November 15, 2004

Osaka, year two


I'm staying in Japan for another year. I have renovated my contract and renewed my vosa, this time, for three years. I am looking forward to the next stage of my stay in Japan. Much has change in the way i see things. putting together this newest version of my blog got me reading some of my first impressions of this place. How things have changed!!! for the better of course!!!

There was a period between february and july where i went through some really tough times. I had many personal problems and conflicts with people who were close to me at the time. that was very hard on my outlook on Japan as a whole. in a sense i was in a hole. But by mid july I craweled out of that temporary black cloud and stepped into a new Japan, a new way of looking at the world, and a new way of enjoying life.

In my time here, I have studied about Zen and wabi-sabi, trying to simplify my life and change many of my bad habbits. I've been trying to learn and practice "The Way", but it is very difficult to understand it, let alone practice it or live it, but i've managed to incorporate a few bits here in there into my daily life. I've found miyself oscilating between a spartan and hedonistic lifestyle, trying to find a balance. Its not easy. Zen tells you to give everything up, all material things, even those really awesome sushi rolls...so, little by little I've been trying to adjust, and though by no means am i becoming a monk of any sort, i am just trying very hard to simplify my life.

I have a new relationship now, and we are moving at a steady pace. We enjoy our time together quite a bit, and we laugh a lot. I'm very happy. We've been traveling around western Japan a lot, and Goldie has shown me these places the way only a local can. Its been a wonderful experience, I've seen so much, and understood so much more as well.

I am now teaching at a few elementary schools in Osaka, and the kids are really something else!! they are energetic and most of them have never met a foreigner, and their eyes are so big when they come to class. The kids are very curious and ask lots of questions at the end of class.

Also, my Japanese has been steadily improving, albeit slowly. I can now read both katakana and hiragana confidently, i can read about 50 kanji, and recognize another 50 or 60. Chinese characters are trully mazing.

For the past few months Goldie and i have been working on a train set layout, and we are 95% done. we have a river and a mountain and some houses, a station, tunnels and a forest. we are enjoying this project very much, and have gone to a couple of museums to see pro model makers' works. we have a church and a pagoda as well. they look very cool.

I will post more pictures as soon as i can, there is much that i still need to tell.