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So hey, I've known you guys for years. Kinda dropped off when we had kids, but I think everyone here is pretty level headed and only a handful know me IRL. This is rambling, and long. The whole mess is this. I am obsessed with Japan. Literally obsessed. I had a wonderful two week trip with my wife there. Before that I spent a few months learning Japanese so that reading the signs, knowing kinda the gist of what people were saying, etc, was somewhat possible. My interest actually started around back when I was teen, around bonsai and arts and craft, and the influence Japanese design had on it. The language is brutal. I want to know more. The culture is fascinating. The food in general delicious. The food? Eatting it, cooking, drinking green tea and matcha saved my guts. I shed 20 lbs, kept it off, my digestion improved. My IBS improved, my sibo went away. The wife had a blast, and she's like "You know, if an American firm gave you enough money to work there, I would be for it". She's in love with the quilt books and fabric stores. A Japanese bookstores is like US bookstores in their heyday. They're stocked and wonderful. The craft stores have everything you could need. Our only concern would be navigating the possibly brutal Japanese education system, or finding a expensive foreign school for our kids. So here I am making good money as a software dev. But I'm kinda of tired, doing basically glorious rest apis to backend datastores. I tried my hand at a Japanese joint for carpentry and didn't 100% flub it up. And it was enjoyable. I helped my parents prune some trees, chop up wood, and the immediacy of the feedback was refreshing. I told them "Man, I hate mowing but I could do this all day". And when I learned of temple carpentry and saw what they did, it stirred something deep inside. Like maybe I missed my calling, but it just could be my late midlife crisis. My parents are loving, and good. But sometimes I feel I am needled more for my interests than my sister. I don't need to have jokes, no matter how good natured, made about every project I want to do. Like yes, I am weird, and odd, and I have been for 40 years, I don't need to hear it again. You all enjoy my cooking, so kinda cut me some slack when I want to build a hibachi or irori, and try my hand at some really old school robotayaki/yakitori. No one looks at you too weird if you're a fan of french cuisine and buy french wine and cheese, and maybe visited Paris. But start talking about buying your own block of dried aged smoked bonito, and a proper plane to shave it with, and they look at you funny. It's been ten months since the trip. I still have dreams about it. I think the covid isolation is making it worse. Because of the commute, and now covid, I really don't have anyone to talk to. There is a Japanese Culture center just up the road, with the local university, and a Japanese Language group. But basically, its entire focus is around their yearly anime convention. So I don't have any cooking/culture outlet there. Why not call it an anime club? Don't be misleading. The Culture center doesn't seem to have many programs beyond being festooned with a garden and supporting the Japanese language program. Oh well, they do offer language classes, and since we will be working from home for the foreseeable future, maybe I should sign up. I don't know what I am looking for. Just venting more than anything. I keep saying I don't want to feel bad for enjoying the things I like, but I still do. Why does everything need a comment? "Oh, you could go into special FX" said during the last dot bomb by my mom. "Well, I had an interest in that kind of stuff, but you didn't like me drawing monsters, or telling me what I liked wasn't true art." I know some of it she probably got from her dad about her interests, but sheesh.