a The Transit Lounge: April 2004

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Friday, April 30

Hissey Fit Action

I am about to have the hissey fit to end all hissey fits.

At this stage I am still not even 100% sure why this is so, but quite possibly the most annoying thing about it all is that there will be no-one around who gets it, which in my opinion lessens the effectiveness of a hissey fit considerably - I mean what's the point in all this show if there is no audience??

Let me back track for you (just a question of whether or not I begin at the dawn of this day, this week, this month or this year). Okay, maybe I am being melodramatic but I am attempting to create a picture for you as to the reasons behind the rising 'hisseyness' within me - I am fairly certain that hisseyness is not a word but I use it to encompass that mass jumble of tears, hysteria, foot stamping and pouting, that accompanies any decent outburst - or at least any I have ever thrown, which I know some of you have been fortunate (and fairly amused) to observe.

To be honest, I guess the homesickness isn't helping. And a previous weekend that almost extended the full 72 hours from what was supposed to be a quiet Friday night running a fundraiser, to ending covered in an Aussie flag whilst lying in the middle of Sakaisuji at 4am Monday morning, has done little to settle the emotional state of mind - although it was sooooo much fun. At least it looked like fun in the photos.

Put this together with a rock solid call to give up cigarettes, alcohol and banned substances of any description, when upon waking at 10am Monday morning I felt I was going to severely struggle to get through my meager 2 hour working day and, even in the foggy stupor I was in, realising that in itself was just bloody ridiculous (considering I have the easiest schedule of any foreigner claiming to teach English in Japan).

It is fair to say the little things are beginning to rattle me. I feel like something has started pulling at the cotton within me, bit by bit I am becoming less, and if I don't cut the thread somewhere, with one not-so-strong-tug, I will unravel completely into one ginormous heaving hissey fit that I might not recover from.

Take for instance the virus I found on my laptop this morning. Normally I could handle selecting the 'clean/delete infected file' without a second thought but it took 2 teary phone calls to a person in Oz who can only be described as my rock during such dramas, to get that mouse clicking. Then came the misplaced diskette 2 minutes later, containing my resume. Once again, another frenzied phone call back to The Rock, who now should actually be called My Savior, as he had happened to back up all my files on his rescue mission to Japan earlier this year (the rescue-me-from-myself mission as it turned out to be).

Coming into work this afternoon, I recoiled in horror when I learned that I was expected to do an insane workload of about 30 hours this week - an exact 300% increase on what the norm. When I claimed that these abnormally high hours would conflict with my current schedule and was questioned over exactly what it would interfere with, I winced as I suddenly became conscious of how utterly preposterous the word 'sleep' would sound in response.

And that is when I felt it - as I was crumbling on the inside, the first, acute signs of what seemed like the inevitable hissey fit coming on, as though I had been slapped in the face - or was about to do some slapping anyway.

Somehow in someway, sitting here on the blog has managed to calm me down and sort through my thoughts in a more rational way. I mean c'mon, hurling a hissey fit amongst the safe confines of friends is one thing - doing it in front of constantly masked Japanese work colleagues who would rather eat razor blades than go to such extremes to vent in the workplace, is another.

(Also, perhaps it is better for me that they remain blissfully ignorant to this side of their smiley and seemingly 100% genki friend)

And besides - I just don't think throwing a hissey fit would be so much fun without getting the reaction it deserved.


Wednesday, April 28

To Come Home Or Not To Come Home? - That is the Question

I have been really homesick of late - and the Anzac Day celebrations of the past Sunday did not make me feel any better about being away from home, although it did certainly fuel my desire to drink loads and get hammered along with the rest of the Aussie and Kiwi contingent of Osaka. In fact, it meant I was only more than happy to accompany my friends from bar to bar, draped in an Aussie Flag and ordering overpriced VBs from the venues smart enough to know we would not mind paying through the roof for them, as long as we thought it was in the Anzac Spirit, and that we were somehow doing our nation and the Diggers of old, proud.

But back to the homesickness I am feeling. What a condition, and what a host of endless questions and what ifs, I find it brings with it. I am learning from all the foreigners around me that it affects us all on different levels. There are those who are simply able to ignore it - like my flatmate, who says the less contact he has with those back home, the better it is on the homesick front. Or there are the ones, who fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol, will be sobbing horrendously into their beers, deciding that they need to make that call back to Iceland on your mobile phone there and then, no matter the cost to you, or the time difference. Some people have their off days, make a quick email back home and are right back on track, whereas other people will constantly compare everything back to home (with nothing ever being as good) - these are the people you feel like telling to sod off and go back to whereever they came from, which they invariably end up doing as they wereb't having so much fun anyway.

