Sunday, 13 September 2009

A Way In Japan

Right now, I'm reading V.S. Naipaul's A Way In The World, and it's got me hooked. In this book (well, up until the point I've gotten to so far) he's talking about his journey as a Caribbean writer. This book resonates a lot with my own experience.

How can I be prolific without being pretentious? How can I be honest and rational without being abrasive? How can I make a career out of writing while living in a country that doesn't speak the language in which I'm writing while supporting myself (that is me, being a poor black girl from a poor Jamaican family with a mountain of student loan debt) on an income being incurred from a job that does not stimulate me intellectually?

I've asked myself these questions many times trying to justify my staying here.

Trying to justify my staying here, largely in part, to maintain my relationship with my boyfriend. Trying to maintain one of the few relationships I've had my entire life that does not require me to be something I'm not.

Trying to put my life together after many years of tragedy and disappointment, including my first Japanese company going bankrupt along with my father's death in one year, in the midst of me trying to save enough money to help my mother own her own home since she was her twenties.

All I can do is live, is my answer to these questions. Trite as it may sound, all I can do is live, love all (except idiots, pro-life/anti-reproductive choice fundamentalists, racial and sexual hate mongers and war mongers, all of whom I find completely intolerable) and do the best I can.

The best I could do was go on a cruise this weekend. Not a Somewhere Beyond The Sea type cruise. It was one night of a summer-long event around Tokyo Bay wherein revelers could choose to go dressed up in yukata.

At times like these, I think to myself, how can I not love this? How can I not love my life, even if it's a farce?

Then, I think that this is life. This is my life: the stress, the history, the drama and the beauty. Then I allow myself to look at pictures like this:

And I think to myself, when I was taking this picture, I had thought about the boat ride home, that is, home - in Tokyo. Maybe, I'm on of these people who can say:"Jamaica is my country but --- is my hometown."

But for all intents and purposes, Kingston is still my number 1 hometown, especially when I think about music like this: