deal, and I’d say you got him beat for raw writing awesomeness.
    Alternatively, since Japanese people seem to love hearing about what Gaikokujin think of them, especially if you can be funny, I think you’d be a great candidate for TV.

  31. Mayhem said, on June 20, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Good luck Az… if your posts here are anything to go by, then something far more substantial is definitely within your grasp. And funny to boot!

  32. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Amen to everything you said about being a member of the regular Japanese workforce. I’m working through the same decision myself right now, and while I know I CAN assimilate to my office environment I really wonder whether I WANT to. Best of luck to you whatever you decide!

  33. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Amen to everything you said about being a member of the regular Japanese workforce. I’m working through the same decision myself right now, and while I know I CAN assimilate to my office environment I really wonder whether I WANT to. Best of luck to you whatever you decide!

  34. Tanaka Taro said, on June 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Just in case it’s a possibility you haven’t considered, what about working for a non-Japanese company in Japan? You might be happier in a company that has a different “corporate culture.”

  35. Neil said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Be that writer. Isn’t suffering part of being a writer? I miss your kancho stories and rounds of dodge-dick, but you probably don’t.
    Ever thought of being a tour guide? No, not those tours where everone gets bussed from one site to the next stuffed together like sticky rice, but more relaxed walking tours.
    My wife and I when we went to Japan, took a two week guided tour run by a company out of L.A. It was a wonderful experience. Everywhere we went, we just took subways, local buses, cabs and local trains. Our guide was American, but had orignally found work in Japan at a tv production studio, and also wrote for “the lonely planet” guide books. The tour was hella expensive for us, but very much worth it.

  36. Justanothermom said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Speaking as a wanna-be writer who has just not had time to finish any books because of the constant crises that seem to crop up in my (extended & immediate) family (long story, suffice to say I tend to be the caretaker/peacemaker for a lot of stuff), I think it’s awesome that you want to write as your career! It’s difficult to get a publisher’s attention, so you might want to consider self-publishing, at least in the beginning, to get your career going. Writer’s Weekly (www.writersweekly.com) is a great resource for tips, classes & publisher warnings – that is, they let you know which publishers to avoid, if you choose not to go the self-publish route. God’s blessings on you & your endeavors in this field! I agree that you are a natural at it!

  37. rubbav1 said, on June 20, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    You know I’ll buy the book
    TO THE GAIJIN SMASH!!

  38. AutumnFire said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Definitely come back to the US, Az. I believe you are quite correct with your observations that 1). You will NEVER get a break because you’re Gaijin, and 2). Japanese work policies require you to give up having a life. This isn’t what you want out of life, you know this because you have said so.
    You CAN be writer! You DO have talent! I think you should aggressively market your story (and a first chapter sample) to every publisher you can think of. There are even ways to help keep your submission out of the slush piles. Your sense of humor in your experiences shows in your writing and will help catch their attention.
    Ok, so say you don’t have a job lined up when you get back here. Take a job at Starbucks if you have to (for the health insurance), keep looking for a better job, enjoy your life away from work with your bride and KEEP WRITING!
    I’m looking forward to seeing your book in print. Can I get it autographed if I remind you of this comment to your post?

  39. Loner said, on June 20, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I know how you feel, man. I’m also going through some rough times, trying to make it as a professional writer while, at the same time, trying not to starve xD
    I can only wish you bonne chance, and hope things are goosd enough so you can keep posting here.
    BTW, if you ever wrote a book, I’d tottaly buy it.

  40. Kai said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Az, congratulations on pursuing something that you have talent for. I’m actually working on a book right now, trying to get it published (and join the legions of writers out there), and I can safely say that you have more talent than I do (at this point? hopefully). So I wish you nothing but the best and as a fellow writer, and hope that all of your literary pursuits bring success.
    Sincerely,
    Kai

  41. Matt said, on June 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Do it. It’s like Aaliyah said, “Keep working hard and you can get anything that you want. If God gave you the talent, you should go for it. But don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s hard!”
    Kidding aside, I think with some work you can take all of your Japanese stories and combine them into a pretty damn entertaining story. I’d buy that book.

