Thursday, January 10, 2008

Facts of Life

Ok, I guess it's getting confusing to some readers (more like lurkers, stalkers and family members). Or maybe it's your first time here (you probably Googled Gaijin Showers and found my blog by mistake). Anyway, here's what's going on with me and the fiasco-that-is-Japan, presently:

I am sitting at a table I stole from my last apartment, writing this offline while waiting for the unsecured wireless internet signal to bless me with it's presence once more tonight. I cant stop thinking about the fact I only have 272 MB of free disc space left on my hard-drive. A balloon in the right hand corner keeps reminding me. This just leads to thoughts about buying an external hard-drive, which leads to thoughts about just buying a new laptop, which leads to thoughts about paying for internet service so I dont have to hold my laptop up with one hand at a 30 degree angle while facing northeast to get a connection. But then I remember my credit card bill. And how I havent worked in three months.

I came here in September, wide-eyed and ready to love Japan and all it's backwards kookiness. Some things helped me steer off that path; in mid-October company I worked for collapsed and filed for bankruptcy. Also, the food sucks.

It was all fun and games for a while (in between panic attacks and chocolate binges) and being unemployed and not paid for a month's work was OK because there was a big group of us going through it... having tea parties, OC marathons, and countless nomihodi. Of course, one-by-one parents stopped sending money and people started going home. Being the newest of the bunch I was determined to stick it out and have my year in Japan. I would not going back home to retail.

I went job hunting. My internet service at home was cut off, due to not paying the bill. So whenever I had ¥472 to burn I'd bike twenty minutes to the nearest internet cafe and send off my resume and headshot. The job market was flooded with thousands of gaijin newly looking for work. But by early November I'd received a few offers. One of them was at a school in Korea. I didnt want to uproot myself again so I chose an English school in Tokuyama. It's right next door to Kudamatsu and where I spent most of my time anyway.

There was one problem though, the position didnt begin until January 22. I had a brilliant plan of working at a Korean winter camp for the two months in between, but even after a phone interview I was unable to work it out.

So, to make a long story longer, I spent a few months squatting in my apartment (no one paid the rent, no one made me leave). The days went by slowly. I spent them reading books, taking baths, cooking, meeting people, drinking and trying to get private English lessons. Poverty and stress took the fun out of unemployment, but there were some adventures.

Jon came in early December and saved me from total despair (temporarily), he left for Australia, came back, and we met up in Tokyo. After a week I went back to Kudamatsu, packed up my stuff and moved into my new apartment in Tokuyama. I have two weeks before my new job begins. I have two months before I receive my first full paycheck. And I never got the money owed to me from the first school I worked for.

Right now I'm stuck in Japan, financially. I refuse to leave before paying off the debt accumulated by coming here.

I live in Japan out of spite.

(Christmas party photo)


d said...

i think you made the right decision to stay put. moving to korea wouldn't have been good i think. to learn a whole new culture in such a short time, etc.

persevere, dude. it'll work itself out.

Nate Bellegarde said...

I just saw Tokyo Godfathers recently, and it reminded me of you. I am too broke to come to Japan any time soon, I am sad to say. D: I have less than three dollars in two bank accounts. But! I've got a sack full of quarters and 60 bucks on a Walmart gift card, so I'll be okay I think.

Squirrelly said...

seriously, if you need anything please let me know. i'm still working on your package. i miss you a lot. take care of yourself *HUG*

Frederik Jurk said...

"Going back home to retail" sounds really depressing; I don´t know why but it does.

FUCK YEAH JEANNNETTTE POWER! You´re pretty cool. Just for, you know, doing the stuff you do.

Dan said...

93% of all greatness comes from spite. 7% comes from France.