How I came to live in Japan.

What follows is an account of the events that led up to my family’s relocation to Japan. 

Thanks for reading!


I have never really been a fan of summer. Doubly so, since I have lived in Florida for the past couple of years. (I try not to stereotype, but there’s really no reason for anyone to actually live in Florida. Sure, a fraction of the general population leaves something to be desired, but nothing is helped by the fact that the Sun is essentially trying to kill everything that attempts to go outside between the months of March and December).
What also doesn’t help my general dislike of summer is the fact that it’s been designated as the time of year for vacations and hooliganism (e.g. kids tend to think that they should get a break from life around this time of the year).

What a load of fly-blown bullshit.

Vacations should happen whenever it is appropriate and economically convenient for the person or people involved. As far as kids thinking that they’re entitled to a break? Fuck that noise. I don’t get a break, why should my kids?

Every year, my wife and I have made a point of securing workbooks for our children for the grade that they would be entering in, in the fall. TO DATE, they have been consistently ‘better off’ for it. 2 out of the 3 children have maintained ‘honor roll’ status (the 3rd has been a solid ‘B’ student).

For the record: I’m not Hitler about it. They devote an hour a day to their workbooks and then they help out around the house. Other than that, they are generally free to do what they want as long as no one, and nothing, dies.

Point of fact? When I was a kid, my parents thought I should be able to “enjoy” my summer and “do what I want”. The following school year was always an educational nightmare for me because I retained little of what I learned the year before and no one was making sure that I was doing anything intellectually stimulating (defined as, the opposite of what I was doing: watching reruns of My Favorite Martian and playing endless hours of video games).

I digress. 

This past summer, through an unusual, but expected set of circumstances, my wife, a Captain in the USAF, received orders to relocate herself and her family to Japan.
That’s right: I am now littering the Internet from the Land of the Rising Sun. (Fun fact: while I haven’t confirmed this, I’m fairly certain that Japan is referred to as that because THE SUN RISES AT 4 IN THE FUCKING MORNING DURING THE SUMMER).

Suffice it to say, there will be more writings about Japan, our journey here, and the usual drek I tend to prattle on about.

In sum, I will leave you with how I found out that we were moving to Japan. You may get a chuckle out of it, or it may confirm what you all ready know about me (that I’m an idiot).

One day in the kitchen of my former, Florida abode, I was using our food processor to get down on some dinner prep before I had to pick up my kids from school. After I had cleaned up and was ready to leave, I go to put the food processor away and the damn thing slipped out of my hands and hit the floor.

Rather than try to save it or perhaps catch it on the rebound, I got the fuck out of the way because it’s heavy as hell and can easily break a foot when it is in a gravitationally dangerous state.

After I regained composure, I surveyed the damage.

image

This is a present-day photo.

Naturally, I was sweating bullets because my wife had bought this a while back and she had come to think of it as a fourth child. The name plate was popped out and, as you can see, there was a massive crack in the housing.

My first thought was,”Welp: I’m fucked. There’s no way that this is going to work”. After I checked the remaining integrity of the base and popped the name plate back in, I plugged it back in to see how bad it was.

It worked perfectly fine. I switched out multiple attachments and it was still fine. (ETA: THE DAMN THING STILL WORKS!).

My next move, I thought, was fairly obvious. 

I packed up everything nice and neat, put it in the one cabinet that she’d never go in, and buried it under other kitchen gadgets. All of this was done with the intent of blaming it on the movers the next time we move.

Five minutes later, I got a text from my wife saying that we were moving to Japan this summer.

I am the Lizard King: Or, My Sordid History with Reptiles.

Prior to leaving the contiguous United States for the Land of the Rising Sun, my family and I lived in NW Florida. Again, existing in this locale was strictly related to my wife’s line of work. 

Regardless, living in NW Florida was a necessity. And on top of that, it was the first time that my wife and I had ever lived anywhere other than our native Northern Ohio.

Let that sink in for a moment. You make it all of the way into your 30’s before you live anywhere else in your country. Looking back on it now, I’d have to say that that move from the more often than not, ice-laden Ohio to perpetually warm, and mostly wet, Florida was a bigger mind fuck for the wife and I than it ever was for our three children. 

There was quite a bit that I did anticipate: the heat, the immensity of the ocean, the type of weirdness that only Florida can bring. But, for all that I did anticipate, there was quite a bit that I, let alone anyone, would have never seen coming. 

Fact: in NW Florida there was no real flying insect problem. 

And this is why.

As best as I can suss out, this is a Green Anole. He likes changing color based on the heat, living in trees, and climbing all sorts of flat surfaces. He dislikes vertebrates, being confused with chameleons since he’s related to the iguana, and getting caught by predators (He will break off his tail in a desperate grab for freedom. I can verify this fact as my youngest daughter used to catch Anoles like Mr. Miyagi caught flies. More often than not, she’d have only a tail to add to her collection.). 

Yes, this son of a bitch was on the inside of the screen in my house. And yes, I was rather pleased that he kept the bugs for himself. But I was equally displeased that I had a lizard to exorcise from my home.

There I was, City Mouse down to the very fiber of my being. What in the hell am I going to do? I can’t kill it with a shoe. I couldn’t catch the damn thing (not because I was super fat at the time, nor because I was sans pants, but because lizards of that size epitomize skittish). And I sure as shit couldn’t use harsh language at it in the hopes that I would bum it out to the point of it letting itself out. 

I did the only thing that I could think of. I closed the window. 

While this may seem a bit inhumane, it was a nice day, as evidenced by the window being open in the first place. Also, it’s a fucking lizard. 

After I closed the window, and put my pants back on, I decided to go around to the other side of the lizard’s new prison to see if there was anything that could be done about extricating my new “friend”. As luck would have it, the screen opened from both sides. So, I opened the screen and walked away. 

I checked on him an hour later and he was gone, along with the horror thought that came from me wondering how long it would take him to find his way into my house and eat my then-plump face off whilst I slept.

A few days later, I happened upon this scene while taking out the trash. 

I obviously can’t verify that this was the same lizard but it did my heart good to ponder the possibility that the lizard had used his new found freedom to get his freak on.