The number one question Japanese friends ask me is, "Why did you come to Japan?" and, for that, I have several generic answers. 1) I loved Japanese food 2) I wanted to know more about Japanese culture 3) I wanted to travel and I had the opportunity to go to Japan. All of these things are true but, the more I think about it, the less clear my true intentions become. The number one comment my friends in America make to me is "You're so brave to move to Japan." But really, I came to Japan to just run away from the alternative... settling down. Now, as I creep closer to 30, I find myself wistfully looking at my married friends, or soon to be married friends, and wondering how I got so far from that life. Sometimes Japan seems like Never Never land. You're a kid in a candy shop and then, suddenly, you look up at the calendar and 3 years have passed. It's not so rare to meet people like me. We come to Japan to experience something new, teach English, and then get sucked into the easy life. Hate your job? Quit! There's bound to be another English teaching job around the bend. Then there's the matter of transportation... nothing could be easier (I realized this when I went back home for a month this summer and rode the subways in New York) My passion, playing music and writing songs, has taken off here and now it's gotten so busy I have to turn down gigs. I wonder if it would be more brave to move back to the U.S. and start all over again? Is that just me running away from committments again? This has been the question on my mind recently but it couldn't have come at a worse time. I am in a good relationship with a great Japanese guy, I finally found a well-paying honest school to work for, and my band is going to release an album on a Japanese label in a few months. It sounds like life couldn't be better but still I get stuck in the doldrums when I feel time slipping away. I'm sure it's a mixture of homesickness, stress, and crappy weather but these thoughts don't ever seem to be too far from my thoughts. The thought of living a cookie cutter life scares the hell out of me but so does taking the unbeaten path. I suppose I should stop analyzing and measuring where I should be at this stage in my life but, as a woman, it's impossible not to notice all the weddings and baby showers or keep from wondering when is it my turn? or, more accurately, when will I be ready for that?