Why is he so sad when he has a beer? (Maneki neko statue at a Japanese grocery in San Francisco's Japantown)
It's been two years and eight months since I walked away from my Japan blogs. I'm not sure that I am back "for good" or on nearly as consistent a basis as before, but I am sure that there are some experiences I want to share both with any of my readers who may check in from time to time and for the sake of my deeply exploring and remembering my own experiences. I continue to believe that my writing, photographing, and talking in detail helps me remember and be more present with even the smallest of experiences.
Before I get to the purpose of this particular post, I'll say that my life has been very chaotic since returning to the U.S. and one of the reasons I think I'm ready to come back to writing here is that things finally settled down about a year and a half ago. I'm very poor at making long stories short. In fact, my greatest strength and weakness is at making short stories longer than necessary, but I'll try not to belabor my short history since leaving Japan.
My husband and I moved seven times in the five years that we have been back in the United States. This was after having lived in Tokyo for 23 years and not having moved once. We aren't the sort of people who are comfortable with such upheaval and it was very stressful. We also found our support systems limited for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I have no family and few friends on the West Coast to assist in things like moving. Since I was born in the Northeast, this is no shock. What few friends I had from a brief stint of living in the Bay Area from 1988-1989 had largely moved or (sadly) passed away.
During our five years back, we have not only experienced what people call "reverse culture shock," but also the sense that we'd dropped out of time for over two decades and popped back up into a new "America." While we rode the wave of change in Japan, we were oblivious to how Americans had changed, and boy howdy, had they changed. What is more, it was not pretty from our perspective. This difficulty was coupled with the loss of our Japanese working life and a great deal of economic upheaval which left investing in such trivialities as Japanese snacks a very stressful endeavor. I rarely made enough money from blogging to cover the cost of my snacks in Japan, and they are greatly more expensive here in the U.S. Buying such things only compounded my sense that we were blowing our hard-earned savings to no economic advantage and I found it hard to enjoy the expeiences.
Fortunately, my husband's career change is now complete and our situation is stabilized. I am now in a position to indulge a bit and consider finding new avenues to access an old love - Japanese food. I also feel that I'm now in a similar position to a lot of my readers in this regard as many of them have no access to local shops for Japanese food either. That being said, there are definitely more trivial Japanese food items in stores than expected, even in relatively isolated and rural places. Speaking of which, I am now living in a very remote place in Northern California. Few people have less access than me so, if I can find ways to buy Japanese treats from where I am and share them, almost anyone can have the foods I am reviewing.
So, I am back for a bit, and I have a pile of things to review, though I'm not likely to ever review with the same frequency I once did so expect things to be sporadic. If you have an RSS reader (I use Feedly now that Google Reader has gone the way of the dodo), I'd suggest subscribing to get notifications of new posts without having to check back for new content. My hope is to got into a scheduled situation again at some point (maybe posting once a week on the same day), but I'm not sure yet how that will go. I have also re-enabled commenting on this blog and I'm leaving it wide open now, but if my stalkers decide that's an invitation to harrass me again (because they hate me, but can't help but hang on my every word), then I may have to narrow privileges. We'll see how it goes.
Please note that cleaning up the blog will take awhile. I've got to review a lot of links that are dead and delete them from the sidebars. I'll also have to tweak formatting over time. I'm not as young as I used to be and I seem to be busier than ever despite being a homemaker now (you wouldn't believe how much and what I cook now, but we also now live in a house instead of an apartment which means more work caring for it). Be patient. I'm getting really old now. ;-)