I’ve mentioned this in some of my blog posts, but I’ve come to believe very strongly that most of our regrets in life aren’t what we did and wish we hadn’t, but what we didn’t do and wish we had.
The best anime about adults tend to dwell on the fact that we build up regrets as we get older, and we’re always carrying them around with us – like a feather-light backpack that grows and grows with the weight of regrets accumulated, becoming a heavier and heavier burden to carry.
- Enzo, Uchuu Kyoudai blog post, Episode #2
Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you did not even know where they were going to be.” In the spirit of all of the above, I’m going to be moving to Tokyo as of October of this year. Take my word for it: this was not a decision I took lightly. It flies in the face of financial safety, and prudence, and probably logic. It constitutes not just a huge change in my life, but a huge gamble as well. But every time I really stopped to consider it, one thought kept repeating itself over in my mind: the longer I waited, the harder this dream was going to be to pursue.
I’ve been astonished by how supportive my friends and family have been, because I frankly expected them to tell me I was nuts for doing this – maybe they think I am (I certainly do sometimes) but they were kind enough to encourage me to follow my bliss. As to what I’m going to be doing in Japan, it amounts to two things for starters – teaching English and learning Japanese. Once I’ve done enough of the latter, my hope is that I’ll be able to start a career in my area of professional expertise (one that will pay more than the meager salary of an English teacher) and allow me to stay in Japan permanently. We’ll see – as it stands, I’ll be there for two years, living like the college student I no longer am. But I’m still young enough to embrace that lifestyle in pursuit of doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing – and the time simply came for me to put up or shut up.
What will this mean for LiA? A good question, and one I don’t feel totally confident in answering because I’m not really sure of anything except that it’s going to be very exciting, and very different. In the short-term, my life is going to be in complete upheaval and there will be times when certain posts will be late, or much shorter than usual. Once I’m settled, it’s going to be a question of how much time I have left after teaching, learning and fulfilling whatever freelance writing jobs I get. On the other hand, I’ll be at the epicenter of the anime universe – a short train ride from Akihabara or Nakano, immersed in the land of Comiket and Cospa and anime on live television and Hosoda Mamoru on the big screen and manga sections in bookstores bigger than most American bookstores in their entirety. Most exciting for LiA, I’ll be able to offer first-hand observations as an idiot abroad, a gaijin perspective in Tokyo, in addition to my usual ramblings on anime and manga. And at least I’ll always know exactly how to introduce myself.
My state of mind at the moment is far too complicated to categorize, but more than anything I’m overwhelmed by all there is to do. I’m also nervous, and restless, and indescribably excited about getting on a plane for Tokyo on a one-way ticket at last. I’m fully aware that living in a city – or country – is a totally different experience than visiting, and that Japan will confound and surprise me at every turn. Bring it on, I say – for me every day in Japan is like being a kid again, because there’s so little I can take for granted – even shopping for toothpaste and figuring out the garbage collection is a new experience. I wouldn’t miss any of it for the world. Stay tuned for more updates interspersed with the usual blog content and get ready for an exciting ride. Oh, and if you have a decent apartment in Tokyo to rent, cheap – drop me a line.