Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's hard to believe that it's already May. The cherry blossoms have bloomed and fallen. My second semester at Ritsumeikan University has begun, and it's weird to think that I'm only in Japan for another three months.

There's so much left to do. I feel like I've wasted a lot of time.

This semester, I'm putting my studies first. I'm extending my Japanese practice outside of the classroom. I try to watch an episode of a Japanese drama every day, write a journal in Japanese, and use Japanese only when speaking to my Japanese friends. I'm taking three culture classes, all of which are in Japanese, and am limiting time I spend with my friends who speak English. (If you're reading this, and you're one of my English speaking friends: This does not mean you're not as important as my studies, but I feel it's a priority to use Japanese while in Japan.)

Similar to my first few months of school, this semester began with me being sick. I've been fighting a stomach bug of some sort for the past two weeks. I'm not sure how I got it, as I haven't eaten anything strange lately, and I am usually pretty cautious around people who are sick. I missed two days of class within the first month of school, and I feel terrible about it. Anyway, I am fighting this illness in the best way that I can: Relaxing and taking it easy when and where possible, and fighting the rest of the way.

My patience has been wearing thin with a lot of people lately. I'm not sure exactly where it comes from, but I am learning to do things my way. I think somewhere inside me, I finally understand that I do not have to be friends with everyone, I do not have to talk to everyone who rubs me the wrong way, and most of all, that it's alright to stand up for myself.

I will say this again: I will not answer questions that can be answered by modern-day internet search engines. In a past entry, I listed tools that can be helpful when reading my statuses on facebook (if you are a friend) or  reader. I will use Japanese terms when I feel the English doesn't work correctly, and I will not be explaining them. I don't mind answering questions about culture when I feel that I have enough knowledge, or experience, to answer. I understand it is a pet peeve I will have to deal with, but things like Japanese holidays, sweet names, etc. can all be looked up on google relatively quickly. However, in this day and age, I feel that it is so easy to find information that it's necessary to try finding it yourself before asking someone for direct answers. Everyone may not see it this way, and I understand.

BUT if you post a question that can be answered by a simple google search, I will not respond. (This is mainly to my friends on facebook, and yes, it is a bit passive-aggressive.)

Had to get that out of my system.

Anyway, back to normal journal writing. (These things are so unorganized.)

It's hard to believe that I will be back in Texas sometime in the next few months. I get weird feelings of deja-vu, more like a reverse deja-vu, lately. It's as though I realize that I'm really in Japan. It's strange to me because I've gotten so used to life here. I've gotten used to being a foreigner in a world of people who aren't like me. I've become accustomed to the rules of everyday life, and I feel quite welcome and at home here. It's going to be a huge shock when I get back. I feel like I'll be annoyed with everyone and disappointed with everything. I wish I could stay here until mid September, but there's absolutely no way to do that with my school.

Ideally, I could miss the Fall 2012 semester at my home university, work part-time for a semester before returning to school, and then work from the spring to the fall. However, this is something I will have to figure out soon, so I can prepare myself for either decision.