Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's been almost a year!

I'm a few days early, but it's been almost a year since I flew away to Japan to study at Jouichi. And it's been quite a few months since I updated this blog heh heh. Reminds me of some lyrics from that one Wallflowers song:

Man I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same.

Now that I can figuratively see the forest and not just the trees, I know how that semester abroad has affected me. Almost solely in good ways, of course, though my parents' bank accounts are still recovering (thanks mom and dad!).

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first; it's really not even that awful. For one thing, my career plans - hell, my life plans - are kind of in limbo. Living in Japan wasn't always wonderful. Tokyo is insanely expensive, commutes are long, the summer heat was gross, and I stick out like a sore thumb despite my yonsei (fourth generation) ancestry. But now that I know what I'm up against, I totally want to do it again with intentions to completely gaijin smash Japan. Yet after a year back in Omaha and in super journalism mode, I'd also like to use what I've learned and get a job. I've been working on some big projects and I really enjoy what I'm doing right now. This one might be decided for me, thanks to the economy, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Tangent: I got turned down for an internship in Hawaii a few weeks ago. Yesterday I was in the journalism lab when one of my old profs walked in. She asked me what I was doing after graduation ("Errr... Nothing to do with my degree, probably.") and she was kind of disappointed that my talent would be going to waste. She then told me, "If you stayed in Omaha, I'd help you find a job." Seriously??? Ugh.

Let's concentrate on good stuff. After living in Japan and not knowing what was going on 75% of the time thanks to the language barrier, I really want to become fluent in Japanese. In high school and college classes, Japanese was like skipping through a big green field of daisies and bunnies and hiragana and days of the week kanji. Studying in Japan and experiencing a learning curve like no other, I got to the end of the big green field and to the base of the terrifying Mt. Nihongo. To get to the top and achieve fluency, I'll have to climb the mountain of kanji, grammar, conversation, and culture (I miss a lot of cultural references in anime and dramas).

I read the 2009 JET application a while ago (like three weeks after the deadline had passed T_T) and I think the age limit for the program is 40. I am turning 22 in two weeks, which to me feels really old but to everyone else I'm young. If I'm going to go do fun stuff and travel and meet people and all that, I guess I better do it now before I'm forced to grow up. I have to do my galavanting before all my friends start getting married and having kids. I'll be way too old to go to an Arashi concert in a few years, gotta do it now.

A-ra-shi for dream, a few years younger :3
I hope Johnny doesn't sue me... he should sue Sakurai's stylist for those pants >.<

I suppose the underlying lesson learned from Japan was that I can get by. I definitely had a lot of help, but I still managed to get along day-to-day in a foreign country with very little language skills. Figured out the train, didn't die of starvation, had some fun - and I certainly didn't leave the program like a handful of students did. It reaffirmed that I'm not helpless, but I do complain a lot.

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting in this blog, since I dedicated it to all things related to Nihon. Might have to properly transition it to a general blog to help land a job. Baaah humbug.