Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back-and-Forths and Fleeting Time

It's official, I guess: I really can't keep up with a blog, can I? My apologies to those at home.

The past month has been eventful in some ways, and less eventful in others. I went to Tokyo for the first time since September, traveled to Nagoya to run a marathon, and fought a nasty bought of depression. Now it's exactly a week before I go back to school for orientation, which includes a placement exam, and then it's on to the last semester of school in Japan.

I'm sorry I don't write about all of the details about each excursion, but to me, my trip here is more than that. I feel if I tell all of the details about what I see on a day-to-day basis, the magic of the country is lost. Perhaps this just means my writing can't do it justice, and it also is a nicely put way of saying that I'm lazy. In any case, let me get back to writing while I still feel self-motivated.

Spring break wasn't very eventful for me. Looking back at it, I think I wasted a lot of time by not doing anything. I didn't want to do anything, really. Unlike most of the people I know, I don't have any desire to sight-see. Traveling is fun, but hard to do without a plan, and friends who share the same interest. Most of my Japanese friends were traveling, working, or job-searching, so it was more convenient to sit at home and do nothing. Thinking back, I should have put this effort into studying, watching Japanese television dramas, anime, or whatnot. Honestly, I've just been blah for the past while.

I wanted to go back home for a bit during Spring Break to see my boyfriend's art show, visit my family, and just figure out exactly why I'm in Japan all over again. I guess I'm just not strong mentally; the last month has been full of bitter, lonely feelings. And I'm disappointed in myself for wasting so much time, angry that I wasn't physically strong enough to finish a full marathon, and a bit jealous of those around me. Every day I realize that my kanji writing skills aren't where I want them to be, my vocabulary is lacking, and I'm still struggling over things on a day to day basis.

I guess it's just one of the downs of being in a country that you love.

One of my friends told me recently, "It's not always easy doing the things you love. There will be some hard times, some good times, and a lot of things in between."

Maybe I'm just too hard on myself. I have a feeling that some of my friends would be telling me, "You needed this break. You needed to sleep, eat, and just be lazy." or  something like, "Macy, you push yourself ALL the time. Just relax." Even still, this inkling doesn't keep me from feeling so weak, or feeling that my pace isn't good enough for just a fast paced society.

I think school will be good for me. It'll put me on a regular schedule, and I'll have less time to wallow in my thoughts. I'm looking forward to using my Japanese on a regular basis, make new friends, and study.

I've always taken myself for granted, I think. In Texas, I came from a small-town school where most of the people I met told me I was smart and gifted. I was told that I learn quickly, adapt to new situations well, and that I'm a bright kid. Getting out in the big world has shown me something different though. I've never felt so stupid, unprepared, and out of place. Even still, I feel that I've become used to a land that is so foreign to the place I came from. This rift exists, but it's as if I'm on neither side. It's as if I am used to the environment without being fluent in the language.

Again, I can hear my boyfriend saying, "Just do it. Just be fluent."

Maybe I should just stop writing, and work hard from tomorrow. I have a week to learn right?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home and the Meaning of Cross-Cultural Boundaries

I thought I was going to write a little over a week ago, when two of my friends, Sandra and Cornelius, left Kyoto. Each of them were on their respective journey, Sandra on her way home, and the Captain on his way to Tokyo with his girlfriend before returning to Germany. I felt an immediate and sudden emptiness and sadness as soon as we said goodbye to each other on dark sidewalks. Cornelius took a left at a four-way, walking over ma bridge and out of my life until sometime in my future. Sandra walked home with me, but parted ways at a small alley near my house. I know I won't see either of them for a very long time. I plan to meet them in Germany sometime in the future, but that doesn't necessarily fix the problem of wanting to hang out with them now.

I thought I had overcome my homesickness, but how quickly things are changing in Japan and back home has thrown me out of the loop once again. Soon, my boyfriend will be having his Masters of Fine Arts art exhibition, and I won't be there to see it. I try to smile and say that it doesn't bother me, but even though I'm happy to be in Japan and explore, I really wish that I could stand beside him and support him in person. I want to dress up and stand by his side as he walks into the gallery, and just converse with his friends and contemplate what exactly mixtures of blue and pink mean. Is there a feeling connected with purple? A sound? What about a smell?

Baylie Brown, a girl I knew throughout school, but never really conversed with often, is (at this point anyway) in the top 24 on American Idol. I'm very proud of her for getting this far, and even though I never really care about these things, I think it's neat that she's representing my hometown of Krum, Texas. I've been watching her performances on youtube, and I found a video of her touring Krum. I feel a bit embarrassed saying it, but I cried when I saw the four-way stop, my high school, and other small landmarks that only mean something if you come from such a small town.

I love Japan. I'm really happy to stay here, but I guess it really takes being displaced so much to understand exactly what a hometown means to you.

The weather is changing here. It's getting warmer. I think it will be Spring sometime soon. Then the cherry blossoms will bloom.

Even though I'm happy to be in Japan, I'll be really happy to eat Mexican food with my family again when I return home. I think I feel that Japan could be my home. I love the people, the atmosphere, and how things work on a daily basis. But I guess I'm starting to realize that home isn't where you feel comfortable, necessarily, but sometimes it has a lot to do with the people who help you get where you are now.

Anyway, I'm going to stop being whiny and go lie down, take a nap, and cuddle my new plush toys.

If you're interested in supporting my boyfriend and his art show, here's a link that has the information: