Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Sell the house"

I'm back with a post, finally, and a book review.

I recently got a book by Celeste Heiter, Ganbatte Means Go For It!: or... How to Become an English Teacher in Japan, published by Things Asian Press, 2002.

Ms. Heiter was teaching in Japan for two years, and in that time she was thoughtful enough to put together sufficient information to complete this book, a real help for newcomers to the country. Some of the topics that would be most helpful would be her list of ten "must do's." They are all spot on, especially her encouragement to learn some of the language before coming. My father remarked once when he visited that a working knowledge of the language would be a must to live here. Her "survival tips" are really helpful, too.

The one problem I had with the book came at the very end, where she writes, "Every foreigner who has ever lived in Japan realizes at some point that it is time to go." Go where? I think she means "home." Which for me and lots of other expats doesn't mean where we were before we came to Japan. That is a problem for non-Japanese living here, the "When you going home," mentality.

On the back cover of her book she has a quote by Mark Twain:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the one you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."

In answer to her back cover I am going to use a quote from "Apocalypse Now":

1 comment:

Celeste - Japan said...

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your kind words about my book Ganbatte Means Go For It. I'm glad to hear you found it useful in your Japan adventure.

My comment about being "time to go" doesn't necessarily mean "home" per se, although in my case it did because the circumstances that surrounded my departure, namely the birth of my son and followed closely by the death of my father. But what I found is that eventually, all the expats I worked with or talked to thereafter, no matter how long they'd been there, and I'm talking some of them 20 years or more, eventually realized that it was time to go. Some, like me, did go "home", others went on to other Asian destinations, still others changed hemispheres entirely and ended up in Brazil and Eastern Europe. But I have not encountered a single soul who has stayed on indefinitely or intends to. That doesn't mean there aren't those who do...I just haven't met them

Anyway...thanks again for your affirmative review of my book and best of success in your travels.

Celeste Heiter
Author, Ganbatte Means Go For It\
ThingsAsian Press