A lot has changed

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皆さん、久しぶり!

Hello my lovelies, how are you all? Long-time no see, I hope you are doing well.

First, let me just say thank you for all your support up until now, it’s truly been motivational! I’m super lucky to have such cool people reading my blog. I promise to be a better blogger from here on out. ( I bought a ‘blog’ diary and everything! See, super motivated.)

So,  a lot has changed since the last time I was around. I’m pretty much still the same old seriously inept 23 year old, trying to be sassy while procrastinating 98% of the time. A few add-one and upgrades have been installed but I’m still kind of useless.

It all started on what was promising to be a typical valentine’s day, with a distinct lack of romance and far too much booze. Fate (aka, said alcohol), however, had other things in store for me. Having broken things off with the guy I was dating only a month or so ago, my heart was bruised and  naturally, I was feeling particularly fed up and frustrated with my luck. It was then, in a drunken haze that I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Why not make your own luck?’

And so, with a decent about of cocktails churning around in my stomach and seeping into my bloodstream, creating a chemical imbalance that resulted in something akin to courage, I confessed to  guy I had been crushing on for a while. 10 weeks have passed since then and this tiny act of bravery has led me to a cool guy with whom I can laugh, cry and just be a general tit with. It’s been so long since I’ve been in  a real relationship with anyone, and it’s still really scary. I still can’t get used to having  boyfriend, it’s just so weird. Weird, but good. Really good. And I guess ever since then, things have been getting better.

It’s not that my happiness relies on men and romance etc. It’s more to do with the fact that I’ve managed to make my own happiness, which is something I was always too afraid to do. It sounds simple, making your own happiness, but oftentimes it’s the simplest things that are the hardest. I’ve gained a grain of confidence and positivity and its left me wanting more.

Another changed that’s occurred, is my hair. For years I’ve harboured a secret love of short hair, always wanting to take the plunge, but never being able to follow through. The one thing I’m always complimented on is my hair, and for a long time I felt that cutting it short would directly cut its appeal. Like Samson, I found strength in my hair, like Rapunzel, I felt my hair defined me. However, she cut it short and it worked for her! And so, one Friday after a lovely lunch along Dejima Warf, I decided to pull a Rapunzel.

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Thanks to the wonderful and Talented Tajima-san, at Pandemic (a hairdressers I highly recommend for those of you in Nagasaki City), the transition from long to short was painless. I was hooked after the first chop! “Oh well, can’t stop now, or you’d look like a tit” was the actual thought I had. But for the first time in a long time, I smiled even mid cut, knowing I was going to love It. I was relieved when he came to cut my hair, and when I told him this he told me (with a sort of nervous but happy smile) that he had requested me when he saw my name. I was pretty much ecstatic. He’s talented, cute and it just gave me a sense of home for a moment, a feeling that can be hard to come by when you live in a country so vastly different from your own. For the first time in maybe seven years, I have short hair, and I’ve never felt better. Getting my hair cut is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. Yay for spontaneity.

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Work Is also going better. During the spring holidays I was more productive than ever and have found great joy in my new position in the staff room after the annual teachers shuffle. I feel good, and when I look up I can see blue skies, tall buildings and a clear view of two cute teachers. Windows always calm and inspire me and I feel more relaxed for it. My supervisor became the new 1-2 home room teacher in the whole shuffle and has asked me to help out with her class on occasions as a sort of unofficial sub-sub homeroom teacher, which is something I am so ready to do! I love those students so much, they are adorable. In fact the entire first year at that junior high are adorable! It really helps teaching in the elementary school that most of them come from. I’m pretty sure the amount of students I don’t know, I can count on my hand. I’m also starting to gain confidence and a better relationship with my colleagues! …I think…

I’m also writing articles now! I’ve been so happy getting back into writing, and taking it seriously this time around. I’ve been writing for a Japan travel sight and was even featured on one of the weekly news letters, which was amazing! I’ve even recently submitted something for a paper back in Britain. They gave me a feature and will even include pictures! This is all for free of course, but that really doesn’t matter to me. I am so insanely excited! I’m still nowhere near the level I want to be, but I’m determined to try hard every day until I get there. I’ve decided to take my blog and diary more seriously, and my hobonichi is getting fatter by the day!

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I’m still the same mess I was, just slightly improved. A newer model if you will; the same old vessel, just functioning a little more efficiently. I know that with the guidance of my amazing friends and the continuous inspiration my fellow amazing bloggers and other outside sources *cough*pintrest*cough* that I can finally, slowly start down the road that will lead me to the person I’v always wanted to be.

 Next Goal: Be tidy, trendy and trim.

