Three years ago I gave up a good job with great people at a publication whose worldview aligned with mine. I left my friends and family and relationship, my apartment, my city, my books. I was neither lost nor brave; there was simply a wind that had more power than I had plans.
People want to move, but they can’t. They have jobs, and debt, and families, and mortgages. They have stuff. They have fear.
I have stuff and fear, too, but perhaps slightly less than other people.
This newsletter exists because if it’s hard to move, I’ll move for you. If you have gone a long time without being moved, let me do my best.
What you will find here is weekly-ish reflections on life as an expat in Japan, as an adult language learner, as a deep reader.
What you will not find is strategies for learning Japanese, strong opinions either way about Murakami, tips for living as a digital nomad, or breathless observations about Japan that smack of orientalism.
Thanks for being here with me. Please subscribe if you see fit, and feel free to share.
I had always admired people who had a palpable sense of their own future, who constructed plans and then followed them. That was how Sandro was. He had ambitions and a series of steps he would take to achieve them. The future, for Sandro, was a place, and one that he was capable of guiding himself to. Ronnie Fontaine was like that, too. Ronnie's goals were more perverse and secretive than Sandro's, but there was a sense that nothing was left to chance, that everything Ronnie did was calculated. I was not like either Sandro or Ronnie. Chance, to me, had a kind of absolute logic to it. I revered it more than I did actual logic, the kind that was built from solid materials, from reason and from fact. Anything could be reasoned into being, or reasoned away, with words, desires, rationales. Chance shaped things in a way that words, desires, rationales could not. Chance came blowing in, like a gust of wind. — Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers