Thursday, July 26, 2007
I could have told you this was going to happen six months ago. I leave Saturday morning, less than 36 hours from now, and I have barely started sticking things into my suitcases. Without help from my sister, I'd have no idea which things I am taking and which things I am not. On top of that, I am totally overwhelmed at the gravity of the changes I am about to make. Even though I know I love Japan, love Mako and am fully capable of performing this job (despite my lack of experience), I find myself nearly paralyzed with anxiety.
But I know it's going to be awesome once I get my ass on that plane. What's to be scared of? New is good! And there's going to be lots of people (most of them friendly, I wager) who are looking forward to working with me. So I should be enthused, not spooked.
*sigh* Why am I not surprised that I'm getting hungry?
つづく... (Click here to read more)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
My dental work was completed today, leaving me sore inside for what I hope to be the last time. This morning's session was particularly difficult and I'm not sure why; the previous two appointments were dealt with pretty smoothly and with relatively little discomfort. I blame my own nerves for the unpleasantness, for I suspect I was so anxious about wrapping this up that I psyched myself into hyper-sensitivity. Don't ask me why I would do something like that.
My sister came by last night and helped me go through my accumulated stuff. I had a big problem trying to deal with all my things: obviously there's a lot of items I will need in Japan but it is impossible to take them all with me on the plane. So all of my possessions sort into three categories: pack, throw away, or ship to myself. Salena's advice was crucial in getting most things into that second pile. That unwillingness to part with unnecessary keepsakes is a bad habit that I think traces back to my childhood. Growing up in a suburban house, as I did, there was a tendency to save as much as possible because there was always room in a closet or under a bed or on top of something in the corner. Some of my things had been packed away in a box since I left my apartment three years ago. Why have I been holding onto it for so long? I couldn't say, and Salena helped me realize that.
Tomorrow I must begin packing. There's no other way around it. I must begin the process of putting everything into a suitcase, no matter how weird that's gonna feel. Yet I still need to buy gifts to bring abroad and I should really get that iPod ready for the flight! Maybe I should stop sleeping now and just wait until I get on the plane...
つづく... (Click here to read more)
Monday, July 23, 2007
From the moment Mako arrived I was again stunned at how totally at ease I felt in her presence. For all the crazy stuff I put myself through mentally while worrying about her, the second I get to hold her in my arms it all disappears. Some questioned why she would go through the trouble of coming all the way here when I'll be moving to Japan so soon. From my standpoint, I go through so much stress when we're apart that I'm grateful for any time we get to spend together. I hadn't seen Mako since February so this was the end of a five-month wait - an intolerable absence!
Mako and I share a passion for food, so in describing our "vacation" together it is necessary to review some of the things we ate together. In no particular order: Sichuan mapo doufu, Mexican burritos, Belgian fries, Carnegie pastrami (and cheesecake), Korean mandoo, bagels, brie, burgers, pancakes, Yankee Stadium hot dogs, dim sum, pierogi, potato pancakes, blintzes and Buffalo Wings (in Buffalo, natch).
Why were we in Buffalo? Mako wanted to see Niagara Falls so I made it happen. We flew up last Sunday, rented a car, and drove to the Falls. The good side, of course, across the border. As we crossed the bridge I spotted the new ferris wheel that overlooks the river. This serendipitous discovery was the final piece in a plan I had developed over the past few months: how to propose to Mako.
I had decided to ask her earlier this year as the information regarding my job gradually pointed to the two of us being together in Japan. If I had been placed far away, I would have waited rather than apply pressure on her to relocate to my area. But with my job and my apartment less than an hour away from her, I knew that this would be a good time to ask her to marry me. So with a ring from my Mom wedged into my pocket, I realized the ferris wheel was the perfect place to be alone with her for such a moment.
The conversation was nearly entirely in Japanese and relatively improvised. I had tried to plan out a speech of sorts but never got anything on paper worth remembering. Basically, I told her that meeting her changed my life for the better and how I wanted to build a home and a family with her in Japan. I popped out the ring and asked her if she would marry me, being extra humble for good measure.* She replied with an immediate yes, as in "Hai." We embraced, spending the rest of the ride (which took several revolutions) discussing the possibilities. There's no date yet, but considering that once we are wed her parents will let her move in with me, I suspect this may go down sooner (e.g. this year) rather than later.
