It’s darned hard to get a visa to live in Japan, nearly impossible if you don't have a job or attend school full time. I found a new bit of law and slipped in for a couple of years.
Permanent residency is extra-hard. It takes ten years of non-student residency to get PR unless you can somehow meet a “points” requirement to fast-track yourself.
I took a very high level part-time job with a school hoping to get myself fast-tracked for PR using a new program I am developing. I have lots of “points," but I cannot work enough to create the “points" I still need through Japan-based income.
Today, I started crying because I was in so much pain from getting across town on a commuter-time train for my single half-day of hands-on teaching. Last week was so bad that my single half-day kept me writhing for two more. I enjoy the work. The program is interesting and important, something Japan needs. I get out, I meet people, I learn things, it’s fun. But I am old and handicapped. I try to ignore those factors, but they are true, and that’s been brought home to me recently. I can’t do this. I certainly can’t do this and be a productive full-time writer.
I used to travel to Japan a couple of times a year for research, but that’s not something that’s viable for me anymore, if I can’t even manage being shoved into a sardine can commuter train for half an hour. It’s time I acknowledge that and make sure my priorities are in order and my life reflects that as best it can.
My top priority is my writing. That’s obvious to me. Further, I need to have faith in it, and that’s now obvious to me, too. I need to have faith that I can renew my visa when the time comes, four more times if necessary. I need to have faith that my books will sell generally, will actually be translated, will sell well here, and that my semi-fictional universe will expand and grow, maybe in the direction of anime and film — to some extent, its natural home. I need to believe in my work, my talent and myself. I need to always remember my writing is my top priority, and make these things so.
All too often we as writers get caught up in the day to day. We get caught up in other work, family, kids, school. Our priorities can’t be like those of other people. We are writers, and writing must come first on our priority lists. We must arrange our lives around it, so we can do it and keep on doing it, because it’s important. If we don’t believe in ourselves and our work, we might as well stop now. This isn’t an easy life. I can’t say if it’s one we chose or if it chose us, but we must have faith in ourselves and our work, and make sure it’s our top priority.
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