Going to work for the (short, Italian) Man
Last week, I took a job as a technical translator at Nintendo of America. I'll be moving to Redmond, Washington at the end of February, and my family will move out there permanently in June.
While it'll be hard to leave behind my life of relative freedom in sunny, laid-back Okinawa for the corporate world in rainy Washington, I'm actually really excited about this move. Firstly, it's like this job was made for someone with my somewhat unusual combination of programming and translation skills. There will also be a lot of opportunities to learn, both from daily interaction with hardware and software engineers, to working alongside veteran translators. Among Nintendo's many benefits, they also have a tuition reimbursement program and encourage employees to take higher degrees.
One of the main problems I've faced working alone, without even many colleagues around to talk with in real life, is that I've found it hard to grow professionally. Sure, I can get better at what I'm already doing, but branching out and learning new things is a challenge. I turned 40 last year, and that got me thinking that I'm not done learning, so the offer from Nintendo came at just the right time.
It will also be good to live in the US for a while. My son is half American, but he's lived 12 of his nearly 13 years in Japan; it will be good for him to live in the US for a while, and it will prepare him for university there if that's what he decides to do. My wife is also ready to live in the US for a while, although of course there are many things we're going to miss about Japan (and especially Okinawa).
Coming right at the age of 40, it's struck me that maybe this is my own mid-life crisis — but at least taking a new job is a milder form of mid-life crisis than some of the men my age I know. Heck, I didn't even go buy a Harley.