  42. Buzz said, on June 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I have just finished reading through all your GaijinSmash archive, after re-finding this website (I read it about three years ago- glad to hear how your life has progress, even if your job is now temporarily sucky). I just wanna add my support for the book idea- if it got picked up it’d be great. I’d buy it even if it were just a reproduction of these archives πŸ™‚
    Good luck with everything, hope you get to stay in Japan, and even if you do move back to the USA, keep entertaining us!
    Oh by the way- your ‘Very Lost in Translation’ article won’t load. Think that’s an error on your part?

  43. Wayland said, on June 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Good luck man.

  44. LXY said, on June 20, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I wish you luck on whatever you decide to do, and I hope that this all gets cleared up so that everything is right with the world again *heartfelt music*
    I’ll definitely keep an eye out for a book by you! ^^
    ps: I double what Cs said.

  45. Stan said, on June 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Hang in there. Keep up the writing. You’re already a writer. You’ve proven that. Just keep at it while you earn your bread doing something else. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Ganbatte!

  46. Tentei said, on June 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve been reading you for a while, loved many of your stories from the teacher time or even the latest ones. It’s not enough to experience Japan and all the cultural shock, the most important is how to write it and entertain your reader, and for this I think you have a great talent. Good luck to you !

  47. Tom said, on June 20, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Here’s my totally helpful suggestion: You should look into the gaming press. I know Kotaku has a man in Japan. I’m sure a guy with an interest in games and a command of both English and Japanese is of use to someone. Good luck!

  48. RRtideman said, on June 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Really you should come home. Life is much easier here. You work an 8 hour job and go home. It seems to me that anyone that puts forth just a bit of effort usually does just fine here in the states.
    Also with the real crap coming out of Hollywood, maybe you should consider movie scripts. I can’t think of anything funnier than the stuff you described while you were an english teacher. Throw in some romantic drama (which you also already have) and you are there. Hell the producers will be beating a path to you door. Of course you won’t be able to go back to Japan again since they will have a price on your head.

  49. Patrick said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Well, you could always turn to organ-legging or vampirism….
    Seriously, though, at least you have a job. Unemployment here in my home state (Michigan) is pretty much the highest it’s been ever. And things aren’t that good elsewhere. Since you do know Japanese, have you considered being a translator for the news programs? Maybe not the voice-over translators, but the text translators. Or work in the movies.
    And, there’s always teaching… :-p

  50. russian pineapple said, on June 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    edit the book in a cheap country (taiwan for example)
    sell in amazon
    its going to be cheap, and you already have your market target (all of your internet readers)
    ganbatte Az, dont just give up yet
    my aunt went to germany when she was a teenager, fleed from her parents house, work there for a living and when she could not stand for german stiffnes she came back to spain
    now is an alcoholic depresive wretch
    moral of the story: you decided to go to japan, true men dont give up πŸ˜›

  51. jay said, on June 20, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Ah yes, the world famous Japanese work ethic. While they do work hard a lot of it is a fallacy, they don’t really work harder then any others, just longer hours less efficiently (with the honorable exception of the computer and motor industries, those guys know how to do it properly). I have a friend who works for a Japanese bank who explains it very well. The staff can’t go home (or often don’t want to, sitting around enjoying the evening with the wife and kids at home, that would be unseemly) before the boss (again, just not good manners)so they have to stay late. The boss also can’t go home early because he has to set an example and show all his staff how to work hard, so everyone works late. As a result, where’s the incentive to work hard and bugger off early. Even if you finish all your work, you’ll only have to find some more to do so why bother? Instead we’ll fill our days with interminable meetings where nothing ever gets decided. My friend on the other hand, finishes all his work, makes a shed load (‘a lot’ for those of you that don’t follow UK slang) of money for them and then goes home when he feels like it. When they whinge (complain) about him not being a team player and the fact he gets paid more, he points out how much money he’s made them and falls back on his version of gaijin smash, he ignores them totally! He realised a long time ago he won’t ever be accepted fully as he’s not willing to to accede to everything they want him to do, but also knows he won’t be fired ‘cos he’s good at his job. Being English of course though helps, we’re used to the petty backstabbing, complaining and pathetic politics of of small minded individuals in the work place (ever seen the UK version of the Office? Cringe inducingly accurate).
    As for getting a job that isn’t teaching English, what do you expect? If you have experience and talent in other fields you can find a job in Japan (I have friends working in banking, computers, construction, and engineering her, but they all had experience of this work at home first) If you don’t, it’s difficult, Japan is no different to any other country in this respect. Rock up in Australia without any and see how quickly you can get work there, isn’t going to happen, so get realistic.
    Otherwise, what are you qualified to do? You speak good Japanese, we know, but did you pass the 1 kyuu level this time around? If you didn’t, getting a job translating etc.. isn’t so easy (but not impossible) because over here there are lots of foreigners with 1 kyuu level’ (they never go home, just stay and bore everyone with their knowledge of Japan, have you seen the Canadian guy on TV?), and nobody is gonna pick you over them unless they know you. 2kyuu level in any other country plus experience of having lived in Japan however will land you a decent position.
    Especially living in Kyoto, there just aren’t the positions available. Cliched as it may sound, get yourself to Tokyo, far more opportunities available there, especially for people with only ‘2 kyuu’ (and I know about this ‘cos I have 2 kyuu myself and have been searching for a new job all year, based in Nagoya there isn’t a lot available) . Again, I realise this may not be such a feasible suggestion ‘cos of your wife being a Kyotoite (and I am in the same boat here, my missus being a Nagoyaite), but really, which do you think she’d prefer, Tokyo (3 hours or so by Bullet train) or San Francisco (umpteen hours and an entirely scary new world for her by United Airlines. Oh, and sorry guys, but just the thought of getting on a United flight brings me out in boils…..).
    Finally, I have to say that if you want to be a writer, give it go and good luck, I think you have a talent and write very well. I for one love reading your posts. With regard to this, I have to agree with a poster above, get a job as an ALT again. You may hate the idea, but it sounds like you will get paid more, you’re evenings will be yours, as will the weekends and the school holidays, lots of writing time. Also factor in being able to ‘go for a walk’ to see what the students are up to in your free lessons (‘Eh, what do you mean Kyoto Sensei, there are no lessons held behind the Gym? I never realised….’). Think of the time available to you come up with all that wonderous prose. Just get yourself a position in say Shiga rather than the big cities. Hopefully nicer kids, better run schools (imagine have 3 schools of peace). Oh yeah, and invest in a pair of iron skids (UK slang, I’ll leave that one for you all to work out what it means). As you have a job already you don’t need to decide quickly and can take your pick perusing all the usual job websites, I’m sure you know all the best ones anyway.
    Right, sorry for the length of the post, gonna leave to your weekend, thanks for all the great posts over the years, have enjoyed them immensly and hope for many more to come. Cheers groover.

  52. Hmmm said, on June 20, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Brutal honesty ahead:
    You are married now. Your life is no longer about you and your happiness. It’s now about taking care of your wife/family even if that involves making sacrifices.
    Let’s say you do leave Japan and go back home to America. What would your poor wife do? She can’t speak English, so that rules out employment immediately after leaving Japan. While English lessons take time, paying for them with an already tight budget is problematic. She wouldn’t have any friends, anyone to talk to since she doesn’t know the language, she wouldn’t have her mother around, and she’d probably be suffering major culture shock and loneliness while you’re out working.
    Do you really think that this would make her happy?
    Furthermore, if you are serious about leaving your job and possibly moving, then why are you paying for a wedding? That wedding money should be used to either pay down existing debt or to start an emergency fund considering that you may not be employed in six months. Now is not the time for an expensive wedding. That part I mentioned about sacrifices in the first paragraph? Yeah, she needs to learn how to make them, too.
    I’m not trolling or trying to be a dick. I’m just concerned because there wasn’t one ounce of concern about your wife’s well being in this entry.

  53. Citrico said, on June 20, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Can you eat on camera? Then clearly, you should become a Japanese celebrity! From what I understand a gaijin who can eat on camera would be enough of a novelty that you’d have novelty singles and video collections released in no time.
    Isn’t that how Bob Sapp is making his living? Just become Bob Sapp for a new generation!

  54. Sesoron said, on June 20, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    A book, eh? Found an editor yet? I don’t know how much of a stickler you are for absolute perfect edited English, but your corpus to date proves that you don’t need to be perfect to be a badass motherfucking writer.
    Anyway, drop me a line if you need an editor. I’ll do it just as good as the pros but several hells of a lot cheaper; I’d consider a sneak peek at the book to be part of my payment. Of course, I’d buy it anyway.
    Well, whatever work you choose, menial or otherwise, you’ll still have the undying respect of your legion of fans. γ‚’γ‚Ίγƒžγƒ‹γ‚’ε…¨θ»ι€²γ‚οΌ

  55. Jessie said, on June 21, 2008 at 12:07 am

    wish you all the best Az, whatever that may be. Idly, two of your recent entries seem to be unaccessible

  56. JF said, on June 21, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Ill buy all your books, for sure!

  57. CF said, on June 21, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Here’s an idea: Write the script for a satire of
    action movies.
    Here’s the plot: An American teaching English at a
    Japanese middle school finds himself forever having
    to fight off kancho attacks by the students. The
    teachers observe, but say and do nothing. The
    American’s skills at The Game improve to the point
    he is effectively untouchable — until one day he
    is attacked by an entire class, and goes down under
    a massed ass-ault….
    He comes to in a cell, where he finds he is being
    held captive along with many others. The prisoners
    are taken in small groups, and placed in an arena
    where they are forced to compete — the object of
    the game being to Not Get Kanchoed; if a player is
    Kanchoed, it activates a trigger surgically im-
    planted in his rectum, which then causes a small
    explosive charge implanted next to his heart to
    explode.
    Our Hero battles his way through the Villain’s
    Champions, and finally faces The Villain himself.
    The Villain is a former sumo wrestler who was
    taken into the game, and worked his way to the
    top. He has never been defeated — his ass is so
    big, no one can reach the trigger (which he arro-
    gantly refuses to have disabled). The final battle
    sees Our Hero on the verge of defeat, when The
    Villain turns his back and laughs; Our Hero then
    rockets across the arena, and delivers the
    Unholiest Kancho, penetrating deep enough to set
    off The Villain’s trigger. Having defeated The
    Villain, and destroyed the illegal Kancho ring,
    Our Hero returns to his teaching, a living,
    breathing Lord Of Kancho, complete with a flock of
    white birds who hang around him so they can fly
    away at suitable times. Roll credits.
    What do you think? πŸ™‚

  58. Claudia Chan said, on June 21, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Thanks for an insightful and honest post. I enjoy reading everything you write, and when you write that book I will definitely buy one =)
    How about looking for a new job and writing your book on the side? Nothing is impossible, go for what you want in life!
    I’m sure you’ll find your way because you sound like a resourceful guy.

  59. Alice said, on June 21, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Indeed you have a talent for writing! Apart from wanting to write a book, have you ever thought of freelancing for english magazines?
    And didn’t IKEA just open in Kobe? I’ve got friends working in the ones in Tokyo, and from what I can tell they have a pretty non-japanese (relaxed and not so hierarchial) way of working… I would seruiously recommend checking it out.

  60. Lucky said, on June 21, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Tough situation you’ve got going there.
    Although, I do think that it was quite predictable, wasn’t it ?
    As for the book thing, aren’t there plenty of these books out there already ?
    How do you plan to make yourself stand out ?
    *3 out of the 4 sentences I’ve written end with a question mark..*
    Anyway, hang in there and keep interesting posts coming πŸ™‚

  61. Samantha said, on June 21, 2008 at 5:44 am

    I’ve been reading your blogs & stories for a few years now, Az. Always nice to check back in every once in awhile to see how you’re doing! I’m very sorry your job is getting old :[ best of luck landing your big break!
    side note: I picked up I am a cat at a used bookstore not two weeks ago in the city for s&g’s but have yet to crack it open haha

  62. Someone said, on June 21, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Please write a book. If it becomes available in Singapore I’ll go get it.

  63. code monkey said, on June 21, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Oi, I can relate to not liking work anymore, only in my case, I no longer like my company.
    I wish you good luck on the writing career. Tell us how that pans out so we can give you our support!

  64. Dani said, on June 21, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I’m going through a similar feeling; I have a few books bumping around in my head, and I’m restless to get writing while I’m still young-ish and have fewer responsibilities. The plan is to sock away money, get an Asus Eee laptop, and travel to a location where the dollar isn’t in the toilet so I can live cheap and write.
    I wish you luck! You are a fine writer.

  65. Joe said, on June 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Good luck! Hopefully you can do some writing while you still have a real job. And then you’ll have something to support you when you move back to America with your wife (hopefully after having taught her some English so she doesn’t become an outsider here…)

  66. Sharon said, on June 21, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Well, it seems you have a lot of great comments so I don’t know how I can add to them. I’d just like to say, first of all, that I’ve read all of your blog and it’s great to have been following your life (and hopefully to continue doing so! not!stalker)
    All I’m going to say is go for it. Just write. Write everyday and work as hard as you can. Everyone is an amateur starting out. I mean, look at Rowling. (not!fangirl >.>) But yeah. I will undoubtedly buy your book because I get a kick out of your writing.
    γŒγ‚“γ°γ£γ¦γ­

  67. Scott said, on June 21, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I’m not reading through all the comments, but from one writer to another aspiring writer, here’s my realistic advice: Move to the US, use your translation skills to make good money, and write during the free time in-between. Unless you plan on focusing all of your attention on a writing career, you are very right in that it won’t bring in steady money until you’ve “made it,” as you say.
    I don’t know much about the Japanese writing market, but good luck.

  68. Megan said, on June 21, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    It sounds like we have similar things to think about. I will be going on my third year here, and after that I feel that it is time for me to get a real job, which is something that Japan just cant provide for me. My boyfriend is also Japanese, which is why i would probably stay. But i really just want to become an artist/writer/designer.

  69. Eric of Oregon said, on June 21, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    God’s blessings on you Az!
    If you don’t believe in God, I suppose Tengu wouldn’t be too hard to believe in then.
    Nonetheless hang in there.
    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned anything about moving to a larger Gaijin friendly city… Tokyo?

  70. Laura said, on June 21, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Aw, i think being a writer’s a great idea!! Your stories are so touching and engaging- I’ve been reading your stuff for the last couple months and its so interestng! You have real talent for writing!! ^_^ Go for it and good luck!!

  71. Lee said, on June 21, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Any which way you cut the cake, it will be the same. Work is work. Work in Japan is different in that what’s the point of finishing work early when you have to stay until midnight every day anyway. Even in America though, you’ll have overtime. At least in America, when you have overtime, you’ll actually be preoccupied with work. In Japan, it means sitting behind a computer, making folders bound with string, and pretending to be busy to pass the time so you don’t look like a lazy worker by leaving after only 11 hours of work. You are having a hard time adjusting to the work force because JET does not prepare the recent grads for “the real world.” JET, and well, any other language teacher position, is a piece of cake compared to what you’d be doing at any other job. Swift kick in the butt post-JET though! Think hard about returning to the States. You’d wind up like all the other liberal arts majors: customer service or retail. People with business degrees, while they have a chance to climb higher up the ladder, start out below the people without college degrees. While you’ve been earning your college degree, they’ve climbed the corporate ladder for the last 5 years. But, their climb is limited. Yours isn’t, if you don’t mind being bossed around by an obnoxious pratt for a while until you surpass him or her. Big companies with big salaries only hire native Japanese speakers. Doesn’t leave you with a lot of options, unfortunately. Freelance while you are at your current job, that’s your best bet. Word of advice though: If you want to actually make it as a writer, omit the stories and language regarding you and young, female students that sound a bit “off.” The kinds of publishers that will pay you a lot of money will stay as far away from you as possible with your stories “as is.” That sort of talk is fine for blogs and such, but not if you actually want to “make it.” Best of luck. I really do enjoy what you’ve written about cultural differences and every day happenings and I hope you make it!

  72. Anonymous said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Not to pour your dreams down the drain on you, but you have mentioned that your wife has pretty much no English skills.
    I would assume she would come with you, if you really really wanted to come back to the states. It will be rough going for her as not just a foreigner, but as one that cannot speak English. She would be isolated with you as the only person she could speak to till she learned English. You may feel like you don’t fit in, in Japan, but at least you can communicate to get around. Just keep this in part in mind because it wont be such a joyous return to the States once your wife realizes the situation she will be in, it may take a couple of weeks before she fully realizes it too.
    in any event best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

  73. Anonymous said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Not to pour your dreams down the drain on you, but you have mentioned that your wife has pretty much no English skills.
    I would assume she would come with you, if you really really wanted to come back to the states. It will be rough going for her as not just a foreigner, but as one that cannot speak English. She would be isolated with you as the only person she could speak to till she learned English. You may feel like you don’t fit in, in Japan, but at least you can communicate to get around. Just keep this in part in mind because it wont be such a joyous return to the States once your wife realizes the situation she will be in, it may take a couple of weeks before she fully realizes it too.
    in any event best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

  74. John Smith said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Not to pour your dreams down the drain on you, but you have mentioned that your wife has pretty much no English skills.
    I would assume she would come with you, if you really really wanted to come back to the states. It will be rough going for her as not just a foreigner, but as one that cannot speak English. She would be isolated with you as the only person she could speak to till she learned English. You may feel like you don’t fit in, in Japan, but at least you can communicate to get around. Just keep this in part in mind because it wont be such a joyous return to the States once your wife realizes the situation she will be in, it may take a couple of weeks before she fully realizes it too.
    in any event best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

  75. Sam Z said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:17 am

    Az,
    My only contribution is a word of advice towards your goals of writing: Write prolifically, and do it publicly. Magazines, news sites, and anything that your experience in Japan can easily contribute to. Fiction and the like can follow when you have notoriety. Or, at least some measure of notice. If you’re well known in one area of writing, a certain amount of that recognition will cross genres.
    I, personally, will be the first to purchase a copy of your future novel, wherein the hero fights hordes of gaijin-obsessed school boys as he saves Kyoto from certain destruction.

  76. Shuya said, on June 22, 2008 at 1:40 am

    I’m sorry to be a hassle…but why does the “Darndest Things Vol. 5” keep showing a 404 error instead of your words?

  77. Dave said, on June 22, 2008 at 7:13 am

    I can understand what you’re going through with the whole job search thing. I haven’t even graduated yet but for some crazy reason I decided I want to work in Japan and NOT teach English. Since i’ve only taken 3 kyuu JLPT so far, i’m having the hardest time finding any work. But since I really want to work in Japan i’m not giving up and i’m ready to jump in and give it my best. I hope you will do the same.
    Let us know when you get that book published, i’ll be sure to pick it up.

  78. K.B. said, on June 22, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Right, I fully agree with the comments that moving back to the US sounds like it would be very hard on your wife. If I were you, I’d try to stay where you are if at all possible, and absent that, make sure that you move somewhere in US where there’s an active Japanese community. You probably have some interesting/good job prospects in Japan if you get creative about it.

  79. Tohoya said, on June 22, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I just came in to say that, yeah, you do have a lot of writing talent, and if there’s any justice in the world you’ll have made it in the writing profession very soon.
    Be sure to post here when your first book is published, so we can all go out and buy it =P

  80. Sille said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Best wishes to you, Az. No matter what you decide to do, I really hope you’ll be happy, find a job you, if not like, then at least can tolerate. And I’m sure your marriage will be a beautiful one, filled with good times. If you decide to become a writer / get published one day, I hereby promise that I’ll buy your book, even if it’s about, oh I don’t know, Japanese tax legislation πŸ˜€

  81. yawmoght said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Web 2.0. ItΒ΄s hard, but writing itΒ΄s not a bad way of making some money out of it. Maybe even writing blogs for companies or directives..itΒ΄s a new trend.
    I always say: if you donΒ΄t find the right job, then create it!

  82. Jenna said, on June 22, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    you could always go on japanese TV shows as the random black man

  83. Highwind said, on June 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    If you wrote a book and it came Stateside, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Your stories of the batshit insanity of Japan always make my day when I read them, and your writing style is amazing. I don’t know if she still has them, but a friend of mine actually drew comic pages of some of your misadventures as a JET.
    Regardless, good luck in whatever you decide to do.

  84. Stan said, on June 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Ditto re being considerate of the missus. A friend mine met and married his wife in Japan. She was a business exec there. Then they moved to the States and since her English isn’t good she has unhappily had to play the role of housewife soley. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a housewife. She just seems suited for something else.) She seems pretty unhappy and the marriage may not survive after their child comes of age. Please do try to find a solution that will work for you and your wife. Be creative. You can make it work.

  85. Joe said, on June 22, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I’m surprised at how many people have already forgotten the last few entries, wherein Az says that the wife *wants* to go to America and he’s only holding off on that because she needs to learn enough English to get by.
    (Az’s Note: I’m glad SOMEONE remembered. Thank you.)

  86. Corey said, on June 22, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I can honestly tell you that I think you’d be a great writer. I’ve always loved the general “style” you write with. All the allusions, sarcasm, similes, metaphors, etc… always makes for a very entertaining post. And I think with the ever growing interest of Japanese culture/life in North America, your book could very easily be a hit. I know I’d buy it. Also, I’m sure there’s got to be plenty of Japanese people interested (or at least willing) to read about a Gaijin’s point of view.

  87. nemuri said, on June 23, 2008 at 2:15 am

    my mother is a writer. She is also a book seller, which is her frst job.
    She’s been writing years for almost 20 years now, at the begining children books, who don’t pay shit unless you’re called Rowling. She started to write detective stories in 1998 for adults (no, not *that* kind of adult stories. Just adult in general). In 200 she started a series, which lucklily became a bit famous, and since 2003 she started to earn enough to theorically be able to quit her job. Which she didn’t do, because she can manage both and thus earning more money.
    My advice is that if you want to write as a living, you should start asap, and see where it goes. It can take time, or be real quick if you find a good agent and a publishing company that is interested and promote your work.

  88. Sakari said, on June 23, 2008 at 2:53 am

    You know… I remember you saying something that the people aren’t usually happy to have their daughters marry foreigners because they think they would just fly them out of japan…

  89. Anonymous said, on June 23, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Aren’t there any bartender jobs open?

  90. Anonymous said, on June 23, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Aren’t there any bartender jobs open?

  91. Anonymous said, on June 23, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Wow. I totally missed that the missus wants to go to the States. Sounds like the move to make then once her English skills are in place. Good luck to you both. Sounds like a great adventure coming.

  92. Anonymous said, on June 23, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Wow. I totally missed that the missus wants to go to the States. Sounds like the move to make then once her English skills are in place. Good luck to you both. Sounds like a great adventure coming.

  93. Bob said, on June 23, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Longtime reader, first time commenter.
    Writing a draft outside of work isn’t hard, what to write about and finding the time to do so is. However since you’re writing on your lifetime there, they might want to censor some things since Japan is somewhat “stubborn” about certain subjects.
    Another great rant, hope you continue to write in the future. Until next entry, fellow blogger.

  94. Zach said, on June 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’d buy a book that you authored. Love your blog and I always read it while having my lunch in school.

  95. Mariko said, on June 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Hey. I’ve been reading your, uh, “blog” for a while now and really enjoy reading about your experiences in Japan. I’m commenting now because of your interest in becoming a writer. You CAN pursue your writing dreams while also making a living as a writer. I work in reference and academic publishing, and there is plenty of work for good, reliable writers. It maybe not be the type of writing you’re dreaming about producing, but it can pay the bills while you write your great American novel. If you want some more info, please contact me directly.

  96. Durf said, on June 24, 2008 at 12:00 am

    If you’re interested in writing you should look into SWET (swet.jp). Like others have noted above, freelance translation is a way to make yen without being tied to the in-house working hours . . . But it is no guarantee that you can work a handful of hours a day and enjoy scads of free time. Especially not in the beginning.
    John Scalzi’s advice to would-be professional writers is on the mark:
    http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/003089.html
    Good luck!

  97. jakenbake said, on June 24, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Hey Az,
    Strange, i JUST read that book. I found it in the library the other day. It was okayyyyyyyyyy. I liked the farting weasels and stuff (I started cracking up on the NYC subway), buutttt it just kinda dragged. Ive heard that the japanese translation is MUCH better.

  98. Dave said, on June 24, 2008 at 7:19 am

    I feel you should try to get a Gov job. Perhaps run a proposal for a agency devoted to increasing the Japanese bustline. πŸ™‚

  99. Kikuchi said, on June 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    erm…ive been having problems with opening some of ur posts. like the darndest things vol.5 or the new one from today.
    it only shows me a “server not found” message…
    is tehre a way to fix this?? cause id love to read more of you!
    thx

  100. Ian Suttle said, on June 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I liked this entry. I didn’t find it boring, but it was a little depressing…
    Anyway, if you want my advice, you might very well not like whatever job you get if you go back to America, and if your current work, or whatever else is open to you, pays the bills adequately then I definitely would not leave Japan.
    Still, I’m even younger than you (I got my first job just last week), so my opinion probably matters little.

  101. nootau said, on June 25, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Az, there is a great podcast out there by an aspiring writer named mur lafferty, titled “I should be writing”, it is a podcast chronicling her writing career, she interviews various prominent writers for tips on becoming writers and she herself discusses her trek to find agents, etc and now she is in the process of publishing her first novel (She just sold it a few months ago). Check her out at http://murverse.com/category/podcasts/i-should-be-writing/
    Good luck and Ganbare!

  102. elijah pollock said, on June 26, 2008 at 2:18 am

    AZ, i have been a long time fan of your writing…what about translating manga to english
    Lots of stories are translated into english… and it seems you could work from where you live…be it the states or japan… you seem to have a understanding of japanese that will easily translate to english, ( the exception being that bulk condom order), so, you should consider the del-ray, etc.. route.
    later,
    eli

  103. J2G said, on June 27, 2008 at 12:54 am

    I don’t know if you’d ever read this, Az – really, but you need to reflect yourself more to other people.
    All these times you’ve been doing this and that on your own will, no disrespect.
    Gotta see it wider bro.

  104. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2008 at 10:58 am

    You should seriously take the editorials from the time you spent as a schoolteacher (The later ones are equally great too though), edit them a bit to get rid of any reference that’s too obscure for the general public, and try to get them published. I really you could do it.

  105. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2008 at 10:58 am

    You should seriously take the editorials from the time you spent as a schoolteacher (The later ones are equally great too though), edit them a bit to get rid of any reference that’s too obscure for the general public, and try to get them published. I really you could do it.

  106. Mel Thompson said, on July 3, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Az I have loved your writings about the Japanese and your life living in Japan. I do believe you could be a great writer I love the material you have already written for GaijinSmash.net and I would purchase any book you wrote I say go for it, just make sure you can support yourself for a while books take time to publish and longer to bring back money to you the author, but I know you can do it Az GANBATTE!!!!!!

  107. eL Thorsen said, on July 13, 2008 at 11:59 am

    No need to feel immodest about saying you have a talent for writing!

  108. Dave K said, on July 25, 2008 at 12:20 am

    A word of advice on your writing. I think it is an awesome idea but be careful. Only a few writers in the US actually make money on their writing. The woman who wrote the Harry Potter books was DEAD broke before she hit it big. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do.

  109. that Nigga Joe said, on July 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hey, like Fergie said, if you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home.
    i’m just being real.
    but think about it, consider living in LA or San Francisco, you get the best of both Worlds.

  110. kisara of pern said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:01 am

    I’ve recently caught up on your posts, and it’s been a pleasure to read them. I wish you the best of luck with your writing endeavors.
    Also, I wanted to say that I have read “I Am a Cat” — in English, because I’m nowhere near proficient at Japanese — and I think the reference was appropriate. : )
    The ending of the book was a bit of a surprise to me, though. Seeing as how you’ve already had a similar experience (cf., you are what you drink), I’m sure you’ll have a happier ending than the cat.
    Again, I wish you luck.

  111. odocoileus said, on August 3, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Take the Foreign Service exam. I think they only offer it once a year. You’ve probably already checked it out.
    Try other Federal agencies, even the Company.
    Journalism. All the big English language papers need a man in Japan. This gig will take years to get, but if you want it, you need to get in line.
    You could also get some kind of one off, first person gig on NPR right now.

  112. Purnell said, on January 21, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    IF you wrote a novel, i would buy it.


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