Posted in Japan News, Slice of Life

The Obligatory COVID19 Update

I don’t really know where to start, but I guess the situation changed from “something to keep an eye on” to “really concerned” about mid-February.

I remember when the news feed about the Diamond Princess hit my timelines on Facebook and Twitter at the start of February. My colleagues and I talked about it. We speculated about the quarantine efforts. Were they enough? Too much? How long would they keep people in there?

All these conversations took place between lessons. We drank coffee, complained about this class issue or another. I was having a couple of problem students, one of which involved a kind of serious incident. The homeroom teacher and I were strategically figuring out how to help the kid get through the next few classes.

During that time, I was concerned with actually finishing up my curriculum for the third semester. I was struggling to get my test together, too, because with only two months of subject matter to cover I wasn’t sure how to grade it out of 100 points.

Little did I know, very soon, it wouldn’t matter at all.

As the death toll kept increasing abroad, murmurs and tension started to rise. What tipped the scales from nervous to frightened for us was the news about the teacher who caught it in Chiba. Japanese teachers at my school pushed back against a formal top-down decision from the administration to continue holding the last classes and finals as normal.

I talked about it with co-workers and we all seemed to have the same concerns.

“If one student catches it, then that’s it, right? That’s the whole school?”

“For sure, the kids never wash their hands. They have sports clubs together, and that’s always how the flu gets around. One basketball player gets it and then half a team goes down.”

“So-and-so sensei has a family member with leukemia living at home. He’s terrified of passing it along to them!”

“Did you hear Racist-sensei? He doesn’t want the half kids at school, especially the half-Chinese kids. He thinks I don’t understand Japanese. Should’ve punched him in the face.”

“Don’t bother, he’s old. With any luck he’ll die off like all the other dinosaurs. The school is talking about only parents at the graduation ceremony. That’s a bit half-assing it ain’t it?”

Xenophobia is of course all over the place by this point. Restaurants denying foreigners is a time honored tradition in Japan, so of course in these stressful times it’s best to just swing that racism card harder than ever.

Sign in Nakano taken by Stuart Neilson

The “foreigner seat” effect took a strange turn for me. Up until February 2020, I never really experienced people avoiding to sitting next to me on a train before, but since the start of the pandemic hitting Japanese people would leave extra space around me when going to and from work. It’s of course nothing in comparison to the Asian discrimination that is getting people beaten and thrown out of their homes in other countries. All the same, it’s there, and I’m more pissed off it got thrown around behind my students’ backs than anything else.

When Shinzo Abe made his astounding out of left field announcement that all schools should close by March 2nd, it really hit my school hard. I went in early the next day to catch the morning meeting. The announcement on that Friday was essentially this:

Grades for third semester don’t count. Put in absences. Get out.

Well, get out company employees. Direct hires to the school would still come in, but with an irregular schedule. As most of the Native English teachers were company supplied, we had the weirdest stressful day. We scrambled to find team teachers or class books and get everything in order. I was rushing around trying to get things back to students before they went home (even if it didn’t matter, it was the principle of it).

When we clocked out on February 28th, we were told school wouldn’t start until April. Have fun, see ya, good luck!

The next couple of weeks were…strange. I don’t know how else to put it. Although the Japanese government kept telling people not to gather in groups, people did. Although Icheon and Seol got put on lockdown, I was going out to see friends at a restaurant. I spent days at home, but yes I would make plans to see people.

Some friends took the advice to stay isolated seriously, and others not so much. One of my friends stayed inside for a whole week before going out, too anxious to risk it. Another friend was at high risk, so also stayed at home unless absolutely necessary. He ended up deciding to leave for the UK because he didn’t trust his company after they offered homemade masks and demanded people return to work after only a couple of weeks off. I don’t blame him, as that company in particular is notorious for not caring about employees.

Other friends were taking the opportunity to go around and have a fun vacation. And again, I don’t blame them, either. The government’s lax as hell stance on anything besides shutting down schools prevented no one from going out to bars, restaurants, concerts, and even still traveling abroad. I went to Werq the World, an arguably smaller venue and concert, but I can’t claim I was some kind of quarantine saint.

I noticed the news abroad. I would stay home for a couple or three days at a time. I went over to a friend’s place and played video games with her for three days straight, then went right back home. I stayed off the peak hour times as much as possible, never taking the last train home or morning trains. People were, and are, still going to work and commuting.

