Give up or keep trying


This time I'm at the Yahoo Cafe. It's much more crowded than the Virgin Cafe. It's connected to a Starbucks, has about 30 PCs from various companies, half of them notebooks. It's free but there's a 30 minute time limit and you have to sign up at which point they give you a USB dongle you have to plug into the machines in order to use them

I'm really trying do decide what to do next with my life and I could really use everybody's opinions. I tend to always take a contrary opinion so whatever side somebody takes I'll harp on why the otherside is better.

The question that's up is I need to get a job and I'm wondering if I should give up on Japanese or not. I feel like I'll really be upset if I give up but lots of things come to mind as for reasons not to continue or even reasons why it's so hard.

I almost wonder if I'm too old for this. I know that technically there's no such thing as too old but... some examples....

If I was younger (25 or less) I could have a girlfriend without worrying if their is a future with her. As it is, I'm 36, I want to be married, I don't want to waste time with a short term relationship at this point in my life and I don't want to waste somebody else's time as in women around my age also not looking for something short term. The point being that if I was 25 or less I'd have no problem getting temporary girlfriends which would hugely increase my Japanese ability.

If I was younger I'd also match most of the single people. I've mentioned this before but most of the students at school are 20 to 24. College students are 18 to 24 here. Lots of oppotunities that don't present themselves for a 36 year old. It's said here in Japan that different generations can not become real friends. That sounds silly to me but for one, they say you have to always speak in the polite form of Japanese to people older than you. They also say that as long as you keep speaking politely to somebody you'll never become real friends. Hence, it's much harder to cross a generation gap in Japan.

If I was younger I could more easily live like a student. Most of the people in class are working part time jobs, foodservice, for $8 an hour, 20 hours a week, getting support from parents and living in dorms, sharing rooms etc. Being that I'm 36 I'm used to having 6 to 9 times that income, living in my own nice place with nice things, having a car, having a nice job etc. I'm not sure if I'm ready to live like a student but if I have the *real* job then I really won't have time to study.

If I was younger my career would just be starting and so any position in a company would probably be fine. As it is it feels very very depressing to be just a programmer on a project instead of part of the leadership of the team. One of the people that's in on decisions etc. If my Japanese was fluent I could probably do that here but as it's not I end up being just labor. It's a depressing let down.

I feel like I'd need to be here another 18 months to get fluent and I'm not sure if I could do that if I was working full time and therefore not studying. Some people would say it will come naturally just from living here but what if it doesn't and in 18 to 24 months I'm still not at the level I want to be. Do I then stay another 18 to 24 months? If I was younger it would be much easier to commit or to not worry about 2 to 3 more years of my life but at 36 I'm not so sure about that.

Separate from all those reasons though the biggest issues are job and friends. If there was a great job here or in the U.S. that would go along way to helping me to decide. Second, if I actually had some good friends here that would help to make it seem better here than it currently is. Having a job *might* make it more likely I'm make friends but although I made friends at Sega, none of them became *good* friends, the kind that you confide in or hangout with a few times a week even with nothing to do etc. So, would staying here with a new job be any different? Of course the difference is this time I could actually talk to my co−workers. Although my Japanese is not good enough that I would feel comfortable using it for business it is good enough to talk to friends/co−workers and to work through my limited abilities.

Anyway, I really have no ideas how to decide. At the momment, with no *great* offer here in Japan, it feels like I'm having to decide between *sacrificing* 2 or 3 more years to get fluent or coming back to the U.S. and getting on with my life. Am I just taking the wrong point of view? Will I regret not staying and getting fluent? I talked to a recuriter and he said if I was fluent there would be lots of opportunities but to be honest I'm not sure any of them are what I'm looking for which makes me wonder, why am I studying? My original reason I started Japanese was because my friend Mark Cerny, because he could speak Japanese, was able to negociate with Sony of Japan for various things including helping immensely with Crash Bandicoot's acceptance and support by Sony of Japan. But, for whatever reason I don't currently see myself being in a similar position anytime soon and outside of that, what's the point? Of course that's not why I've been studying, it's just the reason I started. I keep studying because of the frustration of not being fluent yet. Each time I have trouble communicating I want to continue. On top of that I've put in 3 or more years into it, to not finish seems like a big waste of 3 years and about $80k. But, like I said, can I do it? Is it worth the next 2 or 3 years? How do I figure that out? If you have any ideas speak up!

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