The Journey Ahead…

•August 10, 2009 • 2 Comments

Today, I went hiking in the beautiful Niagara Gorge in Canada. Almost everyone knows about Niagara Falls but very few people seem to know about the fantastic hiking and scenery just a few miles downstream. And, I actually brought my camera with me for a change, whoo! I spent a lot of time playing with the manual settings, trying some photo tips I read online (thirds=good- I guess?) etc. because I want to attempt taking  non-sucky pictures when I’m in Japan. I’ve always had a terrible habit of trying to take everything RIGHT in the center of the picture which tends to be kinda boring (Thanks, Pokemon Snap).  I did manage to get this picture of my brother though; easily my favorite of the day:

The child of the gorge

Naturally though, my mind was focused not on the present, but on the journey ahead.  I found it funny though how Japan popped up in quite a few of our conversations and things that we did for the day. One example: After our hike, we decided to go eat some Chinese. We ordered the “Dinner for 4” which we thought might not be enough for all 5 of us but we were terribly wrong- That meal could’ve easily served 7 or 8. When the waitress saw how much we were going to have to take with us, she chuckled and asked if we thought we were eating at a Japanese restaurant (where they tend to serve lots of small dishes that go around).  Interestingly though, we had made no mention of Japan up to this point at all. COINCIDENCE? I think not.

We also visited the “The Living Water Wayside Chapel” aka known as “That really small church near the gorge”.  I didn’t take a picture of it but just imagine two half-size (if that) pews facing each other and thats the whole thing. They say it has room for 9 people but I think even 7 would be a stretch. Inside, there was a little register where people could write down their names, where they came from, and any comments they had about the place. And, to my suprise, a good portion of people who visited we’re from Japan! They had left many comments in Japanese such as: 日本から来る。すごい、小さい! (Nihon kara kuru. Sugoi, chiisai!) meaning something like, “I come from Japan. Wow, it’s tiny!” Even though it is really basic stuff, it was a nice confidence booster.

Finally, on the way back, I had an interesting conversation with the customs lady that went something like this:

Semi Hot Customs Lady(SHCL):  SO, YOU’RE GOING TO JAPAN?

Me: Uhh, Yes.

SHCL: WHY ARE YOU GOING THERE?

ME:  To study abroad.

SHCL:  ARE YOU EXCITED?

Me:  Uhm. Yes.

SHCL: OK HAVE A GOOD DAY

(She would’ve been hotter if she didn’t have such a terrifying ALL CAPS voice).

So, should I take all of these things as good omens? I might have some luck yet! 18 days to go…

Preparations (???)

•August 9, 2009 • 2 Comments

So it suddenly hit me that I only have 19 days left until I leave for Japan. And I feel totally unprepared and nervous about it.

I’m pretty sure that since my studies last year, my Japanese proficiency has dropped to the level of a kindergartner (not like it was ever much better than that anyway) so, I’m starting to get a bit uneasy. Naturally, I brought this upon myself with my laziness and constant “Oh, I’ll just study closer to when I leave so I remember the information better!” BS that I used to try to allow me to enjoy my summer guilt free.  Now I’m paying the price and attempting to study but it’s become so daunting that it’s been very hard to get into it again.

A big problem I have (that I absolutely must break) is that I feel very uneasy speaking in Japanese with native speakers.  I am constantly embarassed by what I feel to be an absolutely unacceptable level of proficency when I’m planning on it being a major part of my career (which is also cauding me a bit of stress). I’ve been reading quite a few blogs of people who studied abroad/ are living in Japan who all seem very motivated and dedicated to their attempts at fluency there which makes me feel like a terrible person for having this opportunity and being a lazy bastard about it.  Other little things (like how I had to give up my job to go) are further increasing this sense of guilt.

Still, I do believe that I’ll wind up learning Japanese much more efficently while I’m completely immersed and essentially forced to speak the language if I want to survive. Regardless, I think I’ll have a great time that will be one of highlights of my life (end corny line that you’re sure to see in the mandatory presentation I have to make when I get back to school).

Only time will tell…

State-Mandated Introductory Post

•August 9, 2009 • 1 Comment

I never thought I would wind up creating a blog- funny how things like this happen.  It reminds me how when I was a kid, I never thought I’d get my then dream job of being a cashier at a grocery store (3 1/2 years of experience with that now), or would have a computer (gone through 3 4 now), or have a cat (whose favorite activity is clawing my face right after I fall asleep).  While I never thought these things would happen, I never even dreamt that I would have to opportunity to go to Japan. And here I am, preparing for what will probably be one of the most exciting and challenging years of my life.  And that’s the reason why I’m going to try using this crazy intertube technology.

Some notes first though, I apologize if any of my entires turn out to be “walls of text” or sound like something you write as a creative essay assignment in English class-I’m still not quite sure of the level of formality I’ll use in this blog, but I hope to make it interesting somehow. Also, as anyone who knows me is well aware of, I’m notoriously lazy and one of the biggest procrastinators you will ever meet- I have no idea how I’ve managed to do well in school so far, So, my entires will probably be pretty sporadic.  In addition, I’m a huge (closeted) anime/game freak so I’m contemplating using a livejournal for some of the more nerdy aspects of my trip. Also, I love using -‘s- No idea why.  I may put more info about me on the about page, but the laziness has already set in.

(Also, the theme for this is called “chaotic soul”, so I just had to use that image on the header :D)

Well, with the introudction “complete”, Let the madness begin.