I AM . . .

. . . a thirty-seven year old American living in Japan. I live in Saitama Prefecture with my wife, Rumi, and our son, Jay, who is three years old. I work as a foreign attorney in a Japanese law firm in central Tokyo.

WHY J-LOG?

When I'm catching up with friends or family, on the phone or in person, the question that most often comes up is, "So, Keith, how's life in Japan?" That's the sort of question that you can only answer either with a throwaway line like "Oh, just like always," or with a treatise.

So in my attempts to give people proper answers, I've often found myself droning on and on, monopolizing the conversation, while still feeling like I've left a great deal out of my explanation about "life in Japan." Or worse, as I grow older, I wonder whether I'm beginning to repeat myself, recounting the same witty anecdotes to the same people over and over.

This log, therefore, is an attempt to allow my friends and family to familiarize themselves with my life in Japan, to provide context to our conversations, and to let us catch up on other things on the increasingly rare occasions when we do have the chance to talk.

JAPAN ONLY

This log is only about our life in Japan. While hints of my other interests will of course appear from time to time, you won't find any "ramblings," "random thoughts," poetry, or other blogging dreck. I do, however, reserve the right to put Jay in some of my pictures. And I've also posted my reading list, nominally as a testament to the positive aspects of a long Tokyo-area commute.

WHEN THE HECK ARE YOU COMING HOME, KEITH?

Well, for starters I should say in all frankness that I have more than one "home" now, and that the United States sometimes seems like an increasingly strange place to me. (Not least because of its recent tendency to invade other countries for no apparent reason, or to issue lettres de cachet against its own citizens and hold them incommunicado at Guantanamo Bay.... But I digress. Back to Japan.)

Still, I am an attorney admitted to practice in the United States, not in Japan. I cannot lawfully represent clients, give legal advice, or appear in court in Japan. So I ultimately want to return to the United States to pursue a real legal career.

I came to Japan on April 30, 1997, thinking that I might stay here for two or three years at most. That's about the maximum length of time that most foreign attorneys spend working at Japanese law firms. However, two things happened to extend my stay here. First, I got married, which was utterly outside the scope of my original plan. Second, my boss keeps offering me more, er, incentives, to try to convince me to stay So I'm still here, saving up in anticipation of launching my own law practice upon my return.

CONTACT ME

Email Address:

AIM Name: "keithfinch" (but write me beforehand, so I can add you to my buddy list). If you're a Mac user with iChat AV, we can videoconference!

PGP key: Click here

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