Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflections on Days Passed

So it's been a year now since I moved back to Matsue from Hokkaido.

The story so far? Good on most fronts.

The truth of the matter is that I really would have preferred to stay in Shimane.

I suppose there was a lot of bitterness toward the whole situation that led to me having to leave Shimane in the first place. There had been discussions of me staying on in Izumo in a direct contract situation with the city, but once the job offer came up in Muroran, I was told "Good luck up there!"

So yeah, it wasn't exactly my first choice.

I had a couple of good friends come down from Muroran and visit me the other day, and after showing them around and introducing them to my friends and generally talking about how great life in Shimane is, one of them said:

"That's something that's always bothered me about you: If you loved living here so much, why did you choose to leave?"

A fair question, which deserved a fair answer. Who knows? Maybe at the time, I should have fought harder to have a chance to stay. But being told what I was told kind of feels like a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind out of you before knocking you right on your ass. I just didn't have the spirit left to fight for it.

Now with me being back online at home, I've been taking a look at some of my Muroran Chronicles posts, and there's some negativity that seeps through. I think at times I must have been more frustrated with myself than anything else.

But saying that...

While I may wish some things had turned out differently, I don't ever regret moving to Hokkaido.

I had some amazing experiences and met some incredible people while I was there, and those experiences and those friends are things I will cherish for my whole life. And most importantly, it's because of where I was that I'm where I am today.

You have to leave to be able to come back.

Sure, not everything is perfect. I wish I was taking home a little more each month. But I get by and still get to do a lot of the things I enjoy.

I'm officially a licensed teacher over here, and I've just been promoted to full-time teacher from "lecturer".

As a good friend of mine said the other day, "A shiny new raise would have been nice to go with the shiny new title."

Truer words have never been spoken.

My apartment's small, cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and I have to keep the dehumidifier on all year round, but it's home.

The love life is sad as always, but the bars in Matsue are nice, and one of them has Guinness on tap and a very nice fish-and-chips meal on the menu.

I've become quite adept at finding silver linings.

Time and distance can bring things into focus, and well, things all told are pretty good.


  1. maybe u can find a nice lady in one of the nice bars in town! Next time I'm in town, I'll help you look!

  2. Don't worry, my house is cold in the winter and hot in the summer too! That's just Japan. And the sweet smell of kerosene...

    I still haven't made it to Hokkaido. Tokyo is as far north as I've gone.

  3. Nice! I haven't made it to Hokkaido yet. Still want to, but man is it expensive traveling here.

    You made me laugh about your apartment. My house is cold in the winter and steamy in the summer. And my dehumidifier is on right now behind me! Don't forget about the sweet smell of kerosene!

  4. Hey Dustin

    Don't worry about being asked that question. I think to appreciate being somewhere you have to leave it for a while and the answer you could give was that you fancied a change. Anyhoo, I'm glad you feel better about your current circumstances, especially as you've put a lot of energy and tim e into making a success of your life in Japan...just look at your language skills...I will never stop being impressed with them..ever!

    If it helps, I find that I miss Shimane too. Don't get me wrong, i knew I had to leave, but I will always miss the fine people I met, and I can't wait to return for a visit.

    I'll let you know when I'm back in town..will be soon...

    Hope all else is well...looking forward to hearing from you, as always!