I didn’t have a mask for a while. I only had a limited supply in my emergency bag, and the stores were emptied out. Even today, masks are hard to come by, with only a few select drug stores allowing one pack per day and per person. Finally, I found a set of masks in my old backpack. Even though they were the ones only good for keeping out dust and pollen, that’s actually what I desperately needed.

The allergy season hit me hard, so I was coughing and sneezing. I was getting very tired of the glares and whispers. Allegra helped push the symptoms away, but if I missed a single dose then my eyes would water, my nose would run, and the coughing would come back.

Then, I managed to get a sinus infection because I made the mistake of dusting my apartment (I’m highly allergic). No fever involved, just an annoyance with a side of anti-biotics. Coupled with seasonal allergies, I sounded sick, when really it was just bad timing. After about a week on antibiotics the sinus issues went away, but the itchy eyes problem never left and continues to plague me.

Image result for covid 19 symptoms vs flu

The news of Europe getting a few cases, then it hitting Italy seemingly overnight like a hammer really shocked me. The American cases grew and grew, and with the travel restrictions placed on Americans to Europe and visa versa, I decided to just stay at home for days at a time.

I called Delta Airlines around March 11th, as I was very concerned about my plane ticket to the U.S.A. Would I still have a flight? What about coming back? I heard people were getting rejected, flights getting slashed to Japan and other South Asian countries, quarantines, and travel bans.

Delta told me at that time, “Sorry, no changes and no refunds as stated in your receipt. However, if we have to cancel it because of a coronavirus issue, we will refund the ticket price to you.”

Frustrated, I could only accept that answer and move on. My mother, on the other hand, was very worried about me trying to travel over. The panic buying in Japan had taken toilet paper and masks in my Tokyo area, but in Las Vegas it was cold medicine, it was food, it was everything. It was honestly shocking to see the dystopian pictures of shelves emptied out.

I heard other places were wiped clean in Japan. I saw it on Twitter and on the news, but I guess I got lucky. My stores all around me only had the usual instant noodles and water bottles gone, but everything else was fine.

My mother had to drive to California to find toilet paper, though, so going home to America was looking like a grim prospect. Events all over Las Vegas got canceled, until it reached a point where even if I got there, the whole city would’ve been shut down upon my arrival. I would still have to wait and see about the ticket. I held out hope I could make it, but I also hoped I could eventually change it if I bothered Delta enough.

I wish I could claim I didn’t go outside at all anymore, but I would be lying. I did stay away from large crowds, though. I went over to my friend’s place for more video games, and then returned right back home. Plans for other events got canceled, so I stayed home some more. I was careful, washing my hands at every opportunity, using my mask when out and about, taking allergy meds and vitamins to try and keep healthy.

This past Sunday, I noticed my flight with Delta had changed. Due to the changes, I wasn’t sure if I would be making it home to Japan in time for work. The operator informed me that Delta was allowing any changed flight due to the company to then, and I quote, “be allowed to change to any date until December 31st of 2020.” I took the chance and moved my flight to August, because fuck the Olympics.

After the change was made, I told my family and cried. I felt torn between bittersweet relief that I wouldn’t have to go through the health screenings or get thrown in quarantine, but I also was really looking forward to seeing my family. After three years apart, I was so excited to finally be with them. I knew logically it was for the best, but it still hurt.

Nowadays I’m trying to stay good, practice social distancing. I’m staying home for days at a time. If I’m going out, I try to limit it to a few people or a person at any one time. Again, when going out I’m washing my hands at every possible chance (even though Japanese toilets have a 50/50% chance of having soap). But I’m limiting it to hours out and then right back home. Just friends, no one with kids or elderly people.

It’s still crazy to me how little has changed in Japan since the pandemic started. Everyone in general will use their masks, sure, but I still see pictures of bars packed with party people. I see people having hanami parties, bunched in together under the trees. Kids are playing around, free from school but going on play dates. Hell, I saw a child run up to a train partition door and lick it…so fear and panic isn’t really happening here.

Seeing the stories now of people dying from COVID19, people all ages, these kinds of crowds seem almost criminally dangerous? I know I might be throwing stones in a glass house as I haven’t been a perfectly isolated individual, but I also couldn’t imagine surrounding myself with hundreds or thousands of people if I could avoid it right now.

