おひさしぶりですね

Dairy Entry

I’ve been quite absorbed in school-work lately.

Strange, I keep forgetting words, grammar points and having difficulty scoring good grades.  I’m not sure what has been going on with me. I know often times what is being said, but when comes time for me to speak I stumble over words, forget terms, and botch up grammar.

I imagine it’ll pass, but its been affecting my school work. I’ll keep pushing on and hope I can course-correct this odd and failure-tastic behavior..

It could be certain predicaments with FAFSA being blocked due to my ignorance of completing certain documents and such failures going unnoticed by all involved. Perhaps too my inability to forge good friendships is also the cause for my lack of reception. Difficult to know in the immediacy but I have an idea.

 

 

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Antisocial and Being Abroad.

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Walking along the streets of Nagoya, in the neighborhoods,  and long stretches of road I had yet traversed, causes me to realize I lack the descriptive powers to express the fondness I have for it.

I have certain  anxieties toward people. I analyze the behaviors of others and myself. Every action I make I fear will have some sort of negative repercussion. As such, for me, I find I am in want for exploration constantly. I have gone out much, seen much, but the nagging portion of my mind keeps telling me that the time I take to relax and merely enjoy the simple aspects here, is a negative.

I took this as an interesting thing. No mater the person, social or not, constantly exploring, or merely going through their usual routine, isn’t necessarily indicative of their adoration for the country/culture.

 

I can feel it looming on the edge of the landscape.  When we go abroad, we change.  I wonder if will be true for me.

日本語のクラスへ帰る

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So, I’m returning to class tomorrow.

明日、日本語クラスへ帰ります

I’ve spent most of winter break relaxing、and it’s made me a little restless.

冬休みよく寛ぎましただから、今、せわしないです。

I spent most of December and January going hither and thither, but after getting my wisdom teeth out, I became a hermit. It was good to relax. During the semester I was hardly ever able to relax, between  studies and adventures, movement and mental activity was constant.

This will be a welcomed change.

Dead Nets, New Years, and Solitary Confinement

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この頃、モダムが壊れでした。。。

Recently my modem broke. But, an RA (resident at my housing complex) helped me get a working one.

So far, during this winter’s break, I have done the least exciting of things. Paint, draw, write, study and play lots of video-games.

For New Years I went out to Osu, a small (city?) near Nagoya-shi. My friends and I went to a temple there and ate some foods. I almost didn’t go, but they caught my out at at a convenience store whilst they were heading for the bus.

I need to find more things to do before school starts up again. I’ll be going to Tokyo in February, but I’d like to pop off to Osu with friends or on my own again.

Short, normal dairy entry. XD

Things Change. Embrace It.

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Do not stay too terribly attached to those you meet abroad. For you may very well never see them again. That is not to say become detached and aloof. It’s to say accept that at some point or another there is a good chance your relationships will cease or you may just not see them often or at all ever again.

It’s not a terribly fun thing to consider, but it is a coming realization to me that this is a soon to be apocalypse of sorts. Alas, things move on, transform and develop and nothing can renew if there is no death. So too is there beauty in that which ends. Nothing can be appreciated if it is unchanging. Eternity is not necessarily unchanging, it is just never-ending.

My time in Japan (be I return or not) will be treasured for it was a time that came and went and I can craft stories from the memories. I can refine my persona from the experiences and develop myself into a truer force of what I wish to be.

I write this entry as a turning of the tide is coming. I am staying here in Japan for many more months, however numerous friends I’ve made will be disappearing. So I must gather myself and not harden myself, but move with the current rather than against it.

Exam week has been exhausting and I find my brain is basically unoperative. Therefore I find I must compensate the lost information that didn’t stick over the winter break. Refresh over grammar and vocabulary and patch up all the holes left by my lack of memorization.

Short post again, I do apologize. I may or mayn’t expand upon this at a later date.

Till the next time,

Japan and Convenience

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大福餅

Matcha flavored! :D!!

Yes, when people say, “Japan has a lot of vending machines right?” It’s true. Or, rather, it’s true for my area, and other city like areas. Truly, I have no idea how it is out in the more spaced out areas of Japan. But, for dense cities and the outskirts of such cities, yes, there are tons. (In my experience) Not to mention other conveniences that my home country does not have.

