Monthly Archives: August 2013

Divorce support group

marrrrrrgarita

This is really the margarita I drank there. I photographed it for you, dear blog-readers.

I had three hours to kill between dropping the dogs off at the groomer, and divorce support group, and I still managed to almost show up late.

I followed a handsome guy about my age into the airy home office of a local shrink. Dr. informed us stragglers that the reason for his running this group free of charge is that he’d relied on a similar group when going through his own divorce several years ago. He’s been running it for three years. On weekends.

(Note: it’s important that things said in support groups remain in confidence, so I’m going to combine some people and mix up some other people’s details, and I hope that’s sufficient. Please let me know if it’s still inappropriate somehow.)

I took a seat, anxiously, not sure how the ice would be broken and if we’d even make it to the part where I could tell this group of people how alone I feel, how big and empty the house is, how I feel like if I wasn’t so clingy I’d have never married the guy to begin with.

I had to do my self-introduction first, and my hands were shaking. I said I just got back to the U.S… and I want to turn around and head right back to Japan where I wasn’t alone. I said that I need to communicate as little as possible with J, because no good comes of it at all. And then we moved to the next person, and the next…

There were a few veterans, discernible both by the Dr. pointing them out, but also by their comparative acceptance of their situations, and self-assuredness. P., a … dare I say “ripped” ex-navy looking guy with a shaved head, who was going through a drawn out and horrendous sounding divorce, counseled the group by co-opting familiar language: “it gets better” (y’all).

Several of the women, ranging in age from a few years my senior to older than my mother, spoke of numerous affairs – that was by far the most common reason for these divorces. There were lies, there were bribes, and for everyone but me there were children involved, but in almost all cases there were a string of infidelities.

Sigh.

A beautiful woman with flawless dark chocolate skin, whose beauty made me think she was my own age (actually 10 years older), broke down in tears talking about being stuck in a city with no support system: no family, few friends, etc. Her tears were met with sympathetic murmurs and commiseration by many of us. I felt, for the first time in a long time: “this is a common kind of misery”.

But misery it still is.

I couldn’t stop looking at a pinata standing on a ledge far above our heads, in the vaulted ceiling. In my depression and deep sadness, I found the advice offered by others to go to the movies solo, to eat at restaurants solo, etc. to be tragic. I loathe being in those kinds of public places by myself. It makes everything worse for me, it really does.

Sigh.

After some tears and some ranting a fair-haired, WASPy looking young woman piped up and said “who’s in for lunch?” Most of us, the lonely and depressed, were down.

This is how I found myself at a Tex-mex restaurant drinking frozen margaritas at noon on a Saturday, with an enormously diverse group of women and men, all of us volleying around short rants peppered with “my ex”. A 65-yeat old woman with vibrant red lips and toes talked about behavior from hers that sounded annoyingly familiar: he coming along on a trip, becoming obsessed with money to the point where he ruined the entire experience by begrudging her even the money needed to get around the city and see the sights. Another woman talked about calling the husband of the woman her husband was sleeping with, telling him everything, and getting the brush-off. Seemed everyone had tried counseling but me; as the youngest I was also the one who had been least successful in getting “my ex” to see a counselor with me in the past.

A 40-something woman complained: “He couldn’t have run out on me when I was in my 20s? I’ll never get a date now.” I thought she was wrong; she looked to me fit and lovely, healthy and together. All of these people (but one, I’ll be honest) looked to be on top of their lives: fashionable clothes, pedicures, glowing skin, wry senses of humor.

I wondered what the exes really were like: I try to never form a (strong) opinion on a relationship of which I’m not a part, but I instinctively took our sides. I wondered what J would say if he came to this group, although he never would. Ever…

Someone spontaneously said that she wanted to go sky-diving. Then it seemed we all did. Seemed the right thing to do, to deal with feelings of being out of control, by deliberately, consciously relinquishing control.

Right now I am trying not to think too far into the future, because anything I can imagine right now features a terrified and alone me, increasingly desperate. So I try to think : “Saturday. Just get through Saturday.”

Apparently it’s easier with margaritas.

When I enter the house and see that he’s dropped off a case of the Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk that I like, I don’t know how to feel. But I do know what I think: “I only want you back because I want somebody, but if my fear of being alone was not so strong, I’d never have married you. So I have to learn not to be afraid before I can really be with anyone, even T” (who sent me drunken selfies of himself swinging on a hammock at a Tokyo roof-party “tonight”-Tokyo time).

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He Helps Those Who Help Themselves

How do you learn to live by yourself if you’ve gotten to age 34 without doing so? I mean, I tried for the first time in Tokyo, but that went horribly and I scrambled like a frightened animal to not be alone in that apartment… keeping busy doesn’t help, because I don’t have the energy to stay in perpetual motion right now.

I cry daily.

My new therapist has me coming in fairly often so she can keep an eye on me.

I went to the maul yesterday, for some LUSH body cream (my skin is a mass of rashes and hives from stress), and as I stood in the brightly lit maul, in the Sephora, with its flashing lights and screaming noises, without the slightest urge to buy anything, I thought “I want to die.”

I thought this in a purely academic way. I didn’t mean it; death is a horrifying concept to me, THE most horrifying concept. When the topic comes up in my mind, in conversation, or in the media, I picture my littlest dog Mei clinging hysterically to a blanket to avoid being picked up at bath time. And I cling hysterically to my daily existence, as miserable as it has been this year.

If I had a family of my own, I wouldn’t be alone. If I had kids, I wouldn’t be alone. These thoughts obsess me.

The “introvert/extrovert” binary has been getting so much attention recently, as if people never used those terms before 2012… and indeed, I am an either an introvert or just massively dysfunctional. I remember at age 12 I cried to my mother over how lonely I was.

She said “Call a friend. Why don’t you call K? Or K? Or M? Or N?”

I couldn’t explain why I didn’t call them.

I’ve been lonely my entire life, it seems. I have a few things that work for me:

-family. Living in the same house as another person
-socializing with enough warning to prepare myself emotionally. I love planned events, but not in loud spaces.

The more stressed I get, the more easily overwhelmed I become. The more I retreat.

In this big house, I pace. I do a little yoga. I write 3 pages a day on paper of rambly thoughts. I catch up on American TV on Netflix (so many shows I’ve heard people talk about, that I’ve never seen). I read a book on divorce. I Line message T, who is missing me as much as I him. I try to meditate. I pace some more. I make tea and forget to drink it. I stare into the back yard. I cry some more. I study more Japanese vocabulary, because there is always more to learn.

I do indeed have PTSD …from the things that happened to me in Japan that I’m not talking about publicly.

I’m wearing a couple of stone bracelets, that T picked out for me in Yokohama’s Chinatown. Supposedly the stones help to protect the wearer’s heart, and to heal her. He bought me a bowl of crystals that the bracelets go in each night, to re-charge:

healing crystals?

I am so blessed in so many ways, right? We all say that to ourselves when things are horrible and hard. I’ve learned that so much of what I thought of as blessings are less important than the connection between me and other people. But because I am me, and so much like my father, I primarily nurtured the connection between me and one other person, made 1 person my whole support system. But now I am confiding in the person who is hurting me the most. I just wrote him:

“I am so lonely.”

He answered: “Then make some friends.”

Ugh, I am having stabbing head pains at random intervals. The last time I suffered from these was the other lowest time in my life. They force me to close my eyes, pause, and look within.

To Catch a Thief

I have been exhausted since 6:30pm. This time, the jet-lag returning from Japan to the U.S. has been kicking my ass up and down. But I’ll talk more about my current state later. In the meantime I need to tell you a story from a few days ago.

**
So, back in April someone stole my old Macbook.

I don’t mean I left it on a coffee shop table and someone ran off with it. No, the truth is actually much more embarrassing. I had decided to sell my old laptop on Craigslist because I didn’t want to lug it back to the U.S. After several typically flaky inquiries, I wound up corresponding with a guy who lives in Yokohama, and who claimed that because of work and childcare concerns he couldn’t come up to Tokyo to meet me. And I didn’t have the time for a trip to Yokohama just to sell a laptop, because I was neck deep in research at that point. (Actually, I was planning to just hoof it down there, but T talked me into perceiving it as a waste of my time, and mailing the laptop instead.)

So, fine… I’d mail the laptop to the guy, and, well, we all know where this is going. I asked the guy how I could be assured he was good for the money, and he sent me a photograph of his gaijin card. This seemed like enough insurance for me, so I went through with the whole stupid, ill-advised plan.

And…. of course he didn’t pay. First, the story was that he couldn’t figure out how to do a furikomi (bank transfer). Then it was that the laptop had a crack in it that I hadn’t mentioned, and he didn’t want it after all. (I thought my craiglist photographs were quite clear and extensive.) After three months of back-and-forth and me fretting about the situation, and bothering T about how tense it was making me, I got stern with the guy and wrote that I was reporting him to the police if he didn’t pay up– and surely they’d deport his thieving 24-year old foreign butt from Japan.

Right after sending this stern, semi-threatening SMS’ I did my research and found that the police wouldn’t get involved in matters involving
a) 2 foreigners and
b) an online sales site like craigslist.
I’d have to get a lawyer if I wanted my money, as the whole thing is legally more like a contract between two parties than  theft (in Japan, and perhaps in the U.S. as well).

The guy responded to my first volley of threats by transferring about $100 into my account– not even half of the agreed upon amount. He promised to pay the remainder in July. Of course, he didn’t. Even I saw the writing on the wall, though it didn’t stop me from getting my hopes up.

This week, T and I planned a trip to Yokohama to visit Chinatown, as T hadn’t been there in close to 10 years. Wednesday morning, T surprised me by asking if I still had the shipping receipts from mailing that laptop. I dug them out, he google searched the guy’s address, and informed me we’d be going to get my laptop before exploring Chinatown.

Wha…what?

“We can’t just go to some guy’s house,” I told him. “We don’t know who this guy is. He might be dangerous.”

T was not to be deterred. He told me we’d consult the Yokohama police first, and then if  they weren’t willing to get involved, we’d deal with it ourselves.

They weren’t willing to get involved.

So next thing I knew we were in a taxi, and T was asking the driver “what kind of neighborhood is x?”

The driver demurred… “well, it’s got a lot of places to drink.. and, um, if you’ll forgive me for saying this (pause) soaplands…” I giggled.

Soaplands are generally in the, er, sex business. They run the gambit from places to drink with “sexy ladies”, to happy-ending massage parlors, to brothels. As we pulled into this neighborhood, which rivaled the poor neighborhoods on the South side of Chicago, or West Philly for boarded up windows and burned out buildings, I noted that the soaplands here trended towards the brothel-y. We searched for the guy’s building for a while, asking directions of a drunk on the street, cutting through a filthy Korean restaurant, and finally finding ourselves down an ally that smelled of urine and expired dairy. I paused, and told T that if the guy really lived on this street with his wife and small child, that he could have the laptop. I pulled the “clearly he needs it more than I” card.

T sternly retorted that stealing is wrong, no matter what your circumstances. I was poised to object, to talk about grey areas and loaves of bread and whatnot, but T was already calling the guy. Because, as he hissed, it’s rude to bang on someone’s door without calling to let him know who’s visiting first.

I could hear my pulse in my ears.

We didn’t know if the guy spoke any Japanese, as he is Philippino, so T started off with the most ridiculous attempt to speak English and sound intimidating at the same time. “HEY,” he said into the phone, with his goofy-heavy Japanese accent. “THIS [name]?”….”LAPTOP”…. “POLICE” Then, frustrated he asked if the guy spoke Japanese, in Japanese. Thief must have said yes, as he switched to aggressive, threatening Japanese, telling the guy he was outside the building and would be collecting my laptop thankyouverymuch. After a few grunts, he hung up, and turned a cheery smile on me.

