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.
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.)