Thursday, June 7, 2007

Am I on My Last Lap in Japan?

A week or so ago, I signed a new contract with my school. It runs out on March 21st of next year. It actually ends earlier than it should because my 3-year work visa runs out in April 2008. A short contract, contingent (as my boss told me) on my plans... and the school's plans.

Which means I possibly have only 10 months left here in Japan. And I know from experience how quickly 10 months can slip by. It's been just over a year since I returned and it feels more like 3 months. Or 90 days.

During my remaining time, I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can and do as many things as I can remember I initially planned to do when I first came to this country. But I also need to plan ahead for the inevitable final day.

I'm still enjoying Japan itself, but I have to admit I'm a bit burned out on teaching English. The days go by too quickly and have a built-in sameness to them. My bosses are still treating me well, and the students are still fun to be around.

As a teacher, I'm not so hot. I know that- it's not false modesty. I think everyone's pretty much forgiven my shortcomings. However, many years ago, I rejected teaching as a profession for some good reasons. Teaching English in Japan isn't exactly like teaching at a 2-year college in the States, or subbing at some high school or other there, but it is teaching.

As much as I love living in Japan, maybe teaching English is no longer the best career for me. And my Japanese skills aren't advanced enough for me to look for other types of jobs, nor will it be by the time my 10 months stumble across the finish line and face-plant just past it, breathing hard and dripping sweat.

On the other hand... what else is there for me to do now but teach English in Japan? Take the civil service exam and become a letter carrier? I'm too old for the military, too old to become a cop. I'm done with piddling, uncreative graphic design jobs for practically no money, being screamed at and otherwise verbally abused by small business owners and bipolar supervisors. Besides, I'm behind the tech curve in that industry.

Cubicles and telephones... yuck. Dumpy apartments and lunches at Taco Bell... yuck.

Ten months to figure all this out!


RAB said...

I think I understand how you feel -- I was in a similar position when I realized had to come back to the States from living in England. The differences in our respective situations surely outweigh the similarities, but they're just close enough that I can extrapolate your position, and appreciate how jarring the possibility of coming back to America must feel.

If you do come swing by New York City, we hang out at the comic shop on St. Marks Place (despite the location it's all American stuff), we have lots of drinks, we plan our future fame and fortune in comics. So there's something to look forward to, right?

Joel Bryan said...

Hey, that's not a bad idea!