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人生の振り返り:朝日の頃

人生の振り返り:朝日の頃

人生の振り返りシリーズのナビ

若い頃10代の頃落ち込んでいた頃朝日の頃変身力が上がる覚醒

テキサス州にいたときに、僕の人生の逆転が起こった。親のおかげで、僕は仕事を見つけて、会社で友達ができた。上手にできることをすることでお金をもらって、面白い人と一緒にいることが、精神が高められたという気持ちになった。数か月後、僕の団体の中のベテランと競争できるようになった。同僚は僕に「ドラゴンフォース」というバンドを紹介してくれた。そのあと、一番好きなバンドになった。初めてパソコンを組み立てたり、お金を貯めたり、親に家賃を支払ったり、そして初めて生地からピザを作ったりした。野望が増えた:小説を書き始めた。あまり進めなかったけど、やってみた。

ラビになるために勉強し続けた。ネットで他の人と一緒に勉強したけど、実際に、僕と親はほとんど孤立していた。他のユダヤ教徒とつながりを作れなかったし、僕たちのグループは世界中にばらばらになっていたし。実際の関係も、浅くて、長く続かなかった。いいユダヤ教の彼女の姿をみえなかった。しかし、友達として思っていた人たちと一緒に働いていたので、ユダヤ教徒と交渉していないことを気にしていなかった。

僕は技術のオタク。テキサス州でテックのサイトを毎日読んでいた。最新の技術の情報に遅れないようにすることが今でも大事だ。あるサイトのコメント欄に、なんか「ナルト」という「アニメ」のことを呼んだ。その時、アニメやナルトのことを全然知らなかったけど、心の中に種をまいた。

時間が経った後、新しい友達はほかのアニメを紹介してくれた。「千の千尋の神隠し」と「攻殻機動隊」を見せてくれた。すごく刺激的な経験だった。アメリカのアニメはスポンジボッブのようにシンプルで低予算の子供向けのものだ。トイストーリーやシュレックのような3Dアニメは面白かったけど、日本の2Dアニメは特別だった。

そして、ある日にテレビを観ていて、僕がネットで知ったアニメを見かけた。初めてナルトという忍者の話を見た。ナルトの先生が強大な手裏剣に背中に刺されても生きることを見た。サスケという友達と一緒に強くて面白い敵と戦うことを観た。最初の主なストーリー・アークのクライマックスは驚嘆すべきものだった。その次の2週間に全部の暇な時間を使って、ナルトを観た。愛に落ちた。

ナルトは新しい娯楽の世界を開いてくれた。ワンピースも観始めた。また2,3週間で全部のエピソードを観た。

どっちも英語の字幕と日本語の声で見た。それは初めて日本語に接した経験だった。アニメのおかげで、日本語を勉強することにした。本を買って、自分で勉強し始めた。

同時に、政治のことについての興味も復活した。珍しいアメリカ人の政治家が面白いことを言うことで、僕は自分に完全に新しい教科である経済や哲学を自分で勉強することを励ました。勉強したことは僕の心の中に今でも響いている革命になった。自由と自分が奴隷になっていることを学んだ。自由になり都ということに気付いた。人間は自由になるべきだけど、なっていないということに気付いた。自由ということは僕の第一理想になった。自由より大切で美しくて、活気を上げてくれることなんてない。

そして、父はまた首になった。数か月の就職活動で、ワシントン州にある仕事を受けた。人生初めて、重大な決断をしないといけなかった:テキサス州に仕事と友達と一緒に残すか、親と一緒に引っ越すか?独立するか、親に連れて行って、いいユダヤ教の女性を見つけることを祈るか?初めて、そういう決断ができるように感じた。

Life in Review: The Rising Sun Years

Life in Review: The Rising Sun Years

Things started to turn around for me in Texas. I started working while in Texas—thanks to my parents—and made friends at work. Getting paid to do work I was good at and getting to hang out with nice people was a great emotional boost. Within a few months, I was already competing with veteran members of my group. A coworker introduced a song by a group named Dragonforce. They later became my favorite band. I built my first computer, saved money, paid rent to my parents, and made my first pizza from scratch. I got ambitious: I started writing a fiction book. Didn’t get very far, but I gave it a go.

