As I enter into my fifth month in Japan and my 27th birthday looms just one week away, I can’t help but feel a sense of existential dread on a level I’ve never experienced before. I wonder if my guardian angel is still out there or if she’s given up on me the same way I’m at the edge of throwing in the towel. I’m thankful for the people who gave me a chance, but unfortunately, their efforts still might not be enough.
After weeks of searching, I finally found a small adult training center offering part-time work and cheap housing near a station. That’s a relief because they can simply deduct rent from my salary and what’s left will cover food, my cell phone bill, and train fare. However, the hours still wouldn’t be enough to properly live on. As I type this, I have just over 30,000 yen in the bank and one-third of that is gonna pay my train fare for the rest of the month. There is no room in the budget to even touch up my relaxer so my hair will once again become a big, frizzy, fluffy pile of frustration sitting atop my head.
I’ve been applying to eikawas like mad. I tried big companies like GABA and mid-sized schools as well. I was rejected by all of them. If I could guess, it probably has something to do with the fact that most teachers here are white men. I’m a brown Western female in Asia and as soon as I see a young female interviewer, my confidence sinks even further. I knew I wasn’t getting into that school in Ginza this past Friday as soon as I walked in the door.
All of this has led me to the conclusion that I’d like a second part-time job that isn’t a school or eikawa. I’d prefer doing some sort of digital marketing or translation work, but those jobs are also pretty tough to get here. I need to get properly integrated into Japanese society and that means doing something where I have a chance to speak Japanese every day. This probably limits me to bar work for the time being. During my free time, I study, scour the Internet looking for gigs, sell whatever I have that I think might have some value, and work on my newest book, KTV Girl.
I don’t want to be the kind of person who begs my followers for money, but I’m a bit desperate at the moment. If any of you have it in you to donate so that I can get through another month as I wait on my salary, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks for sticking by me.
This post originally appeared on Elizabeth Cunningham’s website worldclassadventurer.com