Thursday, June 15, 2006

So True

I am a toboggan!
Find your own pose!

Yes, I've been reduced to taking silly internet quizzes. Other than that, I've been writing and working out and karaokeing (Tuesday nights!) and reading a lot (thank you, English language publishers) and thinking about the next book (or two or three) that I'd like to write after I'm finished making the second novel I wrote in Japan ready for submission to publishers and getting ready to visit New York and Boston the first week of July (if you'll be there between the 3rd and the 10th, give me an email, maybe we can have lunch or go to karaoke or something) and occasionally shopping, being hard sold skin care products by overly flirtatious Italians named Giovanni and Moriah in the mall (totally scary and sexy at the same time).

Other than these things, mostly I've been thinking about Japan, how quickly it's become a far place in my life, which makes me sad. People always ask me how the culture shock of returning home is, and often I don't know how to answer. I expected to come home and find many things changed in two years, and that I'd have to do a lot to catch up with the life I'd left behind here, but not much has changed, and I feel like I've slipped into something of a routine here already. And culture shock doesn't seem like the right word to use, now that I'm back. Culture daze feels more appropriate. Everything feels familiar but just a little strange at the same time. I have a hard time not referring to Japan or things Japanese during conversations, which annoys me so it must annoy other people, but at the same time, that's been my life for the past couple of years and all of my reference points are going to lead back to that life until enough of one is made here again.

There's a part of me constantly wandering back to Japan though. I make myself remember as much as I can sometimes, recalling my daily life there, the faces of my coworkers and students and friends, the smell of my favorite restaurants and the flowers that bloom in the spring in summer there, I have conversations with myself in Japanese and watch Japanese movies and listen to Japanese music, I recall conversations I had there, climbing Mt. Fuji with Katie during a Typhoon, taking the bullet train to see Tadashi in Nagoya, the view from Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Jody's house out in the countryside where I spent my last month, being hit by the semi truck inside a mountain tunnel after getting my driver's license finally, running with the track team after school and Ryu drawing the kanji for friend in the dirt for me. I feel like a piece of myself is missing. Or maybe it's a piece of myself that doesn't feel at home here in a different way than I've ever felt before, because the home it's longing for is thousands of miles away.


Blogger Beth Adele said...

It never quite goes away. And that, I think, is a good thing. It quiets me sometimes to think about Peru; it gives me perspective, and keeps me from getting mired too much in particular situations and times.

If it's any comfort, I think I know how you feel. Not an easy sense to communicate, as powerful as it is. One of my stories in Alchemy is about this ("You Return a Changed Person"). The person who returns looks like you, sounds like you, smells like you, smiles like you, but... it's not the same person who left the US a couple years ago.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Barzak

Could I please have lunch with you?


4:41 AM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

well duh!

4:27 PM  

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