I continued to study to become a rabbi. I studied online with some other people, but in real life, I and my parents were still largely isolated. We couldn’t connect with the broader Jewish community, and the members of our group were spread across the world. Real life relationships with people interested in what we were doing were usually short and shallow. No nice Jewish girlfriends in sight. However, I worked with people I considered friends, so I didn’t notice the lack of Jewish connections.

I’m a technology nerd. In Texas, I was regularly checking out websites that talked about technology. Staying up-to-date on the latest technology trends and advancements was and still is important to me. On one tech website, in the comments section, I read someone talk about an “anime” called “Naruto”. Didn’t really know anything about anime or Naruto, but that was a seed planted in my mind.

Later, I a new friend introduced some anime to me. I think he showed me some Ghibli stuff, as well as Ghost in the Shell. It was mind blowing to me. American cartoons are usually simple, low-budget, low-production value kid’s shows. 3D animation films like Toy Story and Shrek were cool, too, but there was something special about the 2D anime coming out of Japan.

Then, one day while watching TV, I came across an anime I had heard of on the internet. I watched Naruto, a story about ninjas, for the first time. I watched Naruto’s teacher get stabbed in the back by a giant shuriken and live. I watched him and his friend Sasuke struggle against powerful and interesting enemies. The climax and ending of the first major story arch in the show sent chills down my spine. I needed to have more, so I went and downloaded every episode of the show. I spent every single minute of my free time over the next week or two watching Naruto. I was in love.

Naruto introduced me to a whole world of entertainment I hadn’t known about. I started watching One Piece, a very long-running and popular anime. Again, I binged on that for about two or three weeks.

I watched both Naruto and One Piece with English subtitles and Japanese voices. That was the first time I had been exposed to the Japanese language in a major way. I decided to learn Japanese because of anime. I bought some books and started studying on my own.

At the same time, my interest in politics was rekindled. An unusual American politician said some very interesting things that motivated me to start learning some completely new subjects on my own (economics and philosophy). What I learned began a revolution in my mind that reverberates within me to this day. I learned about freedom and my enslavement. I realized I wanted to be free and that we’re all supposed to be free, but we’re not. Freedom became the highest ideal for me. Nothing is more important, energizing, and beautiful than freedom.

Then, my father lost his job again. After some months of searching, he found a job in Washington. For the first time in my life, I had to make a major life decision: Stay in Texas with my job and friends, or move with my parents? Become independent, or follow my parents and hope that someday I can find a nice Jewish girl? I felt like, for the first time, I had a choice.

Job interview reflection

Job interview reflection

A couple of days ago, I had an interview at a well-known company in Japan. My first impression was negative. The woman that interviewed me was clearly following a script. It felt like an interrogation. The worst thing about the questions she asked me is that they were super boring. I’ve had four years of experience, but she asked me questions like, “What do you think a teacher is in Japan?” That’s a cookie-cutter question to check if people understand that teachers are considered role models, meaning that they have to act appropriately both in school and outside of school. If you’re a complete newbie, this may be a meaningful question. Someone with experience has already been asked this question.

Another boring question: What do you think the most important trait in an ALT is? (hint: the question can be rephrased, “What do you think the most important skill any person working with other people can have?”)

Not only was I tortured with boring questions for about an hour, but any attempts to make a personal connection and turn the interrogation into a conversation were summarily ignored. Sometimes, after I gave an answer that she seemed dissatisfied with, I would ask her, “What do you think?” The first time I asked, she simply asked the next question she had, never acknowledging the question. I thought that was strange. After she asked me, “What do you think your strengths as an ALT are?”, in part of my answer I said, “Students like me. Elementary school students like my funny faces.”

