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March 24th, 2006

Dad stuff @ 11:31 pm

I was reminded recently that I haven't put up an update about the situation with my dad recently. Apparently enquiring minds want to know.
There's really not all that much to tell...Collapse )

March 3rd, 2006

More about weddings @ 10:22 pm

We borrowed the wedding tape of one of Satoshi's friends. It was boring. And very cookie-cutter.

No, no, no, and no.Collapse )

The biggest problem with it all is that it seemed completely vacuous. Utterly devoid of meaning and entirely for show. Of course, that's a common complaint from Westerners about Japan in general. I can put up with it most days, but for heaven's sake. If we're going to go through all the trouble of having a wedding, it'd be nice if there were some substance to it.

Luckily, we've managed to find a place I really like.Collapse )

November 4th, 2005

Well, I did ask for it... @ 09:39 pm

Here are the rules:
1 -- Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 -- I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 -- You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 -- You'll include this explanation.
5 -- You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Questions from mokey4:

1- You may feel that you have addressed this sufficiently in your livejournal, or maybe you don't really know, but- How long do you plan to stay in Japan? Could you see yourself staying there for a few more years, or forever?

2- Have you decided how to introduce the CJB to your friends in the US? What did you decide?

3- What is your icon?

4- Do you think in Japanese? How about dream?

5- If you could choose anything in your life to go back and redo, what would you choose and why?

answers...Collapse )

September 8th, 2005

September 5th, 2005

(no subject) @ 11:19 pm

I have reached a moment of truth. But you probably knew this already.

I can't do this half-assed.
If I go half-assed, I am guaranteed to fail. I might still fail if I do it full-tilt, but then at least there's a chance.

I have one lesson a week scheduled now, with two of my old students from before. I met with them today to discuss timing, fees, etc. and my first class with them will be later this week. They're calling all their friends to find more students for me. And they talked to me about advertising etc. I'm touched by how much they want me to stay and do this.

But I can't get new students and say "well, I may be leaving in a month". The truth is, I don't think I'll be leaving in a month (don't tell my dad), but it is possible. If I'm going to do this, I have to actually do it. And I have to be here for some reasonable amount of time. But if I'm not going to do this, why am I here at all?

September 3rd, 2005

(no subject) @ 09:07 pm

So I'm back in Otaru.
I got here on Sunday at 7 am with my parents, having taken the train (several trains) from Kyoto. On my way in, seeing Otaru again, I felt an unexpected crushing feeling. A small, panicky "What am I doing back here??" Maybe it was just 7 am after 18 hours of train travel and being at the end of four weeks traveling with my parents.

Sunday and Monday I toured around with my parents. It was good to be able to show them my town. Much easier since I knew all the good places to go, etc. Tuesday morning they got the train back to Tokyo to fly out on Wednesday.

And I went to Fuku's place.

Fuku is the cook at Skampo. His work day starts around 4 pm and ends when there aren't many customers left and Kinchan (the barman and owner) decides to close, usually between 1 and 2 am. He works 6 days a week - Mon - Sat. His apartment is up a very large hill, about 30 minutes walk from Skampo going down and 45 mins walking up. My old apartment was about 5 minutes away, no hill, so he stayed at my place a lot back when I had it.

So on Tuesday I got to his place, took a nap, walked him to work, took a bus back and then wondered exactly what I was doing here. I did a lot of laundry.

Wednesday I did the same, did a little shopping, cleaned his bathroom (desperately needed), and wondered some more.

Thursday I got internet access, once again demonstrating that I immediately lose all productivity once I can chat and read email. However I felt a lot better so that's something.

Yesterday I got a cell phone (making me an actual person in Japan), came back home, and then soon went down to Skampo to meet up with some friends.

Now it's Saturday. I walked Fuku to work, walked back (it's great exercise!), played around chatting, internetting, and playing computer card games. Finally tore myself away from that to do dishes and some laundry. Going back down the hill soon to watch the rugby Tri-Nations championship at Skampo.

So what am I doing here? Fuku was going to start a restaurant but that fell through (I'm glad. It wasn't a great situation really). I was going to help with that, but instead I don't really have anything to do. I've contacted some old students and I'm going to try teaching lessons privately but I don't know how that'll work out. No clue if I can make enough money to live off of doing that. Even if I can, what am I doing so far from home and friends and family, etc?

But the mornings have been awesome. We wake up around 11 or 12 and then just hang out until whenever it's time to leave. It's really pretty here and the weather's been nice. Wind blows through the trees behind the apartment and it a wonderful sound to wake up to. I've been making breakfast. Nothing fancy, just eggs or whatever. But it's all very nice and pleasant.

