December. 12月。

It's December, and I am still in Japan. I've been here three months so far and it still exceeds my expectations. I'm slowly improving my Japanese, though I still fumble and spout out random words when I'm in a stressful situation such as a restaurant or on the street. I saw a woman riding a bicycle with her baby (a common occurrence here) and her baby dropped its stuffed plush dog. All I could say was "Excuse me" and I forgot the words for "dog," "drop," "here you go." But in calm situations, like over coffee with friends, I'm able to converse about most day-to-day topics. And I'm making steady progress on The Little Prince in Japanese.

12月です。まだ日本にいます。三ヶ月間いていて、日本は私が想像していたよりもはるかにいい所です。日本語が、ゆっくりできるのになっているけど、ストレスの状況で (例えば、レストランで、道で、など)、まだできなくて、めちゃくちゃな言葉を使ってしまいます。自転車を乗っていて赤ちゃんを抱いていた女の人を見ていたら、その赤ちゃんが犬の人形を落としました。人形を返すときに、「すみません」だけと言えました。「犬」と「落とす」と「どうぞ」をぜんぜん思い出せませんでした。だけど、友達と一緒にコーヒーを飲む時のようにのどかな状況では、上手に喋ることができます。さらに、星の王子様の本をどんどん徐々に読んでいます。

I discovered a Japanese band I liked online, called Sonotanotanpenz. I reached out to them by email (in Japanese) to see if they could send me the lyrics. And they did! I'm going to see them in Shibuya on December 27th. My own attempts to write songs in Japanese still tend to end after the first verse, as I'm not quite able to intuit sentences that mean what I want them to mean while fitting a rhythm, using correct grammar, and sounding good–let alone sounding natural. But, I tread on. Here's my latest attempt, in my PJs.


I've been playing some shows in the ex-pat scene, at places like an Irish pub named Pub Republic. It's a friendly and welcoming crowd there, but I'm excited to see how my music does for a mostly Japanese audience. I plan to do my first live-house show in early spring. Probably in Shimokitazawa, where I will move to soon.


I am not yet homesick. I will admit I miss some things, mostly eye contact and smiles from strangers. Japanese kindness, which is abundant, seems to be reserved for those they are interacting with. When no interaction is necessary, I sense a certain coldness and ignoring of others that leaves me wanting. Even toddlers here somehow know to behave, be quiet on the train, and avoid eye-contact with strangers.

I sometimes spend my days wondering that the world is like to a Japanese toddler.

ホームシックはまだではありません。 寂しいと思うことは、知らない人たちからの笑顔と目を合わせるのことです。日本人は、本当に優しいけど、対話を一緒にしている人たちにだけです。対話をしないとき、冷たくみえます。小さい子供でも、そう振る舞って、電車で静かにして、知らない人たちに目を合わせることをしない、不思議と彼らは知っています