Beyond vending machines, which to my pleasant surprise sometimes even sport the hot drink dispensary. Want a hot bottle of coffee? Tea? Boom, there you go. Have fun! Really, it is beautiful. Back in the states, we have vending machines, but they’re not as common, nor do they sport a variety of drinks. Usually their sodas, and sometimes water/water-like-products. Perhaps memory fails me, but I don’t remember health drinks in the vending machines back in the states. But that also might be due to where I lived.

Japan also has much nicer transport. This isn’t a fault of my home country as much as it’s the fact that the US is bloody huge. It’s impractical to have public transit in places which are super spaced out. Japan has an advantage that it’s proportionately smaller. Back home, in the U.S., there’s no way in hell I have heard that having a smaller territorial space is a good thing. But, I mean, really, it’s not a bad thing here. Makes it easier to get from A to B, and you don’t have to buy a car. Better for the environment.

711 from what I’ve heard in the states is similar to the Japanese counterpart. In Japan 711 is HUGE, it’s everywhere—and I have never been more in love with a convenience store. I know, in America, there are 711’s and you can get food at them, but personally, I want onigiri, daifuku mochi, and the other assortments of food I cannot name for I have yet to buy them. But, that delves into the terror of returning to the states, which is a topic that is best left to its own separate entry.

Along the lines of easy public transport, there is also ease of getting your teeth checked, your eyes checked, clinics, and so on. There are loads and since you get national health insurance, your guaranteed you’ll be able to go. The fee for dental work is ridiculously cheap. I got one of my wisdom teeth pulled the other week, and for all of it, it ran me about 2 or 3 thousand yen for the operation, and then I think after I got my suture removed, it ran me another thousand. So, translating that back into American money, about 30 bucks? Still, even if the back and forth wasn’t in the yen’s favor, if I worked out here, and made yen normally, it’d still be cheap to have had done.

Well, yes, that’s my little entry on convenience in Japan. Oh, though not though personal experience (yet), there are also capsule hotels a friend of mine uses whenever he visits Tokyo. Very cheap, and efficient

I’m sure I’m forgetting some super awesome things here, but if I remember and it’s post worthy, I’ll pop it on here in its own entry.

That’s all for now,

Bai, bai!

Of a Hospital Visit, and Miscellaneous Interests.

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IMG_0576The last week bled by like diluted dye in water. On Tuesday I had a wisdom tooth pulled. Going to a Japanese hospital was interesting. Aside from the cultural norms which preside in Japan, I didn’t notice anything particularly highlighted. In Japan, one keeps their distance, bows and so on. However, American hospital etiquette(excluding the obvious Japanese norms) is the same. Perhaps the most notable difference is rather than having individual rooms where a patient is to lay; there are larger rooms with several patients. This probably is the same in certain American hospitals. However, in my experience, usually it’s one patient per room. Maybe two.

I went with a translator. Sometimes there would be a good breadth between them needing to translate for me. Which is a good sign that I’m improving, if ever so slightly. The pay ran me about 3,000 Yen. I’ve never had tooth extraction in America, but from what I’ve heard from other foreigners, it’s cheaper in Japan than in America. After almost week of looking like half a frog (due to the swelling), I could eat solid foods confidently. Today I got the suture removed. Chatted with a classmate, parts in Japanese, parts in English, and went home in the rain.

Classes end December 8th or so, after-which I’m planning on going to Tokyo-ku. I’ll be bringing my camera, and hopefully will get some nice footage. I’m devising other places to-which I might travel. Perhaps it’s only for exchange students, but we have two and a half to three months of vacation between semesters. So I must fill it in with as much Japanese exposure as I can muster. I’ll also be studying for the JLPT N4, so, lots of studying and restudying, crying, and studying more. But an essential is speaking it. Doing so will increase comfortability, as well as help reach a sort of mental affirmation toward words. Using them in context is different from learning words as isolated structures. Speaking is also different from reading and requires a measure of practice. I find, when I speak words, I work toward developing a permanent connection.

I attended an exertion to Sakichi Toyoda-san’s family’s memorial home. It’s very beautiful. If memory serves, it is partially built as a Japanese traditional home, and part as a Western style. The Western style is for guests. Even if you’re not too interested in Toyoda-san, the architecture, from a sketch artist’s point of view, is quite pretty.

That’s all from me for now,

But fear not! I’ve recovered from my froginess and I’ll blog again soon!

