Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Break

So, I'm afraid I'm in something of a dry spell with my writing at the moment. I am not entirely sure why this is the case, but I find the more I obsess about "why", the more frustrated I get. So, I'll just try to accept that this is a lull in my writing and move from there.

Tonight is the last evening of Winter Break, our four-day weekend. The vacation was 100% needed, and came at precisely the right time. Though it went by quickly, the rest was what I feel I'll need to make it to the end of March, when I'll fly to Thailand with the Seniors for a week, followed by a week off for Spring Break. I'm expecting a busy month.

Yesterday, I set aside my entire afternoon for a bike ride on my own. It was a sunny, if slightly cool day and perfect for aimless biking. My intent had been to get lost in the side streets of Tokyo and then have to work really hard to find my way back to Higashi Kurume. Unfortunately, I discovered that it is much more difficult to get totally lost than I had previously thought. I tried to stay mostly on side streets to avoid the railroad tracks, signs and other clues as to my whereabouts. Of course, this meant taking dozens of odd turns and curves, so I soon lost track of which way I was biking (which I thought was working toward my goal). After maybe half an hour of biking, I crossed a river and biked up a steep hill, only to find myself on Suido-Doro, a main road in Niiza (a city located the exact opposite of the direction I had started biking in). So, I biked aimlessly (I thought) around Niiza, only to find myself in Kiyose. At that point, I reconciled myself to just biking down new roads in those cities, and if I happened to get lost then it would be an unexpected bonus.

All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon and a far cry from the first time I ever biked alone in Japan (that time, I took a wrong turn in the first 5 minutes and was lost for an hour--I considered it a minor miracle that I ever made it to school that day).

Also, this evening I went to sushi with a few friends. It had been months since we last went out to sushi as a group; months since we'd really done anything as a group. Having other young teachers around--a peer group--was one of the highlights of my life during the last school-year: going out to sushi, udon, yaki niku, Reno's, getting together for karaoke nights... these activities were simply part of the fabric of life last year, and I loved it.

Something changed this year, and we simply haven't been getting together as a group that much. Several of my friends are leaving after this school-year. "The group", at least as it was last year, has all but dissolved.

I've been through so many changes of scenery since I first came to Japan that this doesn't surprise me much, but it still sucks to go through, especially after feeling so content last year, feeling for the first time since high school that I had a good group of friends. What's the expression? 'Easy come, easy go'... but it's not easy; will never be easy.

I crave relationship, and I don't mean relationship like "in a relationship". I mean, I crave having friends around me; people I can trust and invest in and who will trust me and invest in me. I cannot help but wonder if I can achieve that in a setting that sometimes feels like it has a revolving door. I'm thankful for the CAJ long-timers--the mentors, those older than me who encourage and invest in me, and I am looking forward to one day doing the same for others... but man, I need a group of friends my age.

I'm surrounded by people day in, day out, so why do I feel lonely so much of the time?

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