I’m not saying there should be panic. I do think there should be more steps taken to just shut things down. Even for just a week, shut down all non-essential work. Japan, in my opinion, has been lucky. The masks have been possibly helping to keep the numbers down, but it’s not enough. The shortages and the false sense of security could potentially bring on a second wave.

But maybe this country will stay lucky? Maybe it will stay the strange exception? I don’t know what the future holds. All anyone can do is try to be careful, stay home whenever possible, and just keep an eye out on the news. I’m trying to be pragmatic and realistic about my expectations, but it’s tough when everyone knows the government is under-testing these cases and we see pics like the ones in the parks.

For now (knock on wood), I’m healthy. If I catch symptoms similar to COVID19 I know my action plan, I know the hospitals around me, and I know enough Japanese to get help. I’m going to keep being cautious and do what I can to stay unaffected, but I’m a “prepare the worst, hope for the best” kind of person. Avoiding all human contact forever just isn’t feasible, and I’m supposed to go back to work in April.

Here’s hoping the pandemic has hit its peak here, but we’ll see I guess. I’ll update more in the coming months, because I’ve just got a feeling this thing isn’t over.

Posted in Slice of Life

When You Say You’re Bi

Dedicated to all the people who get mad I won’t go home with them because they can’t grasp bisexuality.


Person who claims to be interested in me, “Oh, so which do you prefer?”

“…I’m bisexual, I like anyone who isn’t an asshole.”

“But which do you date more?”

A very long and beleaguered sigh. “I’ve dated all across the spectrum at this point, but more women identifying nowadays.”

“Ok, so you’re more gay than straight.”

“That’s…that’s not how that works. I’m not straight, I’m the B in LGBT.”

“Well, you want to marry a woman right?”

“Marriage really isn’t a priority for me. I’d like to fall in love with someone, but it’s not a big deal.”

“Do you want to marry both?”

“I’m monogamous, so I think the answer you’re looking for is no. By the way, this date is turning into an interrogation which is kind of a turn off-.”

“But when you get married, that’s when you choose, right?”

“What? No, I’m not choosing a side. Just because you get married doesn’t mean you stop being attracted to people. Getting married wouldn’t ‘cure’ me of being bi.”

“Yeah, but wait, are you saying you would cheat?”

“No, but that is a common stereotype thrown at bis and pans, so thanks for assuming that.”

“Still, it sounds like you want everybody, ya know.”

“Yeah, that’s also a common stereotype, and a dangerous one because people think we’re always up for sex and try to force it on us.”

“Well, you should consider maybe being safer and just pick one.”

“Wow, do you tell all your dates to stop being queer for safety reasons or am I just special?”

“Look, if you’re attracted to everyone-.”

“Still not attracted to terrible people, actually, speaking of-.”

“-but I’ve heard that bisexuals aren’t attracted to transgender people?”

I groan and wish I could just punt the date into the sun. “No, transpobes exist across all the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, but I will date a trans person. However, gender identity and expression do affect how I am attracted to some people over others.”

“So, you’re attracted to someone like me, right?”

“Nope. At this point in the conversation I want to go home and be one with blissful silence.”

“Gee, why you gotta be such a bitch?”

“I AM NOT YOUR LIVING PERSONAL GOOGLE, YOU EMPTY POPTART!”


And that’s why I usually end up going home alone. Thank you for your time.

Posted in Uncategorized

Bullied Out of Japan: Part 3 (Final)

Savvy Kenya in Japan

Once I understood the depth of what was happening (see part one and two here), I ended talked to many people, both Japanese and non-Japanese. Their experiences and advice opened my eyes to the truth about the Japanese society that produces a self-policing community. I am not an expert on Japanese culture. However, there is a collective agreement that bullying is particularly vicious in Japanese schools. There are studies upon studies. This culture extends to the workplace, where the spirit of stoicism and “not causing trouble” philosophy are enforced. Until people just can’t take it any more, and walk onto the tracks of the passing trains. Suicides are pretty common in Japan. Including teen suicides and kids in elementary school. See article: Two former classmates ordered to pay ¥37 million in damages over bullied Japanese boy’s suicide. If you don’t want to “cause trouble” with your suicide (your…

View original post 1,200 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Bullied Out of Japan: Part 2

Savvy Kenya in Japan

So here we were in Tokyo, almost 6 months later. I had thought we were well settled in. I had found a very nice Nigerian lady to do my hair, and Jeremy would play with her two kids while she worked her magic. I was even having a semblance of a social life, going out dancing once in a while with Vivi, my Italian friend and coworker. I was dating a nice Frenchman (😘 😘Chris, keep on being full of light) in his 30’s who would bring me salad and play living room soccer with Jeremy.

