What a wonderful couple of days! It all began on Tuesday while I was sitting in my pottery class. As I sat there next to the big, toasty oven, doing some that I really enjoy doing, I looked out the window and saw a most wonderful thing. A blizzard. Not a blizzard as anyone from Michigan or any other cold, snowy place would imagine, but for Fukuoka it was as blizzardy as it gets. Here it snows about 1-2 times per year and then never enough to stay on the ground.
In fact, it snowed all day Tuesday and by the time I was going home from work around 9pm the only thing to show for it were wet roads and buses with chains on the tires (which I thought to be quite amusing but I'll get to that later) Anyways, over night, a miracle happened...the snow stayed on the ground. Well, at least until about noon it did...but it was still snowing so the possibility was there. Of course, my classes were bare and the students who managed to brave the sole-deep snow, were late. I was talking to one of my adult students and made a little comment about the buses with chains, expecting him to kind of chuckle along with me. He just looked at me very seriously and said, "Yeah, I was going to get the chains out but then I decided to take the bus instead. It's because we don't get snow here and we don't have snow tires, we have to use chains or else we'll slip all over the place." The fact that there was absolutly NO SNOW anywhere on the roads was irrelevant, apparently.
Anyways, it was supposed to snow again today but instead the skies were clear and it was a crisp, blue day. Even though I love snow, I think it is for the best that it stopped...I don't think Fukuoka could handle any more.
Well, I havn't written lately, mainly because nothing much has happened. Just work as usual. I was looking forward all last week to playing tennis and was really excited when the weather cleared up on Saturday...Sunday was rainy, windy, and freezing cold so Jin and I decided to play ping-pong instead.
Now, I know what you're thinking, 'Ping-pong?What kind of loser plays ping-pong?' I must admit, that's what I was thinking the first time Jin suggested we play. But, I quickly realized that this is a game of skill. A game of quick thinking, reflexes, and self-control. A game that I happen to be pretty good at. Now, I'm not saying that I ought to drop everything and devote my life to playing ping-pong. However, we have played in several ping-pong archades and I can't help but notice that, with few exceptions, we could kick everyone else's butts. On occasion, there have even been crowds gathered around the table, the word, 'Sugoi!' or 'Wow, that's fantastic!' being repeated over and over again. Since I am such a humble person, I will just leave it at that and invite everyone to give ping-pong a chance.
Other than that, not much else going on. So, you may be wondering why I havn't fixed up my site. Contrary to what some believe, it isn't that I am incapable of handling it. Rather, I do not share the same passion, or freakish obsession, if you will, as some of my critics. I will be the first to admit that I am not computer savvy but, should I devote my time and energy, I could most certainly develop an excellent site. However, I choose to devide my time evenly between the computer, reading, studying, and other self-improvement activies in order to make myself a more well-rounded individual. So, I will get around to it...eventually, be patient. Right now my allotted computer time is over and my book is beckoning.
People always ask me if I ever get tired of living in Japan or if there are things that bother me. Well, I have to answer 'yes' to both questions. First, after almost 3 years of living here (although not consecutively) I am ready to move on. I am 'content' right now with my life. I have a really nice apartment. I am able to persue my hobbies such as tennis and pottery. I am living reasonably close to my boyfriend, Jin. Then there's the fact that I have Jin, who is far better than I have ever hoped for. I may not have the ideal job...who does? But basically, I guess I have the 'been there, done that' feeling about Japan (and I realize that sounds haughty but, hey, it's the truth). Of course, if I am accepted to Grad. School, I will find my self once again studying Japan and it's culture but at that time, it will be doing it in comparison to Korea. Not to mention that it will be in Sweden.
When I moved back here last February, I made several people promise me that if I was still living here after 2 years, they would come after me and drag me out. (I have a habit of becoming too comfortable in any given situation and forgetting about what I really want until I force myself to make good on a previous promise to myself.) I am pretty confident that I won't need their help this time around.
As for the question of things that bother me...yes, there are quite a few. First of all, there is the traffic situation. Since trains in Japan are kind of expensive, I ride my bicycle everywhere I need to go, rain or shine. Almost everywhere I need to go is within 30 minutes of my house. Jin's house, however, is 1 hour away by bike. (By train...1 hour + $5 in fare.) So, I make the trip back and forth 1-2 times per week. It is these times when I find myself most annoyed. In Japan, there are, apparently, no road rules. Cars dominate the roads...andthe sidewalks. Just the other day, on my way to pottery class, I was run off the sidewalk by a car and run into another bicycle by a truck. Then there are the cyclists who tend to swirve back and forth across the sidewalk when they see me coming...even if I am 30 ft. away and on the opposite side of the sidewalk. I can't quite figure out if it is a 'foreigner thing' or if they do that when anyone is riding their bike in the vacinity.
