Thanks to the Buzzcocks for the above title. It came to mind after a conversation in Hiroshima record store with a fellow EFL teacher. I’d come upon the store by chance and had struck up a conversation with him while we were looking at CDs on the same shelf. He’d told me he’d been in Japan for many years and was in town for a JALT workshop. We talked about the job market and music before I left.

I walked back through the city thinking, “Is that what my life could be?”

In many ways, I had already begun on that path: Years in Korea, trips around the country for workshops, sifting through records, meeting expats and travelers everywhere. I’d built up a residence and established a presence in the local and professional communities. All of which felt good.

As I thought about it further, “Is this what life could be?” became “It’s what life was, and would have continued to be,” had I not chosen to finish teaching in Korea and travel before returning to the US to continue my studies in teaching, anyway.

Continuing my studies in the US was necessary because it wasn’t entirely online, so I don’t regret leaving Asia. It certainly wasn’t an easy choice though.




  • It would’ve been good to browse the shop some more, but I’d little room to spare in the suitcase. Besides, I’d go on to visit a few shops in Tokyo and London and buy many CDs there.
  • EFL = English as a Foreign Language
  • JALT = Japan Association for Language Teaching