Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? If you’re wondering how I did on the JLPT, I’ll only know in February. If I passed, though, is was probably just barely. I thought I was doing well until the listening portion, at which point I discovered that the practice book I was using was a lot slower than the actual test.
Enough about that, though. There are about three interesting things going on right now: the opera I’ll soon be going to, my driving test coming up, and the brainstorming I was able to do with my sister while I was home for the holidays.
In my last visit to my psychiatrist, she offered me a ticket to a production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. I took her up on it, as the one opera I’ve seen (on TV) was captivating. At first I felt pretty guilty, since the ticket was about one hundred dollars, but it turned out she had an extra one because her sister couldn’t go. I’m looking forward to it very much!
As for the driving test, there isn’t much to say. I did the document test last Friday, which is to say I turned in various forms and certifications and proofs. The policeman was less stiff than I expected. A friend of mine, Owl, who is also from Arkansas, passed the practical test in one go. He says it’s a lot easier than he heard, which is a relief, since I’ve heard some strange things—things like they take off points if their heads don’t lurch forward if you stop, or if you cross your arms while turning the wheel. Hearing that, it was easy to imagine other equally senseless things to dock points for.
The document test was so much less stressful than I imagined that, when a policeman knocked on my door afterward, I thought they were calling me back because of a mistake. (I’m also paranoid, which doesn’t help). Actually, it was just them checking to see who in the neighborhood had moved and who was new. He kept using some official terms that I didn’t know, which made him excruciatingly embarrassed. He kept apologizing for his lack of English, poor guy. I can add the nearest police office’s business card to my gauntlet now.
Right, the brainstorming with my sister. You may not know this, but two of my published short stories, “Amstel the Immortal” and “God in the Machine,” are within a shared universe that my sister and I created. It’s still very much underway, but I think it’s already lovely.
My sister, whom I will call Dolphin until she says I can use her name, made a few characters from an area of this universe that resembles Japan. We’re calling it Tenkei so far. She had started sketching out the ideas about its rulers and geography.
Now, for some reason, I had wanted to mostly have my stories be in the more Central and Southern Asia-flavored areas of this world. I suppose that this is probably because one of the main characters, the creature that began inhabiting Ziksu ‘s corpse, started out more in the Southwest of the eastern area. It might also be because fantasies inspired by South and Central Asian cultures are rare.
However, since I’ve been trying to focus on learning Japanese and about Japanese history, it’s been impossible for me to really get into developing those stories. While Dolphin and I brainstormed about Tenkei, the story started clicking with my daily goals and passions. I was afraid my desire to write in our setting had dried up, but it seems I was just focusing in the wrong area.
We still want the stories to be a bit globetrotting, like Avatar: the Last Airbender, so I’ll have to get into the ex-Ziksu creature’s home turf eventually. I like to think, though, that it’ll be easier once I already have another, relatively close part of that world fleshed out.
I won’t make Tenkei too weebish, I promise.
Kanji of the Day:
Onyomi: コウ、ゴ (kou, go)
Kunyomi: きさき (kisaki)
Empress, queen, after, behind
Word of the day:
正月 しょうがつ (shougatsu)
The first three days of the new year
Thought of the day: