Need a Sidekick

Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002

Subject: Help?


I wrote an article for the Star last week and they want to use it, but they also want me to write a sidebar, but I don't think I can do it and I'm wondering if you'd be interested.


Here's the deal: I wrote an article about my attempted switch into English and my problems with my parents and my problems deciding what course to choose in university in the first place. They want me to talk to guidance counsellors about the best way to balance between career/inclinations choices and how to deal with parents in the event of a switch and also to university admin. about how to switch when necessary. I'll send you the article next time I have the file on me.


Anyway, given that you have a lot of experience doing the same kind of thing and you've been interviewing a lot of people lately, this might be right up your alley. I told the Star that I can't really interview anyone from Japan, and mentioned that I might be able to find someone else to write the sidebar (i.e. you). I just told them my idea, and I don't know what they'll say, but does it sound good to you? Is it the kind of thing you think you could do? If you want to do it, I will seriously push to get you in there, because honestly, I'm kicking my own ass for not being in Toronto right now or writing this article five months ago. If you're interested, let me know and I'll drop your name on them next time I talk to them.

Parental Advisory

Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002

Subject: Things


I've included a copy of the article I sent the Star below. I didn't want to show it to you, and I was secretly hoping you wouldn't notice when it was published, but I decided that that's a little unrealistic and it would be better if you had some warning.


I needed to explain some of the feelings I had during my difficulties in university, and I had to be honest in order to give an accurate impression of the possible consequences of making a poor or under-informed decision. It's sort of a caveat, so I had to be blunt. I'm sorry if it offends you. It's written in the perspective I had at the time, not in my present perspective.


The sidebar the Star wanted me to write, which I’ve given to a friend, will give advice as to what I should have done in that situation and how I could have avoided the situation in the first place.


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002

Subject: Sidebar


Make sure your sidebar piece covers all the stuff in the initial reply you sent me (I haven't got time to check right now) - that reply was great. If you could find a way to delicately work in the idea that, "even though high school guidance counsellors seem out of it, they really can help" it might be a good idea since the fact that everyone thought mine were useless was part of why I never talked to them.


I made some changes, cut a few little things, and reversed the order of a few clauses. You might want to mention that you can find out the specifics of how to transfer just by going to the appropriate faculty office, just to give people a bit of a pointer.

The Rover Cometh

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002

Subject: Re: Confirmed flight!


The dates are fine; I'll just have to rearrange some of my schedule if I'm going to pick you up and such, although I think you could find your way here pretty easily on your own. Narita Airport and Tokyo Station are well-labelled in English, except where buses are concerned.


We can work out the details in a bit once I get a little more settled at my new branch. I've got Mondays and Tuesdays off now, so your flights, which were previously perfectly selected to coincide with my days off, are now a little less convenient. But it's no big deal.


I got called in to work overtime yesterday on my one day off... I'm a little irked with the world today...


Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002

Subject: Thanks!


Hey, thanks for the card! Mr. Bond mentioned that he had something from you for me and I got all excited... it was pathetic, really. But very sweet, thank you.


Apparently, on Valentine's Day here, girls are supposed to buy boys they like boxes of chocolate (which are conveniently sold at special booths in all department stores - a friend of mine will be working at one), while boys reciprocate a month later on White Day (Mar. 14) with their own boxes of chocolate, which will, no doubt, also be readily available at department stores.


When two of my students found out that I was transferring schools, they bought me a pair of little "good luck owls." I think this is more of a marketing thing than a Japanese tradition of any sort (they're just little cartoonish plush toys on pieces of wood), but one is apparently for luck in work, and the other for luck in love. Yay.


The Toronto Girl spotted me on the street about a week ago, and we talked for a bit and decided to try to get together again sometime. She'd been in Italy for a while, so I guess the fact that I hadn't called her in ages didn't really register as an affront, which is both good and bad. I don't know why I keep doing this... she's nice enough, but we really don't have anything in common beyond Toronto, and I haven't even decided if I'm really interested in her, so I get totally awkward about anything that might be perceived as intimacy. I'd given up on her because she seemed generally just as indifferent towards me, although she does seem to like to talk to me on the phone, but we always just talk about the exact same things.




I want a new social structure. This one's got too many complications.

Gathering the Posse

Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002

Subject: Re: PS!


You rock. Thanks for the offer.


Actually, I already bugged a friend of mine who got me into writing articles for the Star in the first place (I owed him one, after all). The article had to do with some of the warm and jelly-like feelings of being stuck in a program that makes you want to eradicate all of humanity that your parent's won't let you transfer out of without revoking your ability to pay for such things as food and shelter. My friend actually successfully fled from engineering, so it seemed appropriate that he write the escape manual the Star had requested as a follow-up.


Another friend of mine recently sent a package of my travelogue-esque e-mails to an associate in publishing. If all goes well, said associate will tell me how to write a formal proposal to her company. My farflung dreams might yet have a toehold in reality: by writing and disseminating good material, someone might actually take note of what I can do and pay me to do it. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME!!


...okay, I'll be able to breathe normally again in a minute... but this has lots of cool potential... you know, being my preferred reason to stay alive on earth and all...

Parental Concern

Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002

Subject: Re:


Why would there be unpleasant repercussions?


Quite frankly, it loses a lot of its weight if it's published without my name on it.


I suppose I could ask, though.


Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002

Subject: Re: cuz I know you have nothing to do in Japan.......


At my parents' request, I just asked the Star to print my article under a pseudonym. Just thought I'd let you know.


If you could save me a few copies when it's published, I'd appreciate it.

Last Straws

Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002

Subject: Re: Fun in Japan


In happy news on my end, I've started practicing for a Kabuki performance at the spring cherry blossom festival, but when I got back from my little snowboarding trip, I found out that my schedule's been unilaterally changed and I now have to work at the time I'm supposed to rehearse every week. I'm swapping shifts with another teacher, but I'm pretty pissed off for the general lack of regard for any plans I might actually try to make in my pathetic excuse for a life outside of work.


As soon as I finish writing this, I'm scouring the Japan job sites in earnest. I'm getting seriously pissed off with this company.


Anyway, once I get my butt in gear, I'll send out a detailed account of my trip to the north of Japan and how cool it is to see an entire school of junior high kids get really excited to see you for no reason whatsoever. They thought, among other things, I was a Backstreet Boy-equivalent. Very cute.

A.O.T.C. Looks Like A.S.S.

Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002

Subject: Re: Cards


I checked out the Lego stuff... the new Slave looks pretty cool. Better than the one I've got, anyway. The whole mini-Boba thing strikes me as a bit of a stretch, but whatever.


I saw the ad for the new movie a few weeks ago and started wondering if we've all been following a false prophet. It looks like ass. It's a half-assed romance that happens to be produced by Geroge Lucas. The LOTR trailer right after blew it completely out of the water (LOTR comes out here NEXT MONTH. Argh).


I think LOTR is going to be the Star Wars of the new generation, and Star Wars is going to get washed away. The number of Oscars it got nominated for is just a little hint, the same way Star Wars got a bunch of nominations in 1977. Ironically, I’m starting to think Star Wars has hitherto been the cinema equivalent of LOTR—not the other way around.

Hello... Pseudonym?

Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002

Subject: Re: Back atcha


Is the article coming out this week? Let me know if they changed my name as requested. I'm a little worried about that. I only told them to reply if they had a problem, so they either don't have a problem or they haven't received my e-mail.


Just so you know, I sent them another article and they haven't said anything about it.


What are the name and address for the Over to You section at MacLean's? I have a story about my thesis that amuses at least me.

Archie's Book

Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002

Subject: Finally


Okay, I finished reading your book on Friday. I'm going to send my general comments first and then the book itself since the book is huge. Read the comments first and then open the book in Word to look at my specific edits. I didn't change anything in the actual text beyond adding your updated chapter, but I made a lot of comments.

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