Hello, internets. It’s been a while — more than two years now since my last post, when I wrote about putting jalapeños on a demi-baguette to try to de-blandify the local food options.

I’ve thought a lot about this blog, and have wanted to do an update for some time. The problem is, that update would break one of my initial rules: that nitty-gritty, personal details should be avoided when possible. Ultimately, as you can see, I said screw it.

I started this blog during my fifth year in Japan, my second in Tokyo. After losing Office Job No. 1 due to the Lehmen Shock back in 2008, I bounced back and landed Office Job No. 2, a surprisingly well-paying position at a global financial institution.

It was fucking hell.

I loathed how the company was run. I dreamed of seeing my boss, whom I later learned was nicknamed “The Dragon Lady,” being stabbed to death by bloodthirsty Mongolians. But it was my primary source of income, and when the economy soured and I was let go from that job as well, it hit pretty hard. That’s when the former Mrs. Turningpin announced she was leaving.

Oh yes, dear Reader: I never mentioned her, but there was a Mrs. Turningpin. Ten years of marriage to a non-English-speaking Japanese can do wonders for one’s language skillz, but not even a decade is enough to address real, fundamental differences. Apparently, she’d been planning her exit strategy for a while; after informing her of my being released from the company, I was told over a dish of cold noodles, “Let me know when you’re done eating. Oh, you’re done? I can’t be with you anymore.”

I am Jack’s wasted life.

I had just over a week left on the spousal visa. I was able to get an extension, thank goodness, but the next month and a half was pretty miserable. I’d said my goodbyes, had moved to Japan with the intention of staying there for good, but now things were different. My personal life had gone to hell, and I was sick of the crowds and commutes and unrelenting asshole-ishness that permeates Tokyo. So I packed up and left.

Nothing quite spells fail like getting divorced in your mid-30s and moving in with your sister; with everything you own fitting inside 17 boxes, each having been lovingly ripped apart by customs; with, after hearing stories of husbands being suddenly left by their J-wives and thinking, “The poor bastards,” you are now one of those selfsame bastards. But somehow, I was already picking myself up.

In between drinking too much and interviewing for jobs in the heart of Fuck-All, Alabama, I began building a small but steady client base. It wasn’t long before I had more work than I knew what to do with, and — save for a four-month stint where things got slow and I took an office job, only to reaffirm that office jobs suck ass and I promptly quit — I have been working from home, doing Japanese translation while raging out to heavy metal.

I’m no longer living with family, I’m pleased to say. I’d been back in the U.S. for about five months when I started reconnecting with some of my old high-school friends through facebook. I sent one friend request, a simple “Remember me?” message, to a girl I had junior-year English and senior play with. She did remember me, and she wrote back.

We were married four months ago.

So there you have it. It wasn’t so long ago that, frankly, I was at the lowest point of my life. But I got through it, readjusted to life in the States; I bought my first truck, got a dog, put a 10-year mortgage on a house the size of which would have been impossible in Japan. I even married the cute girl I knew from high school 20 years ago. There’s still no shortage of things for me to hate on, but overall, life is pretty good.

As for this blog … there are some things I’d like to address (finish up the Matrix script, for sure, and bang out some of these long-lingering draft posts). But in the interim, I’m glad to have finally written this update, to let the rirekisho vultures, perverts and other wayward folk know what’s been going on with me.




15 Responses

  1. Nice to know about you, its has been a long time ago since I read your last post.

    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but some time ago I went to Japan to study Japanese and to try to get a job and live there; that time we chatted by email briefly but never met face to face. I ran out of money and had to come back to Mexico.

    I have been wondering what happened to you because I found amusing your blog and I still like Japan so thank you for this addendum. I agree that the less private life you post the better, but at the end almost nobody know who you are, and even knowing doesn’t harm a lot, at least in my case.

    After coming back to Mexico with just 50 dollars in my pocket and my life in two suitcases, I had to live a long month and a half with my grandmother and my aunt, asking for money for public transportation; less than a dollar each time if you were wondering how much. I managed to get a job that sucked a lot but enabled me to rent an apartment, and after quitting that job I got a better one that I still have, and just this month managed to pay my house’s mortgage completely, therefore my life is not so bad as imagined while being in Japan days before coming back to Mexico.

    Anyway, I think that sometimes it is better to take a risk and try to change rather than to do nothing and have a life full of regrets, and that people get what deserve sooner or later.

    I’m happy you got what you deserved and this blog got a nice end.

    Best regards.

    • Hi there, Cronos.

      Of course I remember you! I’m very thankful for your reply. I was sorry to hear of your sudden departure before we got a chance to meet. I’m glad you were able to overcome hardship moving back to Mexico, and wish you continued success.

  2. Hi mate, thanks for the good read. I’m glad you’re back on your feet and like that you’re exploiting your skill, in translating Japanese.

    I miss those times drinking Rum Bucks, laughing about stories such as “you’re an absolute animal” and the use of the word Fuck. 🙂

    I myself am enjoying being home in Australia. I have a mortgage and a small business, distributing vibrators to bricks and mortar retailers in Australia & New Zealand. It’s growing slowly and big things are just around the corner.

    Stay in touch my friend!

    • Much appreciated, my friend! I miss those Rum Buck days with you as well. I’ve been keeping up with your recent business dealings — I wish you all the best, and sure hope we get to see each other in Oz someday!

  3. Welcome back! Glad to hear things are going well.

  4. Glad to see you’re back at, man. Always enjoyed reading your posts. And there’s nothing wrong with spilling personal shit. People like to read about human experiences as much or more than they like looking at posts that are like “Hey, look at this picture I took that’s like a million other fucking pictures! Great, huh?!”

    And, seeing you happily married has been inspirational…

    Welcome back.

  5. Woah! I’m the Matt who asked you to keep blogging in your jalapeno bread post. I randomly thought of your blog today, after not coming here for years. Although your frustrations with Japan made for hilarious writing, I’m glad you escaped and that life has gotten better for you. Congratulations on the new wife and occupation! If I may ask, do you find that translation work provides a decent living? I’m looking for a career change myself, and it sounds right up my alley.

    Congrats, and take it easy!

  6. Thanks for leaving the blog. Rirekisho was really helpful.
    Good luck in your life’s travel, i wish you the best.

  7. Hi. I’ve found one of your blog about filling out a Japanese style resume and then read this blog post. I know what you are saying about life in JP. While others will say Japan is the shit and I will move there in a heartbeat. The reality of Japan isn’t not all that. It is just like any other country if you have to make a living.

    I moved to Japan in 2008 and am still here. However, I am still not situated. Never really acquired my circle of friends. Either we have no same interest or they have family and their weekends are tied down.

    Shoot me an email when you have the time. I have some questions to ask you.


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