“He’s at work an hour away but he’ll be here in an hour. Want to go get ice cream?”

I blinked. “Ehhhhh”?

So we sat around the corner and ate soft-serve “belgian chocolate soft cream” and tater tots(?!) in a surprisingly bright and clean Mini Stop, researching dim-sum options in Chinatown as the time passed. But as tedious as it was to wait, T was standing up and saying “Ok, time!” before I was ready. He told me it was fine to wait in the convenience store.

I gathered my courage and followed him anyway… for about a block before the panic attack started. My breathing quickened and chest tightened. I stalled, whileT charged ahead, and as he rounded the corner back onto Thief’s street, I saw him raise his hand in salute, his face breaking into a friendly grin despite himself.

I froze. Didn’t turn the corner with him. He disappeared and I didn’t even dare peak around the corner lest I be spotted. Ducking into the closest doorway I frantically texted T: “ACK, I panicked.” Then:

“I can come if you need me…”

It took another minute of silently huddling in the doorway before I realized it was a soapland, and only a few feet away stood an older man in a worn-out suit looking at me inquisitively.

I stepped to the corner. And fidgeted with my cell phone. And waited.. and waited….

Minutes passed. The older man continued to regard me suspiciously, and I continued to pace in small circles. Suddenly two police on bikes tore around the corner.

Great.

Some thief, probably into illicit activity and…and.. in a gang had stabbed poor T. I was sure of it. I texted him:

“POLICE??? Are you okay?”

Nothing. I dared to peek around the corner for the first time. Nobody was on the street. Not the police, not T, not the thief. Just a broken trash bag kicked up the street from a dumpster, and stinking in the hot sun.

A minute more and I spotted T and a guy who I presumed to be the Thief in the fleeting second I dared peek. I darted back into the doorway, causing the older man to raise his eyebrows. Oh good lord, I asked myself. Why am I this afraid of confrontation? Why am I hiding in a door, afraid to have even followed T? Why am I so timid?

Finally T appeared, cheerfully lugging a heavy shopping bag. “There you go!” he said, handing me the laptop. “And you won’t be paying him back the $100 either. I told him that would cover our train tickets, and the enormous meiwaku (trouble) he’d caused you.

He lit a cigarette and grinned at me in that completely guileless way that he does.

I blinked.

Paused.

“Whatttt?”

T smiled: “He’s not much taller than me. It was easier to hug him than to hug you!”

“You hugged my thief?”

“Well, after we had a beer together it seemed right. He’s a nice guy.”

“Whaaaat?”

“His daughter is so cute. And his wife’s Japanese isn’t bad too.”

“You met his family?”

“Sure! We had a nice chat about work, and I asked him why he lived in such a crappy building. He and his wife make more than I do with their salaries combined.”

“You hung out with my thief?”

“Yeah, he’s nice! I might invite him to my next party!”

What the….

Only T, with his unfailingly sunny spirit and goofy fondness for just about everyone, could go to threaten someone, succeed in his mission, and still wind up friends with the guy. With the laptop back, I’m still kind of confused as to what went on in that apartment. Good lord.

Gonna cut this off how, as jet-lag is making it hard to compose sentences.

Hitler in Natural Fibers

Starbucks Japan uses fake matcha powder. I’m so disillusioned. I asked if they could make me a 濃い matcha latte, and the young male clerk kind of giggled and said “we can put extra powder in?” I sighed. Japan! You can do better than the U.S. at tea drinks, even if I am at Starbucks. If Japan Ben N’ Jerry’s can have delicious yuzu-vanilla cookie ice cream than Sbux can use real freakin’ matcha.

But that wasn’t actually what I wanted to write about, was it? Enh….