When it came to myself, I suddenly became aware of the fact that things were a little bit on the so-so side and had been for a while, although I couldn't figure out why, because I was (and still am) enjoying my lifestyle, my friends and my happenings in Japan. I am a person who will 99% of the time know what is affecting me and why I am acting a certain way or giving off a particular vibe. But lately, I had found myself having these off-days and not being able to pinpoint the cause of these feelings...

Until recently that is. About 2 months ago, a friend came back to my house and started asking questions about the photos on my walls - how could they not, I mean my walls are covered with pics of my family, my friends, my pets ==> my life back home in Australia. It was then, talking about everybody that I realised that it wasn't just my life back Oz, but the life back home in Oz that I love and that I dearly miss.

Which brings me to the question at hand. To Come Home Or Not To Come Home?

As I sit here, typing away on my computer, with Crowded House blaring out of the stereo, eating vegemite on toast, surrounded by Collingwood posters on the wall (my flatmate's, not mine - I'm a Hawthorn supporter), an Australian flag hanging across the window in place of a curtain, and a phone that plays Men At Work's Land Down Under everytime someone calls it, I wonder why I was so frantic to get away from my life as it was in Oz, as it seems I am almost just as desperate to have these reminders of home continuously surrounding me.

Don't worry - the irony is not lost on me.

Going home would certainly solve the problem of homesickness immediately, but am I ready to do it? This is something I have asked myself over and over of late, and I have come to the conclusion that going home would leave me with a kind of reverse home sickness for Japan, by leaving before having accomplished what I came here to do.

And what is it that I came here to do? Soft option I know, but that is best saved for another Blog. For the time being, I will make do with the wonderful mementos around me and dream of a possible short holiday home in the future. Because I feel for myself, it is better to stay here and deal with this homesickness, than to go home not having dealt with any of the reasons why I left in the first place.


Tuesday, April 27

Welcome to The Transit Lounge

...And welcome to my life. Where do I begin? ==> I am under the impression I am pressing play for everyone else halfway through the movie or something - I am a little lost, not only as to where to begin with this blogging site, but also as to the direction I am heading with my life (yes a cliché I know, but I sometimes feel I am one big cliché...).

My hopes? My dreams? My future? Well I am no Anne Frank and find that I am already living a future that does not include any of my previous hopes and dreams (remember in high school, at the start of the year in English class, you would usually have to write some assignment on this topic, and hand it in to the teacher or read it out loud.... well every year mine included something about becoming a veterinarian or a marine biologist, and owning four dogs - 2 Airedales, a Saint Bernard and a Giant Schnauzer - and I am about as close to realising any of these, as I am to the moon).

Well apart from one, I guess - living in Japan, which was an idea more than a dream or hope, that was born a little over 12 months ago out of the frustration and sadness of a broken heart and a desire to runaway from home Dorothy style as fast as possible (I even have the red ruby slippers, thanks to Quick Brown Fox. Sometimes when I am drunk I click my heels together and say 'There’s No Place Like Home' and then open my eyes, to find I am back at the bar, ordering another Gin and Tonic - who said it would never work?!).

I got the idea to call my blogging site The Transit Lounge from a Japanese music magazine. The Japanese have this habit of stringing together a bunch of English words and including them in articles and advertisements, even if they make no sense or don't relate in anyway, really more so just for the sake of appearances. About 6 weeks ago, I was on the subway, reading over somebody's shoulder, which is quite ironic since I can't read Kanji or katakana (only hiragana, which seems to be is used the least) and I saw the words 'Transit Lounging' on a page and they leapt out at me, immediately striking a chord within.

On the spot, I came to the conclusion that those particular words sum up the location I would best use to metaphorically describe where I am in life now, and where I have been for awhile. Stuck in an airport transit lounge somewhere, in between destinations, still going over the previous trip, recalling the good with the bad, and deciding on how to make the next journey better whilst waiting for that call over the loud speaker letting me know that boarding for the next adventure of my life is about to begin...

My only problem is, I am so uncertain about my final destination, that maybe I am waiting at the wrong boarding gate.