Her cold, dead, stare didn’t change. So, for fun, I asked her, “Do you want to see one of my funny faces?” Again, ignored. I actually laughed out loud when she did it the second time. I couldn’t believe she did it again. She ignored my laughter, too. Lol

Then it happened a third time. She asked me another dumb question: What do you think the consequences of an ALT missing work are? I answered that the company the ALT works for will incur financial and reputational damage. Teachers are left without an ALT, too. She seemed dissatisfied, so I again asked what she thought. Again, ignored.

This is where I made a mistake. I lost my cool, got frustrated, and interrupted her. I said that she was being rude. She asked, “Don’t you think someone might feel offended by being called rude?” I responded, “I was offended first.”

She said that the connection was a bit bad, so sometimes she couldn’t hear what I was saying (she had indeed mentioned that at the beginning of the interview, maybe 20 minutes prior). Typically, I never felt like the connection was bad. Her video only froze once near the beginning of the interrogation, and her responses to me always seemed normal, no strange delays (except when I gave terse answers, where she might expect to hear more). She never asked me to repeat anything because she couldn’t hear. I couldn’t detect any technical problems, but it is plausible that only she was experiencing problems and not mentioning them.

In any case, once she mentioned technical problems, I apologize and then asked my question.

In the future, I should take a more positive, calm approach to addressing problems like that. The correct response would have been:

  1. Wait for her to end her question.
  2. Ask if she could hear and see me, confirming any possible technical problems.
  3. Once we established stable communications, rewind and ask my question again.

That would have been a less confrontational approach. However, I apologized, so I get credit for admitting my mistake. She had asked me earlier, “What would you do if you had a problem with a teacher?” One of the things I said was that I would say sorry for any mistakes I made. So, extra points for demonstrating my methods. Lol

I doubt anybody could call the interview “good”. We were able to move past the problem, I asked my own questions, and ended on amenable terms.

However, on reflection, there is something that bothers me about the company even more than that exchange. Near the end of the interrogation, we talked about references. The company wants references from my current management. I said I didn’t feel comfortable giving that information. In response, she said something that raises red flags. Although officially the company wants supervisors as references, the woman said that “some people” just give the names of other ALTs at the company, suggesting I do the same.

I get the feeling that the company has a corporate culture that encourages lying. Not good. The cookie-cutter questions, which all have a “correct” answer that can be learned and repeated, encourage people to give the “right” answer, rather than their answer. In other words, people are encouraged to use someone else’s words, not their own. They are giving potential employees permission to be fake and to lie.

It could just be me overthinking the actions of a third-party recruiter’s words, but maybe not?

人生の振り返り:落ち込んでいる頃

人生の振り返り:落ち込んでいる頃

人生の振り返りシリーズのナビ

若い頃10代の頃落ち込んでいた頃朝日の頃変身力が上がる覚醒

15歳になったら、多分一番影響的な経験があった。家族はワシントン州からテネシー州に引っ越した。何年も、父はY2Kということについて話していた。2000年1月12時に全部のパソコンが正しく動けなくなる理論的なパソコンの問題だった。金融機関、電力や政府が落ちるという理論だった。父は仕事を辞めて、僕と一緒に森の中にある小屋まで引っ越したぐらい心配していた。混乱と恐慌が起こると思った。家族を守るために、自分たちの力で生きていける都会から遠く離れている場所まで連れていった。

僕がホームと呼んでいた場所、友達がいた場所を出て、森に引っ越した。不快な経験だった。父の弟の家だった。奥さんと6人の子供たちと一緒にそこに住んでいた。12時になって、2000年が始まった時に、何も起こらなかった。父が心配していたことが起こらなかった。いい会社のいい仕事を辞めたり、たくさんのお金と時間で母と一緒に食べ物とか準備したり、3人の姉をワシントン州に残したりした。努力と失った機会は結果が出なかった。理論は違った。

その小屋の中に幸せな人がいなかった。僕と母は怒っていた。父は辱めた。しかし、僕は最初から起こっていた。人は逆境にぶつけたら、正体を見せることが多い。圧力で、僕は怒って、暴力的になった。僕の家と友達から離れることが嫌いだった。僕の欲求不満で他人を投げた。妹と喧嘩した。目を投げた。全力でしなかったので、大したけがを残さなかったけど、パンチはパンチだ。