The Dreaded Christmas cake

The majority of woman, especially those in Japan, will probably know what I mean when I mention Christmas cake.

All over the world, woman are perceived as ticking time bombs, rushing about to get married before their looks deteriorate, because obviously, when our looks are gone we have nothing else to offer [end sarcastic tone]. It is a pressure many woman, regardless of age and nationality feel, myself included. But how do I know when is too late? How old should I be when I marry? Society is quick to shake its head and scold me in various forms of awkward smiles and ‘helpful’ advice, but no one will actually give me a date by which I should marry. Japan, however, comes to the rescue.

The one thing I absolutely adore about the Japanese, is that they have a word, or a phrase for everything! For example,  積ん読 (Tsundoku), meaning, to buy books and leave them unread. This is a personal favorite of mine, and in looking up more words for this blog, I found many others which I shall put in another post later for you to enjoy and marvel at! 

In Japanese, nothing is left unexplained in some wondrous way, and unmarried woman over the age of 25 are no exception. Yup, you got it, In my title, I’m not actually referring to a cake, but to a single woman. The concept has much less weight than previous years, for the most part in this day and age, with many woman in Japan leaving marriage until later in their lives and receiving no stigma for it. However, it is not absent.

But, why a Christmas cake you ask? Well, no one buys Christmas cakes after the 25th right? Well, in the same way, this is used to describe how no one will want to ‘buy’ a woman who is over the age of 25. It’s honestly a depressing and more than a little degrading. But, oh well, It’s not like I can travel back in time and bitch slap whoever decided to create this phrase. (But how satisfying would it be if I could!)

However, this does not mean that the ingrained belief that a woman should marry young is not still heavily ingrained into the mentality of many Japanese people. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I personally believe that this is a mentality shared with many countries all over the world, but. I’m just talking about Japan today due to the fact that 1.This is my current home, and 2. I’m going to tell you a little story.

Yes, just yesterday me and a few friends were talking about the concept, and how pressuring it could be for us woman who are nearing the age of 25. I mean, the Christmas cake thing aside, so many other parts of society tell us that romance and marriage in the younger years is really the best option, especially for woman. In many movies and books, romance is often portrayed between young people, often those in their late teens and early twenties. I often feel that, as a single person in her early twenties, that I’m missing out on some amazing passionate romance, when in fact, all I’m probably missing out on is gaining weight thanks to the various pizza nights and many squabbles over god knows what. (Let me stew in my bitter pessimism for a moment here, it helps me sleep at night). So, if you take that, and the fact that men generally prefer younger woman over those their own age, we don’t really have many odds in our favor, especially when you bring in this Christmas cake business.

As I said before, despite the fact that this generation, for the most part, have able to escape the dreaded Christmas cake curse, I do still think it is in the back of everyone’s minds, especially where the older generation is concerned. My proof? Let me tell you a little bit about my morning.

So, I was pushing it for time this morning, and in my dazed state, decided that getting a taxi to the bus terminal was the best choice.  Considering that if I missed my bus I would be in a world of trouble. So, greeting good morning to the Taxi driver outside of 7/11, along with his taxi driver friend, an elderly man which I knew from other taxi times, I got in and gave my directions to the bus terminal. We chatted a little, and it was pleasant. “You’re very pretty” The old man said to me with a kind smile in the mirror. “Oh gosh, no not really, but thank you” I smiled, waving my hand in an attempt to be humble but not ungreatful for his kind words. “Are you married then?” he asked. I get this a lot for some reason. “Oh, no!” I laughed lightly. “I see, I see” he laughed back “A boyfriend then?” he asked curiously, my destination nearing. “Nope”, I smiled, getting my money ready. “Oh, so how old are you? 22? 23?” He glanced up in the mirror, nothing but kindness on his face. “I’m 23” I smiled back. “Ah, as I thought” he began “Well, you still have some time then!” He breathed out in what could only be described as some what of a relieved tone.

Still have time? Was I running out? I faltered for a moment, but my destination had saved me, allowing me to pay, thank him and wish him a good day. I wonder how he would have reacted if I had said 25? ‘Better get your game on girl!’, or how about 26! ‘That’s a shame, but if you push yourself, I’m sure you can find someone!’.

There was no harm in him, and I’m not offended, or even sad, just curious and a little bit perplexed. However, it does bring to light this perception everyone harbors about woman and the social expectations placed upon them. I always promised  myself that I would never make a decision as a result of social pressures, but やっぱり, sometimes its hard to ignore them.

With that being said, it seems like I should get off the PC and go find me a husband! I mean, I only have 673 days, 14 days and 37 hours left!