Could This be my Last Winter in Japan?

Hello? It’s me.

I was wondering if after all these years, is anyone still reading this blog?

Can you believe I am already 2 months into my 4th year in Japan? Yes, I came here after my 26th birthday, I am facing my 30th next year. This is my 4th winter and I can tell you one thing for free, you never get used to the cold.

I just came back from NZ. Took about 2 days to adjust to the cold. I was kinda of angry those first two days as I stomped through the snow, I think winter puts us in a bitch mood, no? I have to contend with perpetually cold toes (I think I may have poor circulation in my legs) until Dec, Jan, Feb, March and April fade away.. it’s still cold in April over here. It only starts warming up in May, and June is perfect, and then July and August are stifling hot and this is when I get questions like, well it’s hot in your country, isn’t it? So you must be comfortable in this weather. arrgh fuck off already. No one is comfortable in the 36deg, 100% humid Japanese summers. I am tired of explaining my country’s weather to everyone. Just look it up on Google, unless you were not really interested in it, in which case, please let us not talk about it.

The one thing I do love about the weather seasons is the stunning change in the landscapes. When in Kenya, it’s the same view year round.. plus you kind of don’t really notice the flowers, etc. Someone asked me if Kenya is a country of flowers and I’m like er.. uh.. I have never really noticed. I don’t even know which month Jacaranda flowers bloom (probably around October). They are the “sakura” of Nairobi.

In Japan, there is an association of each season with food, flower, fashion.. So it forces you to start paying attention. I’m not much of a photographer, but as I begin what could be my last year at JAIST, I have begun to pay attention to the beauty of this campus. I’m going to try and capture the same view from the 7th floor of the building where my lab is located. Here it is back in autumn and now in Winter. I hope to remember to capture the view in (my last) spring and summer. No doubt there are better photos out there, just Google JAIST. There is even a drone video. In the video, I can definitely tell it is summer because it’s so green.

JAIST in autumn. Photo by me. No filters.

JAIST in autumn. Photo by me. No filters.

JAIST in winter

JAIST in winter. Photo by me. Again, no filters.

So back to the first question, could this be my last winter in Japan?

I am scheduled to graduate on September 21st, 2018. I am working as hard as I can to try and finalize my research and write my dissertation in time, while of course looking after Jeremy, who’s 4 now. Somehow, I am supposed to also find the time to apply for a job. Let’s face it, even if I wanted to start my own business, I need capital and contacts in the business industry, an industry that I left 3 years ago. So I need a job first to enable me to land on my feet after graduation, and then I can think of a hustle. I have ideas already but they have taken a backseat at the moment. My plate is overflowing.

On the other hand, I am a well organized person. I plan things. I have daily, weekly and monthly to do lists, in addition to yearly goals. Nothing lofty, but I write everything down. Maybe I just like writing.  So it’s a little unnerving not to know what’s going to happen next year. I have given it some thought ..

PhD Plan

PhD Plan. Image, courtesy. Of course, I secretly want to be a writer.

First of all, what kind of job am I looking for? Well, my options are:

  • postdoc/assistant lecturer position at a university with the aim of working up in the academic ladder to lecturer, senior lecturer… up until Professorship. Hopefully, I get to do research in addition to teaching.
  • postdoc/researcher position in the research division of an IT company, with the aim of climbing up the corporate (industry research) ladder.
  • abandon lofty research ideas and just work as a software engineer/data analyst in any company that will take me

Right… but where on Earth?

Image, courtesy.

  • Kenya – I can get a nice job in Kenya (IBM Research Africa, I’m looking at your Nairobi offices 😉 ). I will be surrounded by family and friends. I will have a house-assistant/nanny/maid. I can contribute to building the nation. It’s a fact that developing countries like ours are losing talent/brains to the richer nations. I’ll not have to ask myself questions like, do I owe it to my country to go back home?
  • Japan – well, I am learning Japanese but I will probably be lost in (Google) translation for a while before I can truly master the language. There is also a cultural barrier. J is learning just fine because he wasn’t even speaking when he left Kenya. He is learning both English and Japanese at the same time. I don’t know if I will ever have the time/chance to teach him Swahili (and Kisii). But can I really adjust to the working culture in Japan? Well, there are international tech companies in Tokyo/Osaka so maybe the working culture there is more like the one in Kenya. It’s not just about putting in long, empty hours, but about productivity.
  • US – er.. well, we all agree the US is a world leader when it comes to tech innovation. Hey, it is a big country, lots of people emigrate to the US every year. If I do go, it will probably be California, maybe San Francisco.
  • Canada – brrr.. so cold. Unless it is Vancouver. It doesn’t snow so much over there.
  • The U.K. –  I have always wanted to go to London.
  • English-speaking countries
  • The rest of the world

Ha! My I’ve certainly got my options narrowed down.

But I am dreaming again. By dreaming, I mean daydreams. Imagining myself in the future. I had kind of stopped daydreaming so I stopped writing (there is a connection somehow, believe me). Blogging is therapeutic. I hope it’s not too late to capture what’s left of my time in Japan through this blog.

This entry was posted in Japan, PhD, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Could This be my Last Winter in Japan?

  1. Muringo says:

    We still lurk around Savvy. I wish you all the best.


  2. Juliet says:

    This is a nice update. Wish you all the best.


  3. Peter says:

    Or you can come work with us at Okolea as we seek to revolutionize fin tech. It’s challenging but it’s fun and rewarding. Come back Kenya we miss you


  4. Pingback: Dec 2nd – 10th: Sunny Days in New Zealand | Savvy Kenya in Japan

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