Shit I’ve said while falling asleep on meds

Not falling asleep literally on top of meds, because that just sounds uncomfortable. I mean like after I’ve taken my meds and they’re making me fall asleep, but my body is going faster than my brain. As recounted by my danna.

“You can have my goats. Mm-hmm. Goats. Goats. Heh heh heh…”

“This is fluffy. I like fluffy stuff.”

“Did you know kangaroos have like 2 vajayjays? And also, swans can be gay.”

(At a roadside stop during a night bus ride) “I’ve never been awake while on these. I think I’m totally high. OMG cookies!”

(With nighttime teeth-grinding guard in and black towel on my head)
EXECUTE order 66!



Les Poulpes Miserables*

(Or, *the Octopi of Destitution)

I’m just starting to be able to understand news stories, and what I’ve been able to understand does not disappoint. According to what I was able to gather from tonight’s evening news, a 60-year old guy stole 13 octopi from the local marine association because he was reportedly starving. If it’s true, then it’s a tragic story of elderly poverty in Japan, and I probably should feel badly about it but can’t right now because Lexapro.

Mainly I find the whole thing absurd. Thirteen octopi? Seriously? Octopi are pretty big. How many people was this guy trying to feed? If he’s alone, he can’t possibly eat them all in one sitting, so he’s going to need to store them somehow. Octopi are some of the most intelligent invertebrates who can learn how to open jars and shit, and they’re slippery fuckers to boot. How the hell did a 60 year old guy manage to steal even one, let alone 13? Or were they dead or frozen already?

Anyway now he’s in trouble with the police and owes a bunch of money to the marine association that he probably can’t pay if he was, in fact, stealing octopi for food. He’s like a modern day Jean Valjean, except instead of a French dude stealing bread he’s a semi-elderly Japanese fellow stealing 13 octopi.

I probably would have understood the news report better if I hadn’t been obsessing over the image of a Japanese Hugh Jackman hugging a slippery octopus to his chest as he barrels through the streets of Paris with tentacles dragging after him.

Eat a bag of “Dick’s”

S and I were waiting in line for kebabs at a winter fireworks show for the Japanese foundation day. Lately I like to think of ridiculous scenarios as a way of avoiding anxiety attacks when I invariably space out in crowded, overstimulating spaces that are EVERYWHERE in Japan. Seriously, Japan is either the closest you can get to the sublime womblike state of a sensory deprivation chamber, like this:

… but more often it’s a manic panic seizure-inducing fresh hell like this:

Like the Game of Thrones, there is no middle ground.

So anyway, the meds are kicking in and I thought it might be safe to actually put on pants and leave the house. But of course, I started to space out whilst standing in that eternally long kebab line, and here’s where my thoughts ended up.

Me: (Staring at the food trucks) If I owned a hot dog truck, I’d call it Dick’s. And all the food would come in a bag, so basically I’d be telling all my customers to (snickering) eat a bag of dicks.
S: Why’s that funny? (Note: my sun-and-stars is Japanese and nearly fluent in English but not quite, so there’s a lot of innuendo he doesn’t get at first.)
Me: “Eat a bag of dicks” is an insult in English. And a hilarious one at that.
S: But in Japan, no one would even notice. They’d just say, “hey, let’s go to Dick’s!”
Me: I know, that’s what makes it even funnier! (laughing uncontrollably now)
Me: And I’d make the trucks’s slogan “Eat a bag of Dick’s!” and it would be written on the bag! (cackling)

My food truck/shop would become a viral sensation on Buzzfeed, because of course it would. Then, once the PTA bible-bangers in the English-speaking world start accusing me of obscenity or whatever, I’d just play dumb and insist that I named the business after my dear departed grandfather Richard, who loved hot dogs with spicy mustard.

