Japan · Life · Mental Health


I’ve always loved music because music has always been capable of giving me the words to express my feelings.  Sometimes I lack the ability to say how I’m feeling outright, but then I’ll listen to a song that perfectly describes everything I couldn’t put into words.  Do you feel this way about music?

I’m often shaken so deeply by what these artists manage to convey for me.  It’s really astounding that they manage to do this time and again. Lately I’ve had a lot of feelings that I can’t put into words, and there have been a couple songs that have completely nailed it, so I listen to them on a never ending loop.  Thank goodness I got noise canceling headphones.  They already make it easier to move about the big and busy world that is Japan.

Today I ventured out to my old office.  This might have been a big mistake.  At first things started off fine.  I sat and chatted with Motoki, Makoto, my old boss, and even Nemesis. It felt like nothing had changed. People complained, everyone laughed, and things were nice for a while. At the nicest part of the day, it was Motoki, my old boss, and I in the office.  Motoki talked about his depression. He talked about how he had felt like things had gotten better, but then they really hadn’t, and lately he was in a really bad place. He felt he wasn’t capable of doing the things he had envisioned for his department. At one point, he left to go to the bathroom and I told my old boss that I was really worried about Motoki. He said “A lot of us are” and then he added “This place is falling apart.” It was the most real I’d ever seen my old boss be about anything. I told him I felt like the domino that knocked everyone over because I left and now Nemesis is leaving and who knows who else. I know that Motoki’s depression is not my fault. Motoki and I talked about that and also that it’s something he’ll have forever. I had to tell him that it won’t always be this way. Sometimes you’ll be on a peak and other times you’ll be in the deepest valley that you feel like you can’t ever climb out of. That’s where Motoki is now.

At lunch I ventured over to to the main office to talk to some other people. I mostly came there to see Ami. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Ami before. Ami is a former coworker of mine who I wanted to have a great friendship with but acted on it way too late and the friendship didn’t have time to fully form, so we’re two people who haven’t spent much time together, but if we did, I know we’d be the greatest of friends because I’ve really cherished the short time we spent together. (So kind of like Sailor Moon’s Usagi and Ami but not exactly.)  Ami finishes after lunch on Fridays, so I decided to sit and chat with her a bit.  She asked me about my new life and we talked briefly about her trip to Vietnam and my trip to America.  Everything was fine until she asked me if I was happy.  Because I’m not really happy at this point in my life, I felt that couldn’t lie to her and say that I was.  I just started to cry, and the more I talked, the more I cried.  I didn’t go into explicit detail (i.e. infertility, etc.).  I said I’m really unhappy because I’m lonely.  Perhaps it was a bad idea to visit my old workplace.  As I said before, it felt like I had never really left, and I was so sad when the reality was I didn’t work there anymore.  I feel like I’ll never make friends in my new city, and I’ll never find a job, and even if I do both of those things, nothing will ever be as good as it was here at this place, with these people.  Ami said we should go have coffee and as much as I wanted to be there, her offer sounded even better.  I am not proud of what I did next.  Motoki was in a meeting, but I dragged him out of it.  If I didn’t say “bye for now” to him in person, I knew I would regret it, so I dragged him out of the meeting, and talked to him quickly in the office.  I promised him things would get better for him (depression wise).  I promised him we’d talk, and I’d see him again.  I vowed to myself I wouldn’t let his depression make him feel so alone like it did before, and I know it’s not my responsibility, but he’s my friend.  We don’t abandon our friends when they need us the most.  I’d said I’d call him.  We’d talk again soon, and I’d see him again.  My heart hurt to leave him like that when I know he is in such pain.  I know how much depression hurts, but I also know that as much as I wish I could, I can’t fix him.  I can only support him.  I hugged him said “bye for now” and then I left, you guys.  I left and I didn’t say goodbye to anyone else.  Not Nemesis (ha!), not my old boss, not Makoto, no one.  I feel bad that I did that but I was so overwhelmed with sadness both my own and then listening to Motoki talk about his depression, it all became too much to bear.  I did e-mail both my old boss and Makoto.  I told Makoto I left because I was sad and my old boss that I left because I was sick (not entirely untrue as my stomach was doing somersaults).

Ami and I went to Starbucks and while I was there talking with her, I started to feel a little better.  She had to jet off to her second job, but another one of my old coworkers showed up and we sat and chatted for a while.  After that I went back to the hotel to meet Endymion.  I talked to him while we went to meet Haruka because the Fireball and Amaretto the night before made me forget my headphones at her house.  I told him I felt sad, but (and I hate to say this) but like anyone who has never experienced depression, he didn’t understand the depth of my sadness.  He did say he’d pay for me to come back here in a couple months, so I could visit everyone again.  That was nice.  I hope I can get a job, so I can make my trips back more frequent.  Meanwhile, I’m going to keep listening to the music that can explain my feelings better than I ever could.

I can’t keep my eyes open much longer.  I didn’t sleep well again last night and was up super early this morning.  Thanks for powering through this one if you did.

3 thoughts on “Music…

  1. When my husband was transferred, I moved to a new city. I left my job and left behind my friends. I thought I’d never make new ones. I had never succeeded in getting even pregnant. Those first few months were so dark. It was deep in winter. The company apartment we lived in then had no insulation so the apartment was so cold.

    It was dark and lonely. Eventually, it got better (when spring came). I think the cold makes it all the worse.

    I also feel the same about music, but for me it’s always been certain stories that capture feelings I can’t describe. Sometimes when I can’t explain in words what something felt like, I tell a story that illustrates the feeling.

    My writing expresses things I cannot say.



      1. Yes. I agree. The other seasons have their flaws — summer is hot, spring is for allergies, and fall means winter is next.

        But winter is just awful. That’s why we put gifts and lights and chocolate to make it suck less.

        (Doesn’t work…)


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