Really... where to begin.
I've been wanting to continue with this blog for a long time... but I was kind of hesitant to just start it up with my current happenings without going back and talking about everything up to this point. By now.... it's probably impossible to sum up the last 6 months or so-- 9 months actually, if you go back to when I first got here :O
I can't believe my time here is almost up.
I have an idea.
It stems from both laziness and what I think is generally a good idea that will bring a lot of closure to this whole experience (not to mention emotional closure...). From the time I arrived here, I've been watching everyone upload all of their pictures on Facebook, remembering the experiences we've all shared as time goes on. It's really nice, and I'm so glad that I've got so many tangible memories living inside everyone's photos.
I, however, have not uploaded or shared mine with anyone since I've been here. In the beginning I admit it was pure laziness, but now I have a different feeling. Since I'm the only one who hasn't been uploading pictures, no one has seen them yet. So... what if at the end of the year, I uploaded them all at once, a bit like a big scrapbook? Then everyone could see them in the order they were taken, remembering all of our adventures one by one....
It sounded like a good idea to me, so I think that's what I'm gonna do :)
As for how that connects to my idea for this blog... why not kill two birds with one stone? As I collect and organize my photos, I'll pick out a few for each trip or whatever, and then write an entry for that trip here :D I know it won't be the same as if I had blogged right after the events had taken place, but I'll still be looking back and remembering.
That's what's most important to me.
The 9 months I have spent here in Tokyo have without a doubt been some of the best in my whole life. I came here with big dreams, great expectations, high hopes, and most of all a lot of passion. Passion for learning, making friends, traveling, tasting, feeling, experiencing-- soaking up all that is Japan.
I've always been a pretty relaxed, rational, mature(? the word I actually want to use is 大人しい, but it doesn't translate over so well) person, and oftentimes I'm the type that would hold back and not jump into anything crazy. I wouldn't let loose, enjoy the moment and just take things for what they are, even when I was just with my friends. In that sense, I feel like I might have missed out on a lot of things back then... always caught up in what's gonna happen next-- never just making the leap. It's not something I generally like about myself, but it's the truth.
Being here, and having all of these opportunities shoved in front of me... I think it's changed me a little in a good way.
I think I've learned a little about time, flow, pace, when to act and when not to, when it's ok to take that jump...
Sometimes there's no time to think and over-think things like I want to. Work and re-work. Sometimes you just have to jump. It's not worth waiting around and taking no action because you're simply content with the way things are, or too lazy to get up and actually change something. You just have to squeeze your eyes shut, take a deep breath and JUMP.
Even if I had a time machine, I wouldn't want to go back and forward, looking at how each decision I made effected the rest... where each jump has taken me. I think that looking back in the past only leads to a lot of regret. Isn't there a saying like that? Like... "if your head is always in the past looking back, you'll lose sight of what's ahead of you" or something along those lines.
I feel like life is always in motion. You can't let yourself be hindered by the circumstances or sometimes even the people around you. You always have to be honest with yourself, know what you want, where you wanna go, and always be thinking and making goals that will help you move in that positive direction. Stagnating... not giving a fuck... regretting... none of that helps anyone.
I used to be like that. Stagnating.
I don't think I even realized it.
Different places have different paces, I think. Where I grew up in San Diego, California, the pace is pretty slow... chill. Maybe because it's near the beach... I don't know. But even though it's a pretty big city, you can feel that the overall pace of it is much slower than, say, Los Angeles. I moved there for University, and chose it for a lot of different reasons... but one of the main reasons was because I felt like somehow I had more of a chance to become someone there. Not the "Hollywood dream" or whatever bullshit, just simply that there are a lot more opportunities, different people with different opinions, new places and new experiences to be had... that type of thing.
Being a huge city, LA's pace was definitely different... faster. I think that living there on my own really helped start to shape me into the person I am today.