そこの生活は完全に悪い経験なわけじゃない。自然の中で過ごす時間ばっかりだった。薪ストーブの隣にあったテーブルでご飯を食べた。金属の物置小屋で寝て、雨が降ったら、屋根に当たっていた雨の音は美しかった。

ワシントン州から引っ越した後に、何回も引っ越した。ケンタッキー州に4年に住んでいた。その時に、たぶん憂鬱だったけど、分からなかった。そこで友達ができなかった。女性に興味を持ち始めたけど、宗教のルールで、女性に出会う機会がなかった。妹ともっと喧嘩して、暴力を使った。家で学校の勉強をしていたはずだったのに、たまに勉強しなかった。考えれば、その時は僕に闇の時代だったな。その僕が一番いやな僕だったと思う。でも、いいこともあった。DSLの早いインターネットを初めてつなげたので、毎日一日中にゲームの掲示板で知らない人とその僕を共有することができた。

妹も大変だった。ケンタッキー州に住んでいた時に、妹は親にユダヤ教を辞めると伝えた。親にはとても悲しいことだった。妹と父も喧嘩した。僕のように、妹はよくネットで他人と一緒にゲームをしていた。しかし、父はRPG(ロールプレイングゲーム)が嫌いで、妹はRPGにオンラインRPGにハマっていた。父が気付いたら、妹のネット接続を切った。もちろん、妹は喜んでいなかった。ネットの友達と一緒にそのゲームをしていたので、ネットの接続を切ることは友達との関係を切ることと同様だった。そのゲームをやることが禁止されたけど、母は中に入ったら、ネット接続は復活した。

それらの出来事は僕と妹の間と、妹と父の間に衝突のパターンを確立した。今でも、その緊張関係がある程度に残っているけど、距離と時間では関係がだいたい直ったと思う。

でも、悪いことばっかりわけじゃない。母は僕と妹と一緒にカスタムのボーリングボールを買って、家族で毎週のようにボーリングに行った。よく動物園にも言った。妹はピアノの弾き方を勉強した。結構うまくなった。

4年後、父はケンタッキー州の仕事から首になった。新しい上司が来た。その上司は父が好きじゃなかったので、父を首にする理由を早く見つけた。それは初めての経験じゃなかった。そして、最後でもなかった。

フロリダ州のマイアミビーチにあったユダヤ教のコミュニティーと一緒にいるための、親はそこに引っ越すことにした。普通のユダヤ教のコミュニティーではなく、親と親のラビは普通なユダヤ教でもなかった。革新派の正統派ユダヤ教を始めようとしていた。結果は親が普通のユダヤ教のコミュニティーと関係がなくて、とても独立している感じになった。でも、フロリダ州にあったコミュニティーに参加する機会が魅力的だったので、引っ越した。僕は初めて恋人を探す機会があった。

フロリダ州にはたった7か月に小さなアパートに住んでいたけど、いい意味と悪い意味で、いろいろな出来事があった。僕達が行く前に、コミュニティーは問題があって、ある程度に解散した。もうすでに怪しいな。しかし、何年間にネットで教えてくれたラビと、実際に勉強したりすることができた。友達ができて、一緒に遊ぶことができた。ゲームとネットの理論を置いておいて、その代わり、ネット開発やフォトショップの能力を高めるようにした。そして、7か月に、2,3年分の高校の勉強もまとめて終わらせた。

7か月後、父は仕事を見つけたけど、フロリダ州になかった。僕の数とラビの家族は一緒にテキサス州のサンアントニオ市に引っ越した。また友達から離れて、女の子と交渉する機会もなくなった。

 

でも、暗闇から、光。

Life in Review: The Down Years

Life in Review: The Down Years

When I was 15 years old, perhaps the most influential single event in my life occurred. My family moved from Washington to Tennessee. For years, my dad talked about something called Y2K. It was a theoretical computer problem that would cause computers to stop working at 12AM on January 1st, 2000. The problem could theoretically bring banking, power, government, etc. to a grinding halt. Well, he was so seriously worried that he quit his job and moved us all out to a cabin in the woods. He anticipated chaos and panic. To protect his family, he took us to a place where we could be self-sufficient and far from large cities.

