Friday, April 8, 2011

At War (with the Morning)

The best thing about not having a job is not having a job. The worst thing about not having one is not having one...

Some days ago, I got dressed up in an uncomfortable suit and had an interview with a company, pretending like my pants weren’t one size too small and strangling my groin. The interview went well, fortunately, and they offered me a position, which was exactly like the position I had lost before but with a few more perks. I told them that I would have to think about it and would give them a decision by the morning of the following day. In my mind, as soon as they said it was available to me, I didn’t want it because I was tired of doing the same old thing. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t make a decision, so before I went to bed, I just sent them an email saying I would take it, and as soon as I had done that, regretted it right away...

The next day I walked from my home to Shinjuku to meet Jon and Cameron for lunch. It was a beautiful day out, so I took quite a lot of pictures on my way… Eventually I grew hungry because all I had was my daily tea and two slices, which led to me to think about the money I didn’t have and the money I was probably never destined to get much of in the future…. A romantic idea slipped into my head, which I think slips into everyone’s head at one time another. What if I gave up trying to find work for one year, and just did art (with an occasional freelance gig here and there)…? And then since I imagined myself to be this cool starving artist, I also came up with an even more romantic idea about not having sex or a girlfriend for one year because being unemployed in Japan is kind of like being a leper- no Japanese girl would want to date you, and even if for some miracle I could get a girlfriend, having one would just cost money... I gave up on these ideas just as fast as I thought of them.

On the afternoon of April 1st, while I was skateboarding to buy Yuki’s present, I suddenly had an epiphany… I think it was an epiphany because the sun was shining on me just right when I had this realization. Even though I had been stressing about a job, it didn’t matter because there would always be something to stress about, so fuck work because these past couple of weeks, I was doing what I wanted to be doing and in a way was actually happy.

Later that evening while Ian was cooking a romantic dinner for Yuki’s birthday, I mentioned to him that a magazine had contacted me the day before, and that they were interested in collaborating with me for their blog– the details were not yet clear, but if that were to happen, they said they could pay, which was exciting to hear. Soon after, Yuki called and said she had to go out drinking with her coworkers, which is one of those mandatory things that Japanese people have to do, so Ian and I ended up eating the romantic birthday dinner by ourselves.

Yuki's Present, a used copy of "Sentimental Journey" by Nobuyoshi Araki

Before I went to bed, I got a follow-up email from another magazine, a German one, who had asked me before about publishing some excerpts from my
7 Days diary. In their previous email, they had apologized that they could only pay a little – how much that was... they would get back to me about that. Anyways from past experience, I never expect much from magazines financially, but that night, in their email, they said they could give me 400 Euro, which, after I checked, was about 550 US dollars, which, in my mind, was a lot of money for doing nothing. I ran over to Ian, excited, jumping up and down, saying I had enough money for next month’s rent. Soon after, I began drunkenly dreaming that, maybe, I could be freelance by just doing Talking Barnacles…

The next morning, I woke up on the ground – actually it was tatami – as well as to an email from the New York Times. After re-reading their letter five times, I brought down my computer to the kitchen in my pajamas, proofread the article I had written the night before about wet sleeves, prepared my tea and two slices, and then suddenly, while buttering my toast, sang So Long Marianne by Leonard Cohen out loud.


  1. If Talking Barnacles ever becomes a monograph, I so want a copy. Yours has become my favorite blog, hands down. The honesty of your photographs and words make it look so simple, but simple it is not. That is the genius of it all.

  2. Hi Claudette,
    Thanks so much... Your comment made me feel so much better!... because even though this entry was just posted and upbeat, it's about stuff that happened some days ago, and since yesterday I was feeling pretty depressed...

    I was just lying in bed and it's 5:00 PM!

    In my mind, after the one year anniversary of the earthquake and the blog, I want to make it into a book.

    Thank u. It really helps keep me going!