It also ultimately led to me to realize my goal of studying broad in Japan. If I hadn't moved out after high school and really thought about my life and who I am... I definitely don't think I would be here right now.
My friend John told me he thinks that rather than having these ideals about what I want to become, instead, I have really strong feelings about what I don't want to become... how I don't want to live.
I think he's right.
San Diego... LA... high school friends... acquaintances... Mom's house... Dad's house... dorm... I don't think I ever really had a place where I felt totally at home. A place where I could give my all, try my hardest, have people around me who could teach me things, give me support and the push I need...
I think I'm the type of person who really needs that push sometimes-- that good environment. I've got inertia-- once I start rolling, I keep on going. But that initial motivation is what holds me back and screws me up 90% of the time.
I think that's one of the things I realized this year... one of the lessons I've learned from Tokyo.
Tokyo. Tokyo... is unlike any other place I've been to. It's got this flow. I mentioned earlier about every place having its own flow... its own rhythm. For me... it probably sounds really cheesy, but I think that in Tokyo I've finally found a rhythm that matches mine. A beat that keeps me moving...
I think the difference here is that people are literally always moving. Tokyo itself, as a city, is always moving. Buildings pulled down and new ones built withing weeks... fashion trends starting one week, and spreading throughout the whole city before the month is out... and then there's just the simple act of walking. That's what gave me my little epiphany, I think. In busy Tokyo, people are walking everywhere around you, minding their own business, following the flow with everyone else they're sharing the sidewalk with. Always moving.
I guess it's not something I can express in words, really... But for me at least, there's this flow, this pace in Tokyo that pushes people forward... something tangible.
Here, I feel like I've finally found my place. My pace. マイペース.
I've grown accustomed to it, gotten used to it to the point where I honestly can't believe that I'm going home in less than 2 months.
Denial can be a really fickle thing.
I know that leaving here is gonna be really hard.
I know that when I go back, it's gonna be hard to adjust my rhythm. Maybe I won't be able to. Maybe, like so many others before me, I'll find it too hard to relate to other people and my old lifestyle anymore.
There's so much swimming in my head right now it's making me feel nauseous.
All I can do is trust in myself, believe that I can make things happen, and know that if my flow really does lead me back to Tokyo, that I'll follow it here again without a second look back.
I'm gonna jump when it's the right time to jump
and follow my gut more than I'd like to allow myself to
and everything is gonna work out in the end.
Because I know it will.
And I'm gonna make it happen
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Really... where to begin.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
God, I am sooooo bad at updating this thing---!!!!
Before coming to Japan, I had this image in my mind of coming home from school/etc and writing in my blog about all my adventures every day-- but the reality is SO different. To start, my homestay is not what I thought it would be...
My host parents are really helpful and nice, but we really have nothing in common and talking to them can get awkward :( Plus, my house doesn't have a living room or a TV or anything, so the only common space I can go to spend quality time with them is at the kitchen table (where I sit and talk to my host mom while we drink tea).
Also, as I mentioned in the "giant arrival post of doom," my commute is about an hour and 10 minutes.... which for someone as absolutely horrible at waking up in the morning as me, is like...... suicide for morning classes. I've gotta wake up at 6 to make it on time, but usually I sleep through my alarm or it just shuts off, or whatever, and I'm late fore class or end up just losing all motivation to go and skip it. SOOOO BAD!
I have a feeling my grades in my Japanese class are gonna be really terrible this semester... it's really upsetting. Not only am I late all the time, but because I don't have much time to study, I've been doing quite terribly on a lot of my quizzes :( By the time I get home from school, there's usually little or no time before I have to eat dinner, then take a shower, then maybe talk to my host mom for a bit so I don't seem like I'm ignoring her, and..... it's already like 10pm! At which point I'm already getting tired so I have no energy to study or do homework -__-
As a result of all this stress, ect.....
Comes the reason for naming this blog post, "New Year, New Life" ...............
I decided to move out of my homestay and try living elsewhere ^___^
After a few weeks of looking for places that catered to foreigners, going to check them out, and doing a lot of consulting with friends and parents and of course, Kazaoka-sensei, our resident advisor, I finally found the perfect place!
It's located in one of my favorite places in Tokyo-- one that even before coming here, I knew about and was dying to go to............
(if you don't know anything about it, click HERE right now!!)
At this point, I think moving out will be the best thing for me. My time in Tokyo is short, and I want to make the most out of this experience-- without being held back by obligations or long commutes. It'll be more expensive, that I know for sure, but it's worth it. The house I'll be moving into is great, there are 6 other foreigners living there but it's really clean, and of course, location location location!!! The station I use to get to school, Takadanobaba, is only a 9 minute train away from Harajuku(with about a 7 minute walk to get to the train from the house). So my commute will be cut in half. More than half, actually! Which means more study time, more sleep, and more fun, which all leads to better grades, less stress, and overall a better time for the remaining 8 months in Tokyo ^____^
I'll talk more about it when I actually move in, as well as post lots of pictures!! But for now, I have a huge project that is waiting to be worked on and it's going on 11:30 :( I just felt like... such a big decision merited a little blog update at the very least.
Thanks everyone for your advice and support! I <3 you!
.... And we'll definitely need to celebrate when I move out~~ housewarming party ^^
Posted by Alicia at 23:28
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Sooooooo now that I have a moment to breathe, and a little more coherency than before, I'll start my "giant arrival post of doom," LOL. And there's pictures too~~ not many, since it was kind of hard to take them before, but a fair few :)
So! September 14th, 2009, the journey began at Mark's house where I woke up at around 6:30am to eat my left-over BJ's pizza and gather up all my bags before we left for LAX. The ride wasn't too bad, since we were able to take the carpool lane... I was pretty calm (tired, and the reality of it all had yet to kick in). When we got to the airport, everyone was quick to check in and say good-bye to their families, then all us So-Cal kids headed over to the lobby to wait for our flight.
LOL right when we took off, every time I went to change the channel so I could see the map or TV, the pilot would make and announcement or something and this screen would appear XD Somebody up there must like practical jokes, hmmmm?? ;)
I will say though, that I hope I NEVER have to fly again while I'm sick.... I'm so glad I didn't look up anything on yahoo answers before I left cuz I woulda been really scared :O Ascending, I just felt suuuuuuuuper dizzy and I couldn't open my eyes because everything was spinning and making me feel really sick like I was gonna throw up. So when I couldn't take it any more, I peeked through the gap between my chair and asked Mark if he could get some of Miou's dramamine for me. Buuuuut I didn't have anything liquid to swallow it with, so I stupidly tried to dry-swallow it. Bad decision. It was really chalky and sticky and gross, therefore making me want to throw up even more :O It was kinda like that stuff they put in your mouth at the dentist to numb you (and it must be similar, because my tongue was really numb after I couldn't swallow and it melted >.<).
Sooo I just closed my eyes for like 10 minutes till it had basically gone away and, thankfully, I didn't throw up ^^; After that it was just boredom and frustration that my ears wouldn't pop XDD
((Quick break! My host mom is making me walk to the station again, this time by myself, to see if I can find it alone. It's soooo far OMG. More about that later. Now, off to grab my map and test my lack of navigation skills XDDD ))
Aaaaand I'm back. That took forever. But I had music this time so I guess it was ok. Much more about the host family later though. For now, back to the plane ride :D
So, where was I..... pain. Oh, yes. Lots of pain and boredom and annoyance XD But, I did get a tiny bit of kanji practice in there. Towards the end of the flight, I took out my netbook and me and Tim did E-flashcards for all of the JLPT level 3 kanji (that's Japanese Language Proficiency Test, I believe. 4 is easiest and 1 is so hard that Japanese people can fail it XD). They played 2 movies too, "Star Trek" and "The Hangover," both with Chinese subtitles, haha. I had already seen the latter, but I watched it anyways cuz it's funny as shit XD Also, the food was pretty nasty... kinda like cheap TV dinners, but that was expected :/
Aaaaaaaaaaand so then around 11 hours later, we began the descent. It seemed like as soon as the pilot announced it, I felt like my head was gonna explode. It felt like daggers were stabbing my ears and the pressure was almost unbearable T____T Then they said there were too many planes on the landing strip, so we had to fly in circles for like 20 more minutes until it cleared up. I wanted to die.
