Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Summer

Niku-Mons in the conbini, boots-with-the-fur on the shelves, snowmen and jack-o-lanterns for sale at AEON mall...summer is apparently, over. Summer has never been my favorite season, probably because the summers are so long in New Mexico and Texas. Yet, this year, I wish it would last just a little bit longer. Last summer everyone said that the rainy season wasn't really so rainy, but this year it seemed to dominate the season. It was certainly rainy on many Sundays and Mondays thus ruining many beach plans. My fingers are crossed for sunny weather this month so maybe we can squeeze in a few more beach days.

Like last summer vacation, I went to Tokyo for a few days.

Our plan to climb Fuji-san was thwarted by a typhoon, but it turned out for the best. Had we gone ahead, we would have been on the summit when a big earthquake hit Shizuoka prefecture. I'm sure it would have made a great story, but instead, we had a good time out dancing that night. I visited some of the same places and some new ones. Overall I felt really comfortable in Tokyo and started to develop Tokyo-envy. I think it helped that my Japanese has improved. I met some new friends and met up with some I hadn't seen in a long while.

As much as I enjoy big cities, I was ready to come home, to Hiroshima. The weekends are always such a blur, it was a treat to have a few days in a row to spend with my friends. Speaking of friends, there seems to be a mass exodus right now. It's hard to believe that I have already spent a year or more with some of these wonderful people, and now they must go. But it's kind of part of the deal of living abroad and I'm just grateful for the time we've had!

This will be a rather sad transition into fall, but it is my favorite season. I love fall in Japan. I'm running again for the first time in years. I have fun new lenses for my camera. Plenty of friends are sticking around for awhile. (I think it's impossible to be lonely here.) Year number two is underway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Destruction, disease, and drama

They are demolishing the building next to mine. Luckily, I am a heavy sleeper and I really like taking pictures of destruction (why?). I took some photos two weeks ago, and that is probably all that I will get because I think they are nearly finished.  This morning, in between snooze alarms, I thought I was experiencing an earthquake because my apartment was shaking. But so far, no earthquakes! 

I was supposed to go to Osaka this weekend. There was also an oyster festival at Miyajima that I really wanted to attend. But alas, I got ANOTHER ear infection. I haven't posted much since October, but I've been sick, in some way or another, since...October.  This is not an excuse, I guess I'm not going to be the active blogger that I had imagined.  But I am getting incredibly irritated with my (seemingly) never ending illnesses. It's usually nothing too severe, but it just seems to be unrelenting. I typically rarely get ill. I blame the children (they are SO gross). And my allergies. And the Japanese doctors apparent ignorance of how antibiotics work...enough ranting. 

Despite my perplexing health troubles, I am still loving it in Japan. Spring is just around the corner and I will get to experience  a spring unlike any I have seen. More and more of my friends are deciding to stay and teach in Japan. The thought of another year here, with all of these wonderful people makes me really happy and optimistic. 

A week ago I discovered a website that has tons of Japanese films and TV dramas with English subtitles. I found it looking for Hana Yori Dango. I have raced through that series and I am officially obsessed!  Usually I don't get too sucked into TV shows. I don't have the patience to wait each week to see what happens next or the discipline to remember when shows are on. However. If I can watch episodes consecutively, it seems I can get hooked on any show. The one I'm watching right now is about a girl who has amnesia about her family getting killed in front of her eyes when she was 12 because her stalker's father was a shrink who hypnotized her to bury her memories but her stalker is actually her half-brother because the shrink is her real father that she forgot about and the killer is loose on parole but her fiancee went to university with him and actually knew her when she was little but never told her that he knew about the murders and maybe he's the real killer because he's kind of crazy and is haunted by his mother's ghost who tells him weird things.....and I'm only half way through the season! It's pretty whack. BUT watching these shows with the English subtitles has really improved my listening and has made me more motivated to study Japanese.