Then there is the fact that anything on Japanese television is based on food or celebrity lifestyles. Being someone who isn't obsessed with food and just doesn't care about celebrities, I find this very boring. And, of course, there is always the fact that I can't buy pants here in Japan. In America, I am certainly not thin but I am not fat either...in Japan I may as well be Jabba the Hut.
But, I suppose that's enough. It seems to me that I have been doing nothing but complaining here on this web site. I am really not a negative person but recently I've been restless. Soon I will be back to my happy-go-lucky self. Bear with me.
I am completely disgusted at my lack of computer knowledge. I tried...I am just stupid. If anyone can tell me what a 'ping' is or how i can put up anything besides these blogs...help me out.
Anyways, if anyone was worried, it looks like I still have a job. I went into work on Saturday prepared to tell my boss off and give him an ulitmatum--give me 2 weeks' vacation or get a new teacher! Well, apparently I am such a good teacher that he couldn't bare to fire me. As of now, I have 2-3 weeks and I'm leaving for good in August, AND I retain my head teacher salary, apartment, and bicycle. He didn't even put up a fight...so far. However, the last time I asked for time off he said 'OK' and the week before I left he was still saying, "If I let you take this vacation..." I can't rely on anything he says and he seems to think that he has some kind of control over me. He called last night at 12a.m. I think he was drunk as he has a habit of not coming into work due to a hangover and because he had no real purpose for calling.
So, you may be wondering as to why I put up with this job or why I will be leaving for good in August. Well, I just recieved my application for Grad. school...in Sweden. So, if everything goes as planned, I'll be back in school by September and I'll be able to cross, not one, but two items off my list: 'Go to grad school' and 'Backpack through Europe'. Also, as Europe is a pretty liberal continent from what I've heard, maybe I can even cross off that 'Nudist colony 'to do', too. So basically, I am slaving away now so I can save up money for Sweden. Of course, nothing is finalized yet. I've not been accepted but I am thinking on the positive side. We'll see.
I know this may seem a bit premature or morbid but I believe that it is never too early to start The List. It just wouldn't do to wake up one day 60 years from now and say, "Golly, I've never gone sky diving!" or to be telling my grandchildren, "When I was your age I always wanted to learn to fly a plane. But...well, I guess you can't do everything you want. sigh." So, I have decided to that I will do everything I want or die trying. The following are in no particular order, I just wrote them down as they came to my head and I'm sure that I will forget a lot of things.
20 Things To Do Before I Die
1. Learn to fly a plane
2. Go to graduate school
3. Write a book
-it may be boring and no one may read it but at least I'll have done it
4. Get married, have kids...
-of course, the above mention of my grandchildren should have implied this but I thought I'd reiterate
5. Learn Korean
-I am currently studying but my level is embarrassingly low and I have only my own poor study habits to blame
6. Float on top of the Dead Sea
-I don't know why, it just seems fun
7. Take the Trans-Siberian Railroad from start to finish stopping here and there along the way
8. Do something that makes someone say, "You know, I really admire what you did!"
9. Spend some time in a nudist colony
-come on, who can honestly say that they have never been curious?
10. Cook 'weiners', sit on my 'zofa', drink 'zoup', and play cards with my grandchildren
11. Run a marathon
-I've done this once but I would really like to do it again and beat my time. Besides, at the time I was doing it to fulfill a short-term goal. Since I decided to add it to my life goal, I feel that I should do it again.
12. Sew a quilt
13. Travel through Africa
14. Live in Alaska
15. Backpack through Europe
16. Go skydiving
-ok, so I don't know if I actually have the courage to do this or not but I'd
like to give it a shot
17. Learn how to work computers with minimal pain
-I have managed to tackle email and word but I'd like to do the more
detailed, in depth things
18. Learn to cook
-I am currently on a rice, fish, and soup diet...not by choice
19. Win an award
-any award will do, I'd just like to know that I was the best at something
20. Learn to play an instrument
-I took 4 years of piano but it has been years since I last played so I
don't know if I can honestly say that I know how
Now, the only problem with 'To Do' lists is that they will never end. Once I cross one item off, a new one quickly fills its place. For instance, all my life I have wanted to take pottery classes. I finally got the opportunity to learn Japanese pottery and am currently taking classes. No sooner had I crossed it off my list than I decided that I really want to go to graduate school whereas a year ago, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I guess the only thing to do is to keep crossing things off and to keep adding new ones. Isn't that what life is all about? I just hope that when it comes to my time to die, I can honestly say that I am satisfied at the number of things I was able to cross off. And, maybe if I am lucky, the crossed offs will outnumber the uncrossed offs.
