Back to “Normal”

Hello everyone.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my last post. Thank you for all of your kind words and support, it really means a lot to me. The past few weeks have been full of more upsetting news, from the Brexit to bombings in Turkey. But also good news, like the Supreme Court’s decision to bar convicted domestic abusers access to guns, and Missouri Gov. Nixon vetoing a bill that would have made Missouri the first state to enact a Stand Your Ground law since Treyvon Martin was killed. It’s a lot to take in, no matter where in the world you are or how you feel about the issues. In response to world events I appreciate getting multiple perspectives from my friends around the world and within Japan. The general consensus (which, to be fair, is of my mostly young, mostly liberal friends) is a general state of sadness and disappointment at where the world is heading, but also a tentative optimism. While there is real fear, and rightly so, that the world could go to hell in a hand basket at any moment, there’s also assurance in the knowledge that so many people care. And hopefully this interest in the future of the world will lead to activism, or at the very least participation in government on a very basic level, like voting.

So in the coming weeks and months I will continue reading and listening, trying to parse out the state of the world. I’m not sure if I’ll write about that here – I know that my opinions are very strong, but also that they’re constantly evolving. Every article I read, every interview I listen to will shift my views a bit. I like this. I think this view keeps me thinking and learning, but it also keeps me from feeling confident in my writing. One thing I am confident about, however, is my lived experiences, and so I will continue to write about those.

This month I’m tackling the bureaucratic nightmare that is getting a Japanese drivers’ license as an American, and I will be writing a full post on the ins and outs of this process soon. I’ve also recently been appointed Block Leader for my area’s JETs, so I’ve been caught up planning the farewell party for the people leaving next month and parsing out my new responsibilities. Luckily, school is almost out for summer break, so I should have plenty of time to write soon. And hopefully I’ll be able to share more good news and fun stories. It’s a bittersweet time, as I say goodbye to lots of friends, reflect back on a full year in Japan, and prepare to welcome a whole new group of people and start year two. I hope you continue to read along with me.