And then when we got off, I couldn't get as excited as I wanted to because I couldn't hear anything. My ears had popped, but I was like... temporarily deaf, I guess, because my cold messed with my ears as the pressure changed. But anyways I got through it! And I was finally in Japan! (That night at the hotel, I looked up why that might have happened and I got sooooo many horror stories about how you're not supposed to fly with a cold, and what happened to some people when they did.... some similar to mine... ear drums rupturing and stuff.... O.o But more about that later!)
((Another break for dinner! Hmm I wonder what yummy things my host mom cooked tonight ^v^ ))
Back again! So anyways, I'll spare you any more boringness about the flight and just show you a couple pictures from the plane!
Good bye California................................
You left me with a beautiful sky............................
Posted by Alicia at 23:47
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Why oh why did I have to get
sick RIGHT before my flight?!?!
Seriously though... I never get sick. Maybe maybe once
a year... so whyyyy nowwww of all times?! T____T
Crossing my fingers I'll feel better by Monday morning
when my plane finally takes off!
Omg I can't believe it's so soon~~~
I've almost finished packing-- just gotta make a few sacrifices
now so that everything will fit! It's just so hard to choose which
clothes to leave behind ;__;
I guess with all this final packing it's finally sunk in that I'm leaving :O
I'll miss all you guys at home! Never log off of Skype ok??
And check back on this blog often, cuz I'll be writing about a lot of
awesome things verrry soon~~~ <3
Well, I guess this'll be the last update before I'm in Tokyo,
so....... as the Japanese say: いってきます！(I'm off!)
Posted by Alicia at 12:16
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Thought it was time to finish up this blog layout,
it was seriously bothering me to look at it XDD
Damn HTML though, seriously. This took me wayyy
too long to make... but I love how it came out <33
What do you guys think?
........ OMG I can't believe I'll be in Tokyo
this time in only 2 more weeks @___@
I just kind of feel this overwhelming excitement whenever
my brain slows down and I realize it's sooo damn close.
Everybody keeps asking if I'm nervous, but honestly...
I'm not at all XDD
Just wayy excited and anxious~~
At this point I just wish I could get this Financial Aid mess
cleared up, cuz it's the only thing that's stressing me out right now.
Quit putting me on hold for 45 minutes, f*ing jerks >.>
P.S. Thanks a lot Alyssa, I'm addicted to "Buzzer Beat" now, LMAO
I've always loved Yamapi <33 He's just extra adorable in this drama~
Posted by Alicia at 18:04
Sunday, August 23, 2009
So~~ I finally got around to making an English blog for my year in Japan :D
(there's a link to my Japanese blog up at the top too!)
I'll try and update this thing as often as I can! Look forward to lots of pics,
videos, events, and looooong stories about all my adventures, of course ☆
For now I guess there's not a whole lot to write about XD
Ummm I started packing! I actually made a pretty comprehensive list in excel,
but who knows how useful it'll actually be in ~20 days when I've really gotta
crack down! lol.
Sooooo there's only 23 more days left before I'm off the Tokyo O______O
I still don't think I've completely accepted it.... still doesn't feel real XD
All I know is I wanna do a little brushing up on my Japanese before I take off...
I think our placement test is like 2 days after we arrive, so I need to study a
bit now-- don't wanna end up in a lower class or something D:
........ happy reading I guess? haha
P.S. I looooooove comments ;P
Posted by Alicia at 09:08