Being Abroad and Clinging to Home (amoung other things)

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Ship songs

When studying abroad there is a tendency for all to cling to familiar things. Perhaps seeking out cultural stuff from home. Or only spending time with those in your language or from your home country/region. I’m guilty of this, and if I want to enjoy my time in Japan, I’m going to have to venture out further. There is no other option.

First steps are the most frightening due to the unknown result, and when abroad, it’s easy to hide from going out on a limb in a way. Mental retreating, social, cultural, linguistically, and so forth. Sometimes, professors will purposefully pair native students with the abroad students. But, there is always the encouragement that without the professor’s coaxing, one will have to throw themselves into the wave of events on their own.

In spite of my own knowledge that people often think not as badly of you as you might. I too am highly critical of any of my actions. Which is good, unless you then are without action. If that’s the case, you’re undermining your own end goals. Even if your interest in being in another land is purely for language purposes, you are missing out on an immense piece without cultural immersion. By popping yourself into the mix you will get speech training, new vocabulary/phrases, comfortability, pacing practice, and so forth. It’s terribly important to get this sort of stuff down. Not to mention, there are numerous native students who want the same thing, and by making the first move you are helping them out a great deal. Sometimes people other than yourself may be shy.

Today I was paired up with a Japanese student, and she was probably just as shy as I was looking at in hindsight. However do to my awkwardness I wasn’t sure if I should continue talking to her about the project after the class’ end. After all, I gave her my e-mail. Though she stood there for some time, also motionless, probably unsure what to do. So, I’m going to have to put more effort into ripping off the bandage so-to-speak, and force myself into uncomfortable places, lest I waste perfectly good opportunities for growth.

In Nagoya, there are ways to circumvent cultural experience, and I highly discourage them. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to eat something you might back home. Other times, even at say, an Italian restaurant, one can find food that you would never find at home. Squid pizza comes to mind. So, sometimes even what you assume will be home sweet home, will toss you a surprise.

Also, there is a tendency to cling onto friends whom with you speak the same language. While I understand this and even from a logical point of view can defend it, too much of your native language whilst learning the language of the country to which you are visiting is poisonous to your development. We all sound like morons when we start out. Your new friends will understand your learning their language. They won’t think badly of you, they will probably if anything appreciate your effort.

I apologize for the shortness of this entry, and it is much later than I wished to post it. The good news in that is that the lateness was derived from considerable amounts of school work, tests, vocabulary, and grammar studies. Though the large workload is common in Japan apparently—this week for some reason had been very time consuming. So, I will make sure my next entry is on time.

Anyhow, I hope you have a splendid day/night/or both,

Bye!

After two months in Japan

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The expansion of the mind in cultural and social structures is something I’ve indeed wished to be begin. Currently, I’m in Nagoya, Japan, attending a university as an exchange student, and after two months I’ve found myself wading through cultural shocks, and finally into what may indeed be the beginnings of cultural acceptance. I’ve adored Japanese culture, as much as an outsider can. Now being here, acclimating to the environment, and forming new habits, I’ve come to a sort of beginnings of potential assimilation.

My brain now is looking for new words in Japanese to describe things as it does with English. I’m able to focus upon my school work more appropriately, and I am more adventurous in that I’m more willing to go further and further into new places within the country. I’ve found as well, that my introversion is beginning to become in conflict. Of course, part of my introvertedness stems from heavy writing and painting which does not require social communication. The other part comes from my own lack of trust in myself. So, while I know I must begin to let go of my heavy self-criticism, I will not be apart from being socially awkward, which isn’t as much of a negative as it is commonly perceived. But, I digress.

Since being here, I’ve been to two festivals, a spring and an autumn festival. Between the venders, the performances and the commonly produced atmosphere, I can say that the persona of the collective body has an unbridled beauty. There is a creativity and a looseness which the western festivals (to which I’ve been) lack. Perhaps it is a different vibrational output, or perhaps it is a lack of child-like excitement from the adult community. Either way, I find I have greater attraction and anticipation of Japanese festivals than the ones back in America. It may be that it is not more potent of an aura, but rather one to which I resonate. Time will tell if it is novelty or true appreciation.

I’m taking Japanese Language courses, and amidst the intensive streams of home-work, studies, tests, and lessons, social and cultural assimilation; I can say it’s begun to leave an impression.

Already, with me just upon the coast of my time here; I wince at the thought of my return to my home country. Within the two months I’ve spent here, the impression it has made, will be much deeper and wider after ten months. I look forward and harden my skin the coming events, both the good and the bad.