Friday, October 1, 2010

I Create Monsters.

You might have seen this coming a mile off. Or, at least I did. I've got a sore throat.

Which is, of course, often a precursor to something like a cold.

I'd blame the change of season, if it were to blame.

But I'm young and spry, and I almost never get sick without having pushed myself too far outside my ability to function. The monster, this time, is my schedule again. You might recognize it from its predecessor, My College Schedule, which made for an impressive resume but also left me a bit unstrung from time to time.

I'm still working on putting together the blog posts from my last two (long) weekends; it takes a lot of time to get all the photos going, really.

Autumn came right on schedule. I mean on September 23rd, the temperature plummeted. If you look at photos from Kiso (September 18th weekend) you will see us in shorts; it was hot. On the 23rd, down in Shikoku (which is a decent distance to the south), I at least found myself wishing I'd brought more than just my single pair of afterthought-sweatpants.

But it's not just weekends out that'll be kicking in. It's the workaday week, too. I am back to four-to-six classes a day (except Wednesday, on which day I magically expect to catch up on all deskwork.. including planning my next trip and recapping the last one), and I'm still re-adjusting to that workload.

My problem is not new to me. I've always wanted to do/see/try everything. And I've always been too easy to rope into things, too. It may seem like I've only added Shorinji Kempo to my life, which is just one night a week, but actually there is a lot going on.

Autumn is a beautiful season in Japan, and so I want to spend as much time as I can out enjoying it, whether that is traveling to other cities and exercising my inner tourist or taking walks and exploring, observing the more local seasonal change. Also, autumn means that winter is coming. Winter in Japan blows in general, but apparently this year is due to be super-suck harsh (La Nina or something... efff), so my hope is to escape at least for a little while into warmer climes like Thailand or Malaysia. All of which will require planning, sooner rather than later if I want to spend less than 1.5 fortunes on it.

I was totally slacking off on my Hyogo Times duties, so I've tried to get back in the swing of actually doing my editing job. I'm also writing for the HT more than I was before (but not, of course, more than I ought to be.. I want to continue to contribute writing to the HT). What? You didn't know I was the second-editor of the prefectural monthly newspaper for JETs? Come on, of course I am.

I like writing, and I want to keep this blog up regularly. I also want to keep reading the stuff I profess to read on my blogroll (confession: have not read any of that stuff for like three weeks, serious). I was recently given the key to the Impetuous Windmills blog (I guess since I was such a master of highbrow in that podcast ^_~) but of course I have not yet produced any content for that. I also was hoping to write a short story for a writing group I sort of faux joined a while back which never seemed to be meeting on a day when I was free.....

Lots of things interest me. Another is psychology; I'm a pretty good listener. So I signed up as a volunteer for the AJET Peer Support Group back in the summer. Now I'm trained, although they have invited me to a Prefectural Advisor conference in Tokyo in a couple weeks, and of course I'm going. I only man the phone lines for this once or twice a month, though it's an overnight affair.

And I really do want to improve my Japanese. It's not bad, right now, passable. I've been trying to stay on top of solidifying my kanji (still right there at 508 kanji, and since classes started.. a lot less desk time to sit there and write kanji words to learn) so I can, you know, read. I go to Japanese class on Wednesday nights (it includes dinner, so this is a lot less stressful than Tues or Thurs which require me to somehow make dinner before going wherever). Today was the last day to apply for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I looked over the application and decided to let it go.

And there's still ikebana, and my adult class (which is getting better but has been a big stressor, as I want to do a Good Job, and have never been sure quite how to go about that, with this). Both Thursday night. Thursdays are still 5th and 6th grade at big elementary, which are still kind of a bear.

Fridays are four classes, but more relaxed because it's just the same thing four times (all third-years/9th graders)... Mondays are first and second years, so I do two of each (it's tougher to switch because you have to switch materials as well as mindsets).

Tuesdays are six classes if I am at big elementary, five at small. It's a long day, and I like to shock my fellow JETs with those numbers, because almost no one else works that much, and especially not with any regularity. I'm not complaining, really, because I would much rather feel like I am working and accomplishing something than sit around. Part of the problem with the JET program is that schools don't know how to use their ALTs, but I'm pretty sure my school(s) have figured it out. I know I don't really have any place to complain, both because compared to what some people do (and what most people in Japan do), I don't work that hard; also the rest of my beastly schedule is, as you see, of my own creation.

In my spare time, I've been doing things like, you know, dishes, or laundry, and reading before bed and on the bus.

But I went for a walk today in Seino, which is a little hamlet by the river about halfway home from work. It was nice to just take in the smells of autumn and say hello to the old people who seemed totally shocked to have a gaijin-san (yeah they actually called me that to my face ^_^;;) wandering through.

Then, because it was Friday night, I de-disgusting-ed the bathroom full force. Holla.

Keep looking forward to the Kiso and Shikoku posts. They were kickass weekends and I hope to do justice by them.

I have recently considered a career in travel planning/travel writing. I mean, if someone would pay me to do that... well hell.

It bothers me, because I want to do a lot of things. But I also want to do whatever I do very well. And the more things you do, the less you can devote to each thing. It's just mathematics. It's just how many hours in a day, and how many weeks in a season.


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