09 January 2011 ~ 3 Comments

I’m building me a home

“Do you have any resolutions for 2011?” a family friend asked me while we were getting “spirited away” at her home back in Brooklyn NY.

“I hate to make resolutions but yep, I got a couple,” I said, “First and foremost, I’m going to focus intensely on getting my work into the right hands and getting it published! My dream is to be able to make a living doing something I love doing and there’s no better time than the present to make that dream a reality. So, as soon as I get home I’m going to…”

Get home??” She looked perplexed. “Ummm, unless you’ve gone native over there I think you’ve got your continental wires crossed!”

“You know what I mean,” I said, smiling, kind of embarrassed at how easily the words had flowed from my lips. “Back to the place where I currently reside, have resided for better part of a decade and will continue to do so for an undetermined period of time.”

“Uh huh…” she said, not buying it. “Yo ass ain’t never coming home.”


So, you know me…I wound up spending my vacation in NY with this question of  what is home and where is mine  dominating my thoughts.

The answers to these questions remain elusive, but I have drawn some conclusions.

Home is clearly more than simply the place where you live, or the place where you grew up, or the place where your friends and family reside, or the place where you are most at-rest or most comfortable. Though I’m sure these are significant factors in ones decision as to honor a place with the title “home” there’s more to it.


“Home requires work…you gotta make an effort. It doesn’t just happen,” another friend said in response to my query. I took that to mean you gotta earn it!

I had a disturbing and -dare I say- liberating epiphany while in New York.

As I drove around looking at all the newness and the oldness, as I sat and drank with and listened to the people who have played both minor and significant roles in my development, as I passed through and laid in rooms I used to call  home and visited areas that hold emotional prominence, and partook of dishes made by the hands and with the love I called home, I realized that without a doubt: New York is has become my erstwhile home.

I am no more a New Yorker than my older sister is, she having relocated to Northern California back in the early eighties.

I’m by no means an official ex-pat, Japanese nor a Yokohamian.

I’m in a kind of limbo, an emotional migrant, a moss-gathering rolling stone. Not so much homeless, but home-free. Yeah, I like the sound of that!

There’s no place like home-free.

So, now I’m back in Japan. And, what do you know? As soon as I get back my friends, in anticipation of my return and before I could do so myself, they reach out, emails and calls, Tweets and shouts. And, I can feel the love, no more and no less than I felt back in NY. Perhaps it’s because I have let people in here, so to speak. I have set up roots, laid the foundation, and have made an impact on the lives of people here. And, I enjoy the rewards of having done so.

So what is home? Where is home?

I think the cliche goes: Home is where the heart is.

And, my heart is an amazing thing…but it needs some work. A lot of work, actually.

I guess you can say I’m building me a home.


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PS: Tonight I will be interviewed on the Bad Communication Podcast. I’ll be taking questions regarding my writing and topics discussed on Loco in Yokohama. According to the show rundown the airdate is January 10, 2011. You can get more information at the Bad Communication website, here.

It’s my first such interview so cut me some slack if I appear nervous. I wouldn’t say I’m shy but stick a camera and a mic in anybody’s face, esepcially someone unaccustomed to it, and it’s sure to affect them in some way, right? I’m actually curious to see how it will affect me. (-:

If you have a question you want to ask and have answered personally, here’s your chance. Click here. You still got a couple of hours before the deadline.

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3 Responses to “I’m building me a home”

  1. jason 17 January 2011 at 7:48 am Permalink

    It's interesting, isn't it? The feeling of going back where you come from, and recognizing that it's not home anymore. When I went back to visit, it was like I slipped into all the old conversations, the old haunts, the old food, just like a glove… But something was 'off' the whole time. Like a weird itch you just can't scratch.

    Of course I've moved around enough that if people are supposed to anchor you to a 'home' then I've got many homes, rather than one.

    Perhaps in the end, home is the feeling that you have a place to return to where you can be uniquely you, and still feel like you fit there. At least, that's kind of what I've come to so far. We'll see how long until that evolves into something else as well. *laughs*

  2. Christine Joseph 17 January 2011 at 10:47 pm Permalink

    Of course I feel this post. I really wondered how it would be coming back to NY after such a long time away. Japan and NY, while similar in some respects, differ greatly in the underlying feel. This makes me wonder how I'm going to feel when I move out to Japan next year…

  3. Alessia 22 January 2011 at 12:38 pm Permalink

    I'm wandering between two worlds too. Especially since during your teen years you're searching for who you are!
    My heart still feels back home but it is setting here too… I'm not sure the impact I have on everyone's life here though… it's like I forgot my heart in my other home, so I appear too distracted to live life fully here.. I just don't feel like I fully belong back home and not quite here too. I want to move on but my heart is clinging to that other place!! I don't think I'll ever stop wandering….

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