Speaking of gifts, earlier in the week she was shocked as hell when I gave her that Wii I bought for her in Florida. While she did figure out that I had bought one, she thought I had bought it for myself! I wonder how she could believe I would be so selfish, considering how often she has told me she wants one? She has since hooked it up in Japan and has begun playing tennis. Meanwhile, I correctly guessed her gift for me as well - an iPod - but much to my surprised the back of the device is engraved with both our names! I suppose that means she wants to borrow it; either that, or I have to get one similarly personalized for her someday.
The only problem we encountered last week was the thunderstorm on Wednesday which led to her flight getting canceled. However, she was able to notify her employers in Japan and they understood that the delay was out of her hands. In the end, we got an extra day together which was as pleasant as problems can get.
I took a fair number of pictures, as did she, so at some point I'll get them all gathered together for you.
In the meantime, I am here in New York and I am running out of free time. A recent trip to the dentist brought nothing but bad news so I've had to commit to several days of drillin' and fillin'. Nothing life threatening, mind you, but nobody likes that feeling. I'll do my best to write as much as possible this week to offer some kind of perspective on this huge life-altering transition.
*結婚して下さいませんか？ - literally, "Would you please marry me [who is beneath you]?"
つづく... (Click here to read more)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Florida, as usual, was a nice break from New York. It was certainly much hotter than I would have liked (future visits should ideally take place outside of July and August) but given my schedule this was really the best time I could afford. My mother and her husband are both well and I was grateful I got a chance to see them.
I didn't do much while I was there, of course, but it wasn't all poolside lounging. With all the stores in New York sold out, I decided Florida would be a better place to try and find a Wii for sale. I was right, although it still took me three stores to find one. It's not a gift for me, mind you, but for Mako, though I will admit I have a feeling she'll let me play it every once in a while when we're in Japan. Lest you think I'm giving her a gift solely to entertain myself, think again: she and I have spent plenty of chat time discussing our interest in gaming. Don't forget, she already has a DS and enjoys it very much, at least when she's not studying after work or exercising.
Something I'm very proud to report is the fact that I finally got my ass on a bike for more than a few fleeting seconds. Riding a bike was something I never quite picked up as a child, and by the time I became a teenager I was driving a car to work so it became a low priority. My imminent trip to Japan, however, brought the skill back into the forefront. Based on my experiences there it will be very handy to own and use a bicycle from time to time, especially since I have no plans to drive a car over there. The latter may change over the long term, but I can't imagine that the usefulness of a bike will ever decline. So I borrowed an old bike that Mom had in her garage and just climbed on to see how well I could handle it. So far, the hardest part for me is the initial moment of balance. Once I start pedaling and my momentum kicks in, it's pretty simple. So simple that I'm not sure how I never managed to get this far before in my life. I suppose I always viewed it as frivolous and therefore unnecessary.
On the 4th, I opted to pass on actually attending the annual Hot Dog eating contest. I reached that decision when I realized that in order to secure a reasonable position to witness the competition I would have had to arrive hours beforehand and simply stand outside in the sun, forfeiting any chance to go to the gym. This seemed especially foolish when I realized I could get a much better view of the action on television. Once the program began I discovered I made the better choice, as the streets of Coney Island were packed!
In case you missed it, Kobayashi didn't win this year. He did manage an incredible 63 hot dogs and buns in twelve minutes despite his recent jaw injury, but he was bested by American Joey Chestnut (he ate 66). Good for him, I say, but I suspect Kobayashi will be back next year looking to push 70!
This past Sunday I got together with Joe and Ben for an afternoon on the town which led us to see the new Transformers movie. Without descending into a diatribe of poor choices, let me just flatly state that it sucked. Sucked hard, in a way I never could have anticipated. I actually knew it would be poor from the moment I heard the project was a go (just read this post I wrote three years ago) but I had purposely gone in to the theater with low expectations. I figured it would be, at worst, a passive amusement like the latest Die Hard film (which I saw in Florida, and it was OK). Not even close!
Well, it's late and I've got a big day ahead of me. Mako arrives from Japan tomorrow! She's already in Tokyo as of this writing. My brain is a blur with feelings of anticipation with a whisper of anxiety sprinkled on top. It's like every time she comes here I'm convinced this will be the last time I'll see her for some reason! All the tension fades once I see her smiling face though. I can't believe it's been nearly five months - intolerable! Thank goodness we'll never have to endure such a stretch apart ever again.
つづく... (Click here to read more)
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