Happy New Year! My decade in a nutshell


Akinori is watching Sara in the living room as I shirk mother responsibilities while sitting in the kitchen waiting for my brownies to bake and pretending to busy cleaning. I’m typing this on my iPod Touch which is why it is so very handy. No need to actually sit at the computer where hubs could see me very obviously shirking mother responsibilities. It’s nice to have these few moments to myself though from the sound of it, or lack thereof really, he has gotten Sara to take a nap and found some peace and quiet for himself. Because if she’s still awake and being this quiet then I really think we ought to seriously consider switching roles. This whole brownie making thing isn’t going to well either. It’s just Betty Crocker’s way of laughing in my face, telling me her brownie mix is so simple to make and then watching me screw it up. I obviously don’t have a hope in hell of even stepping on Betty’s shadow, let alone be her. Ah well let’s see Betty shimmy and undulate her belly around the local Indian restaurant some time!

Speaking of belly dancing, I am going to start teaching a class or two at the dance studio where I held the workshops last month. I’m not sure how I feel about that as I really have a problem with authority and don’t like to be employed, but getting paid no matter how many students do or do not show up is a very attractive prospect. I suppose I can always quit after awhile if it doesn’t work out, but I don’t want to screw up my relationship with the older couple who own the studio. They have been very kind to me so far and I’d like to use the studio in the future again for workshops and such. They offered to rent the studio to me instead of paying me to give lessons, but then I would have to pay for the studio regardless of how many students show up and I don’t think I would actually end up making very much money at all if any. They also want me to teach their son English and offered to pay me ¥3000 an hour to do so, but I would rather lick my cat’s ass than teach English. I know it’s almost like throwing away good money but unless we are really down and out for cash, I just cannot teach English. I think teaching English is a very respectable way to earn a living, if that’s what you want to be doing. I have taught enough English though to know that I HATE teaching it. End of story.

I’ve seen this on other blogs and thought I might try it too. I’ll bet it’s going to be long though because I have a lot of trouble keeping my posts to a reader-friendly length if you haven’t noticed already. It’s my blog though and I’ll write as much as I damn well please!

So here we go:
2000 – Ring in the new century at home in bed with the flu. Dating and living with Tadashi. Visit England for the 1st time in March/April. Go back to Chicago for brother’s wedding in May. Finish 3 years as an ALT in Osaka city in July and move out of my JET apartment in the city to the house that Tadashi bought with his ex-wife, who he was still married to when we started dating 2 years earlier, though I did not know this at the time (should have known then that he would be a total fucker). The house is in Hirakata (aka The Middle of Fucking Nowhere Osaka). Went home to Chicago for most of July and August and had a lovely little fling with Des from Dublin, prompting me to realize what an arsehole Tadashi truly was. Came back to Japan and started working for a trading company in September, that neither imported nor exported a single item in the entire time I worked there. Went home for best friend’s wedding and short visit with Des in beginning of November. Fed up with the long, incredibly painful commute to work and my asshole boyfriend I moved out of his house and back into the city at end of November. Once all of my stuff was out of the house, I tried to break up with him in December. Did not work out as planned.

2001 – Start dating a whole slew of boys, all with their own dramas. Finally manage to break up with Tadashi. He stalks me for awhile. Waits outside my apartment, threatens guys coming over, calls me drunk, threatens suicide, etc. Total nightmare. Have lost a ton of weight due to stress. Quit the non-trading trading company in March. Go home for 2 weeks as Gran is very sick. Come back and start teaching company English classes in April. Get hired as an interptreter at the East Asian games. Meet Kohda-san who takes a liking to me and introduces me to his friend the director of a chain of a chain of private high schools. Start dating small time DJ Kiyo in September. Gran passes away on September 9, on a plane to Chicago on September 10, next day Twin Towers are attacked. Very scary! Mom and dad come to visit for the 2nd time in November. Appear on a local Kansai late-night TV show on a panel of foreign women mostly talking about dating Japanese men and sex.

2002 – Start working at one of the high schools managed by Kohda-san’s friend in April. Had no idea it was the worst high school in the city. Kiyo starts DJing at bigger clubs and events. Lots of drinking and merry-making. Kiyo and I break up in August. Lose lots of weight again. Go to Tokyo to watch the National High School Drama club finals as I’m co-supporter of school’s drama club and stay on a few more days to visit with Shun, who I met at East Asian games and fall totally and utterly in love with him. Stay with him until the day before I leave for England to visit friends. Go to France next for friend’s wedding. Meet and start casually dating Hiro in October. Go to Tokyo again for filming of national TV show about dating and sex, “Koi no Kara Sawagi”. Stay with Shun for the weekend I’m there, and ready to choose him over Hiro, but Shun decides he’s not into it, so I go back to Osaka and Hiro. On the same local TV show again about dating and sex, though worried about how many of my students and other teachers will be watching the program over winter vacation. Go snowboarding in Hokkaido, and break my leg on December 31st.

2003 – Ring in the New Year in the hospital with a broken leg. Lots of hoopla about my TV appearances at school. On crutches for the next 6 weeks or so. Grandpa dies in April, 7 months to the day of Grams death. Go home for the funeral. Hiro is so busy I almost never see him. Meet and start dating Satoshi in May, break up with Hiro in July, when I finally have a chance to do it in person. Break up with Satoshi in August or September, and get back together with Hiro a few days after. Take 1st belly dance class in October. Appear on “Koi-no-Kara Sawagi” again. Mom and dad visit again in November. First public performance in December. Celebrate New Year’s eve with friends as Hiro is unavailable, walk into a club and find him completely drunk and passed out with some cheap hostesses. Blow out fight. Break up.

2004 – Have slowly been gaining weight over the last few years, but totally into belly dancing, although it unfortunately seemed to have no effect on my weight. One of my best friends breaks up with her sugar daddy boyfriend and decides to move to Ishigaki-jima, Okinawa. Go to visit her for 2 weeks in March/April and another friend in Miyako-jima for a few days. Have a great time, despite typhoons. Place my profile on Yahoo Personals Japan, but take it down 2 days later as was scared off by 160 e-mails I received over 2 days. However amongst those was a message or 2 from Akinori. Start dating Darren, a friend of my friend, Rob, who has just arrived from Oz a few months earlier. Go to Okinawa again in August. Have completely life changing experience in a cave on Miyako-jima and decide to quit my job as I hate it with a passion. First solo belly dance performance at end of August. Break up with Darren in September. Appear on “Koi-no-Kara-Sawagi” again in October. Move into swanky downtown Osaka apartment with Rob in November.

2005 – Start dating Brazillian stallion Carlos, living in Mie prefecture, in February. Tell principal I’m quitting job in February. Hear through the grapevine USJ is looking for a foreigner to fill a position in the entertainment department. Interview and get the job. Go back to America for 2 weeks at end of March/beginning of April before starting. Big birthday party in May to celebrate age 30. The end of fun for awhile as work gets so busy I end up not being able to go out or see friends for months. Relationship with Carlos fizzles out. Living arrangements with Rob not working out for various reasons (would love to rant about that one day). He moves out in July, I move to swanky, older, cheaper apartment in August. Working an average of 14 hour days, with 1-2 days off a month until November. November comes and find myself without friends or lovers so once again put my profile up on Yahoo Personals Japan. Akinori writes me the next day saying he never looks at the site, but for some reason decided to that day, and there I was and he sent me messages last time but I never responded, and then just disappeared, and that he hoped I responded this time, and that he had seen me on TV before. Decide to write him back this time. Sent mail back and forth for nearly 2 months and spoke on the phone for the 1st time on Christmas. Spent 4 hours on the phone.

2006 – Went to Australia for 2 weeks mid-January to visit friend. Kept in touch with Akinori everyday via e-mail. He decided to meet me at the airport when I came back. Spent the weekend in Osaka with me and told me he wanted to marry me someday. Went to Tokyo for a week on a business trip in February and Akinori came and stayed with me in my little business hotel room. Went to meet his sister in Saitama before going back to Osaka and Nagano. My parents come to Japan in April and meet Akinori. Akinori sent 100 white roses to my home and a Tiffany ring to my desk at work on my birthday in May. Knew for sure I was keeping this one! Went to Nagano to meet the parents and family in July. Am once again hating work and ask to switch positions at beginning of November. Engaged in November at a lovely French restaurant in Karuizawa.

2007 – My wish is granted to switch positions at work at end of January. Go to Nagano in February, Akinori’s grandmother dies while I’m there. Start attending interpreting school in April. Married on paper at Suzaka city hall in Nagano on 7/7/7. Go home in September with Akinori to introduce him to the family. Start planning wedding in Hawaii for January 08. Appear on a local late-night Kansai TV program, no sex talk.

2008 – Find out best friend at work has been trying to get me fired. Totally stressed from wedding planning and devastated from news. Off to Hawaii in January anyway for fabulous wedding and honeymoon. Huge wedding party in Osaka in February, but living a nightmare at work everyday. Regular spot on monthly local TV program. Wedding party in Nagano in March, get pregnant a few weeks later. Am finally found innocent of whatever former best friend had accused me of, and she is fired. Phew! Still miserable at work though as can no longer discern between friend and foe and looking forward to the move to Nagano. Quit work at end of September, moved to Nagano mid-October and 8 months pregnant. Sara Sylvie born December 18th.

2009 – Mom and dad come for a 2 week visit early in January. Find house available for rent in much better location than where living, and for much cheaper. Move end of May. Start teaching belly dance in June. Go home for entire month of September. Akinori comes for a few days in the middle. Hospitalized at end of October with severe mastitis, stop breastfeeding. First belly dance workshops and show in December. Sara turns 1. We start trying for number 2.

In that first 8 years there was copious amounts of alcohol consumed and many minor men not worth mentioning (whose names I probably couldn’t remember anyway). But I can’t believe how clearly I remember these last 10 years. Especially since the 10 before are such a blur and I don’t think I could sum them up even if I tried. Well, brownies are a mess, but done and I need to get myself and Sara ready to go off to the in-laws for the evening. Happy New Year everyone!


About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

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