Japan On My Mind

It is often said that to find what will be satisfying to you as a career, think about how you spend your free time. In doing so, I found that much of my free time – from the books I read to the news I follow to sometimes even the music I listen to – is centered on Japan. While I have only spent twenty-two months of my life in Japan, I have been studying the language for nine years now and did spend three years of my life in Hawaii, the most tropical, American-influenced, pidgin speaking part of Japan. Even today, as far removed as I may seem from Japan – working as a corporate lawyer in New York City – I spent my morning on the commuter train reading one American woman’s memoirs of a year spent in Japan with a host family. On the number 4 subway ride downtown to lower Manhattan, I listened to a Japanese podcast lesson on intermediate Japanese. When I got off the train at the Brooklyn Bridge station so that I could make the relaxing walk through City Hall Park and down Broadway to my office in the Financial District, I listened to a J-Pop radio broadcast out of Toronto that I found through iTunes. Maybe I feel that if I do not surround myself with Japanese I’ll lose it. When I left Japan I made a vow to keep up my language skills, and while my reading and writing is not what it used to be, I am still comfortable with my speaking ability, if not possessed with keeping them as sharp as possible. Ironically, with this much interest in one country you would think that I would have gone back to visit by now. Yet I haven’t. I have pressed forward in life pursuing other goals and have put desires to return to Japan aside. One day (hopefully this upcoming March) I hope to make the visit, if not live there again. But with my hard-working wife and baby daughter, there is no telling when that day will be.

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