Greetings from scenic,

Category: Diary
Tags: People I


A typical weekday for me begins somewhere between 6:45AM and 7:00AM. Immediately I shower and fix my breakfast, which is normally something simple like cereal or some bread with jam. A cup of coffee is always involved.

After I've made these things I return to my room and review the kanji I learned the previous day by writing them in my notebook. Then I read some and review for the day's lessons, making sure that I did all the homework. Almost always it is done the afternoon it is assigned. Then I pack my bag and head outside by 9:30AM.

Recently there have been some people doing construction on the house I am living in. I exchange the typical aisatsu with them and they carry on with their painting or chiseling or whatever it is they do every day. Then I walk to my station. On the way I pass a lot of stores which are opening their metal shop gates and hanging their 営業中 signs. After a ten minute walk or so I hop on the train and join the mass of Japanese who commute by rail every day. Typically it is very crowded in the mornings.

The line I take (中央総武緩行線) passes through Akihabara, where a lot of people get on, and O-cha no Mizu, where a lot of people get off. After O-cha no Mizu I am usually able to sit down and read some before my stop.

Once I've arrived and crested the final set of stairs coming out of the station, a lot of us cross the street and make out way to Sophia University. I say a lot of us, but that only refers to our fellow-feeling as students. There is no regular group of friends that I hang around. Actually, I feel fairly tired if I hang around the same people too often.

Japanese class is every morning at 11AM. Being self-trained in Japanese, I find the classroom environment very difficult to learn in. If I did not study before class I would have a very hard time working through the lesson. The most interesting thing I have noticed is how people form sentences when the sensei asks us open-ended questions. Someone's response normally sounds like: アノーアー、キノウ、アーァァァ (sensei, how do I say this / that) ァァーデスー.

Great, at least you're tying... that's better than some of the class. But for fuck's sake don't start every word with アァァァァノ. Haven't you been learning Japanese for a year or two? Take some pride in that and answer with some confidence and don't mind the mistakes: they will disappear with time if you study and stick with the language.

I'll admit: sometimes I feel the same. I'm nervous when I'm doing something I've never done before in front of people. It feels like all I can do is fuck up and embarass myself, as if failure was written on my forehead. And when I fuck up I feel so bad I want to leave, no matter how inconsequential it is. My action becomes a badge of shame and I feel like I'll never change that and I get so upset with myself that eventually I just want to go home. Is that a character flaw? Does it really just push me further? Times like that make me feel so bad that seems it doesn't really matter.

Even the lightest, most inconsequential words can send me into that depressing spell. Normally these feelings last an hour or so. After I've run through all possible repsonses that would have saved face I feel a lot more refreshed but still very impatient and impetuous. Most of the time this mood results in me starting an unnecesarily long conversation with anyone who I have anything to say to. Last week I chatted with the chef in a little, empty restaurant. He was curious where I was from because I told the waiter I wanted a Japanese menu instead of an English menu. As an aside: he asked if I wanted an English menu in Japanese. If he really thought I couldn't read, what kind of response did he expect? I think he was just looking for a "はい" because that's all people can really say when they vacation here. It's "はい", "これ" and "この". "スミマセン、コノミセTAXFREEカ?" Oh, just ask in English. その片言分からない. The word for tax-free is 免税 (めんぜい) just so you know. It's written everywhere so it's hard to forget. A tax-free store means that you don't need to pay taxes on purchases over a certain total if you are visiting Japan.

The rest of my day is filled with this kind of musing, especially between classes and during my lunch break. Some days I get out very late (8PM) and find something to eat in a shop near the university. Other days I head home and cook for myself.

Then the homework is done and I waste the rest of the evening self-studying and reading whatever cheap 4-koma I have picked up.

I have found myself to be more open to having a drink, especially since I had used to only have one on very special occassions. I'm sure that was only because my first time experiencing anything remotely strong was terrible. Now I sometimes enjoy an Asahi with a meal or when I'm out with a group of friends. I do not do it terribly often, even still because it becomes less of a special thing the more you do it. I do not enjoy drinking more than I can handle. Actually, one jockey or a 500 mL can of Asahi is enough for me. I am always sure to enjoy myself responsibly like this because my health and continued well-being are of #1 importance.

Unrelatedly I took a girl out to lunch last week. There's an interesting dynamicism to myself when I am around people compared to when I am alone. I was super-confident when (for instance) I was out to lunch last week, but if I had gone by myself I would have felt much like I described earlier. I do need people like this, who put me in such good spirits, and whom I can retrun the favor to as well.

Sometimes I do not realize how much I need to talk about these things.

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