I went to get a hair trim yesterday. A trim. But I did mention to the stylist that the top of my (short) hair was feeling a little heavy, and that perhaps a tiny bit of thinning could be done. (I thought I had thick hair until I came to Japan. I also thought I had coarse hair until I spent time petting the magic quick-dry hair that T is blessed with. Seriously, his hair is dry 10 minutes after he showers, and he has more of it than I do!)

Ahem. Anyway, the guy wanted to shave my head. He had this vision of a chelsea haircut on me. Er, no, I said. Maybe when I was 24, not 34. He said “I have an idea”.

Now I have the same haircut as Hitler. T giggled when he saw me. Well, he giggled after I told him I’d joined Hitler Youth. And he said the same thing he said the last time I got a bad haircut in Japan: “You can wear one of my hats”. Then he remembered he is throwing me a goodbye party on Monday and exclaimed: “Oh no, everyone will see your hair!”

Thanks for the vote o’ confidence there, bro.

Sitting on the train today, across from a Shinto priest and a girl in a fluffy Lolita dress, I felt so sad… it didn’t help that the Johnny Cash song “I See a Darkness” had come onto my iPhone at that time, but the two sadnesses were a bit like cross-currents in a stream. I needed so badly to leave Tokyo months ago, to take a break. But now that I am a bit better, a bit removed from that breakdown, I don’t want to go.

I feel at home here.

I hate living in a one-room apartment with another person. But if we moved, I could probably find peace here.

And who else has ever been as kind to me as T? He, who spends his one day off a week at the consumer advocacy bureau arguing emphatically to get me out of unfair cellphone charges. Who bends over backwards to help me with my work. Who will sleep on the floor so I can sleep better in the bed?

I paid our gas bill and bought the nicest coffee I could find for our apartment as a little token of thanks, but I can never really thank him fully for everything. The prior messes we got into together were as much my fault as his, and certainly not acts of malice on his part.

I also noticed that I have old-white-lady legs. Yeesh. All those little blue veins and red spots where I absentmindedly scratch when doing.. anything. There’s a reason I wear skirts with leggings, and long pants even in the summer.

T loves rose-fruit scented laundry detergent, and smelling my fruity-floral shirt and contemplating my legs distracted me from more significant thoughts for a while.

I also tried to buy a Jawbone UP today, spontaneously, but they’re sold out everywhere in Tokyo still. They’ve been sold out since February here! What the….  I have a stupid number of points on my Bic Camera card and was going to use them all, so it wouldn’t have cost me much of anything~ and that is why I didn’t want to just wait until I got back to the U.S.

Ok, I’m in a bookstore. Time to go find the book I came for and to stop with the fragmented thoughts.

Because that’s what happens to braggers

NHK quiz show

I like this shot because I captured a great “derp face” on the left. Incidentally, T and I both got this question wrong.

T and I were playing along with a Japanese TV-quiz program. And the first question was on the history of the Sumidagawa fireworks festival (hanabi matsuri- not the question in the photo). I immediately chose A as my answer- of course the original festival was a Shogunate sponsored event “back in the day”. T decided that it had to do with honoring the dead. When we saw the on-screen tarento’s answers, not a single one had chosen along with me, so I immediately started up with the boasting: “Look at me, a foreigner. I know more about Japanese history than all of you. I study this stuff for a living, you know.”

T, as usual, let me sit around with my chest all puffed out and spew a whole bunch of hot air, before the quiz revealed that he had been correct, not me.

A-ha.

T was kind enough not to say a word. He didn’t even look at me sideways. At the end of the program, he actually commented how awesome it was that i was good enough at Japanese to participate in the show. And he meant it. I’m laughing at myself as I write this.

I have moved on to mocking the Japanese accents of some tarento on the next program he recorded, mostly out of jealousy that they’re truly fluent and I am not, and this brings me to another point:

Comparison is the root of suffering in my life.

I met a guy today who’s a PhD student at one of the Best Universities in Japan. He’s my age. He has lived here a long time. While I spent most of my 20s teaching graphic design/art in the U.S., he came here, worked in the industry that I’m now studying, and became fluent in Japanese over time. He’s married to a Japanese woman, and has a kid. The kid is no sweat off his back, because she does all the childcare. (His words, not mine.) So often nicer to be an academic man than academic woman… sigh.

