This is a blog chronicling a four year period from 2006-2009 during which I underwent what is commonly referred to as a midlife crisis. At that time I had been in Japan for 10 years continuously, and for 15 years of the past 19. Since 1988 I had been – and continue to be – a teacher of English as a Second Language, initially at the secondary level and later in colleges and universities.
In 2006 I was 45 years old. I decided to leave my jobs to study thangka painting in Kathmandu. I did this for a total of one year over three visits spanning three years. The details are in the blog. Along the way I did a lot of other interesting stuff – I attended my first Vipassana course (I just finished my fifth a couple of weeks ago), visited the four major Buddhist pilgrimage sites of India and Nepal (plus a few more), met a tulku, took refuge from the Karmapa, walked a 1200km pilgrimage in Japan, took lay ordination in Soto Zen, and jumped off a 165 meter bridge with rubber band tied to my ankle. The adventure took a different turn in 2009 when I moved to the Arabian Peninsula to teach English at a women’s college (which is where I remain as of this writing).
As this is a blog, the contents are displayed in reverse chronological order. If you wish to read chronologically, perhaps the easiest way is to scroll down to Blog Archive (located just after Fukuoka Sky in the side bar at right), click on 2007, and then on January. All the posts from that month will be displayed on one page, with the first post of that month appearing at the bottom.
There is also a companion blog about my Shikoku pilgrimage. You can find it here, or through a link in the side bar, just after About the Author.
Looking back I’m surprised at how much I did during those four years and how those activities gave my life a new trajectory. Should you be contemplating a similarly radical departure, I hope my story provides inspiration and convinces you that your wild idea may be possible. I also hope you have an equally loving and supportive spouse.