It's just strange when I'm here by myself and not sure what to do with myself. And not having any income makes everything that much more difficult and stressful.

August 29th, 2005

(no subject) @ 07:05 pm

Maki-sensei has my belt. I haven't had a chance to talk to him (he sent me email) so I don't know who sent it or how he is about the whole thing. But things are looking better on the chances of it being okay. I'm still guessing it'll be a while before he forgives me for real, but at least this will make it a lot better/easier.

I'm glad that it's found.

August 27th, 2005

(no subject) @ 01:11 pm

I lost my black belt. I left it in the gym after the tournament. I'm such a moron. This was an unbelievable and perhaps unforgivable insult to my teacher who gave it to me. My teacher is an executive director in Wado-kai. He's one of the most respected members in the organization. During the belt test and technique clinic, he was one of the judges and teachers. All the other judges kept coming up to me and looking at my belt and were curious about this American girl that Maki-sensei was teaching. And then during the belt test I performed terribly. And then I left the belt there, erasing the meaning of the gift. I insulted him.

He may not be willing to teach me anymore. I'm not sure I deserve to be taught by him after this.

Perhaps if I shave my head it will be enough to atone. It might be enough. Or maybe I should just leave the country.

August 25th, 2005

(no subject) @ 01:19 am

Okay, so let's see...

Black belt test went horribly, which I expected so it wasn't particularly upsetting. I only got my first degree six months ago, the last three months of which I haven't had a teacher or a partner to work with. So getting second degree now would have been... disappointing. Still, it would have been nice to have done a little bit better than I did- this is the first time any of my teacher's peers have seen me and I'm afraid I let him down and perhaps embarrassed him a bit by giving such a poor performance. Ah well. There's another test in November and if I train I can do much better for that one, no doubt.

The worst part though is that when I was folding up my uniform to put it in my bag, I managed to leave the belt itself behind. That I'm upset about. I went back to the gym when I had a chance to (two days after) and they don't have it, and neither does the hotel. It has my name and my teachers name written on it (in Kanji) so I'm hoping that someone picked it up and it'll get back to him somehow. The embroidery on it was a gift from my teacher and I'm such an idiot for forgetting it.

In other news, Fukuchan didn't get the restaurant- he and the owner couldn't come to an agreement about the rent price. That's rather a relief for me, cause I'd really like to see how things go between us without the added pressure of starting a restaurant. So we'll see. My dad still doesn't know about us because, of course, Fuku's not Jewish and I'm 29 and still hide things like this from him. Honestly, unless we're getting married, he doesn't want to know and my mom certainly doesn't want me to tell him.

My horoscope for this week:
I live six miles from one of the world's most notorious penitentiaries, San Quentin. Both Charlie Manson and Sirhan Sirhan have spent time there, and a recent riot injured 42 inmates. Though I've never had a major itch to visit the place, I felt differently after hearing about a gift store within the prison walls. I corralled a friend and the two of us made an impulsive field trip there. As we grazed amidst the prisoners' handiwork, including birdhouses fashioned out of cigar boxes, paintings of clowns on velvet, and banjos made from bedpans, I had a psychic epiphany. I realized that my situation was similar to your imminent future: You, too, will find weird little treasures while just visiting a place where other people are trapped.

If this ratty hostel we're staying in tonight (in Kyoto) is what he's talking about, I'll be very curious to see what I find here. It's cheap and it has free internet, so I can't complain too much. But it turns out this is a bit much roughing it for my parents so we'll be looking for someplace less dormitory-like tomorrow.

August 19th, 2005

Back in Japan. @ 09:28 pm

Okay, so it turns out there was something of a mis-communication. I'm not competing in the competition. On the one hand, this came as quite a relief, since I never really *wanted* to compete in the first place. Although over time the idea had grown on me and it was a bit disappointing to find out I wasn't doing so. More troublesome, however, was that I misunderstood a thing so big. I mean, when you cut your Israel trip short and fly hurriedly to Tokyo for a competition, finding out the night before that you're not competing is, well, bad.

So here's what may have happened...Collapse )

In semi-related news... I'm back in Japan. I'm surprisingly excited to be here. At least I was yesterday, before all the bad stuff happened. I enjoy speaking Japanese, and being able to use all the things I learned over the last two years. It is good to be here. It's so much of a less stressful atmosphere than Israel was. Or Pittsburgh, really, though that's more because of being constantly busy at gov school than anything else.

So... it's good to be here. It'll be even better when I head up north, back to Hokkaido, after my parents leave. :)