I am an incredible pack rat.

I can’t believe the amount of things I saved from my five-and-a-half years here. And this is in your typical cramped 1K apartment (25 square meters). It’s been troubling me for months how I was going to have to do deal with the boxes full of papers, but more so the things you get handed, either as gifts or mementos, that evoke memories. It’s a happy trip, it’s a sad trip.

[more later]

[Update: This week came down to the end: the things I wanted to keep, but just don’t have the space, and cost too much to send. Surprisingly, a lot of it were paper mementos, and small things that friends had given to me over the years. From 2005 on, they made a chain link of events and good times going all the way back.

Books I wanted to hold onto, but cost too much to ship.

Thank God a lot of professional journals are online nowadays.

I got five boxes of this reduced to about a quarter-box size, the stuff that will fit in what I can carry with me.

I have to learn not to hold on to silly things simply because they remind me of a good time gone by. Or, at least be ready for the day when you have to go through the piles of things.

Important documents and papers, like e-mails from when I didn’t get paid overtime. Can I junk those? Cards from friends, cards from family. Rock concert tickets. Rock concert handouts and ads. Old calendars that were really well done. If you don’t have a house, you don’t have an attic!

Museum books from the Tokyo Edo museum. Japanese language books. Lawson Miffy plates that are the same as the ones I sent to my nieces and nephews. (I ate a lot at the conbini.)

Some things, it’s better to find a friend who will appreciate the thing and use it. Practical things: a vacuum cleaner, a scale. A comforter. E-bay isn’t worth it at this point, and it’s better just to find a friend, or a friend of a friend, who needs. (Sure as hell, the landlord isn’t getting these accoutrements.)

Should I stuff a suitcase with older underwear, when it’s just cheaper to buy new at home? What about the second pair of shoes? Each thing requires this mental matrix algebra: Weight times space compared to any other thing I might want to carry back. Personal value versus practical value.

Only in my college days did I ever really have to do it like this; and then, I had the luxury of the whole back seat of a ’76 Granada or a rental, plus the trunk. I don’t even have that.

I guess it teaches me that I have to learn not to be a pack rat. That, or buy a house.]

One thought on “I am an incredible pack rat.

  1. I think that it’s finally sinking in that you are well and truly leaving. I’ve only been reading your blog regularly for less than two years (I’ve lost track; it may actually be less than a year), but the fact that you are actually leaving Japan makes me sad. Maudlin, even (although I did just get back from a 忘年会 so that could be, at least in part, the alcohol speaking, but I think that it’s definitely not just the booze).

    I’ve been through somewhere around 6 or 7 moves in Japan. That’s about 5 or 6 more than I’ve been through in the US. Moving is never easy, especially when it’s to a completely different country. I don’t envy you the task, but I hope that it goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible. I’m also sorry I never had a chance to actually meet you. But, I will keep reading your blog, even if the content changes such that it has no immediate relevancy to me, because I enjoy the way you write. (Maybe this makes me strange. I don’t know.) As far as the pack-ratitis, well, we all need to learn to let go at some point, painful as it is.

    Anyway, I wish you the best. You don’t really know me, so it may not necessarily mean much. But it’s true. Thanks for all the blog.

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