I have some catching up to do. The people I’ve gotten to know while in Japan are, almost to a person, really quite amazing. I’m incredibly lucky in that every time I talk the them, I want to improve myself. Let’s take a look at some of the people, shall we? I’ll refer to them by animal names to preserve privacy. Seems as good as any other naming convention to me.
In order of when I met them:
Tiger: Has been in Japan for over 10 years, and speaks Japanese fluently. Relatively young, but has recently taken an important position in the company, and is excellent at giving critiques and training.
Bear: Is a very experienced and kind teacher, who has a great presentation style. Also, an eager friend.
Sparrowhawk: Insanely hardworking problem solver who barely sees his family anymore. Is known to help teachers personally. As I write this, he is planning on coming to my apartment to help me check my washing machine.
Sheep: The most universally respected man I’ve ever met. A special needs education and Sunday school who has gotten international attention for his exemplary response during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, he is widely regarded as the best teacher in the branch. He has come through incredible personal tragedy remaining a kind and humble person. Everyone who knows him is fond of him. He also happens to have trained me, and is the person who preceded me at one of my schools. Old students often ask after him.
Penguin: I tried to find a bus stop that was supposed to be in front of one of my schools before I started working. He heard from his students that I had walked past the front gates, and caught up to me to make sure I wasn’t lost. He also helped me find the bus stop I was looking for, even though he was busy. He has consistently been very encouraging to me and has helped give me opportunities to connect to the students.
Hare: My predecessor in my other school. One of the JTEs liked him so much that he models a lot of his lesson plans after what he did. He is in his twenties like me, but has already published a book.
Bluebird: One of my students, recently passed a very difficult English test that I wouldn’t be able to pass if it were Japanese. The cutiest of all the pies.
Koi: Just started learning Japanese two years ago, and is advanced enough to help translate documents for his town government. Very knowledgeable about Japanese history.
So you see, I have work to do in at least the efficiency department if I want to be their equals. The very least I can do is make a blog, like so many people have told me I should do. I have always hated journals, as I hate talking about myself and my life. I don’t like recounting what’s already happened, since I’m always thinking about all the things I still have to do in a day, which is usually a lot.
Previously, I had trouble being tyrannical to myself through my own expectations, and so instead of getting a fraction of the titanic tasks I wanted to do done, I never really got anything done. I’ve neglected my Japanese studies and my writing. Now that I know it’s okay to have lower expectations, I need to get myself working again, and then maybe enjoying my work again. But more importantly, I need to really put my fears behind me and let them motivate me, too.
Sure, positive motivations are supposed to be the best, but I am a creature of pure neuroticism. I am very motivated by guilt. Instead of letting that slow me down or trying to change it, however, I should really sit down and think about it’ll be like in five years if all I’ve done is do work, go home, and do nothing in particular. I need to think about always staying still while the inspiring people I know keep going forward. I need to keep thinking of how bitter and angry at myself I will be if I don’t change, and all the personal connections I’ll miss—not to mention the unique facets I can bring to others’ lives. It's called putting your fear behind you instead of in front of you.
I am not satisfied with basic conversations. I want to talk to Japanese people about deep subjects. I don’t want to be a parasite on the English-Japanese bilinguals I know. I want to understand the homilies at church. I want to go to graduate school, and I want it to be in Japan.
I want to show people my writing beyond a handful of published short works.
Oh, I have my excuses, which I won’t bother to write down. This is my life, though, and I have until I’m about 30 to get everything in the right track. That’s only 7 years. No excuses are acceptable now, nor were they ever.
So anyway, enough about me and my problems. Here comes this blog. I will write about things I learn and observe in my life, as well as Japanese sentences and a little of what I’m working on.
Blog posts will come out every other Sunday, plus possible extras in special occasions.
Kanji of the Day:
休 kun: yasumu, yasueru, yasumaru On: kyuu
rest, day off, retire, sleep
Word of the Day:
評価 [ひょうか (hyouka)] Appreciation, value
Thought of the Day: