I Am a Cat – Addendum
I was originally going to just put this into comments, but as the comments are quite long now I fear it would just get lost. So you all get one more boring entry, sorry.
When I read the comments from my latest entry to my wife, she turned to me and said “Wow, they’ve been reading along all this time but they really don’t know you any better than that?” What she’s referring to is – of course I talked about all this with her. I talked about it with her first before anyone else. And as someone in the comments did catch, she actually does want to go to America. The one who is holding us back in Japan is me, if it had been up to her we’d probably already be in America now.
All the things you guys have pointed out about the possible pitfalls of taking a Japanese wife overseas, I have already thought of and discussed it with her. In fact, her possible difficulties in acclimating have been a big reason why I’ve stayed in Japan – to better prepare her. We have talked about this, and I feel that her own words to me really sum up the matter perfectly:
“Don’t be that worried about my English. No matter how much you teach me here, it’ll be completely different over there, right? I mean, you studied in a college – university level courses – for four years, and that didn’t make you fluent when you first got here. Besides, there are plenty of Japanese people who go abroad with no English ability whatsoever and learn while there. Immersion is the best method, isn’t it? Just being around you and your friends gives me a head start that many Japanese people didn’t have when they went overseas.
And as for the culture shock, yeah, I know. I know it will be difficult being away from family and friends and everything I’ve ever known, in a totally different culture. But, I’m going to feel culture shock no matter how much you try to “prepare” me, right? Same for you – you went through all those orientations and lectures, but you also felt culture shock too. So, its going to hit me no matter what. And when it does hit me, you’ll be there to help me just the same as I helped you during your “I hate Japan!” moments, right?
Ultimately, I am an adult and I can make my own decisions. It does us no good to worry about me being okay or not. I know what comes with leaving Japan and going with you to America – and I can make that choice on my own. And I’m choosing to go to America, so as my husband, you’ll be there to support and help me with whatever difficulties I face there, right?”
Now you can see why I married this girl.
About the job – yes, as I said before, I know that work generally sucks no matter what country you are in. And while I did talk about the Japanese overtime culture, and while some of that applies to my current job…the issues run far, far deeper than that. Nothing is perfect; everything’s got its pluses and minuses – you weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages and decide whether its something you want to stick with. With this job, the disadvantages are just way too many.
Many other employees (Japanese or otherwise) have already quit, with many others extremely unhappy and planning to quit when the time is right. The general consensus is that yeah, work sucks; but this is far too extreme a case. Even my wife, who usually defaults on the side of “its not as bad as you think; stick it out!” is saying that I should quit as soon as possible.
Again, I don’t really want to get into it too much, so you’re all going to have to trust me that its just not a place where you would want to continue working any longer than is absolutely necessary.
Since the original posting I have sort of hammered out a plan. While I will keep my eye on the job I really want to do that may or may not open up later this year, when the current job ends, we will probably stay in Japan and I will look for work as…..an English teacher.
Do I want to do English teaching again? Absolutely not. I can still remember the pure euphoria of walking out of my last English class thinking “I’ll never have to do THIS again!” But, it is a decent salary, and it should leave enough free time for me to pursue writing. While it does feel like a career regression…honestly, being a translator/division chief now doesn’t really help me either if I’m looking to become a writer (aside from being able to claim editing experience I guess). I would like to avoid kids/public school though if at all possible. Ideally, I’d like to teach or even assist or something at a university. I’m not sure how to go about getting a job at a college, but I will start looking into it.
In the meantime, I will probably pick up a second job working at an English conversation school. I really don’t want to do this either – what little free time I already have will be reduced to non-existant, and there’s the big risk of getting burned out from both jobs. But, I can’t ignore the money problem either, and I have to do whatever I can. Work the second job to pay off the wedding and start the savings fund.
This isn’t set in stone – it may change depending on conditions, or I may decide I hate it and don’t want to do it. But for now, it’s a direction at least.
Okay, this is really the last of the boring entries, honest.