He seemed so happy….

In the U.S. I only play the competitive game with women (sigh), but in Japan it’s “me vs. all Americans”. I don’t feel threatened by foreigners, male or female, from any other country (even you, Canada).

Because my life is in such shambles right now (in some ways. I must maintain perspective), I find myself extra vulnerable to this unproductive mental game-playing. Hearing someone is married, hearing someone is married enough to have a kid… these things send me into a downward spiral. And if they’re better at Japanese than me on top of it, I can spend a good 8 hours in a deep depression.

I’ve been trying to snap out of this thinking for years, but it’s time to really get on top of it and give thanks for my blessings, focus on the positive like it’s my job, etc. I’m a really dark person, prone to depression, and so this runs counter to my instincts and nature.

What snapped me out of it today is learning that a 52cm box is around $130 to mail from Japan– via cheap freight shipping even. I need to mail two 60cm boxes, at least….  I am kicking myself for not mailing my winter clothes back separately and sooner, and bringing so many books here! Now granted, I’ve -read- them all so it wasn’t a waste. And they were all books I needed to read for research. But I could have just checked them out of the university library in Tokyo, maybe. Lessons learned about how to handle moving abroad for 15 months. I’ll need to plan better for my future long research trips to Japan.

Gah.

So yeah, once again money worries snapped me out of my depression and sent me into anxiety-land (which shares a border with depression and has terrible border-security).

And it led to the same kind of ungrateful thinking as before: “oh if I only had money I could just mail what I need to mail home with no worries, or dump it and just buy new copies of these books/new winter clothes/shoes in the U.S.” Guess that’s a lot of money.

I suppose I’ll go back to mocking the American on TV, because he probably could afford to send these boxes. He’s not attractive, or particularly charismatic, so I wonder what choices led him to where he is. Fluent Japanese + foreigner + talent agency member + not entirely hideous –> get to be on TV in Japan.

In a lot of ways I don’t really want to leave Japan. Considering how much my Japanese skill has improved since I moved here, I’d love to see what another year could do for me, and am afraid of backsliding in Houston. Also, Tokyo is just amazing in so many ways, and I’ll really miss the friends I’ve made here.

T is sleeping on my shoulder, which means he’s officially not watching the special on Kobe beef and I can turn it off. Poor cows.

Who me? I just write here

I have had to stop reading Facebook for a while. For a lot of reasons, coming in contact with certain kinds of content is… I guess what people call “triggering?” I never understood that term before this year, but had a vague sense that my lack of comprehension stemmed from it being a term with somewhat subjective meaning. In my case, it can mean panicking, often crying, falling off a mental health cliff, essentially. Vague much? I’m not doing much to help define “triggering”, am I? I like to use the site to keep in touch with people, but I won’t be clicking on “newsfeed” for a long time, I think. Today, when I did I freaked out for close to 2 hours. Not sure. It’s almost midnight now.

Gah, see, that stupid site derailed what was supposed to be the topic of this entry- my preparations to leave Japan for the foreseeable future. T took me to a Bunkyo-ku temple that is the main Tokyo site visited for concerns related to academia and academics. I was reading the prayers so many people had written and hung on wooden plaques, and I got a bit teary thinking about how earnestly these things were wished for, and how many of these students wouldn’t see their wishes come true.

We were there so T could buy and give me an academic omamori (お守り), to help me with my studies, and so I could buy an omamori for my father’s health and mail it to him (I did that today.) Dad’s is beautiful, in a wooden box wrapped in white tissue. They even wrote his name on it in katakana on the box. Even after his stroke, he hasn’t stopped drinking, and from here, praying at a shrine for his my health and happiness seemed like it couldn’t hurt. At least it made me feel better.