Anyways, I'm not trying to be all deep or anything. I was just thinking about these things last night and thought I'd write them down. I figured it beats telling stories about my turtle, who may or may not have died...a week ago.
So, I know, it's been a while since I wrote last. I recieved backlash from my last posting so it has taken me a while to work up the courage to write again. Apparently, after 24 years of complaining of brain tumors and other incurable diseases, the ebola virus was the last straw for my mother, who called me up the other day. She had even gotten up early just to call me to see if I was still alive. Not that I don't appreciate the concern but I was surprised and a bit bewildered as to why she chose to take this complaint more seriously than others. After I assured her that I am one of the lucky 30% and am feeling much better, I started to wonder why no one else called or even emailed me...?
Anyways, as I was finishing up my last book today I was thinking, "Wow, I am so happy, now I can start doing some other things like study, clean, train for that marathon, or write on this web site." No sooner had the thought entered my mind when the mailman came to my door delivering a new book. sigh. I guess all those other things will have to wait.
Speaking of books, the book I finished today was Naked by David Sedaris. I got it from my brother for Christmas and thought I'd give it a shot. Of course there are funny anecdotes but for me, I think that what hooked me was the similarities I found between the author and myself. There were stories about his frugal father who never bought anything not on sale and who ate food well after the expiration date (though in my case it was my mother-- I just learned the other day that you are not supposed to eat 6 month old eggs!) Among others, the most striking similarity was found in the chapter about the ticks that plagued him when he was young. As he described his eye rolling, I could hear in my head, taunts from my brothers, "Smelly Kelly, likes cherry pies, rolls her eyes, then she cries!" As he talked about the uncontrolable voices, I caught myself making the short humming sounds I tried so hard to control in grade school. Of course, I never took off my shoe and hit myself in the forehead with it, but I can feel his pain.
Aside from that, not much else going on. I may be fired tomorrow as I am planning on demanding 2 weeks vacation. If that happens, I will lose my apartment as well as my bicycle. We'll see. I'm not terribly nervous since I am the only teacher in the entire school and he wouldn't find someone to take my place until the end of the semester in April. In any case, I am tired of that bicycle. I'll rant about that some other day though.
I'll try to get some pictures up on this site someday soon. I have no scanner or digital camera so it is difficult for me but I'll do my best. Also, I have decided that instead of spending 40$ a month on a photography class I will just spend the money on my own projects. I will be having a monthly theme contest and the winner will win...something. I will put up more details as soon as I can arrange them in a satisfactory manner with my limited computer skills.
Well, here I am, day 2 of my blogging career and, sadly, I have to inform my reader that this may very well be the last installment. It appears as though I have contracted the deadly Ebola virus. I'm sure you're saying, 'Oh, Kelly, she's always been somewhat of a hypochondriac.' But, this time I'm serious. It all started with a visit to my brother's house where he lives with two birds. At the time of my visit, one of those birds was crusty and ill but, being the bird-lover I am, I thought nothing of letting the poor little thing perch on my shoulder. Two days later I was bed-ridden. At present (about two weeks later) the entire right side of my face is crippled with stabbing pains, my eyes are red and burning, and my right arm is uselessly dangling at my side. How did I make the connection between my mystery illness and the bird? Well, according to recent studies found in TIME magazine, birds have been linked to the transfer of the highly infectious virus.
Birds may be able to carry and spread the deadly Ebola virus, according to U.S. researchers. The virus, which kills 70% of those afflicted, was found to have a similar protein structure to viruses carried by birds"
So, here I am, biding my time until the end. I was meaning to spice up the site but unfortunatly I lean toward the computer illiterate side and it takes me a while to get around to researching how to do fancy things. Once I get started though, watch out!
-The hair-raising adventures of Kelly and Jin traving cross country in Japan (bilingual)
-Kelly's World of Japanese Pottery (items also for sale)
-Pictures from Japan
-More tales of my exciting life here in Japan
-A more interesting layout for the site
If any of my reader(s) has any ideas or tips as to how to snazz up the site, please feel free to comment.
Well, for all of you anxiously waiting to read my very first blog...here it is. I have finally found time in my busy schedule to sit down and type something. The only problem being that i really have nothing to say today. Yesterday as I was planning this, I had so many witty insights and exciting stories to share but now...
In any case, I just wanted to test this out and get the first message out of the way.