Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have always been terrible at managing my time. I procrastinate and multitask at times when it's terribly inconvenient. I'm not sure if I'll ever learn how to make a schedule that actually works for me. I feel like I do well with to-do lists, but when it comes to making a decision about what I have to do and something I want to do, I feel torn between myself. I feel like I'm stating the obvious. Of course there is a difference between needs and wants. (No shit, Sherlock.) But what if the wants will help you with a need?

I can't decide how to manage my time this week. There is a quiz on Thursday, one that I have not prepared myself to take, and a large test on Monday. Usually, I would only have to worry about Aikido practice on one day of the week, Saturday, but this week happens to be a day off from Shamisen due to my teacher's professional work schedule. This means I could attend the Wednesday Aikido practice AND the Saturday practice. Yet, my inner majime gakusei won't allow me the pleasure to attend one or either of these meetings. No matter what I do, I always hear a nagging in the back of my head, "School comes first!" Yet, I understand very well that school is not the only thing in life that matters.

Living alone, I find that I am more worried about myself than school. I'm worried about my safety and comfort, and emotional and physical aspects of myself and my personality. Aikido would help me find a sense of myself. It would help me achieve balance (physical and mental) as well as ensure that I could protect myself in the event of another creepy salesman incident. Yet, I want to get good grades.

Then I hear a side of me that rarely speaks: Why are grades so important? They don't matter later in life. They don't define you as a person. Why do you feel like you have to beat yourself up over a stupid number?

Am I really that competitive?

I feel like Aikido will help me learn how to hone the rather gluttonous part of myself that spoils any form of relaxation and entertainment I find. I just want to have fun. Sometimes i wonder if I should have listened to my boyfriend when he told me, "You don't have to go to school to become fluent in a language. Graduate from your American university and go to Japan afterwards. Live there. Don't study there. It's not the same." Perhaps it's the same if I had a more laid-back personality, but I'm not like everyone else. Part of me is still learnign that this is okay.

Please don't take this as me not enjoying y time here. These blogs are reflections of my life. While I would like to write and teach everyone about the things I am learning, I am not a teacher. I'm not here to instruct you how to live in Japan or answer cultural questions. Part of this blog is learning through my experiences. I want to share my thoughts and experiences with all of you. There is a rather bittersweet part of studying abroad that appears only once in awhile, but it's not a bad thing. With all good, there is also bad. You have to learn to take both of them and balance.

I think the balance is what I'm missing in my life. I want to take Aikido. I want to learn how to balance myself, so my life will fall into place where it needs to be. My voice is stronger here than it was home because I am discovering myself. But I need to learn how to control it.

I'm still not sure whether or not to go to the practice on Wednesday. Perhaps it is better to go to practice on Wednesday than Saturday. I will ask the captain which is better for me. I've never practiced before. Perhaps I can join a small dojo in the area until I am good enough to join next semester. Perhaps I can be manager, water girl, or even clean-up helper. I just want to be part of that group. A group where I felt home.

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