Something about summer turns me into an idiot. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a new post, but said brain keeps rolling over like a bloated goldfish. So here are some things I've been thinking a lot about lately, interspersed with pictures of my struggling gardening attempts (when I get home and upload them, that is).
My apartment: It takes a long time to settle anywhere, and I've had to work around some terrible furniture and a giant television that I never use. The humidity has ruined my wallpaper in the living room. This isn't a surprise; I made it myself using 100 yen shop duct tape and white construction paper. It seems that my apartment is not only in need of a thorough cleaning, but some rearranging and redecorating as well. I will be getting rid of a table, a desk, that TV, and an old yucky carpet within the next couple of weeks. This could be an exciting simplification of my possessions.
Foreigners: I paid a visit to the JET Programme Forums to promote the Ganbatte Times to incoming JET participants. One of the more active newbies was excited about her placement in one of the most remote locations in Kyoto (which doesn't seem to hold ALTs for long). She wrote the following.
My boyfriend lives in Kyoto city. I think I may go into the city once a month, but I think for the most part he will visit me. For one thing, my apartment is bigger LOL. I'm excited about my placement... especially with it being isolated. Gaijin tend to ruin my Japanese experience :p
Gaijin is a shortened, casual (or rude, depending on context) version of gaikokujin, which means "foreigner." At first I thought, You pretentious little chit. Japan can ruin your Japanese experience. You are gaijin. And no matter how fluent your speech, how Japanese your boyfriend, or how comfortable you may be in the countryside, at some point you'll want nothing more than to talk to someone who shares your home culture and language.
I felt justified in this superior indignity for a couple of hours. What a thing to write on a forum for foreigners in Japan, that foreigners ruin your experience. Then I got on a bus, watched a bewildered white couple carrying tourist maps board, and mentally shook my head. Lordy forbid if someone mistook me for one of them.
Turns out that I understand that girl's comment to some extent. I mentally distinguish myself from gaijin, who are tourists and loud or rude or who wear spaghetti-strap tops. A Japanese person may use the same word for us both. On realizing my prejudice, I proceeded to ponder whether or not I've ever ruined someone's Japanese with my foreignness.
Movies and The Future: The long-awaited world premier of my silent film, Pistachio Thief, is close at hand. On Sunday morning I filmed another short movie (untitled, but based on muppets, Sesame Street, an old commercial for Mercury, and sitting in the office with Kim-Chi and Paulette). I'm working on scheduling the film date for the silent movie sequel, Pistachio Thief in Love.
What does this mean for my life? I have no idea. I'm secretly hoping that someone bored and important stumbles across it on YouTube, thinks I'm brilliant, and gives me tons of money to do stupid stuff like that for forever. I may have worried in a previous post that I wouldn't be able to do stuff like this once I have to get a serious, no-clowning-around-in-your-pantsuit-missy job in the states. Then again, when would I ever surround myself with a bunch of fuddyduddies who wouldn't be willing to take part in my film-making? Let's be real, here. Also, when would I ever get a job that requires daily pantsuits?
My Body: I think my body registers stress before my brain does. This is probably common for a lot of people, but when my brain is fighting to accentuate the positive (Doris Day) my body compensates by hibernating. I lost my weekends to Japanese classes and travels (church doesn't count as a loss, but that transit time, oy) way back at the beginning of May. The beast of a Spring/Summer holiday schedule means that between May 6th and July 17th there is no vacation whatsoe'er. In addition my teaching schedule has intensified, as has sexual harassment from 1st graders and my tolerance thereof. Not sure if those are related.
In a nutshell, my brain is skipping like a squirrel on crack made of bubblegum and cotton candy. It cheers "Yay yay yay yay only a month before I'm on my way to Trinidad yay yay I can do it I can survive yay! Nooooooo meltdown!" My body flips my brain the bird and sleeps through four alarms, three days in a row. I made it to all my schools on time, but that one day at the office when I walked in at 10:30, that was not a good day. How am I still employed?
Books: I'm writing one, with pencil and paper. I'm not saying anything more because just admitting it embarrasses me, which is due to a long association of the open love of creative writing with pretention and d-baggery. Also, I almost deleted this part when I remembered that sometimes people in Japan read this. That's just how badly I do not want to talk about it.
This took me three days to compose. My brain is starting to cave in.