Image

Until I take a photo of my actual omamori, here’s a placeholder image from a lovely blog I found. Cute story too: http://mizupon.exblog.jp/7449349

T helped me organize a research focus group, which happened last night, and it was a grueling, action-packed event, let me tell you. I shouldn’t have bothered to pick a place whose food I like, because I only got to eat hurriedly, when something I asked caused my interviewees to pause for a moment. I wound up looking longingly at the tofu, and I never did get to have any of the shabu-shabu.

As I get older, alcohol gives me wretched insomnia (if I drink more than two drink’s worth), and then I have a bad time the next day. Between the adrenaline and over-exhaustion and booze I was up until well after the sun came up, woke up at 10AM to cancel everything for the day, and then went back to bed for a couple of hours.

I am just done, mentally and physically. Like any modern holder-of-a-cellphone policy I knew that cancelling my contract with Softbank early was going to result in a fee, but when I signed up and asked about it, I was sure the guy said it’d be 9000-yen-ish ($90). Indeed, that’s the only number printed on the contract, but it turns out that this is just part of what come to a nearly $600.00 charge.

I was with T at the Softbank store when I learned this, and it was a good thing too- because 1) He got pissed at the clerk, and while I felt like an idiot-child once again he said “don’t you know it’s illegal in Japan for people to sign contracts they don’t understand? She never heard 60,000 yen! She was never told that. When she got the iPhone, she said she’d be cancelling the policy in August, and she was never told about the charge being so high!”

In my head I thought: “I am an adult, and it’s nobody’s responsibility to look after me but mine. It’s my responsibility to make sure I understand everything I sign, not the government’s to make sure I am protected from my own stupidity.”

2) Still, this stress pushed me over some mental edge I’ve been teetering on, and once we left the store, I freaked completely out. Not in a crying way- in a … I went nonverbal for more than an hour sort of way, and stared vacantly into space. I know I was sitting, and T was trying to get me to snap to it… (poor guy has learned more about anxiety disorders this year…) Then I started shaking, and I finally managed to squeak that I needed to go to the hospital, because I was on the verge of fainting, and I felt like I was talking to him down a deep tunnel.

But we didn’t go… I’d actually already been this week. I had a fever and apparently a … hm, uterine infection. Yeah. Anyway. The infection causing the fever…. so … *cough*

Moving on… I don’t know why we didn’t go. I don’t really remember. But at some point we started walking, and that felt good. The adrenaline in my body had something to do other than churn around (oh how horribly inaccurate of a description that is). We walked. And we walked. From Shinjuku to…. ? And slowly, I came back to my body, and to the realization that I need to really scale back all of the stuff I am trying to cram in before I leave on August 15th. I just can’t be the person I usually am- a total workaholic cyclone.

T has an idea about the contract… I think it involves pointing out that I am incompetent to sign contracts in Japan. I despise this idea, and yet I have no money with which to pay Softbank, and I don’t think explaining to them that I almost finally entered nervous breakdown territory after I saw the bill is going to help my case.

To, um, circle back around… If it weren’t for T, my focus group wouldn’t have happened. He really organized the whole thing for me. He invited some of the zillion people he knows, he made sure there was an even mix of genders, he divided the groups up, he collected everyone’s money, he organized the restaurant reservation and payment, he told everyone not to forget their umbrellas that night, he did absolutely everything so all I had to do was write my questions and show up. He even messaged me the morning of to make sure I had my IC recorder charged and to ask if he could Japanese-grammar check my questions.

I have spun myself in circles trying to distance myself from him these past few weeks, since I know I have to leave… but even if we never wind up being “together” after this year, I think I’ll remember him as one of the best people I’ve ever met for the rest of my life.  (And oh, he just got home! T was treated to a yaki-niku fest with some clothes importers tonight; he said 3 men managed to rack up a 30,000 yen bill (around $300!) )

Let it never be said that I’m not attracted to nice guys, because I love T more every day for his kindness. (If the bitch corrects my Japanese grammar one more time before Sunday thought I might cut him.)