Expat Dreams in Japan

I used to have a dream. Something was chasing me. Someone was trying to capture me, they were trying to kill me. Night after night I used to have that dream. Year after year I ran in that dream. It was clandestine.

That was before. I don’t have that dream anymore. I don’t seem to dream at all anymore.

I remember being a Cub Scout a long time ago – Den 9, Pack 5-Oh-something, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On Wednesday nights (or was it Thursday?) all of us little scouts used to go over to our Den leader’s house. I remember meeting in the basement. We used to pledge to do our best, to do our duty, to god and our country. Our country… What about other countries? Do we even talk about other countries? (Why don’t we talk about other countries?) Are they our enemy or something? It was all so clandestine.

A short while later I began collecting stamps so that I could learn all about other countries, so that I could learn about the world! I traded stamps and I traded stamps and I got good ones for Christmas too. And I could see, I could see that the world was colorful and that it was exotic and that it was mysterious, too. What a big and wonderful world it was!

A couple of years later, in high school, I studied Spanish and I visited Mexico for a few days and I could see! I could see the world again!

Then, later, after I graduated from high school I joined the Army so that I could live in Italy for a few years and, Oh! – How my eyes were opened to the world! I saw the coasts and the castles and the cathedrals in all of Europe! I knew that the world was big and that it was magnificent, too. My eyes were opened and I saw that they were opened wide to all of the world!

But then I had to leave Europe and go back to the United States of America. But the world was bigger than that!

So, after a few years, I decided to study Japanese in college! And after I graduated I went to Japan so that I could live there and see the world again! And I did! And I explored the temples and the traffic and the tempura too. What a big world! One year later, two, and I married a Japanese woman and we had a son, three years later four, five years later, six, seven years later and my eyes were still opened up to the world! Eight years later, 9, 10, 11…

Suddenly (finally?) the world was too big for me. I wanted to go back home. I bought 3 airline tickets back to the United States of America – I was going home!

But, and it was all so funny, then, how my wife died, suddenly right there, right then, in Japan. It was all so clandestine. Maybe she died because I didn’t love her enough or something, you know? Whatever…

I’m not being chased anymore.

I don’t have that dream anymore.

It’s kind of like I woke up then, you know?

Anyway, I’m at home in the U.S. with my son now. He doesn’t have a mom anymore, you know. She died.

We know she died.

We should go visit her, you know?