Epiphany

Epiphany.
While looking through http://shichijyuuni.com ‘s amazing blog, I found myself wondering why my life wasn’t as exciting as hers. Why wasn’t I as stylish? why couldn’t I keep up my blog so efficiently? With all these questions and more, I read on, jealous. I realised In that moment, that I do this a lot. I look at pictures and read stories of other peoples lives and wonder why my life isn’t as fun filled and romance riddled. I kept wondering what the hell was wrong with my life.
Then it hit me. I’ts me.
I’m what’s wrong with my life.
And no, I don’t mean this in a, ‘Oh gosh, I suck, my life sucks’ kind of way, I just mean that I stand in my own way. There is only one person who can give you the life you want and that’s you. I think I’d forgotten this somewhere along the way. Perhaps it was last year, when I took a bit of a tumble and must have dropped it somewhere. Maybe I just never bothered looking for it again.
I over analyze everything and make things so complicated in my head that I make myself dizzy.
I tell myself over and over again that I’m an underachiever, that I can’t do anything and I will never be as good as (Insert name here). So I scare myself out of doing things I want to, out of trying hard for things I really want.  It’s idiotic really.
I used to study hard and show dedication for things I loved, but in recently years I’ve forgotten how.  I really want to learn again.
These last six months of living in Japan have really stripped me bare, and have revealed the worst parts of myself to me, and while I don’t enjoy seeing these parts of myself, I think it is ultimately a good thing. As Albert Einstein once said ‘Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.’ and I believe this to be true.

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I’m back!

皆さん、久しぶり!
明けましておめでとうござます!今年もよろしくお願いします!
元気ですか?クリスマスはどうでしたか?
Long time no see!
Happy New Year!
how are you all my lovelies? Were all your Christmas’s alright?
I’m sorry I’ve been so inactive, I’ve had a lot of things going on and I’ve been worried. Like a fishbowl filled with far too many energetic goldfish (if goldfish can even be energetic that is), all fighting for food, my brain has been full of worries and thoughts, and my blog has had to be put on the back-burner. Despite writing for my on amusement, I’ve been almost scared to go near my blog, unable to even open the tab. But, I’m back! and more determined than ever to turn my blog into something I can be proud of!
I’m still debating on how much of my personal life I want to share, especially when it comes to things such as my love life and my trials and errors. What do you guys think? When it comes to a blog, is less more? Or is more better?
I’m still trying to find my ‘blog voice’ or whatever the more educated term for it would be, so bare with me while I stumble along this bumpy road of self discovery!
I will say, however, I have re-contracted! Another year in the wonderfully eclectic city of Nagasaki! While I do feel a lot of anxiety towards my decision for reasons that call me home, I’m very excited to spend more time with my friends, visit the rest of Japan, get to know my students better and drink tea at my favourite cafes.
Well, that’s all I’m going to say for this post, I plan to get out a few more today, perhaps!
またね!

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!