“I need you to prepare to transcribe Trump’s victory speech,” the news director told me at roughly 10 p.m. on election night. Check marks filled my personal electoral map, while I watched the New York Times election prediction percentage do a complete flip. During the down times between state projections, I refreshed Twitter constantly for new calls. My other job, as the news director told me, was to simply wait and watch.
I was in the basement of the Hilton Midtown in New York City where the Trump victory event was held. As the night went on, and more states called in his favor, the cheers from upstairs seemed to shake the building. As I walked outside for a breather, the voices of protesters echoed through the avenues.
It has been three months since I came back to America. In many ways, my time in Japan is already starting to feel like a comatose dream. Partial memories replay in my mind which I can speak of with only a few, or perhaps only myself, really understanding. Not that the others around me don’t want to listen, but there’s only so much that one can speak of before the conversation becomes dull. Everyone else has their own life they wish to speak of as well, of course. In many ways, taking that temperature is still a skill I am trying to master.
My move back to America was extremely swift, giving only a few weeks between re-acclimating and throwing myself headfirst into the election. However I knew full well what going into a journalism job in late-August entailed. I prepped myself as much as I could, devouring articles and podcasts, and trying to learn from those elders around me how to handle my first electoral rodeo.