E-mail to Sarita 6.4.2003

Hi Sarita,

Good to hear that you are in Grad School.  We all know that working is no fun and should be put off for as long as possible.  That’s basically what I’m doing in Japan.  I got into a Japanese language program at a university called Waseda.  It’s pretty cool, but I must say that the Japanese don’t know how to have fun.  The university atmosphere is horrid and there are no bars at all.  Now I ask, how can one learn without proper relaxation establishments close at hand when times get rough?  Seriously though, the Japanese are pretty uptight people and it started to affect me severely for about the past 2 months.  Living here can be tough when you have to live in a society that prefers the group over the individual and since I’m a foreigner I’m never allowed into one of their “groups.”  The girls love us foreign men though so I guess it all works out just dandy.

Speaking of which I am dating and you may feel free to use us for any of your research.  Her name is H and she is Japanese.  She is really a great girl, actually so wonderful that I’ve remained true and will not astray even though there are many beautiful women here.  As for her Japanese traits,,, She still does housework without me having to ask for help.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m all for equality but I’m a much better giver than receiver.  So basically the more nice things she does for me, the more I want to give to her and it shows that we really care about each other.  The former girlfriends I’ve had, (and you know two of them), never ever did many, if even one nice thing.  The way she is not Japanese is she is honest and I feel that I can really get to know who she really is from the inside.  Japan on the contrary is a country which enjoys putting on appearances without any depth, it is basically a facade.  For example they have Christmas, but don’t know where it came from or why it is, other than a time to buy lots of things from the dept. store and couples actually go to the “Love Hotels.”  Or here is a great personal example!!

Me and my buddy Mathias (French guy) were in the Karate club together.  For Spring Break the members told us there would be “Special practices,” of which they only told me about 2.  We assumed normal practice would resume after the break, so he went travelling and I taught English.  Well, when we went back on the first day of the Spring semester they all gave us the cold shoulder.  We knew something was wrong and spoke about it in French so they couldn’t understand.  What we had done as the “Senpai” (group leader) told us was that we had missed too much practice.  I told him that one they didn’t tell me about it, and two the few they did tell me about were and I quote “it’s ok you don’t have to come.”  But in Japan “You don’t have to come” = “You absolutely must come without fail.”  So he told us we had to find another Karate club, because some of the members felt “betrayed.”  So basically, instead of being honest with us and having the members discuss the matter with us they felt it better to kick us out so we didn’t “poison the atmosphere.”  They prefer “Wa” or “Harmony” and don’t deal with problems as they arise – See Japanese Economy.  Dealing with us on a superficial level was much better than making us a true part of the club. 

Anyway, I thought I could really adapt to Japan, but I’m learning that if you are not Japanese you can never really get inside the culture like we could in Spain.  We will always remain on the outside.  This is ok however, because I really enjoy learning the language even though I’m skipping class at this very moment.  I’ve only missed 2 classes this semester and I need time to study for the test tomorrow because I’m working a full day teaching English today and one of my privates (tobacco distributor that I teach English to their employees) is taking me to dinner.  I also really don’t like todays Sensei because she speaks too much English during class. 

Well, that is what is going on with me at the moment.  I plan to stay here another year and 4 months so I can do one more year of the Japanese intensive study.  After that I’m outta here most likely with H to find some real employment.  I could also use your advice about grad school.  In my case I must get a full time job to get experience but I intend to get some sort of Masters down the road on my own steam and without the help of my parents.  How do you study and still support yourself financially?  Now, teaching English is almost enough but I still need a little help from home.  I will need to get a job after Japan that advances my career somewhat.  I feel that teaching English here is just a way to get money but doesn’t really help me as far as the career is concerned. 

Well I wrote a novel.. It’s always wonderful to hear from you Sarita because you write the best e-mails  If you wanna keep up to date with me you can always check out my website.  There are plenty of pictures (of Spain too) and even video now!

Take Care!


—– Original Message —–

From: SarahTo: Mateo

Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 4:14 AM

Subject: Re: new contact info

Hi, Mateo,

Great to hear from you!!  I was so excited to hear that you called a few months ago.  I had given the cell phone to my little sister, so that’s why she picked up.  I wish I had been there when you called.  My sister said it was fun to talk to you though.  My new cell phone number that Jorge and I share is xxxxxxxxxxx

I’m in Austin, TX, doing great.  I just finished my first year of graduate school in social psychology at UT Austin.  Only four more years to go.  It was tough but very worthwhile.  I take classes and I also do research on how personality affects satisfaction in couples who are dating.  Speaking of dating…are you dating anyone, or just enjoying the single life?

Jorge and I are having a blast in Austin, especially because the weather is usually really nice.  We went up to the lake this weekend and rented a waverunner and went zipping through waves.  Also, my parents were in town a couple weeks ago, so we hit all the yummiest restaurants and showed them the cool parts of the city.  They were so impressed…everyone who visits Austin seems to like it.

Next weekend I’m off to NYC to visit two roommates of mine from Notre Dame, as well as one of my best friends…I met her when I was 3.  Do you remember Anne  from ND who was in Toledo with us.  She was about my height, then with green eyes and brown hair.  Anyway, she want back to Toledo in Febuary, took language classes at a Toledo university (not Fundacion) and now they’ve asked her to stay for the summer and help out with the new students.  I’m really keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go to London for a week or so in late August.  My mom is from there and my mom’s family is throwing a surprise party for my great aunt who will be turning 80.  I have never been there or met so many of my family members, so it would be a real treat.

So what’s new with you?  I’m sure you’re having the time of your life, and I’d like to hear all about it.  Well, gotta go…I’m off to the lab in a l
ittle while.

Talk to you soon.


>From: Mateo

>To: Sarah

>Subject: Re: new contact info

>Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 15:50:31 +0900


>Thanks for your new contact info! I tried to contact you one night when me and a buddy from Panama were wasted on Sake. I had an old number of yours and I think I woke your sister up at 10:00am!! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I have a new E-mail and also I have a really cool website now at www.mcurtin.com where you can keep track of my adventures. I hope that we can keep in touch!!

>Take Care,


> —– Original Message —–

> From: Sarah

> To:Everyone

> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 1:22 AM

> Subject: new contact info

> Hi, everyone…

> We moved a couple weeks ago, so here’s the new address and home phone number.


> We are thrilled with our new place and are continuing to enjoy Austin.

> Keep in touch!

> Sarah

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/