After several weeks of waiting and much “should I or shouldn’t I” but very little action with regard to looking for a “Plan B” job, I finally have a location placement, a contract, and a start date for my new life.
The company I’ll be working for has offered to place me at their branch school in a suburb of Tokyo called Hachioji. It’s on the Western outskirts of the city, right where a small mountain range begins. There will be one other foreign teacher, (perhaps we’ll be friends?), and my classes will consist of 2/3 adults and 1/3 little kids, which seems like a great ratio for me. I love kids, but have perilously little experience with them in any situation, so it’s hard to know what my “Wheels on The Bus” singing threshold will be. Best to start small and work my way up.
I was given about 5 days to research the place and think about whether to take the placement or not. I asked 3 people currently or formerly residing in Japan, none of whom knew anything about the place beyond seeing the name on signs as the train blows through the station. I checked out the Wikipedia entry, which gave me population figures, climate, and all of that, but which mainly covered some eye opening occurrences there during the war and potential lingering anti-American sentiments. I looked at the Google satellite map of the place, and that was ultimately the deciding factor. It has the best of both worlds. To the East is dense, pulsing, massive Tokyo – only 45 mins to downtown on the train per my recruiter. But to the West I saw green! Hillsides, parks, subdivisions, and even what might have been a rice paddy or two. That could be my imagination, but I like to think there will be some there that I can gawk at. I didn’t give a second thought to the talk of residual hostility from the war. I can’t imagine how a suburb of such an international metropolis could be any more or less hostile than any other part. Sure, I’m told there will be people who will actually get up and move when I sit down beside them on the train, but that is anywhere in the country – not just Hachioji.
The only real drawback I could see is that the start date is not until May. Here it is January, and I’ve already been kicking around little Xenia, OH for over 3 months. My natural hibernation leanings are getting worse. Many days I do not leave the house at all, and that’s just fine with me. It worries me that that’s just fine with me. There are a number of things I could do, even without leaving the house – write my novel, organize my room, help my parents purge some junk – but like a sponge, my laziness soaks up entire days where little is accomplished beyond reading the paper and going to the gym. Fabulous for 3 months, crazy-making for 7.
Now I’m looking for an interim job to fill up some of those months and also keep my bank account from bleeding dry. Ideally a nice freelance gig in LA, because it will pay far better than anything here and will give me an excuse to go back and visit. I had a brief nibble of one, but it slipped away while I waited to hear about my Japanese future. Not exactly “the universe conspiring to help me” but I have to assume there is some reason why that wasn’t the best thing for me. In the meantime, I am Facebooking like a fiend, letting everyone know I’m on the market again.