The Radical Choice of Staying Put


During the summer, things got a little tense. In the intense heat, our brains melted into goop, angry, restless goop. We decided to do what we always do when we get restless: move. Staying in Japan is pretty much our only option at this time (for various reasons: economic, scholastic, affectionate) so I frantically applied for jobs all around the country and began the arduous task of waiting. To keep my impatient mind occupied, I started running at night and writing in the early morning. Both being activities that I love to do and activities that I have managed to evade for most of my adult life (excluding periodic bursts of commitment). And yet in the vacuum of the waiting game, I found a schedule that actually worked for a tired mother of four schoolchildren. Suddenly Gotou had a new appeal: it became a place where I could work. Not just teach and pay bills but get actual work done. The push to leave the island diminished, even when the response to my applications turned out to be very positive. The logistics of moving did not seem worth the interruption of our daily lives. The kids are in school: they have their friends and after school activities. Jason has his sculpting studio finally established with several works-in-progress actually in progress. My teaching schedule is set and for a day job is rather straightforward. And most of all it keeps a roof over our heads and a visa in the passports.

Perhaps it is natural for us ageing expats/nomads to eventually figure out that if we want to accomplish more than just collecting a series of addresses then we have to sit down and just work. And really there are far worst places on this planet to come to this realisation. Gotou is a quiet but beautiful rock in the middle of the sea. It has all we need for right now. And while I don’t think we will become permanent members of the community, for now this is home.


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