a The Transit Lounge: October 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...

Tuesday, October 19

The Wrong Side of The Tracks

For so long, I lived my life on the right side of the tracks - for 24 years, 364 days to be exact. I was young, carefree and never once stopped to look back. I was living my life on the right side of 25.

But all this changed in one horrible, and somewhat drunken, instant last year...My 25th birthday. No matter how hard I tried to ignore its coming and the impending doom I associated with it, there was no escaping what October 23, 2003 would do to me. And that was to make me not only another year older, but to thrust me forward into an age bracket - wanted or not - where I am supposed to be somewhat responsible for myself, somehow on track in realising my goals and ambitions, and somewhere in life where I can look back with a positive reflection of my life and schievements thus far.

Not true.

After spending almost one year in what can only be described as some sort of limbo, (the limbo of being 25, the limbo of trying to kid yourself with "Well at least I'm not 26", the limbo of not wanting to let go of the past, the limbo of trying to face a new, older future with both eyes open), I will officially be living life on the wrong side of the tracks.

Growing up, the age of 25 represented a target age to me - I just knew that by age 25, I would be sorted and on my way - to where I didn't know but I never put too much thought into that, because at 25, I would be sorted! It was just going to magically happen.

Even as I turned 21, closing the gap between me and 25, I still didn't worry too much. Hell I had 4 more years ahead of me, and I just knew that time, somehow it would all fall into place. I would grow up somewhere within that, and BOOM, it would all be miraculously worked out once I hit 25.

Then in a moment of incredulity not too long after 24 hit me, I came to the understanding that I was probably not going to be sorted in any of the ways I had previously associated with turning 25. In fact, I was probably going to be less sorted than what I was at 21, and definitely less certain about what my future would bring me than at 18 as a highschool graduate! All of a sudden the conviction and assurance with what I would live my life from my 25th birthday forward, grasped the very real situation that I would not make good use of them yet, and instead tragedy and self-doubt revealed themselves as my new companions for the unsettling and scary future.

At least champaigne and tequila shots helped make my acquaintance with these new and unexpected feelings a little easier (and difficult to remember). By the time I woke up the day after my birthday, I felt like we were old friends.

It has taken me the last year to understand that your life does not simply work itself out. There is no special age where the meaning of life is revealed in all its glory so that life is one easy ride from there on. Life will always present a series of challenges and questions that cannot always be answered right away, but you can use your past experience to help you handle them in the best possible way. Errors will be made no matter how old you get - maybe it is just a matter of using your own life knowledge not to make the same mistake twice but instead to make progress to enrich yourself. I do know one thing, that 25 has become an age of reflection for me and that is how I will forever see myself at this age, and in realising this in itself, in a way, it has been the age when I have finally figured it out - and that is that you can never fully figure it out.

Well, I am still on the right side of 30, my new "target" age, for at least another 4 years and 4 days anyway. The difference is, this time I am chasing my dreams, instead of waiting for them to come to me - and although it was a little belated, conviction and assurance are here to help see in birthday number 26 on Saturday.

Sunday, October 17

Where's The Party?

Cliff: How's my perm?
Liz: Is my hair big enough? Do I need more hairspray?Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13

Words of Wisdom

Being a little off put by my spate of dud dates, I wrote to my "back-up buddy" to tell him of my woes. Besides that, he is one of my greatest mates, spawned out of a crazy 6 months together in Townsville. I can always count on him for sound advice... - there is a reason I made a pact to marry this guy...

"hey babe,
sounds like you've had a rough time. I tend to agree with you on one point. Men are the same no matter where they come from but let me let you in on a little secret.
Men are constantly thinking with the wrong head (i'm sure you know what i mean), until something happens. Here's the secret.... until they find the lady of there dreams they are men... when they meet that person they turn into Gentlemen... the most sweet, caring and sensitive people you will ever meet. However, in saying that, women think the same way and if a gentlemen gets the hard end, well, then he turns into the coldest person you will ever meet.
It is only when that man meets the lady of his dreams and vice versa that you get true love.... scary hey.
you know i love you"

Benny, I love you too!

Monday, October 11

Where's Dexter When I Need Him?

I am about as close to understanding men as I am physics - it's never going to happen. After an interesting night with a "date", I am even more confused now than the semester I spent in Mr. Klindworth's year 10 physics class.

Earlier today, I recalled the other guys I had gone on proper dates with since living here in Japan and came to the conclusion that the dating game best be played when I eventually leave this country.

Suitor number 1 was a Japanese-Brazillian guy who seemed quite okay until I didn't return a couple of phonecalls. The reason I hadn't done so because I wasnt in the country didnt matter. The evening upon my return, I bumped into him at a bar, where he promptly began telling me that he was dying on the inside from my display of coldness. In a matter of minutes and a few martinis downed on his behalf during this time, his story changed somewhat to that he was literally dying and so he wouldn't need me anyway.