We left the place I called home all my life, left all my friends, and moved out into the woods. It was an unpleasant experience. My dad’s brother owned the house and lived there with his wife and six kids. When the clock hit midnight and the year 2000 began, nothing happened. The things my dad feared would happen never happened. He gave up a good job with a good company, spent a lot of money on preparing food with my mom, left my three older sisters in Washington etc. A lot of effort and lost opportunities for nothing. The theory was debunked.

Nobody was happy in that house. I was angry, my mom was angry, and my dad was humiliated. However, I was angry as soon as we arrived. When people face adversity, they often show their true character. Under pressure, I became angry and violent. I didn’t like leaving home and friends, and I took out my frustration on others. I once got in a fight with my little sister. I punched her in the eye. It wasn’t a full-power punch, so she wasn’t seriously injured, but a punch is a punch.

Life there wasn’t an entirely bad experience. I got to spend a lot of time in nature. We ate at a table next to a wood stove. I slept in a metal storage shed, and when it rained, the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the shed was almost hypnotizing.

After moving from Washington, my family moved several more times. We moved to Kentucky and lived there for about four years. During that time, I was probably depressed and didn’t realize it. I never made any friends there. Now I was getting interested in girls, but because of my religion, I had no real opportunities to meet girls. I had several more fights with my sister where I got violent with her. Although I was homeschooled, I only rarely did any studying. In retrospect, it seems like a dark time for me. This was probably the worst version of me that I remember. The good news is that we now had a DSL internet connection, so I had the opportunity to share that version of myself with strangers on video game websites all day, every day.

Things weren’t so well for my sister, either. During our time in Kentucky, my sister told our parents that she wasn’t going to practice Judaism anymore, a big emotional blow for them. She and my dad had fights, too. Like me, my sister often played games on the internet with other people. However, my dad had a particular bias against role-playing games, and my sister was playing a RPG. When my dad found out, he disconnected her computer from the internet. As you can imagine, my sister was not happy about that. She had internet friends that she interacted with through those games, so cutting her connection to the internet cut her connection to them, too. She couldn’t play that game anymore, but my dad restored her internet connection when my mom got involved.

Those events established a pattern of conflict between my little sister, myself, and my dad. To a certain extent, the tension exists even now, although distance and time have helped reduce the tension to a large extent.

However, things were not all bad. Mom took me and my sister to get custom bowling balls, and then she and my dad took us bowling almost every week. We often visited the zoo together, too. My sister learned to play the piano. She got pretty good at it.

After four years in Kentucky, my dad was fired from his job. A new boss was hired. The new boss didn’t like my dad, so he quickly found a reason to get rid of my dad. That was neither the first, nor the last time that would happen.

My parents made the decision to move to Miami Beach, Florida and be with a Jewish community that we had developed there. The community was not a typical Jewish community, nor were we and our rabbi typical Jews. We essentially were (and still are) trying to begin a reformist movement of Orthodox Judaism. The result is that we were very isolated, having no connections to the larger Orthodox community (Orthodox Jews will not associate at all with them even if they want to). The opportunity to finally live with and enjoy the company of fellow travelers was one my parents didn’t want to pass up. I even had the opportunity to look for girls for the first time!

We lived in a tiny apartment in Florida for only seven months, but it was an eventful seven months, for good and for bad. Before we came, the community already had some problems and had fractured. Not exactly a good sign. However, we studied and got closer to the rabbi that we had learned from over the internet for many years. I made some friends and did things with them. I abandoned the games and internet arguments, and instead, I got serious about learning web development and Photoshop skills. I also binge-studied and finished about two or three years of high school studying in that seven months.

After seven months, my dad found a job, but it wasn’t in Florida. My family, along with the rabbi, packed up and headed for San Antonio, Texas. Left behind, again, were the few friends I had, and any opportunities to meet girls.

 

But, out of darkness, light.