There was no photo documenting in Kojo park this weekend. I took this photo on my phone right before the typhoon came through and blasted off most of the blossoms. To put it lightly, I was incredibly bummed by the weekend weather. I am hoping that there will still be some color next weekend. Pleeease. Praying to the sakura gods. The only good thing was that it made for a cozy weekend inside, which maybe I needed after traveling and before the school year starts, and I had time to write a proper Japan weekend/Japan life update.
I guess I can’t say yes to every social opportunity from now on seeing as how I am on my last dime this week. I ran out of coffee today and don’t even have the funds to buy more coffee. Blerg. Reduced to drinking whatever tea that I have at home for the rest of the week. Payday is next Monday. I CANNOT WAIT! This weekend I had to pass up meals out to cook at home. Here are some of the mostly boring things that I made: oatmeal, English muffin egg sandwiches, chicken & refried bean burritos, lentil mac & cheese (I just cook one cup of lentils, and add them to Annie’s Eats Panera mac & cheese recipe. Super easy and tasty, especially topped with roasted broccoli and caramelized onions), peanut butter toast, and white chocolate chip cookies. I froze portions of the mac & cheese, as well as four burritos for meals this week.
On Sunday Chelsea was so sweeeeet and invited me over for yoga and a sushi feast. I braved the typhoon winds for a workout and free meal. It was divine and totally worth it.
I am using the phrase “workouts” loosely. I have no real workout routine, my goal is to just MOVE a little most days. Jumping rope was going so well, until Spring Break. Now I can’t seem to get back in the jump roping groove, partly because my jump rope sucks. Yoga is definitely my favorite thing to do over here. I find it easy to fit in my schedule – and it both strengthens and grounds me, although I still have no idea how to do ujayi breathing after taking a class for the better part of six months – but just recently a few teachers in the area signed up for a couple of running races this month. One is an 8K and the other a 5K. So I just started running again. Wee!
Monday: Ashtanga yoga. Yoga Today’s class (online).
Wednesday: Cindy Crawford The Next Challenge DVD legs & arms
Thursday: Run (slow, maybe 30 minutes, lots of stopping to look at cherry blossoms.)
Friday: Ashtanga yoga class
Saturday: Run (slow, maybe 30 minutes, with my table tennis girls.)
Sunday: *Forrest yoga. Chelsea has a subscription to Yoga Download (online). So effin’ hard!
*Forrest yoga was created by a woman named Ana Forrest. I had never heard of it before this weekend, and I originally thought it had something to do with trees and nature, like they filmed it outside in the trees. Ha! No. It holds the poses for a long, long, long time and really works your core. We are so sore.
WATCHING & READING//
The Mindy Project. LOVE. I am almost through Season one. My sister says to watch Gossip Girl. She just discovered it, six years after it started. Is this going to be like me and LOST, which I discovered in its last season and become an obsessed person?
Books-wise, I finished Gone Girl earlier this month. A few other teachers are reading my copy of the book (thank you Lisa!! It is a hit over here!) and then we are going to sit down and properly discuss that craziness. Currently on Fear of Flying. I got distracted this week with this historical fiction novel called These Is My Words though, think Lonesome Dove but in the form of young Sarah Agnes Prine’s diary. It’s so good but….SOB. I can’t even talk about it without tears. Those pioneers had hard lives. If anyone can recommend the HAPPIEST book you’ve ever read that is not cheesy, I would be ever so grateful.
Slow. Slow. Slow. I have tons of books and resources. I take a class once a week. Japanese is just not coming naturally to me. It’s been too much for me to absorb a new country, a new apartment, a new job, a new circle of friends, and a new language in just 8 months. That and I am a bad studier over here. Japanese requires hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to master. I’ve put in about 25 hours.This means that I still don’t have all of katakana or hiragana memorized. I still get confused with basic sentence structure. And forget about verb conjugation.
Lately, I just kind of stopped. I’d rather come home, do some yoga, cook dinner, and watch an episode of The Mindy Project online or read.
I am kind of okay with that until a few weeks before Spring Break, I told myself, “YOU MUST GET DOWN HIRAGANA AND KATAKANA.” A lot of friends memorized them in a few days, why is this taking me 8 months? My approach had just been to write them all out. Do that for a few days. Stop for a few weeks. Start same routine. Obviously, I needed a new approach. I literally googled how to learn hiragana and katakana online. A link came up for Kana 101. It is a 2-week course. Everyday some person named Phillip sends you an e-mail with certain characters and practice sheets. AWESOME! I need someone – even this unknown person named Phillip sending me an e-mail – to break things down for me. Unfortunately, I timed the course to coincide with Spring break. I am restarting it all over again, and if the course is supposed to be 2-weeks, technically that means more than a month for me to absorb it all. Hopefully, by June, I will have these characters burned in my brain.
Starting…tomorrow. Because this is what I did in my free time this weekend.
I am a happy and content party of one over here, but after my friend informed me this weekend on Skype that any normal single person has an online dating profile these days AND I was holed up in typhoon weather AND I am returning to a country WHERE I CAN COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE soon, I thought oh-what-the-hell and crafted an online dating profile on a free site. For Vermont, even though I’m in Japan, with an I’ll-put-myself-out-there-7,000-miles-away-and-see-what-happens kind of attitude.
The highlights from the past 24 hours are so bad that I must share because someone out there has to have been in the same bizarre boat.
1) Someone called LETSDOIT said that I am sexy. My only picture of me is after I hiked through the night to summit Mt. Fuji. I am wearing about 8 layers (consisting of polypropylene, fleece, down, wool, and Gore-Tex), and I haven’t slept or showered in almost 24 hours. Kind of cute and kind of crazy and very outdoorsy and very real, yes; sexy, no. In fact, I would never ever put up a remotely sexy photo on this site for fear of attracting weirdos like this one. I see that is impossible now.
2) I did have two photos, but my cookie photo got flagged as inappropriate. WHUT. LETSDOIT can have a half-naked profile picture, but I can’t showcase my cookie baking talent. Where is the justice in this photo system?
3) Then someone else messaged me in Japanese, and even though I don’t know much Japanese at all, it was all in totally grammatically incorrect romanji. Understandable, but disappointing. He just needed to use Google.
4) After answering 99 of the site’s personality questions, they boiled me down to someone who is more organized with a lower sex-drive than average. THAT’S IT?! And, whoa, like that will appeal to no one.
So that was fun for a hot second. PASS. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m about to hit delete because this scene isn’t for me. Plus, I feel like online dating kills the cool how-we-met story.
It’s the first day of the new school year. It feel so weird to have the first day in April instead of end of August. Tomorrow the students are in all-day testing. My classes begin on Wednesday. I am very excited to meet my new students and see my old students, but I was informed that I will have more classes than before because now I will also teach a third-year humanities course. Ack! While other teachers have bemoaned the past month – feeling it has been boring with no classes – I have been overjoyed with the slower pace because I feel like it was tapering time. The marathon will begin soon and I need to rest up because this one will last for four months.
I found out today that our school rents our bonsai tree that is on display for all the school ceremonies. That’s kind of neat, right? It tickles me that I’m living in a place where we can rent bonsai trees.
Okay, so that is not all, but I feel like I rambled and overshared enough over here on the otherside. XO.