I was just about to write a post about November the other day, and today it’s already December! Wow, time flies! (In Japanese, 光陰矢のごとし, kou-in ya no gotoshi, like an arrow.) So what’s been keeping me busy these days? Quite a lot.
First and foremost would be work. It seems like every month gets busier and busier for me, and much to my disappointment, I’m getting assigned Sunday work more and more often as well (with nothing I can do about it). Add to that mandatory drinking parties, and chores like cleaning, paying bills, and grocery shopping, it’s hard to actually get a single day of rest here, never mind a weekend. December looks to be no different, either, with 2 Christmas parties and Sunday classes. Chores are piling up as well; today I managed to get a lot done to prepare for my (painfully short and expensive) visit to the US — wiring money from Japan to my US bank account (which I had to completely empty to pay for my plane tickets) and getting my re-entry permit for my work visa (which is also ridiculously expensive). Luckily the yen is strong against the dollar now, so I was able to transfer a couple hundred dollars more than I would have been able to a few months ago.
Today, being the first day of December, I officially began my job search for next year. Unfortunately, today was sucky day to begin, seeing as the place I went to start my search is closed on Mondays. (What wonderful luck, then, that I have to work on Sundays a lot more now!) I have mixed feelings about the job search. On the one hand, I really do not want another job in the English conversation school industry. In fact, I had promised myself last year that my next job would be art related. On the other hand, especially in Fukui, there may be no jobs available to me other than English conversation. I’m not really getting much encouragement either, which sucks; but I can’t let that deter me from trying. English conversation is easy, tiring work that has a lot of fun times, but low job satisfaction and no upward potential at all. The pay is good, but the hours are terrible. My coworkers and students are all wonderful, but I have to wear a suit and deal with corporate bullshit, so it’s ultimately hard to feel positive about the prospect of continuing this kind of work. I’m also not tired of Japan yet, so I don’t want to go back to the US. The thought of moving back to the US to look for work isn’t all that great anyway — yeah it will be easier to communicate in order to find a job, but the availability of art jobs is virtually just as low, and I’d be giving up the things that I love about living here and returning to a very boring life. I guess I’m saying I’ve put a lot of thought into this over the past couple months, and I keep coming to the same conclusion — I’m going to need to a lot of effort and a lot of luck if I’m going to get a job that’s better than what I have now.
So that’s it for the depressing future. Here’s what’s happened recently:
Like I said, November was really busy and went by so fast that it was all a blur. We had Counseling Week and Open House, Check Tests, and just general all-around insanity and business. I finally got to see the (supposedly) famous night view of Echizen from the top of nearby Murakuni Mountain. It was pretty nice, actually, and I even saw a live tanuki on the way back down the mountain! I also went to a small festival (“The Chrysanthemum Earth Expo”) in Echizen no Sato that Hitomi’s brother helped manage. It was a nice little fair meant to promote green habits. It didn’t really have much pro-green stuff, and they served food in styrofoam containers… but it was still nice. I also went to a houji, which is a kind of Buddhist funeral service held at specific intervals after someone’s death, at Hitomi’s aunt’s house.
So that’s the news from this side of Lake Woebegone. Hitomi and I are going to return to Fukui next weekend to look for work, and hopefully the International Center won’t be closed this time, so I can at least make a few baby steps of progress.