Dreams on Hold

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002

Subject: Re: TorStar article


I just sent an inquiry to my contact at the Star about the name thing. Hopefully, my parents won't notice. It's not like anybody scours the Boom section.


But holy shit: they didn't change a single word in my article. Not one. That's unbelievable.

Subdued Notice

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002

Subject: A subdued notice of an article in the Toronto Star


Hi guys...


I have an article in the Toronto Star today (Tuesday, Wednesday in Japan) in the Boom! section, called "Dreams on Hold." However, I told my parents I'd print it under a pseudonym and it looks like my e-mail making the request got lost or ignored, so it's under my real name. Anyway, it's a little unflattering to them, so please just don't spread knowledge of this article to anyone who doesn't need to know about it. Thanks.


If you want to find it online, go to www.torontostar.com and hit the Life link. It's the first article at the top. Further down you'll see "Exploring Options," which was written by a friend in conjunction with my article.

Watching, Waiting

Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

Subject: Re: AT LAST!!


I've realized that in order to continue creating at all times, I have to have several projects going on at the same time.


I'm usually pretty careful to lift with my legs, but once in a while I say to hell with it because I'm young and invincible. We can see where this is going to go.


Today a student asked me how old I was and it took me a literal two minutes to figure it out. I'm 23. I really don't have the slightest clue how old I am, and I'm very proud of it. I want to keep it that way for a long time.


I still haven't heard from my parents about the article... it's kinda like waiting for the other shoe to drop. On a brighter note, the Star wants me to re-submit an article they ignored a month ago.


All the beast.


And all the things that crawleth upon the earth.


Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

Subject: Re: A subdued notice of an article in the Toronto Star


My parents actually bought a season's pass for Blue Mountain this year. D'oh. I'm just happy I got to go boarding in Akita... man, it's bad on your knees.


Yeah, sorry for the lack of personal mail, but I use the megamails as hooks to see who will respond, and then I give more personal responses in kind... although I sometimes don't reply to people who just say "nice story." Also, I started sending megamails because I realized I was just telling the same story to three or four different people every week, rewriting it every time. This is more efficient on my end, if laborious on the other. =)

Company B vs. JET

Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

 Subject: Re: A subdued notice of an article in the Toronto Star


I've actually only heard good reviews of JET... but I'm with Company B, which does more or less what JET does in addition to providing private business lessons. I also get paid less than JET people, but I'm trying not to think about that because none of this was ever about money, dammit. Okay, it still sucks to see your paycheque go down... but it doesn't matter. I have way too much disposable as it is. Income tax here is only 5%. So is sales tax. And you don't have to tip. But everything costs twice as much as it does in Canada - $30-$40 for a CD.


If you have time & the option, I'd go with JET. They really are the best. The others are all still businesses at heart, and the personal satisfaction of their employees doesn't affect business. JET is more concerned about cultural exchange, since it's a government program, so they look out for you.


I envy your opportunity to watch Holy Grail with a room full of people who won't be embarrassed to admit they drool over the movie... and possibly some of the people who caused the drooling...

Welcome to Japan

Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

Subject: A few things


I know a guy who's about 6'6" and can buy both clothes and shoes here, but he has to go to a Big & Tall place. Even I have trouble finding shirts with sleeves long enough for my arms. I'm at the upper limit of normal clothing sizes here.


There are quite a few Starbucks stores out here, and you can also sometimes find foreign food stores. Big Sis has a place where she buys pizza pops, although I haven't found the one in my area yet.


I just resigned from Blight a few days ago and I'm going to work in public schools in a small fishing town about an hour away. Blight isn't bad compared to work in North America, but if you start comparing it to other work you could do in Japan, it starts looking lousy, so just don't compare, okay? The main problem is the habitually low morale, but if you can get around that, you'll be fine.


As for general cultural stuff... I'm not sure what to say. They get most Hollywood movies out here, although it takes a month or two. Music is also available but expensive. You're looking at double the price for just about anything, but income and sales taxes are both only 5% so you end up with a lot of disposable income anyway. Most apartments don't have ovens, so you're generally restricted to stovetop cooking, and Blight doesn't give you a microwave, so reheating is a hassle. Mid-sized towns like the one I'm in don't really have clubs, but if you're in a big city that shouldn't be a problem. Most places charge cover but give you a drink when you come in. Alcohol is incredibly expensive at bars, but it's really cheap at the liquor store and you can buy beer from a vending machine. Coke is expensive everywhere. Electronics can be cheap depending on where you go. If you go to Akihabara in Tokyo, you're set: a friend of mine found a portable MP3/CD player selling at different shops for anywhere from $200 to $100. Finding English software is a hassle, though. But you can buy English books in most bookstores.


Just tell me if there's anything else you'll want to know.

Article Response

Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002

Subject: Re: TorStar Letters regarding your article


Thanks. I was wondering if there were any replies. Thankfully, they weren't too harsh on my parents... although, they called me today and were rather unhappy. Maybe your mom could give them a call sometime to talk it over? You mentioned that she was considering talking to them. I'm a little worried about them.


The last letter was harsh to me, but he's also right: I could have done artistic stuff. I mean, there's that Eng Phys guy who was the Pirate King. But my problem was my total lack of confidence in my ability to do my work if I diverted too much of my time, which I was wasting anyway. I deserve to be criticized for that paradox, and I'm glad somebody's telling people that you can do what you want in any field as long as you make it your priority. My priority was stressing over my marks. That was half my problem.

Long-Lost Friend

Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002

Subject: You find the damnedest things in your inbox




My mom called me today to let me know of her feelings on the article and about your call. I sent the article to my parents before it was published and they asked me to have it printed under a pseudonym, a request which the Star promptly neglected to implement or even reply to. There's an inherent flaw in telling people to contact you "only if they have a problem."


If the skit you found is from Grade 11, then it's "The Adventures of Willgenomeo and Stuff Like Dat, Guy." When I was at home in the summer, I pulled it up on my computer and laughed at my images of you going into your wonderfully apt Spanish Inquisition voice: "So... Wiiillllllgenomeo!"


Did I ever tell you that our teacher actually talked to me about that in Grade 12, saying that, after having thought about it over the summer, he decided that he should actually have given us bonus marks for that monument to peculiarity? It caused a stir.


If the skit is from Grade 10, then I have images of you as a fairy transforming me into a playwright in a random selection of sketches that the class loved and the teacher hated.


The guy who wrote the article accompanying my piece also transferred faculties. We were actually orientation leaders together in second year, even though he'd transferred to Psychology in the summer. So we called him Psycho and didn't tell our little frosh why. But he's the one who got

me into writing for the Star (I had another article during the summer), and I directed the editors to him when I told them I couldn't do the follow-up piece since I couldn't interview Canadian guidance counsellors from Japan.


I took up Korean Sword Fighting in university, but it wasn't quite as diverting as the guitar would seem to be. It's not really creative. It just gives you a place to put your pent-up emotions. One of the other reasons why I had difficulty at school was that I kept choosing extracurricular activities that were asocial and non-creative.


This isn't going to be quite as well-edited as delightful as I'd like since I still have to write my parents and tell them why I decided to hold them up to public scrutiny.


Anyway, please please please continue to write. You're one of the people I've been really angry about losing track of.


Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002

Subject: Your dog, not your father


You can buy hot coffee in vending machines here, and bags of tentacles at the grocery store. I've never checked out the sausages.


As for the Star, I just submit articles to the editor of the Life section with the subject line "Submission for the Boom section" and a brief introductory description of myself and the article. Then I paste the article into the e-mail. I learned how to do that from Psycho.

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