And then the teacher called me on September 20th, 2019.

She asked me if Jeremy had changed his behaviour at home, and I said no. Everything was normal at home. He would come…

View original post 2,616 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Bullied Out of Japan: Part 1

Savvy Kenya in Japan

Warning: this post will be long, that’s why I am dividing it into three parts. I have already talked about the contents of this post in the interview with the Black Experience in Japan channel on YouTube.

Writing this series of posts is having to relive the pain of the experience and that’s why I have been avoiding it for over 5 months now. But writing is cathartic, therapeutic even… so here we are, finally.

Before you read this, it is important to get some context and background. I came to Japan in October 2014 on a fully funded scholarship, courtesy of the Japanese government. The scholarship covers everything including a flight ticket, tuition and a monthly stipend at your university of choice in Japan. It was a great opportunity for me to do my PhD, and experience a new culture, having never lived elsewhere except in East Africa.

View original post 1,935 more words

Posted in Japan News

Let’s Talk About this Terrifying Confiscating Passport News (Copious Cursing Ahoy)

Japan’s been getting hit recently with a bunch of scandals when it comes to its justice system, particularly in its handling of foreigners. Most of the news is focused on Ghosn’s grand escape and possible seven to eight hours of questioning, and I mean that’s fair, it’s a rather sensational story. However, there is another news story sliding a little under the radar of the international community, and it’s horrifying for all foreigners who work in Japan.

A Filipino worker in Yokohama had her passport, college transcript, and college diploma “allegedly” stolen from her. After they gave her a job as an interpreter, Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office supposedly only paid here 100,000 yen (~$960) a month. Let me assure you, that wage is criminally low for a full time position. Even at my worst eikaiwa job I got 250,000 yen.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate these dumbasses spelled their own company name wrong? It’s “Advance Counsel” you twits!

According to the reports, *AdvanceConsul Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists’ Office in Yokohama wanted these documents to “keep her from running away” from her job.

I call that statement absolute bullshit.

If you’re an employer in the year of our Lord 2020 and you think it’s somehow acceptable to hold a passport hostage in order to make someone work for you? That’s fucking barbaric and disgusting. Also, if you’re using the same tactics as sex traffickers and drug smugglers that force people from country to country to be sold like cattle, you might want to rethink your Human Resources angle in your arguments.

It really bothers me how everyone wants to kind of gloss over this event like it’s not a big deal, but no, it’s honestly horrifying. Thanks to this scandal, Japan Today reported something I honestly wasn’t aware of:

It is illegal in Japan for companies to confiscate the passports of technical trainees under a special intern program, but there is no law forbidding firms from taking the passports of foreign laborers in Japan under other visa schemes.

There is a government guideline advising against the confiscation of passports but it is not legally binding.

What fuckery is this?!

I like to think I’m pretty aware of immigration laws. I honestly cannot count by this point how many times I’ve been through an immigration office in Japan, and yet this tidbit never came up?! What the hell?

The irony that a law office is creating a situation in which a new law might get drafted isn’t lost on me. The very people who should know better are mistreating their employee in such a horrendous way. Luckily the Filipino employee’s lawyer, Shoichi Ibusuki, is willing to take on this case and demand a new law to protect future foreign workers from this kind of hostage situation happening again:

“Unfortunately, it’s common practice for companies to take the passports of the foreign workers they employ,

“But to take someone’s passport and then force them to work is forced labour, and should not be allowed under Japanese law…I believe this guideline should become law, and also include a penalty clause. We’re hoping that we can use this lawsuit as an opportunity to convince the government to create a law that would ban the confiscation of passports.”

People are arguing back and forth in various parts of comment sections about the “pros and cons” of employers holding a passport, and here’s my hot take: THERE ARE NO PROS ONLY CONS!

Who supports this shit? Racists, duh

The arguments for it are usually shallow (and often full of racism). For example, the idea that “these foreigners from the Philippines, China, and Korea are all doing illegal things.” No, they’re fucking not. The Filipino woman in question was brought over to be a translator, not a yakuza mastermind. Migrant workers who come from South East Asian countries tend to simply want a job to make money to send back home to their families. That’s it, that’s the grand plan for poor people, it’s not to burn down your house and “ruin the country” you troglodytes.

