Last night Kanagawa got hit by a snowstorm. It was the first snow this winter and the most snow I’ve experienced out here in Japan. I walked around a bit last night enjoying the way everything looked once covered.
I moved to California when I was six years old, so my experience with snow has been limited to the occasional trip and my short stay in Chicago. But some of my oldest childhood memories take place in the snow in Bucharest or during my trip to Brashov and Timishoara with my Grandmother.
I’ve been home for almost three days and somewhat still recovering from jetlag and the whirlwind of activity that took place in California. It’s midnight and I can’t sleep, mostly because I took a four-hour nap and drank coffee around 8pm.
My brother’s wedding was magnificent, and I am honored that he asked me to be his best man. The ceremony was beautiful and once he releases the pictures I will try to share some. It was wonderful catching up with old friends, many that flew in from across the country. And just as important it was great meeting new people.
Most important was the time my brothers spent together last week. It was great to catch up and just hang out, even tho it was just for a short time. My brother, the one who got married, are only three years apart and grew up very close. My friends became his and vice versa. Our younger brother is the baby, 11 years younger than me, but a cool guy who gave an outstanding toast about our father who passed away over a decade ago. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the venue.
The other highlight of the trip was that my wife and I finally announced that we will be having a baby due next June. Yep, you read that right. We’ve known for a bit but decided to tell our close relatives in person so kept the news relatively secret. It was really seeing my brother marry a fantastic woman, knowing they will make a fantastic aunt and uncle.
I can’t lie and say I’m not terrified of the future. I feel more excited and emotional about becoming a father than I ever did about joining the Navy and deploying to Afghanistan. I felt more sure about myself going on patrols than I do about my ability to raise a human. But I’m going to try my best because I look at my wife, my brothers, my friends and know that I have great people behind me to help.
Going home, seeing all my old haunts, and catching up with old friends makes me reflect on the past. It’s hard not to get melancholy and pensive when it feels like days ago that we were all rolling D20s in my bedroom, feels like yesterday we were galavanting all over boozing and partying, yet here we are over twenty years later from those games and almost a decade from our early 20s.
Thoughts like that force me to see how fast and fleeting life passes by. Next year I will be 35, married 4 years, and a new father. I look forward to trying my best to succeed in these endeavors and live up to what my father and grandfathers were for me.
So after a long burst of non-stop work, I am finally on vacation. Tomorrow Judy and I will go on our first vacation since moving to Japan. We will be flying to Taiwan, where we will be doing a bunch of exploring, a bunch of drinking, and lots and lots of eating.
Besides being excited about our upcoming trip. I’m feeling good because these last few days I managed to actually sit down and write a lot. I finished and edited a great Pulp Fiction story that I’m really proud of. It has jungles, muskets, powdered wigs, shapeshifters, and sorceresses. I also started the outline for my next story. I’m really aiming for a lot of writing this year.
We also managed to get to our local Chinatown for a few drinks, a bit of the Lunar Festival, and some exploring. Check out that crazy cat building. I don’t want to know what horrors go on inside.
These last few days have been quite consuming. Work is busy, the holidays are rapidly approaching, and of course it was Election Day. I had zero time or energy to focus on reading or writing. Following national politics can be exhausting.
To recover from the long week we spent most of our weekend celebrating Veterans Day and exploring local bars and restaurants. Fall has exploded around us so yesterday we walked around Yokohama enjoying the cool air and beautiful November colors.
This week I plan on sitting down and starting my next short story.
The last few days have been rather busy. Several months ago my wife put out an invitation to all of our friends to be a host if they wanted to check out Japan. Her old high school friend decided to take her up on it and flew out here with her long time friend for some fun and adventure in the far East.
I was long overdue for some vacation time so I took two weeks off from work. A win-win situation. The first week is fully devoted to being a host and tour guide and next week will be my mini stay-cation dedicated to reading and writing.
Our guests have been great. We spent the last few days exploring Kamakura, drinking in the Honch, and hitting all the local Japanese malls. Tonight they decided to take it easy and recharge for our upcoming adventures in Tokyo and Yokohama. While they relaxed downstairs watching bad horror movies on Netflix, I retired to my office with some Whiskey Highballs and caught up on blogs and short stories.
Of course by 9pm I ran out of Highballs but still had plenty of posts to read. I decided to take a quick trip to the local neighborhood convenience store, Lawsons, for an alcohol supply refresher.
Here I am, two tall cans of booze buzzed, standing in line holding more booze. I started to feel self-conscious. I’m being the stereotypical drunken foreigner. It’s freeking Thursday! Making matters worse behind me in line are two 40 something Japanese, man and woman, dressed in crisp business attire.
I quickly paid for my illicit booze and decided to indulge my smoking vice outside the store. All I could think about was how they must be judging me. Wobbly drunk American degenerate. My built in puritan sensibilities kicked into high gear.
After several minutes they walked out of the store and came up to the smoking area. Both of them proceeded to light cigarettes and crack open freshly bought cans of Whiskey Highballs. We nodded good evening to each other and I smiled to myself re-affirmed in my ever increasing love for Japan.
Unfortunately coming home, my good mood was somewhat dampened by reading that the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan over Murakami. Downright nonsense. Murakami is hands down one of the most fantastic writers I have ever read. Dylan is an overrated mumble-mouthed hippie burnout that I never found inspiring or interesting. Japan, you got robbed and my belief that awards are mostly nonsense got another solid affirmation.