Next stop... TOKYO!

So, I am headed to Canada at the start of April. It's been about two and a half years since I've seen my family! And some friends, just as long or longer! It's time, indeed.

C has a solid job with a Japanese advertising agency. When I come back from Canada, I don't know what I will be doing yet. And that's okay! I have different options and will take my time to find something that works for me and for my relationship.

But there's a good chance that I will be doing some kind of English teaching. For the first few months we will be living fairly close to Waseda University (早稲田大学), so I might start with some tutoring work. We'll see.

The main thing is, I have to embrace this big new change and really explore all that a huge metropolis like Tokyo has to offer.

If you have any suggestions for fun or interesting things for C and I to do in Tokyo, please comment below or email me.

I'm out...
Played while I posted: Caribou - Barnowl
via FoxyTunes


CHANGE! It's a good thing...

To all of my friends in Tamano who have been following this blog, it is finally time for me to be allowed to tell you that I am leaving you. You may have heard rumours about this and I am very sorry that I could not officially announce that my contract would be finishing until now.

It was my intention to tell everyone as soon as I knew, which was before the 3rd term began. But, alas, sometimes things don't go the way we want them to. I accept.

I thank everyone - the principals, vice-principals, teachers, and students - for their kindness and solid efforts while I have been visiting your schools. I have had many wonderful experiences and will truly miss so many of you after I have left.

But, today I want to speak positively, looking forward to the future. I want to talk about the beauty of change. Change is a good thing. Often, times of change, transition periods, can be difficult. But change transforms us and allows us to evolve, to develop into something more, something better.

As winter gives way to the new life of spring; as the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as the colourful butterfly - we should embrace change, seek it out, and allow change to affect us, force us to re-evaluate who we are, what our position in this city, this country, and this world is; understand in a fresh way where it is that we are now and where we might be a day, or month, or year from now.

On that note, I want to share with you some promotional videos I stumbled across today while reading through my various RSS feeds.

These are beautifully crafted videos, with contributions from singers and actors and other celebrities you may or may not know from the U.S.; a group which, like the United States itself, is composed of people of many different colours, ethnicities, religions, and languages - in short, a representation of the diversity that IS the beauty of the United States (and, on that note, Canada, and - let's not forget - the big, beautiful world to which we all belong).

These are people who are pledging their support for, and hoping to add to the growing momentum behind, the front-running candidate for the leadership of the Democratic Party in the States; a bright, charismatic man who possesses the qualities a nation's president should have.

His name is Barack Obama. No doubt, you've been hearing about him on the news, though, to be fair, Japanese news would never cover enough of the pre-election story to give you the 'full story', so to speak, because it just isn't happening in Japan. But, remember, I am Canadian, and this isn't Canadian news, either.

But we should all be learning as much as possible about the November election in the States, because we have seen in the past 7 years (and in the years preceding, too) how much of an effect the leader of the United States, and his administration, can have on the entire world.

The truth is, the U.S. is still on top in the world, and a country with that much power needs to be led by a person with sound judgment, restraint, a strong mind, tolerance, understanding, and knowledge of the world beyond America's borders.

It is now time for a big change. Not just in the U.S. but everywhere in the world; we are ready to breathe a huge sigh of relief and be free to feel positive about the future of this world again. That's the note on which Obama is campaigning and I believe his message is the one we should all hear.

Before I post the videos for you to enjoy (see if you can pick out any stars you know from movies or tv!), let me tell you about his first book. I picked up a copy of Dreams from My Father (Amazon Japan link here) at the prefectural library last week and have been reading a chapter a day (when I find some time), and I am impressed. He writes well. He is an extremely intelligent man - something which cannot be said about many politicians (or men, for that matter).

Most fascinating is his tale of his family history and his struggle as a person of mixed race who experienced, first-hand, different lands and cultures in his early years. This is a man who was born to unite people because he had to, first, find a way in life to reconcile the different, sometimes conflicting, parts of himself into one solid man.

How many white, Republican men have had to do this? How many of the latter really understand anything other than white, Christian culture?

It isn't very plausible because it's not a part of their ideology to have to be concerned with understanding other ways of life or values; these people do not - by virtue of their membership in a party with which they have chosen to align themselves - care about the welfare of all people, even if they might occasionally employ empty rhetoric that aims to deceive people into believing Republicans aren't the bigots they really are.

Change. I am a cynic when it comes to politics (and when it comes to people, too, generally speaking). Usually I find it hard to vote because the choices are always between the greater or lesser of evils. But George Bush and his administration have pushed my cynicism so far that I have bounced back from the margins of obscurity wanting to believe that optimism is necessary and, perhaps, effective in really bad times.

We've been in those times for years now and the collective anger and frustration and general sense of helplessness and powerlessness has dominated all thinking and feeling people the world over and it is time to put it to an end.

Of course, most of us (the citizens of the world who are not American and, therefore, cannot vote), can only sit back and wait and see how the elections unfold. But, wouldn't it be nice to at least have a reason to be hopeful? Wouldn't it be nice to feel optimistic without having to fake it? I am seriously convinced that, in Barack Obama, there is a reason to believe that better days can come.

Time will tell all, of course. But check these videos out (I found them on Hootsbuddy's Place - just to give credit where it's due) and see if you don't at least feel as though finally there might be something bright in the not-so-distant future, that we might have something to look forward to...

If you can't view the videos for some reason, please visit Dipdive.com.

Played while I posted: Extra Golden - Obama
via FoxyTunes


Apologies to In-Door feeders

This official apology goes out to all those who are subscribed to my blog. I recently updated a post or two from the past (just messing with some links, maintenance stuff) and I realized that I had pressed "publish", thus creating new feeds to one or two old links.

I'm sorry if this outdated feed showed up in your reader or via email. Will be all the smarter for it next time around... or, let's say there won't be a next time, shall we?

L8r sk8rs...