The other ridiculous argument goes something along the lines of, “Well, it keeps people from running out on contracts!” or “It gives the employers and companies security to keep their people!” It also intimidates and oppresses workers from calling out unjust working practices and isolates them from help, which is exactly the reason (as mentioned previously) it’s a tactic often used by sex traffickers to keep victims from running to the police or the government.

Ever had to make an official police statement in Japan? Ever been harassed by the police? Ever just been black in Japan? The zairyu (residence) card can work as a single ID when you’re white, but God help you if you’re literally any other skin tone. They will demand to see your passport, they will want proof you’re card is legit, and if you don’t prove it? You don’t have to be charged in Japan to be held for 23 days.

Let’s be clear, the Western white people aren’t in danger of getting their passports taken away. Passport withholding and forced labor will generally be a POC issue, and Japanese news doesn’t do well with race issues. Instead, it is focused on “this Filipino lady is suing her employer” angle. It is all about business, it’s not about human rights.

Protecting companies from losing potential employees shouldn’t be the priority here; it should be protecting people from ending up abused or enslaved.

The Illusion of “Safe Japan”

Many people would argue “That’s an exaggeration! Japan is so safe!” but abuses involved with passport theft has been happening in countries around the world. In the UAE, even though there is a law against it, people are still finding themselves held hostage by their employers. There are several viral stories that have hit the news cycle about the unsafe and abusive working conditions. A housemaid (*cough* slave *cough*) was allowed to fall from a balcony after pleading for help. Her Kuwaiti employer let her fall after posting the story to her goddamn Snapchat.

Get Phil’ed In!

If you watch the video above you’ll find that social media influencer Sondos Alqattan actually argued against better working conditions for Filipino people and holding their passports, because garbage people gotta be garbage.

[H]ow can you have a servant in your house that gets to keep their passport with them? Where are we living? If they ran away and went back to their country, who will refund me?

You can get your refund in hell, Sondos Alqattan

She picked a great time to get on that high horse, too, because it was around the same time of the Joanna Demafelis murder by, you guessed it, her own employers in Kuwait. President Duterte even put a hold on Filipino migrants going to Kuwait and other countries until the laws changed to better protect the workers.

People assume Japan is safe, but that isn’t true for foreign workers. As of March 2019, 759 cases of abuse and 171 deaths are suspected from the Japanese intern program. The Japan Times reported:

The officials revealed that in 28 of the deaths, trainees died due to accidents that occurred on the job, including by drowning after falling off of fishing boats or suffering from heat exhaustion.

Another 59 interns died from sickness. Among them were two trainees who had logged overtime and whose cases were reported to the labor standards inspection office because their working hours were hovering around the life-threateningly high cap specified in Article 36 of the Labor Standards Law.

The fatal cases included 17 suicides, including one case in which a trainee was given only four days off over 3½ months.

We are looking at a program that was specifically designed to bring people over to fill in the gaps from the population decline. These people weren’t part of that conservative nonsense about “coming here looking to steal jobs,” they were invited here by the Japanese government.

Somehow, the arguments that Japan is safe for migrant workers starts to become a rather piss poor flimsy excuse to keep a passport when you realize the working conditions can include “less than minimum wage” and “no time off.”

Oh yeah, and death.

Fine, but what now?

The Filipino woman currently fighting the good fight is all well and good, but she’s far from the only person who is dealing with this massive injustice. Spread the word about this case and start talking about the realities migrant workers face in Japan, because honestly I don’t anyone really gets the full depth of the issue at hand.

We’re talking about more than just one case, we’re talking about systematic failings and injustice that aren’t being seen as “a big deal,” because public perception of these cases is always tinged with racist vitriol and paltry excuses about the perceived image of Japan instead of the reality.

If you want to be more proactive and make a difference, you can donate to POSSE, the non-profit organization that is dedicated to labor rights in Japan. They’re currently doing a donation drive in order to help the Filipino woman, as in paying for lawyer fees and etc. I was seriously disheartened to see the organization wasn’t mentioned in literally any of the news articles I read, and from the looks of the donation site it’s not getting the attention it needs.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE AND HELP!

If you think your company is doing something illegal or they are holding your documents, you can contact POSSE.

If you think that isn’t the way you want to go, Jobs in Japan has a pretty extensive article that lists laws and links to good resources. The best resource in my opinion for fighting to get back lost wages is to hit up Hello Work. You might need a translator or interpreter depending on the office, so hit up Tokyo Employment Service for Foreigners and they can help you find an office that can work with you in your native tongue.

