The Captain’s Note: I wrote this in January 2010, at the peak of my stress in Japan between job and house moves and my inability to go home after immigration issues. I don’t want to forget what the worst was like so that I am motivated in the future by what I’ve got through before. So here it is:

Disclaimer: This isn’t a cry for help I just need to write this down and get my head straight.

It’s almost the end of January. I have 2 bills I don’t have money for. 1 can wait since I’ll get paid the day just before I have to pay it. The other might already be overdue. I owe my boss 61,000yen. I owe my landlord 60,000. Next month it’ll be 30,000 more for a total of 90,000. So I owe 151,000yen. I’m due 50,000 and on the 26th I get 265,000 minus some tax.

I need to buy a new bike. The one I now have is completely gone. I could buy it now if I dip into my credit card. I decided to do just that today. I got up early and left my the town centre. I tried every cash machine but none would let me draw my money on my regular bank card or my credit card. I know my credit card should work since it’s worked before and I know I have money in both credit card and overdraft spare on my regular account. This leads me to believe that maybe the bank have put a notice on the account to prevent me from using the cards. If so I’ll need to phone them tonight.

I phoned them last night to pay money into Helena’s account – the reason for this was that the internet banking wouldn’t let me set up the payment because I needed some kind of code involving a mobile number and them sending me updates to it. I have no mobile number so I don’t know how to resolve this, hence calling the bank. I wasted some skype credit to be told the systems were down. I’ll try again tonight to find out what the problem is.

Assuming I get access to the money, I’ll walk 1 hour and 30 minutes to the bike shop.To do so and still be on time for work at 1pm tomorrow I’ll get up at 9, which means I need to go to bed about 12ish tonight. It’s small and I hope they have something that suits me. I’ve done some research on the bike and I know what I want but if they don’t have it I’ll have to find a another shop.

If I get access to the cash I’ll go to Tokyo like I said I would to my friends. We’ll go see some jazz stuff because sumo will be difficult to see since it’s the last day of the season. If I don’t I’ll turn them down again due to lack of money. This has become a habit I don’t like so I need to just be willing to go out more and have money of course.

I don’t know if I’ll have the money to do this in February though since I owe most of my paycheck to other people. This is especially annoying because for most of my friends it’s their second last month in Japan.

This is all minor stuff. I’ll get through it – I have before. My debt will pay off within 6 months I think. Then I’ll have more flexibility to do more things. I’ve been telling myself that for the past 10 months now though – although this was because of shitty Interac wages and their cuts for holidays. This time I should get there. I hope.

I also really want a new camera – a good one that won’t break on me – and also trimmers. My Mum sent me out hair clippers but they don’t work because of the socketing and stuff. So I need to buy some here – there’s no way I’m going back to a Japanese barber.

I’m getting to grips with the PLS system. It’ll probably take me 5-6 months of heartache and mistakes and looking stupid in front of the kids. The problem is that in that time I need to make sure they’re disciplined and not causing trouble otherwise they’ll get used to this cycle of disruption and then get bored of ‘the new guy’ making my days much harder. No Japanese is a huge factor.

The Japanese adults even disrespect you without Japanese. I once said I had no motivation to learn Japanese because there was no one out here I liked. Everyone here is boring, except for the punks – but it’s rare that I see them – mostly because I don’t know where to find them except a couple of different live houses.

This is how I found a new motivation to learn Japanese. I’ve realised I need respect, I crave it. I hate daily injustice and can’t tolerate little remarks – it’s probably the main reason I quit my last job at the Junior High School. But to get it you can’t just be a sensei or whatever and teach them ESOL style in your own language with full immersion. These kids are spoiled. More so than western kids. They’re parents pay for them to go to language school full time, wait hours for them whilst they take classes then give them lifts home. These kids don’t respect you if aren’t teaching them in the way they want to be taught – inside their comfort zone even though learning a language and culture is about stepping outside your comfort zone.

So to get my respect I need to learn Japanese. If I don’t I’ll probably just end up quitting this job too and every other job until I get fed up of that.

It’s made me realise that one day I want to be self-employed. I always said to myself I didn’t want to go down that route since my parents did and I saw they always struggled but now I know why they did it. I don’t want to hire staff though – I just want to be responsible for me. I can’t do that right now. I don’t have enough experience. Maybe after so many years, countries and students and having raised a little capital I’ll be able to just teach in different people’s homes and teach students I want to teach rather than be restricted to a specific locale.

Right now I’ve got to get through this month. Then the next 6 months and get out of debt.

“You think that you’re full of conviction. Really you’re just trying to survive.”