Copping Out


Back on November 6th I posted a weekend synopsis on my trip to Fukushima. It ended with a statement that many things changed and no clarification. Two people gave me grief about it (which is probably two thirds of my regular readers according to my blog stats), so I posted more detail the next day. However, my clarifying post was really a cop out.

I provided details about what we did over the weekend, but nothing about what changed. Today I will try to explain why I avoided talking about that – and perhaps I will say what actually changed. First, for my reader that sent a lengthy card seeking info, I am not: getting married; buying a home; getting a cat; or moving back to Seattle.

Over that weekend I learned a lot more about complexity and appearances in Japanese relationships. Someone I thought I was close to made it very clear that they do not trust me nor believe me. They probably don’t realize they made it clear to me, but they did. Also, I felt they were making (very thinly) veiled threats to my future business plans here. This came up because they are connected to my former employers. Because they have many connections in government, business, and society I had to respond very seriously to this. Immediately after returning home I had to set up meetings and consultations and do lots of rethinking.

Timing was horrible, since I was already getting swamped with other responsibilities. Regular readers can connect the dots and see that this is right before I got exhausted and fell ill. I gave strong consideration to: changing my business plan to make a full assault on the company they were trying to protect; seeking a scholarship for Master’s research in Linguistics; starting my business in a different prefecture; quitting work and travelling around the countryside; returning to America; and so on. As you can see, I was all over the map. After lots of research and rethinking (and cooling off) I came to the conclusion that the best approach is to continue without fearing the threats.

My business plan is designed to protect my former business because I want to make things that last. My strongest contacts for developing new business are in this area, even though I have a few strong connections in other regions. My shuji school is also here and I would not want to find a new teacher (except, perhaps, if I moved to a region famous for calligraphy.) My favorite restaurants and the closest thing I have to friends in Japan are all in this area. All of these factors helped me decide to stay the course.

From what I know, I assume my relationships that were threatened will continue as long as my plan is not to assault their business; however, I realize also that these relationships are really just on the surface. I had to avoid writing in a public forum about this while I was dealing with the details. As it is, I have left out many details still, partly to avoid stirring the pot and partly in fairness since there is much I don’t yet understand.

Some of these relationship issues are related to Japan’s tight connection to its (not so distant) feudal past. Honestly, it is one of the qualities that fascinates me, but can also cause consternation.


3 Responses to “Copping Out”

  1. kevenker Says:

    You’re smart and you have discipline. I think that whatever you choose to do you can be a success at despite the best efforts of others to thwart you!

  2. びっくり Says:

    I’ll agree with the smart, but my discipline is sometimes spotty. If I set my mind to something, then my stubborness sometimes passes for discipline. 😉

  3. Why Not? (Part I) « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] Neo-新びっくりブログ A dozen years later Bikkuri is once again loose in Japan… « Copping Out […]

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