Sunday, March 09, 2008


Lately, I've noticed that my strongest impulse to make blog posts seems to come within 15 or fewer minutes of a lesson starting with one of my students. In fact, as I write this, I have a lesson 10 minutes away. This seems like a pretty absurd thing to have happen as it guarantees I won't be able to finish before the student shows up, so I've wondered what this is all about.

I'm a relatively nervous and compulsive person when it comes to preparation for a task and I tend to want to have all my ducks in a row (so to speak, no actual ducks are used in my lessons though it'd be a lot cooler if they were) long before the lessons are due to start. I'm guessing the timing of my posts being started is connected with the fact that I get the preparation out of the way and find that there is still a bit of time left. The mind starts tiptoeing through the tulips of my thought fragments and trips over one that hasn't been discussed yet and I sit at the keyboard and start working.

In my experience, creativity cannot occur unless one has periods of idleness. In fact, I've noticed that a lot of my blog pieces and my Carl pieces tend to gestate while I'm standing in the shower waiting for the conditioner to penetrate my hair. The fact that I can measure my idle moments in minutes rather than in hours (or half hours even) is slightly disturbing and something I believe I should attempt to rectify sooner rather than later.

The irony is that, as a "housewife" who works freelance and part-time, it'd seem that I should have a lot of free time, but it doesn't work that way. Being female and being in the house all day is an invitation to spending more time cleaning. Also, I suffer from something I'd term "Japanese housewife syndrome". This is when your household tasks take a lot more time because of the limits of living in a culture which makes labor saving of all sorts much more difficult because there's not enough demand for it in a culture where women are expected to use their "free" time for housework.

Additionally, there's something about being in a space a lot of the time (in addition to working in it) which makes me even more compulsive about keeping it clean and tidy than I otherwise might be...and I'm already pretty compulsive. So, time is being vacuumed up in large chunks by all the myriad of "little" things I need to get done and all the piecework I do leaving only the finest dusty fragments in the corner for me to spend on creative pursuits.


EdieS said...

But it is not just confined to being a 'housewife'! I used to do some consulting work out of my apatment, and i find I could not do a darn thing without a very clean living room and a hot pot of tea!

badmoodmike said...

I find that I will often have an idea for a blog entry, but not be in a position to put it up or at least write down the idea for later use. It is really aggravating.

If I am really busy at work, I have a tendency to stop what I am doing and write an entry if I have the idea. I'm setting at a computer anyway, so it is convenient, and I can usually use the break.

I like a clean work environment, though, but my work mate Chris has a tendency to leave his area a mess. It is aggravating, and sometimes I will go off on a cleaning binge in the computer room where we everything EXCEPT his area. I give him a lot of grief about the unkempt nature of his desk to which he generally gives me the finger...

Anonymous said...

Glad I am not the only one who can't function properly if the environment around me is dirty. I simply can't relax if the room is dirty. And I agree, creativity does come from idleness at times... I love to be idle for several minutes at a time.

Anonymous said...

I'll leave my comment here as I don't know your e-mail address, and it appears comments are disabled on your latest blog.

I won't prior into your personal reasons by asking why you are intending to stop blogging. But I will say that it is a great shame. Even though I didn't know comment all the time due to my own time restrictions, I did however frequent your blog more than any other on the net.

I also won't go and on because I can imagine that you are just as sad as your regular blog viewers.
Instead I will say thank you very much for spreading your creativity. It was a great learning adventure for me!

Take care and keep intouch,
Barry :D xxx

Fuji Mama said...

I'm going to miss reading your blog. Good luck!

badmoodmike said...


Please don't go! Don't go completely just don't have to blog so often.

Life can be complicated, but don't you need a place to vent? I mean, really!

If this is, indeed, the end...then I wish you well. Your insights into being a gaijin are a wonderful look to the inside of the Japanese psyche. It's always been enjoyable to read your thoughts on the variety of subjects you blog about.

I look forward to you commenting on my blog anytime!

tornados28 said...

This is a shock. I hope everything is ok with you. Good luck.

CMUwriter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oh! What a surprise. I will miss your interesting, inspiring, thought-provoking posts. Best wishes to you and hope that your life will become less complicated.

Anonymous said...

Sheri, I'm posting here because I could not find a place on your "Goodby" post to do so. It is difficult for me to express how much I will miss your comments, observations, and notes on your life and on Japan. You are a regular part of my first-thing-at-the-computer routine, and I am going to miss you terribly.

I can only hope that whatever has caused you to stop posting is only a passing storm and that you will be all right. I wish there were some way I could help. But thank you for all the hours of pleasure you have given me.

All my best wishes,

Wally Wood

cmuwriter said...

Shari: I was shocked to read that you are not continuing your blog. I hope everything is alright, and nothing too serious is going on. I know what it is like to have fifty things going on, and still realizing that I have something to write. It sort of feels like I always have a book report or essay due, and I am putting it off. Anyway, for what it's worth your blog really made a difference in my day, as I used to check it out every day to see what you had on there. Anyway, if you ever start the blog back up again, or you just want to vent or something shoot me an email at (redacted). Since I don't have time to write in a blog, you can check out my news stories at (redacted) or (redacted). Thanks for everything.

P.S. If you would redact my email, and the web addresses of my newspapers, that would be great, thanks.

Shari said...

To everyone:

I want to thank you for your kind words and the fact that you wanted to say them enough to comment on the previous post. It may have been unfair of me, but I intentionally didn't include comments because I didn't want to appear to be milking for sympathy or comments on my departure.

I was really moved by what some of you said (tears are falling). Some of you are especially dear to me.

Anyway, I'm sorry to say the circumstances motivating my departure are not going to change and are beyond my control. It has nothing to do with my having nothing to say or being too busy or even with the recent controversy. I'll e-mail folks who leave their addresses (but not post the addresses) and explain if they would like an explanation.

Thanks again for all your kindness.

Chris ( said...

Shari - you'll be missed. Hope all is OK.

EdieS said...

I just discovered your blog becuase I am interested in a 6-12 month trip to Japan. And you seem to have a well balanced viewpoint of Japan- humor, love and criticism.

I hope that you are fine, and that yu continue to enjoy your sorjourn in Japan.

ターナー said...

Sayonara desu...

Anonymous said...

I'll miss your blog. It made my day. I checked it out every day and night. What am I going to do without you! Thank you and good luck.

Leo said...

Hi Shari,

I loved reading your blog and your great posts. I'm sorry to see you leave, but you have to do what's best for you. Ganbatte (Yeah, I know, I need to work on it a lot more).
(redacted e-mail) if you ever start up again

Helen said...

Shari, I'm so sorry to hear that you won't be blogging any more. I really feel like I'd made a friend in this crazy ol' country.

Your skill at writing has inspired me to work on my own, to attempt to
write clearly and without too many digressions.

Like many of the other commenters on this post, my day doesn't really
begin until I check your blog. I will really, really miss your
insightful words.

Please keep in touch.

(I'm not sure if you still have my email address, but if you'd like to keep in touch here it (redacted).

Thanks for all the good reads Shari. I hope all goes well with you in the future.

Mike said...

If you do not wish to share, then that is OK, I understand. But,
please, should you need anything, let me know. My email address is (redacted).

I hope that this is not a situation such as the Usenet issues you've had in the past. I certainly hope everything is OK, and that you get back to blogging real soon. Trust me, you will be missed. I will definitely keep an eye on your blog in case you should come back.

Feel free to email anytime!

Roy said...

Hi Shari,

When someone uses the word "complications" it seems negative, but I'm hoping those complications are positives things in your life that are taking priority over the blog. Perhaps something celebratory or a new opportunity in your life maybe?

Anyways, I'm sending good thoughts your way.


Jennifer said...

So sorry to hear your blogging days are over. I never commented before, but enjoyed reading your posts. Our small connection is that I, too, am from a small western PA town and I had a Japanese roomate in college.

Anyway, best of luck to you. I hope you can find your way back to blogging somehow.

tornados28 said...

Yours was my favorite Japan based blog. It's easy for me to say please at least blog once in a while but not knowing your situation means that would not be right. My email is (redacted).

Thanks again.

Richard said...

Thank you for sharing your well considered thoughts with us. I've enjoyed your blog and I am sorry to see you go. I hope your departure from blogging is indicative of something positive. If it isn't, then I wish you a swift change of fortune. If your your offer of explanation extends to complete strangers, here is my address
(redacted). If you decide to return to blogging I hope you'll let us all know.

Anonymous said...


(Comment on "Goodbye" post)

Sad to see you go, but I wish all the best in the future.

You're a talented writer and a compassionate person with admirable sensitivity. I hope you'll return to blogging some time in the future, perhaps on a less frequent basis, like "Roy" of Q-taro.

Take care and good health to you!


Cutetwirler said...

Oh no!
I so enjoyed reading your blog!
I hope you are ok.

Hope it's not after the CM post and the complications of that... don't listen to them!

Anyway, I hope this isn't goodbye forever!

Anonymous said...


(Slightly revised comment on "Goodbye" post)

Sad to see you go, but I wish you all the best in the future.

You're a talented writer and a compassionate person with admirable sensitivity. I hope you'll return to blogging some time in the future, perhaps on a less frequent basis, like "Roy" of Q-taro.

I take this opportunity to thank you for all the time and trouble you took to write so many interesting and insightful posts on Japan. I'll certainly return to your "suspended" blog and re-read many items in my Firefox bookmarks "Shari" folder (well over 200). Please don't delete your blog!

Take care and good health to you.


Shari said...

I would like to thank everyone, again, for their kind words. I've been in touch with some of you by e-mail to explain things in detail and your sympathetic ears were appreciated.

Some of you even shared that you have been or are in the same boat as I and my empathy is there for you, too (particularly tornados28).

I can't go into it in public, but the "complications" I speak of are not positive ones and, to address what cutetwirler said, have nothing all to do with the "Charisma Man" (CM) controversy nor with my health nor being too busy to blog.

Thanks again for being so kind and taking the time to comment. It's appreciated more than I can say.

Shelby said...

I'm so sorry for taking up what free time you do have, but I've always loved reading your entries. They touched me and were incredibly insightful considering that most foreigners in Japan I know are just like me you -- young, naive, new.

I understand if you are incredibly busy or tired of having explained the situation over again several times, but if you have a moment, my email is (redacted) . I'm all ears. <3 Best of luck in the future, and I hope to hear from you again on hear someday. (:

french panic said...

Damn! I am disappointed.....but...

Thank you for what you have already written. Your writing is a pleasure to read and I will miss your blog!

Auberginefleur said...

I am very sorry to hear you will no longer be blogging. It is always a pleasure to read what you write. Yours has been one of the finest blogs out there. Maybe you could cut down on the housework? (smiley) Just a thought.

-AF (Japan Now & Then)

Shari said...

frenchpanic: Thank you. :-)

Auberginefleur: My problems are completely unrelated to time spent on work or housework. It's a personal conflict issue with the way my blog is being interpreted by some people (not employers, not students) and how it's causing problems in real life.

Thank you for your kind words and for reading. :-)

Auberginefleur said...

It seems like you are being bullied out of the arena. I wish something could be done to suuport you in this difficulty.

Absolutely Tokyo! said...

I'm shocked and sad to know that you won't be blogging anymore. I've really enjoyed reading it and would have commented more if I hadn't been so busy at the time. I'd usually just drop by to read a post or two and then dash off. It was a good way for me to continue the Japan experience, even after moving back to the U.S. last summer. You and your blog will be missed very much, and I hope everything goes well for you. Best of luck!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Sorry I haven't dropped in for a while! I haven't been getting much of a chance to read blogs lately.

By oh my, you're not blogging anymore! I'm sorry to hear it and hope all is well with you. I'll really miss reading what you have to say. I have to confess, I've lurked far more than I've commented, worried I didn't always have something witty to say.

Anonymous said...

Wow....I'm sorry I didn't come across your blog sooner. I've lived in Japan almost 5 months and the whole time have been searching for a blog like yours. I'm going to be here for the long term, and reading your posts has really helped me to not feel so alone - as a matter of fact, they inspired me to create my own blog again, so I could connect to what seems to be a pretty tightly knit circle of English speakers living in Japan.

If you ever had the chance and the interest, I'd love it if you'd drop by to comment on my blog! I'm not in Tokyo, but I try to keep it interesting!

Take care, and I hope the issue can shortly be remedied...Online drama is creepy enough without some of the obsessive types who have nothing better to do than try to hunt you down and destroy you in real life....*shudder*...I really hope that's not what's happened, I can only glean a hint from your previous comments on this posts. Sorry if I've misinterpreted it!