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Friday, April 3, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: Minus One

Despite having a crappy memory about a few things, the feelings and thoughts I have regarding myself and Noboko are bang-on.

My main point is that in my last blog about myself and Noboko, I 'recalled' incorrectly that Matthew was to be wed to Takako in 1993. He and she were actually married in the summer of 1992… I was home at that time visiting, but they wisely had a wedding party in NY state for a wider range of family and friends, and I drove down from Toronto to spend the night and see the fun! Matthew's family are all good eggs and treated me like I was part of the family and miss them all dearly.

So… I actually began writing this on Tuesday - had it about 95% complete when I tried to save it, must have hit delete and poof! it was gone. Seventy minutes down the toilet.

So… taking Wednesday off, I begin anew Thursday evening... finishing it with hours to spare - completely different from what I originally wrote. Spontaneity is always the plan.

The thing with me is, is that my writing was far better the first time - raw… so… no promises…

With three years of my living in Japan coming to a close a couple of days ago, I'm at a loss of what to do now.

Japan was my coming out party. While it was a gay old time and involved sex and freedom - the first time away from home - the gaiety is defined as having a good time, rather than anything homosexual, not that I care what people think...

Or maybe I do… which was why I felt the need to explain it. Crap.

... anyhow... I left Japan after using it as my own Tokyo Disneyland, going on all the rides - some multiple times - screwing more women than I guy like me deserved.

I was dry when I arrived in Japan - a 25-year-old virgin - and an experienced pro at a myriad of sexual styles and appetites when I left. I also left my girlfriend behind - and then some.

All I want to do is call her… to hear her sign gently in the phone… to pinch me and let me know it wasn't all just a dream someone else was having.

But it's the middle of the night in Japan when I get up at around noon in Toronto.

After three years of teaching junior high school kids as an AET (assistant English teacher) in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, I now have the daunting task of figuring out what I am supposed to do with my life.

A week ago, I would have told you I was going to live in Japan forever with Noboko as my wife. Work? Teach I suppose.

I'm not pretty enough to be a bartender, as Japan tends to hire hotties from Australia and New Zealand (they are extra good-looking, for some reason)… besides, I don't have the type of memory that wants to memorize beverage recipes. I also wouldn't want to work nights.

I'm not looking for a job here in Toronto… in fact… after phone calls to my friends for a get-together, the first call I make is to family friend Freny… one of my mom's best friends in India and now here in Toronto.

She is a travel agent, and she and I hash out the preliminaries for a return trip to Japan… I at least have an idea about cost, but I can't set a date until I know that my mother is actually well enough to leave the hospital and be okay at home. So the plans are up in the air.

No plans for Japan. No plans for Canada. No plans for Andrew. No plans.

I don't even feel like I'm home.

"And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

It's true… where is my wife? Noboko and I were essentially living like a married couple… and not just as a Japanese married couple….

Despite having grown up in this house in Toronto, it feels as alien to me as the air now tastes, as the sun feels upon my skin.

I love my family and the friends… but my head isn't in Canada… I'm half a world away in my mind and I'm pretty pissed off that my body isn't with me.

I'm okay when I'm sure something is over and done with, but until I've exhausted every possible scenario I fight for every reason to fight until the opportunity is forever lost.

I don't like losing… and that's how I perceive relationships.

However, when I am slighted, my ego takes a blow and then I stop fighting and caring. I won't stop whining about it. Actually, that's not true… outside of this blog, I don't really talk about myself. Not really.

With Noboko… I still have plenty of opportunity.

Her father doesn't want her to marry me because I am a gaijin, as the kick in the nuts would affect future job promotions—the job is all to the Japanese man.

Noboko doesn't want to listen to her father. She is in love with me and the hope I bring. I'm sure the possibility of leaving Japan has never entered her mind, or at least she hasn't ever discussed it with me.

I think she assumes that if we were to make this work, I would give up everything for her. The romantic thing… and I have no qualms doing it. I'm already in Japan. 

She is a fiercely proud woman. However…

She's also a Japanese woman. 

Because she once reneged on a marriage proposal from a Japanese man a few years ago when she was still considered young (pre-25), that embarrassment to her father can not occur again.

No child wants to disappoint their parent. Not even a Japanese child. Not even if the parent doesn't care about the family in the same way as the other family members care about the family.

They don't… the men, that is. The men work. It would be admirable if it wasn't so sad to me the outsider.

The women work after school.. get married, and after marriage have 1.37 kids, then look after the house and family. The kids go to school and study to get into a good high school and better university to get a good job for life with some Japanese company… it doesn't even matter where… ask a teenager… all they know is that they want to be a salary man… where and with whom doing what? No one knows. Is it a lack of ambition? Or is it an acceptance that everything will unfold as it should?

That's for the guys, however. While women nowadays (2015) are certainly working longer before starting a family, the point is that women still are only hired in Japan on a temporary basis, as every employer realizes the Japanese female employee will work, meet a man, get married, get pregnant, leave the company, raise the family, never have a paying job again. It's over at 25.

Holy crap… I was 25 when I got to Japan. I'm 28 going on 29 (in 1993) and I haven't even begun my life.

I mean I have. Noboko… but I certainly haven't embarked upon a career.

Teaching in Japan was it for the past three years. Prior to that I taught piano and clarinet for spare cash while I was studying journalism and coaching the women's college soccer team and a community woman's soccer team... but my journalism career was essentially four months long. I left journalism school a couple of months early to work at the Toronto Star newspaper. The school gave me all the credits, as the role of the school was to have me become a journalist, and there I was working as a reporter for one of the top 10 newspapers in North America.

I left the Toronto Star more than a month early (it was the renowned Toronto Star Summer Internship Program) to go to Japan on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

I don't want to be a journalist any more. I don't even want be an English teacher in Japan, but I would suck it up and be one, knowing my soul would be happy winning Noboko.

Do you know what the very worst thing is?

No one knows how I am really feeling.

I have to say how happy I am to be home. I'm happy to see everyone… but happy to be home?

Toronto hasn't been my home for three years now.

At 4PM, I make the first of my phone calls from Toronto to Kuroiso in Japan.


"Moshi-moshi, yourself."

Down in a rabbit hole, I could still hear her smile to my retort.

Somewhere through the looking glass, I'm back in my own Wonderland.
Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. What are you doing Andrew!!!!!!????? Go to her!! Run Andrew Run!!!!!