Who said cats always land on their feet? This one landed on its side.
This morning, when I was taking my kids to nursery, my son pointed and commented about the Manekineko we have in our front hall. He accidentally brushed against it and I watched in slow motion as it fell off its cushion and down onto the floor below—smashing into pieces!
I received the cat from a teacher colleague in Iwate whose children I had been teaching English to for a bit of extra cash. He and his family gave it to me when I left Iwate to take a consulting job in Tokyo in 2004.
My poor little boy was so sad when he knocked it over. I gave him a big hug and said “Not to worry!” It was a nice gift and lasted a long time. They say cats have nine lives, and 12 years for a precariously positioned porcelain cat is a long life.
It has been nearly six months since my family and I left Tokyo.
Last time I wrote a proper post on this blog that wasn’t a short running report was on November 1st – a few days after the birth of my third child.
Some time during my paternity leave, I realized that my heart wasn’t really in my job. I enjoyed the content of the work and the people around me who I worked with daily were great. But I simply wasn’t looking forward to going back to the politics of dealing with HQ, or the fact that marketing is actually not important enough to government for real money to be spent on it. I was always having to go outside and beg companies to “contribute” to our partner marketing. It was always a tough sell for big multinationals to support our campaigns. True to the theme of this blog, I had allowed myself to suffer and to get into a negative mindset.
My wife and I had been talking about retiring early for years and taking our kids to live in an environment much nicer for raising kids than Tokyo, where we had to share the local park with smokers and sometimes the odd homeless, aimless old man. We had even bought a place in the countryside ready to fix up during the holidays over the coming years.
But during my leave, we realized that pretty soon – with a third child – we were going to have to move at some point soon to a bigger house. Our rent was already nearly 140,000 yen a month. In the end, after lots of long, late-night talks my wife and I came to the conclusion that there was nothing tying us any longer to Tokyo.
So we decided to take the plunge sooner rather than later, and move to the house we had already bought in the country.
It was scary to take the leap. And I haven’t retired just yet! But six months later and we have no regrets.