The only potential kink in this plan is that my eye starts twitching when people misuse apostrophes. You know, like when they post on Instagram with “Look at me, Im eating hot dog’s!LOL!!1!!1” If my slogan were “Eat a bag of Dick’s,” would a secretly insulting double entendre justify abuse of the apostrophe? Would I be unwittingly encouraging everyone to throw apostrophes around willy-nilly like the youths these days?

No, telling potentially thousands of people to eat a bag of dicks (sans apostrophe) is all well and fine in my world. But committing grammatical sins? I just couldn’t live with myself.

Then we ordered kebabs and I forgot all about the quandary for the next 3 days.




aannnnndd now my grandfather is dead.

Nothing quite like being on sick leave from work for depression/anxiety and finding out a loved one has passed. It’s not like it was a big shock or anything though, after all the man was 93 years old. I asked if I should go back to my hometown since I’m off work anyway, and my mom told me it’s not necessary and everyone’s doing all right. Which is probably for the better since jet lag in the winter sends my anxiety straight into crazy-town.

My family has never placed a whole lot of importance on funerals and “the end.” Being there for the weddings, Christmases, cookouts and fireworks is more important, even if it is by Skype as in my case.

From what I’ve heard about our family history, my dad’s side of the family (let’s call them the von Batschitzingers) was a bit, erm, melancholic and gloomy and German. I like to think they’re distant bastard relatives of Otto and Ludwig II of Bavaria. Who were totally batshit. My mom’s side of the family, the McLoonies* (or if you prefer the original Gaelic spelling MacLoun’iobhanhaileiligh), tend to react to bad things with inappropriate humour. I don’t know whether that’s healthy or not, but whatever.

I had this conversation with my mom just now.

Mom: Be thinking of us at 11:00 am our time tomorrow.
Me: I will. or I might be asleep because that’s 1am for me and I take my Xanax at 11pm, but maybe I’ll dream about it.
Mom: OK.
Me: I dreamt about Grandma right after she died, so. But I’ve also dreamt that Rick Astley averted a plane crash, so don’t read too much into it.
Mom: Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down….
Me: never gonna lose altitude and hurt you

By the way, this is a very inspirational hypnotic induction on the nature of life and death that I highly recommend.


*Names may or may not have been changed to protect the guilty. Use your best judgment.

I’m not OK

I found out that I’m most likely at least moderately depressed, have a thorny social phobia (or what my counsellor calls “Fear of Negative Evaluation”), and possibly a touch of inattentive-type ADHD to boot. Depression and anxiety, I definitely believe is a Thing that needs support and whatnot.
ADHD on the other hand, I never quite bought into. I thought it was an excuse to pump meds into misbehaving children, or opiate adults who can’t or won’t fit into the stultifying cubicle mold. While I can see certain traits in myself, I figured it was just a character flaw of mine. I mean, who hasn’t misplaced their airline ticket? Who hasn’t left their class ring in a truck stop washroom, or zoned out in long-ass meetings and started drawing doodles of rabbits chewing their limbs off after being caught in traps? Everyone else manages not to, but I just can’t for some reason because of who I am as a person.

The idea that it isn’t a character flaw that everyone else has conquered but I haven’t, but rather something that can be medicated away is a new concept for me. It’s something I haven’t quite bought into yet, but it is an enticing proposition in some ways. Maybe I’m actually a genius or something, but the ADHD kept me from scoring higher on standardised tests and studying properly.  
But maybe the crippling social anxiety makes me able to pretend to be functional, like the following conversation that’s forever playing out in my head…

ADHD: OK, coffee date with Yukiko in less than an hour, putting on sweater… hey, this sweater has lots of little fuzzballs on it, maybe we should spend the next 20 minutes picking them off.
Fear of Negative Evaluation (FoNA):  You can’t do that right now. There’s no time.
ADHD: Whatever, time is a meaningless social construct. And these fuzzballs are ugly, and it’s so much fun to watch them clear off!
FoNA: Because you have to meet Yukiko in 45 minutes, and if you pick off the fuzzballs, you’ll be like 20 minutes late, and that’s rude and Yukiko will be mad. And we don’t want that.
ADHD: *sigh* OK fine.
(5 minutes later, on the way to the coffee date)
FoNA: …You might have a point about those sweater fuzzballs though.
ADHD: Why?
FoNA: Well they are pretty ugly and make us look like a crazy old lady. But you just can’t find some more convenient time to raze the fuzzballs off, can you.
Vicious Self-Critic: Apparently not. I’m sure everyone else who’s a successful functioning adult has a strict fuzzball-picking schedule that they adhere to, unlike us. But we kind of are a crazy old lady anyway, so it fits.
FoNA: Oh hey, Vicious Self-Critic, welcome back!
ADHD: You know what? Fuck you guys. At some point I’m gonna flake out on something really important and I’m not gonna tell you what it is, so there!!
Depression: And I’ll be waiting. I always am.


I picked up one of those adult colouring books at Tsutaya a few weeks ago. It has Yoda on the front being all zen, conveying the idea that colouring will calm your mind and make you a Jedi. If this book fails to make me a Jedi, I will write a polite but firm letter of complaint to LucasFilm and Tsutaya.

My husband took a look at the book and said “this is pretty good quality. You should just make copies of all the pages so you can keep colouring.” I thought that was a pretty good idea, but somehow I can’t imagine sneaking into work in the dead of night to use the copy machine in order to make multiple colouring book pages of Yoda and C3PO would be acceptable.

A few nights ago, this conversation actually happened (via text):

Me: Haven’t had the chance to make copies yet, but I really wanna colour Yoda!

Him: Go to 7-11?

Me: Well I already started.

Him: No! Copy!!

Me: Dude, this book has 200 pages. It costs ¥10 per page to copy at 7-11, that’s ¥2000. This book was ¥1400. I’m better off getting another book.

Him: Damn, I guess you’re right.

Me:…but maybe I’ll copy my favourite pages.

Grad school was actually awful

So I officially, once and for all, finally finished grad school last Friday evening after a longer-than-intended leave of absence. I got a shitty grade on my thesis and a chewing out from my advisor because I have done much better work. But the thing is I almost didn’t finish at all because… erg. Reasons. First and foremost being that it’s the second part of a dual degree and I got the other one a long time ago, and that one’s actually a lot more important in terms of getting a job here. In the words of Peter from Office Space, “it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I don’t care.”

I would really like to think that finishing the second one was a testament to my tenacity and ability to come back from almost certain failure. At least that’s what I’ll write on my LinkedIn page. But more likely finishing the damn thing was a result of my utter inability to let things go, long after I probably should. That, mixed in with some vanity and residual Teacher Pleasing tendencies in me that just won’t go away, is what drove me to finish.

I thought it would be a weight off. Maybe if I’d done better work and gotten a better grade it would have been. But I didn’t anticipate it being more like the dissipating of a dark brain miasma I hadn’t even known was there for the past 3 years. Any time I had a rough or tedious day at work, I’d reminisce about the “glory days” of my times with my classmates. I’d wonder if I had made a mistake in coming to shuffle paper and chirp in the Land of Karoshi when I could have stayed in Germany where I’d almost certainly be engineering things and nodding sagely at the IPCC before jetting off to enjoy my 2-month summer vacation in the South of France. Before finishing my thesis, I’d remember my classmates and the potluck dinners, the 2.50 Euro Weizen, the snowball fights, the Christmas markets, and filter out the drama, our whole “dysfunctional incestuous family” dynamic, the white barracks-like buildings, the 4PM winter sunset, and the endless parade of presentations and poverty and pressure and envy…

It wasn’t until after finishing the thesis that I realized grad school was actually awful.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wouldn’t trade it and knowing those people for anything. I would take the bad along with the good all over again. And my second reader actually liked my thesis and wants to implement it, so maybe it’s not such a piece of shit after all. But more than anything, at least I can get on with my life.