November 2007 Archives

November 13, 2007

Living Quarters, Naeso-sa Temple

Living Quarters, Naeso-sa Temple, originally uploaded by Marmot1974.

And people wonder why I still miss Korea...

November 4, 2007

Slight Adjustments

I've made the move to the newest version of Movable Type, and the upgrade is not without its share of headache. I've been using MT for over five years, so this is nothing unusual. I've spent over a week trying to determine why this site wont rebuild properly, but I've yet to solve the issue. If you see some problems, definitely let me know.

I switched to a feedburner feed some time ago, so those of you reading from the feeds should not have to update your feed URL. You may, however, get a couple repeat posts and such, as I've wiped out and reinstalled the site nearly twenty times in the last 6 days. At very least, I can be happy that my line breaks should now appear in the feed.

Finally, the style of Leftsider will change slightly. I'll be using excerpts in the feeds, and extended entries may become more common on the front page. I'll also be writing more intimately and introspectively here than I have most recently; all my other writing will go to a few other blogs, which I'll be naming shortly.

November 3, 2007

My Manifesto to Living in Asia

I’m a member of a semi-closed social network called Asoboo. It’s mainly comprised of expats, creative professionals and foriegner-friendly citizens of Japan, with a few Japan-lovers around the world thrown in for sport.

Recently, a guy new to Japan wrote a minor rant on Asoboo which he entitled “My Manifesto.” The basic concept of his piece was that he was having trouble building relationships and dealing with stereotypes (he is a black male). It pricked a soft spot in me, having dealt with many of the same issues during my stay in Korea. So I wrote the following response, which probably could be considered my own reflective statement on living in Asia.

Continue reading My Manifesto to Living in Asia.

November 2, 2007

House and Home

I didn't write down my wedding vows. I knew that I could write something really eloquent, but I felt that polished words often outshine their true meaning. As I wanted to speak from the heart, I decided beforehand what things I wanted to say... and I simply said them as they came. It worked out well, happy ending.

Today, a little over three years later, I don't remember anything I said. Once, in a rough season, my wife left her vows on the desk where I study. At the time I felt that was a very passive-aggressive way of invoking a contractual obligation, yet I was remiss in not having a list of my own; a ninety-five theses of marital guidance that I could nail to her closet or something. My words would be forever lost in the warm October afternoon where our lives were joined.

I do remember one concept, however. It was a simple one (which may explain why it has stuck with me): If she gave me 110% and I gave her 110%, no matter what befell us, we'd have love to spare. Simple? Yes. Romantic? Undeniably. Mathematically possible? Let's not push it; the concept was enough.

And I intend to stick by it. A while back I noticed that my general unkempt-ness and deferring was placing an unnecessary burden on my wife, a patron saint of neatness (though I am the Archduke of organization). I tried to pitch in with household duties but my tolerance level of these menial tasks was so high that I literally missed the opportunities to act; her unswerving adherence to cleanliness swooped in and handled the tasks long before my alarm started ringing.

But that was me giving a fair try; I was in it for the 110%. So starting around June or July I forced her to turn over all household duties to me. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, garbage--you name it, it was my responsibility. I explained to her the purpose of this initiative:
  • To give me a glimpse of all the work she does
  • To cultivate in me a lower threshold for messiness
  • To give her time to pursue goals and ambitions
I patted myself on the back for coming up with such a novel idea. Surely any wife would shed a tear of joy for such a selfless, earnest gesture. In reality this process drove my sweetie up a wall; it took a while for my efforts to kick in, and the act of leaving things was painful as it went against the grain of her very being. Additionally, her eschewing of all things confrontational meant that any helpful nudges to prod me into action were basically given about 45 seconds before bludgeoning me to death with the cleaning instrument unused would start becoming a reasonable alternative.

But I stuck it out. That's what 110% means, right?

Today, after about 4 months, I'm ending the initiative. On a whole I think it was a failure, perhaps even my own little great leap forward. Even in saying that, though, I know that I've become more aware of household duties and more keen to the energies my wife puts toward the appearance of our home. This morning, after she slipped out of bed, I could hear her moving the clean dishes from the dishwasher; to not do these tasks, I discovered make her feel less a part of her home. I would not have made the duty=ownership association had I not seen her inability to let go.

Well, that was that. I anticipate that the general cleanliness of our house will go up again in a short while. My sister also moved in with us during that period, so we have extra hands to get the work done. Hopefully we three can still maintain a goal of 110% each to the excessive benefit of our house and home.