Saturday, March 26, 2011

I lost my job yesterday. I want to blame it on the quake, but my company assured me that it had nothing to do with it; Tokyo, financially, was already having hard times to begin with.

After writing my follow-up post about 7 Days on March 22nd, I started wondering if I was wrong. In the wake of what has happened to Japan and the radioactive threat already in Tokyo, maybe just continuing what you are doing is the cowardly thing to do…

During the first week after the quake, even with all the stress and the fear of what was going on at the time, in a way, I felt relieved. I felt relieved because I didn’t have to worry about having a real career, money, and my future which has been plaguing and haunting me everyday for the past who knows how many years; but what I had to worry about was the now, survival, and my friends. In a way, I felt pretty good. But after we escaped Tokyo and had a couple days rest in the southern island of Kyushu, I got an email from my dad entitled with his favorite line, which is definitely my least favorite of all:

What are your plans?

I didn’t have any… because I sadly never do. I was just going where the nuclear tide was taking me, and since nothing was really developing at the plant in Fukushima, and that Yuki, my roommate, would probably have to go back to work after the weekend was over, it seemed like we would have to go back to Tokyo and try to live to our normal lives again, which meant me going back to doing photography on my free time while continuing with my stale, old day job that has absolutely no future whatsoever.

But… it’s easy. It’s much easier just to continue that life even with the rumor of one day puking out black blood from radiation (worse case scenario) then actually figuring out a new one. Therefore, I am sure that losing this job is a blessing in disguise because I would have never been able to figure out what I needed or wanted out of life unless I was really pushed. But since finding the same kind of job, which I have been doing forever, is so easy to come by, I doubt that I have the strength to let myself be pushed.

Now the question in front of me, which is actually the same one for everyone else in Tokyo, who were unsatisfied with their lives before the quake, is do we have the courage to get up and change our lives because finally we have a legitimate reason to do it, which - I’m sure that the Japanese government would never admit to- is that Tokyo is probably a damn dangerous place to be right now and will be for a long time.


  1. i enjoy reading your blog and seeing this beautiful photo.
    i think it's interesting to read "is so easy to come bye" where "come by" becomes "come bye"?
    good luck!

  2. Hi Joshua,
    Thanks for catching my typo! Just changed it. I am really bad at grammar since I am not really a writer.

    I am sure there will lots more typos in the future... haha.
    Please help me anytime.

  3. oh sorry I didn't mean to be pointing at typos.
    i just meant that in your post describing a moment where the feeling of change is emerging (to me at least) it's interesting that "come by" would be written "come bye" as in goodbye!
    but maybe it's irrelevant, i dunno!

  4. Yay. The post is back! And you are a pretty damn good writer.

  5. i dont think there really is a cowardly thing to do. i had also been teaching in asia, and i had just finished my work at my school a week before the japan earthquake. but there were a lot of factors leading up to my decision besides the earthquake. i now know that if i had stayed i would have been fine, but coming home was a long time coming for me, so maybe i did just use it as my excuse to get back to the west. anyway, i had been feeling a bit embarrassed/like a coward when i first got back, but its now pretty clear to me that i made the right decision for me. so if staying feels right for you, i think thats great.
    anyway i agree that your writing is great.. its raw and honest. ive followed your and coley brown's photography for a while, its nice to get to hear from the person behind the camera.

  6. Hello Emilex,
    I remember your screen name from before!

    I am glad u made the right decision for yourself, and are satisfied with it.

    I understand about what u said.

    Basically the longer you stay abroad, the harder it is to go home... I originally planned on living abroad for a year... now it's 8!

    Japan, or whatever asian country you live in, can be comfortable to live in, but doesn't really take u anywhere since there aren't many opportunities for foreigners... that and other aspects of Japan kind of suck, but at the same time, it is easy to relax here and just stay that way for years... you don't need to deal with the pressures and reality of back home... it's kind of like not needing to grow up...

    My friend and I were talking about how the quake, in a way, helped a lot of foreigners, who were on the fence about staying or leaving, to finally decide... which was good.

    I still wonder if I made the right decision or not by staying in Japan...

    I like your photos too by the way, Emily!