It's time for the big update. My tourist visa is expiring, and I have to leave the country that's been my home for the past three months. So much has changed -- I feel happier, I can speak more Japanese, and most importantly, I found a job that I really love.
I had four job offers at the end of March, and a weighty decision on which direction I wanted my life to go, and the choice was really tough. After some soul searching, lots of 花見 (sakura viewing) and wearing a starfleet uniform while day-drinking in Ueno park with my roommate Kathrin, I chose the riskier play with a more modest salary, but I knew my heart would be in it. So I signed with Curvegrid, a blockchain middleware company, as the first hire. I'm absolutely thrilled to help build a company from the ground up, and help with everything from sysadmin and backend to learning frontend, UX, and more. I've been contracting for them since mid-March and I'm learning a ton of new skills every day.
But my tourist visa is up, and although the work visa paperwork is in progress, I legally have to leave Japan. So I'm going to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a couple weeks. I moved out of my share house this morning and took the Narita Express to the airport. AirAsia dinged me with some hefty baggage charges because apparently you're only allowed 6kg on board, and it was 20,000円！！！ for my 8kg backpack. Yikes, I could buy my bag its own ticket for that cost. Well I learned my lesson and will purchase ahead next time.
So I'm full nomad now, living out of a suitcase with no real address. When I get a work visa and return to Japan, I can start looking for an apartment, but that might be a month or two. Might try a capsule hotel or love hotel for a bit. My coworkers gave me some good tips on how to gutterpunk it in Tokyo -- napping on the Yamanote Line because it's a loop, sleeping in Manga Kissa, or resting in Onsen until the cleaning crew kicks you out at 6:30 am. Don't worry, I will find sense of home, even if I borrow tips from Silicon Valley's Jared Dunn. Home is where the wifi connects :)
It's not easy to leave the city I love, but I don't really have a choice, and Thailand will be a thrill. My おみくじ (fortune) is optimistic, but I might need antibiotics. Laos wasn't so kind to my digestive tract.
Goodbye Dogenzaka, goodbye Love Hotel Hill, goodbye smoking salarymen. Goodbye, Japan.