Thanks to everyone who continues to check in here from time to time. I’ve been slow with updates. It’s not going to get better in the near future, though I hope it will get better in the not-too-distant future. I wanted to update y’all on personal news, as well as share some closing thoughts for the year.
I’ve been personally busier than ever before. My kids are getting older. As kids move up to the higher grades, schoolwork becomes more and more important. Both of my kids have new responsibilities that they need to learn to manage. My older one especially–he’s now going to a larger, more diverse school. Class sizes are much bigger, and often teachers just don’t care. My kids have added a few extracurriculars as well.
As you all know, I took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test last year. I passed last year’s test, but this year was much harder–I have a feeling I didn’t do quite as well this year. So I’ve been ramping up my study time in Japanese, sometimes doing up to three hours or more a day, sometimes on my own, but also almost every day with language partners. I’ve never gone this deep into a second language before. It’s quite fascinating, but the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. I’m still volunteering as a translator at the local public school too, and that’s been taking up time as well. It’s ironic that I’m learning more about culture shock here than I did in Japan. A lot of times I’m too tired at the end of the day to read and write English.
In terms of the writing and posting, you all probably felt this over the last year, but I was taken aback by the blowback from the election. Yes, I was horrified by the hypocrisy coming from the Evangelicals and Far Right, but having grown up in a God-fearing, Bible-thumping, Jesus-loving church, I’m rarely surprised by the behavior coming from those types. Instead, I was shocked and surprised by the Far Left. I was truly shocked. I never realized how much hatred those people had. There were a number of really personal comments directed at me, for no reason other than…Trump won the election, and it’s open season on everyone not on the Far Left. “You supported Lionel Shriver!” “Even though you voted Hillary, you’re a closeted Trump supporter because you are against affirmative action!” “Racist against us!” It reminded me of that time when I stood up against the phony hate crime in Portland, where I lost so many people who I thought were friends. It was a bit much. I had to step away for a while.
I once said that Trump was good for race relations and nothing else. I still believe that. American minorities deal with racism–that’s undeniably true. But the far larger problem is the absolute lack of personal responsibility that minorities have begun to adopt, especially protected minorities. It was bad under Obama, and it would have become even worse under Clinton or Bernie. Trump, although he’s a con artist, a pathological liar, and a man with no morals, is a businessman who focuses on building things. Even though he’s not very good at building things outside of his social media brand–our international diplomacy is in disarray, our State Department is falling apart, and the planet is about to get very hot–the focus for minorities has been correct. Minorities need to do a better job of building things.
But even now, I think we’re living at a time where nothing anyone says can change anything. People on the extremes resort to calling everything “fake news” when they disagree with something. Both the Evangelicals and the Far Left got Trump elected, and he’s using their playbook. So I’ve decided to keep quiet for a while. I’m hoping that eventually people will get tired of losing and will come back to the table.
The only other thing I wanted to comment on is North Korea. We’re living in dangerous times. One miscalculation, and the world as we know it will end. People have been upset at Trump’s irresponsible comments, but honestly, I don’t think his comments either help or hurt us. Kim is evil, and he would likely be upping his nuclear tests no matter what Trump said or didn’t say. Unlike his dad, he doesn’t care if millions of his people starve. Trump can rightly blame Obama and Clinton and W for kicking the can down the road, although North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has progressed much faster than anyone thought possible. Even as we work to increase sanctions, in the end we may have to just deal with North Korea’s transgressions, kidnappings, assassinations, etc.
Anyway, that’s all the updates for now. As always, thanks for your support.