It also helps to know your rights in depth and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has an entire Working Conditions Handbook in multiple languages in its Labour section.

No photo description available.
You can also try straight up calling this hotline.

Be aware, you can call on behalf of people you suspect are being abused.

And finally, the best thing you can do? Never, ever give your employer your passport to keep. Give them printed copies and if they fight you on it, leave immediately and call the hotline.


Sidenotes:

I would also just like to point out, for no particular reason, that the *AdvanceConsul Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists’ Office/ Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office is shady as hell. I don’t know why you would ever pay someone 70,000 yen to change your visa status but pro-tip: DON’T!

*No, I don’t know why Japan Today and other news sites are calling the employers place by this long and convoluted title, but I suspect it’s a direct Japanese to English translation thing.

Posted in Slice of Life

2019 was a Wild Ride, Onwards to 2020!

Last year, I accomplished quite a bit of stuff. In both my professional and personal life, things changed all around for the better. I didn’t get every single thing done that I set out to do, but I took on so many new opportunities that I can’t regret a single moment of it.

At the start of the year, I set out to change my job. Two years ago, I really wanted to try getting out of teaching, but I failed the N2. I got set adrift and in panic mode without a good backup plan. In the end, I settled for an eikaiwa job. The job wasn’t great for me, and I ended up doing other part time work on the side to make it through some rough trials and tribulations of 2018.

Luckily, I got back to teaching at a school. It’s not a direct hire position, but the dispatch company I work for is very interested in retaining employees. The school I’m placed in has some great native English staffed teachers as well as multiple Japanese English teachers. It’s great to work in a bigger school with a bigger pool of people I can talk to. I’ve hung out with people after work often, which is a big change from the eikaiwa style of go home and pass out.

During that time, I also managed to complete an online TEFL course. I always pushed a TEFL course aside because I figured why get one if I didn’t intend to teach forever? But now I know better. Having the certificate is better than not, trust me. If you want to keep getting good teaching jobs, you got to get a leg up on the competition. Also, it’s not that expensive and you can work at your own pace for up to six months.

After the new school year started, I basically lost myself in work. I taught a reading literature class for returnees, and they are a joy. I think with this particular school and this particular curriculum, I feel more fulfilled and like a “real” teacher than ever before. I think if nothing else, I could teach at this particular place for more than a few years. Hell, I might’ve actually found a permanent place to stay until retirement, what a thought!

Yet, 2019 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I encountered some pretty vitriolic transphobic comments on the blog and vlog. A few death threats were sprinkled along in there, but I didn’t let it get me down. I stood up for what I believed was right, and I will continue to support my trans friends no matter what. I am in the “LGB with the T” camp for life.

After the whole Gold Finger mess, I actually ended up taking my comedy hobby to a new level. I was a headliner in Nagoya…to all of like 10 or 12 people, but still, cool right? I never imagined being asked to do a show, and I never thought I would be getting paid to make jokes on a stage.

I also did more drag and other art performances. I did three or four duets, and then I created a dance group that performed in a huge venue! In between those, I was asked to be a part of a indie movie my friends were making. I was actually on sets and acting. Due to that, I got another role in a sci-fi movie! I can’t reveal much information about those projects, but when they’re released I would love to tell all the tales from behind the scenes.

And of course throughout the year I was volunteering with Stonewall Japan. As both Vice President and Kanto East Block Leader I was attending or organizing meetings, setting up agendas, putting out newsletters, and etc. During the summer time I was asked to get interviewed by news organizations, and I assisted in a couple of op ed pieces on marriage equality in Japan.

By the end of 2019, I also managed to basically complete a novel, which has been on the bucketlist for some time. I thought I would get it published before the end of the year, but it didn’t quite work out that way. It’s fine, though, because I think all my time was well spent.

I don’t regret a single part of 2019. I’m glad I did everything, but next year, I will be changing my focus.

This year is the year for my own projects. I want to move house, get the book published, and so much more. I will still do performances and take some opportunities as they come along, but I also want to make time for myself. I want to be able to spend time at home and relax, not constantly thinking about the next thing I got to do.

It’s simple goals, but they are goals worth having. I’m ready to take everything I learned and move forward in life.

I hope 2020 is great for us all!


New Years Eve I climbed a mountain! Click to hear all about it.