Wednesday, April 20

For the pitter patter...


of not so little feet. I make slippers for Colette and friends but now I'm putting a few extra in the shop next month.

Monday, April 18

Here or there, day by day


We have been swept up in the vicious winds of April. 4/5ths of us are in our respective schools and things are going well on that front. We have had no word if 1/5th of us will indeed be deported. Like the nuclear crisis, like the encroaching earthquakes, this is something that we will just have to wait and see about.
It seems much more dramatic in print than it actually is. Daily life chugs on as usual, with 2/5ths of us being more acutely aware of how precious our time is here. We are letting the other 3/5ths remain in blissful ignorance.

Honestly, I don't think that we will get the boot simply because it would cost the government a lot to get rid of us. If I had chosen voluntary deportation, it would have come out of my pocket. Now they are in the process of examining those pockets to see if I have enough to stay or not. Practically, it seems like a bad idea to kick a tax paying family with two kids in Japanese schools out because of a tiny mistake. Especially as they scramble to figure out how to pay for the disasters in Tohoku.

So, in the meantime instead of being anxious, we prefer to Stay Calm and Carry On. I am still going forward with my shop and my writing, though I am pushing back the grand opening a few weeks. Today I am completing eight baby slippers and five summer outfits with the boys all at school and work. It is really quiet with just Colette. I can already anticipate how much I will accomplish when all of them are in school in a few years.

We are working on things that we can continue to do regardless of location. Though my proximity to a giant Japanese fabric store makes it more ideal for my shop if we stay in this land. Regardless, we have backup plans now that we didn't have prior to March 11th. Plans to do more meaningful work than we had been doing, to work towards true dreams while enjoying the journey along the way. If we get the boot, if the walls crumble down around us, then other opportunities will abound.

All the disasters and potential disasters that lie at our feet have made certain dharmic lessons absolutely radiate in my mind, such as impermanence and the utter suffering of this samsaric realm. I get how we must tackle even the most petty concerns with as much kindness and mindfulness as possible. For a while, the stress was making 2/5ths of us short-tempered with the other 3/5ths. Now that a few weeks have worn on, we have calmed down and gained a better perspective. It is easier to remain patient, more loving with each other now. We know what really matters is not where we are, but that we are together wherever. I tacked this article to my kitchen wall, to remind me when I feel hassled in that cramped space by the gaping mouths of my little chicks, that my littles are safe in our nest still, even if the nest is temporary. And the good thing about nests is that that they can be made again if the winds and rains destroy them.

Thursday, April 7

Gone are the days


I think we are all suffering from pre-post traumatic stress syndrome here.

The Fukushima beast is one of those that grows more dangerous as it dies. We have now accepted the idea that we might have to leave Japan in the near future. How near we don't know, how definite, we don't know. Before I was resolved to remain here but recently my concern about the nuclear crisis has been amplified. This is Japan's reality now. A disaster that refuses to be tamed. I have joined the other skeptics in distrusting the "official" news from the government and TEPCO. I rely on the IEAE and even Greenpeace to provide more accurate information.

For the time being, we are pressing on with our regularly scheduled programs. Sebastian is in school, tomorrow we attend Nico's opening ceremony. Jason and I are both working, at work proper and own our own projects. We are filing the paperwork for the objection to Colette's deportation. We would like to continue in this vein.

But that is not always possible. The 27,000 plus victims of the tsunami, the 400,000 displaced in shelters, the new evacuees from the nuclear crisis, all of them also hoped to continue along their own paths, living out the plans they had made, worrying about petty day to day concerns. I miss our frivolous time, a month ago (though it seems like years) when there was no checking of radiation levels, when I still had faith in the competency of people who worked with something as dangerous as nuclear power. I suppose I was naive, but I like being naive, ignorance being bliss and all that jazz. Being naive allows me to have the space in my head for more creative endeavors. Now that space is filled with facts about iodine and cesium, about becquerels and millisevierts. I don't want to think about these things anymore but it has been forced on us all, and it doesn't appear to be for the short-term.

We are not trying to worry you, dear readers, but we do want you to know that we are watching how the disaster unfolds, waiting for it to reach a certain level of calamity before we take more drastic measures. I think our first choice would be to just return to Kansai or Kyushu but if it isn't possible, we'll probably take up American couch surfing for a while. We hope it doesn't come to that.

Thank you again for all your concern over these affairs and events. We truly appreciate it.


Monday, April 4

April has arrived

In Japan, a new school year has begun with the first blush of the cherry trees.

On Thursday, Sebastian enters second grade.
On Friday, Nico will start preschool.

The skies are the brightest blue though the wind is unrelentingly sharp, the temperature too cool.

It is a bittersweet beginning to the year but we are determined to sit through it for as long as possible, preferably under the pink clouds of a sakura tree.

Friday, April 1

Deer Vs. Antelope

our 'hood::kitaku

Sorry for the crickets around here lately. We have yet to be shaken from the planet and the radiation threats turn out to be something you can learn to live with.

I have been busy back at work, preparing for year two. We've been in Nagoya for a year now, as hard as it is to believe. It has not been the most gentle year but I do think we have learned many lessons here. Our most recent one: read the fine print on your visa.

I made a small, tiny mistake when I neglected to notice that my daughter's visa was not for one year past the date when she received her visa. No, that would have been logical. Instead, it expired in January and so this means that at this very moment, she is a criminal.

In 2004, Japan passed some very controversial and strict immigration laws regarding overstay-ers like Colette. There is no age discrimination involved with immigration.

I went yesterday to try and get everything sorted. After waiting for 2 hours, I was shown into a tiny office and two options were laid before me: Colette could be deported now and banned from the country for one year or I could fight the deportation order with a slew of paperwork and if I win, she gets a special-permission-to_stay sticker in her passport. If I lose, she gets the boot and can't come back for 5 years. Insanity, ne?

I chose Door #2, the fight door. I think if I gather enough sheets of paper that they'll forgive me. I mean my daughter. It's brutal out there, it really is.