I woke up this morning and wondered what time it was, so I grabbed my phone off the nightstand, even though there was a clock right next to it, but to see it would have required me to turn my head and that seemed like too much trouble. I knew it was about 7:00 because of the light coming through the window. Also, the second movement of the morning birdsong concerto had begun, so I knew it was well past 6:30.
Getting used to living in this time zone has been harder than I expected. When I lived on the far side of the international date line, I was ahead of most of the world. If I forgot someone’s birthday Stateside, it didn’t matter because they were all a day behind me. But now I’m behind almost the entire world. Only American Samoa (where it’s the same time as the other Samoa but a day earlier–go figure) and Niue are behind me, but I don’t know anybody there so it doesn’t matter if I forget their birthdays.
When clients in Japan give me a deadline, I have to make sure that they’re talking about Tokyo time, not Hawaii time, because Tokyo is 19 hours ahead of us (or six hours ago tomorrow), so if my deadline is Monday at 9:00 a.m. Tokyo time, it’s 3:00 Sunday afternoon for me. And that’s weird. Who ever heard of a Sunday afternoon deadline?
I did find a silver lining, though. Neither Japan nor Hawaii has daylight savings time, so at least the level of confusion is consistent all year. Most of my US people are East Coasters, so the time difference was either 12 or 13 hours, which was confusing enough. Hawaii opted out of DST because we’re so close to the equator that winter and summer are about the same, meaning we can loll around the pool all year. Japan doesn’t have DST because there is concern that its workaholic population will refuse to leave their offices until after sunset. Unfortunately, that means it is sometimes pitch dark by 4:00 in mid-winter. Around mid-January, people start to resemble moles.
This was me in 2016.
The six months it took to process the cats and pack up our Tokyo lives so we could move here seemed to drag by like concrete boots nailed to oversized snowshoes, but then suddenly we were here. I told myself I could have six months to get settled and sorted and structured. As of today, we’ve been here ten months and I still don’t have a clue what we’re doing, but I’m starting to feel that’s how it is meant to be. To be honest, I feel like we’re on the world’s longest vacation. To be even more honest, I don’t feel bad about that. At all.