I decided to give Suitor Number 2, another Japanese/Brazillian, the big no go based on his reaction to seeing me having a drink with a male friend and that was to pull up a chair opposite me, grab the girl next to him and start pashing her before me. My mate and I looked at each other, grabbed our drinks and changed our positions at the bar. The irony of it was, just 5 minutes before I had been saying I wasn't too sure about this guy. All my mate could say was "Looks like the decision has been made a lot easier!"

When I met suitor number 3 and discovered that he was not only from Melbourne, but from the same area as me, I took it as a good omen. He was kind of cute, but most importantly to me, he was really funny. So when he said he would like me to sign a relationship contract as a way of cementing our "relationship" I laughed - hard. When I calmed down enough to realise he wasn't laughing with me, that he was in deed holding paperwork, I knew the joke was over as was my association with him. The fact that he told me this was how he had handled all his previous relationships, and that there were women (in Melbourne!) who had actually signed his contracts really, really freaked me out.

So When suitor number 4, a Japanese guy, asked me out a few months ago, I said no, being a little wary. I ran into him occasionally, he kept asking and I kept saying no. But a few weeks ago when he came into the bar and asked me out again, I thought "Why not? 10 points for persistence". First 3 dates were great!

You might understand why I decided Tequila was going to be my best bet last night, when I found out he has a girlfriend. Kind of shattering, especially as I found out while he holding my hand and telling the guy sitting opposite me. Mortification, utter embarrassment and completely stupid are probably the best words to describe how I felt at that instant.

Not the kind of 4th date revelation I was expecting but all of a sudden his comment earlier in the night asking me not to refer to his ex girlfriend like that, as in "ex", made sense. (Stay with me here, I was a little hungover from Saturday night so my "Up and Go" receptors were not functioning 100%). As far I as I knew, he and his girlfriend had broken up a few months ago when she went back home to the UK.

"Totally tragic" was how a friend summed it up tonight, and I have to agree. Im giving dating the flick, before it can do me over anymore! I can say I did learn one thing from last night thought - Men are the same no matter where they come from!

Wednesday, October 6

Split Second Decisions

We all have those moments in life that leave us thinking about what the consequences would have been had we have done something slightly differentl. Recently a number of things have happened to those around me, which has left my friends and I thinking hard about our actions, and the outcomes that occur as a result.

There have been countless occasions when I have been riding my bike around Osaka and thought about crossing the road, then changing my mind for whatever reason, only to then find myself counting my lucky stars as I realise I would have been totalled by a car blitzing through a red light - as by the book the Japanese usually are, red traffic signals are often ignored.

Which was the reason why in the early hours of last Friday morning, while going home in a taxi, I was witness to a horrific car accident on one of the main roads of Minami. I could not believe what I had seen. Less than 5 minutes earlier, I had been laughing with my mates over Jagermeister shots, having a grand time, and now I was possibly seeing people dying before my very eyes. I could not comprehend how quickly things happen, how in simply an instant, your life can change forever. I also got to thinking how that those involved in the accident may have been doing the same as me. Maybe merely moments before they too had been in the company of good friends bringing a fun evening to an end, never ever thinking that literally just around the corner some lives would cease forever and others would be changed infinitely.

If had of let Troy talk me into having "1 more" shot after the 1 more I had already knocked back, I would have missed the accident entirely, and not be any wiser to it having happened. And maybe the same kind of philosophy can be applied to the occupants of both cars. There are a lot of "what ifs" involved in a situation like this, which I guess you can really get stuck on if you allow yourself. I know how much I keep thinking about it and I am a bystander. I can't imagine what the victims themselves are going through.

The same kind of thought process has been going through many of my mates in the last week or so also, as a result of a terrible accident involving another acquaintance. After a big day/evening watching the AFL Final at one of the pubs here, he was waiting for a train early Sunday morning. Nobody is sure exactly how it happened, but he was standing too close to the edge of the platform, and his head fell forward in front of the oncoming train pulling into the station. Suffering massive and horrendous head injuries, it is a miracle he survived the impact, only now 10 days later to still be in a coma, with terrible brain swelling and a 50/50 chance of pulling through. Even so, if he does wake up, and it is a huge if, the prognosis is certainly not good.

Like I said before, nobody knows for sure what happened. Even if it were possible, I'm not sure Luke would be able to say either. Perhaps a silly stumble caused by being drunk? One of those stupid ideas that would only come to somebody only when they are drunk - maybe he thought he would play a kind of game or prank?

As a result, he will never be the same - and neither will the lives of his family or friends. I guess it doesn't really matter now anyway for it has happened, although nothing will not stop the "what ifs" for those around him.

I am trying to make some sort of sense of what has happened the last week, and I haven't been able to. All I know for sure is that life around us will still go on no matter what happens, even if some wish it wouldn't and for some it won't. The sun will still go down and then come up again, new days will keep on dawning - and whether we will be there to see them may well come down to a split second decision.

Sunday, October 3

Tis The Season To Be Busy

I am going to get stuck back into blogging this week. Dad has been here for the last 2 weeks and we went travelling around Japan, so I have been on the go go go....