Adventures in Repatriation

Cassandra Seer of Doom

Cassandra Seer of Doom
The Heartland, United States
December 31
I used to live in rural Japan, teaching babies through adults how to talk the English. Now I'm trying to find my way in a country that's both a stranger and more home than ever.

Cassandra Seer of Doom's Links

obama bows 

A basic question for students of Japanese and people new to Japanese culture is when it is appropriate to bow.  The answer is almost all the goddamn time.  You bow when you say hello, when you say goodbye, when you're thanking someone, when you're apologizing, when you're conf… Read full post »

This clip is the latest thing that’s tapped into the same rage I’ve been feeling ever since Fox started advertising its own Tea Party protests. 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cQueer and Loathing in

Daily Show
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Politica… Read full post »

After following one of those search engine rabbit tunnels, I ended up inadvertently discovering Japanese Gravure idols (gurabia aidoru). The term "Gravure Idol" refers to young female models from particular talent agencies who generally appear in men's magazines and "Idol" DVDs that feature them be… Read full post »

Though I'm finding them increasingly scarce, I can respect the thinking conservative.  It's important to understand the opposition and address their concerns when based on legitimate facts and analysis.  My cousin is not a thinking conservative.  He's a regular white guy from a certain… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 25, 2009 2:30PM

To Hijab or not to Hijab

On a holiday from school, Halima came to program without her headscarf.  She seemed to be in a bad mood when her mother dropped her off, her eyes shifting around as she gave her a somewhat squirmy and resistant hug.  Before going to join the other kids, she flipped up theRead full post »

I had only been in Japan a few days and I was looking for work.  I found myself for the first time at Suisho, a local bar that would become a regular haunt, sharing my apprehension over drinks with my boyfriend, Colin, and Mark, the longtime resident foreigner.  The bar shared… Read full post »

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It’s never been easy for me to find a job. Not even as a teenager, not even when I’ve sought work far below my qualifications.  This has always been a combination of circumstance—a particular economic climate, for example—and the fact that while I’m polite and force… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 8, 2009 4:40PM

Salaamu Alaikum, Japan

Saudi's Japan text:  This year I lunrD adout JaPan I know that JaPan PePole eat white rice and they Have Mcdonls an American wun and a JaPanies wun.  and You have to were indor sliPers, even in School!  JaPan is a great Plas.

It wasn’t long after I offered to organize a Japan… Read full post »

APRIL 3, 2009 3:05PM

I Didn't Learn Japanese

I didn’t learn Japanese, but I learned how to bow, how often, how deeply, over the phone, in person, multiple times.  In some cases, with someone particularly important, you bow all the way out of the room, backing away, bowing, backing away.  They return your bow, but never so deeply… Read full post »

APRIL 1, 2009 2:59PM

Still Japan-Awkward

Note: The end of this post is pretty angsty, so I just wanted to preemptively say that I love Japan, but my time there was complicated, and for me, this low point is essential to the arc of the repatriation narrative.

Repatriation diaries:  December 22, 2008 

It’s been five months sinRead full post »

Repatriation diaries:  December 8, 2008 

Twice a week I head downtown during the morning commute for my internship at a human rights nonprofit. Downtown at 9 AM is a completely different world than anything I'm used to. As I walk the few blocks from the bus stop to the high-rise where… Read full post »

MARCH 20, 2009 4:07PM

Three Words

Repatriation diaries:  October, 2008 

Sitting in a chair too small at the orientation for my new job, I was struggling to think of three words to describe myself.  My supervisor had just proposed this task for each of us as an icebreaker, something she’d undoubtedly pulled from s… Read full post »

MARCH 11, 2009 11:21AM

Continental Drift

Repatriation diaries:  September 26, 2008 

Japan is getting farther and farther away from me.  I see pictures, videos, read updates from my friends, and pieces come back to me.  Like how the crowds always started clapping along the instant someone started performing music, no matt… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 6, 2009 1:00PM

Americans are Weird

Repatriation diaries:  September 17, 2008 

One thing this country has given me besides huge, heaping plates of lettuce called “side salads” and all-you-can-eat chicken fingers is an unparalleled level of anonymity.  In Japan, my foreignness infiltrated every aspect of my pu… Read full post »

Repatriation diaries: August 18, 2008 


 It had been two days since I deplaned at the Eastern Iowa Airport, but it seemed longer.  It had been a dizzying time spent doing errands in cars that drive on the opposite side of the street, make right turns on red, and don&… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 26, 2009 10:11PM

Returning to Amurrca

Repatriation diaries:  August 4, 2008


My dad gave me this pen upon arriving in the airport in my hometown, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Apparently, they sell them at his hospital. It features independently punching fists, and when you write lights sparkle at the base. As for the… Read full post »